How Often Do You Stop Listening To Yourself As You Practice Your Instrument?

I was giving an Alexander Technique lesson this morning to a young violinist who had come to me because of some problems with pain and tension (particularly in his left shoulder) as he played. This morning I wanted to see what he does with himself as he practices, so I had him practice an arpeggio […]

A Master Musician Talks About Growth And Improvement

This is an excerpt from a video about the great cellist, Janos Starker. Here he is working with a young cellist in front of a group in master class. He listens carefully, then gives her one simple thing to change in how she produce her vibrato. Immediately we hear an improvement. You can actually see […]

Prevention As The Key For Improving Your Technique

Bill Green, who was legendary in Los Angeles as a wise teacher and master of woodwind instruments once said to me: “You know, it’s a shame, but many musicians spend the first half of their lives learning to play, and the last half unlearning the habits that came along with learning to play.” And so it is […]

Want To Improve Your Time? Call Upon Your Imagination

To me the most fundamental skill for an improvisor to have is good time. Specifically, being able to perceive and control tempo. It’s probably impossible to create rhythmic interest and thematic development without first having a strong internal clock as a point of reference. (You never hear a beautifully improvised solo where the player’s time […]

Being Still Is Not The Same As Being Stiff

Playing music involves movement.  No matter what instrument you play (even your voice!) you have to be able to move to make music. How would you describe the quality of your movement when you play music? Are you fluid and free, or are you somewhat stiff and strained? Do you “plant” yourself in one position, […]