by Ella Campbell
While I’ve been moving and rearranging my things, I came across a notebook with snippets of notes from different masterclasses I attended at Michigan State. Here are a few notes I took during a masterclass with Byron Stripling in April, 2010.
- Knowledge is not power, action is power. Develop action-oriented habits.
- When you leave your university, your teachers will become your competition. Stop thinking about yourself as a student, and start thinking of yourself as a musician.
- Believe that what you want to do is possible. Then what you believe must become your reality.
- Do your own research. If everyone is going in one direction, see what happens if you go the other.
- First we make [good] habits, then our habits make us.
- Practice every day. Develop a practice program for yourself.
- Repetition is the mother of skill: you know something when you are able to perform it.
- Practice for 1 or 2 hours every morning sometime before noon: it’s like working out. If you don’t do it at the beginning of the day the probability of you having the motivation through the rest of the day lessens.
- “What should we practice?” Whatever it is, believe that it’s important. Emotionally you have to feel it’s important, otherwise you won’t do it.
- “What kind of mouthpiece do you use?” … “Oh that’s interesting!” “NO. What’s interesting is get your ass in a practice room!“
- Clarity is power: check out the Clifford Brown recording of him practicing.
- Practice sight reading
- Practice listening: “You must be present to win.”
- Listen for rhythm, melody and harmony. Do what the musicians you admire do: study the culture & roots of the music you listen to. Absorb everything.
- Create a music environment that serves to your greatest good.
- Learn how to play something humble for your grandma. Like “Misty.”
- Play, in root position, any changes you have to play over. Then figure out how to resolve it. Learn the rules first.
- Model the masters. If someone has done something that you want to do, learn how they did it and do that. Get the music inside you.
- Start with baby steps.
- On Self Discipline: There is no one to blame but ourselves for our lack and limitation. Do what you know you should do, even when you don’t want to do it.
- Record yourself once a week. Get the true reflection of how you sound.
- People want to help you if you can help yourself.
- When you talk the talk but don’t walk the walk: “Who you are is so loud that I can’t hear what you’re saying.”
- “Circumstances don’t make the man, they just reveal who is he is to himself.”
- “Success is failure turned inside out.”
- “If you see a straight line in nature, man made it.”
- “Any time you decide what you want, there will be road blocks in your way.”
- “All negativity is rooted in frustration of potential.”
- “Be proud of giving joy to people’s lives.”
Until next time,
Swing sisters, swing!