April 2014 Newsletter

“Confident performance is not a fluke, but the product of imaginative and consistent synthesis of technical and emotional work.”
-Frank R. Wilson (The Musician’s Way), p. 146

The April 2014 edition of The Musician’s Way Newsletter has landed in subscribers’ inboxes and is being shared across the Web.

This new issue brings together 20 articles and resources geared to performers, educators, students and music lovers alike. Continue Reading

The Number-One Motivator of Music Practice

Photo of two hands playing a piano keyboard“With a commitment on your calendar, your practice becomes targeted toward an exhilarating purpose.”
-The Musician’s Way, p. 108

Some musicians relish daily practice; others struggle to work consistently.

Whatever our relationship with practice might be, there’s one thing that will motivate us to practice intensely: an upcoming performance.

Continue Reading

Committing to the Creative Process

“Being a musician isn’t about pursuing some nirvana of artistic enlightenment; it’s about endless refinement and discovery.”
-The Musician’s Way, p. 110

This blog and The Musician’s Way book explore diverse strategies to practice deeply and efficiently.

If you’re a regular reader, you’ve taken in bundles of information, so it would be reasonable to ask, “What’s the best way to absorb all of these concepts?” Continue Reading

The Heart of Performance

Van Morrison

“Every performance is different. That’s the beauty of it.”
-Van Morrison, (The Musician’s Way, p. 153)

To reach the heart of performance, let’s start by deciphering what a performance is.

Consider this: When we play or sing for someone else, we’re performing; and when we’re alone in the recording studio trying to lay down a clean track, we’re performing then, too. Continue Reading

Connecting with Audiences

Saxophonist performs with bassist in background“The performers who connect from the stage establish emotional relationships with their audiences.”
-The Musician’s Way, p. 188

What endows a performance with the power to stir listeners’ hearts? At a minimum, a spellbinding concert melds first-rate repertoire, prepared musicians, and a favorable setting.

If you peel back those layers, though, I think you’ll find a single factor at the core of any gripping performance: Continue Reading

The Peak-Performance Myth

Arthur Rubinstein rehearsing at the piano in 1962

Arthur Rubinstein, 1962

“When I play, I make love – it is the same thing.”
-Arthur Rubinstein, pianist (The Musician’s Way, p. 207)

If you’ve read much about performing, then you’ve probably run into the terms “peak performance,” “flow,” and “being in the zone.”

Those synonymous labels refer to a zone of optimal functioning, an ideal inner state in which a performer achieves maximum fluency with minimum effort.

When you’re having a peak experience with your music, your creativity seems boundless, and, technically speaking, you feel as though you can’t miss. Continue Reading

5 Benefits of Self-Recording

Zoom H4n digital audio recorder“Keen self-listening is central to musical excellence.”
-The Musician’s Way, p. 16

Without the ability to hear ourselves precisely, we can’t perform to professional standards nor solve problems in practice.

Fortunately, today’s digital recorders empower musicians to appraise their work accurately and objectively.

This post sums up five main benefits of self-recording and highlights some of the best digital recorders on the market. Continue Reading

Bringing Joy to Practice

Image of young woman playing the cello“One must approach music with a serious rigor and, at the same time, with a great, affectionate joy.”
–Nadia Boulanger, composer & pianist (The Musician’s Way, p. 292)

How we sound in performance is a direct result of how we practice.

So even though practice entails focused work, it’s crucial that we permeate our work with joy.

The following 4 habits help us infuse practice with bountiful spirit. Continue Reading

February 2014 Newsletter

“When we generate positive emotions, we ignite creativity.”

The February 2014 issue of The Musician’s Way Newsletter coalesces more than 20 resources for performers, educators, and arts administrators.

You’ll find articles about boosting creativity, enhancing music practice, navigating the music business, and much more. Continue Reading

Scheduling Practice Sessions

“Your artistic evolution is best served by steady, judicious practice.”
-The Musician’s Way, p. 11

Consistent practice empowers us to become the artists we aspire to be.

But skillful practice doesn’t just happen – we have to learn how to practice effectively.

The most fundamental thing we need to grasp is how to manage our time, so here are 5 guidelines that help musicians use their practice time wisely. Continue Reading