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  • How To Structure Limited Practice Time

    How To Structure Limited Practice Time

    Q: I work a “real job” – as in four 10-hour days a week. I get up at 3:15 am Tuesday through Friday, commute to work, put in my 10 hour day, plus a half-hour for lunch, and by the time I get home from my afternoon commute, it can be as late as 6... »

  • Staying Creative While Practicing

    Staying Creative While Practicing

    Q: So I reach a point now and again where I feel like I’m not practicing musically or in a creative way. Instead, I seem to be practicing things that are useful (technique, location of notes on the fretboard, arpeggios, inversions, and scales) but the way I’m going about it feels rote and not much... »

  • The Lightbulb Moment: Rehearsal — Treat It Like A Gig

    The Lightbulb Moment: Rehearsal — Treat It Like A Gig

    Your phone lights up with a text message about a gig next Saturday night… score! You’re available, the money is decent, and your drummer friend recommended you. It’s an overall win! You accept the gig and receive a follow up text: “Let’s rehearse Tuesday night.” Thankfully, you’re free, but you realize that you only have... »

  • 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... »