I want to talk about practice. Specifically about being proficient at your instrument in one very specific style, then learning a new style and basically being a beginner all over again. This my friends, has basically been my experience with learning "Jazz"
There's a tonne of music that fits into the jazz category. Within this, there are less, but still a substantial amount of pieces that fit into the category of "Jazz Standard". On top of this, there's an expectation that when one plays jazz standards, (for the most part) they do so from memory.
This is what I've been struggling with.
Last year, I dived into playing jazz with some really rad people. These people are all brilliant musicians, with a vast knowledge of the genera, and have been playing in the style significantly longer than I have. I made the mistake of trying to play catch up.
Playing catch up is not fun. It's frustrating, and hard, and if you go about it in the wrong way, and or combine it with negative self talk, it will not get you anywhere.
Basically I tried to memorise all of the things all at once, then wondered why I was experiencing practice burn out, and why none of the standards were sticking in my brain. I felt pretty shit for not getting them quickly, because all of the other musicians in my life already have them down, and seem to be able to add new ones without any trouble. The difference is, they built their repertoire the same way I built mine - one piece at a time over many many many years. I was trying to do it in a matter of months, which for ye olde average musician, doesn't work.
I'm going to be honest, in the last few months I've let my flute practice slip. Sure, I've been writing a lot of music, and practicing a lot, but not flute, mostly because I burnt out. But this evening, I had a revelation. I've got to take learning this new (to me) genera S-L-O-W-L-Y. I need to focus on one piece at a time, like I've been doing with the ukulele.
I've made a new rule. I'm not allowed to move on to a new (jazz) piece until I can play the head and the chords on ukulele and flute. This will force me to go slowly and learn throughly and (in theory) allow me to skip the burn out I've experienced with other practice regimes.
In unrelated music news: I put a new video up on my youtube channel! This one's called follow the light. Like all of my other videos, it's not perfect, BUT it's the best one I've made (in my opinion). I feel like I'm starting to get a hang of the process. Anyway, give it a listen if you're curious :) And if you REALLY like it, you can download it here FOR FREE on my JJJ Unearthed. :)