“Mistake Rituals” and Why it's Important to Prepare for On-Stage Surprises

Audio version Most of us are creatures of habit, in at least some area of our lives. Maybe we tend to gravitate towards the same section of the parking lot at the grocery store. Or still eat the same kind of jam we grew accustomed to as kids. Or consistently sit in the same row and section of the movie theater (although, sometimes we may have good reasons for doing what we do - ala Sheldon ). There's nothing wrong with a little bit of…


Does Stress Make Us More Susceptible to Injury?

Audio version What do finals week, the first few months after having a child, and housebreaking a puppy with (seemingly) the world’s tiniest bladder have in common? Well, all are potentially stressful moments in life, when experience (and research) suggests that we are more likely to catch a cold. And sure, colds are inconvenient and unpleasant of course, but at least we’re usually back to our old selves within a week or so. Injuries, on the other hand, can…


Five Podcasts I'm Enjoying Now

Five Podcasts I'm Enjoying Right Now

I was in a bit of a strange accident this week, which resulted in a concussion, some eye trauma, and a trip to the ER. So…the last few days have consisted of me sitting propped up in bed with my eyes closed, catching up on episodes of my favorite podcasts. Since writing a normal post was not in the cards this week, I thought it might be a perfect time to share some of the podcasts I’m enjoying – and also ask you to share some of your favorite podcasts too. So without further…


Stereotype Threat: The Paradox of Becoming Exactly What You’re Trying to Prove That You’re Not. (Huh?!)

Stereotype Threat: The Paradox of Becoming Exactly What You’re Trying to Prove That You’re Not. (Huh?!)

Nowadays, screened orchestral auditions are the norm. But it wasn’t so long ago that the audition process was more overtly biased, or even conducted privately (as described in this 1981 article in the NY Times). So when renowned horn player Julie Landsman auditioned for - and won - the principal horn position at the Met in 1985, she defied some common gender stereotypes held at the time, and became the first female member of the brass section (described in more detail in Malcolm Gladwell’s…


How to avoid being chronically stressed out by a tyrannical conductor, teacher, or colleague

How to Keep Your Cool in Stressful Lessons, Rehearsals, and More

Whether it’s the 2nd grade spelling bee, a Little League game, or youth orchestra rehearsal, most of us have had one of those traumatizing moments where a teacher, coach, or conductor called us out in front of our peers. For me, it was an orchestra rehearsal in high school, where the conductor made each stand play the same difficult passage one at a time, to make it crystal clear which players were the problem, as the rest of the orchestra watched and listened. It was pretty humiliating, and…