The new year is typically a time for looking forward. For embarking on new paths, and creating new habits.
But in doing so, it’s easy to miss an essential step in the looking-forward process. That of looking backwards.
We know from our experience in the practice room, that repetition on autopilot isn’t particularly effective. That saying “I’ll get it next time” without reflecting on what just happened, and what we plan on doing differently next time, won’t lead to the results we’re looking for. That the best performers tend to engage in more reflection, which leads to more effective planning for the next repetition, practice session, and performance.
Similarly, an annual reflection – where you take stock of the last 12 months – can be a very helpful exercise to ring in the new year with. Specifically, to look back at the last year and ask three deceptively simple questions:
What worked well?
What didn’t work so well?
What are you going to a) keep doing, or b) do differently?
To that end, here’s a little look back at 2015 here at the Bulletproof Musician. Namely, below are 10 of the most impactful things we learned in the last year. Which ones will you continue to utilize and build on in 2016? Which haven’t you tried, but might find useful in addressing some of the things from 2015 that you’d like to improve upon?
10 things we learned
#1: Great teachers all have different and unique teaching styles, but there seem to be some key commonalities in their approach (which we can emulate).
#2: Being a musician may sometimes feel like a 24/7 proposition, but it’s important to mentally detach from our work on a regular basis. That doesn’t make us any less serious about our craft, but in fact, the opposite.
As I look back at 2015, I’m grateful for the opportunity to be a tiny part of your world on Sunday morning. That, and the ridiculously tasty cinnamon raisin peanut butter which has been a revelation…and constant drain on my willpower…but I digress…
What I mean to say is, I have no idea what 2016 will bring, but through all the inevitable ups and downs, here’s wishing you a happy, productive, memorable, and truly stupendifying1 year!
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.