Music Lifestyle:
The 9-Hour Practice Session: Productivity or Insanity?

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Lifestyle ArticleI called home yesterday morning after I had finished my practice for the day. After some chatting, my mom’s reactions reminded me just how bizarre a serious practice routine can seem to the uninitiated. Given that most of my close friends are about as absorbed in music as I am, I don’t often have a reason to question my obsession with practice; in circles of musicians, this lifestyle is not remarkable. Even so, I’m still on the eyebrow-raising end of the spectrum. I’d like to take this opportunity to philosophize: how does one develop such an insane devotion to such strictly regimented tasks, and what goes into that, exactly? Continue reading

Music Lifestyle:
Technical Parity at 30: Checking in at 27. (or… An Inspirational Talk for the Discouraged Music Student)

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Lifestyle ArticleWhen I began my first run at music school, it didn’t take me long to realize that I was woefully underprepared. In the months before my audition, I sat down at the piano daily and diligently practiced technical exercises, but six-years-stale childhood lessons were definitely inadequate for what lay ahead. In fact, my enthusiasm for this misguided practice routine induced a three month bout with tendonitis almost immediately after my audition, which (thankfully) cleared up before the start of classes. Once classes began at Mount Royal University, I was quick to realize that I had a long way to go, and after suffering through an epic emotional breakdown, I buckled down and learned how to Practice. Continue reading

Music Theory Opinion:
Texture and Polyphony: What They Don’t (and Should) Tell You on the First Day of Counterpoint (and Harmony) Class

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essentialdecibels.comI’ve taken counterpoint and harmony (twice) at the post-secondary level, and there is one essential concept which was never adequately explained in any of these courses. My second run at music school (after I took a few years off) benefited from a genuine interest in classical composition, and a substantial amount of experience with the jazz theory that I acquired in the first go-round. In this article, I will explain how I finally came to understand both the value and limitations of these fields of study. Continue reading