Playing Tip: RELAX and Just Be You

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This is a shorty so here goes.....

In the world of music and being a musician, performer, composer and teacher, I often see people who are trying to play like someone else. I’ll admit, I’ve fallen into this trap as well especially as a performer.  I remember times in the not so distant past, trying to play didgeridoo like this person or that person and falling flat on my face. It’s a special brand of self-torture I think we all engage in from time to time. Especially when we find someone who excites us so much we want to do what they’re doing. The truth is, we can’t do what they do, in the way they do it. And we shouldn’t. It leaves little room to find our own voice. I think there are a couple of reasons why we engage in trying to play like someone else. One is healthy and the other is not. It seems the healthy way is to play like your hero so you can use these skills as a springboard to explore your own voice and gifts. The unhealthy way is to keep playing like your hero in hopes of sounding like them. Enter the special brand of self-torture of feeling so unsatisfied with your own playing that often times you feel like quitting. So what can one do to get out of this trap if we find ourselves in it? I offer this tip.....

Just sit for a moment, let yourself breathe and your mind relax and then, when you really feel ready, just let yourself simply play your instrument and truly love what you hear.

That’s it. It’s that simple.

We live in a complicated world where we feel that to make things more complicated than they are is the way to success. The harder we work at something, the more we feel we’re accomplishing something. Actually, the opposite it true. If we can get ourselves to relax into what we’re doing and just love what we are hearing and allow ourselves to be where we’re at (i.e. engaging in non self-judgment or in “beginners mind”) then we stand a chance to finding that voice from within that is trying to express itself through you. This works as much in life as it does in making music. So if you find yourself trying to sound like so and so because the are sooooo cool, you can do that but let it be place where you can use it as a jumping off point to find your own expression.

Nuff said. Now go make some beautiful noise and love THAT!




Six Tips for (a bit more) Stress Free Practice

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So what do you think of when I say the word practice? Does it make you scrunch your upper lip up in dread or does it thrill you with the chase? In, talking with so many adults and even some kids about practice, many tend to share with me a certain visions of sweat, blood, slaving and slogging through material or a technique. While there is always some degree of discipline and putting in the time, there are ways to make practice a bit more manageable. Here are six things you can do to help make your practice a bit more stress free. 

1. Don’t Worry – If you don’t get the material or technique down today, don’t sweat it. You may get it tomorrow or the next day so don’t worry about what you don’t get and simply focus on what you do get. Just trust your baby steps and remember that Divine Order is crazy like a fox and everything works out. 

2. Give Yourself Permission to be a Beginner – This is an especially  hard one for adults because we are so conditioned to get it right simply because we're older and "should" know better. Just know that this is BS. Everyone starts somewhere and even the experts are at the beginning of some level. It also helps to remember that all great masters are lifetime students......That’s what makes them masters. 

3. Give Yourself Permission to Learn – So many people expect themselves to get something right the first time but few of us are lucky enough to be instant experts. Giving yourself time to learn will, a lot of times, mean taking baby steps and that's ok. That’s all you need. Just keep breathing and you’ll get there. Oh, and don’t worry (see tip #1) about those who learn faster because it doesn’t matter because everyone learns at their own speed.

This brings me to 

4. Be Patient - 

5. Be Persistent - 

Engage in these two habits and you will have won 9/10ths of your game.  

6. Enjoy the Journey! – A.K.A. Enjoy the Ride because you won’t ever experience this moment in the same way again………ever……sorry. 

These tips are brought to you by The Learning Curve. helping humans to be their best since the dawn of time. If you have any questions, please let me know. I teach this stuff and I love helping people sort out the snags in their practice! Many thanks for reading!



P.S. - There are likely to be more tips showing up as I think of them so stay tuned! :-)