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…


Musical Charades: Should This Be Part of Your Regular Practice Routine?

Musical Charades: Should This Be Part of Your Regular Practice Routine?

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes I’m not sure why it began appearing in their YouTube feeds, but in the last few weeks, my kids have become mildly obsessed with a channel called TwoSet Violin, run by Australian violinists Brett Yang and Eddy Chen. Partly educational, partly comedy, and seemingly full of inside jokes (like recurring references to the mythical Ling Ling, who practices 40 hours a day...), videos range from blind listening tests of violins and bows at various…


Erik Ralske: On How to Develop a Stronger Internal Pulse, and the Paradoxical Benefits of Giving Yourself Permission to Miss Notes

Erik Ralske: On Developing a Stronger Rhythmic Pulse, and the Paradoxical Benefits of Giving Yourself Permission to Miss Notes

When I was growing up, I always thought learning music followed a pretty simple, logical, linear path. Learn the notes. Play those notes in tune. With a pretty sound. Add dynamics, articulation, make sure I’m honoring the Italian words, and that everything sounds “musical.” Or in other words, accuracy first, musicality second. I was also severely allergic to metronomes. And I rationalized my avoidance by telling myself that subdividing was a sure-fire way to sound more robotic and…


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…


Why Taking Photos Can Enhance Your Enjoyment of (Certain) Experiences

Phonetography: Does This Enhance or Diminish Our Enjoyment of an Experience?

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes In Season 8 of the tv show Friends, Alec Baldwin makes a guest appearance, playing Parker, a character who is over-the-top-enthusiastic about everything. Who at one point, can no longer contain his excitement, and tries to capture a mental snapshot of the moment (watch the clip here ). That episode aired in 2002. Months before the first phone with a built-in camera would be available in the US, and five years before the release of…