Semester In Review

Hello all. Clearly I haven't posted in a couple of weeks. That's because with juries, finals, and other gigs, I didn't have much to post other than "shedding tunes", and I needed a bit of time off besides.


But now that the semester is over, I believe it's important to acknowledge the progress I've made in no small part because of this website and the encouragement of you, dear readers.

So here's a quick summary of things I've accomplished:


  1. Learned over 10 tunes by memory
  2. Significantly improved swing feel/ rhythmic accuracy
  3. Started experimenting with inventing licks
  4. Mastered (I use that term lightly) melodic minor scales
  5. Expanded rhythmic possibilities (triplet accent patterns, quintuplets, 7/2)
  6. Improved control over major/diminished scales, can play with articulation patterns from about 160bpm to over 180bpm
  7. Huge gains in tone, thanks to daily long tones
  8. Huge gains in tuning by ear
  9. Learned a ton about efficiency (practice in the morning, meditation, etc.)
  10. Started learning the flute

Honestly that is a short list that only skims the surface. I tried to take a little something from each person I interviewed, and those little things added up to a huge benefit. These included increased daily practice time, using humming to clear the nasal passage, playing long tones every day, and incorporating more active listening.


My goal was to write a post 5 days a week. For many weeks I did this. Every day, this website forced me to meticulously plan my practicing, commit to the time I set aside to practice, and analyze it after. It was a great motivational tool and a great tool for measuring progress. It was a fun and interesting way to pick the brains of musicians I admire.


What brought me the most joy though were the times people came up to me around school or messaged me on Facebook telling me things like, "I thought I was too tired to practice today, but your post inspired me" or

"I've been practicing a lot, but it has been really unfocused. Thanks to you I've made a ton of progress recently" or

"I started meditating because of you. I had a nervous breakdown during an audition and it has really helped me since then".


While these posts have proven invaluable to me, they are in many ways draining. It is difficult to open my practice room door to the world. I am afraid people will look at what I'm working on and think I am a bad musician because I'm not practicing something more complicated. I am afraid my tunes are too cliche. I am afraid my scales are too slow. I worry that what takes me a week to master takes others only a day.


But I am so grateful that you, dear readers, have been nothing but supportive and forthcoming. So thank, thank you, thank you.


Tomorrow I am likely going to be otherwise engaged all day, but by Thursday I expect to be back in full swing during break and heading into the next semester. I'll be delving in Spanish phyrigian scales, composition, more flute, pushing boundaries on endurance and rhythmic exercises, and many more ideas I am excited about.


Happy holidays, and happy practicing!

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