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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Most Valuable Lesson I Learned from Playing the Violin | The Creativity Post

The Most Valuable Lesson I Learned from Playing the Violin | The Creativity Post

"When it comes to understanding expertise and expert performance, psychologist Dr. Ericsson is perhaps the world’s leading authority. His research is the basis for the “10,000-hour rule” which suggests that it requires at least ten years and/or 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to achieve an expert level of performance in any given domain – and in the case of musicians, more like 15-25 years in order to attain an elite international level.

Those are some pretty big numbers. So large, that at first I missed the most important factor in the equation.
Deliberate practice.

Meaning, that there is a specific type of practice that facilitates the attainment of an elite level of performance. And then there's the other kind of practice that most of us are more familiar with."

-Noa Kageyama, Ph.D.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Mariachi Connecticut Serenades a Beluga Whale

7 Ways to Improve Progress

One of the greatest motivators to musicians of any age is the ability to improve in a continuous and perceivable fashion. As we approach a new school year, it is a good time to find ways to enrich the experience of studying music. Here's a (hopefully) concise list of suggestions. Perhaps not all will apply to your family, but you might benefit from implementing even just a few.

  1. Practice every day. In our busy lives, it's easy to take days off, but much harder to recover from them. In general, it takes about two days of practice to recoup from one missed day, sometimes more.  
  2. Listen repeatedly to the current working piece and to the next couple of pieces.
  3. Listen ahead to the next book. It doesn't hurt to listen to all of the Suzuki books on a somewhat regular basis. 
  4. Listen more. Really this is the easiest thing to do on this list, and one of the most helpful. Just press play and let there be cello music in the background.
  5. Engage in your child's lessons and group classes as an observer and note-taker. Remember, as the parent it's your lesson too. Take precise and detailed notes, and make videos, either of the whole lesson or parts so that you can review them at home.
  6. Attend performances whenever possible. Inspiration is vital, and should be an ongoing pursuit.
  7. Set specific attainable practice goals, but be careful not to set deadlines.

Cellist of the Week #6: Raya Garbousova

Like Janos Starker, Raya Garbousova was the teacher of one of my teachers.

Honest Practice

 Here's a thoughtful blog post on the subject of practicing by my friend and colleague Eric Miller. If you have a moment, please follow the link and read the whole thing.

"In college, I was always in awe when I went to a percussion student's recital. The recitals, unlike those of string players and wind players, were always perfectly executed; not a single mistake. I also noticed the pieces were usually memorized. In order to get to the bottom of it, I read a book by a percussionist named Steven Schick called The Percussionist's Art. In the book, Schick, who is an outstanding performer, outlined his practicing process. He memorizes the first note, then the next, always returning to the beginning and playing through, adding notes each time."

2012 National Summer Cello Institue. Bach/Varga Chaconne from Partita in...

Monday, August 6, 2012

Cellist of the Week #4: Janos Starker

As a cellist, Janos Starker is widely known for his incredible precision and accuracy. As a pedagogue, there is perhaps no one, at least in recent years, who has given so much to the field. Just as many pianists can trace their lineage back to Franz Liszt, many cellists can do the same with Starker. At 88 years old, he remains on the faculty of the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University.

NY Times: Raising Successful Children

From the article:

 "Think back to when your toddler learned to walk. She would take a weaving step or two, collapse and immediately look to you for your reaction. You were in thrall to those early attempts and would do everything possible to encourage her to get up again. You certainly didn’t chastise her for failing or utter dire predictions about flipping burgers for the rest of her life if she fell again. You were present, alert and available to guide if necessary. But you didn’t pick her up every time.

You knew she had to get it wrong many times before she could get it right."


"There is an important distinction between good and bad parental involvement. For example, a young child doesn’t want to sit and do his math homework. Good parents insist on compliance, not because they need their child to be a perfect student but because the child needs to learn the fundamentals of math and develop a good work ethic. Compare this with the parent who spends weeks 'helping' his or her child fill out college applications with the clear expectation that if they both work hard enough, a 'gotta get into' school is a certainty. (While most of my parent patients have graduated from college, it is always a telltale sign of overparenting when they talk about how 'we’re applying to Columbia.')"

NY Times: Raising Successful Children-Madeline Levine