How Often Do You Stop Listening To Yourself As You Practice Your Instrument?

I was giving an Alexander Technique lesson this morning to a young violinist who had come to me because of some problems with pain and tension (particularly in his left shoulder) as he played. This morning I wanted to see what he does with himself as he practices, so I had him practice an arpeggio […]

Opening Your Mouth: One Simple Tip For Wind Instrumentalists And Singers

As an Alexander Technique teacher, one of the most common habits of mal-coordination I observe involves how wind instrumentalists and singers open their mouths as they perform. Whether to take a breath, or to simply set the embouchure (in the case of the wind player), I too often see this: the performer opening the mouth […]

A Master Musician Talks About Growth And Improvement

This is an excerpt from a video about the great cellist, Janos Starker. Here he is working with a young cellist in front of a group in master class. He listens carefully, then gives her one simple thing to change in how she produce her vibrato. Immediately we hear an improvement. You can actually see […]

Want To Find Your True Voice As An Improviser? Transcribe Yourself

One of the standard practices in studying jazz music is to transcribe improvised solos played by great performers. From the more “classic” masters such as Louis Armstrong, Lester Young, Charlie Parker and  Bill Evans, on up to contemporary artists such as Brad Mehldau, Mark Turner or Dave Douglas. Transcribing a solo that you really like […]

What I learned From The Gypsies About Playing Music

For years I’ve been deeply interested in the music from the Balkan region of southeastern Europe. I’ve traveled to Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia, Romania and other countries  primarily to listen to the folk music there. Early on I discovered the music of the Roma, or as they are more commonly known, the Gypsies. They are ubiquitous […]