Fact or Myth: Does Thinking “Don’t Miss” Really Make Us More Likely to Mess Up?

Fact or Myth: Does Thinking “Don’t Miss” Really Make Us More Likely to Mess Up?

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes It was March 15, 2017, and the San Antonio Spurs were trying to pull out a close win over the Portland Trailblazers. With 2.5 seconds left in the game, a Portland foul put Manu Ginobli at the free throw line. Trailing 105-108, the plan was to make the first free throw, and then deliberately miss the second free throw, so that they would have a chance to rebound the ball and score quickly to tie the game up and go to overtime. Of course, what…


How Do Fear, Anxiety, and Other Negative Emotions Affect the Learning Process?

How Do Fear, Anxiety, and Other Negative Emotions Affect the Learning Process?

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes I once read a story about the violinist Isaac Stern, in which he was confronted by a fan backstage after a concert. Gushing at how beautifully he played, she exclaimed “I’d give my life to play like you!” To which Stern curtly replied, “Lady, that I did!” Studying music - especially in the context of summer festivals and school - can of course be an incredibly positive experience with many meaningful, inspiring, and fun moments. But there can…


Erik Ralske: On How to Develop a Stronger Internal Pulse, and the Paradoxical Benefits of Giving Yourself Permission to Miss Notes

Erik Ralske: On Developing a Stronger Rhythmic Pulse, and the Paradoxical Benefits of Giving Yourself Permission to Miss Notes

When I was growing up, I always thought learning music followed a pretty simple, logical, linear path. Learn the notes. Play those notes in tune. With a pretty sound. Add dynamics, articulation, make sure I’m honoring the Italian words, and that everything sounds “musical.” Or in other words, accuracy first, musicality second. I was also severely allergic to metronomes. And I rationalized my avoidance by telling myself that subdividing was a sure-fire way to sound more robotic and…


Why Taking Photos Can Enhance Your Enjoyment of (Certain) Experiences

Phonetography: Does This Enhance or Diminish Our Enjoyment of an Experience?

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes In Season 8 of the tv show Friends, Alec Baldwin makes a guest appearance, playing Parker, a character who is over-the-top-enthusiastic about everything. Who at one point, can no longer contain his excitement, and tries to capture a mental snapshot of the moment (watch the clip here ). That episode aired in 2002. Months before the first phone with a built-in camera would be available in the US, and five years before the release of…


Are Coffee Naps Legit?

Are Coffee Naps Legit?

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes Even if you've had a good night’s sleep, there’s something about that post-lunch period in the afternoon that can be rough to get through, whether you’re in rehearsal, a class, or perhaps just trying to practice. So while I’m not a coffee drinker myself, I've been intrigued by the rumblings in various corners of the internet (and even my classroom) about this thing known as a “coffee nap.”  Which, aside from being the best oxymoron ever,…