Getting over the hump – “I can’t think of anything to practice.”

In every musician’s life, there comes a time when you’re totally stumped about what to practice. I know that I have definitely been through this before in the past. Most of the time, a little bit of analysis mixed with a good bit of imagination will help you figure out new things to work on.

Let’s use major scales as an example.  We can take a list of elements and come up with numerous possibilities for practice.

Major scale practice elements

1. Range – You can go 1 octave, 2 octaves, full range of your instrument.
2. Intervals – You can move stepwise, in 3rds, 4ths, 5ths, etc.
2a. Multiple Intervals – You can combine intervals to form triads, 7th chords, or other shapes.
3. Direction – You can ascend, descend, alternate between those two, or come up with your own combination.
4. Chromatic tones – You can use neighbor tones, approach tones, enclosures.
5. Rhythm – You can use different rhythmic values and groupings.

Check out the examples below to see how we can manipulate these elements to create many different ways to practice the major scales.

Transcribed: Kenny Garrett – There Will Never Be Another You

This solo comes from Woody Shaw’s 1986 Solid album. It’s a great recording of Woody and his band playing standards. Kenny Garrett’s solo on the opening track, There Will Never Be Another You, has always been one of my favorites so I thought I’d share it with you.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Moksha CD Release Party is next Friday!

Las Vegas jam band, Moksha, is releasing their debut CD Mammal or Machine next Friday, April 9th, at the House of Blues in Las Vegas. I will be playing baritone saxophone at the release party with Moksha. I’ve been playing in the horn section with them for about a year now and it’s always a great time!

This is from the news page of Moksha’s website (www.mokshatime.com)

“Mammal or Machine” is in effect!!!

Track listing and CD release info.

2010-3-27

Spring is in the air and “Mammal or Machine” is now finished.

The date was pushed back a little, but Moksha’s album “Mammal or Machine” is on the printing press as we speak. It’s been an amazing experience to say the least.  For us, the icing on the cake came when we recruited Gavin Lurssen (Phish’s/Joy, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss/Raising Sand, O Brother Where Art Thou) to master the album. He helped bring out the warmth and the sparkle in the album. The result is something we are very proud of. Be the first to get it at our CD release party Friday April 9th at the House of Blues Las Vegas, NV.  If you want a sneak peek, listen to the Lyons Den on 91.5 Sunday April 4th.
“Mammal of Machine” will be distributed by the Home Grown Music Network and available on their website www.homegrownmusic.net along with online sources such as iTunes, eMusic, Amazon, Nugs.net, Rhapsody, Lala, Slacker, and many others.
We couldn’t be more excited about our upcoming CD release show at the House of Blues on April 9th. We have Peter Apfelbaum and Santana’s own Bill Ortiz and Jeff Cressman joining us for our horn section. We’ve also recruited local up and comers Kid Meets Cougar to support and round out the bill. Kid Meets Cougar is an Electro-Organic music collaboration – go check them out at www.kidmeetscougar.com.
Oh yeah……Don’t forget to sign up to our email list so you can keep up with Moksha’s activities. How? …It’s easy and takes 5 seconds, just go to www.mokshatime.com.

Here is the track listing for “Mammal or Machine”:

Bran Nu Junk
Blind to the Time
Interface
Island Thyme
Say U Will
Open the Door
Morning Fog
Easy A
Bobbin’ In The Sea
Trouble
God’s Country

Click on the poster to buy tickets.