Easy Precision

One sure fire way to get somebody to tense their bodies up is to tell them to hold a particular position. As soon as you say, “Good! Exactly like that. Now don’t move a muscle”, you can bet that they’ve stiffened themselves up and stopped (or at least significantly interfered with) their breathing, in an attempt to hold […]

Melody And Clear Intention

When is a musical idea melodic? What makes it so? These are questions that musicians could debate for an eternity. If you’re an improvising musician these questions are particularly pressing because they not only reflect how you play, but also, what you feel, hear and imagine. They bring your deepest aesthetic impulses into the light […]

Be Wary Of Good Advice

One of the biggest challenges that arise when I teach the Alexander Technique to musicians is to get them to consider ideas about playing their instrument that seem to be contrary to what they believe to be absolutely true. Some of these ideas were imparted to them by well-meaning teachers. Unfortunately, a certain amount of those  ideas are adding […]

The Problem With Studying The “Jazz Language”

The other morning I was giving a first lesson to a jazz guitarist ( a university student) and was struck by something I notice quite often: Young jazz students spending a seemingly disproportionate amount of practice time learning and memorizing jazz lines and improvised solos. When I asked this musician what he practices, he said […]