Improving Technique: It’s More Than Simply Exercising Muscles

There is a common, often disconnecting, conception many musicians carry with them when they first seek my help as an Alexander Technique teacher: In essence, they believe that the very problem that brought them to me is of a purely physical nature. Put more precisely, an issue of muscle function. I call this a “disconnecting […]

My Main Objective When Practicing Something Difficult

Is there an ideal, universal, one-size-fits-all objective that musicians have when practicing something they perceive as being “difficult”? Well, certainly the most obvious objective is to become functionally proficient with the very thing that’s being practiced. But there are typically several other aims nested inside that main objective when practicing difficult music. How about you? […]

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, […]

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” […]

Listening to Your Sound Differently: An Experiment in Perception

There really is no such thing as truly hearing the “absolute reality” of your sound as you play. In part, that’s because your sound constantly changes as it is impacted by two fundamental things: 1. Environment 2. Perception Environment has to do with such things as the acoustical qualities of the room you’re playing in, […]