3 Traits of Successful Concert Programs

Flutist playing outdoors

“Memorable concerts don’t merely deliver what’s expected; they also take audiences beyond what they can envision.”
-The Musician’s Way, p. 211

We classical musicians have it in our power to attract hordes of enthusiastic fans.

And one of the most effective ways we can do so is to offer innovative concert programs that make listeners hungry to hear us. Continue Reading

Learning the Art of Performance

Photo of pianist playing and singing“Music is a performing art. . . . It isn’t there in the score.”
-Michael Tippett, composer (The Musician’s Way, p. 152)

When you think about all that goes into preparing for a concert, performing can seem like a delicate skill, something akin to tightrope walking. I’ve found that many musicians think along those lines.

But I’m convinced that performing can be as natural as having a conversation or sharing in a game. Continue Reading

Divergent Thinking in Practice

Photo of violinist practicing“Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.”
-Charles Mingus, bassist (The Musician’s Way, p. 55)

Musical problem-solving requires creative thinking, yet the style of thinking that’s commonly taught in schools may not serve our needs in the practice room.

That is, a subject such as basic math nurtures convergent thinking that zeroes in on single solutions. Trouble is, such reasoning works only with linear problems, where one correct answer exists. Continue Reading

September 2014 Newsletter

“You don’t drown by falling in the water; you drown by staying there.”
-The Musician’s Way, p. 196

The September/October issue of The Musician’s Way Newsletter features news, practice tips, inspiration, and career resources in a combination unlike any other.

Looking to overcome creative blocks? Want to offer limited-access downloads to your followers? Thinking about launching an online store?

This edition addresses these issues and more. Continue Reading

Keeping Practice in Mind

Closeup image of classical guitar“Create meaning in everything that you practice.”
-The Musician’s Way, p. 312

Have you ever started a practice session and felt that your musical abilities were out of alignment?

Maybe your mind was restless, your control tenuous, or your tone iffy.

It’s easy for us to get misaligned, but the following techniques help us be ready to practice effectively anytime. Continue Reading

How Not to Pursue a Music Career

Image of cellist playing alone in wheat field“Probe every aspect of what ‘being a successful musician’ means to you.”
-The Musician’s Way, p. 302

If you aspire to a career as an independent musician, you’ll find lots of “how to” advice online.

This post takes a reverse approach: I highlight 12 unwise moves that are common among young performers.

I hope it will inspire you to enthusiastically pursue your musical dreams.

Continue Reading

Handling Criticism in Rehearsals

Image of two violinists rehearsing together“Wise artists seek out critical evaluations.”
-The Musician’s Way, p. 297

Musical collaborators come together out of a shared passion for music, and intense feelings about art can stir up ardent criticisms.

How can we harmonize the critical give-and-take that’s integral to working in groups? Continue Reading

Talent and Skills

“The path you take is your path and no one else’s, so welcome it.”
-The Musician’s Way, p. 314

Many aspiring musicians worry about their futures, wondering whether they have enough talent to succeed as pros.

Thing is, musical talent is but a facet of what enables us to sustain ourselves from our art. Continue Reading

The Fight-or-Flight Response

“The fight-or-flight response works wonders when you’re standing on a sidewalk and a piano is falling from a building above.”
The Musician’s Way, p. 135

Shaky hands, racing heartbeat, queasy stomach – all manifestations of a nervousness that almost every musician has felt.

How can we get beyond such jitters and be free on stage? For starters, it helps to grasp a core aspect of performance anxiety.
Continue Reading

June 2014 Newsletter

Closeup photo of solid-body electric bass“The heart of performance is about sharing music with someone else.”
The Musician’s Way, p. 154

In the June 2014 issue of The Musician’s Way Newsletter you’ll encounter a wide array of articles suited to performers, educators, and music lovers.

On the subject of creativity, there’s an article that looks at whether deadlines help or hinder us; another piece considers strategies to generate fresh ideas.

There are links to grant resources, practice & performance tips, music industry news, tech updates, and much more. Continue Reading