The Art of Practicing: Introduction and Chapters 1-2

•February 8, 2008 • Leave a Comment

I mentioned in a previous post, which introduced the idea of providing a commentary on Madeline Bruser’s The Art of Practicing, that I had no intention of going into a deep analysis of this work. I stand by that, but I think my way of dividing up this series will be to cover 2-4 chapters per post (depending on chapter length). Skipping chapters might confuse people; for example, certain quotes, understood a certain way by me, and taken out of their context, might be misinterpreted by anyone reading this. So, this chapter by chapter commentary (I think!) works best.

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I finished the introduction and the first two chapters of this book while still in the Barnes and Noble I bought it at. I don’t usually bother to read the introductions of books, but this one had a certain hook to it. Being a concert pianist and teacher herself, Ms. Bruser is sympathetic towards the frustration people have with practicing. Take this quote, for example,

“Every piece of music presents new difficulties, and each time we practice it new wrinkles appear. One day we may feel comfortable with our instrument, and the next we may feel stiff and uncoordinated. One minute a phrase flows smoothly from our fingers, and the next it suddenly falls apart…In many cases the sheer physical strain from struggling for an ideal performance even leads to injury.”

-pg. 1

Yes! That’s me–well, sometimes. She then goes on to briefly explain her aim with this book,

“This book is about how to free ourselves from physical and emotional tension as we practice so that we can unleash our innate musical talent. When our fingers get tied up in knots in a difficult passage, we can loosen up and find a comfortable way to play it…By giving ourselves room to relax, we awaken our vital energies instead of stifling them.”

-pg. 2

The writing had an honesty about it that rang true with me. Many times, a particular bow stroke, lick or passage from a given piece works well on Tuesday, but come Wednesday it’s like you never even worked on it. Why is this?? It’s infuriating and discouraging all at once. Of course, we take a deep sigh, and then go back to work. However, this observation drew me in and made curious if the author had any wisdom to impart to her readers. I kept reading.

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The first chapter is rather short. It talks a great deal about the sentimentality that musicians feel towards their instruments and music itself. Reflecting upon this chapter, the thought that kept coming to mind is that music is not technical facility. Technical facility is like a car that takes you to a certain place, and the keys are the “passion, confidence, and vulnerability” (pg. 9) it takes to start the engine. Having one without the other misses the point!

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The author kicks off the next chapter by addressing some of the feelings of frustration musicians often have when practicing. Take this passage, for example,

We don’t know what to do with our freedom. We repeat passages in a joyless, desperate way to gain technical security. We adhere to a rigid plan for practicing a piece. We push ourselves to meet a deadline and feel inadequate when our work isn’t going well. This severity, this habit of being hard on ourselves, destroys inspiration, making it difficult to develop the joy and spontaneity needed for performing. Recognizing this gulf between the joy of performing and the drudgery of practicing led me to develop the Art of Practicing.”

-pg. 11

You’re preaching to the choir, sister. One of the three selections I played for my most recent college audition was the Courante from Bach’s 1st Cello Suite. I can’t tell you how many months I struggled and labored with it. After a while, I got to a point to where I could play the entire movement through in practice, but when playing it either for my teacher or a friend, it’d fall apart–finger missing the string, muddled trills, rushing…it was extremely frustrating. It had NONE of the spontaneity Ms. Bruser is talking about. I think this is because of the way that I practiced it, or maybe the way that I didn’t practice it. I would play the challenging licks within the movement over and over again, but the piece itself became nothing more than a difficult finger exercise–I forgot about the musicality because I was forcing myself to repeat these licks in a joyless fashion which crippled my musical expression.

Ms. Bruser then goes on to talk about some of her own struggles to cultivate spontaneity, and gives us an example of when she did,

I first experienced this spontaneity in a practice room at music school. I had been practicing for several hours when I suddenly realized that the sound was coming directly out of the piano. Instead of singing the music in my mind, as I usually did, and focusing on that imaginary sound, I heard the actual sound. I was shocked by its vividness and by the realization that although this brilliant sensory experience had been available to me for years, I had been missing it.”

-pg. 11

I became familiar with this concept recently. My teacher, Andy Anderson, told me during a lesson last week that, when he is about to play a solo or excerpt, he is actually singing the solo in his head before he starts. This isn’t the easiest thing to do. In an audition we’re under pressure to perform at our highest level, and we become anxious to satisfy a panel of people as quickly as possible. I did this at my Roosevelt audition this past Saturday, but only with the Courante. It was the first peice of the 3 that I played, and I was determined to be relaxed and demonstrate musicality. Maybe I became a little overconfident because it went so well, but, I didn’t do this ‘hearing the music before the music is played’ for the Koussevitzky Concerto or Bille’ etude. I wish I would have. I emailed Andy (who was at the audition) a few days ago, and asked him how he though everything went on Saturday. He said,

“The Bach went especially well, just a couple of little blips, but I thought the musical statement came through.”

Blips happen to everyone in the heat of battle, as it were, but for the most part, people don’t remember them. When somebody gives a powerful speech with a moving message, you don’t remember when they struggled to find a word or phrase to express what they wanted to say, just like how you don’t remember a little mistake a soloist made in your favorite concerto, you remember the way they phrased a melody, and the excitement and the beauty that came through because of it. I don’t mean to beep my own horn by adding what Andy said to this post–I just wanted to make the point that there is something to hearing the music in your head before you play. Andy specifically said the Courante went ‘especially well’ and more importantly ‘the musical statement came through’. I’m convinced it was because I was singing the song in my head before I dived in.

Anywho, moving on…

In the next section, the author goes on to explain how musicians can be way to hard on themselves, and the harmful and crippling results of doing so.

I sometimes point out to students that their frustration with a piece is an indication that they care deeply about it. One student told me it was one of the most helpful things ever said to him. He was able to stop berating himself and began to appreciate himself instead, which opened him up enormously to the music. We don’t usually use experiences of dissatisfaction as signals to be gentle with ourselves. Instead, we blame ourselves or become aggressive with the music. Tension escales, and the more we practice a piece, the worse it gets.

-pg. 15

She then goes on to highlight some of the common ways musicians create tension and the result of doing so. Here are a couple:

-Playing a piece too fast before you are ready.

Result: Your body tightens, which only prevents it from moving as fast as you want it to.

-Trying to play a piece pianissimo or fortissimo when you are just beginning to learn it.

Result: When playing softly, you might not produce a sound at all; or, when playing loudly, your muscles clench and become rigid, leaching their power and creating a strained sound.

– from pages 15-16

The most dangerous thing a musician can do to themselves, she explains, is to practice through physical pain.

“Pain is an indication that you are overusing a limited muscle group, using the wrong muscles, or using too much force. It is a signal to relax and slow down. The pain builds up until it becomes incapacitating. Injuries of the hands, arms, neck, back, jaw, lips or vocal cords afflict many musicians, forcing them to stop playing or singing for extended periods of time, and sometimes permanently.”

I remember a bass player who went to my high school that struggled with tension in his playing (I think most players do, as it is). He ended up getting accepted at Indiana University in Bloomington, which is a school known for producing quality players. From what I understand, he went off to Indiana, and after a year there, had to stop playing. I heard all of this through my orchestra conductor, who said that the tension problems in his right hand eventually crippled his playing. It’s a shame this happens to musicians–but especially this guy. When he was a senior, I was a freshmen, and at that point in my life bass playing was nothing more than a mildly interesting hobby, and an easy A to boot. When I got serious about bass during my junior year, I found out that he played Bottesini’s Concerto No. 2 with the chamber orchestra during his senior year. Intrigued, I did a bit of digging through the school archives with my orchestra conductor, and we found a recording of it. It was brilliant.

I’m guilty of practicing through pain myself. There is NO benefit in doing this besides superficial good feelings (I admit, though, they’re nice! But, however, shallow). When I start to feel tension now, I stop whatever I’m practicing and stretch, and maybe get a glass of water. It helps.

A final quote from chapter 2,

“All of these ways of practicing indicate lack of trust in our ability. We are afraid that if we just relax and let ourselves work naturally and comfortably, we won’t be good enough. So we drive ourselves, force ourselves, and hurt ourselves. In doing so, we lose touch with our most valuable asset as artists–the willingness to be vulnerable, genuine, and spontaneous, to communicate from the heart.”

-pg. 18

In the next chapter, the author describes many different stretches that help to reduce tension in your playing. I’ll talk more about these in the next post, but I’ve found them  very helpful and relaxing. I realize the above quote might sound a bit too sentimental, but to the sensitive musician (I think), there is definitely something to be gained by considering it.

 

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Cliche’

•February 5, 2008 • 3 Comments

Friday evening, I was heading down to Roosevelt University in Chicago for a lesson with my teacher, who is on the bass faculty there. I had an audition scheduled at Roosevelt the next day, and I thought it would be cool to sort of get my bearings and see where everything is.

My dad was kind enough to take a bit of time off work and help me schlep some bass luggage (my stool–can’t play standing to save my life)from Columbus (where we parked) to Roosevelt, which is on Michigan Avenue.

Now, at the time, the far left and right sides of the streets of Chicago were like snow swamps. Over on Columbus, I bravely parked our van in the midst of the white-mixed-with-tarry-black sludge. I wasn’t exactly happy about having to wade my way through through the foot and a half deep sludge to the back of my van to unload my gear, but what else could I do?

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Shivering slightly because snow had gotten into my shoes (and socks!), I made my way with my dad across the park to Roosevelt. Thinking longingly of the warmth inside the college and the potential vending machines that would surely dispense hot chocolate, I quickened my pace.

Grudgingly, I paused at Michigan Avenue because the white, walking stick figure had suddenly changed to the red hand. Standing on the edge of the sidewalk closest to the street, I wondered vaguely why my dad was standing a good 6 feet behind me. As I turned my head to ask him why, a bus suddenly plowed its way through a pool of snow and black water directly in front of me.

SPLASH!!!!

The icy water stung my face and hands (and my poor Mooradian bass case) with a vengeance! Gasping, shivering, and staring in unbelief at the back of the bus that indifferently sped away, I turned to look at my dad, who was roaring with laughter!

As I pushed sopping wet hair out of my eyes, my dad said,

“I bet that bus driver is saying to himself right now, ‘Got one!!'”

I relayed this little story to Andy (my teacher) an hour or so later. He too, laughed and said,

“That’s so cliche'”

As I ran that statement through my mind, I suddenly realized he was right! An image of a man in a business suit, who was having an exceptionally bad day already, but just had a bus splash any icy puddle all over his suit from Sears, splashed–er, flashed through my mind.

I also realized why my dad was standing six feet behind me right before it happened.

The Art of Practicing

•January 29, 2008 • Leave a Comment
I frequent many of the bookstores in my area, but I like to give the Barnes and Noble by my house my custom. This particular Barnes and Noble has a cozy little cafe’ that I sometimes like to go to and do my homework at–-good coffee (or rather, lattes in my case) and the occasional friendly and attractive college student(s). Tuesday evening found me sitting in the relatively empty cafe’, struggling to come up with an outline for a speech that I had absolutely no interest in giving (a personal experience speech, gag), I gave it up as a bad job and decided to do a bit of browsing.
As I was looking at a few musical dictionaries that I couldn’t afford, I came across a book that grabbed my attention. It was by Madeline Bruser and called The Art of Practicing. On the cover was a snapshot of a hand caressing a piano key. Scanning the cover with my eyes, I thought to myself,
“Ah, well, this is probably targeted towards pianists–certainly not other instrumentalists, much less bass players.”
My eyes then happened to finally see that the foreword to the book was by the esteemed violin virtuoso Yehudi Menuhin. Knowing a little bit about Mr. Menuhin, I decided it was worth a few minutes sacrifice of thumbing through before returning to my (affordable!) musical dictionary hunt.I ended up taking the book back with me to my table in the cafe. Casting my astronomy and math books an anxious look, knowing full well I had homework due the next day and practicing to do when I got home, I read the first two chapters of Ms. Bruser’s book.

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The first two chapters were full of stuff that I totally related to. For example, take this small paragraph that introduces the second chapter,

“Although we start out inspired to practice, sooner or late we begin to feel frustrated. We can’t get the results we want and we don’t know why. We feel as though we are working too hard, yet it seems we must not be working hard enough. We start to doubt our ability. The piece that once felt fresh begins to feel stale.”

-Madeline Bruser, The Art of Practicing, pg. 10

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt this way with excerpts. Why can’t I get this Mozart 40 spicatto stroke right? Why is this taking so long? Why even bother?! Forget this…I’m playing Koussevitzsky!

I’m becoming increasingly aware that healthy (mentally and physically) and intelligent practicing is essential to the wise musician. Sitting down and cranking out 4 or 5 hours without any planning or conscious awareness of what your actually doing is limited in its scope of helping you to improve. So, to build on what I already think I know about practicing, I decided to empty my bank account a little more and spend the $15 to buy the book.

What I’m planning to do here on the blog is provide a sort of running commentary on every few chapters. I’m not going to dissect every sentence of the book and over analyze opinions; I’ll simply write about the gems of wisdom that I come across in my reading.

Anyone who has read the book or would like to chime in on my take on Ms. Bruser’s writing, please leave a comment or drop me an email at Innes1286@yahoo.com

Reminisce

•January 24, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Last night, as I was carefully navigating my tiny car through the miserably cold and inconvenient snow storm, I suddenly remembered that the final issue of Double Bassist magazine had been released! I eagerly modified my route to take me by the Barnes and Noble in downtown Naperville (which is one of the many bookstores in Naperville, but the only that stocks DB) so I could pick up a copy.

I had, in fact, stopped at this particular Barnes and Noble numerous times over the past week to see if they had put it on the magazine rack yet, only to be disappointed they hadn’t. As I entered the store for the 3rd time this week, I could see from a distance the face of Henry Grimes on the cover. I quickly moved through the romance novels, self-help books and calenders to reach the magazine section (for fear that a handful of bassists would suddenly appear out of nowhere like ninjas and grab all the copies).

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As I flipped through the glossy pages of this fine publication, I remembered the excitement that coursed through me when I first spotted DB on a magazine rack. I was a junior in high school, and had only recently started taking lessons with Phil Serna. Even though I was still and the Capuzzi/Lorenziti stage of learning bass repertoire, and thus relatively unexposed to the double bass world, I was insatiably curious about basses, rosin, strings, Gary Karr and ALL of that stuff.

When I first picked up an issue of DB, I was in a Barnes and Noble in Washington D.C. My family is originally from Virginia, and I had been expressing interest to my dad about going back to visit my ‘roots’ for a year or two. My dad thought it was a pretty cool idea, but wanted to add a bit of an extension to the trip by visiting our nation’s capitol. We did the entire trip in 2 weeks or something, but despite all of the wonderful monuments, buildings and memorials I saw in D.C., one of the highlights for me on that trip was discovering DB.

The cool thing about DB is that it exposed me to this world that I never knew was there. Even though I had been playing bass since 4th grade, I never took private lessons or did any playing (even practicing) outside of the school orchestras I played in. Through my years of reading DB, I learned about players from other countries, different opinions on technique, historical information on important double bass makers, as well as general advice from well-known and experienced professionals. Of course, no magazine is a sufficient substitute for a good teacher, but, I felt more ‘in-the-loop’ about things that were common knowledge, as well as current events in the double bass community.

Ironically enough, I never subscribed to DB. I couldn’t ever bring myself to pay the money for a subscription, which was pretty expensive for only 4 issues. I’m the same way with ISB’s Bass World, although I think I might start subscribing again (I was a member for a year or two, but needed to save money and canceled my subscription).

As you have probably figured out by this point, DB is going to be discontinued, and double bass content is going to be added to the popular string magazine, The Strad. The editor of DB, Chloe Cutts, insists that there will be a great deal of double bass content in the Strad. I’ll be curious to see how much. Understandably, the content will have to be diminished to some degree to be on equal scale with violins, violas and cellos. We’ll see how things go.

My Way of Practicing the Double Bass, Part 2: Nitty Gritty

•January 22, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Practicing is another one of those things, like auditions, that everybody has their own take on. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve talked to, articles I’ve read, and podcasts I’ve listened to that talk about how to practice. Of course, doing all of those things is the BEST way to arrive at your own method of practicing. Taking all of the information and advice you’ve picked up, picking what you like and disregarding what you don’t, and then synthesizing it, is pretty much how I came to my own method of practicing. I don’t have any goals of trying to convince people reading this to agree with me or change their practice routine–this is just my take on things.

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2.) Nitty Gritty-Every topic under the practice category is subject to variation depending on who you ask. For example, Francois Rabbath said in an interview with Double Bassist magazine (alas! which is soon to be no more),

“One must study deeply, so that one need not practice more than two or three hours per day, to have the time to enjoy life.”

-Double Bassist, Autumn 2004

Francois knows what he’s talking about, right? Of course! He’s an internationally famous teacher and performer. We should probably take his advice.

During my first two years at College of DuPage, I played in the chamber orchestra there. In my first year, there was this young guy (I wish I could remember his name, I’ll have to check old programs I’ve saved) who played clarinet with the orchestra. He was the best musician in the entire group, hands down. I simply thought of him as something of an anomaly at COD–with his wonderful intonation, precise rhythm and refined sense of musicality. I had no idea how good he was though, until I got a chance to have a chat with him. He was a pretty modest guy, but during a concert rehearsal break, we struck up a conversation and he mentioned in passing that he was transferring to the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia. Of course, I knew all about Curtis and how prestigious it is, so I was, to say the least, impressed. He told me about the hours he spent practicing coming up to his audition at Curtis, and he said,

“You’ve got to spend 8-9 hours a day practicing. That’s simply what you’ve gotta do, and, it’s really the only way.”

Curtis is one of the finest and most elite music schools in the world, and it has a reputation for churning out people who get jobs in top-level orchestras. So, really, what this guy was saying has just as much validity as what Rabbath said. I know I’d like to go to Curtis and study with Hal Robinson…should I take his advice instead…?

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All of that is just in regard to time spent practicing. How about in regards to warm-ups? Scales? Arpeggios? Bowing exercises? Do they just take up an unnecessary amount of time? Mmm? My teacher, Andy Anderson, who has a had a great deal of success playing in two world-class ensembles said he usually just warms up on excerpts. In an interview with Jason Heath for Contrabass Conversations, he said, talking about his time spent studying with Stuart Sankey,

“Sankey never had me work on scales. Well, look in Mozart 40, there’s plenty of scales in there, right? Look in Ein Heldenleben. Those are arpeggios, right? They’re just all separated by whole notes.”

On the other hand, you have people like Jeff Bradetich (Soloist and teacher at University of North Texas) and Max Dimoff (Principal of the Cleveland Orchestra), who have these very well thought out and useful warm up packets, which Jason Heath has available for download here on his blog.

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I said all of that to demonstrate the fact that many different reputable people have different takes on how to practice. Personally, I think all of them have validity. They’re just simply different ways of getting (or attempting) to get to the same place. Could you practice 8-9 hours a day and be an excellent musician? You bet. Could you only practice 3 hours a day and still be as good? Sure. Are warm-ups helpful? Yep. Could you not do scales, arpeggios and the like as warm-ups and still be a technically efficient musician? YES! My teacher is one of my favorite players, and I don’t think he spent a lot of time (some, perhaps) cranking out 3 octave major and minor scales and arpeggios.

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Now we come to it. Enough jibber-jabber, right? Here’s the Nitty Gritty of how I practice.

Warm-up: I warm up on the music that I’m working on. I tune my bass, though.

First Set.) The first thing I like to do in the morning (or sometimes evening) is the Courante from Bach’s 1st Cello Suite. This movement is full of fun but challenging licks and trills. I’ve broken down the licks and trills into 5 different groups, all of which I do 4 or 5 times each, slowly, with a drone on G (which is the key of the suite). Here’s what these licks look like taken out of their context…

After I do this, I like to play the entire movement (no repeats) with this cool midi file Andy made. It’s quite slow, but it helps with pitch and rhythm.Then, I like to play the movement 2 or 3 times through, with a metronome on quarter=85 and the drone on G. If, when doing this, I find that I’m getting rough or messy with a given passage, I’ll take a bit of time and try and undo whatever knot presents itself. This part usually takes me anywhere from 30-60 minutes. I ❤ Bach.
After work on the Bach, I like to work on my Bille’ etude. This etude is not really that difficult, but, DePaul requires an etude by Bille’, Simandl, or Nanny. Some of the Simandl etudes are boring, and many of the Nanny etudes are as difficult as the Koussevitzsky or Bach, so Andy and I thought this one by Bille was the right pick. I like to work on these 3 separate but similar licks first, before I play the entire thing.

When I play the entire etude all the way through, I do it with a metronome on quarter=90, with a drone on E. I do this 2 or 3 times, too. I know, I’m slightly pedantic, but I’d like to get a job someday, so it’s okay. This part of the ‘First Set’ usually only takes 30 minutes, and at the most 40.

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15-20 minute break.
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Second Set.) I spend the entire ‘Second Set’ working Mr. Koussevitzsky’s Concerto. This concerto is perhaps a bit too popular and well known to bass players out there, but I still enjoy a good rendition of it. I know I rave about my teacher a lot, but on his Contrabass Conversations Recital Showcase (CBC 11) there is, among other standard bass rep., the first two movements of the Koussevitzsky Concerto. I’ve not heard a better interpretation of this piece; it radiates verve.

So, the first thing I work on in Koussevitzsky is the trouble spots. I like to start with the double stop passage at the end. I play just the double stops first, which is in imitation of a chord progression, this way: E/G together, F#/A, G/Bb, then G/B natural. Sometimes this section can become a bit muddy (especially with me playing) so I really like to take a bit of time and work through it slowly.

I then play the entire 3rd page straight through once or twice, with a drone on E. No metronome this time, kiddies, I like to use a bit of rubato. I’d like to complain and say the 3rd page is deceptively difficult.

After that, I go to work on the middle section, which I guess is appropriately labeled the ‘development’. The difficult thing for me, overall, with Koussevitzsky, is transitioning effectively between sections. To be specific, the transition between the triplets section on the 2nd page, into the rapid, 16th note section. Within this transition, I like to take the last measure of the triplets section, on the 3rd and 4th beats, with a bit of a rit., and with separate bows. To work on this, I like to start the triplet section and play a few measures into the 16th note section, 4 or 5 times. Here’s what I’m talking about:

After I work on the transitioning there, I like to go to work on the entire middle section. I play the entire middle section 2 or 3 times through. Here’s me again with my pedanticism (I think I can use the word that way…), but, I have this rule with the middle section here, that, if I don’t play it 2 or 3 times through perfectly, I don’t move on to the next thing until I do. So, if I were to play it through twice perfectly, and on the third time fudge something up, I start over. This doesn’t usually happen, though. I’ve been playing Koussevitzsky long enough to be decently efficient at it.

If all is going well up to this point, I like to play the entire 1st movement once (maybe twice, if I’m feeling obsessive).

After I do this, I take a moment to reflect on how everything went within my practice session. I think about things that need improvement, things to ask Andy about, etc., and I write them all down. I highly recommend writing things down! I just started doing this 4 or 5 months ago, and, it’s helped a great deal with my practice regimen.

–Oh, or use a data recorder. I did this for the first time for my lesson with Lyric Opera of Chicago bassist, Greg Sarchet. I think I’m going to do this for all of my lessons now.

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So, there you have it. That’s basically how I’m practicing and preparing for my upcoming college auditions. It’s probably not the best way, but, that’s what I do, and I feel that I’m getting better because of it. If there are any professors or students reading this who see serious flaws in my practice logic, please take all the wind out of my sails and leave a comment, or email me at Innes1286@yahoo.com .

I Got a Bass Lift

•January 20, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Have you ever had somebody give you a compliment that you totally didn’t expect? Say, for example, you went to get a haircut, and the lady chopped way too much of your hair off because the last person didn’t tip her. You think your new ‘do’ looks like an angry lawn mower attacked it, but, maybe an attractive coworker thought it was sexy, and she told you so. Unexpected, but it gave you a lift, right?

That’s pretty much how I felt walking out of a lesson that I had Saturday with Lyric Opera of Chicago bassist, Greg Sarchet. My teacher, who is a colleague of Greg’s in Lyric, made the suggestion that I go and take a lesson with him. I’d heard about Greg from both of my previous teachers, and jumped at the chance to go and play my audition repertoire for him. This was the perfect chance to work on controlling my nerves while playing in front of someone, and also to get some excellent advice from a seasoned player and pedagogue.

Greg proved to be an extremely gracious and encouraging teacher. He made me feel totally comfortable, and because of this, most of what I played flowed out quite naturally. He didn’t really have anything negative to say about my playing; he simply gave me a number of musical suggestions, and physical ones, in regard to breathing while playing.

In fact, he even gave me a few compliments in regards to areas of my playing that I had overlooked. I think sometimes, as players, we get way too focused on what we’re doing wrong, and we forget to give ourselves a pat on the back for the things we do right. At one point, his wife came into the room, and Greg said to her,

“He’s got a bunch of Andy-isms. He doesn’t play out of tune.”

Ever tried really hard to not look too pleased with yourself? Yeah. It’s hard when you get compliments like that.

The lesson went as well as I could have possibly hoped for, and I’m all the better for it, what with my Roosevelt and Depaul auditions in the next 2 weeks.

I’m not worried. All Is Well.

Oops…

•January 15, 2008 • Leave a Comment

I was reading my previous post about how I practice in regard to hours, and I realized I didn’t even put any practical advice on how to divide up practice time when it is severely limited (like how mine sometimes is). I put in a decent sized chunk of small paragraphs that consist of my advice on the matter. I’m working on the 2nd half of the series right now, which is taking some time. I’m trying to figure out how this all-in-one scanner/fax/printer works that my dad just bought, but, I swear, the main control panel on this thing looks like it belongs inside a NASA space shuttle. Anyway, if I ever get it figured out, I’m going to scan in and highlight the spots that I’m practicing in my audition music for the next post. We’ll see how it goes.