Knowledge is Power…but a FRAMEWORK is Better

(The Attributes of Deliberate Practice: A Framework of Domain-Specific Knowledge) How many numbers in a row can you memorize? Maybe it’s a weird question, but have you ever tried to memorize a really long string of digits? Try it. We’ll start with something reasonably short. How about this? 3  1  4  1  5  9  2  6  5  3  5  8  9  7  9 Stare at that sequence of numbers for a moment, memorize them, then turn away from your screen and try to recall them in order…. (Go ahead. I’ll wait.) […] …

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Enhanced Perception — A Superpower of Deliberate Practice

(The Attributes of Deliberate Practice: Enhanced Perception) Back in 2017, I chaired the audition committee for the MET Orchestra’s co-principal timpani audition, won by my phenomenal colleague Parker Lee. Like most ICSOM orchestra auditions, the first phase is sorting through resumes, and the second phase is listening to applicants’ CDs. The process is entirely blind, so the audition committee is simply voting “yes/no” on a number. In this instance, the CDs contained only six excerpts in the following order: Tchaik 4, Brahms 1, Mozart Magic Flute, Bartok Concerto for Orchestra, Verdi Don …

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Two Questions That Help Answer “Are You Intrinsically Motivated?”

(The Attributes of Deliberate Practice: Commitment, Motivation, and Willpower) “It’s damn cold. My fingers are numb, and useless. With each breath, the intake is shocking, as if my lungs had already forgotten the frigid air inhaled only seconds before. I’m hunched with my arms curled around my knees in a desperate play to lose as little body heat as possible. And I’m so tired. Not just from the lack of sleep, but from the journey…this seemingly endless path. Tortuous and punishing. In moments like these, it’s hard not to ask ‘Why the …

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What’s It Like Starting at the Met Opera?

Pre-season orchestra rehearsals recommence at the Met this Tuesday, September 5th. I’m thrilled to have 4 brand new colleagues joining the orchestra this season, and thinking about their journey takes me back to September 2013 when I was just starting myself…. Man, what a whirlwind. What’s it like starting at the Met? In many ways, the “starting” part happens long before that first rehearsal. To begin with, you have to find a place to live, and then actually move to New York City. Both are non-trivial tasks which, especially for a timpanist, …

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“I LOVE YOU!” should sound different from “and NOW YOU DIE!”

I have a great job. I’m an opera timpanist, and I get to do that at the Metropolitan Opera — the biggest performing arts institution in the western hemisphere — home to the grandest of grand opera. And I do mean grand opera. It’s basically western civilization’s most opulent expression of human drama. Almost nothing else can compare in terms of scale, scope, depth, integration, and raw emotional impact. All of our most essential human stories are there. You can always find parallels to your own life in the great works of Verdi …

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