The Musician Centric Podcast

Spicing It Up in the Practice Room with Susanna Klein

October 04, 2021 Elizabeth and Stephanie Season 2 Episode 2
Spicing It Up in the Practice Room with Susanna Klein
The Musician Centric Podcast
More Info
The Musician Centric Podcast
Spicing It Up in the Practice Room with Susanna Klein
Oct 04, 2021 Season 2 Episode 2
Elizabeth and Stephanie

Stories? Questions? Thoughts? TEXT us here!

Episode 2 features 'Practice Maven', Susanna Klein! Susanna is a violinist, professor, arts entrepreneur, practice researcher, and author who is passionate about joyful practicing and musician health. She’s spreading the practice joy with Practizma, her innovative practice journal and workbook and her practice aid, the Clipza app. Susanna talks with Liz and Steph about practice baggage and trauma and how we all need some toys in the practice room to spice things up. Hopefully this chat will leave you inspired to try something new!

Mentioned in this episode:

Practizma & Clipza:,

Tunable App:


Practicing for Artistic Success by Burton Kaplan:

The Perfect Wrong Note by William Westney:

Use the code “VIOLACENTRIC” at for an extra 10% off your Practizma journal and an invitation to join Liz and Steph on their practice journey, LIVE each week. This offer is only good through the end of October 31, 2021, so don’t delay!

Support the Show.

Interested in starting your own podcast? We can't recommend our host Buzzsprout enough! Click here for an introductory offer from them!

Show Notes Transcript

Stories? Questions? Thoughts? TEXT us here!

Episode 2 features 'Practice Maven', Susanna Klein! Susanna is a violinist, professor, arts entrepreneur, practice researcher, and author who is passionate about joyful practicing and musician health. She’s spreading the practice joy with Practizma, her innovative practice journal and workbook and her practice aid, the Clipza app. Susanna talks with Liz and Steph about practice baggage and trauma and how we all need some toys in the practice room to spice things up. Hopefully this chat will leave you inspired to try something new!

Mentioned in this episode:

Practizma & Clipza:,

Tunable App:


Practicing for Artistic Success by Burton Kaplan:

The Perfect Wrong Note by William Westney:

Use the code “VIOLACENTRIC” at for an extra 10% off your Practizma journal and an invitation to join Liz and Steph on their practice journey, LIVE each week. This offer is only good through the end of October 31, 2021, so don’t delay!

Support the Show.

Interested in starting your own podcast? We can't recommend our host Buzzsprout enough! Click here for an introductory offer from them!

[00:00:00] Liz: So sometimes in therapy you talk about like really, really heavy stuff. And sometimes in therapy you go in and you say, I have no time for anything and I don't even know what I'm gonna eat For the next week or whatever. And your therapist is like, well, you know what you could do. You could get a Crock-Pot and I kind of laughed. And I said, well, actually I have four crockpots and she laughed at me.

[00:00:24] Steph: I love it that, you know, in therapy, like it's, it's almost impossible to get your therapist to give you actual advice, right? No, your therapist was like, well, here's what you need to do.

[00:00:37] Liz: She says, Well better yet. If you've got multiple crockpots Why don't you try to plan out x amount of meals and just make them all at once and then, put them in different containers and you can have them for the rest of the week. So that is exactly what I did at the beginning of this week. I planned it out and I made three separate meals going at the same time in three separate Crock-Pots was quite the operation, but, I'm very happy with it. It was really smart because now I don't have to think about that. And maybe, And maybe, even not next week, 

[00:01:06] Steph: Exactly. 

[00:01:07] Liz: Because we have so much food. 

[00:01:09] Steph: I love that. love Crock-Pots. 

[00:01:11] Liz: I love crockpots too so much. Actually, I love this time of year with the food. I love fall and winter food. I love stews and soups and slow cooking things that make your whole house smell like cozy and warm. Oh my God. I love it so much. 

[00:01:26] Steph: You know what we should do, we should start another podcast all about Crock-Pot fare and we should call it, we should call it the Crock Pod. 

[00:01:39] Liz: Okay, let's get a page on the website for that right now. Crock Pod who's in what would do talk me through some of the topics on the Crock-pod. 

[00:01:55] Steph: Crock-Pot reviews,

[00:01:56] Liz: Oh, yes, that's true. Cause I always forget that there are brands of crock... are we saying Crock-Pot should we be saying slow cooker? No, we'll just say Crock-pot 

[00:02:04] Steph: Crock-Pot. Crock pahh Then nobody knows if you're saying the d or T 

[00:02:10] Liz: Crock-Pot recipes for sure. How about tragic stories about crockpots like in, This Is Us, 

[00:02:17] Steph: God, no, it'd be a downer. What if there was an offshoot that was all about crocodiles? 

[00:02:23] Liz: I bet there are recipes for crocodile meat in a Crock-Pot. 

[00:02:26] Steph: My God. Croc Crock Pot.

[00:02:30] Liz: Croc. I have some croc in a crock. 

[00:02:34] Steph: Yeah.

[00:02:39] Liz: I can't so good. It seems like a real natural direction for us to go next. 

[00:02:48] Steph: Yeah. 

[00:02:48] Liz: It really fits with our brand to tag on from the last episode. 

[00:02:52] Steph: You guys would listen, right? 

[00:02:53] Liz: We'll take your ideas for the Crock Pod anytime guys. 


[00:03:21] Liz: How's it going? 

[00:03:22] Steph: Good. I don't have a lot to say here.

[00:03:28] Liz: Awesome. I'm so happy for you. 

[00:03:32] Steph: I mean, I have a lot of, stuff going on, but it feels like kind of busy, which I guess is good. Or not, I don't know. What's it like to be busy anymore? 

[00:03:45] Liz: I had a panic attack yesterday. No, I didn't have a real panic attack. 

[00:03:49] Steph: Okay. 

[00:03:49] Liz: I mean, I know people suffer from like actual, I've had minor anxiety attacks in the past, but I just had this moment yesterday where I was looking around my house with all the stuff that I have to deal with.

And I just was like, Oh, my God, I don't know. where to put my time right now. It just felt like the to-do list was so long that I was never going to be able to get everything done that I need. And I know that to-do lists never go like, everyone has a to-do list for the rest of their lives. 

[00:04:15] Steph: Yeah. 

[00:04:16] Liz: It's just the thing. But when it feels like there are, 20 different things that need me now, that is very stressful I genuinely don't know what to prioritize. So that's what this week has been like for me. And I'm not trying to complain. I have this aversion to when people talk about how busy they are, actually, really don't like it I read this article years ago in the New York Times. I think it was in the New York Times. It was an op-ed and the, title of it was literally busy-ness is not a status symbol. So I don't want to confuse this with me talking about how busy I am. So everybody understands how much I have to do. because I detest that but also many of us are proactive individuals and we want to be doing things and we want to be out there like producing and creating. And with that comes a certain level of, well it creates a longer to-do list. 

[00:05:09] Steph: Yeah. I can understand how it's not very interesting. Talk about how busy you are to hear about how busy somebody else is. 

[00:05:15] Liz: Oh, it's horrible. 

[00:05:16] Steph: I think what's more interesting to me is how are you feeling? And is that a symptom of your life right then, and that's a clue as to what's going on in your life, but it's not your status.

[00:05:31] Liz: I love that. That reminds me of something else. I try to remember, which I love this so much. I think it was Anne Lamott who said that we're human beings, not human doings. 

[00:05:42] Steph: Oh, 

[00:05:44] Liz: I love it so much. 

[00:05:45] Steph: That's a great, put that on a shirt.

[00:05:51] Liz: Can we maybe I can contact her and be like, can we use this on a ViolaCentric shirt? I want to be a human being. I don't want to be a human doing. Yeah. That's great stuff. That's true. actually it puts it into perspective. Cause sometimes if you have a lot of things going on, you feel great.

You're like excited and you're energized and you're running around and like it's fun. And sometimes like yesterday I just. Uh, I was overwhelmed. I felt overwhelmed. So I'm working through that today. 

[00:06:21] Steph: Good. 

[00:06:23] Liz: At the end of the day, you could just do one thing at a time. That's all you can do.

[00:06:26] Steph: That's the truth and whatever you get done is what you get done. And that's the end of it. 

[00:06:31] Liz: Yup. 

[00:06:32] Steph: There's this, definition of serenity, It's worrying about the things that are within your sphere of influence and letting go of everything else. And that's something that I have to really check myself on when I get overwhelmed with the problems of the world you can get overwhelmed really easily. So maybe ask yourself the question. Is this something that I can do something about? 

Or is it not, I'm making it sound a lot easier than it probably is in practice, but I dunno, maybe that will help like one person out there.

But I, definitely feel that like, I want to be busy. I want to feel productive. That's my threeness. I totally know that about myself. I measure happiness by if I felt productive. If I checked things off on my list, I'm like, yes, I'm a good human I'm doing the thing that I said I was going to do.

And I'm checking all the boxes. 

[00:07:23] Liz: Yeah. that is amazing. Yeah, I, we've been talking a lot about our Enneagram stuff lately, which is so interesting, I think, and my two-ness is, I've said, yeah, I can do that to so many things to so many people that I don't have a list.

[00:07:39] Steph: Yes. 

[00:07:41] Liz: Now I'm going, oh my God, all these people are going to be let down because I can't do all the things in the moment that I need to do, because I've said yes to too many things. 

[00:07:50] Steph: You sweet little two. 

[00:07:52] Liz: I mean, it's a work in progress, you know? Even talking about it right now, I feel myself getting all tied up in knots. It's so funny. I'm just going to be real about it. it's a lot, it's a lot. And love everything I'm doing. There's nothing I want to not do. But just continuing to.

Be mindful of the way I spend my time and also have time for myself. There's none of that this week, none but also I think these things ebb and flow, especially in our career. And for parents this time of year is really crazy for students.

This time of year is really crazy for people who teach. We just kicked off the first night of ninth street string quartet intensive, which is so exciting. It's so much fun, but oh my gosh, for the last couple of weeks, just trying to get all the balls rolling for that. It's a lot that will settle down. There are things that will settle out, but It's like riding that wave. That's the things like buildup and then slow down. And that's the work probably more than anything else. I think. 

[00:08:51] Steph: What have you been doing to take care of yourself?

[00:08:54] Liz: Uh I, you know that's a hard question to answer. I'm definitely eating better, so I have at least one element, because really who doesn't get into the situation where they don't have food handy.

And then what are you doing? You're making bad decisions because you're stressed and you don't know what else to do. And I live within driving distance of three separate restaurants with drive-throughs. So you guys, that struggle is real. Not gonna lie. 

[00:09:21] Steph: You're in Bermuda triangle of fast food. 

[00:09:25] Liz: I could walk to two of them, although I would never do that because they have drive throughs. Why would I ever walked 

So that's where we're at right now, it's all great, exciting things. So sleep is another thing that I think is really important and I have been trying to get enough sleep so that I'm not totally rundown. So

Our guests on this episode, Susanna Klein. She is something else. 

[00:09:52] Steph: I love that she has given herself the title Practice Maven. I think anybody who is like a maven of anything is somebody that I want to be associated with. 

[00:10:04] Liz: Totally. 

[00:10:05] Steph: I mean, 

[00:10:06] Liz: I know. To pull that word out, how would you define a maven? 

[00:10:10] Steph: Like a bad-ass 

[00:10:11] Liz: Yes. 

[00:10:12] Steph: Let's see what is... 

[00:10:13] Liz: Are we going to look it up? 

[00:10:14] Steph: Yeah. Let's 

[00:10:15] Liz: Love it. 

[00:10:16] Steph: Oh, Maven means an expert or connoisseur.

[00:10:20] Liz: Oh, how about that?

[00:10:21] Steph: It's yiddish. 

[00:10:22] Liz: it's Yiddish. 

[00:10:23] Steph: All the best words are Yiddish, man. 

[00:10:25] Liz: My God. That's so true. Thank you. Thank you for the yiddish. 

[00:10:31] Steph: Yeah. Anyway, so Susanna Klein, Practice Maven. I love that title. She really is a true connoisseur of practice techniques. And I just love the idea of flipping practice on its head and making it fun as a purpose. Cause I think we talk about this with Susanna, but all have some baggage associated with practice.

[00:10:53] Liz: Totally. Yep. Confession time people. I'm a terrible practicer. Always have been. My practice before it was just like messing around and she makes it seem like messing around in practice actually is okay. You can figure out things about your playing by being experimental and actually that it is more fun.

It's just funneling that into a little bit more structure, which, really resonated with me big time. So I'm excited for people to hear what she has to say. And the other part too is especially in our busy adult lives. I think this motivation to. basically produce the best results in the fastest amount of time is something we can all relate to. We spent half of our conversation today Talking about, the, aspect of busy-ness in our lives. So being efficient and also enjoying the experience that's a big deal. 

[00:11:41] Steph: And this just occurred to me, Liz, just by listening to you talk so eloquently about practice, There's a lot going on online, talking about practice these days and how the amount of practice that you do doesn't necessarily make you, a paragon of, ability, right? The measure of how long you've been practicing has always been a virtue in music 

[00:12:03] Liz: Yep. 

[00:12:04] Steph: I wonder if that's just because people had no idea how to practice and we weren't teaching practicing. And so what if we, as a community can totally flip that, teach our young people, teach people, our age, people in college, how to practice, and then we can get rid of this falsity that the amount of hours that you practice is, indicative of your ability on the instrument.

[00:12:30] Liz: I love that. 

[00:12:31] Steph: It's a revolution, right? Let's get rid of that. Let's just kill that fallacy right now. And let's all learn how to be efficient in practice. And then you can feel that success yourself.

[00:12:44] Liz: I love it so much. There is definitely a shift that could occur on multiple levels. First of all, of course, with ourselves, in teaching, that is one question that's always been hard for me. When a parent asks me how much time a day should my child be practicing? and. my answer is always like, well, it really depends. More often than not. If you impose a time frame for a student, like if their lessons are 30 minutes after practice 30 minute. For that child, often 30 minutes is a pretty big ask daily. This goes back to that sense of overwhelm. 

[00:13:18] Steph: I think at that early level, and all the private teachers don't at me, but at that early level, the reason why you're asking them to do something each day is so that they feel more natural in the position, in the unnatural position that we're asking them to play in. It's a familiarity and muscle memory thing that they're trying to do when you get up into middle school, high school, college, that's when you can really be like deliberate, this is something you're going to hear us talk with Susanne about deliberate, about your practice.

[00:13:50] Liz: And the reason the time may increase in practices that the checklist gets longer. The to-do list becomes longer, and just like in life, in your practice, your to-do list is never going to end. Always going to have something you could pick out and make a problem to solve in any given day.

We have decided we're going to do something fun related to having Suzanne on the podcast. So she is the creator of the Practizma practice Journal Which is a 16 week practice journal that she is cultivated with action challenges and, journal prompts and things like that in it. And each week is different and calls out a different element of practice the big three for her are empowerment, efficiency and joy in practice.

And so the whole book is designed to cultivate those three things within each individual person. And so I started this journal Like a year ago and I think we've talked about this, maybe on the podcast. I'm very externally motivated.

Stephanie and I, talk about this a lot. I kind of need like a buddy. I'm sure there are many of you out there that can identify with us. So. Stephanie has agreed to do the Practizma practice journal with me all 16 weeks, starting November 1st. And we thought it might be fun if we turn it into kind of like a Practizma practice club and invite other people to join us. 

[00:15:10] Steph: So we'll give you the details about this in another forum, but basically grab your practice journal. And there'll be a way that we will set something up that we all can meet at regular intervals and check in and commiserate about doing this challenge together. We thought it would be a really fun ViolaCentric community idea, to really connect with you guys and show you that we're struggling with the same things that you're struggling with too. So, 

[00:15:40] Liz: Yeah. 

[00:15:40] Steph: In this together.

[00:15:42] Liz: Yes. And, if you use the code ViolaCentric on Susanna's website, you'll get 10% off of the journal. We'll get your contact information. We're going to figure that out. You don't have to play viola to do this, the Practizma Practice journals designed for any instrumentalists who wants to do it, and it's not limited to that. So all of our musician friends, we would really like this opportunity to get to know you. It would be a way for us to interact with you in a group setting, which would be really cool. 

[00:16:12] Steph: Go ahead and get your, get your journal, the special is going to be good through the end of October, they use the code VIOLACENTRIC for your discount, and then we will contact you about whatever regular scheduled meetings we have 

[00:16:27] Liz: Yes. 

It's going to be really fun. 

[00:16:30] Steph: So enjoy this conversation with Susanna Klein. 



[00:17:37] Liz: We are so excited to be talking with Susanna Klein today. She is the associate professor of violin at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. And she is the owner of Practice Blitz and Practizma and now Clipza. Uh, Practice Blitz is the, initial business, practice, workshops and she has a whole YouTube channel of practice tips. It's amazing. The library you have there. and then Practizma is this beautiful practice journal, which I'll probably reference a couple of times because I have used it myself and also given it to students and the newest development in Susanna's world is Clipza So, which is her app. I just love the way you approach practice. And I love. the way you make people feel about practice And what better? time than right now at the start of a somewhat normal year to give people some encouragement and some excitement about getting back into shape, what their instruments with practice. So thanks for joining us friend. 

[00:18:38] Susanna: Oh, thanks for having me. I am the Jack of all trades. That's what I realized when you were doing the interview. 

[00:18:46] Liz: So, what's your elevator pitch for the way you describe your approach to practice and to coaching practice? 

[00:18:54] Susanna: I help musicians make their practice insightful and delightful. that they get more out of it and that they have good time doing it.

And then, they are happier with themselves. I just like to make tools for musicians so that they can be their own best teacher and kind of find the joy in their journey, 

[00:19:12] Steph: I love that. I am curious about your personal practice journey. how did that start for you? Did you always find joy in practice or was there like a Mr. Miyagi type figure a great teacher who kind of show you the way of joyful practice? 

[00:19:29] Susanna: To be totally honest, I don't think that I really had been engaging in truly joyful practice until I started doing this work or until I started seeing in my own students, their lack of joy and their pressure and their anxiety and their ill feelings and all that stuff.

 I went to a summer camp, it was in Boone, North Carolina. And I had this side-by-side experience with, North Carolina symphony and right there in the flash of an instant, it was like music chose me. 

[00:19:56] Liz: Yep. 

[00:19:57] Susanna: I think a lot of people have this type of experience, this sort of deeply cathartic experience. And then it's like a drug. You don't even have a choice. You have to do music, you know? And then in terms of my fascination with practice, behind people told me. So people told me flat out, don't study music. You know, had to practice really long. I don't think I necessarily practice very smart, and then I have various teachers over the years, and even, you know, post-college, even after I had my first job and my favorite lessons were always the ones where teachers would say, well, have you practiced it like this?

Have you practiced it like this? Have you practiced it like that? You know, like the five ways or something. And I'd be like, wow. All of them made something better. And that's when I was happiest. That's when I felt you know, like it was possible, like the work was worth it.

So to me, this sort of magic of the right kind of practice, I was always fascinated with that. What I didn't realize was how many bad feelings I had about practice, about the way I practiced or lack of practice, how much I measured myself, simply by the hours you put in X amount of time, you're a good person. You don't, you're not a good person. you don't deserve good things. And I mean, that's just totally crazy because now I'm like, oh, I could practice a half hour, record myself 10 times.

And get way more done than if I practiced for two hours and didn't record myself at all. now I know a lot more about the science of practicing, what we call sort of the illusion of mastery. Like when you take a passage and you practice just this passage for half an hour, and that makes you feel better because at the end of it, you will be playing it better.

But if you, if you don't figure out what you're changing and you can't recall that you can't embed that and make that reflexive the next day, it will be gone. And then you will have to practice exactly that passage again for a half an hour, until you get to this sort of like base level competency, and what that does over time is it erodes your confidence and it makes you say, I am not talented.

I am putting in the. work But I'm not worthy. and then that makes you tense and then your sound suffers. I guess, The way that we practice can deeply influence the way that we feel about ourselves.

And that part, I was never really privy to, until I started doing a lot of research and reading about the psychology of any practice or any work whether it's music or not. There's a very long answer. I'm sorry. 

[00:22:12] Steph: No. 

[00:22:13] Liz: It's So, good. 

[00:22:14] Steph: That's great. So, you describe an aha moment discovering what your purpose is in doing music and pursuing that in some way, but then being frustrated by not having the tools or the knowledge in order to be efficient with your practice.

[00:22:31] Susanna: Yeah. I mean, I just thought it was the question of talent. I thought practicing was about how many hours and how good. You get was a question of how talented you are. Yes. I knew that teachers could also teach you great concepts. I think I never appreciated how deeply, our feelings cause us to act a certain way and our actions caused us to feel a certain way. Practice is one thing that is still, it is talked about, but in terms of excellence, not in terms of the psychology of practice. I'm like, why isn't there a field for this? There's a performance, anxiety field, and that's great. But there's still no real field or it's, only nascent that is really like, okay, let's talk about what practice. 

is I mean, even in scientific terms, and find that students react really well to that. If I explain when I assign technique skills or arpeggios or whatever that is training the physical building blocks that you will need for your repertoire. It's the patterns. It's the patterns of fingerings that you need. It's the sound, it's the muscle memory so that you can operate on reflex.

Technique practice is a long-term investment that pays dividends later. It allows you to sight read better. It allows you to concentrate on one task consciously while reflexively drilling another task. So you could do scales, but only listen to your, I don't know, articulation or something.

And that's one part of practice that we do. And I feel like when I explained to students, this is what it is, this is why we do it. They respond better to technique than when I just say, here are your scales.

 We do performance practice, we're not learning how to play. We are learning how to cope with adrenaline in the body. That's what we're doing through breath, repeated exposure. But when it's all just magical, like, you either lose your marbles on stage and get really nervous or you don't, not only do they not feel good about the performance, but it sort of pathologizes everything about music, right?

 It means you don't have the gift or the calling rather than this is a normal physiological response, although it will vary from person to person. And if you want your performance anxiety to go down, repeated exposure, we'll do that. 

[00:24:46] Steph: Yeah, it's totally like demystifying it, breaking it down into tangible steps that anyone can do. And that's not just something that someone who's super gifted at performing can do.

[00:24:56] Susanna: Yes. And it's not Hocus Pocus. 

[00:24:59] Liz: Yeah, I think this is so huge because when you speak about your own experiences, Susanna you're speaking everyone's practice journey, I think, unless they're fortunate enough to have a teacher who is exploring deeper level of what it is that we do when we practice.

 I mean, how many of us associate practice with just like that slog in the practice room for hours at a time? And when you talk, this is a big thing. When you talk about. That feeling of spending hours and hours of practicing the same thing, That's really difficult and then losing it and then having to rebuild it And then losing it and having to rebuild it. yeah, over the course of a 15, 20 year career, if that's the way, you've always practiced, what? does that do to your confidence or even your belief that you're a decent musician? 

[00:25:49] Susanna: Yes. And confidence is very, very important. I mean, it's important to our sound. It's important to our breath. It's important for optimism, not over practicing certain things. I think we've all had those times when we're creating. Or we just don't know to be confident, that happens sometimes, right?

Like if you're sick or something and you're just like, oh God, I don't care. I'll just say, read the best I can, you know, and boom, you're doing it. You know, 

[00:26:13] Liz: Then you're great. 

[00:26:14] Susanna: Because you're, not second guessing yourself. 

[00:26:16] Liz: I also know we've had conversations before Susanna about your, attention to sports psychology and how much overlap there is. We just haven't caught up. It's so interesting when you think about the culture of sports in this country and applying that to music, I'm getting off 

on a thought or going, down a thought rabbit hole here, but even for young students, you know, if the concept of. Sports psychology is placed into music and music was treated as a valuable of an experience for those kids. Like what that might do. that's something I feel like you have the potential to build on, Making it that more commonplace way of approaching music rather than just, oh, here's this talented kid who should just keep playing the instrument, you know, and go off and do that thing that nobody knows what they're doing. 

[00:27:02] Susanna: Right. That's sort of hero worship about talent, you know, I mean, we have hero worship in sports too. 

[00:27:08] Liz: That's true. 

[00:27:08] Susanna: But I do think, we're fully aware then when, people play high school sports, Most of them don't join NFL or become a professional basketball player or hockey player, whatever that is. But we, believe in it for the teamwork, for the discipline for digging deep, for becoming resilient. Right. For becoming a quote, good sport, AKA good loser. Well, music does all of that, I mean, teamwork. Hello? Discipline long-term goal setting, Dealing with disappointment, stagefright, the equivalent of public speaking. I I think we as musicians know this very well, but I don't know that we talk about it in society, in the right way to have everybody really understand that. And then, the other thing that really interests me in sports is there's so much gamified, there's so much science behind it. These terms of training or physiological, this, that, and the other thing. I mean, we're just small muscle athletes and we do it for different reasons.

 The psychology thing. I mean, there are sports psychologists, there are no music psychologists, just as an example, and then the technology, I'm just so jealous of the technology. So jealous of ability to, measure the speed of a ball, to know how many times a pitcher has thrown so that they can stop, you know, all right, we've reached our daily quota.

We're now going to protect the asset by getting the pitcher stop practicing the ability through technology to conceptualize things. And when I've done that with students has just been so fun for them. It's funny. Cause it's concrete and abstract at the same time, you know?

When you say, okay, your heart rate, look at what your heart rate is. Can you bring that down with your. It's more concrete, and at the same time it's more abstract, they can see themselves sort of more separate, at least with my experimentation, with technology. That's been true. So when students see themselves like in a motion capture suit and they're like a stick figure playing the violin. 

[00:28:58] Liz: Yeah, 

[00:28:59] Susanna: It's like they can do more groundbreaking work, more patient work, more resilient work without being embarrassed than when they're just the violinist in the room in front of a mirror. Why I'm not a hundred percent sure. I don't, totally get it, but maybe it's just fun.

[00:29:14] Steph: Yeah there's something about, Dissociation and taking all the judgment away And just being like, oh, I see that, that violinist on the screen, there could have a straighter bow. 

[00:29:24] Susanna: I think technology is a way of gamifying for students and I think that's fun. let's make it fun. let's get away from all excellence, excellence, excellence. 

Clipza app that I developed with a friend, I used that a lot to teach. It came out of a research project that I did at the university where we were studying musicians, practice habits. And what is associated with feeling good about practice or highly efficient practice? It was several years ago and we kind of built an app to try and track what they were doing in practice.

And one of the things that we had in there to make recording easy was just this video camera that once you opened it, it was always recording you and ditching the recording unless you interacted with the camera and then it would capture the last 30 seconds. That was very, very popular with students because they didn't have to decide to press the record button. They only had to decide to press essentially the recall button. This summer I've finally took that code and we built it out with my friend Randall and made this app. So the, video camera is going, it's constantly taking video and dumping it. And if at any point you want to see what you just did, you swipe left on the screen and it'll replay instantly. It could be 15 seconds or 30 or 45 or minute and a half, or you could tap the screen and it'll capture what you do the last 30 seconds. Save it. But you're going to keep practicing because you, you want to check that later. So that I use in level. All the time. Cause I just have a going and then at any point where I'm like, stop, hold on and I just swipe the screen left and I'm like, see, what do you see here? 

[00:30:54] Steph: I love that so much. Cause whenever I'm teaching a lesson, and I find this with my own practice too, it's hard to both observe and perform at the same time. 

[00:31:05] Susanna: Absolutely.

[00:31:06] Steph: And so I asked my students a lot. Okay. Well, here's what I want you to do. I don't want you to think about anything else. I want you to observe your bow as you're playing this passage, but they're still having to perform and you can't do both. I'm not very good at doing both. 

[00:31:20] Susanna: Yes, And for me in front of the mirror, I fix everything in front of the mirror, but then I see myself in video and I'm like,

[00:31:26] Liz: Yes,

[00:31:27] Susanna: Oh, my God. What's what is going on with the face and the posture and the everything, you know, and I think my frustration as a practice are also was that recording is psychologically so difficult, right? To like hit that record button.

[00:31:41] Liz: You know, it's there, you know, it's rolling. And you're thinking about the fact that it's rolling and yeah, totally.

[00:31:47] Susanna: So now if I use a regular recording, not Clipza I use it to make me nervous. I say, I'm going to record. And it is part of my stagefright preparation. Think of technology just as tools.

So technology can also be old-fashioned things like, I've read a little messages on ping pong balls sometimes. and for their scales, they just pick out of a jar or something. And, you know, I'll say, I don't know, super diva scales, meaning they have to play extra confident or, for string players, like only at the frog or all down bows or only the top octaves or some way of mixing it up and making it fun and not same old, like, okay.

First thing in the lesson let's listen to some scales You know, sometimes routine can be really anti joy. And if you just find one little little surprise or make them laugh. I don't know that I've made them a better musician, but I've made them a little bit, hopefully more buoyant in that moment, doing difficult things. We use TomPlay to play along. I don't know if he goes no, that app it's got all these accompliment tracks on it. Super fun, super fun. And they're building up huge library. There's like a yearly subscription or you can do it by piece. 

[00:32:57] Liz: Like five viola pieces on there.

[00:32:59] Susanna: You can request pieces. That's what's amazing if, you're a yearly member, but you should check it out. it's fun. it's really fun for students. 

[00:33:06] Liz: It's so exciting to hear you talk about your applications when you're teaching your students. Because went to school for performance I did not take pedagogy, class. Everything I do in teaching is based on my own experience. And I have felt a need for evolution in my own teaching in the last few years to be centered more around the individual that I'm teaching and also how to make. Relevant to the way their lives are now, versus what my experience was in being trained for music and really seeing that student from the perspective of what their life is about, and the technology piece is so important and we know so little about it, but this is the world we live in now.

[00:33:48] Susanna: Yeah. And it's hugely underdeveloped, 

[00:33:51] Liz: Yes. Yes. 

[00:33:52] Susanna: Ironically last year I felt like I did a lot more innovative things, because we all have. And now I'm like, it's funny. I feel like I've been not teaching well, last couple of weeks, it's just this feeling. You know, you have those moments right. Where you're like, it's not clicking. And I think it's because I did so much more innovative gamifying, getting students to take on risk in fund challenges last year.

And now I'm we're all in person again. And I'm actually struggling to incorporate some of those ideas in the live lesson. Cause I haven't had to, I've not done that before. We did things over zoom, like name, that tune where people had to perform on mute.

And people had to guess like what concerto that was. And it's just like a baby step towards performance. Right. Cause people can see you, but they can't hear you. And it's really fun for the audience. I haven't figured out how do I do that in person? Okay.

Well, I can't do that in person, but how do I do something else that is like that? Technology can help you build community and can allow for, resilience is just a really tough thing. And I think we all benefit. I don't care what you're going to study when you become a more daring player or person who plays, that's good for your whole life. It doesn't matter if you study medicine or music or whatever. And games and technology can really, really help. You can suit somebody up in a motion capture suit, and all of a sudden they're performing in front of a class more easily than if they weren't. It's the weirdest thing. And they'll have more fun. 

[00:35:22] Liz: To get in a motion capture suit, 

[00:35:24] Susanna: Fun. 

[00:35:25] Liz: And you've done that. That was so cool. 

[00:35:26] Susanna: Yeah. I mean, they just turn us into stick figures, but, they could turn us into like bunnies or whatever, you know, cartoons. 

[00:35:33] Steph: That would be amazing. You put us on like a green screen where you're performing in front of the Cleveland Orchestra or something 

[00:35:40] Susanna: Exactly. Exactly. there's a lot we can explore. 

[00:35:43] Steph: It's a completely different generation and time. It's almost as if evolution dial has been turned and it's making everything in hyper speed. Like the evolution of, technology just in the last, 30 years. So things that we grew up with doing are still valuable, but they can be evolved into these much more, and efficient ways doing things. 

[00:36:08] Susanna: And yet often they're not. that's the irony. 

[00:36:11] Steph: Right. Yeah. So I'm wonder if, classical music is so rooted in tradition. This is the way my teacher taught me. This is the way things have been going since, Galamian did the scale books. I wonder if we're just more resistant to change an evolution in our field. 

[00:36:29] Susanna: Yeah. Well, we've, all been taught that way. We all believe that this is what leads to mastery and mastery is everything. So, that's sort of the natural output of that. I think we think we're meant to suffer, and if we don't suffer, if we're having too much fun, then it's not legit, it's not really. 

[00:36:45] Steph: Yes,

[00:36:47] Susanna: Excellence is everything but, dry excellence. And I found working with students that actually fun excellence is a lot easier to come by, but, I have to admit that sometimes I'm like, oh my God, why do I have to do this? You know what I was your age, I went to the library and I got out of record and I studied my score and I sat there with headphones for an hour, Yeah. You know, now they have it on YouTube in their pocket. Coming back to talking about the field also in psychological and scientific.

[00:37:17] Liz: Yes. 

[00:37:18] Susanna: I think it's helpful to students. Like I just tell them there's training, there's rep there's mental practice and there's performance practice. Those are the four elements. And so when I say, have you listened to your piece? It's not like a shame, shame. Have you listened to your piece? Cause all good musicians, listen to pieces.

This is a whole category of pride. And we know that the best musicians, the ones that make the progress fastest, which is what students are interested in. They spend a lot of time in this category. That's what we know from research. Or we know from research that people who perform often start to perform better under pressure.

In fact, it's the only thing that we know about performance anxiety is that repeated exposure, lessens the effect of adrenaline on your playing system. And just to say, well, let's make a plan. How many performances can we come up with this semester? 10 20, and that kind of excites them.

I'll say, okay, let's, try for 20. How can we do 20? Well, do you have roommates? Do you have friends? who can you play for? and kind of going about it as a project and talking about it in scientific terms. 

[00:38:20] Liz: The first time I think the word has come up in conversation of shame. I think what you're ultimately doing is reducing the possibility that what we do as teachers could be shame inducing in a student, because really when it comes down to it, if you have fear about your own abilities to do something, chances are that that has come from somewhere, right? Someone along the way has delivered a message that makes you feel shameful about your inability to do something. As a teacher, that is not your intention. 

[00:38:51] Susanna: Right. 

[00:38:51] Liz: Even our teachers who we call, how did you put it 

[00:38:54] Susanna: Less awesome. 

[00:38:55] Liz: Less awesome teachers, 

[00:38:57] Susanna: I bet I have a lot of students who described me that way. 

[00:39:01] Liz: No way. I'm certain their goal wasn't to shame us, but if they don't have the tools to deliver the importance of these four elements, it's so great to even put it that way. It's almost an internal reframing that we have to do as instructors in how we deliver these messages. Maybe the messages themselves, aren't changing all that much, but understanding why they're effective And then building on that, it can be huge way to go 

[00:39:28] Susanna: Yeah. And even sometimes, the shaming isn't from what we say, it's from what we don't say. For example, you know, students will often compare themselves naturally to other students, right. And then they're like, oh, so-and-so has it all. 

They're awesome. They never fail. They look cool, calm and collected when they played, they didn't miss a thing and they were not terrified.

 At VCU, we sort of treat ourselves like a sports team. We have like a team name and everything and team captains and all that. So we will dig into the psychology and, people have been honest in masterclass Lang well, Stacy has it all together.

You know, her recital was just like flawless. And I said, okay, Stacy, you want to talk about how you prepared for that? How many people did you play for? And she's like, oh my God, I don't even know. I was like, okay, let's make a list. Let's take the time in class to make a list of how many people you played for. Just for other students to know. That's what I perceive as talent and inborn and luck and whatever is actually not. Cause as you said, I don't think we mean to pathologize things or make students feel bad. I know that some of the things that I've caught on video, I've taped lessons and caught myself like doing like a sigh in lessons, audibly. And I'm 

[00:40:39] Liz: Yes, 

[00:40:40] Susanna: How could I do that? I hated this when my teachers did this, you know, I hated it. And I'm so unaware, but what I'm actually frustrated in, isn't so much the student in that moment, it's my own inability to describe things in a different way so that the student will understand the concept that I'm trying to do.

And so like, I am frustrated but it's much better to say, it's not, you it's me. I'm struggling to put this into words. We're just going to have to keep working on it. Or, maybe you'll take a masterclass with somebody you're on the right path. There can be teacher frustrations as well. So I think just being honest and being honest about our own struggles, that's probably the best gift we can give.

[00:41:21] Liz: Yeah. it's so good. That's the other thing I love about the technology of the. app If you are asking a student to fix something about their bow the bow isn't straight, and maybe at first they don't really believe that it's not straight. So you have the clip and as you've said, it's concrete and it's not subjective coming from your teacher's mouth. It's something you can physically look at. And then you can make that adjustment and you can gauge that progress. I think that goes a long way to help reduce that shame element 

[00:41:50] Susanna: Yeah. Seeing is believing and you know, we are in the business of teaching them to teach themselves since we're with them for, you know, I don't know, 45 minutes or whatever. And then the rest of their practice time is quote unattended. So the best gift we can give them is how to listen themselves and hear things, how to perceive things, you know, creative problem solving. I just do it a lot in the lesson and kind of hope that, rubs off and they do it as well. Whether it's voice memos, audio recording, or a video or whatever, because it's not a big deal. It's not, we are recording now. We're, data-driven all the time in small ways. Kind of curating the listening experience with them. 

[00:42:28] Liz: Yeah. 

[00:42:29] Susanna: Can be helpful too, because students, listen, they just sometimes listen in a different hierarchy than we want them to listen. Sometimes they're more pitch obsessed when we want them to be more sound oriented or vice-a-versa. And so going through that recording process with them and listening back, taking the time to do that, even though yes, it does suck up valuable lesson time, can really be worth, it can be a long-term investment.

[00:42:50] Steph: I'm reading this book called Grit by Angela Duckworth. There's a whole section in there about practice and it feels so germane to our discussion right now. and You use this term to deliberate practice. Can you talk about deliberate practice and discovery practice? How this should fit into your, like the percentage that you spend on which types of practice? 

[00:43:17] Susanna: Well, I think most of our practice should be deliberate practice. I do believe in goof off time in practice. 10 minutes of what ever you want to do. Just run through it. you know, jam have fun. But the rest of the time, I think should be deliberate practice and deliberate practice just means we're actively listening. starting to make hypotheses about why something is breaking down or how we want it to change. We won't really know the answer until we try, creative solutions. Let me try this. Let me try that. Let me try this. Let me try this. Oh, I found the one thing that is changing my physically, my body to achieve the sound that I want.

I'm moving sooner or later, more left, more up, more down, we're changing something physically. And then once we've discovered that, then we repeat in order to embed that and make that change more reflexive. So that the next time when we play it, it comes out that way. that's how I would describe deliberate practice.

 Undeliberate practice is playing stuff over and over until it becomes more familiar and your body starts to anticipate what's coming next.

And so that gives the illusion of mastery because tomorrow it'll be better. Certainly. Cause it will be more familiar, but it won't be, transformed. So if you had an issue with a little fingering and if you don't really understand what you're asking your body to change, I don't think the long-term prognosis is. For that little spot. And then the long-term prognosis on stage is really bad when you have too many of those what I call familiarity practice as opposed to deliberate practice.

I think deliberate practice is about change. Changing something not getting more familiar, but actually changing what happens in the body and then embedding that change. So it becomes automatic. That's what I think deliberate practice is.

[00:44:59] Steph: I studied with Burton Kaplan he has a practice retreat, that he holds up in like rural New York State he has a whole book about practice techniques and he describes this as breaking it down and observing for one thing at a time.

[00:45:15] Susanna: I have his book actually yeah. It was a big influence for the, practice journal, just that really scientificky kind of, approach to practice. 

[00:45:22] Steph: Yes. 

[00:45:23] Susanna: And there's a lot of trial and error in it. There's a lot of lists. Really, you know, and that's some of what we're teaching students is how to really listen. It's hard to really listen.

[00:45:32] Liz: Yeah. I'll throw this question out there.

Let's just say you are someone who learned Don Juan, when you were 16 years old. A lot of musicians do. I was one of them here in Northern Virginia for heaven. Knows what reason Don Juan is usually a required excerpt for Senior Regionals. No high schoolers should be learning Don, Juan. I just want to throw that out there, but we do.

[00:45:54] Susanna: Amen sister. 

[00:45:55] Liz: Uh, 

[00:45:56] Susanna: Yeah. Right. 

[00:45:57] Liz: it's ridiculous to try to teach it and to have to teach it, knowing that, you know, whatever habits are going to be formed as that high schoolers learning, they're going to have to dismantle some of them. I'm certain, every single musician has to do this. So what would you, say to someone who's kind of going through that process of you know, someone can play those types of shifts in any other piece of music, but when it comes to Don juan, like something doesn't land. 

[00:46:22] Susanna: Because of that trigger. You're talking about that sort of, 

[00:46:25] Liz: Yes. 

[00:46:26] Susanna: It wasn't learned in the right way in the first place,

I say oops, because you know, there are certain concertos that like, I can't even teach. Cause I'm like, I'll have a psychological breakdown is so triggering, like Tchaikovsky concerto. I'm like, okay, no one in my studio. I can't go back you guys know the book? Perfect Wrong Note by William westney you should look into that. He talks a lot about explorative practice. instead of avoiding errors, actually just. Seeing whatever comes out, like just totally going for it and like allowing your body to do what it naturally wants to do, and then going back and kind of retraining just that little bit. He's a big proponent of not controlling in practice so much, but actually just listening and observing. 

I highly recommended for anyone who's dealing with psychology of practice and how to engage in deliberate practice in a kind of creative way.

And then, it's like everything else in life. I mean, just because I work hard all day doesn't mean I can't have a little Netflix at night, right? So like, if you're doing really great digging deep, transformative practice, that has to be in balance with some goof off time and some bigger picture things.

So if you're really deconstructing a piece, let's say Don, Juan, measure by measure then you should have something that you might play through and have some fun and work on some dynamics and some bigger picture, some musicianship skills. cause when we over-utilize that part of the brain, that can become painful. And when we do it too long, that can become painful. So limit you're practice sessions at one time, two 50 minutes or less. The research says after 50 minutes, concentration goes down in all fields, doesn't matter if it's nursing, pilots, whatever. and for us tension goes up. So why push past that? Just observe it come back, 

[00:48:11] Liz: Well, and I think it goes without saying that the more deliberate your practice becomes, the less you need to feel like you have to spend four hours a day playing your instrument. You become more efficient. 

[00:48:23] Susanna: You become more efficient. and most people love that, you know, they want to get better. that's, what makes them happy actually is they want to get better as soon as possible. Sometimes those arcs are very long. Sometimes you have a block, you know, and takes a long time to get through it. So there are other tricks, like ending your practice on a positive note, having some fun at the end of your practice and dedicating, you know, five or 10 minutes to something that you really can play before you put your instrument. In the case we know from research, again, it's not a music thing, but people tend to remember the activity that they're engaged in by how they felt at the end of the activity.

So if you're feeling really anxious or upset with yourself, spend a few minutes on a piece that you love that, you know, you can play and then pack up and you will be more likely to want to go practice again.

That's all just the research that I, like to pass on. This has been researched in every other field. Why aren't we talking about this in music? Can we just let people know?

[00:49:17] Steph: But that's important. you're an important translator. 

[00:49:20] Susanna: That's a good way of putting it. I'm kind of like Alan Alda is for the sciences. You know, he's like not a scientist, but he really talks the talk of science, you know? So 

[00:49:29] Liz: yeah. 

[00:49:29] Susanna: That's what I love to do for, the psychology and technology of practicing. So. 

[00:49:34] Liz: It's just so, so important. What you're doing.

[00:49:36] Susanna: And the same can be said for a lesson, you know, if, no matter how frustrating things get in a lesson, and this is, I tried to do this intuitively, but I have to remember make time for something positive at the end, play a duet, you know, 

[00:49:51] Liz: That's a great point. 

[00:49:52] Susanna: For you as the teacher and for the student. It's tricky to be aware of all these things, but I think people proselytizing. about there's so much more, we need to know and address most of it's all about habits and psychology, hardly any of it is, actually musical, 

[00:50:07] Liz: Right. 

[00:50:08] Susanna: I have this thing with my students, what am I trying to embed in them. It's cRODO creativity, resilience, optimism, discipline, and organization, those five and like, creativity. So that's problem solving. How else could I do this Who else could I ask? What else could I do? Resilience is a daring greatly in the words of Brene Brown or, you know, taking on risk by choice.

Of course it's recovering from failure, but it's really daring that I'm interested in. When I talk about resilience, optimism, do I believe I can do it, which is so important for, you know, not having so much tension. Doing daring things requires us to be optimistic, right? discipline showing up for enough time. I was always good at that.

The enough time was like my forte, but it was the really deliberate part being highly efficient being data-driven, not spinning your wheels, you know, triage in your work habits, and then organization. That's a small one, but it can be, transformative for some students who, don't know where their stuff is and don't know how to stay organized within their week. So organization is both time and things. CRODO. 

[00:51:11] Liz: Love it. it 

[00:51:12] Steph: You have a practice journal called Practizma developed. 

[00:51:17] Susanna: Yeah. the way that all came about was that, after VCU, where I teach, made this big Cinderella run in 2011 for March madness, the basketball team, I started following the coach, Shaka Smart. And he had a minor in psychology and he did a ton of psychological work with his players. Yeah, he is totally. And that got me way deep into sports.

Again, I was like, why aren't we doing all these things? And so I started doing stuff with my students and, because elite athletes, journal, that's like a thing in sports. I started doing that with my students. I would have reflection prompts for them every week. After a few semesters, then I started putting action challenges in there, you know, go play for two people or, practice all your stuff. Backwards or record yourself three times, you know, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, or et cetera, et cetera. So I had all this content And a friend of mine was like, your, you should publish.

And I was like, well, I wouldn't know how to do that. And blah, blah, blah. So, I got over that eventually, but basically I picked from eight years worth of prompts and tried to make a sequence out of it that would work for all instruments.

And it's supposed to be, you know, like, uh, deep practice challenge, for 16 weeks to really, learn some new ways of practicing and learn some stuff about yourself and kind of develop a more positive journey. I guess it's a word. 

 And I thought originally that it would be used most often, like for teenagers, but I think the big market has a lot of post-school professionals, a lot of freelancers, a lot of people who have been in school in music school and then find themselves all of a sudden floating, you know, without peers and a system. And then a lot of, music teachers use it for their own craft or to teach. 

[00:52:52] Steph: It's genius. 

[00:52:53] Liz: it is. 

[00:52:54] Steph: It's something that I think everyone, like you said, in the post-graduate realm, we sometimes just need a little something, a little challenge to kind of push us to follow through with, 

[00:53:06] Susanna: A little, accountability to yourself. Yeah. Or, new ideas, you know, I think it's easier to turn the page this is, this week's prompt. I may like it or not like it, but I'm doing it, you know, 

[00:53:18] Steph: Yes. 

[00:53:18] Susanna: I'm digging deep and I'm learning new things. It's a little easier than to come up with all that stuff yourself 

[00:53:23] Steph: Yeah. And I saw on your website that you actually have a buddy pack or you can get two of them, so you can conscript one of your to be like, you're doing this with 

[00:53:33] Susanna: with 


[00:53:34] Steph: Yes. For all of you Obligers out there who need, 

[00:53:40] Susanna: It's 

[00:53:40] Steph: Need accountability? 

[00:53:41] Liz: Yeah. Stephanie, are you going to get one so we 

[00:53:43] Steph:

[00:53:44] Liz: Do it at the same 

[00:53:44] Steph: Was thinking was I let's do it. Let's do it. 

[00:53:48] Liz: Mine ready and waiting to go. I started it. I didn't have any external motivation. 

[00:53:54] Steph: You're an Obliger. You need somebody 

[00:53:56] Liz: You both know this about me.

 My journey with practices is a challenging one. I, have talked about how I haven't associated joy with practice for a really long time. You know, it's felt more like. Whenever I go into the practice mode, I'm confronting all of the demons that sit inside of me that fight with me on being a musician. And so to have a way to reframe that, just like anything else in your life that you want to reframe is really great.

[00:54:27] Susanna: That's awesome. Thank you. And you know, in trying to cure others, still trying to cure myself, like that's, you know, after it came out, actually, I was like, okay, let me do it exactly in this order, the way I published it, I'm like, damn, this is hard like this, you know, because, it's long and it asked you to dig deep and that's, when I put the buddy pack up for sale. Cause with a partner. I had no problem. 

[00:54:51] Liz: Yes. Yes, 

[00:54:52] Steph: Yeah,

[00:54:52] Susanna: What do you think of this prompt this week? You know, I could socialize around it 

[00:54:56] Steph: I should 

[00:54:57] Liz: Maybe that's what we 

[00:54:58] Steph: That was just going to say, 

[00:55:00] Liz: Anybody who's listening wants to join us. We should 

[00:55:02] Steph: Want to do it with us 

[00:55:03] Liz: I love it. 

[00:55:04] Steph: So if people want to go on this journey with us and with you, Susanna, where can they find information about you, about your journal, about your app?

[00:55:15] Susanna: Yeah. My website is It's P R a C T I Z M a. I was just looking at my book. I had to look it up, the journal is for sale there. I also list retailers who sell it. There are quite a few, please support them because they've had an incredibly rough year and a half. The app is listed on there too. It's on iOS right now. all night, it's called Clipza with a Z, always that Z in there. 

[00:55:43] Steph: It's your thing. 

[00:55:44] Liz: It's her 

[00:55:44] Susanna: But the Z is supposed to be the fun. You know, I have a theme, and you can find me on Instagram, also @Practizma. 

[00:55:52] Liz: Yup. 

[00:55:53] Susanna: You can follow me there. And I do like little mini blogs, you know, when I 

[00:55:56] Liz: Yup. 

[00:55:56] Steph: I love it. 

[00:55:57] Liz: And also, you are a very skilled presenter in a workshop setting. It is so great to have you break down concepts with groups of students, or if you're in, a group of musicians that gets together and plays and you want to have somebody kind of jump in and inspire you in a way that you haven't been inspired to practice before I know firsthand, that. 

[00:56:19] Susanna: Awesome. Thanks. 

[00:56:20] Liz: And can do it virtually very 

[00:56:22] Susanna: Yeah, I learned, I apparently, I mean, actually there's some opportunities virtually that you don't have when you're all in the room, you know, you can make noise and all that. kind of stuff. But yeah, it's fun. Super fun. It turns out it's weird. Cause I started out being very passionate about medicine and sports when I was in high school and playing a little bit, and it's like, now I'm playing, but I'm in this sort of field.

That's all about. Sports and medical research. And sometimes it takes a while for your like quote inner voice, you know, to find you, you know what I mean? Sometimes you just have to be patient and, really disciplined about what you do. Cause would say that I'm happier doing what I'm doing now than when I was playing orchestra full time.

[00:57:01] Steph: Um, 

[00:57:02] Susanna: Because I still play and I teach and I do all these other things and it turns out Jack of all trades is a little bit who I was really meant to be like, how I started off is kind of how I ended up. I staggered them all in, certainly at some point I was really just playing and just practicing, but it turns out, that, that full circle. Now I can see how that's not an accident.

[00:57:21] Steph: I love that the universe conspired to get you to this point 

[00:57:25] Susanna: Yeah. Or, you know, it's like those things are within you and sometimes it requires time and opportunity cause I think in high school I was like, well, what should I do? It was this horrible conflict. And I was like, okay, if I don't do music, I'll regret it. That was literally why I did it. And now I think I do a little bit of all of that. So I kind of get my fix in all different ways anyway. 

[00:57:46] Liz: And you're relating it from the perspective of music and you're filling a need, 

[00:57:52] Susanna: Yeah. I'm trying to create some tools for people to make the journey for the next generation and for us to, to make it a little bit more positive. Yeah. I think that's, what we can do. I would like people to feel a little bit more positive and empowered than I did.

[00:58:05] Steph: Totally. 

[00:58:06] Liz: Speaking our language. Yeah, this concept of, and I think we all believe this, that every musician is not just a musician. Like we all have something unique to offer and we kind of get put on a conveyor belt that funnels us into this idea that maybe that's not the case, but it's amazing that the things that lit you up when you were younger are now filtered into your 

[00:58:30] Susanna: Exactly. It wasn't a liability. It wasn't a distraction. It for so many years, I used to think if I had just not wasted so many hours running track and swimming, I could have been such a better violinist, and that just fueled the shame of why am I not 

[00:58:46] Liz: Yes, 

[00:58:47] Susanna: It's taken me a long time to realize like, actually those things were assets and had I had the time I wouldn't have practiced efficiently anyway. So there's, that, you know? 

[00:58:57] Liz: Same. 

[00:58:57] Susanna: We don't need to pathologize things for no reason. We don't need to say, I'm a late starter, so therefore I'm less worthy. So what late starter, maybe it's just the opposite. it's possible, right? I think those discussions are worth having what are all those messages that we're sending ourselves. And I think way that we, behave, the way that we practice and the way that we talk to ourselves can have a deep influence.

[00:59:18] Steph: Absolutely so beautifully put. 

[00:59:20] Liz: Thank you so much, susanna. 

[00:59:21] Susanna: Thank you. Thanks me and talking about, the subject that are nearest and dearest to my heart. 

[00:59:27] Liz: It's been so great. 

[00:59:28] Susanna: Well, you guys have a special thing going, you talk authentically about so many things in the music world that are not really being talked about at all. Kudos to the podcast because I still feel like even most music podcasts, there are a couple of exceptions which are really awesome, but most of them are still about how can we be more excellent. How can we be more excellent. You know, how to give it, you know, it's still excellence is the holy grail and Hey happiness, you know, or balance or all those other things, you know,

[00:59:56] Liz: Wellbeing. 

[00:59:57] Susanna: Wellbeing. like that's optional, you know, that's not optional. That's a must have. 

[01:00:02] Liz: Absolutely. 

[01:00:04] Susanna: Certainly, in large measure. So thank you guys.