Guy Noble

Practise, practise, practise

You can’t ‘fake news’ your way out of a bad performance, which is why many musicians suffer the curse of perfectionism, says Guy Noble.

It is often said that learning a musical instrument is good for the brain. The corpus callosum (‘tough body’ – the bundle of fibres connecting the two sides of the brain) is apparently larger in musicians than it is in non-musicians. I am glad that my corpus callosum may be bigger than yours, but is it all upside? What is the mental downside of being a musician?

I think many musicians suffer from the curse of perfectionism; no matter how hard you strive, no matter how many hours of practice, it will never be quite good enough. Instrumental...