Improvising, in Contrast to “Practicing Improvisation”

The other night while giving a practice coaching session via Skype to a very good jazz guitarist, an interesting issue arose. Though he had been putting in long hours of practice, diligently and intelligently working on the specific skills he would like to develop as an improviser, he found his actual experience  whenever improvising oddly […]

Physical Efficiency in Playing Music: A Question of Economy

Many highly skilled and accomplished musicians have lots to say about efficiency in playing their particular instrument. Whether it is about what the hands/fingers should (or shouldn’t do), or the arms and legs, or how any particular part of the oral mechanism involved in playing functions optimally, there seems to be no shortage of opinions […]

Improving Technique: It’s More Than Simply Exercising Muscles

There is a common, often disconnecting, conception many musicians carry with them when they first seek my help as an Alexander Technique teacher: In essence, they believe that the very problem that brought them to me is of a purely physical nature. Put more precisely, an issue of muscle function. I call this a “disconnecting […]

Something Every Serious Student of Improvisation Should Be Doing Regularly

If you ask just about any highly skilled jazz musician what you need to practice for optimum improvement, you’ll typically get advice that concurs with other highly skilled jazz musicians. The reason is simple. Some things work better than others in leading you toward developing the skills and conception you need. (And some things don’t […]

My Main Objective When Practicing Something Difficult

Is there an ideal, universal, one-size-fits-all objective that musicians have when practicing something they perceive as being “difficult”? Well, certainly the most obvious objective is to become functionally proficient with the very thing that’s being practiced. But there are typically several other aims nested inside that main objective when practicing difficult music. How about you? […]