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  1. #51

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    Ron Carter said in an interview that, as he has gotten older and more experienced, his practice time has distilled into two hours what he used to take more time with. I find Ron has some interesting thoughts about music and the business as well. Very fascinating.

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  3. #52

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    Quote Originally Posted by henryrobinett View Post
    ... But I swear I KNOW people who lie about it. They want you to believe they don't have to work at it, or they don't want you to know how HARD they work at it. Im not sure why.
    Now this is one of the enduring questions for me, why do some players lie (if indeed they do) about how much they practice? I'm guessing it goes way back when cats wanted public and peer alike to think they were somehow superhuman or magical.

    Like "job protection", maybe they figure that if a magician showed us all how he practiced his tricks, then no-one would go to the show. While that may be true about magicians, Jazz performers should see themselves as artists, not conjurers. If I know how much an artist (that I admire) prepares for their "show", even to the extent of having intimate details of what their preparation entails, then I'm likely to be even more inclined to "go to the show", any understanding enhances appreciation in this instance, not diminishes it. Well for me anyhow...

  4. #53

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    10,000 hours is the equivalent of around 14 years of practicing two hours daily. So many kids who start around 10 years old are hitting it in their mid-twenties or so, depending on how hard they worked at music. I think for jazz and classical musicians that is about right for all but the very gifted or intense. In a video of a Magrew Miller interview on improvisation, he points out many, though clearly not all, of the finest jazz pianists today are trained as classical musicians initially or specifically in jazz programs. There are few Erroll Garners in the pantheons these days.

  5. #54

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    Quote Originally Posted by henryrobinett View Post
    I thought it was informative someone like Brecker, who was arguably the MOST practiced, the BEST of his generation, says that he believes anyone who says they don't have to practice, speaking of GREAT musicians, is lying. HE would know, you know? He knows these folk. He knows what it takes. He was also born into an extremely musical family and he was also somewhat of a musical prodigy. He was very talented. To hear HIM say this is not insignificant.
    O, Henry, I agree it is significant. It's hard to fathom someone being good enough to impress Brecker without practicing "much." At the same time, someone that good also knows what it takes to be that good, so....

    I might say, "Man, don't go peeing down my leg. Nobody gets that good without practice. A lot of practice" But unless you're spying on a guy's practice, you don't know how much is practicing.

    On a side note, why would someone want to say he doesn't practice? I have heard people say that due to the pressures of fame / publicity / travel, they have very little time to practice. I have also heard people admit that they're a bit lazy and don't practice as much as they should. I don't know why a serious jazz player would want to say he doesn't need to practice much. Is it just an ego thing? Like some kids saying they "never study" when in fact they do but want to seem like they're so smart they don't have to?'
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  6. #55

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    Quote Originally Posted by henryrobinett View Post
    I will also add an exception Ive observed from this "I never practice" thing. I have seen seasoned musicians who never practice. But these were folks who started when they were about 5 or 6. My theory is their hand grew into their instrument. It's not so much a physical thing for them. They've played and practiced SO MUCH when they were younger they don't need to so much any more. I used to play with a great pianist who could play with great facility. Amazing Oscar Peterson chops. She could be drunk, and often was and you never heard it in her playing. She never ran scales or anything. But she played gigs all the time. At home she rarely played though.
    Great story. I wonder how much Oscar practiced---that guy floors me.
    I had heard this of some blues players. BB King used to say he never practiced, but he was gigging 250-300 nights a year, so it's not like his fingers were idle much!
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  7. #56

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    Well BB King is a different story. He doesn't or didn't have the kind of high velocity chops that require a lot of refinement and maintenance.

    Oscar I'm sure was one if those guys who practiced like a maniac as a child. But I'm sure he played constantly. His life was piano and he had a standard he had to maintain.

  8. #57

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    I think there are any number of reasons people don't want you to know how much they practiced. I mentioned a few already. A lot of musicians like to be secretive about what they do. They don't want you sneaking up on them from behind. They want to create a mystery and want you to think they're just a genius. Sorry. I didn't know this was mysterious.

  9. #58

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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
    And yet all artists practiced...
    He probably meant doing as opposed to stuffing ones mind with pre-digested information then calling it art! This is Mr Patons opinion. I believe it to be a balance of both

  10. #59

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    Well, not is there always somebody better than you, but there's also always someone better who practices less. I think it can be embarrassing to admit how much time it takes to be at your current level. If someone says it sounds good and they ask how much practice it takes, I personally find it awkward telling them that it takes every moment of my free time.

    Since my my current situation prevents mass amounts of guitar playing, I am not currently suffering from this high-quality problem of obsessive practice.

  11. #60

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    Quote Originally Posted by henryrobinett View Post
    Maybe guys want to excuse their imagined lame playing. They don't want you to know how hard they have to work to play so badly. Musicians are often obsessed with how bad they play. Very self critical. I was having an online conversation with guitarist Steve Khan. He was talkng about when he used to play in a band with Brecker. He remarked how nobody EVER said to one another, "Man! Great playing!" And always wondered why. Then he realized it was because everyone was obsessed with their mistakes or introverted into their own playing.
    Geez, that's a sad story. I understand people who expect a lot of themselves can be critical of their performances, can focus more on the little they got wrong rather than the multitude of things they got right, but it's sad to think that musicians of that caliber didn't give each other a "man! great playing!"

    I wonder what Bird and Diz said to each other after a recording session or a gig....
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  12. #61

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    Quote Originally Posted by srlank View Post
    Well, not is there always somebody better than you, but there's also always someone better who practices less.

    I think this would read better with an "only" between the 'not' and the 'is.'

    "Well, not only is there always somebody better than you, but there's always someone better who practices less."

    This could be a saying that a teacher uses with a student: "Not only is there always somebody better than you, there's always someone better who practices less. Practice anyway."
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  13. #62

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    Re Bird and Diz- I don't think they were slapping each other's backs. I think the story is similar. They didn't even like each other when they first met and played.

    I don't see it as sad. I see it as truth and informative. We don't know how musicians are at this level too much. Glimpses are important.

    When I was a kid I had dinner with Buddy Collette who was a friend of the family and childhood friend of Mingus. He was telling stories of Coltrane and Dolphy, both people he knew, and in the case of Dolphy, knew very well indeed.

    He told me stories of what a sacrifice they made. They had no life beyond music. All they did was practice. He says, and I may have told this elsewhere, but Buddy and Dolphy used to practice together. One day Eric came by at 7 or 8 am with a big jar of honey. He said this is what he and Coltrane do when they practice so they don't have to take a break to eat. He ate the whole jar.

    Collette said the practice from 8 to something like 1 or 2 when Buddy said he had to to a break. Dolphy kept going. Buddy got something to eat and came back 4 hours later and Dolphy was still at it bad continued the rest of the night.
    Last edited by henryrobinett; 07-14-2014 at 12:20 PM.

  14. #63

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    I read in an interview where Charlie Parker said he practiced 10-12 hours a day when he was a young man. As he got later into his career, he didn't really need to practice anymore. Just gigging kept his chops up.

    I heard from someone that lived upstairs from James Carter that he never practiced the way we think of practicing. He just goofed around making weird noises and played tunes, but he never shedded licks or transcribed solos or anything.

    Pat Metheny said he used to practice so much that he would fall asleep with the guitar in his hands, and Christian McBride said that while he was touring with him Metheny would spend every moment of free time while folks were setting up for shows off in a corner practicing. Pat Metheny also has talked in interviews about how he feels like an incomplete person because he doesn't know how to do anything but play music.

    John Williams said that he started playing guitar around 5, and was only allowed to practice 1/2 hour a day under the supervision of his father until he was in his late teens. Most singers are trained like this, as well, and professional opera singers almost never practice unless their voice coach is present. There might be something to be said for this kind of guided practice.

    Just some added fuel to the fire.

  15. #64

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    Quote Originally Posted by henryrobinett View Post
    Re Bird and Diz- I don't think they were slapping each other's backs. I think the story is similar. They didn't even like each other when they first met and played.

    I don't see it as sad. I see it as truth and informative. We don't know how musicians are at this level too much. Glimpses are important.

    When I was a kid I had dinner with Buddy Collette who was a friend of the family and childhood friend of Mingus. He was telling stories of Coltrane and Dolphy, both people he knew, and in the case of Dolphy, knew very well indeed.

    He told me stories of what a sacrifice they made. They had no life beyond music. All they did was practice. He says, and I may have told this elsewhere, but Buddy and Dolphy used to practice together. One day Eric came by at 7 or 8 am with a big jar of honey. He said this is what he and Coltrane do when they practice so they don't have to take a break to eat. He The the whole jar.

    Collette said the practice from 8 to something like 1 or 2 when Buddy said he had to to a break. Dolphy kept going. Buddy got something to eat and came back 4 hours later and Dolphy was still at it bad continued the rest of the night.
    Great stories, Henry. Keep 'em comin'!
    The reason I think that is sad is that if guys are so worried about their own flaws they can't hear (and commend) the excellence in others---and we're talking about great players here---it seems they've somehow limited their enjoyment of the music.

    I'm surprised horn players opted for honey---wouldn't they be afraid their hands would get sticky? I would!
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  16. #65

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes View Post
    O, Henry, I agree it is significant. It's hard to fathom someone being good enough to impress Brecker without practicing "much." At the same time, someone that good also knows what it takes to be that good, so....

    I might say, "Man, don't go peeing down my leg. Nobody gets that good without practice. A lot of practice" But unless you're spying on a guy's practice, you don't know how much is practicing.

    On a side note, why would someone want to say he doesn't practice? I have heard people say that due to the pressures of fame / publicity / travel, they have very little time to practice. I have also heard people admit that they're a bit lazy and don't practice as much as they should. I don't know why a serious jazz player would want to say he doesn't need to practice much. Is it just an ego thing? Like some kids saying they "never study" when in fact they do but want to seem like they're so smart they don't have to?'
    I would never have thought the high caliber players have insecurities like the rest of us. Henry really gave me some insight.
    for myself, I'm kind of proud of my playing considering the age where I took it up, and
    I'm kind of proud of the amount of practice I do, because I admire self discipline,
    but.....I'm kind of embarrassed of my playing level considering the amount of practice I do! It makes me feel like I don't have a great deal of talent, so I have some understanding as to why a pro might want to understate the amount of practice he does. As a non-performing amateur, I'm comfortable admitting it takes a lot of work for me to get to where I'm at,
    Mike

  17. #66

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    High caliber players might have even MORE insecurities! Why do you think they might feel the need to practice so hard???

  18. #67

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mimbler View Post
    I would never have thought the high caliber players have insecurities like the rest of us. Henry really gave me some insight.
    for myself, I'm kind of proud of my playing considering the age where I took it up, and
    I'm kind of proud of the amount of practice I do, because I admire self discipline,
    but.....I'm kind of embarrassed of my playing level considering the amount of practice I do! It makes me feel like I don't have a great deal of talent, so I have some understanding as to why a pro might want to understate the amount of practice he does. As a non-performing amateur, I'm comfortable admitting it takes a lot of work for me to get to where I'm at,
    Mike
    Read some biographies of some of the legend I think you will find their lives interesting.
    No, I'm not going to give you the answer to your question. I don't want to deny you the pleasure you'll receive when you figure it out yourself. -- Bill Evans talking to his brother.

  19. #68

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes View Post
    I think this would read better with an "only" between the 'not' and the 'is.'

    "Well, not only is there always somebody better than you, but there's always someone better who practices less."

    This could be a saying that a teacher uses with a student: "Not only is there always somebody better than you, there's always someone better who practices less. Practice anyway."
    I think that does work better Mark!

  20. #69

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    Quote Originally Posted by srlank View Post
    I think that does work better Mark!
    Glad you like it. I generally aim to help but too often miss!
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  21. #70

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    As our colleague Pierre's signature says.... time on instrument ... call it whatever, you are practicing it.

    adjective 1. actively working at a profession, ... 2. actively following a specific way of life ..., etc.: a practicing ...
    ^ ^ ^
    <<< My BlogSpot Page >>>
    v v v

  22. #71

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vladan View Post
    As our colleague Pierre's signature says.... time on instrument ... call it whatever, you are practicing it.

    adjective 1. actively working at a profession, ... 2. actively following a specific way of life ..., etc.: a practicing ...
    I know a doctor who says, "There's a reason they call it the practice of medicine...."
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola