Re: When Traditions Collide

Nancy asked a great question under my post When Traditions Collide:

“To maximize my potential as a jazz pianist I’ve been working on classical music. My practice sessions normally end up being split up in half, a few hours of jazz and a few of classical. Aside from enjoying the process (both physical and analytical) of learning classical pieces, I find it helps with my sound, technique, and melodic ideas. But I do wonder if I may be spending a little too much time playing classical. What sort of ratio would you say be ideal?”

I’ve had practice regimens that are 100% jazz and I’ve had others that are 100% classical.  Currently, I’m at about 25% classical and 75% jazz.

More importantly though, the material is 100% me.  I’m not really concerned with style or tradition when I’m practicing.  All I care about is studying and extracting material that interests me.  That’s why this ratio is always changing.

I used to feel pressure to practice certain things; that’s a very unproductive approach.  If you’re not inspired to practice one thing over the other, then don’t!

By the sounds of it Nancy, you’re happy with how you’re balancing your practicing time. But if you feel unbalanced or ready to move on to something else, make the adjustment.  Just don’t adjust out of pressure.

This is where teachers can help too.  If you’re studying with someone you respect and admire, ask for his/her guidance.  A good teacher, depending on your playing, will be able to suggest ways to adjust your practice routine or reassure you that you’re on the right track!

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