I know it is a personal thing as far as how we use our time while enduring the shutdowns. I thought I’d share some things I’m doing to help me from freaking out and maybe even improve my playing.
Here is what I’m doing each day for about 2 hours in total. More if I can.
1. Listening work: Today I listened to Dave Grusin’s track for the Firm. About 4 tunes.
2. Technique work: My plan was to work on one Czerny #10 which is particularly for left hand but I conveniently forgot to do this.
3. Melodic work: I picked “Moose the Mooche” and “All the things you are” to study the melodies and say out loud the intervals between each note. I do this out of time. This removes the muscle memory and I really have to know the melody.
4. Time work: I leaned a groove by Richard T and played it with a metronome for 7 minutes straight with no rhythmic hick-ups. I'm hoping to build my focus-endurance up because right now I lose focus about 2 minutes into a song and have some kind of small hick-up. Drummers have to do this all the time. How long can you focus on getting every rhythm in the pocket? Notes are secondary here.
5. Dynamic work: I went back to Moose and All The Things and focused on the balance between the melody, the bass line and the comping. I use Geoffrey Keezer’s philosophy here and make the melody loudest, followed by the bass, followed by very quiet comping.
6. Repertoire: I picked 3 tunes to really learn. “All the things you are”, “The Plan” by Grusin (Really cool groove. It sounds like he did two passes on it. But I'm adapting it.) And tomorrow I’m going to choose another one. Probably some Oscar Peterson one. By really learning these I mean being able to play them in all keys and also if there is a melody or solo going on, I need to know this in my left hand as well while right hand comps.
7. Improvisation work: I chose Rhythm changes in Bb. I incorporated intervals from the melodies I had already looked at earlier. Mostly 4ths, 5ths and some tri-tones. Tomorrow I’ll try in in few other keys. Soloing in the left hand and comping in the right hand is a challenge.
8. I noodled around on "Killing me softly with his song". Just for fun. I'll probably kick on a Bossa drum loop tomorrow and noodle some more on that and learn the melody in left hand too.
I recorded the entire 2 hours and listened back and made notes for the next time. This is something I have some control over and so do you. I’m also doing Yoga in the house and working out in the garage and taking the dogs for long walks. Join me. Do it your own way. But down deep, you probably know what you need to do. If you have any questions or would like to share your practice plans, please do.
Obviously, we don't know everything. But we do tend to think differently. Here are some of my thoughts on piano and maybe some on life. I play piano for Tracy Lawrence, produce new artists, write and practice piano.