Ever since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, I’ve been struggling to determine how I might be able to help, or give back in any meaningful way. Now, as a way to honor Anders’ memory and his colossal contributions to our field, I’ve decided to offer an online version of the seminar. The Deliberate Practice Bootcamp ONLINE is a pay-what-you-can ($25 minimum) week-long seminar open to all instrumentalists, July 27-31, 6:00-7:30p edt each evening, with proceeds donated to ArtistRelief.org and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund.
Since 2017, I’ve hosted the in-person Deliberate Practice Bootcamp (DPB) in my hometown of Minneapolis at the MacPhail Center for Music. (DPB grew out of my Northland Timpani Summit as a way to open the event to non-timpanists in a relevant and helpful fashion.) DPB-ONLINE is my offering for anyone to learn about deliberate practice, and simultaneously help fundraise for both social justice and artists-in-need.
In deference to the economic hardship of the Covid-era, I’m setting a low minimum payment ($25) to make this accessible to as many people as possible. DPB registration would normally be $150, so if you can pay more…please do. Not only will your artist-colleagues-in-need thank you — you’ll be contributing to the ongoing fight for social justice!
Please consider joining me online later this July to honor Anders Ericsson, and to explore how deliberate practice can transform your life too.
What is the Deliberate Practice Bootcamp?
In the Before Times, DPB emphasized deliberate practice applied to instrumental music and auditioning, with personal examples and anecdotes pulled from my unorthodox route to the Met and my seven seasons on-the-job at the MET. For this Covid-era incarnation of DPB-ONLINE, I intend to emphasize much broader applicability: yes, this will absolutely still be pertinent to your musical craft. But I want to lean more heavily into examples from my time as a scientist and engineer, specifically how so much of what I actually learned was self-taught outside of school. And I want to make as many connections as possible between our skills as musicians and adjacently applicable areas like process engineering, software coding, technical writing, editing and proofing, public speaking and education, applications engineering, audio/video production/direction/editing, intellectual property law, digital rights management, sales and marketing, public relations, and non-profit management. I think too many musicians needlessly assume their training is narrow and their skill sets are limited; to the contrary, I firmly believe musicians possess diverse skills by definition, and I propose that the Covid era compels us to explore the broadest possible applications of musicians’ true skills.
DPB will also help you refine your practice room process, and demonstrate how efficient practicing is the cornerstone of any effective audition plan. The seminar evolved out of a semester-long class which I teach at NYU. While that course was years in the making, DPB-ONLINE attendees will get the “best of” material distilled into five consecutive evenings. We’ll cover topics including:
- Exploring the attributes of deliberate practice (understanding the blueprint and delving into the recipe).
- Approaching practicing and auditioning with a healthy mindset and philosophy.
- Deliberate persuasion: hearing your own playing the way a committee will, and making smart musical choices to persuade them.
- Deliberate lessons: how do you get the most out of your high-value time with teachers and pros?
- Giving yourself durable feedback via self-recording and efficient archiving.
- Auralizing the ideal excerpt: exploring “mental representations,” and understanding how to compare self-recordings against your “perceived best.”
- Applying the attributes of deliberate practice via takeaway skills like:
- Smart rep list and excerpt prioritization.
- Understanding the hierarchical elements of musicianship, and prioritizing your practice according those most important elements.
- Agile time management, cultivating calendar discipline, and formulating a savvy plan for any kind of audition, recital, or competition.
- Practice session design: dissecting a 25 min “practice chunk” based on excerpt priorities.
- Crafting your own exercises to focus on specific technical problems.
- Refining your “soft skills” of both giving and receiving useful feedback.
- Sorting incoming feedback into “actionable,” “maybe,” or “maybe not.”
- Maintaining practice room focus, and enhancing willpower endurance.
(Note: the online sessions will take place via Zoom conferences, which will be recorded. Registered attendees will then receive access to the replay video links for a duration of time following the real-time sessions.)
Now, just in case you’re wondering “can a timpanist really teach other instrumentalists how to practice and audition better?”…well, glad you asked! Whether it’s a trombonist stating “If I were auditioning for an orchestra, I would sprint to this Bootcamp!” or an oboist praising the Bootcamp as “one of the most inspired, intriguing and informative classes I have ever attended,” the answer is YES. You will come away from these sessions a better practicer, a better auditioner, and a better musician. If you’re a dedicated high school, college-level, or early professional craving a way to sound better on your instrument, or if you sometimes feel lost in the practice room, then the Deliberate Practice Bootcamp is definitely for you.
To be clear, hosting these online classes and donating the proceeds is a personal luxury, and I want to acknowledge that privilege out of the gate. Many musicians I know necessarily live paycheck to paycheck, and they are suffering and struggling right now in profound ways. Additionally, other musicians are witnessing this time of abundant “free content” with exasperation: we constantly fight to cultivate the perception that our musical skills have value, and that we deserve monetary compensation for deploying those skills…“so don’t just give it away for free!” In ordinary times, I very much agree with this point of view. And even during the Covid-era, I remain highly sympathetic. So, in tandem with my acknowledgement of privilege above, I want to articulate the following: I would ordinarily (and fairly) expect compensation for this kind of teaching work. For something almost entirely self-produced, my “cut” would typically be: 100% – assistant costs – production costs (internet/Zoom, etc) = 90+%. So, for any musicians that are justifiably leery of “high-profile folks giving it away for free,” allow me to frame it like this for you (and for the IRS): I’ll be covering our costs, paying myself the remaining proceeds, and then I will immediately turn around and donate those proceeds to the ArtistRelief.org 501(c3) and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund 501(c)3 of my own volition, claiming them as a charitable deduction on my 2020 tax return.
Finally, I’ve decided to proceed this way because I can, and because I’m not among the professions doing extremely critical work right now — I’m not an ICU doctor, nor an epidemiologist, nor a social justice organizer, nor a public health official, nor a legislator. Aside from voting by mail in November, DPB-ONLINE remains one of the only gestures available to me to try to help and make any kind of collective positive difference. It won’t be enough, but it will be something.
Deliberate Practice Bootcamp Testimonials:
“Jason Haaheim’s teaching methods are not only for timpanists and percussionists, but apply to any musician trying to attain the highest level of performing. In fact, his principles could likely be applied to any number of professions outside of music. I was very taken with his straightforward approach, addressing all aspects of achieving excellence without it seeming daunting. If I were thinking of auditioning for an orchestra, or simply wanted a great method to gain consistency of a high level, I would sprint to this boot camp!”
~ John Rojak — bass trombonist of the American Brass Quintet
“The deliberate practice bootcamp gave me a methodical approach to improving my practice process after many years of unknowns. The information presented in the bootcamp was very specific and immediately relevant. It played a major role in boosting my confidence and definitely helped me in winning my audition for the Boise Philharmonic.”
~ Alex Artale — principal timpanist, Boise Philharmonic
“Jason Haaheim’s presentation to our NYU undergraduate performance majors — woodwinds, brass, strings and percussion — was GREAT: an over-the-top hit with our students and faculty! Jason’s multimedia approach to how to practice effectively, referred to as the ‘Deliberate Practice Bootcamp’ was one of the most inspired, intriguing and informative classes I have ever attended. Using scientific methods to perfect his art, he will show all who attend his classes the pathway to effective auditioning, performing, and success.”
~ Matt Sullivan — NYU Director of Wind Studies and Professor of Oboe
“After working with Jason, my preparation and productivity had such a huge overhaul that I’ve improved more in the last two months than in the last two years.”
~ Georgia Williams — principal flute, Opera Australia Orchestra
“Thank you Jason Haaheim for all of your mind-blowing knowledge and inspiration. I would definitely recommend the Deliberate Practice Bootcamp to any musician.”
~ Nathan Ankrom — percussion/timpani, M.M. Roosevelt University