Does It Help (or Hurt) to Have Friends and Family in the Audience?

Why a Supportive Audience Could Paradoxically Lead to a Worse Performance

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes We’ve all heard of the “home-court advantage” in sports. How athletes perform better when they’re competing in front of cheering, supportive fans. The idea makes perfect sense, but there are also many instances of athletes choking in front of their home crowd, missing crucial shots, or making boneheaded plays at the worst possible moments. So when a student recently mentioned that they were feeling extra pressure before an upcoming audition,…


Perform Better Under Pressure with This Subtle Adjustment to Your Self-Talk

Subscribe to the weekly “audio edition” via iTunes It’s normal to feel some pressure when we perform in front of others – but not all situations feel quite the same. Solo performances, for instance, often feel more stressful than chamber music performances. Auditions, in turn, can be more stressful than performances. And some auditions – like the one for your dream school or job – are more stressful still. So the situation may play a role, but a lot of the…


Julie Landsman: On Getting into the Zone and Developing Trust in Your Playing

Julie Landsman: On Getting into the Zone and Developing Trust in Your Playing

I think most string players would have to admit that at some point in their lives, they showed up for an orchestra rehearsal less prepared than they’d like to be. At least, I certainly remember the week during my first big summer festival when I felt overwhelmed by the part to Bartók's Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta , and “hid” in the section a bit during rehearsals (and ok, part of the concert too). Not one of my prouder weeks, but something a string player can get away…


Research Suggests That While Mental Practice Is Good, This Hybrid Approach Is Even Better

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes A couple months ago, my daughter went through a pretty hardcore PB&J phase. And since I hadn’t had a PB&J sandwich in years, I made myself one too2, quickly re-discovering how yummy they are. I mean sure, peanut butter by itself is fun. And some strawberry jam is nice to have around too. But when you put them together? Awesome. (And you know what's also awesome, BTW? Full-fat cream cheese and chunky strawberry jam on a lightly toasted…


What's the Most (and Least) Helpful Thing to Text a Friend Before Their Audition?

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes A few months ago, a friend of mine was preparing to interview for a new job. She prepped diligently, doing mock interviews, until finally, the day arrived. And as she was on her way to the interview, she received a short text from a former supervisor which read: “Really pulling for you! Don’t worry, just be yourself. You’ll do great!” Which of course is a really nice thing to hear from one of your mentors. But it ended up backfiring,…