Well, doctoral auditions are in the books. I’ll be going to Florida State next year to work with some great people. Now that I’ve had some time to rest, I’d like to share some of the insights I’ve gained from testing some sport psychology tactics in doctoral auditions.
So, here are the top lessons I've learned from each audition experience.
The feeling I had right before my sophomore recital was the same feeling I got when I was clacking up my first roller coaster hill. My chest was pounding, my pinkies were tingly, and my vision was tunneled. I walked on stage being extra careful not to drop my viola, looked out into a blur of faces, took a tight shallow breath, and started playing.
Subsequent recitals and other performances have been diluted versions of the same sensations. It’s always gotten increasingly more manageable, but I found it hard to be fully relaxed walking on stage.
The recital I played two weeks ago, though, was entirely different.
Sometimes when we’re playing, things just click. We’re completely focused on what we’re doing, we perform with effortless motion, and we feel like we’re riding on some awesome wave of capability. Other times, things feel much more clunky and awkward. And of course, sometimes things are in a comfortable middle ground between these extremes.
In this blog, I’d like to talk about the first experience, where everything “clicks.” To put it a different way, everything “flows.”
In the sports world, researchers have been finding that there is more leadership in a team than just what comes from the team captain, and that team captains might not be the strongest suppliers of leadership in a team. Knowing this could cause us to reconsider how we view the “team captains” of chamber music. In this blog, I’d like to talk about some interesting findings from my master’s thesis about string quartets and their team captain equivalents: the first violinists.
For this post, I’d like to talk about what I learned through my master’s thesis. The whole focus was on taking leadership insights from the sport world and to test their relevence in chamber ensembles. The At the end, you’ll find a very small bibliography if you're interested in reading up on the subject.
When I tell people I’m interested in sport psychology for musicians, I sometimes get asked, “What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned from it?” I usually can’t help but give them a two-part answer. There’s the biggest thing I’ve learned for myself, but there’s also a big misconception I've found among friends and colleagues.
Before I was serious about the viola, I was serious about being a hockey goalie. While I quit hockey after high school to pursue music, what I learned about maintaining a strong mental game in net would later be transferred to the stage. Several of my coaches told me various versions of “being a goalie is ninety percent mental.” I’ve increasingly learned that being a musician is also “ninety percent mental.”