Get out of the improvisation box of articulation range Part 3 of 6

This is part three in the series I am referring to as getting out of the box. There are so many aspects of playing that have a range of options like dynamics, note range, harmony, dynamics, etc. But if you find yourself limited to only a narrow range of these musical attributes, you’re stuck in […]

Getting out of the box of dynamic range Part 2 of 6

In part two of this six-part series of getting yourself out of the box in your improvisation, I want to discuss dynamic range. When I refer to “the box”, I am talking about the limits young or less experienced improvisers find themselves in regarding musical attributes such as note range, articulation, harmony, and in this […]

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 […]

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 […]