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Superb Practice Advice from JLCO’s Ted Nash

Trumpeter George Recker used to say, “If you can’t sing it, you can’t play it.” It’s great advice. Here’s some similar great advice about singing and playing a horn, as well as several other great practice suggestions from Ted Nash, one of the great players (they’re all great) in the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.


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In the following video, Mr. Nash mentions The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield. Get a copy by clicking on the image.




Why the Best Always Critique Themselves

It’s a curse and a blessing. The only way to get good at anything is to always take a critical look at what you’ve done, and then tweak, change, and improve on what you’ve done before. Anybody who improves does it. Sometimes it’s not easy (or pain-free), but it’s essential to progress.

The trick is to silence that valuable inner critic when it’s showtime, and just before showtime, because that’s not when you need the critique. Charlie Parker said it best: “You’ve got to practice, practice, and practice. And then, when you finally get up to the bandstand, forget all that and just wail.”

That kind of critique is just one of the many things expert practicers do. There are lots of others to be found in The Practice of Practice, or in the shorter version with more pictures, Pracctice Like This.

Here’s George Carlin’s critique of his 1992 performance on David Letterman (video of his appearance below the notes). It’s fascinating to see the mind of a genius critique himself. The nuance of changing “lobster tails” to “rack of lamb” is probably lost to most, but to Carlin, “rack of lamb” is funnier. I think I agree. Here are his notes:

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The bit from Carlin’s notes starts at 6:20




Learn how pros in many genres practice, learn to read music, play trumpet, and more. Sol Ut Press (www.sol-ut.com)

Learn how pros in many genres practice, learn to read music, play trumpet, and more. Sol Ut Press (www.sol-ut.com)

Evidence of Practice: Music for Brain and Booty

Snarky Puppy doing their amazing thing, on Jazz Night in America, hosted by Christian McBride. Great show. Check out all their episodes.

Sarky Puppy’s discography.




Why You Should Beware of Practicing

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One of the best pieces of advice I got interviewing world-class musicians from many genres of music came from Rex Martin, who got it from Bud Herseth. He told me, “We have to be careful about practice, because we start to practice practicing. We need to practice performing.”

Lots of great players, when they work on something in a room alone, imagine someone they greatly admire, in the room with them, because it can motivate you not only to give your best, but it can also result in advice and perspective from that person, even if they’re not physically present. Try it!




Hang Up Your Hangups

How many thousands of hours of practice do you think are represented in the serious groove laid down by the master/monster musicians in this video?

International Jazz Day All-Star Global Concert Osaka 2014
“Hang Up Your Hang Ups”
Herbie Hancock – piano
Roy Hargrove – trumpet
Kenny Garrett – saxophone
John Scofield – guitar
Sheila E – percussion
Terri Lyne Carrington – drums




Blues Inflection in Jazz

Saxophonist Todd Williams guides you through Blues inflections, and performs W.C. Handy’s classic St. Louis Blues to illustrate.

Learn more at http://academy.jalc.org

St. Louis Blues is a popular American song composed by W. C. Handy in the blues style and published in September 1914. It remains a fundamental part of jazz musicians’ repertoire. It was also one of the first blues songs to succeed as a pop song. It has been performed by numerous musicians of all styles from Louis Armstrong and Bessie Smith to Count Basie, Glenn Miller, Guy Lombardo, and the Boston Pops Orchestra. It has been called “the jazzman’s Hamlet“.[1]




 

 

Sweet New Metronome You Feel Instead of Hear

Check this one out! What a great idea, especially the ability to synchronize the beat across a group. How about 75 of them for a concert band? Or 20 for a jazz band? Maybe they would cut a deal for large orders like that. I’d ask them, if you’ve got the money. Or even four or five for quartet/quintet groups.

Learn more at their site.




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