Recent quote from jazz musician Matt Mitchell: “…the assumption that you can’t be creative until you’ve learned [scales] or [chords] or [30 Bird solos]…one thing I realize the more I teach — musicians at ANY level can ALWAYS be creative!
I love this video. If you haven’t seen it you have to check it out. How many musicians can you identify? Is this lick in your bag of tricks? It wasn’t in mine, but just for fun I used it several times tonight and it sounded good.
Here’s a video on learning jazz licks that really resonates with me. For a long time I collected music, loads of it, with the dream that some day I’d transcribe it and know tons of licks. I’d learn a cool lick but rapidly forget it because I was on to the next cool lick. I worried that life wasn’t long […]
Saxophonist and animator Allen Mezquida’s take on the jazz life….
At age 25 I began a college education. Determined to be a good student I sought out books on study techniques, applied the concepts and did well. Likewise, when I became serious about the saxophone I searched for the most efficient ways to practice. This information is not so easy to find. After years of […]
Molly Gebrian is a violist pursuing a doctorate in music and cognitive neuroscience at Rice University. If you’ve ever been pressed for practice time, unable to practice because of injury or travel, or just interested in practicing as efficiently as possible, then you should read her article summarizing recent research in this area. I’ve incorporated […]
This is just too cool. Recently, I came across a reference to a dissertation by Thomas Owens, “Charlie Parker: Techniques of Improvisation. Although obscure, it is considered by some to be the most comprehensive and in-depth analysis of Charlie Parker’s style. Owens transcribes 250 solos and extracts out 100 of the most used licks. I […]
Here is a video I found this morning of Esperanza Spaulding explaining the process of writing a song. I went off on a Esperanza tangent this morning after watching a DVR last night of her on a recent Austin City Limits. I won’t try to describe her music except to say that it’s unique, intelligent, […]
Researchers at Vanderbilt University have evidence that musicians think differently than non-musicians. In this study trained musicians used both the left and the right sides of their frontal cortex more heavily than the average person, and also used divergent thinking more. Divergent thinking is the ability to come up with new solutions to open-ended, multifaceted problems and is […]
Some of you may not know that in addition to running the Madison Jazz website and playing the saxophone I am a physician for University Health Services on the UW campus. I see many students in the clinic with repetitive stress injuries: students with carpal tunnel syndrome related to mouse and keyboard use, dancers and marching band members […]