Saturday, February 21, 2015

Getting Out of Jail

Does your practice room feel like a prison cell?  Is your espressivo about as exciting as Buster Keaton's deadpan stare?  Need a get-out-of-jail-free card?

Here are a few suggestions that might help you break out of that solitary confinement:

1. Practice with eavesdroppers in mind.
2. Don't stop listening to those who inspire you.
3. Practice singing each passage perfectly with full dramatic impact.
4. Make all fundamentals musical.
5. Turn boring drills into beautiful phrases.
6. Focus less on how you feel, and more on how you want the audience to feel.
7. Play ballads on flugelhorn.
8. Play soft AND beautifully.
9. Don't waste notes. (Even warmups must be worth hearing!)
10. Anticipate the satisfaction of mastering difficult passages. A jailbreak isn't easy and requires careful planning!
11. Daily mindset: you'll get paid for only great-sounding notes!
12. Feed big music with big air.
13. Practice competing with the great soloists.
14. Replace "drudgery" with "performance".
15. Look at your whole life.  What percentage of it was fun?  What percentage wasn't?  Fix it.
16. What's happening in your cell, fizzling duds, or sparkling firecrackers?

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