How to Listen When You Practice: Ted Nash

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…

How to Use the Piano to Explore Harmony

Ted Nash of the JLCO gives some superb advice on using the piano to explore harmony.

“Part of practicing is putting yourself in a position where you’re going to discover something new.” – Ted Nash

Check it out.

Finding Flow in Practice: Glenn Gould

There’s a lot to like about the video of pianist Glenn Gould below. Three things happen in the video that show Gould’s flow state in practice (see clips below).

A Case for Learning by Ear: Young Jazz Wizard Joey Alexander

Joey Alexander is 11 in the video below, and he displays an artistry and control and musicality that few are able to achieve, no matter what their age. In the jazz tradition, he learned by ear, and listening to him talk about who he likes, you know he likes the heavies, and has absorbed them. In…

Kenny Werner’s Practice Snapshots

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.

Quality v. Quantity

Some research shows that the amount of time doesn’t really matter, although it does matter a little since if you spend zero hours doing something, you’re not going to get better at all. But it turns out that the number of hours practiced doesn’t really matter, it’s all about the quality of your practice. What you do is important, but not how much you do. Duh, right?

This seems like a no-brainer issue, but researchers are notoriously skeptical about common-sense issues. We want to know for sure whether things are true. That’s one of the reasons behind a study by Duke, Simmons, & Cash (2009), titled It’s not how much; it’s how: Characteristics of practice behavior and retention of performance skills. These researchers had 17 graduate and advanced undergraduate piano players practice a 3-measure excerpt of Shostakovich’s Concerto No. 1 for Piano, Trumpet and String Orchestra (here’s a clip of Shostakovich himself playing part of it). Here’s the excerpt: