David Kim: On Letting Go and Being Yourself

David Kim: On Letting Go and Being Yourself

Have you ever had one of those days where you feel like the only way to get ahead in the world is to be an egotistical jerk? I’m sure that there probably are a number of self-obsessed, egomaniacal dingleberries in the upper echelons of every field, but it’d be nice to think that this isn’t necessary in order to find success, happiness, and meaningful work. Meet David Kim Case in point, violinist David Kim has been concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra since 1999, and is one of the most…


How Perfect Does Your Intonation Have to Be?

How Perfect Does Your Intonation Have to Be?

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes Whether you sing, play the cello, oboe, or bagpipes, you’ve probably had one of those days (or weeks or months) where you became obsessed with intonation. Where you carefully tuned every chord, calibrated every last note with a tuner, and worked diligently with a drone. And maybe even found yourself getting sucked down the Pythagorean vs. just tuning rabbit hole . All of which is incredibly valuable and important, of course…but is…


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A "Backwards" Strategy for Cultivating More Passion about Music You're Not in Love With

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes Cellist Mstislav Rostropovich was once asked which of the pieces he programmed on a recital was his favorite. To which he replied, “The one I’m playing at the moment!” (or something to that effect). It is a whole lot easier to deliver a compelling performance of a piece you love, than one you feel totally blah about. Not just because it’s easier to feel connected to the music, but because there is more motivation there to explore the score,…


Should You Be Using a Metronome When You Do Mental Practice?

Should You Be Using a Metronome When You Do Mental Practice?

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes Pianist Leon Fleisher has said that between melody, harmony, and rhythm, rhythm is by far the most important. As the saying goes, timing is everything. And there is indeed something really compelling about how great performers have a way of stretching and compressing time, of playing with great freedom (yet in perfect time), and doing some incredibly nuanced things with the placement of notes - as Yo-Yo Ma elicits in Fleisher’s playing here,…


Do Other People Really Learn As Quickly As It Seems Like They Do?

Do Other People Really Learn As Quickly As It Seems Like They Do?

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes How long should it take to learn a new concerto? Or memorize a Bach prelude? And how many hours should you spend preparing for a first orchestra rehearsal? It used to be pretty difficult to get answers to questions like these. But, now that we have the internet, we know that the answers are a) 3 days, b) less than an hour, and c) yes. But in all seriousness, even with the internet at our fingertips, we still look to our peers to get a sense of…