A willingness to engage in challenges outside of our ability level and to embrace making mistakes can help adults to learn as efficiently as young children. Read more on ‘The Strad’
After over a decade of research and teaching in the area of performance psychology, I have decided to launch my own blog: The Curious Musician. This will be a place for me to share thoughts and research on a variety of topics related to how we can improve our experience on stage and in the practice room.
While I have always loved writing (sometimes in that love-hate kind of way!), the different elements of my life have made regular writing impossible. So, I am going to embrace an intermittent blog, without a regular writing or publishing schedule. When inspiration is met with available time, I will write, hoping to share ideas that might be helpful.
My first new article, Motivation in Isolation, was released in the summer and I recently released two more articles on the topic of motivation more generally. I am excited to share some of the ideas that have had a profound impact on the way I approach practicing and performance. In the meantime, I have re-published an earlier article of mine on practicing, originally published on Noa Kageyama’s Bulletproof Musician blog. I have also just written a sequel for the Bulletproof Musician blog that will eventually be published here as well.
If you are interested in these articles, please feel free to register for updates. I promise not to overwhelm your inbox and will only write when there is a new article (probably only a handful of times per year at most).
I look forward to sharing more with you soon.
— Christine Carter
It has been a number of years since I first wrote about “random practice” for Noa Kageyama’s Bulletproof Musician Blog. Since then, I have been excited to see the discussion, experimenting, and even controversy that has resulted.
Once we are honest with ourselves that, just like yesterday and today, there are going to be temptations tomorrow, we can use Ulysses contracts to pre-commit to specific actions that are in line with our goals. These plans need to be in place before we want to do the work…
When we go to bed at night, we seem to be the best versions of ourselves. As we think forward to tomorrow, our great intentions are clear. We will wake up early, exercise, practice for many hours, finish that large project on our to-do list, clean the house, and catch up on all of our email. It seems easy to imagine that we will accomplish more work in one day than we have ever accomplished before.
It is no secret that musicians are struggling with motivation right now. I have been hearing this week after week from musicians around the world as we experience the global pandemic and a long overdue reckoning with systemic racism in our communities and institutions. The gulf between the world we know and the world we want is immense.
When it comes to practicing, we often think in terms of time: How many hours are necessary to achieve optimal progress? While this is a valid concern, a more important question is how we can make each hour count. What is the most efficient way to work so that what is practiced today actually sticks tomorrow? There is nothing more frustrating than spending a day hard at work only to return the next day at the starting line.
The Curious Musician
by Christine Carter
Dr. Christine Carter is actively involved in performance psychology research, focusing on how musicians can be more effective on stage and in the practice room. Her research has led to a variety of article publications and invitations to give workshops at institutions around the world. She is a Visiting Scholar at Jessica Grahn’s Music and Neuroscience Lab.