Achieving Mediocrity

mediocrity_web_log5Francis Smith calls your attention to the following tips from jazzadvice.com for achieving (or avoiding) mediocrity.
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Time Well Spent

Q: Should a brass player strive to practice the same number of hours as a saxophonist?

A: Brass players will never be able to match a saxophonist hour-for-hour. When a reed gets worn out, there are more in the box. Like the Energizer bunny, saxophone players can (and often do) keep going and going. When your lips get worn out, there is nothing to be done but let them rest. In fact, playing too much can be more detrimental than not playing enough. Read more »

What Should We Play?

Every jazz school seems to have certain tunes that are popular calls at jam sessions. Bassist Marika Galea has compiled a fascinating school-by-school list:
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Achieving Hand Independence-Part 1

By Chris Donnelly

Achieving hand independence is one of a pianist’s top priorities; it’s a common pursuit among students. It’s also one of the easiest to attain; hand independence requires only two things: Structured Exercises and Practice.
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Training With Tuners

Raise your hand if your band director stands in front of you with a tuner, calling out: “Flat! Push in!” “Sharp! Pull out!” Does this really help you play in tune, or do you simply try to make the tuner stand still for a minute so he or she will go away? Read more »

Stand Still


You should strive to reduce or eliminate extraneous body movement when playing your instrument. Read more »

Practice Perfect

There is an old expression: practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect. Read more »

Set a Musical Budget

In business, a company will set a sales budget for the coming year. By projecting a reasonable expectation of growth, the company can compare goals to actual results throughout the year. You can set a musical budget. Read more »

Mental Focus

As we focus on our bodies when playing the instrument, we often forget the crucial role of the brain. 15 minutes of practice time with full concentration produces better results than an hour of mindless, repetitive practicing. Here are some tips for achieving mental focus: Read more »

Key Fluency

If you are like most reasonably accomplished students (and some professionals) you have 7-8 keys you are reasonably comfortable with and 4-5 that are murky. Developing key fluency will do wonders for your musical confidence and competence. It’s not as hard as you think! Simply devoting a few minutes a day to the task will lead to significant progress over the course of a year. Read more »

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