Wynton’s Twelve Ways to Practice

Wynton Marsalis (Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)
Wynton Marsalis (Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)

How does one get to Carnegie Hall? Practice.

It’s an old joke, but there’s a lot of truth in it.  And as we gear up for the Minnesota Varsity Showcase Concert this coming Sunday, with five performances by instrumental and vocal artists (and premieres from two composition artists), perhaps it’s a good time for musicians of all ages to consider effective practice habits — whether the goal is Carnegie Hall, the Fitzgerald Theater, or your own living room.

A number of years ago, jazz trumpeter and composer Wynton Marsalis came up with a list of twelve rules to good practicing — a list that is often shared, republished, and posted in music classrooms. It began making the rounds again earlier this month:

1) Seek out instruction.

2) Write out a schedule.

3) Set goals.

4) Concentrate.

5) Relax and practice slowly.

6) Practice hard things longer.

7) Practice with expression.

8) Learn from your mistakes.

9) Don’t show off.

10) Think for yourself.

11) Be optimistic

12) Look for connections.

The full republished article can be seen on the Arban Method website.

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