It's encouraging to see how involved you are with your subscribers.
I recently graduated from music school and have started working in a non-music school job. My biggest struggle is knowing what to practice, given the limited amount of time. I try to keep it to the most important things for me: rhythm, harmony, and melody. It's within those themes that I start to stumble, I mostly practice my time with a metronome and recently I have been wanting to introduce new rhythmic concepts into my playing, hence why I purchased your book and signed up for your website.
I try to practice at least two hours a day but I find even when I reach that the practices don't feel very successful.
I've also tried combining different approaches to learning multiple things at once, such as practicing a new voicing and its inversions while playing a specific rhythm over a tune or vamp. But I think that's too ambitious.
Hope this isn't too long, any guidance, advice or positive practice experiences are greatly appreciated.
Deciding on what to practice can certainly feel daunting at times. There are a million concepts and only one of you.
I think that you where onto something when you talked about consolidating concepts. However, I would suggest that you first learn them individually.
In addition, I would suggest that all of your practices focus on applying the concepts that you are working on. A lot of students practice with two folders: the “practice” folder and the “playing” folder; never applying some of the concepts they practice. I’ve even seen students religiously practice concepts without having any idea as to how they are applied.
Below is an example of a practice routine that incorporates all of the elements you mentioned. I have attached it as a PDF file in case you’d like to use it as a starting point.
- Read the “head”/melody until you learn it and can play it comfortably.
- Practice your chords until you can “comp” the tune up to tempo.
- Practice any inversions you’d like to add.
- As well as any other devices such as quartal harmony/stacked fourths etc.…
- Practicing improvising scales/modes over the changes.
- Practice improvising implicit polymeters over the tune.
- (You could use a polymetric improvisation template to start.)
- Practice improvising polyrhythms over the tune.
You might not be able to get through all of this in one day, but the important thing is to go through the full list. As the days go on, everything will be easier to do, and you will be able to practice more concepts.
Eventually, you will just run through the whole tune, practicing a different concept every time you run through the form. Once you feel that you can do this comfortably, start mixing the concepts.
Are you done yet? Grab a new tune, wash, rinse and repeat!