Benefiting from Auditions and Competitions

“You can control your performance but not the result of an audition or a competition.”
The Musician’s Way, p. 221

Whenever you audition or compete, you offer yourself up for criticism.

That criticism may be overt, as when judges provide comments, or it may be implied, as when a performer is passed over for a prize or a seat in an orchestra.

If the thought of getting critiqued or not winning a position makes you cringe, then your qualms about criticism and rejection will probably undermine your ability to perform as well as your willingness to take artistic risks. Continue Reading

Appreciating Healthy Hearing

“By safeguarding your hearing, you don’t just look after your music career; you preserve your quality of life.”
The Musician’s Way, p. 278

If you’re fortunate enough to have healthy hearing, it’s likely that you take your ability for granted.

Yet your wondrous sense of hearing, aside from being primary to making music, is interwoven with almost every aspect of how you interact with the world. Continue Reading

Summer 2015 Newsletter

Closeup photo of classical guitar with cut-away body“An outstanding accomplishment . . . The Musician’s Way should be on the shelf of every aspiring professional musician and every serious music educator.”
—Clavier Companion, May/June 2010

In the Summer 2015 issue of The Musician’s Way Newsletter, you’ll find more than two dozen articles articles and resources.

There are fun quizzes, technology insights, and music industry updates.

You’ll enjoy links to practice & performance tips, innovative online resources, and much more. Continue Reading

Renewing Your Repertoire

Vladimir Horowitz

“I may play the same program from one recital to the next, but I will play it differently. And because it is always different, it is always new.”
—Vladimir Horowitz, pianist (The Musician’s Way, p. 75)

Most of us musicians develop a core repertoire that we perform for years.

In fact, we need to have large amounts of music at our fingertips so that we can present diverse concerts and perform on a moment’s notice.

How can we keep fresh the compositions that we’ve known for years? Continue Reading

The First Step to Learn a New Piece

Yo-Yo Ma

“Only after I have become familiar with the style and character of the work can I start shaping an interpretation.”
—Yo-Yo Ma, cellist (The Musician’s Way, p. 24)

Suppose that you’re an actor who has been hired to perform in a play.

When you receive the script, what will you do first? Will you sound out your opening word, then the second?  Continue Reading

Setting Up a Practice Space

“The studio, a room to which the artist consigns himself for life, is naturally important, not only as workplace, but as a source of inspiration.”
—Grace Glueck, journalist (The Musician’s Way, p. 5)

We musicians spend so much time practicing that it’s wise for us to optimize the spaces where we practice. Here are two ideas for doing so. Continue Reading

Knowing Where to Start

drawing showing music notes falling from above“There is no beginning. Start where you arrive.”
–Auguste Rodin (Cathedrals of France, p. 9)

Do you want to do more with your music but lack clarity about where to start?

Maybe waiting for clarity isn’t the way to go.

Maybe the antidote to creative ruts is to do what artist Auguste Rodin advises and just start: Continue Reading

5 Tips for Successful Practice

woman practicing piano“Nothing motivates better than success.”
The Musician’s Way, p. 107

Do you typically finish practice sessions feeling that you’ve achieved meaningful goals?

If not, these tips can help you invigorate your practice with clarity and accomplishment. Continue Reading

3 High-Demand Career Tracks for Musicians

Image of High School Trumpeters“When college-bound music students report their educational plans to family and friends, they often hear this question: ‘So, what are you going to do for a living?'”
The Musician’s Way, p. 300

Non-artists generally have scant knowledge of the professional opportunities available to musicians, so they tend to assume that few options exist.

Unfortunately, hordes of young musicians are comparably uninformed. Continue Reading

6 Ways to Cultivate Expressive Tone

Image of flute player“The quality of your tone will probably have a more immediate impact on listeners than any other feature of your execution.”
The Musician’s Way, p. 22

We performers know the power of tone quality. Sweet tones can charm, almost like magic, and harsh sounds quickly put people on edge.

Nonetheless, I’ve found that many students don’t pay close attention to tone production nor the emotional language of tone color, so here are six tips for building mastery. Continue Reading