Random Monday: Speaking up for Yourself, Good News from Buffalo and Sommertime on Video

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No evidence for learning styles?
The concept of learning styles as applied towards teaching has been around for a while, but very little hard evidence has been researched to back it up.  An article at Mental Floss discusses this dichotomy.

An unexplained photo
From BuzzFeed, this is #47 in a collection of 50 unexplained photos.

Those pesky long tones
In “Long Tones in the Warm-Up,” James Boldin offers a reasonable explanation for treating long tone practice with attention and care.

Good news in the orchestra world
Amidst the sea of bad news from the orchestral world, we hear of good news from Buffalo, New York. The musicians there have agreed to 5-year deal – the longest one in anyone’s recent memory. It makes one wonder why for so many years those rumors of a Rochester/Buffalo symphony orchestra merger had been floating around, even recently.

On being the better person
When working with an bullying or abusive colleague, sometimes being the better person just gives them license to keep treating you like crap. In this regard, it pays to stand up for yourself and be treated with respect.

It all comes down to something called the “Law of Effect”, which refers to the way people interpret and understand the behavior of others. For example, if someone treats you poorly and you treat them kindly, the effect produced by their bad behavior is your affection. By being nice to mean people, you’re essentially creating a reward system for bad behavior.

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From the source article at Psychology Today we get this list of great tips:

The meek shall inherit the earth because the aggressive people of the world will trample their face into it! Despite the Biblical decree, if you always turn the other cheek all you’ll end up with is a completely sore face.

To encourage positive and discourage offensive behavior:

  • Do not reward behaviors in others that you wish to eliminate.
  • Follow actor Alan Alda’s advice: “Be fair with others, but then keep after them until they’re fair with you.”
  • Learn to speak up assertively.
  • Do not reward unkind behavior from others.
  • If someone treats you badly, say so – do not smile and pretend it’s okay.

Bulletproofing goes to Wall Street
Dr. Noa Kageyama of The Bulletproof Musician gets a nice write-up in the Wall Street Journal.

Noa Kageyama is in the business of bulletproofing, but his work does not involve Kevlar vests or polycarbonate. The performance psychologist runs a consultancy, ProMind Coaching, whose clients include Olympic athletes and CEOs.

His mentor and business partner, Don Greene, is a former champion diver and Green Beret, whose specialties including teaching principles of sports psychology to SWAT team members. But the battlefield Mr. Kageyama is most interested in is the music world. On his blog, The Bulletproof Musician, he takes principles developed to toughen up tennis pros and uses them to help musicians cope with the intense pressure of solo performance. Last month, he joined the faculty of the Juilliard School.

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The best learning experience available
According to Phil Collins,

The good truth is that we must admit that auditions are perhaps the best learning experience available. Learning to get through the negative emotions is a large part of the challenge. In about ten minutes you just showed yourself exactly where you need improvement. You are forced to confront reality straight in the mirror.

If we want to like what we see (and what we hear), adjustments must be made. Auditions hand us our agenda for specific practice. The best part of the day should be your assessment of your performance, your very own sheet of will-dos.

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Random videos

James Sommerville on historical performance.

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More words from James Sommerville on more general topics.

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A student gets a lesson in playing loud from Jeffrey Lang, a member of the Philadelphia Orchestra.

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An etude written by Georges Barboteu is played by Mick Sehmann, professor of horn at Eastern Kentucky University.

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University of Horn Matters