Play Leads to Innovation. How Much of Your Practice Is Play?

Play is always a part of invention. Find what intrigues you and mystifies you and leaves you gobsmacked and play with it. Today I was once again blown away by Clifford Brown’s solo in “What’s New” (around the 3:00 mark) and it’s now in my practice lineup. Can’t wait to play with it and figure…

Dave Grohl’s Guide to Kick A**

Dave Grohl needs no introduction. Even if you know him, you really should watch Sound City, a great documentary about a legendary music studio. In the doc you’ll see a bit of Grohl, but lots and lots of other superb musicians, too. Video below the tips.

“Bored of 4/4”

Check out the odd meter tunes. Was just digging some of Sting’s odd-meter tunes on 10 Summoner’s Tales. Hard to pull off a great odd-meter groove without a rock-solid rhythm section. Good stuff. Thanks “Odd Meter Mix!”   Found this article by Oliver Curry entitled “Bored of 4/4: Other Time Signatures In Dance Music”,  about odd…

What’s Better: Practice or Performance?

Something I learned when researching The Practice of Practice is that many of the best musicians don’t make a distinction between “practice” and “performance,” and if they do, most strive to have more performance in their playing. This was driven home most by…

How to Listen When You Practice: Ted Nash

One of many JLCO’s Jazz Academy videos that I’ll be posting here over the coming months. Great stuff from modern masters. Here, Ted Nash talks about using the piano as a practice tool. Super advice. What Mr. Nash is talking about is covered in The Practice of Practice, in the chapter titled: Drone Power, all about using your ears…

Going Mental (Mental Practice, that is)

A nice primer on mental practice from The Open Score, a new, useful YouTube channel. Check out her other material. There’s a whole chapter on mental practice in The Practice of Practice with more information, but this is a great way to get started.

Work On Your Rhythm: Learn to Play Guiro

In The Practice of Practice, I recommend learning the tumbao and clave patterns on conga, or learning any rhythm instrument. Here’s a lesson on playing the guiro, from Bobby Sanabria. He teaches not only how to play it, but where the patterns go in the clave pattern.

A Lick a Day: Soundslice Serves it Up!

Learning licks from someone on an instrument different from yours is a great idea, because is exposes limitations of your instrument, but also exposes patterns on your instrument that can be changed or broken, in a good way. Say, learn Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday melodies on your instrument, or check out these short licks…

How to Use the Piano to Explore Harmony

Ted Nash of the JLCO gives some superb advice on using the piano to explore harmony.

“Part of practicing is putting yourself in a position where you’re going to discover something new.” – Ted Nash

Check it out.