Why the “Task Completion Bias” Could Give You the Illusion of Productive Practice, but Make You Less Productive in the Long-Term

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes You know how people say you should never go to the grocery store when you’re hungry? I know this is probably good advice, but when I’m hungry is like my favorite time to go! Admittedly, that’s when I end up with all sorts of stuff in my basket that wasn't on my shopping list. Most of which don’t serve my long-term health and fitness goals... Umm...and what does this have to do with anything? Well, I wish I could say that I spent most of my…


A Simple Technique That Could Help You Give Better Advice to Your Students

A Simple Technique That Could Help Boost Your Effectiveness With a Struggling Student

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes Once you get pretty good at riding a skateboard, hitting a tennis ball, or playing with a nice juicy vibrato, it can be easy to forget what it was like when you were struggling to do these things as a beginner. And be surprisingly difficult to remember just how unsteady, awkward, uncoordinated, or ineffective everything felt in the early stages of learning that new skill. Because sure, everyone goes through periods where they struggle with…


Claire Stefani: On Chinrests, Shoulder Rests, and How the Right Setup Can Facilitate More Effortless, Tension-free Playing

Claire Stefani: On Chinrests, Shoulder Rests, and How the Right Setup Can Facilitate More Effortless, Tension-free Playing

I can’t remember where it started. Maybe it was a flareup of the “violin hickey” on my chin. Or maybe it was a response to seeing one of my violin idols play without a shoulder pad, which always seemed like the coolest thing ever. Or maybe I was just wishfully hoping there was some quick fix that would enhance my playing. But I remember going through a pretty long phase – from sometime in high school, through grad school – where I was constantly tinkering and experimenting with…


How to Use Positive “Trigger Words” for More Expressive Performances

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes Getting into the character of a piece, right from the first note, can sometimes be a challenge when there’s no long orchestral tutti to help set the mood. Or if you have to switch from one orchestral excerpt to another in an audition where it’s all on you. Musicians have been known to write key words or phrases at the top of excerpts, like this, or this. Which seems like a pretty handy way to remind ourselves what we want to say with the…


The “Gesturing Effect

The “Gesturing Effect": A Way to Learn New Skills More Quickly?

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes Aside from the day I graduated from velcro sneakers and learned how to tie my lace-up Spiderman shoes, I don't think I thought very much about knots until the day my dad showed me how to tie a slip knot . Which led to a brief fascination with knot-tying. Of course, in those days, you couldn’t just hop onto the internet and look up a video, so I ended up getting a knot-tying kit (this exact one, in fact). Which is when my initial…