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Community (American Garage)

--- Sep 08 1999 Go to category
Subject: practicing
Category: General Musical Conception
From: Ted  Leventhal (Chicago, USA)
Question:

Hi Pat,

As someone who practices as religiously as you do, my question is: What is a good practice routine? How do you warm up? What sorts of things do you do everyday?

I know it's a personal process, but I can't seem to get into a good routine. Any advice?

Best, T.

Pat’s Answer:

hi ted,

well you kind of hit it on the head - it is very personal - and it really depends on what it is you want to accomplish, what your goals are and what kind of story you want to be able to tell.

in my case, i have always aspired to become an improvisor at a high level. with that as my goal, and because i play an instrument that is notoriously difficult as an improvising instrument - i had to spend many years just trying to acheive a basic harmonic fluency that allowed me to address the fundamentals of improvising in, for want of a better term, a "bebop" style. that meant; learning standards, blues and the compositions of the major jazz composers; being able to play them at any tempo and in any key with the freedom to change direction within phrases at will; etc.

your goals are probably really different from what mine are - the first step is to define what those are, then once you have a clear picture of what you want to sound like - you can usually find a million things to work on. don't worry too much about "wasting time" - if you have the instrument in your hands and are engaged with making music - you will always be learning something.