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Performance and Pedagogy Blog

A blog about the performance and pedagogy of music.

Filtering by Category: Links That Make Me Think

Article: "Creativity and the Brain: What We Can Learn From Jazz Musicians"

Andrew Hitz

Very cool article that touches on the benefits of improvisation:

"When musicians go to an improvisation, the brain switches, Limb said, and the lateral prefrontal lobes responsible for conscious self monitoring became less engaged. 'Musicians were turning off the self-censoring in the brain so they could generate novel ideas without restrictions,' he said."

Links That Make Me Think

Andrew Hitz

Here is the latest installment of Links That Make Me Think!

This super short video is a great visualization of how a very small object (or action) can set off a huge chain reaction.

This article is a list of the neurological benefits that music lessons provide. And we have to constantly battle against school music programs being cut why?!

Here's a USC study that shows that orchestra students excelled at auditory skills essential for processing speech.  Again, what's with music programs always on the chopping block?


Links That Make Me Think

Andrew Hitz

Here are a few articles I recently crossed paths with that I found interesting:


A cloudy pier awaiting a cruise ship in Juneau, Alaska, taken on a Boston Brass trip there to perform with the Enso Quartet in 2013.

A cloudy pier awaiting a cruise ship in Juneau, Alaska, taken on a Boston Brass trip there to perform with the Enso Quartet in 2013.

Links That Make Me Think - Practicing Edition

Andrew Hitz

Before the summer I was posting a large collection of links each month.  I've decided to post less links more frequently now.  Here are a few from around the internet that I find interesting.  And please send anything along that you'd like to share!


1. "5 Incredibly Effective Ways to Work Smarter, Not Harder" 

This article has absolutely nothing to do with music or practicing and is a must read for any musician, performer or educator.


"Measure your results, not your time. The whole idea of working smarter rather than harder stems from the fact that many of us put in more and more hours only to find we don't get more done. That's why we want to find methods to be more productive in less time.

One way to do this is to adjust the way you measure productivity. If you evaluate yourself by what you actually get done rather than the time it takes to get something done, you'll start to notice a difference in how you work."


The rest of Jeff Haden's points are great as well.


2. "12(+) Ways to Practice a Technical Passage"

Bret Pimentel hits the nail on the head with this blog post on how to approach the practicing of a technical passage.  Really well done.


"What is crucial is that you are keeping your brain engaged by varying the material."



3. "The Power of a Practice Schedule"

As usual, Gerald Klickstein of The Musician's Way is right on the money with this short and to the point post:


"Consistent, deep practice is the rocket fuel of musical development.  When we live by regular practice schedules we reap countless benefits."

He then lists six benefits of a regular practice schedule which are all fantastic.


4. Get a Free Copy of Lance LaDuke's "Music Practice Coach" for a limited time!

As I explain in that post, this is the best book on practicing I've ever read and all of my students are required to own it.  Grab it before he changes his mind!

Links That Make Me Think - April Edition

Andrew Hitz

Here are April's links that make me think.  Some are recent and some are not,  but all have proved thought-provoking. ---------

Yet again Seth Godin nails it right on the head (and in only 57 words!) In asking the question "How do I get rid of fear?" he explains that fear is not the enemy, paralysis is. This is a MUST READ for anyone in music.

Not surprisingly, children who learn music from a young age find it easier to learn languages even in adulthood, research has found.

Here's a fantastic article about 18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently which includes failing up and asking the big questions.

Forbes compiled a list of 16 Leadership Quotes To Inspire You To Greatness including quotes from JFK and Andrew Carnegie.

This article in Scientific American talks about using psychological distance as an easy way to increase creativity. (I didn't know what the heck that was either until I read it!)

Filed as Exhibit A under Always Be Ready For The Call: The lead in the Metropolitan Opera's Wozzeck fell ill just hours before the show.  in came Matthias Goerne to save the day, with virtually no time to prepare at all. How did it go? Placido Domingo leaped to his feet applauding at the curtain. What a great lesson for all players and conductors to always be ready for absolutely anything!

You can not go to a Joe Alessi master class without hearing him mention the Amazing Slow Downer. It is a powerful tool for any performer or music educator. Here is one music teacher talking about how indispensable it is for her.

Finally, a fascinating article titled Why We Love Repetition In Music which talks all about brain function.

Bonus Link: If this guy with nothing but a trombone, his hands, and a digital loop doesn't make you happy you should probably get off the internet and get some fresh air.

Most links are best enjoyed with a bowl of ramen. © 2014 Andrew Hitz

Links That Make Me Think

Andrew Hitz

I am starting a new feature, Links That Make Me Think, which will simply be a collection of things from around the web that I find thought provoking.  Please feel free to contact me with anything you find (or wrote!) that you feel I might find interesting.  You can contact me through my Facebook page, via Twitter, or email me at  Here's the first set of links: -----

Seth Godin, as usual, nail it with one of his recent blog posts titled "Framers and Polishers". In about 100 words he shows why I would argue you should not necessarily look for people with similar skill sets when forming a chamber ensemble or any other kind of musical venture.

Here's a great article by Dr. Noa Kageyama (from the Bulletproof Musician) where he discusses the benefits of taking "creative pauses" and how they can help you in the practice room: "How to Reduce Practice Room Angst (and Boost Creativity)".

Gerald Klickstein of The Musician's Way discusses what he calls "The Peak-Performance Myth".  He talks about how thorough preparation helps you to overcome and adapt to the varied internal and external situations that are encountered during a performance.

My jazz piano playing friend Ron Davis found a gold mine of piano videos on YouTube.  If you need some inspiration in the practice room, chances are one of these 150 videos of the greatest pianists throughout history can provide you with some!

If you use social media to promote yourself or your ensemble (and if you aren't what are you waiting for?), this article by fellow Phish fan Jon Ostrow from CyberPR gives some great insights into the six biggest platforms: Five Facts About Your Favorite Social Media Platform [Part 1].

Finally, Joe Guarr (who runs weekly music ed chats on Twitter using the hashtag #musedchat) spotted a website that enables you to upload a score and it will auto-generate parts! This seems like science fiction to me.  What a great resource for music educators!