how to eliminate memory slips

How to Eliminate Memory Slips

Having a memory slip in the middle of a performance is probably one of the more embarrassing things that can happen to a musician. For many performers, it is the single most anxiety-producing aspect of live performances. Yet even the best are not immune to memory issues - even major concert artists have been known to make memory slips from time to time. I’ve had my share of memory slips of course, from the slightly embarrassing variety (blanking out in a small informal concert) to the truly…


nine sources of frustration in the practice room

Nine Sources of Frustration in the Practice Room

Have you ever finished a practice session and left the room wondering if you just wasted an hour of your life? Feeling that you put in the time, but are not sure what (if anything) you have to show for it? One of the primary factors that can dictate how efficient and effective our practice sessions are is concentration (or the lack thereof). Remember from this article that that the key to mastery is deliberate practice. And the key ingredient in deliberate practice is one’s ability to think…


What Beautiful Lawns and Practicing Have in Common

What Beautiful Lawns and Practicing Have in Common

I’ve been told that there are two basic strategies for cultivating a weed-free lawn. The obvious method is to go around with a bottle of weed killer and kill all the weeds you can find. Of course, what you get then is a bunch of dead brown spots with little patches of sad-looking grass filling in the gaps. The other method involves working to encourage the grass to grow healthier, stronger, and thicker, which eventually will crowd out the weeds and leave less room for them to grow. I’ve yet to…


How to Make the Most of a Dress Rehearsal

How to Make the Most of a Dress Rehearsal

Ever notice how easily toddlers tend to get distracted? A new toy, shiny object, or interesting sound enters into their awareness, and they’re off in a new direction. Under pressure, our brains behave just like little hyperactive toddlers. When we are faced with a stressful situation, our brain kicks things up a notch. Our neural activity literally speeds up, allowing us to think more quickly, process more information, and make more accurate decisions related to our safety. This may be great…


How to Avoid Psyching Yourself out the Night Before an Audition

How to Avoid Psyching Yourself out the Night Before an Audition

It’s the night before an important audition, and Andrew is already feeling the nerves. He tries to tell himself that he’s ready, but all he can think of is the last audition he took, and how he crashed and burned after making a mistake on the easiest piece on his list. As he tries to get to sleep, all he can think of is a picture of himself being so nervous that instead of a strong assertive attack on his first note, he produces a horrifying squeak. Most of us have had the experience of seeing…