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The Practice Room — Part 1: Planning

The Practice Room — Part 1: Planning

And while we might think we're knocking the planning stage out of the park, most of us are probably just working off of vague ideas that swim around in our heads — nondescript, non-definitive, and therefore non-actionable. In the end, this non-approach produces something that is, well, unproductive. Or at least less productive than it could be.

Stacked and Suffocating—The Dark Side of Hustle and Grind in a Creative Life

Stacked and Suffocating—The Dark Side of Hustle and Grind in a Creative Life

This is the world we live in as musicians and it isn't healthy. It's stifling, it's harmful, it's too much. And those of us who teach perpetuate the cycle with our students. We manage to be both a victim of our own professional existence while at the same time a culprit, or at the very least an accomplice, in the abuses waged against those studying with us.

College Auditions — Some Thoughts From the Other Side

College Auditions — Some Thoughts From the Other Side

I try to contribute content when and where there might be pre-existing holes in our field. So I've hesitated when it comes to contributing somethin...

Your Hands Are The Least Interesting Thing About You

Your Hands Are The Least Interesting Thing About You

A couple of weeks ago an idea flashed into my brain one morning as I ate my cereal — wouldn't it be fun to put together some sort of "fast hands" c...

Concert Honesty: Life To This Point

Concert Honesty: Life To This Point

By Josh Quillen I fail.  A lot.  It’s been the only real consistent thing in my life.  Just a constant series of trials and errors.  Oh lord and sw...

15 (or so) Questions with Josh Jones - Principal Percussionist, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra

15 (or so) Questions with Josh Jones - Principal Percussionist, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra

The internet and social media can do some pretty incredible things, especially in terms of enabling connections between people and ideas that might...

Create Unapologetically. Hum in the Shower.

Create Unapologetically. Hum in the Shower.

By Joshua Merritt I write words for a living, not music, but in many ways the gigs are the same. We both obsess over rhythm and cadence.  We care i...

Learn Your Instrument, Not Just Pieces — Part 2

Learn Your Instrument, Not Just Pieces — Part 2

This post is offered as a follow up to my earlier post entitled “Learn Your Instrument, Not Just Pieces”. In my initial article I did what we often...

Learn Your Instrument, Not Just Pieces

Learn Your Instrument, Not Just Pieces

I’m not a great cook. I try, I really do. Each week, as my wife and I are divvying up the dinner responsibilities, I rack my brain and revisit my b...

An Unexpected Music Education in 1990's Houston

An Unexpected Music Education in 1990's Houston

When I was 16 years old I started going to shows. That’s what we called them then—shows. They were concerts, live music events, but typically not o...

Summer is for Growth (the Summer of '97)

Summer is for Growth (the Summer of '97)

The summer of 1997 was formative for me. I was finishing my sophomore year of undergraduate percussion study at the University of Texas at Austin a...

Interview with Keith Williams, Part 2

Interview with Keith Williams, Part 2

In the sequel to Part 1 of our interview with Keith Williams, we discuss orchestra festivals, grad school auditions, beta blockers, perseverance, a...