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, […]

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 […]