Okay, I'm geekin' out. And for this episode, I'm going to go back to my musical roots instead of writing about writing. Today, I went up to Thanksgiving Point to hear clinics given by alto saxophonist Eric Marienthal and tenor saxophonist/super arranger Gordon Goodwin. Both men offered some great advice to young musicians and gave me some material that I can use for teaching. Here are some of the things they said:
Eric Marienthal: Most important thing about practicing is constantly using a metronome (see? told ya). We need to play with our instrument, not at it. When you sit down to practice, have a plan. He also talked about motif practicing, which is something I also teach. What you practice isn't as important as how you do it. Playing professionally is all about playing in time and in tune. If he doesn't have much time for practice, he at least does long tones. The more time you put in, the more automatic things become.
Gordon Goowin: If you want something, you have to go get it. Have a plan when you improvise (or what I tell my students is to have a strategy). We need to train our brain to think spontaneously. A big thing that really stood out, though, is that he talked about the 10,000 hour rule, something I just blogged about! He also mentioned that to be musicians (or writers, for that matter), we have to have understanding spouses (boy, have I been blessed in that department).
So, I guess there are principles here that can apply to writing. I feel that my musical training has been a great help to my development as a writer. You have to be disciplined to make yourself practice. Same thing with making yourself sit down to write. Dang, I still turned this into a writing thing; I guess it's what's on my brain.