This solo has all of the things that I like about Rick Margitza. There’s a lot of great melodic inside playing, material built off of upper structure triads, and a strong display of fluency in the altissimo register. I actually learned this solo 6 months ago, maybe longer, but I just got around to writing it down. I spent a LOT of time playing this slowed down to 50% (even down to 25% sometimes!) in Transcribe! It was the only way I could have possibly gotten the 32nd-note double-time stuff down.
A couple of notes for practicing/performance:
The solo goes up to altissimo D (D4). I decided to write this all with ledger lines and not use 8va.
There are a couple of harmonics in the solo. They have a ° sign above them. Finger the bottom note and sound the top note.
I love reading books about music! It’s so nice to have that access to someone else’s perspective and insights. Here are a couple that really influenced how I think about music and how I work at music.
1. The Talent Code – Author Daniel Coyle has spent most of his career writing about sports. There are, of course, many parallels between practicing sports and practicing music. In the book, Coyle talks about hotbeds of talent in sports, music, and other disciplines. What’s striking is that all of the hotbeds have a large number of things in common – direct, expert coaching, simple, uncluttered environments, and a lot of repetition along with a list of other factors.
The takeaway from this book for me was the importance of slow practice. Parts of the book describe the Meadowmount Music Camp. The teachers encourage slow practice and the saying around there is that if someone walking by can recognize a passage you’re practicing, then you’re playing it too fast. In my own practice, I haven’t taken to quite that extreme, but when I’m working on something new or encounter problems with something I’m comfortable with, I slow it down and attempt to play with as little tension and with the best technique I can. This has been extremely helpful.
2. Effortless Mastery – In this book, pianist Kenny Werner, writes about his life as a musician and issues with negative self-talk that we can all experience from time to time (or all the time!). He goes on to discuss how he was able to let go of this burden and gives advice to musicians who want to follow that same path. It also includes a CD that contains 4 meditations guided by Kenny Werner.
I think that book serves as a reminder of two things. 1. It’s very easy to talk yourself into walking into a musical situation feeling defeated before you play/sing a note. 2. Music is a truly joyful activity that we do with people that we care about and we have the right to feel that joy, to spread that both to our friends on the bandstand, and to the listener(s). We also have the right to revel in the joy of our bandmates.
The beginning of a new year is always a time of reflection and renewal. Many people are making resolutions and striving to create habits or break old ones. Just like everyone else, I’ve been thinking about what I want to accomplish this year and how to go about it. With that in mind, I thought I’d share some of my ideas for new year’s resolutions. You might find something that you hadn’t thought of that resonates with you or you might have a resolution you’d like to add in the comments. I wish you a Happy New Year and hope you make it a great one. Without further ado, here’s the list.
1. Listen to more music.
2. Learn more tunes.
3. Find more playing opportunities (jam sessions, start a new project, etc.).
4. Start taking lessons (for the first time or start up again).
5. Write music.
6. Go out and support live music.
7. Learn a new instrument.
8. Transcribe solos.
9. Listen to new (to you) musical styles.
10. Memorize something new every day.
11. Read a musician’s biography.
12. Develop a practice routine.
13. Improve your technique.
14. Find the equipment that you love and not just what works.
15. Learn music notation software (Finale, Sibelius, etc.)
16. Learn audio software (ProTools, Logic, etc.)
17. Learn music fundamentals on your instrument (scales, chords, patterns, etc.)
18. Create your own patterns
19. Work on music business skills.
20. Work on ear training.
21. Try to connect with a musician you admire (in person or via social media, email, etc.)
22. Practice something is awkward/uncomfortable/difficult every day.
23. Learn some basic instrument repair skills.
24. Insure your instruments.
25. Get in the studio and make a recording.
26. Sell off all the extra gear you’re never going to really need.
27. Don’t take a solo on every tune.
28. Study music theory.
29. Read music-related books.
30. Be creative everyday.
So there it is, a few ideas to start off the year. These are not my personal resolutions. I already do some of these things (my instruments are insured, for example) and strive to do some of the others. Again, if you have any resolution ideas, please leave a comment.