Artistic Expression And Physical Gesture

This morning I read an excellent blog article by Gerald Klickstein (author of The Musician’s Way: A Guide to Practice, Performance, and Wellness) about a skill that musicians too often neglect: “the ability to sense musical gestures before performing them.” He calls this ability, appropriately enough, “feeling ahead.” Near the beginning of the article Mr. Klickstein offers this quote by […]

Making Music Together: There’s No Substitute For Rapport

As a serious musician you probably spend a great deal of time in the practice room. This is a highly solitary activity. Countless hours refining, discovering, re-thinking, all with the aim of improvement. And improvement you get. But have you ever noticed that no matter how well you play in the practice room, that’s there’s […]

The Beginning Jazz Improviser’s Biggest Mistake

Improvisation can seem like a mysterious, almost impenetrable process to those new to studying it. The idea that a musician can generate cogent, beautiful melodies on the spot seems almost superhuman. But in fact, it is one of the most  human characteristics we possess. We’re actually natural improvisers.  We speak and move spontaneously everyday with no […]

The Best Saxophone Lesson I’ve Ever Taken

This probably sounds crazy, but the best saxophone lesson I’ve ever taken was from somebody who didn’t even play the instrument. It was given to me by Frances Marsden, my first Alexander Technique teacher. How is it possible (you might ask) that somebody who knows nothing about playing the saxophone could help me become a better saxophone […]

Speak To Yourself Gently

When I meet with a student for the first time, I’m observing as much as I possibly can, trying to get as much information about the student as possible. I’m watching movement habits, breathing, balance and posture, amongst other things. Everything I’m looking at is giving me clues about my student’s thinking. Because I can’t […]