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10 Affirmations that Energize Music Practice

Claudio Arrau

“I think it’s beautiful to practice. I love to practice.”
-Claudio Arrau, pianist*

To be a musician is to be someone who practices.

Day after day, we musicians work in solitude to learn new repertoire, refine old repertoire, and polish our skills.

Most performers also rehearse with others, applying their solitary efforts in groups large and small.

The demands of daily practice prove too much for some aspiring artists, but affirmations can powerfully fuel any artist’s drive to work. Continue Reading

Choosing Repertoire

Photo of Duke Ellington

Duke Ellington

“The wise musicians are those who play what they can master.”
-Duke Ellington (The Musician’s Way, p. 14)

We veteran musicians know that our creativity blossoms when we perform music that fits our style and technique.

Students, though, often attempt to perform repertoire that’s beyond their reach, resulting in anxiety, disappointment, and even injury.

To help performers make wise repertoire choices, I’ve identified three selection criteria, all of which I expand on in The Musician’s Way. Continue Reading

Communicating with Teachers

Photo of violin teacher and student“Establish an honest dialogue with your teacher.”
-Wynton Marsalis (The Musician’s Way, p. 293)

The academic year has begun, and legions of music students are starting lessons with new teachers.

The following guidelines, adapted from Chapter 14 of The Musician’s Way, help students get more out of lessons by boosting their ability to communicate with and learn from teachers. Continue Reading

Safely Increasing Practice Time

Musicians Practicing in a Classical Ensemble“Nearly all musicians’ injuries are preventable.”
The Musician’s Way, p. 230

The academic year is getting underway, and millions of music students will dive into intense practice schedules.

That fresh start, though, comes with a high risk of injury. Continue Reading

Increasing Tempo in Practice

“To escalate the tempo of newly learned material, you first have to reduce the effort required to play or sing it at your initial tempo.”
The Musician’s Way, p. 73

Some of the thorniest challenges we encounter in practice surround increasing the tempos of newly learned pieces.

All too often, we start off slowly but then hit barriers as we hike our speed. Continue Reading

June 2013 Newsletter

Photo of violin scrolls“Memorable concerts have three indispensable ingredients: prepared performers, suitable settings, and terrific music.”
The Musician’s Way, p. 208

The newest issue of The Musician’s Way Newsletter presents more than 20 articles covering topics ranging from music practice to community engagement to career development to hearing protection to creativity and more. Continue Reading

The Power of a Practice Schedule

“How you shape your practice schedule will in many ways determine the course of your creative life.”
The Musician’s Way, p. 11

Consistent, deep practice is the rocket fuel of musical development.

When we live by regular practice schedules we reap countless benefits.

Here are 6 major ones. Continue Reading

April 2013 Newsletter

“How can music schools better prepare graduates for the innovation economy?”

The April 2013 issue of The Musician’s Way Newsletter brings together more than 20 articles and resources pertinent to student and professional musicians.

You’ll discover creativity and songwriting tips, new websites that list performance opportunities, music education features, and a story of classical musicians who are adding fizz to their music scene by performing in a pub. Continue Reading

Inner Smile

“It’s your internal motivation that opens the creative spigot.”
-The Musician’s Way, p. 105

Those of us who create day after day know that things don’t always go smoothly. Sometimes our work flows; other times difficulties slow us down.

But whether we’re dealing with good days or not, one simple practice helps keep our creativity rolling. Continue Reading

February 2013 Newsletter

“No pitch is merely a pitch; each one has a living quality.”
-The Musician’s Way, p. 20

The February 2013 edition of The Musician’s Way Newsletter has arrived in subscribers’ inboxes and is being widely shared.

As usual, the newsletter incorporates more than 15 articles that explore issues of music making, practice, creativity, career building, technology and more.

You’ll find resources to easily publish websites, ticket concerts, and improve ear training skills. There are announcements about technological innovations and professional opportunities. Continue Reading