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” […]

Skill and Coordination (They’re Not Necessarily the Same Thing)

One of the aims of the Alexander Technique is to improve coordination. And I would say more specifically for musicians, the aim of the Technique is to improve the quality of  overall  coordination that you use to implement your music making skills. A misapprehension that many musicians have is that skill and coordination are one and the […]

Two Main Reasons Inefficient Practice Advice Gets Perpetuated

One of the things I usually discover early on when teaching the Alexander Technique to musicians, is that part of the problem that led them to seek my help has to do with counterproductive pedagogy. With a wind instrumentalist, for example, I might observe what appears to be a forced, tense, noisy, unnatural-looking inhalation before […]

10 Recurring Principles Of Effective Practice (And Performance)

This past year I’ve had the privilege and honor to serve as practice coach and Alexander Technique teacher to some especially outstanding musicians, from elite orchestral members, to studio session pros, to full-time jazz artists. I’m always so thankful for what I learn from my students, and use what I learn not only to help […]

Improvisation: Using Silence As A Part Of Your Expression

It is often said about the great jazz trumpet player, Miles Davis, that a large part of his improvisational genius manifested itself not only in what he played, but also in what he didn’t play. His use of silence became an integral color of all his improvisations. It was largely responsible for keeping us, the […]