Love Music? Watch This Now: Soundbreaking.
Superb. Not about practice directly, but you can learn a lot by watching. All about recording sounds. Clips below. Check out full episodes here.
Dave Grohl’s Guide to Kick A**
Dave Grohl needs no introduction. Even if you know him, you really should watch Sound City, a great documentary about a legendary music studio. In the doc you’ll see a bit of Grohl, but lots and lots of other superb musicians, too. Video below the tips.
What’s Better: Practice or Performance?
Something I learned when researching The Practice of Practice is that many of the best musicians don’t make a distinction between “practice” and “performance,” and if they do, most strive to have more performance in their playing. This was driven home most by…
Take a Free Songwriting Course. Open Now! (10-14-14)
Just a quick heads-up about a free songwriting course over at Coursera, taught by Pat Pattison, from Berklee College of Music.
Yo-Yo Ma: “So whatever you practice for…that fails is all right, because we have a greater purpose.”
Yo-Yo Ma is a world treasure, and his perspective, playfulness, artistry, and educational inclinations make him one of my absolute favorite musicians. His Silk Road Project creates some of the most interesting musical collaborations I’ve ever heard. Check out the video below. I think you’ll agree. Below the video is a link to a wonderful interview with Yo-Yo Ma in which he talks about a wide range of topics, including–you guessed it–practice.
Jazz Guitarist Bobby Broom Talks Practice
It was mainly about the music and just wanting to get it right. ~ Bobby Broom ~ I’ve done a lot of interviews with stellar musicians like Bobby Broom about music practice, but this was one of the coolest, not only because I’m a big fan of his, and not because he speaks so eloquently and…
Erin McKeown Talks Practice
Erin McKeown first opened my eyes about how practice can be very different depending on the kind of music you’re making. The kind of creative approach Erin uses to get better is covered in more detail in Chapters 26 and 38 of “The Practice of Practice,” available on Amazon. Below is a recording of my 2011 interview with Erin, talking about how she gets better.
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.
Words of Wisdom from Jazz Musicians: DMEP
While at the festival (I was there to critique groups and give a couple clinics on my investigation into practice), I got the chance to chat with Rob Klevan, long-time education director at the fantabulous Monterey Jazz Festival. He turned me on to a new app and interviews that you HAVE to check out if you’re interested in jazz, or any kind of music practice for that matter. This weekend I got to meet one of the featured players, Sal Cracchiolo, before he went up to play a smoking set with the always funky Tower of Power.
This thing goes deep.
Colin Oldberg: Principal Trumpet, Hong Kong Symphony Orchestra
Colin Oldberg is a stellar musician. He plays principal trumpet for the Hong Kong Symphony Orchestra and is a founding member of Axiom Brass, a brass quintet out of Chicago. Colin has toured with the Chicago Symphony and earned a spot in the first YouTube Orchestra. He was gracious to talk about his own experience with practice for over an hour. Thanks, Colin!
Opening excerpt: The Axiom Brass Quintet: Colin Oldberg, trumpet; Dorival Puccini, Jr., trumpet; Matthew Oliphant, horn; Kevin Harrison, tuba; Brett Johnson, trombone.
here’s the mp3 of Wapango, one third of Pacquito D’Rivera’s Three Pieces for Brass Quintet, courtesy of Axiom Brass Quintet. If you like it, support these fantastic artists and buy the whole CD or mp3. It’s great stuff! Go see Axiom Brass live, too, for an even better musical experience.
Jazz Guitarist Bobby Broom Talks Practice
Bobby Broom Interview on Practice (mp3)
Bobby Broom is a jazz guitarist you should know about. He’s a great guy and a fantastic musician, but you don’t need to take my word for it. His latest album with The Deep Blue Organ Trio, Wonderful!, celebrates the music of Stevie Wonder and has been at the top of the jazz charts this fall. Musicians with more street cred than me also like his playing. Bobby Broom has played with several of the grand-masters of jazz: Sonny Rollins, Art Blakey, Miles Davis, Kenny Burrell, and a lot of others.