The finishing fetish

Before a rehearsal tonight, I was speaking with a couple of friends/bandmates about some of my improvisation methods They’ve been following a few of my lessons and

Read More »

The benefits of practicing by ear

You’ve heard the saying about doing the same thing over and over expecting different results? It doesn’t end well.

Let’s talk about a different way to practice from what you may be doing day after day after day.

Read More »

The power of articulation

A while back I wrote several posts about time, making the point that one’s sense of time and swing was more important in playing jazz than the ‘correct’ notes.

Read More »

On time, practicing, and listening

A few weeks ago, I wrote a couple of posts about time and rhythm. I suggested that rhythm is a fundamental yet under-appreciated element of good jazz playing and it is one of the obvious weaknesses of less experienced jazz players.

Read More »

Quick and easy mastery of improvising jazz

Okay, let me come clean that the title of this post is completely misleading. But when you first saw it, admit that you had a tinge of excitement that it could be possible. Sorry about that, but I’m trying to make a point.

Read More »

Finding meaning for your jazz playing

I just read Viktor Frankl’s classic, Man’s Search For Meaning. It’s been on my reading list for a long time so my recent sojourn to the northern Arizona flower-covered mountains gave me the opportunity to finally read it.

Read More »

Warm up your ear for improvisation

We are all pretty good at warming up our bodies to play our instruments. Brass players require a little extra as we limber up the vibrating mechanism called our lips. For that, we play long tones, lip slurs, tonguing, etc.

Read More »

Fun with drone tracks

I enjoy crafting harmony tracks with which to practice. They are not usually jazz, but instead are more ethereal. Here’s one I like because the harmony slowly becomes more complex and ear-stretching.

Read More »

Michael Lake

Jazz trombone, writer, multimedia artist, marketer

Most popular

Just tell me the buttons to push

My recently turned 18-year old son is a passionate photographer. He’s got himself a little business where people pay him for senior photos, family portraits, sport team pictures, and other personal moments.

Read More »

About the movie Whiplash and jazz education

A couple weeks ago I sent Richie Beirach a YouTube clip from the movie Whiplash as a bit of levity. It was the scene where the teacher in the film Fletcher berates that poor trombone player for being out of tune. Spoiler alert:

Read More »

About a metronome

I originally meant to write this as a reply to a comment Richie Beirach wrote on my blog. But as I started writing, I realized that this could be the springboard for something much more important.

Read More »