Deep Practice: Living in One Key at a Time

Probably because I’ve been an improvising musician for so many years, every time I discover a new melodic idea that I like (and get it well into my ears), I’m compelled to put it into all 12 keys. To me, I don’t even begin to “know” the new melodic idea until it’s been expressed and […]

The Serendipitous Gifts of Studying the Alexander Technique

The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.                   –Serendipity  (as defined by the Oxford Dictionary of the English Language)   It was my frightening and frustrating struggle as a saxophonist with focal dystonia (a neurologically based movement disorder that impairs coordination) […]

Language Matters: Optimizing Effort by Modifying Word Choices

One of the key things I take notice of when giving an Alexander Technique lesson to a musician for the first time, is the language my student is using to describe what they are doing when playing their instrument. Words are necessary, of course, to help inform me about their needs, as well as to […]

Resonance, Time and Ease (A Warm-up Meditation)

Just as my practice goals and strategies evolve over time, so does my conception and implementation of warming up to practice. Recently, one of the musicians that I coach asked me to elaborate more specifically how I’m currently warming up. So I thought I’d share my thoughts here with you all. In the past few […]

Deep Listening: Thoughts from a Master Improviser

One of my all-time favorite musicians is pianist, composer, improviser and educator, Ran Blake, who has been teaching at Boston’s New England Conservatory of Music for over 40 years. He has also amassed a significant body of recorded work that is simply stunning. The first time I heard his music, the most significant impression it […]