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How to apply positive psychology to your practicing?

by | Dec 1, 2019 | Ory's Tips | 0 comments

Ory’s Flute Tips

How to apply positive psychology to your practicing?

 

I’m a big believer in positive psychology in our life and in my work with my students and I decided to dedicate my new article to the topic. I thought to suggest few little shifts to your mindset, that if you manage to apply I believe you’ll be able to improve your results and gain much more joy out of your practicing and playing in general.

👐 Seize the opportunity when mistakes are happening and when things go wrong

Are you a perfectionist? Do you find yourself criticizing yourself over and over again if something went wrong while playing? Does that ruin your concentration and interrupts your practicing?

Working with many students who participate in my intensive masterclasses I get to have a unique opportunity to get to know the students well enough and recognize their practicing and thinking patterns and habits. These affect dramatically their ability to improve, be efficient during practicing, sustain their motivation over a long period of time and eventually their success overcoming the challenges they deal with, each student according to his/her level and current situation.

While we are all taught that we should avoid mistakes while playing and our ultimate goal is the perfection of the execution of the phrase, how many of you actually use the mistakes or imperfections that might happen as an opportunity to improve? Very often I’m asking the students to play certain exercises and I encourage them to go beyond their limits, to the extremes – to the point when it’s too much or too less, cracking the note or not getting the note at all.
These points for me are the most important for your development, because if you recognize how and why you get them, you can just step back a tiny bit and receive the sound you wish (whether fff or ppp) and you’ll be able to expand your limits every day a little more.

Therefore, when you try for example to play extremely pp and the note is not speaking well, don’t stop! Try to correct that immediately and realize what you have to do in order for that note to speak – more/less air pressure? different position of the air on the wall of the headjoint? shaping differently your lips?

In that case, stopping would stop as well your work process, allowing self-critic to kick in and develop some negative feelings. Instead, try to correct and find the solution immediately as you play. Then stop and play again the phrase with the new position you have found to be working for that problematic note.
This process will teach you immediately what you should change in order to play that phrase better and you’ll have an immediate success feeling – instead of the failure feeling if you would have stopped immediately after.

Become the Flutist You Wish to Hear. Quickly and Efficiently.

👻 Overcoming fears

Fears are part of life and as a musician you might have experienced certain fears from time to time, to name few: fear of failure, fear of criticism, fear of success, stage fright and more. While I’m no psychologist, I’ve found out that what works the best is to switch your focus from what could go wrong to rather thinking of what good and positive can come out of this action or decision you’re afraid of making. Imagine vividly what might be the positive results of your action or what you may gain from it and you’ll see that all of a sudden it’s much easier making it happen.

💝 Surround yourself with positive people and experiences

They say negativity is contagious, but so does positivity. If you feel you are in an environment which spreads negativity and makes you feel bad about yourself, your playing or your experiences, then consider changing to something that could be more constructive, helpful and positive. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t expect criticism or remarks about your playing (for example from your teachers), but ideally the teachers will mention the points that they think should be improved and know how to make you achieving that as well. Otherwise, you both will become frustrated.

If you are a teacher yourself and reading this, I can highly recommend to spend a bit of time and think how you normally choose your words when you comment and suggest ideas to your students and rephrase them so they don’t create negative feelings at the student’s side, but rather encourage them to try and explore new possibilities.

With this positive article I wish you all a Merry Christmas, a wonderful New Year and great vacation time with your families!

Enjoy practicing,

Ory

Ory Schneor is a principal flutist with the Munich Chamber Orchestra, Tongyeong Festival Orchestra and member of the Geneva Camerata. He is teaching masterclasses around the world and he is the founder and instructor at FLUTEinWIEN

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