Skill and Coordination (They’re Not Necessarily the Same Thing)

  One of the aims of the Alexander Technique is to improve coordination. And I would say more specifically for musicians, the aim of the Technique is to improve the quality of  overall  coordination that you use to implement your music making skills. A misapprehension that many musicians have is that skill and coordination are one and […]

Is Improvisation Really Just “Spontaneous Composition”?

Yes. (to answer the question in the title) And no. Yes, in that you are most certainly generating musical ideas. And yes, these ideas contain what can be referred to as “compositional elements and principles”. And yes, when you are a skilled improviser, you are often constructing a solo in a cogent, “compositional” manner. But […]

Two Main Reasons Inefficient Practice Advice Gets Perpetuated

One of the things I usually discover early on when teaching the Alexander Technique to musicians, is that part of the problem that led them to seek my help has to do with counterproductive pedagogy. With a wind instrumentalist, for example, I might observe what appears to be a forced, tense, noisy, unnatural-looking inhalation before […]

Rethinking Long Tones

One of the staples of practicing a wind instrument or a string instrument is holding sustained tones. The initial aim of practicing “long tones” is to improve sound, intonation and (for some musicians) endurance. Yet I’m still taken aback at the amount of musicians I encounter who view long tone practice as a mindless activity […]

A Simple Way To Expand Your Improvisational Vocabulary (As You Improve Your Technique!)

The most typical frustration that an aspiring student of improvisation expresses to me in our initial consultation is that they feel stuck. They feel rather stagnant, uninspired by their own predictable (to them, anyhow!) playing. And as I listen to them play and ask questions, I notice without fail that not enough of their practice […]