Pianist Kenny Werner’s book Effortless Mastery has helped a lot of people who struggle with the fear of performance. He’s started a new blog, and part of the blog is a series of videos on how he practices. I’m excited to hear and watch these videos, and encourage you to check them out the first three below.
If you’ve got 10 minutes, check out this quick animation from the good folks at RSAnimate about some interesting studies of motivation presented by Daniel Pink (taken from his book on motivation, Drive).
Even though the topic of this talk on motivation takes a business-oriented bent, I found myself using the ideas to assess my own relationship with practice and with music and with my other chief love, writing. Interesting that for mastery motivation he cites music.
Attempting the impossible in order to improve is very different than attempting the impossible because you don’t know any better. A few posts ago when I wrote of the useful technique of chaining and backchaining, as an example I told the story of my disastrous high school attempt to play the Hummel Concerto in Eb 25 years ago. This was an example of not knowing any better, and the experience did a fair amount of damage to my teenage psyche and had a temporarily adverse affect on my pursuit of music.
Many years later, as I entered Northwestern University for a graduate degree in music education, I attempted another seemingly impossible music endeavor, but this time I was doing it consciously in order to improve, and was scared spitless.