323 episodes

Ever wonder why you can practice for hours, sound great in the practice room, and still be frustratingly hit or miss on stage? Join performance psychologist and Juilliard alumnus/faculty Noa Kageyama, and explore research-based “practice hacks” for beating anxiety, practicing more effectively, and playing up to your full abilities when it matters most.

The Bulletproof Musician Noa Kageyama

    • Science
    • 4.9 • 145 Ratings

Ever wonder why you can practice for hours, sound great in the practice room, and still be frustratingly hit or miss on stage? Join performance psychologist and Juilliard alumnus/faculty Noa Kageyama, and explore research-based “practice hacks” for beating anxiety, practicing more effectively, and playing up to your full abilities when it matters most.

    Feel Like You’re Getting Worse? Here’s Why That May Not Just Be Your Imagination.

    Feel Like You’re Getting Worse? Here’s Why That May Not Just Be Your Imagination.

    This episode is sponsored by Musician's Maintenance - safe, simple, maintenance exercises that specifically address the muscle groups that matter most for musicians.

    * * *

    Ever have one of those days where it feels like the more you practice, the worse you sound?

    Or perhaps you've had a lesson with a student, where the more you try to help, the more frustrated and overwhelmed they seem to get?

    Sometimes it only feels like we're getting worse or making things worse, and the reality is that this is just part of the learning process. Kind of like what happens when you clean out your closet, and have to make things messier, before you can make it better.

    But sometimes this is not just in our imagination, and we could actually be regressing or slowing down the learning process! 😳 Fortunately, there's a very specific reason why this might be happening. As well as specific strategies we can use to get around this issue.

    Get all the nerdy details right here:
    Feel Like You’re Getting Worse? Here’s Why That May Not Just Be Your Imagination.

    * * *
    Have you ever wondered why it is that things often sound better at home than they do on stage?

    If you’ve been confused (and frustrated) by the inconsistency of your performances, I put together a FREE 4-minute quiz called the Mental Skills Audit, which will help you pinpoint your mental strengths and weaknesses, and figure out what exactly to adjust and tweak in your preparation for more consistently optimal performances.

    It’s 100% free, takes only 4 minutes, and you’ll get a downloadable PDF with a personalized breakdown of where you stand in six key mental skill areas. You'll also get the Pressure Proof Practice Challenge, a free 1-week email course where you'll learn specific practice strategies that will help you perform your best, even under pressure.

    Take the quiz here: bulletproofmusician.com/msa

    • 9 min
    An Unconventional Way to Enhance Your Focus in the Practice Room

    An Unconventional Way to Enhance Your Focus in the Practice Room

    As you might imagine, there are a ton of research papers out there.

    Some are exceedingly useful. Others are interesting, but of questionable usefulness (like the one which explores the physics of buttered toast tending to land butter-side down).

    And then there are those which might seem silly at first, but make you think, and end up being quite useful (like the one which found that cows which have been given names produce more milk).

    So I thought it might be fun to look at a study in this latter category today.

    It’s a study that involves cute kitten and puppy photos, but is fundamentally about enhancing focus and performance on tasks that involve fine motor skills and attention.

    So if you find that your attention tends to wander in the practice room, and you could use a little boost in your focus from time to time, this study might give you another tool in your attention control toolbox to try out.

    Get all the nerdy details here:
    An Unconventional Way to Enhance Your Focus in the Practice Room

    * * *
    Have you ever wondered why it is that things often sound better at home than they do on stage?

    If you’ve been confused (and frustrated) by the inconsistency of your performances, I put together a FREE 4-minute quiz called the Mental Skills Audit, which will help you pinpoint your mental strengths and weaknesses, and figure out what exactly to adjust and tweak in your preparation for more consistently optimal performances.

    It’s 100% free, takes only 4 minutes, and you’ll get a downloadable PDF with a personalized breakdown of where you stand in six key mental skill areas. You'll also get the Pressure Proof Practice Challenge, a free 1-week email course where you'll learn specific practice strategies that will help you perform your best, even under pressure.

    Take the quiz here: bulletproofmusician.com/msa

    • 7 min
    Frank Almond: On Work, Fun, and the Importance of Both in Dealing with Adversity

    Frank Almond: On Work, Fun, and the Importance of Both in Dealing with Adversity

    This episode is sponsored by Musician's Maintenance - safe, simple, maintenance exercises that specifically address the muscle groups that matter most for musicians.

    * * *
    When you think of your favorite musicians or performers, how much fun do you think they’re having on stage? And how much fun do you think they have in the practice room?

    Wait...fun in the practice room is allowed? 🤨

    I recently edited and polished up an old 2016 interview from the archives with violinist Frank Almond, who shares some of the ways in which he integrates fun and play into his practice routine.

    It’s reassuring to hear why this should not only be allowed, but encouraged. So if your practice sessions tend to be all work and no play, I hope this episode will not only give you permission to experience more joy in your daily practice, but also give you some ideas on how to make that happen.

    Get all the nerdy details here:
    Frank Almond: On Work, Fun, and the Importance of Both in Dealing with Adversity



    * * *
    Have you ever wondered why it is that things often sound better at home than they do on stage?

    If you’ve been confused (and frustrated) by the inconsistency of your performances, I put together a FREE 4-minute quiz called the Mental Skills Audit, which will help you pinpoint your mental strengths and weaknesses, and figure out what exactly to adjust and tweak in your preparation for more consistently optimal performances.

    It’s 100% free, takes only 4 minutes, and you’ll get a downloadable PDF with a personalized breakdown of where you stand in six key mental skill areas. You'll also get the Pressure Proof Practice Challenge, a free 1-week email course where you'll learn specific practice strategies that will help you perform your best, even under pressure.

    Take the quiz here: bulletproofmusician.com/msa

    • 42 min
    How the Wrong Kind of Praise Could Increase a Student’s Feelings of Shame

    How the Wrong Kind of Praise Could Increase a Student’s Feelings of Shame

    Whether it's our children, our students, or our pets, I think it's pretty natural and automatic to want to offer praise for a job well done.

    We're happy for them, and pleased to see them do well. But what happens when they fall short in some way? Whether it's a subpar performance, a mediocre grade, or a mistake on the carpet, does our praise help to offset the pain (or shame) of these moments? Or do things not work quite this way?

    A 2014 study reveals some interesting details on the specific kind of praise that works best, and the kind that can actually increase a child or student's feelings of shame - especially if they are already struggling with confidence and self-esteem.

    Get all the nerdy details here:
    How the Wrong Kind of Praise Could Increase a Student’s Feelings of Shame

    * * *
    Have you ever wondered why it is that things often sound better at home than they do on stage?

    If you’ve been confused (and frustrated) by the inconsistency of your performances, I put together a FREE 4-minute quiz called the Mental Skills Audit, which will help you pinpoint your mental strengths and weaknesses, and figure out what exactly to adjust and tweak in your preparation for more consistently optimal performances.

    It’s 100% free, takes only 4 minutes, and you’ll get a downloadable PDF with a personalized breakdown of where you stand in six key mental skill areas. You'll also get the Pressure Proof Practice Challenge, a free 1-week email course where you'll learn specific practice strategies that will help you perform your best, even under pressure.

    Take the quiz here: bulletproofmusician.com/msa

    • 7 min
    Can We Learn Faster by Thinking Less?

    Can We Learn Faster by Thinking Less?

    This episode is sponsored by Musician's Maintenance - safe, simple, maintenance exercises that specifically address the muscle groups that matter most for musicians.

    * * *

    Much like hair, there are good practice days, and there are not-so-good practice days. 🤣

    The bad practice days can be filled with frustration, irritation, and maybe even a hint of shame. They can make you lose hope, question whether you have what it takes, and feel like giving up. At least for the day, if not sometimes longer.

    On the flip side, the good practice days, can be pretty terrific. You feel confident, capable, and think to yourself, yes, you do deserve to have some guacamole on your burrito bowl!

    How can we have more of those good days?

    Well, it seems that an external focus of attention during practice could make a real difference.

    What does that mean exactly?

    Click below to get all the nerdy details:
    Learn Faster by Thinking Less?

    * * *
    Have you ever wondered why it is that things often sound better at home than they do on stage?

    If you’ve been confused (and frustrated) by the inconsistency of your performances, I put together a FREE 4-minute quiz called the Mental Skills Audit, which will help you pinpoint your mental strengths and weaknesses, and figure out what exactly to adjust and tweak in your preparation for more consistently optimal performances.

    It’s 100% free, takes only 4 minutes, and you’ll get a downloadable PDF with a personalized breakdown of where you stand in six key mental skill areas. You'll also get the Pressure Proof Practice Challenge, a free 1-week email course where you'll learn specific practice strategies that will help you perform your best, even under pressure.

    Take the quiz here: bulletproofmusician.com/msa

    • 10 min
    To Play More Accurately, Change Your Focus?

    To Play More Accurately, Change Your Focus?

    When it comes to improving technical aspects of your playing, it's easy to assume that this is mostly a physical issue. Where the solution is to do more practice, and more "correct" repetitions.

    But what if part of the problem was mental?

    A 2009 golf study (and many others both before and since!) suggest that what we're thinking about when we're playing can affect our accuracy quite a bit. And that the thing we think we should be thinking about may actually be the least helpful!

    Get all the nerdy details here:
    To Play More Accurately, Change Your Focus?

    * * *
    Have you ever wondered why it is that things often sound better at home than they do on stage?

    If you’ve been confused (and frustrated) by the inconsistency of your performances, I put together a FREE 4-minute quiz called the Mental Skills Audit, which will help you pinpoint your mental strengths and weaknesses, and figure out what exactly to adjust and tweak in your preparation for more consistently optimal performances.

    It’s 100% free, takes only 4 minutes, and you’ll get a downloadable PDF with a personalized breakdown of where you stand in six key mental skill areas. You'll also get the Pressure Proof Practice Challenge, a free 1-week email course where you'll learn specific practice strategies that will help you perform your best, even under pressure.

    Take the quiz here: bulletproofmusician.com/msa

    • 7 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
145 Ratings

145 Ratings

BBViolin ,

Fantastic Podcast for Musicians

I have listened to Noa’s podcast for a while now and have always found his interviews well done and extremely informative. Today, I woke up and put on his interview with Asian Mornell and I have to say, this was the best interview I have ever listened to. Noa has a way of asking the right questions at the right time and allows his guests to speak and inform. I really enjoy this podcast. Thanks Noa!

MI Music Studio ,

Helpful and practical!

Every musician and music teacher will benefit from the information on practicing and performing in this podcast!

NicoleRiccardo ,

An essential resource for musicians

The bulletproof musician should be a required resource for all musicians! Actionable tips and inspiration - thank you for creating such a wonderful resource!!

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