Friday, September 28, 2018


     How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice! Practice is required for anyone who plays music. No doubt practicing music daily can be monotonous, but is  necessary to achieve musical goals, dreams, and aspirations. Effective practice is deliberate, reflective, and exploratory. There are no tricks to practicing, but there are techniques musicians employ for skill development. In this blog I will shed light on some issues musicians should consider for practicing.

     Create an atmosphere for practicing. You want to be comfortable practicing, but not practicing in a "Lazy Boy" rocking chair. Ideally you want a chair that is ergonomic to you and your posture. Also, you want a practice environment that is quiet, so you can think and focus.

     Musicians should work to develop fine motor skills such as fingering exercises. A quality method book recommended by a music teacher is a good start. Practice techniques should develop skills in aural awareness, visual, and processing. Using a metronome is a valuable tool, but students should not become depended upon using a metronome, but only for timing issues and concerns. Tap your foot or toe to keep time while playing music.

     There are 15 major scales, but in a 12 tone system three scales/keys are enharmonic. Learning all 15 major scales fluently will take some years of study, but no time better than the present to get started. Learn a scale. Once you have mastery over that scale make it part of your daily warm-up. Let your method book or teacher be your guide.

     As you develop skills in music your exercises and solo pieces become more complicated. Slowly work through while learning your solo. Once you are comfortable playing through your music, begin placing expressive qualities such as articulation markings, dynamics, and other expressive markings into your solo. Next, begin speeding-up your tempo.

     A thorough knowledge of scales and chords is essential for improvisation practice. Improvisation is a highly developed skill that requires many prerequisite studies before trying. I recommend discussing with your teacher, or partnering with a jazz musician to learn improvisation.

     Get a music teacher. A music teacher can provide you with years of knowledge and expertise in learning your instrument, and music in general. Daily practice is important, but knowing what to practice is essential. A music teacher can put you on an organized and systematic plan for learning your instrument and music.