“Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time.” -George Bernard Shaw

A fascinating study in how to practice was published by Dr. Noa Kageyama. I have ‘nicked’ it and reproduced it in full here. I hope he doesn’t mind!

8 Things Top Practicers Do Differently



We’ve all heard the phrase “practice smarter, not harder,” but what does that really mean? What does “smarter” practice actually look like? A study of collegiate piano majors suggests that the key lies in how we handle mistakes.

As my kids were (begrudgingly) practicing their Tae Kwon Do patterns not long ago, I caught myself telling my oldest that he had to do his pattern five times before returning to his video game.

My goal, of course, was not for him to simply plod through the motions of his pattern five times like a pouty zombie, but to do it once with good form and commitment. But the parent in me finds it very reassuring to know that a certain number of repetitions has gone into something. Beyond the (erroneous) assumption that this will somehow automagically solidify his skills, it feels like a path to greater discipline, and a way to instill within my kids some sort of work ethic that will serve them well in the future.

It’s true that some degree of time and repetition is necessary to develop and hone our skills, of course. But we also know on some intuitive level that to maximize gains, we ought to practice “smarter, not harder.”

But what does that really mean anyway? What exactly do top practicers do differently?

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Happy 175th Birthday!


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Writer’s Block…


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Happy 175th Birthday Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra!

Today, March 12th, is the 175th anniversary of the first concert given by the then Liverpool Philharmonic Society. Catherine Jones has written a splendid tribute in the Liverpool Echo today, detailing the highs and lows of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra throughout all this time. Some wonderful photos and some video footage. The RLPO celebrates by giving sell-out performances of Beethoven Symphony no. 9 Tonight and Saturday!

RLPO marks 175th anniversary with a giant celebration

Liverpool orchestra’s highs and lows over the last 175 years

Gavin TraffordThe Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir
The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir

The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir celebrate their 175th anniversary this week with a special sell-out concert at the Philharmonic Hall.

And the event marks the exact date – Thursday, March 12 – of the first concert by the Liverpool Philharmonic Society back in 1840.

Then, the programme consisted of a series of overtures, madrigals and choruses. This week’s concert features Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, and Mendelssohn Die erste Walpurgisnacht – also performed at the orchestra’s centenary.

Sandra Parr, the Phil’s artistic planning director, says: “This is the end of about three years of planning, and it’s just been incredible looking at all the options we had.

“Here we have the Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir on the stage, having a fantastic celebration – doing it twice actually, on Thursday and Saturday.”

And chief conductor Vasily Petrenko adds: “People should expect a big celebration in all aspects. I think there will be excitement – and joy. Ode to Joy!


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Beware The Wrath Of The Church Organist – Revenge Is Sweet!

An Hilarious Article In The Telegraph…

They are the stalwart pillars of the community whose week-in, week-out dedication has kept the country’s choral traditions alive for generations.
Beware the wrath of the church organist – musical revenge is sweet

A survey of churchgoers found that at least half have noticed their organist straying from the path of musical orthodoxy Photo: Getty Images

By John Bingham, Religious Affairs Editor7:30AM BST 03 May 2013

But, if new research is be believed, behind the quiet exterior the humble church organist is not someone to be crossed.
While charged with providing spiritually uplifting music to worshippers, it seems many also seize the opportunity to extract subtle revenge on clerics who have displeased them or simply play pranks on congregations.
A survey of churchgoers found that at least half have noticed their organist straying from the path of musical orthodoxy at some point – slipping snippets of heavy metal classics, advertising jingles and even nursery rhymes into hymns and anthems.
In some cases it can be a means of waging musical war with clerics while in others it is simply an effort by bored organists to make the choir laugh.
Christian Research, a polling and research group asked its 2,000 strong “Resonate” panel of churchgoers for their views on church music and organists.

Of those who responded, half said they had noticed an organist slipping unexpected tunes into services.
Among examples cites was that of the organist in Scotland who had fallen out with some of the elders in the Kirk but got his own back by inserting a thinly disguised rendition of “Send in the Clowns” as they processed in for a Sunday service.
Elsewhere, a vicar sacked an organist after he played “Roll out the Barrel” at the funeral of a man known to have been fond of a drink.
In one decidedly high church congregation, an organist punctured the mood of reverence as an elaborately dressed clergyman processed back after the gospel reading – by playing the theme tune to The Simpsons.
Another congregation found themselves passing around the collection plate to the strains of “Money, Money, Money” by Abba.
The survey uncovered examples of Eucharist celebrations livened up with renditions of Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer”; the theme tunes from the Magic Roundabout, Blackadder and Harry Potter and even “I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts”.
Sung Evensong – widely regarded as the jewel in the crown of English choral music – has been spiced up such unexpected offerings as “I’m a Barbie Girl” and “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles”
One organist who responded confessed to playing hits by Oasis, Billy Bragg and even Kylie Minogue in services but added: “Nobody notices – I do it all the time.”
But when an organist played a slowed-down version of Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious from Mary Poppins, even the most tone deaf members of the congregation eventually recognised, sending them into gales of laughter.
An older bridegroom took it in good humour when the organist played “No one loves a fairy when she’s 40” at his wedding” while candidates at a confirmation service were left perplexed to hear the strains of “I’m a Little Teapot” from the organ loft.
Stephen Goddard, of Christian Research, said: “It’s an oft-repeated adage in church circles – ‘What’s the difference between an organist and a terrorist? -you can negotiate with a terrorist’.
“Hidden from view, your local church organist may appear unassuming and self-deprecating, but like any true artist, he or she can be eccentric, mischievous and very opinionated.
“Mess with him at your peril – he will pull out all the stops to get his own back.”
The poll was conducted ahead of the Christian Resources Exhibition, a trade fair for all things ecclesiastical in London later this month, which will be show-piecing new organs among other things.

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INTONE – a collaboration with visual artist Nicola Dale and musician Brendan Ball is up and running at Todmorden’s Platform One Gallery (at Todmorden train station, West Yorkshire, England). Open Thurs-Sun 11–4pm until 29th March 2015. It’s a combination of large scale paper-sculpture, electroacoustic soundscape featuring live trumpet and poetry.



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The Arutunian Trumpet Concerto By The Original Performer…

Rare recording from 1951 of the Trumpet Concerto by Alexander Arutunian by Aikaz Messiayan, to whom the piece is dedicated!

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Beautiful Keyed Bugle By Charles Joseph Sax

Charles-Joseph Sax (1790-1865), the father of Adolphe Sax, made this B-flat keyed bugle in his Brussels workshop in 1842. Since Charles was trained not only as an instrument maker, but also as a joiner and cabinet maker, it is likely that he also made the instrument’s decorative wooden case (veneered with purple-heart and inlaid with striped holly). Fortunately, the name of the original owner of the keyed bugle was inlaid on the case: L. Honbert, who was from the small Belgian town of Menin in west Flanders–about 30 miles south of Bruges. Charles-Joseph’s seven-key bugle is modeled after the French design, but it also displays some unique features, such as two keys that are positioned at about the same distance from the bell and used simultaneously. The most striking French characteristic is the rack-and-pinion tuning slide design. The post or pillar key-work is very modern for the time and was adapted from woodwind designs.

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Even Lady Gaga Is Getting In On The Act…


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