Practice Strategies: Keeping the End in Mind in the Present Moment

I’ve had the good fortune of being able to teach the Alexander Technique to some very highly skilled and highly accomplished musicians, including various members of world-class orchestras and chamber ensembles, as well as some of Los Angeles’ finest studio musicians. Though all of these artists are diverse and unique with the skills they possess, […]

New Book: Four-Note Diatonic Triad Cells

I’m especially pleased to announce that my latest eBook, Four-Note Diatonic Triad Cells: Comprehensive Studies in Leading Tones, is now available for purchase and immediate download. Major and minor triads are a fundamental building block of virtually any melodic language, most certainly including jazz. As an improvising musician, gaining mastery over the movement and connection […]

Deepening Improvisation: Do This Every Time You Learn a New Melodic Pattern

Part of the work in studying improvisation is what I call “feeding” our ears and imagination. In essence, this involves learning and practicing new patterns and sequences. These patterns can be anything from simple, diatonic melodic movements, to more harmonically complex polytonal statements that you’ve discovered in a jazz etude book, to very particular “licks” […]

Healthy and Efficient Practice: Aim for Wanting This at the End of Each Session

Part of my work as practice coach is in helping musicians clarify their wishes. This involves suggesting ways to reframe what they want in a manner that is most conducive to actually getting it. One of the most fundamental desires I encourage my clients to cultivate has to do with how they feel at the […]

Is Improvisation Really Just “Spontaneous Composition”?

Yes. (to answer the question in the title) And no. Yes, in that you are most certainly generating musical ideas. And yes, these ideas contain what can be referred to as “compositional elements and principles”. And yes, when you are a skilled improviser, you are often constructing a solo in a cogent, “compositional” manner. But […]