Book Review – Practicing for Artistic Success by Burton Kaplan

One day this past summer I was surfing my Facebook feed and saw an intriguing post from Manny Laureano. Manny is the Principal Trumpet with the Minnesota Orchestra, and Co-Artistic Director and Conductor of the Minnesota Youth Symphonies Orchestra. He also was on the faculty of the National Orchestral Institute many years ago when I was a fellow there. He is a musician, music educator, and human for whom I have the utmost respect.

His post on Facebook that morning talked about a workshop he was going to be participating in: A "Practice Marathon Retreat" for brass players, at the Magic Mountain Music Farm in upstate New York. I did some reading about the retreat, Magic Mountain, and the founder and co-presenter of the workshop, Burton Kaplan. I really wanted to attend the retreat in person, but I had a performance booked that week that I absolutely could not back out of, so I did some research and found the next best thing... the book "Practicing for Artistic Success," by Burton Kaplan.

Becoming a Productive College Student

I recently came across a really good blog post on The Productivityist, one of many blogs I follow these days. It’s a guest post written by Ryan McRae, titled “Becoming the Productive College Student.” It’s a pretty quick read, and well worth the time for anyone who’s looking to be more productive in their college years (and beyond!). Here’s my take on what he has to say:

Four Tips to Avoid Practicing on Auto Pilot

I consider practicing fundamental technique to be a hugely important part of being a musician. As a result, I practice my fundamentals as close to daily as I possibly can. For trumpet, that includes “multi-tonguing,” or double and triple tonguing. Multi-tonguing is a skill that you need to practice regularly in order to maintain a high level.

I was recently working on my double tonguing and noticed my sound quality deteriorating in the upper register on certain passages. This is not uncommon, and it’s one of the reasons I practice that particular exercise. But what was weird was what I did next: nothing.

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