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"Strategies for Becoming Excellent"

 
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Deirdre
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Joined: 10 Nov 2004
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Location: East Jesus, Maine

PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2012 9:38 am    Post subject: "Strategies for Becoming Excellent" Reply with quote

I read this article today on Study Hacks—

Flow is the Opiate of the Mediocre: Advice on Getting Better from an Accomplished Piano Player
(He's got "mediocre" spelled wrong in the title on his page, let's give it a pass.)

Strategy #1: Avoid Flow. Do What Does Not Come Easy.

Strategy #2: To Master a Skill, Master Something Harder.

Strategy #3: Systematically Eliminate Weakness.

Strategy #4: Create Beauty, Don’t Avoid Ugliness.

Even though these strategies are written from the standpoint of becoming a better musician, performance is PERFORMANCE— and that's what we do.

Happy New Year to all.
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bobsouer
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Joined: 15 Jul 2006
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Location: Pittsburgh, PA

PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2012 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deirdre,

Fascinating, and the original article on which that one was based, is equally interesting.

Applying these ideas to our world of voiceover, it's little surprise that our mutual friend Mr. Banks leads such a relaxed life much of the time; which many of us who only dream of his success put in far more hours of stress and effort with much less effect.
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Chuck Davis
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Joined: 02 Feb 2005
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2012 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That feels a little like my mantra for the past year. "Stray from your comfort zone....often".

Seem's to be working.
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Philip Banks
Je Ne Sais Quoi


Joined: 20 Jun 2005
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2012 3:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If one follows the mediocre then at best the level of mediocrity will be equalled. The alternative is to set impossibly high standards which one consistently fails to reach yet the path to failure takes (in our case) the VO higher and higher.

I don't want to be the next Don La Fontaine I want to be the first Philip Banks. It's easier but harder and a work in progress.
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Mike Harrison
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Joined: 03 Nov 2007
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Location: Equidistant from New York City and Philadelphia, along the NJ Shore

PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2012 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Philip Banks wrote:
If one follows the mediocre then at best the level of mediocrity will be equalled. The alternative is to set impossibly high standards which one consistently fails to reach yet the path to failure takes (in our case) the VO higher and higher.

Exactly why the mindset 'that's good enough' isn't nearly good enough and doesn't cut it.
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The first step, they say, is admitting it: I am an O.A.V. And proud of it.

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Deirdre
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Joined: 10 Nov 2004
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Location: East Jesus, Maine

PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2012 6:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Once you settle for less than you deserve, you end up with less than you settled for.

(credited to Maureen Dowd)
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Jen Gosnell
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Joined: 14 Jan 2010
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 1:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like this from the first article linked:

Quote:
Strong pianists, on the other hand, have an image of what a perfect performance should be like that includes all of the relevant senses. Before we sit down, we know what the piece needs to feel, sound, and even look like in excruciating detail. In performance, weak pianists try to reactively move away from mistakes, while strong pianists move towards a perfect mental image.


The power of visualizing success and perfect execution is also regularly used by elite athletes to enhance their performance in competitions such as the Olympics. It's something I have found helpful myself, although I forget to do it regularly, and so this is a great reminder for me. Thanks for posting, Deebs!
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ccpetersen
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Joined: 19 Sep 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 9:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That "strong pianists" visualizing the performance is actually good on many levels.
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melissa eX
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Joined: 20 Oct 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chuck Davis wrote:
That feels a little like my mantra for the past year. "Stray from your comfort zone....often".

Seem's to be working.


Yep...

oh hell, I just quoted a whole post.

Actually, I could quote every post here, because they're all dead on.

But Deebs would kill me.
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voicy1stef
The Gates of Troy


Joined: 25 Sep 2007
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Location: Lovely Hertfordshire, England

PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 4:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you, thank you, thank you. It's true, visualisation works both ways. Thanks for helping us to keep it positive, and press on to move out of the comfort zone and keep training, learning and improving.
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Larissa Gallagher
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Joined: 11 Jul 2010
Posts: 39
Location: Los Angeles, CA

PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 8:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just read a great book Moonwalking with Einstein that has a chapter called "The OK Plateau" that addresses this.

There are apparently 3 stages of learning.
First: the 'cognitive stage' - intellectualizing the task and discovering new strategies to accomplish it more proficiently
Second: the 'associative stage" - concentrating less, making fewer major errors and generally becoming more efficient
Third: the 'autonomous stage' - where you lose conscious control over what you are doing.
Most of the time this is a good thing (e.g. getting dressed in the morning!) - the less you focus on the repetitive tasks, the more you can concentrate on the stuff that matters, the stuff you haven't seen before.

HOWEVER, with specialized endeavors "what separates experts form the rest of us is that ... They develop strategies for consciously keeping out of the 'autonomous stage' while they practice doing three things: focusing on their technique, staying goal-oriented and getting constant and immediate feedback on their performance. In other words, they force themselves to stay in the 'cognitive phase'."

What I also loved about this, is that while a lot of us know the importance of pushing ourselves and practicing out of our comfort zone, most of us do it in private in the safety of our practice/rehearsal time. Find a coach/mentor and be prepared to fail in front of them.

As a voice teacher of mine once said, "Get out there and do it - if you're going to F*** it up ... F*** it up gloriously!!" ... she wasn't a delicate lady Wink
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Philip Banks
Je Ne Sais Quoi


Joined: 20 Jun 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 8:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Having the confidence to do something which may leave us looking complete eejits in the eyes of others is an A-Lister character trait. Master that and the world is your pink knitted toilet roll holder.
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