ready to go past playing prescribed parts?

Structuring Creative Practice to Avoid Overwhelm

Seems like I’m constantly working on new content in response to user requests, (keep them coming!) which raises an interesting point; how to avoid overwhelm.


Since my goal is to provide tons of content to all of you at a great value, it’s inevitable that you might feel overwhelmed at some point with so much information.



This older post of mine is also relevant to structuring practice.

Mix and match the suggestions below, trying to achieve a balance of right brain vs left brain work. MORE focus with LESS time on exercises is preferable.


1) 5-15 minutes a day of mentally challenging, analytical exercises, such as working with chords, arpeggios, jazz scales, or anything that requires you to learn/memorize new information.


2) a) 5-15 minutes a day of “intuitive” exercises such as free improvisation, improvising within “non-tonal” parameters, b) improvising over a tune you already know (expand and vary your improvisations by working with your mental improv “checklist”), c) Write a tune, d) Sing and play. For example, improvise on instrument and voice simultaneously, or trade 4’s with voice and instrument, or harmonize with your voice…
3) 5-15 minutes of listening exercises, for example, transcribing the harmonic progression to a song, OR 5-15 minutes of transcribing solos.


4) 10-45 minutes of work on a tune that you’re learning – could involve any combo of bass lines, inner voices, looping, voice-leading the chords, practicing scales, harmonizing the melody, and/or soloing over the form.


5) No matter what you do, I always recommend that you record yourself and spend time listening back. By listening back, you’ll make notes about things to “leave out”, which is an easier way to improve than by “adding new things” to what you do. You can listen in the car while driving, before going to bed, etc.


What do you think about these ideas to help you learn jazz violin/viola/cello? Feel free to comment!


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