The Work: Inside Classical Music Practice

There are more ways to practice than this video documents. It’s one of the blind spots in academia: all of the research on practice is focused on Western Classical Music. It’s like other styles and other approaches don’t even exist. Weird, right?  It’s why I did the research I did on practice (and wrote a book about it).

So, despite that blind spot, this is still an interesting video from Dan Piccolo (University of Michigan) on how Western classical musicians practice. Even if you’re not into playing that kind of music, there are some nuggets of wisdom in here you can use no matter what genre you play.

Erin McKeown used songwriting and recording to hone her skills. Nicholas Barron used performing to practice. A French musician (fantastic upright bass player whose name escapes me) I was chatting with at Django In June in 2016 said he practiced by sitting on his couch, listening to great music. When he heard something he liked, he got up and learned it. Then back to listenting. I kind of like that approach.

All this is to say, “Don’t  buy into just one way of learning music. There are other ways to get good, and many are more enjoyable than what some see as the ‘boring’ kinds of classical music practice.”

Learn about them in The Practice of  Practice.pop_frontcover_paperback_small


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