Lessons and Work Ethic

Max Holm's Piano Instructor at Brubeck and Brubeck Artistic Director SimonRowe

Dr. Simon Rowe, Executive Director Brubeck Institute

My busy schedule means I don’t have much time to edit recordings, videos, images, etc., except for assignments, and what little time is left I use for gigs or rehearsals or practice. So I wrote this post to let you know what I’m doing and what’s on my mind.

I’m having an incredible learning experience at the Brubeck Institute. Although to be honest, I have had to reorganize my work ethic to facilitate my development as a musician, especially since I’m on a class schedule. My old habits are no good here.

I am taking jazz piano lessons right now with Brubeck Institute Director, Simon Rowe. Every week he has me working on several tasks, including learning solos, touch, rhythm/time, playing, etc.
I started experimenting with my practice sessions by focusing on one task everyday and planning my practice time around my next lesson. If my lesson is every Thursday, I will focus on one task every other day of the week until my next lesson. For example: Monday I might focus on transcriptions, Tuesday might be on better timing/rhythm, and so on, depending on what I need to learn for my next lesson or what I want to accomplish by a certain point in time. Thus, I can spend quality time (hours) on one single thing and really dig in to what I want/need to learn. Then to sum it up, I review all my tasks the day before the next lesson. I tried this last week for my then upcoming lesson, and I felt even more prepared for it than I did the weeks before. Not only did it work for me, but it worked because I myself figured out how I wanted to practice.
It’s one thing to have a to-do list, but in my opinion, I have found that it is better to focus on one thing at a time as you get to dig deeper into that one single task. This has substantial value because by the end of the week you will have spent quality time with everything you needed to practice, thus be more prepared for your next lesson.