Fact or Myth: Does Thinking “Don’t Miss” Really Make Us More Likely to Mess Up?

Fact or Myth: Does Thinking “Don’t Miss” Really Make Us More Likely to Mess Up?

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes It was March 15, 2017, and the San Antonio Spurs were trying to pull out a close win over the Portland Trailblazers. With 2.5 seconds left in the game, a Portland foul put Manu Ginobli at the free throw line. Trailing 105-108, the plan was to make the first free throw, and then deliberately miss the second free throw, so that they would have a chance to rebound the ball and score quickly to tie the game up and go to overtime. Of course, what…


How to Get Better at Detecting Errors - Especially If They’re Hiding in Plain Sight

How to Get Better at Detecting Errors - Especially If They’re Hiding in Plain Sight

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes A few days ago, one of my kids came back from school with a decidedly underwhelming math quiz grade. So we sat down and tried to work backwards to figure out how this happened. And it didn’t take long to figure out that there were two things that led to this. Problem number one, is that the kid wrote the formula down incorrectly in their notes. Problem number two is that because the practice problems they were assigned to do in the textbook…


The Mindsets That Make It Easier (and Harder) to Bounce Back from Mistakes Mid-Performance

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes I don’t know if there’s some sort of composer’s handbook which says that concertos should start out with a technical challenge to mess with you when you’re the most nervous and shaky, but whether it’s a bunch of octaves in a row, a series of consecutive 10th’s, or a ginormous shift to a really high note, many concertos do make it challenging to create a great first impression. Such was the case for Joshua Bell, as he performed Lalo’s Symphonie…


Jennifer Johnson: On Learning to Play More Effortlessly, Through a Better Understanding of the True Design of Your Body

Jennifer Johnson: On Learning to Play More Effortlessly, Through a Better Understanding of the True Design of Your Body

You know when you need to hang a frame, but can’t find a hammer, so you decide to put a nail in the wall with the handle of a screwdriver, and end up making a mess of the wall or hurting yourself? Well, that’s not too far off from what I would sometimes do in the practice room, when it came to technical challenges, whether it was playing chords in tune, or playing faster, louder, or softer. When I was trying to learn up-bow staccato, for instance, I quickly discovered that my elbow and wrist…


Is Videotaping Yourself Worth the Time and Trouble? And If Yes, How So?

Is Videotaping Yourself Worth the Time and Trouble? And If Yes, How So? (Part 2 of 2)

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes One of my advisors in grad school regularly reminded us that whether it was our dissertation or our work with clients, taking the time to fully understand and accurately define the nature of the problems we were presented with, was critically important. He would say that “If you misdiagnose the problem, you’re probably going to misdiagnose the solution too.” I think the same could be said of practicing. Like, if you think the notes in a…