There are so many reasons why the study of music is valuable (outside of simply learning to play better). When you practice, you are cultivating a multitude of useful skills: self-discipline, creativity, mathematical ability, aural imagination, and fine motor skills, to name but a few. You’re working both sides of the brain.
But I think [...]
“Listen very deeply to the music that touches your heart the most, analyze it and learn all you can about it. Then forget everything and be yourself.”
This simple bit of advice rings so true to me, both as performing artist and as teacher. It is a direct quote from one of my [...]
One of the things that too often goes hand in hand with playing at fast tempos is excessive bodily tension. This is not a requirement of the music. Instead, it’s largely because of the habits, perceptions and attitudes of the performer. It doesn’t have to be like that.
The other day, as I was working with a new Alexander Technique student, I encountered (again) a fairly common habit that many musicians have that usually leads to trouble. Allow me to share.
My student is a singer who came to see me because of problems she’s been having with vocal strain [...]
To improvise fluently, expressively and authentically, you need to develop good ears. You must be able to find the notes on your instrument that you’re hearing in your head (immediately!) as you play from moment to moment.
So it’s no wonder that ear training is a significantly large component in the study of jazz. Learning to [...]
Recently I was reading a thread on a Facebook page (for saxophonists) about chronic pain. The thread started out asking about the value of chiropractic work for musicians, then quickly morphed into a discussion of the merits and/or shortcomings of various modalities to address pain and injury.
Lots of experiences, opinions and ideas were offered [...]
One of the things that keeps many musicians from improving, is not being able to simplify complex (or difficult) pedagogical challenges. I’m talking specifically here about how these challenges are approached in the practice room.
As I improve as a musician, I notice that I also broaden my skills in breaking large (sometimes seemingly impossible) [...]
Happy New Year! 2012 was a wonderful year for me (hope it was for you, too!) Lots of memorable experiences both in teaching the Alexander Technique to musicians, and in performing. My blog readership has grown exponentially and I feel thankful and encouraged by the positive feedback, requests and suggestions.
As I [...]
The quality of your practice is directly proportionate to the quality of your thinking. Contrary to what many musicians believe, you’re not “training muscles” as you practice, so much as you are directing your thinking so that your brain can readily coordinate the muscular activity necessary to play well.
Mindless, repetitive practice usually yields limited, [...]
The art of musical improvisation involves imagination and ability: An unfettered muse supported by the specific skills necessary to turn creative impulses into clearly expressed ideas. It is the discipline of musical composition carried out moment to moment. In real time.
Because of the “real time” demands of improvisation, it’s natural for our brains to [...]
Bulletproof Saxophone Playing
- The Most Fundamental Skill You Develop When You Practice
- Some Helpful Words About Finding Your Creative Voice
- A Simple Tip To Help You Play Better At Fast Tempos
- Are You Trying To Hear Your Sound By Creating Excess Tension?
- Practicing Improvisation: Two Essential Components To Develop For You To Improve
- Today is moving day. New house, nice (larger) teaching studio. The next two days involve lots of physical labor, but well worth the effort. 2 weeks ago
- One of my first blog posts about improving as a musician, inspired by the great Janos Starker. Rest in peace, Maestro http://t.co/hWuy1zYGHa 2 weeks ago
- "When you have to explain what you are doing, you discover what you are really doing." Janos Starker 2 weeks ago
- Want Less Tension As You Play? Think About - http://t.co/3oxBvuXREA 2 weeks ago
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