Wynton Marsalis on Practicing

12 ideas from Wynton Marsalis (taken from his video “Tackling the Monster”)

(1) Seek private instruction
Don’t be too fearful or too proud to ask questions.

(2) Make a schedule
Draw up a daily blueprint to cover fundamentals.

(3) Set realistic goals
You can’t build a house in a week. You say, “In one month the foundation will be laid. In two months, the walls will be up, and so forth.” Same with practicing: set manageable goals for yourself.

(4) Concentrate
Get your whole self involved in what you’re doing. Hear it before you play it.
Engage your mind, body, spirit.

(5) Practice slowly
Take your time. Don’t hurry.

(6) Practice longer on things you can’t play
Don’t try to impress those that can hear you practicing. Work on things you can’t do.

(7) Play everything as if you’re singing it
Play it with maximum expression, with the right attitude. Invest yourself,
participate. Don’t be a cynic and hold back.

(8) Don’t be too hard on yourself
It’s not the end of the world if you make a mistake. Learn from your mistakes
and keep going.

(9) Don’t show off
“Those who play for applause. . . That’s all they get.”

(10) Think for yourself
Learn from others, but don’t be afraid to try out your own ideas.

(11) Be optimistic
“Music washes away the dirt of everyday life from your shoes.”

(12) Look for connections to other things
The more connections you can make to other things the better.


2 Responses to “Wynton Marsalis on Practicing”

  1. Femi Asake Says:

    Sir,i appreciate your style of player. I love your,strenght,fingering speed and others which i want to learn from you. Sir,how can i develop on my strenght,speed and playing octaves. Thanks.

  2. Mike Flowers Says:

    Calm, slow and listen to yourself. Practice often to build up strength. Seek guidance if you don’t get the effect you are looking for.

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