MoPToP Practice Theory part 5 – Performative Practice

This is the final article in my series on holistic musical practice, set out in the framework I like to call MoPToP. We looked at mental practice, the in depth process of thinking about the type of musician you want to be, where you are at present, what you need to do next and how […]

MoPToP Practice Theory part 4: Technical Practice

Now we get to what most people think of when they think of practice, also the part you’re most likely to associate with unpleasant and uncreative chores. But this is where you assemble the toolkit that will enable you to realise your ideas – if you do it right, it will open up avenues of […]

MoPToP Practice Theory part 3: Physical Practice

Continuing the series of articles on holistic practice habits for musicians, last time we looked at mental practice – figuring out the kind of musician you want to be and what you need to do about it and organising your creative ambitions ready to take into the rehearsal room or studio. Maybe you’re chomping at […]

MoPToP Practice Theory part 2: Mental Practice

Part two in a series of articles on personal musical practice, last time I gave an overview of my MoPToP framework describing what I see as the four main aspects of developing as a musician: Mental, Physical, Technical and Performative. Now it’s time to look at these in more detail, starting with: M – Mental […]

MoPToP Practice Theory part 1: Overview

How often do you practice at your instrument? This is a dreaded question among musicians at all levels, conjuring as it does visions of stern authority figures standing over sweating adolescents while they struggle with scales, arpeggios and formal studies written decades ago by “good” composers. For those about to rock, nothing could be further […]

Why I Am Not A Guru

“Only the blind follow me.” – Alien Sex Fiend: Ignore The Machine In The Who’s 1969 rock opera Tommy, the titular character loses his primary senses following a childhood trauma, eventually finding his way through the tactile experience of playing pinball. He then concludes that simulating his experience as closely as possible could cause other […]

Standard Songs of the Modern Era

This was originally published at Fresh On The Net and is inspired by my colleague Neil March’s article on great cover versions and the subsequent discussion that took place in the comments. The subject of cover versions can be a touchy one for many independent musicians trying to build a creative career distinct from the […]

Demystifying Staff Notation part 2: Rhythm

Part two of my series on the basics of reading music in staff notation. This is intended as a logical, from the ground up explanation of music notation for people who either never learned but wanted to, or tried only to get put off and confused by the traditional barrage of unmusical theory, horrible rote […]