Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Are you better than a metronome?

Which is best, rhythm from your mind or rhythm from your gut? Answer: both, but one is preferable! Is your rhythm mental or instinctive? Are you using your brain or your heart? One teaches only mechanical perfection, while the other stimulates musical expression. 

Your mind can try to make you play in perfect time, but your inner rhythmic instincts can do a much better job.  To put it crudely, music from the mind reaches the mind, while music from the gut reaches the gut.

Think of the metronome as no more than a strict school master. It is not a drama coach. It's the angry drill sergeant, but not the sensitive maestro. It's better to train and rely upon your God-given inner rhythm, than to depend solely upon your ability to place every note in its proper position. 

Are metronomes superior to musicians? Nope. A stoic metronome is not capable of phrasing, nuance, or expression, only millions of lifeless clicks. Its only function is obnoxious clicking. Certainly a living person should be superior to a machine! We have breath, energy, and purpose.  A metronome has none of that.  It has no brain, musicality, expression or soul! Don't live only by the boring pulse of a machine.

Great time-keeping is the foundation upon which energy, phrasing, and expression are built.  Always be building artistry on top of great rhythm. Don't neglect your inner rhythm, and don't be boring. You are much better than a metronome!

Friday, September 02, 2016

Got junk?


1. My first notes of the day will be pure quality. 
2. I will play slow enough to be accurate and clean.
3. I'm going to play perfectly for 5 seconds. Then 10, 15.
4. I'll be paid for only good notes.
5. I'll play my solo very slowly, resting every 4 measures.
6. It will never be said that my playing is boring.
7. Every phrase will be stunningly musical.
8. I'm going to be able to impress my friends with how softly I can play without loss of tone.
9. I'm going to amaze my friends with how loudly I can dominate without loss of tone.
10. My future employer is listening just outside my practice room door!  . . . . "You're hired!"

Freedom in playing comes when junk has been dealt with. No one wants a flawed product. Goal: eliminate wasted notes and wasted time. Put the practice room on stage.  Eliminate junk playing.