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  1. #1
    Hey!

    I've been thinking about "do this and do that".

    At one point "this" and "that" gets done. Takes years but then they are done. At that point, the schedule mentality should go to the nursing home. The thing is, when we create (and jazz is ALL about creating something), the norm would be to continue where we left off the day before. That's pretty much with everything else in creative business...I've had schedules for so many years. At one point it started to feel absurd.

    Thoughts? Do you still do it? Stopped doing it? How much of your daily playing is controlled by a schedule now?

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  3. #2

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    I still show up for gigs though.

  4. #3

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    The problem is that most great masters keep a pretty tight schedule throughout their careers, from jazz guitarists to classical cellists, etc. As we age, it may become necessary to increase practice time for some, for instance. What may actually help is breaking the work up more as you advance. I find myself grabbing 15-20 minutes a couple of times a day to work on very specific things. The "creative" aspect is not the issue, the ability to play what your creativity demands is.

  5. #4

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    I have 5 to 6 things I work on daily. Or should I say, I'm suppose too! I'll spend 20 minutes on each one at least once a day. When things are going good I'll do all of them twice and I'll single out the ones I'm struggling with for some more work. I find keeping each segment at 15 to 20 minutes is a good length. It's long enough to make progress while keeping it from becoming boring. It makes working on difficult things easier to deal with. I have a weekly practice sheet that includes the topics and a column for each day. Every time I complete a topic I check it off. It becomes a motivator. You start wanting to see more check marks. Also, after each segment I improvise for 10 to 15 minutes. If I'm having a bad day or I'm just in a funk, I'll just play whatever I want. Punk, Metal, Blues etc. it gets me back on track

  6. #5

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    I have a list that I rotate through. Sort of a schedule but with no time or deadlines attached. I just do the next thing on the list when I sit down to do my music thing. Somedays I might do 4 of them, some days 1 of them, some days none etc.

    I also will break my schedule sometimes to do more recording and/or writing. Other than that I rotate through the list.

    For what it's worth, my list which often changes, is currently:

    Larry Carlton Truefire course
    Recording/songwriting
    Jerry Coker patterns book
    Bass practice (anything, book, truefire course, transcribing)
    Introduction to Jazz Guitar Soloing book
    Vocal Practice
    Repertoire
    B+
    Frank (aka fep)

  7. #6

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    "At one point "this" and "that" gets done. Takes years but then they are done."

    No, nothing in learning music is ever done;
    thinking so is a dismal but popular mistake.

    "At that point, the
    schedule mentality should go to the nursing home."

    The schedule mentality has never been a part of teaching myself to play.
    Do have a very busy rehearsal and performance schedule with five bands.
    "Bent my ear to hear the tune and closed my eyes to see."

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by emanresu View Post
    Hey!

    I've been thinking about "do this and do that".

    At one point "this" and "that" gets done. Takes years but then they are done. At that point, the schedule mentality should go to the nursing home. The thing is, when we create (and jazz is ALL about creating something), the norm would be to continue where we left off the day before. That's pretty much with everything else in creative business...I've had schedules for so many years. At one point it started to feel absurd.

    Thoughts? Do you still do it? Stopped doing it? How much of your daily playing is controlled by a schedule now?
    Great question.

    My only schedule at the moment is what I need to learn for gigs....

    (Which is not inherently a good thing... Practice can have a value beyond performance.)

    But usually I have a few things that I'm working on... At the moment it's a specific, measurable timing thing. Beyond that, trying to play as many melodies as possible, new standard a week, that type of thing. I'm also looking into learning the Ketu Candomble patterns introduced to me by bonritimo when I have a little time.

    If I scheduled hours of practice I think I'd rebel. I think it's important there's room to follow your muse when you get turned on by something - like a solo you want to learn, or a tune you love, a composition you need to get down on paper or some new concept you get obsessed by.

    TBH more than three things.... I think is too much to work on. Perhaps one thing at a time is ideal... That's how Lage Lund does it. A dad with a busy gigging schedule....

    Early on, I think a schedule is a VERY GOOD thing.

    But ultimately I think the *actually* important thing is to understand what practice is and how it feels as opposed to noodling. Having specific tasks set by a teacher is a great way to learn this. But it's not forever in that way necessarily.

    If you do really well, you may not have any time to practice, in fact. Ask Reg, or Peter Bernstein for that matter. Peter says he gets about 15m a day.

    Other players warm up for 3 hours before every gig. No rules.

    Of course, if you have to learn a new technique or approach, you might have to be willing to do the beginner thing though. That can be really fun, actually.

    (Hey Mozart practiced fugue technique in his 30s because he felt he needed it. Stravinsky bought a book on serial technique and did the exercises.)

    For the jazzer, practice is always the poor relation to bandstand learning. It's necessary work to be prepared enough to be open to that learning. Nothing more. (It's just it takes a lot of work to get to that level....)

  9. #8

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    Oh I forgot to mention. I'm a deadline guy. Ask me to write ten tunes and I won't. Tell me to get it done by next Tuesday and I'll have it for you.

  10. #9

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    I don't use a schedule, although I did for the first few years I played.

    Probably would be a good idea.

    The one concrete thing I'd offer is to beware of distractions. Every time you see a video, hear a recording, read a chart, see GP, talk to another musician or play by yourself or play in a group -- you're likely to think of something you want to do on the instrument. And that stuff can get in the way of organized practice.

  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by pauln View Post
    "At one point "this" and "that" gets done. Takes years but then they are done."

    No, nothing in learning music is ever done;
    thinking so is a dismal but popular mistake.

    True. Just thought that when I still was collecting the tools, the schedule helped somewhat but also kinda killed the mood for using them in creative manner later. I realized so slowly how important it is to play/practice inspired.

  12. #11

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    I think a lot of this is a function of where you are, musically. A lot of musicians put a lot of time in when they are high school/college age, and then as their responsibilities in life increase, practice less. The few folks that play jazz at the highest levels fulltime for a living spend an ungodly amount of time traveling in planes, trains and automobiles.

    For me, when I switched to upright bass from guitar, I started a regimented practice schedule and practiced way more than I did in years prior. Right now, 1 hour / day is kinda the minimum, 2 hours / day is great, 3 hours / day is probably the most I'll do, but, I have a busy day job, when I was in my 20s I had way more time to devote to music. I run a timer when I practice to remind me to take breaks, and also to have a rough idea of how much time I'm spending on given things. Lately I've been focusing a lot on quality of practice, which I find tires my brain out way quicker.

  13. #12

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    Deadlines are great, makes me wish I played gigs (almost). I'm preparing for a workshop in August and I have very clear stuff I need to practice until then
    White belt
    My Youtube

  14. #13

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    I don't know if it's good or bad, but I seem to be improving when I put in the daily time on the following...

    I try to spend a bit of time every day on each of the following: scale-based practice (come up with some interesting "jazzy" way of playing through all the modes of say MM or HM in all keys via thirds, ornaments, triplets, enclosures, etc., which if nothing else helps with chops, key familiarity and fretboard knowledge), on arps, on bits of transcribed language, reviewing old tunes, working on a current tune, sight reading, comping exercises (usually applied to tunes), playing tunes (including at least one at an uncomfortably fast tempo), blowing, RH/LH speed exercises with various rhythmic ideas, and practicing some book-based stuff from either the Kingstone or Bergonzi materials.

    It's not really as much as it sounds like since some of the items only need 5 to 15 focused minutes.

    If I'm short on time, sight reading gets axed and I limit each of my scale practice and RH/LH speed exercises to only 5 minutes and instead focus on applying transcribed language, tunes, and working on applying one of my book concepts so that I keep moving forward.

    I should do more ear training although there is some of it in everything above except maybe the RH/LH speed exercises.

    Deadlines i.e. upcoming gigs or sessions with some known tunes are great motivators.

  15. #14
    I find practice to be a thing of habit. You get used to always do it, or you don't. I see it like working out, you just do it. So i always have a few things i always work on, plus occasional stuff, plus gigs and projects stuff. I even write the whole thing on a piece of paper.

    i can sit around and practice the guitar all day long, its the other things that bore me. Specially when they involve gear, computers, effects, daws, etc.. Damn electricity...

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post

    For the jazzer, practice is always the poor relation to bandstand learning. It's necessary work to be prepared enough to be open to that learning. Nothing more. (It's just it takes a lot of work to get to that level....)
    This should be written in ten foot tall letters at the entrance to every music college ...in other words don't confuse ends and means .

  17. #16

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    Practice makes the learning on the bandstand much easier and more efficient. No wonder guitarists get such a bad rap in jazz with this silly disregard of honing technique and ear with a few hours daily of serious work. Means to an end: lots of intelligent, mindful, goal-oriented practicing, both technical and playing along with recordings, tracks or loops. Otherwise, if you get that chance to play with the bigs, you will fail.

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by emanresu View Post
    Hey!

    I've been thinking about "do this and do that".

    At one point "this" and "that" gets done. Takes years but then they are done. At that point, the schedule mentality should go to the nursing home. The thing is, when we create (and jazz is ALL about creating something), the norm would be to continue where we left off the day before. That's pretty much with everything else in creative business...I've had schedules for so many years. At one point it started to feel absurd.

    Thoughts? Do you still do it? Stopped doing it? How much of your daily playing is controlled by a schedule now?
    I don't have a schedule. At some point I had a somewhat established practice routine -- I had a set of scales (major and minor scales single line, harmonized, and arpeggios in all twelve keys), I played through to warm up. In the (relatively brief) period I was taking lessons I worked through the tunes, exercises, and voicings my teacher gave me for homework. Over the years, I drop in and out of that routine sporadically. But in practice time, I mainly focus on learning new tunes, and delving more deeply into tunes I already know (e.g., exploring reharmonizations or working up C-M arrangements). I should probably be more structured, and more focused on expanding my technique and knowledge, but life is short and I want to play tunes.

    John

  19. #18

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    Another point, amplifying the value of the bandstand....

    I think that, to be a good combo player, you have to log a lot of time with combos. Gigs are the best way to do it. Having an audience sharpens things.

    But, if you don't have gigs, and you want to become a better combo player, you still have to play in combos.

    When the Jazzschool opened in Berkeley, mostly giving adult combo classes, within to years they had 700 students pass through their programs. That proves, I think, that there are a lot of people out there who are looking for opportunities to play.

    So, here's my advice.

    Figure out which music you want to work on. Pick tunes, copy charts, get mp3s.

    Somehow, including ads, find a bassist who wants to play, schedule a weekly session, preferably at the same time every week.
    Send out copies of the charts and mp3s. You may want to pick tunes in advance

    If you can't find anyone else, you'll be able to play as a duo with the bassist. But, more likely, it will be easy to find a horn player and not that difficult to find a drummer. There are also plenty of pianists. If someone has a rehearsal space with keys and drums, even better, because that stuff is harder to move. Get the best players you can. Tell the musicians that it's not a jam, although there will be plenty of blowing. Rather, tell them it's a workshop where you're going to work on things together to make the band sound better. So, you'll loop tough sections and do other things to achieve the goal.

    Schedule? Do this as often and regularly as you can.

  20. #19

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    +1...playing in combo situations regularly is hugely helpful. Really a must to figure out what to do (and more importantly, what not to do).