Kenny Werner’s Practice Snapshots

Pianist Kenny Werner’s book Effortless Mastery has helped a lot of people who struggle with the fear of performance. He’s started a new blog, and part of the blog is a series of videos on how he practices. I’m excited to hear and watch these videos, and encourage you to check them out the first three below. If you haven’t read it, you really owe it to yourself to buy his book, and his Effortless Mastery videos, and learn from the man. Good stuff.

Here are the first three of Mr. Werner’s practice videos (and below those, is the Keith Jarrett solo piano concert mentioned in his first video).

Want to learn more about the best ways to practice? Get an e-mail with a discount code when The Practice of Practice is published (June, 2014). To learn more about the book, check out a sample from The Practice of Practice.

Introduction to the Series

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Practice Session 1

In the introduction, Mr. Werner talked about working on playing in 9 (9 beats to the measure). You’ll hear his metronome counting out this meter in this clip. Wonderful example of practice. It’s so, so rare to get a glimpse into anybody’s practice routine, because it’s often an intensely private thing. A huge Huzzah!  and a thank you to him for sharing it.


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Practice Session 2

Here Mr. Werner talks about “doubling up” two things. He’s practicing in 9 and working through the Keith Jarret solo. Master practicers often combine their goals like this. If you’re new to practice, I’d suggest you focus on only one thing. His advice in this clip at 1:23 is gold. So simple, but that morsel is almost all you need for great practice.


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Keith Jarrett Solo Piano, Tokyo, 1984

This is the performance Mr. Werner is learning as a tribute (and a way to practice in 9/4). You should watch the whole performance, but if you want to jump to the encore, I’ve cued the video to that spot (I think. If not, it’s at 1:26:37). If you don’t know, Mr. Jarrett’s performances are entirely improvised. In an interview Keith Jarrett once said that as he watches his fingers reach to the keyboard to play, he will sometimes move his hand at the last instant to play something unintended. That’s fearlessness and mastery at work, for sure.

Want to learn more about the best ways to practice? Get an e-mail with a discount code when The Practice of Practice is published (June, 2014). To learn more about the book, check out a sample from The Practice of Practice.

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