I had one formal lesson with David Kirk while I was at Rice University. I still have the notes I took during and after that lesson, there’s a lot of great information in there. The one thing I remember most and think of frequently is his recommendation to “recognize effortlessness in others.” I prefer to think of efficiency rather than effortlessness as, I believe, sometimes a task will take some effort but can still be done in an efficient manner.
It’s something I try to do on a daily basis: observe others; recognize when someone is performing in a natural-looking, relaxed manner; and try to learn what I can from it (and also in the negative: recognizing when someone is displaying a lack of efficiency and taking lessons from that). This can happen in any situation, musical/cooking/at the gym/during a conversation, there are a lot of places to learn.
Here are some of my favorite musical examples of efficiency:
Nadia Sirota and Nico Muhly
Erin Lesser and Kate Soper