How to Practice the Piano the Right Way

Whenever you get bored with practicing, you just need to adjust your attitude a bit. You don’t have to practice TOO hard. You don’t even have to think of your practicing as “work” or “duty”. Stop a moment and think about it: you like music and want to play something that has a lot of meaning to you. You want to play it so that the music comes through your fingertips. Right? Well, you need to practice the piano in order to fulfill that wish—not to frustrate it. Pause for a moment and ask yourself these questions: What if you could simply look at piece of music and play it correctly right off the bat? What if you were, for example, practicing for the Olympic swim meet, and felt deep down inside that you have a chance? How would you feel about practicing and training then? Would you feel the need to plunge into it every morning? What if you broke your ankle and had to stop? Would you want to get straight back to training as soon as possible? You’re probably thinking “yes” as the answer for all these questions. You need to apply this type of logic to your piano practice routine. Accept the fact that you don’t have to be perfect every single time you play. The only thing that matters is your desire to play as well as you can. Just begin playing—one note after another, and don’t stop. A journey always begins with the first step. Even if you make a mistake, you keep on going! You can’t learn without the mistakes, after all....

Metta – The Practice of Loving Kindness

Metta was inspired by the teachings of Buddha. By consciously practicing random niceness we develop into peace promoting individuals – even when our stress threatens to control our world. ‘They’ say if we consciously practice anything ten or more times it can become habit. What a great habit it could be if everyone practiced being nice to others. While it is a basic instinct to care for family and friends, consciously being nice to people we don’t know is a different story. People are afraid to reach out to others, often with good reason. The violence we read about, and sometimes experience, makes us keep a safe distance from anyone we don’t know. Even still, there are plenty of safe opportunities to lend a hand. There are often community outreach programs that help seniors and/or children. Volunteering always makes you feel good. When you feel good, you naturally want to share that feeling. In my experience, practicing yoga encourages metta. I find that when I feel great physically and less stressed mentally – I am simply nicer to people. It can be quite difficult to take a step back when stressful situations arise and we want to act out in anger. Practicing metta; knowingly being extra nice to people, can be habitual if you allow it to be. My Yoga practice promotes the awareness to look at situations objectively. Structured programs are not the only example of opportunities to practice loving kindness. You can practice during every day circumstances ~ just by adjusting your attitude. Let’s take road rage as an example. Here you are, rushing here and there,...

Influence – Science and Practice

Robert Cialdini’s book is all about “click, whirr” – how we’re programmed as humans, how marketing can leverage the programming, and how as individuals we can overcome the programming. The six major influence techniques that he explains are: 1. Reciprocation: We feel indebted to people who gives us something of value. For example, when someone gives us a sample of a product to taste, we often feel that we need to stop and converse with the attendant. Salespeople know that giving something of small value can trigger higher value purchases to alleviate the imbalance (“I owe you”). A sophisticated version of this is to make a large request of a prospective buyer, with the intention of having the request be rejected. The real goal is the second “fall-back” request, which seems reasonable in contrast. 2. Commitment and Consistency: Once we make a decision (or promise), our subsequent actions maintain the sense of commitment. We don’t want to appear to be wishy-washy. We also don’t want to have to rethink the decision each time – better to be consistently wrong than overwhelmed with research. Salespeople’s goal is to get you to commit to a belief, then create arguments why you should then purchase from them based on your belief system. This psychological one-two punch is used in everything from testimonials (by going on the record, you have a vested interest in being consistent) to hazing rituals. 3. Social Proof: As social beings, we 0ften feel that the more people that like (or do) something, the better it is (whether this be a fad or canned laughter). We tend to trust...

Youth Basketball Practice – 3 Keys to Having a Great Practice

For all coaches, especially new or inexperienced coaches, how you manage your practices will determine how much your players will pay attention, learn and implement your ideas. Youth coaches have one added issue confronting them.  You will often have a player who has never played organized basketball, thus creating the need to keep things basic. Here are 3 keys to having a great practice. 1 ) Time Management. All coaches feel as if they don’t have enough practice time. If you have a 90 minute practice, all must have an accounting of all 90 minutes. Each drill should have a set time limit as well how much time for breaks. Make sure you leave enough time at the end for scrimmages. 2) Make It Fun Most kids at the youth level play because it’s fun.  It’s another game to them.  Others who are more serious still need coaching that holds their attention.  What better way to do this than making it fun?  This begins with you.  If you speak in monotones without any excitement, your team will respond accordingly.  I don’t mean yelling at the top of your lungs as if you are hosting one of those infomercials, but you have to be a bit animated. What also has helped me in the past is to make each drill competitive. Divided them into 2 teams, and have each team cheer for their teammate as a criteria for extra points.  The losing team runs an extra drill like suicides while the winning team watches and also cheer them the other team running the drills. The above is a great team building exercise. 3) Keep It...
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