Going Mental (Mental Practice, that is)

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.

Work On Your Rhythm: Learn to Play Guiro

In The Practice of Practice, I recommend learning the tumbao and clave patterns on conga, or learning any rhythm instrument. Here’s a lesson on playing the guiro, from Bobby Sanabria. He teaches not only how to play it, but where the patterns go in the clave pattern.

A Lick a Day: Soundslice Serves it Up!

Learning licks from someone on an instrument different from yours is a great idea, because is exposes limitations of your instrument, but also exposes patterns on your instrument that can be changed or broken, in a good way. Say, learn Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday melodies on your instrument, or check out these short licks…

Superb Practice Advice from JLCO’s Ted Nash

Trumpeter George Recker used to say, “If you can’t sing it, you can’t play it.” It’s great advice. Here’s some similar great advice about singing and playing a horn, as well as several other great practice suggestions from Ted Nash, one of the great players (they’re all great) in the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.

Why You Should Beware of Practicing

One of the best pieces of advice I got interviewing world-class musicians from many genres of music came from Rex Martin, who got it from Bud Herseth. He told me, “We have to be careful about practice, because we start to practice practicing. We need to practice performing.” Lots of great players, when they work…