I am proof practice works.
- I started playing piano in high school.
- I resisted structure, changing teachers yearly. I was fired by more than one.
- I loved to sight-read music, not practice it.
- I played in one piano recital in my whole life. That was enough for me.
- I played pop music 90% of the time.
- I loved creating my own music.
- I wrote for the school band.
- I started bands by age 13-14. I was a sad self-taught guitarist in the beginning before I discovered jazz. Then I formed and wrote for an 8-piece band every week in our rec room at home. I was also now the pianist.
- I was mediocre in high school band class. I owe the saxophone an apology.
- I had a tin ear and could not hit a pitch on the piano. I've no idea how I tuned my guitar.
- I was a very enthusiastic music student, just an undisciplined unfocused pianist, without the gift of self knowledge.
- My ability to memorise music was at best rudimentary.
- I had terrible stage fright around the piano for several years.
I made it into Berklee with 4 years of piano under my belt, but it included 2 years of professional gigging in rock and country bands in the North Bay region. A lot of gigs. Plus, my basement jazz band. That made the difference I figure. But who knows, recordings do not exist.
I got through Berklee as a composition major. I thought about being a performance major, but that required serious practice. Something I was not interested in. But I continued playing gigs during those years. A lot of gigs. Some exciting gigs. I was a busy journeyman. I could sight-read just about anything. I showed up on time ready to play. I was pleasant to be around. Where did that put me in the Berklee pecking order? Turns out near the top. I made it one year to the number 2 band.
So, when did I learn to practice?
Signed up for my Grade 10 exam. My very first piano exam ever. I couldn't fake it. I had to play it. I put a couple of thousand hours of focused practice in. I read every book I could find on how to practice. How many books? Chapters bookstore sent me Christmas present. That is how many.
- I tried implementing what I was reading.
- I did everything my teachers asked of me.
- I did not push back against a curriculum written in the 19th century!
- My life was transformed. I finally really learn to play well. It progressed further during my ARCT.
- I can help you find your path too. Call me.