Have a Tendency to Play “Too Safe” Under Pressure? Here’s a Daily Habit That Could Help You Play More Fearlessly on Stage.

Have a Tendency to Play “Too Safe” Under Pressure? Here’s a Daily Habit That Could Help You Play More Fearlessly on Stage.

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes I was going through some old home videos the other day, and came across some clips of my kids jumping off of the diving board at the pool for the first time. Well, not jumping, so much as cautiously inching their way to the edge of the board in a half-crouch position with legs shaking and eyes wide open, and going into a full crouch before tottering over the edge into the waiting arms of their swimming instructor. Of course, as they grew older…


A Counterintuitive Way to Build Confidence, a Tiny Bit Each Day

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes When you look at your to-do list for the day, and think about where to begin, what tasks seem the most attractive to you? Do you like to start with the easy tasks, and build up some momentum before taking on the more difficult tasks? Or do you prefer to get the biggest, most dreaded task out of the way first, so it’s all downhill from there? There’s an old saying that “If it's your job to eat a frog, it's best to do it first thing in the…


Jason Sulliman: On Why Fast Practice Can Sometimes Be More Efficient and Effective Than Slow Practice

Jason Sulliman: On Why Fast, At-Tempo Practice Can Be More Efficient and Effective Than Slow Practice

I’d bet my last dozen Krispy Kreme donuts that every music student in the history of practicing has at some point been encouraged to a) slow things down, and b) use a metronome. I’d also bet a box of Timbits, that each of us have also dragged our feet and resisted doing both of these things. And who could blame us, right? It’s way more fun to play things at tempo. But as the saying goes, perhaps we need to crawl before we can walk… Or do we? The problem with slow practice While slow practice is…


How Using Social Media Apps Before Practicing Could Sabotage Practice Quality (and Performance) Over Time

How Using Social Media Apps Before Practicing Could Sabotage Practice Quality (and Performance) Over Time

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes I attend a martial arts class where the rule is that phones must stay in the locker room, and never be out near the mats. The rationale being, they’re a distraction. And if you’re distracted, not only does your training suffer, but you can get hurt. The idea is to come to class a little early, and spend those minutes getting warmed up, stretching, and transitioning away from work, family, social media, and whatever else is happening in life,…


Minna Chung: On the Mysteries of Intonation and a Few Things We Can Do to Play Better in Tune

Minna Chung: On the Mysteries of Intonation and a Few Things We Can Do to Play More in Tune

Like most Suzuki youngsters, I went through a phase where I had little stripes of tape placed on my fingerboard to guide where my fingers ought to go. Which I’m guessing was my first lesson on intonation, and the idea that there’s a precise place on the fingerboard, where if you put your finger right there, all is good in the world because the resulting sound that comes out of your instrument rings, and just sounds right. Of course, the rebellious part of me resented those lines, and I remember…