In this series on optimizing your music practice, we are looking at a music practicing mistake that most people do not realize they are making.

If you want to be able to play fast phrases on an instrument, this concept will be a game-changer for you!

Most people will tell you to keep practicing scales and chords and use a metronome.

All good advice, but there's a music practicing mistake that you may not be aware that you are making.

Let me explain…

One of my coaching students was having a problem playing an exercise he had been working on for some time.

It involved playing arpeggios throughout the range of the horn, following a certain shape.

And this exercise is awesome for building technique, understanding chords and as a vocabulary source for improvising.

When we started the exercise, the tempo was at 60 bpm,  and the goal was to slowly increase the speed until it was at a minimum 100 bpm.

It appeared that he nailed it and 60, 63, 66 bpm, but when he got to 72 bpm, everything fell apart.

Most people would say that he just needs to go back to a slower tempo and get it more solid before increasing speed.

But there's more to it than just going back to a slower tempo.

It has to do with your approach, both physically and mentally.

Let's address the mental approach.

There is a super important question you need to ask yourself when working on technique.

After he kept making mistakes at 72 bpm, I asked him, “What's in your mind's eye when you played that exercise? What are you seeing?”

What he said surprised me…it didn't dawn on me that people would think of what he mentioned.

And then I remembered what I did as a kid when I was learning chromatic scales on the trumpet.

Find out what he said, what I initially did as a kid, and why this simple mindset shift will help him (and you!) play faster phrases and retain what you worked on in the shed when you watch the video below…

(Stay tuned to the end to hear the entire etude)



What's in YOUR mind's eye when you play technical exercises?

Let me know in the Comments below…

Music Practicing Resources

1. Practice Smarter; Optimize Your Practice To Get Maximum Results course

2. Nick Mainella, The Chromatic Way etude pdf

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