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Thomas J. West Music

Live webcam private music lessons, music education articles, compositions, clinician services, reviews

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Practicia Mobile Music Practicing System Entering Beta This Fall

Posted on July 30, 2014 at 8:25 AM Comments comments (0)


As my long-time readers know, my blog first started out with articles on practice tips for musicians. I believe strongly in teaching students about neuroplasticity and the most effective ways to practice their musical instruments to maximize results. The traditional public school music program still to this d...

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The Value Of Efficient And Organized Musical Practice Routines

Posted on May 24, 2013 at 7:25 AM Comments comments (0)


My blog started out back in 2008 as a series of practice tips and featured articles about the neurology of musical practice. The basic observation is that many elementary band and orchestra directors tell...

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How To Keep Yourself Motivated When Starting To Learn To Play A Musical Instrument

Posted on April 30, 2013 at 2:00 PM Comments comments (1)


The following is a guest article by Kevin Maddox on behalf of Mann's Music, with some tips for music practice, a popular category of my blog.


When you first start playing an instrument, it can be hard to maintain your motivation; you may find that you’re just not moving forward as quickly as you mi...

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Bobby McFerrin On Jazz Improvisation

Posted on April 1, 2013 at 9:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Bobby McFerrin is a musician I have always looked up to and admired. He embodies what I endeavor to be as a performer - someone who music just flows out of. In this video, which is a masterclass at the Aarhus Vocal Festival in 2011, Bobby explains how he was "changed molecularly" when he saw the Miles Davis quintet and how he began his process of learning to improvise. He describes how he progressed in the first six years of improvisational study from "just singing without s...
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Should You Be Practicing Right Now?

Posted on September 30, 2011 at 7:25 AM Comments comments (0)

practicing chart


The image above is making rounds on Facebook right now amongst my musician compatriots. Let's give this creativity some web traffic, shall we?


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The Musician's Ten Year Commitment

Posted on September 28, 2011 at 8:45 AM Comments comments (0)

metronome


One of the many things I took away from my time as a member of The Cadets drum and bugle corps was a stronger work ethic. I packed so much more learning and skill development into those two years than any other time in my life, quite simply because it was the only thing on my plate. Olympic athletes operate similarly. There is little else in their focus. They can devote hou...

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5 Tips For Effective Vocal Ensemble Warm-Ups

Posted on July 5, 2011 at 3:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Mormon Tabernacle Choir

I spent six years teaching both middle school and high school choral programs as well as serving as director of several contemporary a cappella groups over the past 20 years. Warm-ups for a vocal ensemble serve four purposes: to physically warm up the singing apparatus, to strengthen proper singing technique, to mentally focus t...

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Music Practice Tip: The Devil Is In The Transitions

Posted on May 16, 2011 at 12:55 PM Comments comments (0)

music brain


No matter what instrument is being performed, including the human voice, nor what kind of ensemble is rehearsing, from a soloist all the way to a full symphony orchestra, the majority of inaccurate performance events occur at transitional points in the music score.


The brain is able to coordinate and perform the motion...

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Music Practice Tip: Sharpen The Saw

Posted on April 3, 2011 at 7:23 AM Comments comments (0)

music brain


To master a musical instrument, one must put the bulk of their time and energy into simply playing the instrument. The neural connections needed to perform the motor skills necessary require repetition to become consistently useable. "Just Do It" is not only the slogan of Nike but can also be the slogan of musicians everywhere.

&#...

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Using Focused Proprioception To Learn And Memorize Music

Posted on March 24, 2011 at 8:35 PM Comments comments (1)

memorizing music

Recently, I have been taking about 15-20 minutes each morning when I first arrive to school to work on material from the Alfred Adult Piano Series. I gave up piano lessons in 2nd grade and regret that decision to this day. Even after my lab piano classes in my undergrad days, I am still not satisfied with my proficiency on the piano. Throug...

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