10 tips on how not to become a better musician
Articles, free lessons
Here is a list of bad habits you should keep on doing to avoid improving:
1. Practice without a plan and as little as possible, do not under any circumstances practice more than 10 minutes a day or you will seriously risk to improve. You don’t need to learn and memorize standards, just use the realbooks, that’s what they’re for after all.
2. Woodwind players, long tones are the biggest scam in music history, you don’t need to practice those ever.
3. Don’t go to concerts, it will not bring you anything to experience live music, youtube videos are all you need really. In general, try not to be curious.
4. Don’t buy entire albums. The great thing today is that you can buy one track out of an entire album, isn’t that great? Would be awesome if we could do the same thing with books! I dont want the whole story, I just want chapters 2 and 5, I will get what the author meant, just like I completely understand the story behind an album by listening to a couple of tracks.
5. Don’t transcribe, you don’t want to be a copy cat, do you?
6. Don’t spend too much time improving your intonation.
7. Scales and arpeggios? Come on! Again, if you want to play “creative” music, you want to avoid knowing anything about scales and chords.
8. Ear training? Beethoven was deaf, right? Don’t bother.
9. You don’t need to have any sort of rhythm mastery.
10. Do not subscribe to Jazz Video Lessons. That has a frightening potential to help people improve their musicianship. Take great care to avoid subscribing! You could have access to so much knowledge, bonus lessons, interviews, personal feedback, webinars and more. You really don’t want that.
11. Do not accept criticism Put your ego first. Do not seek feedback from friends, fellow musicians and teachers. JVL subscribers can get personal feedback from me, but I’ll tell you the truth, they should really just listen to themselves.
12. Don’t think, please do not think! Play without thinking, that’s how you can be really creative and musical, without letting the “intellect” interfere with your emotions, so I’ve heard.
13. Never record yourself practicing, never record your gigs, basically never listen back to what you play. You could spot weakness and decide to work on them. Nah, don’t have a critical listen to your performance, you need to keep that confidence that you are killing!
14. Don’t help other musicians, don’t practice with them, don’t share ideas, don’t share any contacts. Hey, if they want a gig they got to deserve it and find it the hard way just like you did.
15. Focus on what you already know. If you decide to practice, be sure to practice things you already know. Don’t seek for any challenge. That will make you feel really good to play that scale even faster and for sure you will avoid improving your musicianship!
16. Don’t show up at your private lessons and have a lame excuse.
Alex Terrier is a French musician based in New York who helps passionate students to learn how to learn. He is a member of the Mingus Big Band and has recently recorded an album with pianist Kenny Barron.