Nicholas Barron: Performance As Practice

Chicago singer-songwriter Nicholas Barron is another musician who told me, "I never practice." What he meant was that he didn't do conventional kinds of practice, the kind required by classical and band music. Check out how he got so good….

Nicholas Barron: Chicago Singer-Songwriter on Practice

A talk with Chicago singer-songwriter Nicholas Barron who has an interesting take on practice. Check out the site for a free mp3 of Nicholas’s music.

In the course of the interview Nicholas said, “That’s what a lot of people do; they practice in a room and they don’t get anywhere. It’s really about practice being life, and life being practice.” Check out the whole interview if you want to understand what he means.

Performance as Practice

When I asked Nicholas Barron about how he practices, he said, “I never practice.” I was intrigued, because the dude can play guitar and sing, and has clearly spent a lot of time doing it. Over the course of the next 90 minutes, he shared the details of what “I never practice” means to him. Performance-as-practice is a focus Nicholas shares with a lot of pop musicians.

Nicholas Barron is a soulful Chicago singer-songwriter who looks like Vince Vaughn (but funnier), and he sounds like the love-child of John Lee Hooker, John Hiatt, and Joni Mitchell. James Taylor called Nicholas “undeniable” at New York Times’ Emerging Artists Series in 2007. Nicholas’s songs are playful, thoughtful, and heartfelt. I’ll tell you a little about his performance-as-practice approach.

Check out the vid of one of his more popular tunes, “I’m Not Superman” below.

Podcast Ahoy!

Well, I’ve got a few interviews in the can and will be editing and processing them in the coming weeks. The next post to this podcast will have an interview with Nicholas Barron, singer-songwriter from Chicago, followed by interviews with classical trumpeter Colin Oldberg (principal trumpet w/ the Hong Kong Symphony Orchestra), Singer-Songwriter Erin McKeown, jazz trumpeter Chad McCullough, and the most excellent Chicago Symphony Orchestra Tuba player Rex Martin. There are more interviews in the works, too, including (tentatively) Ingrid Jensen, Bobby Broom, and Josh Ritter. Stay tuned. When that first one is posted, be sure to subscribe to the iTunes podcast feed to download future interviews automatically. The first one should be up by mid-March.

Performance as Practice

Nicholas Barron says he’s never practiced. A lot of people can say that, right? But how many are musicians who can play and sing like this:

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…

How to Get Better at What You Love

Loved hearing about how Demosthenes practiced in this talk by Eduardo Briceño.

Many musicians–especially school musicians who perform only once every few months–need almost the opposite approach from what Eduardo emphasizes at the beginning of this talk.

From Rock to Bach: THE Book for Any Musician On Your List

Until The Practice of Practice, there hasn’t been a book on practice written for musicians who aren’t interested in the school musics (band, choir, and orchestra). The good news is that this book is also valuable for those folks, too. It’s useful whether you’re into Bach, Rock, or any other kind of music.

Feeling Stuck in Your Practice (and Getting Unstuck)

Sting talks below about overcoming writer’s block. When we see these luminaries of music, it often appears they have no struggles, that music simply flows from them. But that’s not the case, most of the time. Music is work. A labor of love, to be sure, but still, a labor. A labor fraught with error and the necessary correction; a labor fraught with being (or feeling) “stuck.” Listening to Sting talking about being “stuck,” I thought of the Beethoven’s Opus 69 manuscript below and what every professional musician I’ve interviewed has said about being stuck…

Book Extras

  Nearly every chapter in the book has links to more information: images, videos, books, gadgets, research articles, and more. Below is the full list of these extras. If you’re interested in the research references used in the book, here they are. Dead links will be replaced as soon as I learn about them. If you spot…