Can We Train Ourselves to Be Less Anxious?

Can We Train Ourselves to Be Less Anxious?

“Huh?”, blurts the voice in your head as you notice your stand partner making a face. Was that a wince? Or a grimace? Either way, that can’t be good. But what does it mean? Do they have a migraine? Am I playing too loud? Did I commit some sort of egregious stand partner faux pas? Although there’s no way to know for sure, your mind spirals faster and faster into the bad place anyhow, as your anxiety spikes, your muscles seize up, and you start getting more paranoid with each passing moment.…


The Problem with Thinking You Don't Have Enough Time

Just Thinking You Don't Have Enough Time (Even If That's Not True) Negatively Affects Performance

Have you ever had one of those days, where from the moment you squint at your phone and realize you’ve hit snooze one too many times, it feels like you’re running around from one thing to the next like a headless chicken (don’t worry, the link isn’t exactly what you’d think), just trying to keep everything from falling apart? And sure, sometimes we manage to get through the day without any major mishaps, but sometimes you don’t….and drive through a half-opened garage door in the rush to get the…


Power Posing vs. Yoga. Yay or Nay?

Audio version http://bpm-podcast.s3.amazonaws.com/bulletproofmusician.2018.02.04.mp3 Performing in front of an audition committee, a classroom full of peers, or an expectant audience can be quite a stressful and nerve-wracking experience at times. But you know what can often be even more crazy-making? All the waiting we have to do before we finally walk on stage. Sitting in a warmup room…feeling warmed up and ready to go…but having to wait some more…getting cold and bored…and warming up some…


How to avoid being chronically stressed out by a tyrannical conductor, teacher, or colleague

How to Keep Your Cool in Stressful Lessons, Rehearsals, and More

Whether it’s the 2nd grade spelling bee, a Little League game, or youth orchestra rehearsal, most of us have had one of those traumatizing moments where a teacher, coach, or conductor called us out in front of our peers. For me, it was an orchestra rehearsal in high school, where the conductor made each stand play the same difficult passage one at a time, to make it crystal clear which players were the problem, as the rest of the orchestra watched and listened. It was pretty humiliating, and…


Why Do We Have Such a Hard Time Accepting Compliments?

Why Do We Have Such a Hard Time Accepting Compliments?

“That was such beautiful playing…” “Your have such a gorgeous sound!” Compliments are a funny thing. Given a choice, most of us would probably prefer to receive glowing compliments from our peers, colleagues, teachers, and audiences, than scathing criticisms. So why are we so bad at accepting them? We know that the most gracious response is a simple “thank you!” But often, we can’t help ourselves, and end up stammering out a clumsy response that just makes things awkward. “Uhh…thanks…but I was…