I recently attended the Louisville Jazz Workshop at the University of Louisville in Louisville in Kentucky. The legendary bassist Rufus Reid gave a stunning solo recital. His playing was exciting, imaginative, dynamic, and colourful. Later that day he shared his practice tips with the audience of jazz students. He stressed that no matter how long our practice session might be students need to include the following:
• Technique. Practice the basics and get on top of your instrument. Make sure you can keep the beat, the count, and the groove.
• Style. Practice producing a “good sound”. Play your instrument in "a nice way". Be creative with your approach.
• Repertoire. Learn the jazz standards by heart. Listen to the jazz canon, and then play along with these recordings.
• Patience. He stressed being reasonable with yourself by not pushing past your actual ability. It takes time to learn to play both your instrument and the jazz idiom well.
Thank you to Frank for the note outline.
You've got to learn your instrument. Then, you practice, practice, practice. And then, when you finally get up there on the bandstand, forget all that and just wail.
I'm a professional pianist and music educator in West Toronto Ontario. I'm also a devoted percussionist and drum teacher.