Healthy and Efficient Practice: Aim for Wanting This at the End of Each Session

Part of my work as practice coach is in helping musicians clarify their wishes. This involves suggesting ways to reframe what they want in a manner that is most conducive to actually getting it. One of the most fundamental desires I encourage my clients to cultivate has to do with how they feel at the […]

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 […]