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 […]

Prevention As The Key For Improving Your Technique

Bill Green, who was legendary in Los Angeles as a wise teacher and master of woodwind instruments once said to me: “You know, it’s a shame, but many musicians spend the first half of their lives learning to play, and the last half unlearning the habits that came along with learning to play.” And so it is […]

Juilliard Music Students Talk About The Alexander Technique

One of my greatest satisfactions in life is being able to use the Alexander Technique as a tool help musicians. If you’re a musician, the Technique is useful for everything from teaching you how to avoid injuries and play with less pain and strain, to improving your coordination and skill, to helping you hear and […]

Want To Improve Your Time? Call Upon Your Imagination

To me the most fundamental skill for an improvisor to have is good time. Specifically, being able to perceive and control tempo. It’s probably impossible to create rhythmic interest and thematic development without first having a strong internal clock as a point of reference. (You never hear a beautifully improvised solo where the player’s time […]