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  • Talking Technique: Why Practice Technique?

    Talking Technique: Why Practice Technique?

    As musicians, wouldn’t it make sense to focus exclusively on musical applications and learn by practicing mainly songs? Why isolate technique drills and put so much focus on the mechanics, seemingly devoid of any musical context? Why waste an opportunity to build ears and creative skills at the same time and instead reduce practice to... »

  • Do I Have To Like Jazz To Improve My Playing?

    Do I Have To Like Jazz To Improve My Playing?

    Q: I’ve read some interviews of yours, and you mentioned that when you started studying jazz, you weren’t actually all that into the music, but you came to appreciate it later through study, etc… I’ve been trying to work through standards, exercises through chord changes and bebop/chromatic-type stuff, but I don’t know what I’m trying... »

  • Getting It Perfect Vs. Practicing New Material

    Getting It Perfect Vs. Practicing New Material

    Q: I am finding it difficult to combine not practicing what I know and practicing for perfection. I practice fretless almost exclusively, and good intonation is a constant pursuit, including with something as conceptually simple as a major triad arpeggio. Add speed and the desire to play smoothly with controlled dynamics, and one can spend... »

  • Talking Technique: Efficient Practice Hacks #4 – Motivation

    Talking Technique: Efficient Practice Hacks #4 – Motivation

    Having trouble getting motivated to practice? Just not feeling it? Here are a few simple action items to help get you going. I have found them very useful for myself and my students. Famously, there are two kinds of motivation (or impulses that lead to motivation to act): extrinsic (from the outside) and intrinsic (from... »

  • Talking Technique: Efficient Practice Hacks #3 – Put Your Bass Under Your Pillow

    Talking Technique: Efficient Practice Hacks #3 – Put Your Bass Under Your Pillow

    Installment three in my series on my favorite practice “hacks” may almost seem too good to be true. However, this has nothing to do with wishful thinking, the law of attraction (I am more of a “law-of-action” kinda gal), or superstition. It has everything to do with brain science and the power of the mind!... »

  • The Lightbulb Moment: This Is Why I Practice

    The Lightbulb Moment: This Is Why I Practice

    There’s an old saying that goes: if it were easy, everyone would do it. Playing music isn’t easy. Navigating the fretboard is confusing, playing with a metronome can be tedious, and there’s a never-ending list of songs to learn. Despite all of the work that goes into playing music, most of us love it and... »

  • Making the Time for Practice

    Making the Time for Practice

    Q: It seems like you are a pretty busy guy and travel a lot (I follow your social media feeds). I feel like I’m not half as busy but somehow still can’t seem to find the time to work on stuff like I should. Any tips? A: I got asked a similar question at a... »

  • Talking Technique: Efficient Practice Hacks #2 – How to Take a Break

    Talking Technique: Efficient Practice Hacks #2 – How to Take a Break

    Welcome to installment two in my series on my favorite and most efficient practice “hacks.” You have probably heard of this one – taking breaks. Here are some tips on making the best of these breaks! After about 20 to 25 minutes of focused, distraction-free practice (one “Pomodoro” if you are hip to the Pomodoro... »

  • Talking Technique: Efficient Practice Hacks

    Talking Technique: Efficient Practice Hacks

    Are you (like me) always on the hunt for the latest and most efficient practice “hacks”? Today I am starting a series here on Talking Technique introducing you to my personal favorites. Some of them are quite unexpected, and I encourage you to try them and see the results for yourself. Some go back to... »

  • Lesson Plans for the New Year

    Lesson Plans for the New Year

    For this first installment of the new year, I thought that I would try and help motivate us all. I thought about the new year, new goals, fostering forward momentum and the dreaded new year’s resolutions popped into my head. Instead of encouraging all of us to go to the gym and stop eating pizza... »