Posts tagged: practice


By , September 16, 2015 4:05 pm

I’ve been able to put in some significant practice time recently, which has felt great!  Here’s what I’ve been working on:

This was a track I heard in the Polyrhythmics van; Ben had recently came upon a Grant Green boxed set, and although it’s off of a Lou Donaldson album, Green’s solo really intrigued me and got me into the practice phase I’m in now that is mostly focused on learning vocabulary.

For the last couple of years, my playing has revolved around approaches and concepts, using scales or intervals to improvise and write music. This is different to me than using vocabulary, actual melodic phrases and specific musical “sentences”. I believe I moved away from that because it is easier to fall into cliche and predictability, but coming back to it I find my ideas to be more concrete, and I’m not as concerned about being predictable; every phrase I play, whether it’s coming from another musician or not, still goes through my brain, and is therefore different than it was before.

A couple more I’m working on now:

Clifford Brown’s solo. They way he weaves phrases together is incredible.

Gene Ammons’ solo. This has one been fun because I haven’t transcribed very many solos for tenor saxophone, and it gives me a chance to work on a different style of playing than I am used to.

Hopefully, this practice trend will continue. I’m really excited by its effect on my musical focus and motivation!

– Art

New Year’s Resolutions

By , January 3, 2012 4:51 pm

My New Year’s Resolutions. They’re fairly general, and although I make them and quickly break them every year, this time around feels different; I think they will stick, at least for a little longer than normal!

1. Take it easy – sleep more, drink less.

2. Practice – every day, if possible.

3. Get out more – see more music (especially that one), go to the museum, aquarium, movies, etc.

4. Lay off the computer – except for email, calendar, and website. Lay off the social networking and make the effort to reach out to people more rather than just peek at their profile and see what they’re doing.

5.  Bring my horn to sessions – I’ve gone back and forth on jam sessions/sit-ins for a long time, and now I’ve switched again.  Yes, they always have the potential to spiral out of control, and the music suffers in those cases, but they can also help solidify connections with other musicians, and (sometimes) be really fun!


Even if I don’t end up strictly adhering to these, I think January is always a good time to reevaluate things and take a look at some self-improvement; it’s better than fooling yourself into thinking that everything is going how you want it to and you don’t have to change anything about yourself.

Wish me luck!


– Art

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