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, […]

What Does It Mean To Be Persistent?

When it comes to improving at anything (especially music!) through practice, I often think of Albert Einstein’s definition of  insanity. I’m paraphrasing here, but it goes something like this: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again the same way, but expecting a different result.”   Or as a dear friend of mine would […]

Three Things to Address to Practice in a Healthy Way

Playing a musical instrument involves repeating specific movements over and over again within a given time period. When you play your instrument you are repeating some of these patterns literally thousands of times per hour. That’s a lot of muscular contraction. This can (but doesn’t have to!) lead to the unintended consequences of fatigue, muscle […]