Practicing

Randy Brecker on practicing during the COVID-19 lockdown

I remember sitting in the back of a large music classroom at the University of Redlands in California almost three years ago. Jiggs Wigham was talking about all things trombone at that year’s International Trombone Festival. Jiggs said something early on that has stuck with me ever since. He said, “I hate to practice.” I…

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How to most effectively practice your musical instrument

I received an email from a subscriber asking an excellent question. He asks how he can optimize his time in the three hours per day he dedicates to practicing. Is it better to have fewer things to work on and spend more time on those, or to practice on more things and extend the total…

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Trombone versus guitar

I’ve been watching a bunch of videos on Brent Vaartstra’s Learn Jazz Standards site. Brent has done a great job creating this terrific jazz resource. If you don’t know about him, check out: https://www.learnjazzstandards.com/start-here/ One of Brent’s videos is how to get huge results from a 30 minute jazz practice session. The video is good…

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What you can do to eliminate discouragement about your playing

A friend recently suggested a topic for a video. He wrote, “How much progress should you see or perhaps if you don’t see before you get discouraged in your regular practice?” Here’s a transcription of the video I placed on my YouTube channel. A friend recently suggested this topic. He asked, how much progress should…

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The magic of practicing in New York City

Trombone practicing at the New York Courtyard Marriott

Following the video I produced a few weeks ago of my playing on top of a nearby Arizona mountain, I thought it would be interesting to create a similar time-compressed session of my trombone practicing in New York. I find myself frequently in New York these days and I always stay at the Soho Courtyard…

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Blasting away on my nearby mountaintop

I’m a big fan of practicing outdoors. It’s harder to tounge and play with a solid tone when you blow into the void as opposed to sound bouncing off nearby walls. But harder strengthens your playing. I recently shot a video on top of a nearby mountain where I enjoy playing. I time-compressed an hour…

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Your journey toward musical instrument improvement

I’m going to Los Angeles next month for the Taxi Road Rally conference. Taxi is an independent A&R company that helps composers submit their music for film, TV and games. I am excited about networking with producers and musicians, and learning more about that part of the music business. There will be lots of opportunities…

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The brain-friendly way to master an instrument

I’ve noticed something about all the videos I’ve studied on learning an instrument like piano, guitar, and others. So many of them do a great job showing you where notes are, how to hold your fingers and hands, the nature of chords and scales, and a bunch of other technical things. But where do you…

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Effective practicing of a musical instrument

I’m reading a fascinating book called Musical Excellence by Aaron Williamon. Its subtitle is Strategies and Techniques to Enhance Performance. It’s a thoroughly researched book covering subjects as broad as how to practice, physical fitness, memorizing music for performance, mental skills training, and even drug use and its effects on performance. Early on, Williamon writes…

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