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.
I’ve always found it curious that musicians spend so much time using their eyes, and focusing less on their ears.
In this case, I’m referring to practicing and the obsession of so many with reading music throughout their entire practice session: books on patterns, scales, etudes, transcriptions, songs, and theory.
Those materials are all beneficial, as long as they are balanced with practicing/playing by ear.
My advice is not only for jazz musicians, but for musicians of every musical style.
Classical, pop, electronic, rock and other musicians should be able to noodle around their instrument by ear, playing technical exercises, songs in various keys, and improvised melodies-all the while calling it practicing.
I created a three-minute TikTok video this week that addresses the whole eye versus ear thing, and offers a challenge for one or more of your practice sessions.
The benefits of practicing by ear go beyond building better musicianship, but also can make your practicing more fun, and in so doing, likely motivate you to do more of it.
Hit the link above and consider a different way to practice in order to mix it up within some of your normal sessions.
I’ve gotta stop because, man, is my slide arm getting tired!