The 3 Components of Deep Practice

woman practicing piano“Gauge your sound and internal experience against the benchmarks of excellence.”
-The Musician’s Way, p.58

How can we master unfamiliar music in ways that are both soulful and efficient?

In short, we have to be proficient with the 3 components of deep practice: Discovery, Repetition, and Evaluation. Continue Reading

4 Rehearsal Challenges and Ways to Overcome Them

The Modern Jazz Quartet

“We’re smart enough and clever enough to give each other room to live in, to have respect for each other’s personalities.”
-John Lewis, pianist, Modern Jazz Quartet (The Musician’s Way, p.120)

Unlike when we play in conductor-led ensembles, working in small groups requires us to make shared decisions about what and how we play.

Decision-making comes to a head during rehearsals, so, in this post, I offer tips to deal with 4 common rehearsal challenges that collaborating musicians face. Continue Reading

November 2014 Newsletter

“No matter how musically advanced you become,
you’ll encounter passages that defy easy mastery”
-The Musician’s Way, p. 54

The November 2014 issue of The Musician’s Way Newsletter brings together more than 20 articles and resources of interest to musicians and music lovers.

Musicians will find tools to improve practice and memorization along with an announcement about a powerful online resource published by the New World Symphony. Continue Reading

3 Ways to Build Concert Programs

Flutist playing outdoors“Concerts need contrast – and lots of it.”
-The Musician’s Way, p. 210

In previous articles, I’ve explored avenues to design concert programs that can attract diverse audiences.

In this post, I offer tips to construct attractive programs primarily using your current repertoire.
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3 Traits of Successful Concert Programs

Flutist playing outdoors“Memorable concerts don’t merely deliver what’s expected; they also take audiences beyond what they can envision.”
-The Musician’s Way, p. 211

We classical musicians have it in our power to attract hordes of enthusiastic fans.

And one of the most effective ways we can do so is to offer innovative concert programs that make listeners hungry to hear us. Continue Reading

Learning the Art of Performance

Photo of pianist playing and singing“Music is a performing art. . . . It isn’t there in the score.”
-Michael Tippett, composer (The Musician’s Way, p. 152)

When you think about all that goes into preparing for a concert, performing can seem like a delicate skill, something akin to tightrope walking. I’ve found that many musicians think along those lines.

But I’m convinced that performing can be as natural as having a conversation or sharing in a game. Continue Reading

Divergent Thinking in Practice

Photo of violinist practicing“Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.”
-Charles Mingus, bassist (The Musician’s Way, p. 55)

Musical problem-solving requires creative thinking, yet the style of thinking that’s commonly taught in schools may not serve our needs in the practice room.

That is, a subject such as basic math nurtures convergent thinking that zeroes in on single solutions. Trouble is, such reasoning works only with linear problems, where one correct answer exists. Continue Reading

September 2014 Newsletter

“You don’t drown by falling in the water; you drown by staying there.”
-The Musician’s Way, p. 196

The September/October issue of The Musician’s Way Newsletter features news, practice tips, inspiration, and career resources in a combination unlike any other.

Looking to overcome creative blocks? Want to offer limited-access downloads to your followers? Thinking about launching an online store?

This edition addresses these issues and more. Continue Reading

Keeping Practice in Mind

Closeup image of classical guitar“Create meaning in everything that you practice.”
-The Musician’s Way, p. 312

Have you ever started a practice session and felt that your musical abilities were out of alignment?

Maybe your mind was restless, your control tenuous, or your tone iffy.

It’s easy for us to get misaligned, but the following techniques help us be ready to practice effectively anytime. Continue Reading

How Not to Pursue a Music Career

Image of cellist playing alone in wheat field“Probe every aspect of what ‘being a successful musician’ means to you.”
-The Musician’s Way, p. 302

If you aspire to a career as an independent musician, you’ll find lots of “how to” advice online.

This post takes a reverse approach: I highlight 12 unwise moves that are common among young performers.

I hope it will inspire you to enthusiastically pursue your musical dreams.

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