Jammin’ or Practisin’?

Jammin-or-PracticingIf you’re anything like me, this is not a question you ask yourself very often. Usually it’s instrument out, and off . . . .

You’re cool, you’re free, you don’t follow anyones rules. Rules are for losers man! Your rehearsal consists of exploring ideas, going with the groove and having fun.

You put the music on the stand, just like your music teacher told you to. You then practice your scales, again like teacher said. You play through your pieces following the notes and markings as closely as you can trying to get everything perfect.

It’s worth stopping a while every so often to think about what it is you are doing when you jam or practice.

If you are a someone that likes to jam all the time you might lack structure in your practice. How do you know if you are getting better when you play different things all the time? Also consider how you are going to make a live performance – if you spend all your time in free practice those things that need rehearsing for a gig might get missed. Playing lots of different repertoire might also mean that you don’t really spend the quality time needed to listen to ensemble and ensure that balance and togetherness is good.

Those who have a strict practice routine are also not without problems. How would you cope if you are asked to make something up on the spot? Or get invited to play at a jazz gig where improvisation is required? Lack of freedom can lead to very stilted playing that could be expressionless and without emotion.

Ideally what you need is the best of both worlds – spend some time jammin’ and practisin’. The practising will give you the structure you need to ensure that you work on your weaker areas and the jammin will give you the freedom to express yourself.

What ever you do make sure that your practice leads you towards where you want to go. If you want to play pop and jazz you’ll most likely do more jammin’ than practisin’. However those more classicallly minded will stick to practice (with a little bit of jam ;) )

What’s it to be for you? What’s your music practice mix like? Use the comments below.

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