Difficulty Staying Optimistic Before a Big Audition? Try Using a “Positivity Cheat Sheet”

Difficulty Staying Optimistic Before a Big Audition? Try Using a “Positivity Cheat Sheet”

Audio version http://bpm-podcast.s3.amazonaws.com/bulletproofmusician.2017.11.10.mp3 It’s the day before an audition, and as you take a few minutes to review some tricky sections, suddenly you get a twinge of anxiety and start stressing and freaking out about how awful everything sounds. How unprepared you feel. And how horribly you’re afraid things are going to go. It’s at those exact moments when you know the right thing to do is “think positive.” But these are also the exact moments when…


A Backwards Strategy to Increase the Likelihood of Achieving Your Big Goals

A Backwards Strategy to Increase the Likelihood of Achieving Your Big Goals

There’s a peculiar saying that I often stumble across on the internet. About how to eat an elephant (the answer: one bite at a time - though does anybody actually eat elephants?). The point of the saying is that we can more effectively manage big, huge, gnarly, complex projects and avoid getting overwhelmed or paralyzed if we divide the task into little tiny pieces. Like preparing for an international competition. Or two orchestra auditions with different lists within two weeks of each other.…


Wish You Were a Better Memorizer? Why a Little Bit of Score Study Might Be the Missing Ingredient.

Wish You Were a Better Memorizer? Why a Little Bit of "Verbalization" Might Be the Missing Ingredient.

Audio version http://bpm-podcast.s3.amazonaws.com/bulletproofmusician.2017.10.29.mp3 Let’s try a little mental challenge. Read the following letters to yourself, slowly: NCTECOOVD Now, close your eyes, and see how many you can recall. Maybe a handful? Now read through the same letters, just organized differently: OCTNOVDEC Easier, no? It’s not like you became a better memorizer in the last few seconds - you simply recognized a familiar pattern in the second grouping of letters that made recall…


5 Ways to Prevent “rage-quitting” on Discouraging Practice Days

5 Ways to Prevent “Rage-Quitting” on Discouraging Practice Days

Audio version http://bpm-podcast.s3.amazonaws.com/bulletproofmusician.2017.10.22.mp3 We all have bad practice days, where our sound is off and our fingers just won’t cooperate. Which is plenty annoying, but have you ever had one of those days that goes beyond frustration? Where you get truly aggravated, and have that urge to throw your music against the wall and smash things, so end up quitting for the day? Apparently, that phenomenon has a name. In the video-gaming world at least, this is…


A Simple (but Ironic) Strategy to Reduce Audition-day Restlessness

A Simple (and Ironic) Strategy to Reduce Audition-Day Restlessness

Audio version http://bpm-podcast.s3.amazonaws.com/bulletproofmusician.2017.10.15.mp3 Legendary basketball coach John Wooden often urged his players to “be quick - but don’t hurry.” Indeed, whether it’s a last-second three pointer, passing shot in tennis, or a tricky shift, there’s something about rushing that tends to mess with the execution of motor skills. We get tight, fluidity and ease go out the window, the timing and rhythm gets off, and we force things instead of letting them happen.…