Jazz is hard. So is playing the trombone.
During the course of my education, I’ve been fortunate to study with many of the world’s greatest jazz trombonists and learn their practice methodologies and approaches for mastering jazz trombone. My experiences with all of these trombonists have been great and lead me to
In 2007 I was accepted into the Kiniesiology Masters program at CSU-Sacramento where I was awarded a Graduate Assistantship in the Motor Learning department. During this time, I learned many current motor learning techniques which are commonly used in athletic training and physical education.
One such area is developing skills in settings where variables are constant. A sports example would be shooting a basketball during a game. It is easy, or easier, to execute a set shot, such as one from a free throw line. It is easy to develop some level of success in a set shot, typically because a routine is established. However, when it comes to executing this shot during a game, there are many factors that impact the ability to execute a skill with success. These factors might include the location of a defending player, the size of a defending player, fatigue, actual location of the shot Motor learning researchers suggest practicing with a variety of conditions that will best prepare the learner for learning and executing a skill consistently.
Eventually, I resumed my music career and discovered something interesting. In current jazz pedagogy, specifically brass pedagogy, many of the techniques I learned in Motor Learning where not being utilized by musicians. However.. they should be!
I decided to take these techniques and apply them to practice schedules for jazz trombone. Jazz improvisation is not that different than athletics. A performer in both is expected to execute a variety of skills, execute despite many potentially disruptive (or helpful!) variables (both mentally and physically) and both perform with some level of spontaneity or improvisation.
I am currently finishing a book of Jazz Trombone that addresses these application of these techniques to the practice of brass instruments. My work discusses Motor Learning techniques and practice conditions in detail while also creating practice plans and schedules for Jazz practice. I will continue to update information about this work and others as they near completion!
Contact me for more info!