Frank Almond: On Work, Fun, and the Importance of Both in Dealing with Adversity
By Noa Kageyama, Ph.D.
NBA coaching great Phil Jackson once said “Not only is there more to life than basketball, there’s a lot more to basketball than basketball.”
I think the same could be said for music.
It’s easy to get sucked into the daily grind of warmups, scales, etudes, metronome work, slow practice, and simply think of it as warmups, scales, etc. But consider what is happening under the surface while we’re navigating impossible shifts and solving vexing intonation issues.
We’re developing the ability to set goals and self-monitor progress towards them. Prioritize. Manage time. Be patient. Persevere, and develop a high tolerance for frustration. Become self-motivated. Solve complex problems. Concentrate. Focus. And remain resilient in the face of setbacks and adversity.
These are all valuable skills not just in the practice room but outside as well. Perhaps even more so, because as someone1 once said, “Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans.”
Say hello to Frank Almond
Violinist Frank Almond has enjoyed a varied and diverse career, from being one of the youngest prizewinners in the history of the Paganini Competition in Italy at age 17, to his longstanding role as Concertmaster of the Milwaukee Symphony, chamber musician , and columnist.
Either way, you’ll gain some valuable insights about what it takes to become, and what it means to be a musician in the interview with Frank that follows. But also, I hope you get a sense of who he is – a thoughtful artist who takes his craft seriously mashed up with that cool guy you’d enjoy eating wings and watching a game with.
Which at least to me, suggests that being a pro doesn’t necessarily mean we should always spend 12 hours a day locked up in a room surrounded by scores and recordings with single-minded focus. That while we could do this (and perhaps must on occasion) – it might also be ok to explore our diverse natural curiosities and discover how they intersect with our craft.
Click the play button below to listen, or use the download link to get it onto your computer or iDevice.
Performance psychologist and Juilliard alumnus & faculty member Noa Kageyama teaches musicians how to beat performance anxiety and play their best under pressure through live classes, coachings, and an online home-study course. Based in NYC, he is married to a terrific pianist, has two hilarious kids, and is a wee bit obsessed with technology and all things Apple.
After Countless Hours of Practice, Why Are Performances Still so Hit or Miss?
It’s not a talent issue. And that rush of adrenaline and emotional roller coaster you experience before performances is totally normal too.
Performing at the upper ranges of your ability under pressure is a unique skill – one that requires specific mental skills and a few tweaks in your approach to practicing. Elite athletes have been learning these techniques for decades; if nerves and self-doubt have been recurring obstacles in your performances, I’d like to help you do the same.
Click below to discover the 7 skills that are characteristic of top performers. Learn how you can develop these into strengths of your own. And begin to see tangible improvements in your playing that transfer to the stage.