Where in the world do you go if you are a musician?

I’ve come to the conclusion recently that the adage ‘the grass is always greener’ is totally inescapable.  No matter where you go or what you do there is always something better just over the horizon.  There is always someone better than you as a player and always a better venue you could have picked.

So where is the best place in the world to live if you are a musician?  I suppose it depend on what kind of musician you are.  If you are a didgeridoo player then you might not find a lot of work in New Orleans. Or if you are a serious classical musician then Lincolnshire is probably not the county for you to live in.

But what if you don’t know?  Is there a way to pick when you can’t honestly say what kind of a musician you are?  My current theory is that if you don’t know take to a Big City where you can have a go at everything until you’re sure. (Or if you’re a student go to uni.)  The only problem with that is that it will take you longer to build a reputation.  Actually, thinking about it, maybe its better that a lot of people know you a little bit rather than having a few people know you well.  Take my cousin’s death metal band, in the death metal circles they are very well known and in Switzerland there are adored, but elsewhere in the world they’re completely unknown.

Is there a perfect town, city or area to live in if you are a musician? I’d seriously like to know.  Just what is it that you as a musician are looking for in a city? And what are the things you hate to see?

The Better Practice Routine?

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the practice thing. Everyone seems to have an opinion on just how to go about it. Do you do 10mins of scales then 10mins of sight reading then 15mins per piece? Or do you take the time you have and then divide it into equal parts?

The more I’ve been thinking about it the more I have to ask, does it really matter? Do you have to do scales every single day in order to progress ‘on track?’ It definitely helps but what if you get into such a mind numbingly dull routine that by the sixth day you want to give up all together?

And what if you need to practice Sight Reading? The dreaded part of an examination. Hated by all except for those who can do it easily. What then?

Personally I warm up with a group of scales (majors, minors, melodics etc) then move onto a piece that I like and can do. Why? Because if you don’t want to play then what on earth are you practicing for? Then onto sight reading and finally onto the tricky passages in whatever piece I am working on. It takes from 45mins to an hour if I don’t have a show coming up.

But is it enough? I’d love to hear from you. Which camp are you in? Do you prefer and rely on a regimented practice routine or do you prefer something more flexible such as my style? Have you tried one and found it doesn’t work?

What do you think?

A bit more practice time than you thought you had.

Why is it that finding the time to practice is one of the hardest things every musician struggles with?  And if you play an instrument you are a musician, by the way.  It’s not a title you earn one you get to a certain standard.  That would be like saying you aren’t a driver because you only do it once in a while.


There is so much time in a day that we waste.  Adverts on the telly are my pet hate.  We all sit and watch them (well, I don’t and you’ll see why in a minute) but we could be doing so much more with the time.  Why not keep your instrument out of its case and play it in the ads?


The Ad break is, on average, 3 minutes long so if you practice every ad break over 3 hours of telly you’ve done half an hour of practice.  Not a lot but over a week that ads up to 3 and a half hours you haven’t spent as a mindless vegetable.  Not a bad start eh?

Brilliant free little tool for improving your practice


For those who haven’t seen it yet the speed shifter is a free download from ABRSM.

It will take any piece of music from a CD or in mp3 format and slow it down without altering the pitch of the music.  It is absolutely invaulable as an aid for helping to learn those really tricky pieces of music.