The joy of practicing different

In my free improvisation course, Pocket Jazz, I dedicate a lesson to finding ways to mix it up in your practicing. Find new and cool places that bring out the best in your playing and make it more fun.

How easily you can do this depends on two things: your instrument and where you live. I’m kind of a poster child for practicing in weird places partly because I play trombone. It’s light-weight, portable, and produces a lot of sound. It’s loud. 

I moved to a neighborhood four months ago after living on top of a big hill overlooking a valley of homes in northern Phoenix, Arizona. I used to walk to the side of my property and play trombone over the valley below. I also climbed a big hill on the other side of my home and once at the top, played over the endless chasm of Arizona desert.

Then I moved to a neighborhood. I’m renting a cool house now while I look for my next long-term home.

The first order of business after I moved was to find a new practicing perch. It didn’t take long. I just drove toward the mountains and eventually found a hill with a well-worn ATV trail leading to the top. It looked perfect except for my hesitation over whether I could climb something that steep and rocky.

I did, but right after I climbed down that first time from playing up there, I drove to my nearest REI for upgraded hiking boots.

A couple weeks ago around 7am, I dragged my 18-year old son up that hill carrying our drone. He flew the camera while I played. I then crafted a short video memorializing the place.

Perhaps this will inspire you to find yourself an interesting different place to play.

5 Responses

  1. Loved it. Need to put my piano in the woods behind our house and play while a drone flies over. Cool how you combined your interests, too.

  2. Hey Micheal – Beautifully played in a great setting. One of my favourite tunes. Well done!
    Kent from Canada

  3. You are always so original! Of course you would find a mountain top to practice on. Did you haul up speakers so you could play along with that backing track (which I imagine you created, and its very fun)?

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