Hey Jazz Guy,

How do you practice? There’s so much to learn I don’t even know where to start sometimes! Any tips/suggestions?Stressing in Switzerland


This is a great and very important question, and there are many right answers. Here’s the system that I have found works for me. I organize my practicing by the amount of creativity involved in each excersize. I divide into three categories:

1) Technical practicing….
This is means practicing anything physical on the instrument. Scales, excersizes, chords ect. You’re really not playing music here, its just your body vs the instrument. Always use a metronome and be careful to. not overdo this kind of practicing as you could risk injury. This is athletics, don’t forget.

2) Creative practicing…
This is were you bring your ears and mind into picture, but there is still a technical component. For example, practicing a song but using only diminished scales, or playing a transcription, or committing a song or passage to memory. Spend the majority of your time on this type of practicing, because this is what you’re really working on.

3) Free form practicing…
This is where you really just play. Play songs, improvise, play as if you’re on stage, no rules. Make sure to keep this as part of your routine…you are trying to make music after all!

Making sure each practice session includes these three elements is a great way to keep your mind fresh and your body constantly on different topics.

For example you could warm up with some scales (1) then try those scales over a particular tune (2) then just play the tune and whatever comes out comes out (3)

Record yourself, listen back and see how well you did.

Then repeat. A lot…forever.

Good luck 🙂

-jazz guy

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Categories: Philosophy/Technique

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