Wynton’s 12 Rules

Here are “The 12 Rules of Practicing” from the PBS series, “Marsalis on Music”. In part 4, “Tackling the Monster”, Wynton Marsalis talks with cellist Yo-Yo Ma about hating to practice, doing it anyway, and how you can do it correctly.

1. Seek out private instruction. It could take years to figure out what a good teacher could show you quickly.

2. Write out a schedule. Include fundamentals always.

3. Set goals. Chart your development. Challenge yourself.

4. Concentrate. Develop the ability to FOCUS. Do not “just go through the motions.”.

5. Relax, Practice Slowly.

6. Practice Hard Parts Longer. Confront your deficiencies.

7. Play with Expression. Give yourself over to what you are doing. Do everything with the proper attitude. Do not be a cynic. The expression you play with is your style.

8. Learn from Your Mistakes. Do not be too hard on yourself. Resolve to improve each day.

9. Don’t Show Off. Expression, not tricks or gimmicks. Showing off misses the point of group playing.

10. Think for Yourself. Respect your teacher, but think things through for yourself.

11. Be Optimistic. How you feel about living is who you are.

12. Look for Connections. The more you discover similarities in things that seem to be different, the greater the world you can participate in.