Eye over ear

I’ve been looking through elementary school band method books. I’ve by no means looked through every method book out there, but I find something curious about the ones I have seen, and I’ve confirmed my suspicions with a few music teachers.The books are filled with diagrams of instruments, some music history, definitions of musical terms, and pages of staff […]

Proposal for Pete Swanson

This proposal is for building a new website and creating a marketing strategy to promote and exhibit Pete Swanson’s bass playing, teaching, and performances. A rebuilt site will be a way to promote Pete’s musical image and attract bass players who wish to be his students. It will also provide Pete with the means to […]

Practice this way to improve your skills quicker – Part 2

Don’t read this until you’ve looked through part 1.  In Part 1, I used a piano lesson as an example of discovering the deeper cause of some aspect of your playing you don’t like. Once you find that deeper cause, strip away other aspects of your playing so that you can work exclusively on that deeper […]

Practice this way to improve your skills quicker – Part 1

I gave a lesson this week to a piano player who wants to play jazz better. From our interaction, I was reminded of an important element of practicing that too few players consistently do. I’m not a jazz piano specialist. I’ll leave that distinction to guys like Richie Beirach, Bert Seager, Dan Haerle, and others. I […]

Proposal for Deborah DeVaughn

This proposal is for building a new website to promote and exhibit Deborah DeVaughn’s work in digital media. The website built by Michael Lake will be based on WordPress. The necessary WordPress editing plugins will be provided by Michael. All hosting and domain name registration will be the responsibility of Deborah. Michael will be happy […]

Proposal for Denis DiBlasio website makeover

Because the website for denisdiblasio.com was created over 7 years ago, the theme platform on which it was built no longer sustains the site. The site’s architecture can no longer support the pages and assets as they were originally built. Michael is proposing to rebuild the site within Word Press, keeping the overall look and […]

Resolving a musical tug of war

I received an email the other day from a jazz player trying to know how best he should be practicing.  I want to provide a public version of my answer so that if you are in a similar quandary, you might untangle it for yourself. The person writing me called it his tug of war. In […]

How to put more swing into your playing

I enjoy writing about this topic. After all, it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing! I ask myself the question: why do some jazz players swing and others don’t? While everyone’s flavor of rhythm and swing is different, why don’t more musicians swing–really swing? Let’s start at the top: what is […]

The art of improving your intonation

Last month I wrote a post on how to hear yourself better. I used intonation as an aspect of playing with which I see many musicians struggle. They don’t hear themselves deeply enough. So let’s dig further into intonation since it is such a core element to your sound and musicianship.  This is the first […]

The evils of tuning strobes and apps

Tuning technologies are very popular especially since hundreds are available on your phone for free. Google returns 34 million results for the search, “music tuning apps.” One ad actually read, “iOS or Android, we have an app for piano tuning that will make you the next Lang Lang, Beethoven, or perhaps Frederic Chopin.” I had […]

When intonation becomes a deliberate color

I have one last but very important thought to add about intonation that I think rounds out this series on pitch. Don’y come away from the prior two posts on intonation thinking that intonation is only about aiming for perfectly accurate mathematically calculated frequencies. That’s no more true than great musical time comes from hitting […]