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Practice Archives - Page 2

Should I Learn Older Music To Understand Newer Music?
Ask Damian Erskine

Should I Learn Older Music To Understand Newer Music?

Q: I struggled with asking if I HAVE to learn trad jazz or if I SHOULD learn it, so take this question as both. And just as a disclaimer, I’m using “trad jazz” to mean the standards and the jazz being played predominantly from the ’20s to the ’60s and the styles that encompassed. I’ve been led by a lot...

Getting It Perfect Vs. Practicing New Material
Ask Damian Erskine

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 endless hours working on things...

Talking Technique: Efficient Practice Hacks #4 – Motivation
Talking Technique

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 the inside). Extrinsic motivation is...

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

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! Get your handy infographic on...

The Lightbulb Moment: This Is Why I Practice
The Lightbulb Moment

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 in many ways, are defined...

Making the Time for Practice
Ask Damian Erskine

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 clinic once, actually about writing...

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

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 Technique), take a break. When...

Talking Technique: Efficient Practice Hacks
Talking Technique

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 ancient wisdom, and science has...

The Lightbulb Moment: Muscle Memory
The Lightbulb Moment

The Lightbulb Moment: Muscle Memory

I’m an avid radio listener. The preset buttons in my car are heavily worn, the numbers barely legible after years of searching for the perfect song and attempting to dodge commercial messages. Sometimes it’s nice to drive in silence, but usually, the radio is what truly fuels my time spent behind the wheel. I always enjoy hearing new music, but...

The Lightbulb Moment: Small Adjustments, Big Results
The Lightbulb Moment

The Lightbulb Moment: Small Adjustments, Big Results

We’re all looking for ways to get more bang for our buck, especially when it comes to practicing. We watch videos, scroll through forums, and read columns about how to establish a better practice routine (you may be doing this right now). So, for what it’s worth, here are my two cents. Frankly, most of us don’t like to practice...