In commemoration of drumming legend Tony Williams’ birthday, we look back at his momentous career of innovation and exploration. Source: Tony Williams In Five Songs
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.
A little more basic than the usual fare here, but it’s a nice performance, with rhyme, music, and knowledge. What’s not to like?
Wynton Marsalis knows how to practice. As a younger man, he was equally at home in front of a symphony orchestra playing the Haydn concerto, or laying down some serious jazz with Art Blakey. Check out his 12 Rules of Practice after the video.
Joseph Tawadros and his oud, 2011
All practice and now play is not a good idea. Now and then I like skip any kind of practice advice and feature great musicians and albums you might not have heard of before. Check out the video below.
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.
There is no deal with the Prince of Darkness at the crossroads, but what a great myth. The crossroads is inside the ‘shed, and the devil you’re dealing with is practice. Check out what Yo-Yo Ma and Wynton Marsalis have to say about practice. In these 3 videos, you’ll hear Wynton expound on his 12 rules of practice.
Here’s what a loser sounds like:[video]
Of course I’m being sarcastic. This is a wonderful performance by 12-year-old So0-Yen Lee-Wieniawaski.
Writers, musicians, visual artists, or any other person who relies on creativity for their well-being–whether spiritual, mental, or monetary–knows that ideas like inspiration, talent, or some other idea that makes us believe that things should be “easy,” are often more hindrance than help. It’s work. And that’s not a bad thing.
What’s great about hearing Jack White speak about his own process is learning about the constraints he puts on himself. There is also this gem about why constraints are so important, and how surfeit can suck the juice out of creativity:
Loop pedals are such a great way to have fun while you practice, no matter what instrument you play. You hone your rhythmic skills, you focus on a short snippet of music at time, you can layer these snippets to your heart’s content, and best of all, you receive immediate feedback. Here’s Elijah Aaron showing us how it’s done right, with a cover of TLC’s No Scrubs
Most professional musicians I’ve spoken with about practice believe that the performance is one of many forms of practice. Some use performance specifically as their only practice. For those who practice alone or are shy, a good performance requires skills that aren’t honed in the practice room. You’ve got to just get out there, do it, and learn from it. This fun TED talk by Joe Kowan is a perfect example of practicing performance, and using creativity to enhance practice.
This interactive score of Petrushka is a gold mine for anyone interested in the piece. Stravinsky wrote Petrushka when he was 28 years old, in 1910-11. It’s a wonderful piece of music, and even if you’re not a classical musician, this site is a feast for the mind and the ears. Follow along in the highly interactive score, learn about what the different parts represent, learn about the historical context, and listen to commentary from music luminaries on the piece. There is something for everyone here: players, teachers, and even young children.