What Does Science Say About the Notion That We Don't Utilize Our Full Potential?

What Does Science Say About the Notion That We Don't Utilize Our Full Potential?

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes There’s a really sweet moment in Pooh’s Most Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin, where Christopher Robin and Pooh are chatting in a tree, and Christopher Robin is gently preparing Pooh for the day when he might not be the constant presence that Pooh has become accustomed to. As Pooh drifts off to sleep, Christopher Robin says "Always remember you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."…


The Mindsets That Make It Easier (and Harder) to Bounce Back from Mistakes Mid-Performance

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes I don’t know if there’s some sort of composer’s handbook which says that concertos should start out with a technical challenge to mess with you when you’re the most nervous and shaky, but whether it’s a bunch of octaves in a row, a series of consecutive 10th’s, or a ginormous shift to a really high note, many concertos do make it challenging to create a great first impression. Such was the case for Joshua Bell, as he performed Lalo’s Symphonie…


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…


How Long Does It REALLY Take to Form a New Habit?

How Long Does It REALLY Take to Form a New Habit?

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes Whether it’s starting your morning off with a cup of coffee, brushing your teeth at night, or checking email as soon as you log into your computer at work, we engage in a lot of behaviors every day that are, essentially, automatic. Where we don’t have to consciously tell ourselves to do them - we just act out of habit. Some of these habits (like turning off the lights when we leave a room) are good things, but others (like chowing down on…


Blaise Desjardin: On Emotion, Technique, and the Kind of Practice That Facilitates Consistently Beautiful Performances

Blaise Déjardin: On Emotion, Technique, and the Kind of Practice That Facilitates Consistently Beautiful Performances

Several years ago, I stumbled across a video of the violinist Pamela Frank sharing some advice she once received from the conductor Yuri Temirkanov about the opening of the Brahms Violin Concerto (click here to watch the clip ). In what she describes as being a total light-bulb moment, he explained that “To play exciting music, you cannot be excited.” In other words, the Brahms Concerto isn’t exciting because the performer’s heart rate is elevated. The excitement is created by…