That was my reaction upon receiving my first email address as a freshman in August 1994. I just couldn’t fathom what one was supposed to do with an email address (I know – sounds crazy now, right?).
Of course, I soon discovered that friends at other schools had email addresses too, and you could type little notes to each other if you knew their address. And they’d get them almost instantly. For free!
Of course, now we all have multiple email addresses, and experience a very different emotion than we did in 1994 upon seeing an inbox full of unread messages.
For instance, my “junk mail” account currently has over 1000 unread emails in the inbox waiting to be sorted. Which wouldn’t be an issue if the emails were all truly junk. But they’re not – there are actually a lot of interesting and valuable gems hidden amongst the expired 20%-off coupons from Bed Bath & Beyond, and reminders to pay my Verizon bill.
I keep telling myself that I’ll sort through these someday…but I’ve been saying that for years (and deep down, I know it’s probably never going to happen).
I’m assuming that it’s not just me who lives in that same state of denial, so…I went through all of the year’s articles, and pulled together five of 2017’s most-read practice hacks and performance-related insights, so you can put your inbox-cleaning efforts off for a few more months too…
Here’s to making 2018 a memorable and inspired year – both on-stage, and off!
With all that’s going on in our lives (and in the world in general), sometimes it can be a real challenge to stay focused in the practice room and keep our mind from going into that zombie-like autopilot mode of practicing.
We know that emails, texts, and Facebook can be a distraction, but a recent study suggests that the mere presence of our phone could be taking up more of our mental resources than we realize. And that the more dependent we are on our phones, the worse we may perform on challenging tasks when our phone is in the room.
So are you a smartphone addict? Learn more here – and take a short quiz to find out if you might be more addicted to your phone than you think!
It seems incredibly obvious in hindsight, but I spent decades frustrated by inconsistent progress in the practice room, yet never really thought of practicing itself as a skill. As something we can actually get better at – with, umm…practice.
And research suggests that one of the keys to making practice more effective is thoughtful spacing – i.e. knowing when to keep working on something and when to move on and come back to it later.
So if you’ve ever found yourself finishing up an intense practice session, but feeling like you accomplished very little, the “big stack of flashcards” model for practicing could be an invaluable tool for making more progress in the same amount of time.
Some kids (and adults) are natural performers at heart and love to ham it up in front of a crowd. Of course, most of us aren’t quite so comfortable performing, and many have difficulty building confidence in their performing abilities.
So if you have any students who fall into this latter category, and shy away from performing, a strategy from research on reading comprehension might help them become more comfortable (and confident) in front of an audience.
Click here to learn more about the “Cinderella” exercise.
Performance psychologist and Juilliard alumnus & faculty member Noa Kageyama teaches musicians how to beat performance anxiety and play their best under pressure through live classes, coachings, and an online home-study course. Based in NYC, he is married to a terrific pianist, has two hilarious kids, and is a wee bit obsessed with technology and all things Apple.
After Countless Hours of Practice, Why Are Performances Still so Hit or Miss?
It’s not a talent issue. And that rush of adrenaline and emotional roller coaster you experience before performances is totally normal too.
Performing at the upper ranges of your ability under pressure is a unique skill – one that requires specific mental skills and a few tweaks in your approach to practicing. Elite athletes have been learning these techniques for decades; if nerves and self-doubt have been recurring obstacles in your performances, I’d like to help you do the same.
Click below to discover the 7 skills that are characteristic of top performers. Learn how you can develop these into strengths of your own. And begin to see tangible improvements in your playing that transfer to the stage.