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…
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…
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.
We all want to get better, which means we’re all on the same path. When you see someone whose music blows you away, the tips below are part of what they did to get there. No matter how impossible it seems, you can do it, too. Follow these 7 guidelines:
Most mammals use play and playfulness in practice, including the musician in this amazing video, the great trumpeter, educator, and composer, Allen Vizzutti (discography/bibliography):
Nearly every world-class musician I interviewed for the book took naps regularly, usually after the main practice session of the day. It works, and Mednick explains why.
Just a quick heads-up about a free songwriting course over at Coursera, taught by Pat Pattison, from Berklee College of Music.
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….
Hardenberger is working with young trumpeter Elizabeth Fitzpatrick. First, notice the difference in tone and musicality between Ms. Fitzpatrick and Mr. Hardenberger. Pretty amazing. But what’s really helpful is what Hardenberger tells her about listening.
Hans Jørgen Jensen is an affable cello teacher from whose studio have come cello players who win in international cello competitions and garner spots in top orchestras around the world. He’s a wonderful teacher and an interesting, busy man. There were many gems to admire when he spoke with me about practice, but the one that sticks in my mind, the one that was powerful enough to make it a chapter in The Practice of Practice was the power of goals. Another chapter covers what I’ve called Guerrilla Practice: snatching a tiny fragment of practice when you can, either once a day or, ideally, throughout the day. Both are covered briefly below.
Songwriting as a means of practice is a great idea! The engagement with the sound you’re making goes deeper than when you practice scales, or other techniques, because you own (on many levels) the sounds you’re creating. And you don’t have to have special skills to do it, just dive in and start figuring it out.
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.