The Lick

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. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krDxhnaKD7Q]  

The world in a grain of sand

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 […]

Practicing towards perfection

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 […]

Practicing music: the role of visualization and sleep

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 […]

Charlie Parker: Techniques of Improvisation

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 […]

Musicians think differently

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 […]

A musician’s worst nightmare

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 […]

Be an elephant – Patrick Breiner

I recently spent about 2 months on the East Coast playing music, crashing on couches, and drinking excessive amounts of Scotch (after experiencing Madison I couldn’t bring myself to pay $7 for a mediocre imported beer).  Toward the end of my visit a good friend and exceptional guitar player, Ben, asked to meet for lunch […]