Practice Room: Back to Earth (Dave Brubeck)

Practice Room: Back to Earth (Dave Brubeck)

This is the first post within my new “Practice Room” category. Usually you see only the polished performances published on websites or on social media. However, I wanted to show you some of the behind the scenes practice that goes on in order to help create that official performance that gets viewed and shared.

Music is imperfect. I’m honest enough to say that even though I also post videos of myself playing songs, it doesn’t mean I always play them as well as I did when I posted them. A bit like a stand-up comedy routine, you can’t save your last performance and roll it out the next night, but instead you must re-create it again and again. This means you need to continue to work on your material, your skill and your art, to try to improve on your last performance. And that requires continual practice.

The more songs and tunes you learn the less time you have to practice each of them, so I find myself with a portfolio of songs and pieces continually rotating on and off my practice list at any one time. There are those which I am learning for the first time, those which I used to play but haven’t for a long time, and those which I play all the time but I want to add some variety to.

So, I shall start posting some videos of me practicing so you can get a feel as to how I get a tune from practice to performance standard. It involves plenty of bum notes, restarts and repetition (I save the expletives for when I’m not recording!).

This first one is a jazz piece by Dave Brubeck, called Back to Earth. I used to play this a long time ago but know that if I tried to play it on stage right now, I would probably come unstuck. It’s an intricate tune as you’ll hear, and much like a classical piece, it is imperative that you get all the notes exactly right. On some tunes you can add some artistic licence and it doesn’t really matter, or isn’t overly noticeable, if you change or simplify certain elements, but with this one it would really stand out so it needs to be near enough note perfect.

I hope you find it interesting. I would love to find out more about your piano practice techniques (as well as trials and tribulations!), so do get in touch!

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