Optimizing Practice: Habit Versus Choice

After teaching the Alexander Technique to musicians for a number of years now, one thing I can assert with confidence is that there’s never such thing as a “typical” lesson. In fact, I usually have no idea what I’ll be working on with my student at the beginning of a lesson. My only agenda is […]

Four Skills Every Beginning Jazz Improviser Must Develop

One of the unfortunate things that beginning students of jazz improvisation often face is frustration. To create music spontaneously can seem like such a vast, daunting, almost shapeless subject. As a teacher, many of the novices I encounter have already started practicing improvisation. But because they are working on it in an illogical, or inefficient way, they […]

Practicing Music: There Are No Foolproof Exercises

Musicians love to share advice in an attempt to help other musicians. (I’m no exception.) And it probably goes without saying that some of the advice is helpful, and some isn’t. One of the most common forms of advice that I often take issue with is when a musician blindly prescribes a particular exercise to another musician […]