“Don’t play what’s there, play what’s not there.”
–Miles Davis, trumpeter and composer*
Miles Davis poetically captures the essence of artistic musicianship.
How do we attain such comprehensive fluency?
General and Specialized Expertise
Basically, we become capable musicians by building up two classes of expertise.
One applies generally to all musicians – it consists of the topics I explore on this blog and in my book The Musician’s Way.
That class of expertise encompasses strategies to practice, memorize, craft interpretations, conquer nerves, collaborate, forge careers, boost creativity, fuel wellness, and so forth.
The second area of expertise is instrument-specific.
To achieve instrument-specific mastery, we need to become specialists in our domains – we tackle the intricacies of vocal or instrumental technique and achieve a kind of unity with our instrument.
In Chapter 5 of The Musician’s Way, I propose a framework for assembling technical skills (p. 94-98), but I don’t go into the idiosyncrasies of instruments, opting instead to post voice and instrument-specific resources on MusiciansWay.com.
Here’s a summary of the targeted resources you’ll find on the site, all of which I update regularly.
Specialized Resources for Instrumentalists and Singers
On the For Instrumentalists page, links are organized under the following categories:
Bass | Bassoon | Bowed strings (general) | Brass (general) | Cello | Clarinet | Flute |
French horn | Guitar | Harp | Jazz | Oboe | Orchestra | Organ | Percussion | Piano |
Saxophone | Trombone | Trumpet | Tuba/Euphonium | Viola | Violin
Here are the categories from the For Singers page:
Warm-ups | General resources | Opera resources | Choral resources
In addition, on the Wellness page, I bring together links to sites dealing with voice care, injury prevention for instrumentalists, hearing conservation, and more.
Sources for scores and sheet music can be found on the Practice page.
I invite you to explore all of these resources, but bear in mind that I don’t aim to list vast numbers of links under each category but to collect crucial ones that offer important content or that serve as portals to curated resources.
Balanced shoulders, open heart
The beauty in basics
Clear goals, clear process
Mastery and mystery
© 2010 Gerald Klickstein
*Zwerin, Mike, “Miles on Film,” SPIN, December 1990