One Of The Most Overlooked Elements Of Effective Sight-Reading

One of the absolute best sight readers I’ve ever had a chance to play with (a saxophonist by the name of David Hughes) had a saying about reading even the most difficult music at sight: Sight-reading is as much an attitude as it is a skill. And it is. There is a good deal of […]

Something You Do When You Practice That Is Always A Good Use Of Your Time

If you practice patience in one moment of anger, you will escape one hundred days of sorrow. -Chinese Proverb Serious, daily musical practice is something that is loaded with speculation and second-guessing. Lots of “should’ve, would’ve and could’ve”, as my father would say. Whenever I’m giving a practice coaching session to a musician, the topic […]

Teaching And Learning Music: A Built-In Problem In Exhanging Information

The longer I teach the Alexander Technique to musicians, the more frequently one particular issue arises: the lack of clarity between cause and effect where practice and technique are concerned. Below is a brilliant description of this potential obstacle to progress: The players/teachers do what they do; they tell the student what they think they […]

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 […]

Deepening Improvisation: Freeing Yourself From The Bar Line

The vast majority of jazz pedagogy materials (books, DVDs, etudes, etc.) place great emphasis on tonality. This is true for beginner through advanced artist level. If you’re a serious student of improvisation (at any level of proficiency) it is, of course, important to be continuously finding new ways to organize tonality: harmonic extensions/substitutions, auxiliary scales, […]