"Action Observation," And How to Get More out of Your Mental Imagery Practice

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes Imagery is often described as a valuable mental preparation tool, by musicians and athletes alike. But in much the same way that some people can pull off some pretty awesome moves on a pogo stick,  while the rest of us can barely manage to get out of a building without walking into doors and windows  (and is it really bad karma that I couldn’t stop laughing at this?), there are a wide range of individual differences in…


Tom Hooten: On Being Curious, and Elevating Learning and Growth Above Ego

Tom Hooten: On Being Curious, and Elevating Learning and Growth Above Ego

Legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden once said “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?” It’s one of my favorite quotes now, but I wonder if I could have grasped this when I was younger, and in the thick of weekly lessons, rehearsals, performances, auditions, and so on.  In the sense that when I look back now, I can see how much of my practice was oriented around simply trying to not sound bad at my next lesson, or rehearsal, performance, and just…


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How to "Reset" Your Body Clock & Shift Your Peak Performance Window (and Survive AM Rehearsals)

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes Having kids (and a dog with a small bladder) has changed my perspective on what “normal” bedtime and wakeup times look like. But in my college years, 2am seemed like a pretty normal bedtime. I mean, the conservatory building closed at 11pm, and the snack bar was on the way back to my dorm, so it made perfect sense to stop by and grab a sandwich, some chili, and a giant cookie, to fuel up for some 4-player Mario Kart with my roommates. Of…


Are Coffee Naps Legit?

Are Coffee Naps Legit?

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes Even if you've had a good night’s sleep, there’s something about that post-lunch period in the afternoon that can be rough to get through, whether you’re in rehearsal, a class, or perhaps just trying to practice. So while I’m not a coffee drinker myself, I've been intrigued by the rumblings in various corners of the internet (and even my classroom) about this thing known as a “coffee nap.”  Which, aside from being the best oxymoron ever,…


The Role of Self-Compassion in Cultivating Mental Toughness and Overcoming Setbacks

The Role of Self-Compassion in Cultivating Mental Toughness and Overcoming Setbacks

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes We’ve all experienced setbacks at some point in our lives. Maybe it was a mortifying sequence of memory slips in a recital. Or failing to pass a jury. Or getting wait-listed, on your last year of eligibility, at the summer festival you’ve always dreamed of attending. So when we begin to teach, and the young musicians who’ve entrusted us with their development experience setbacks of their own, most of us can totally empathize with the…