10. Working through a method book

A good way of developing musicianship is to use a 'method book' which combines instrumental or vocal technique work with learning to read notation, against a backdrop of some selected tunes made available on CD or MP3 format. This allows learners to progressively explore the demands of their instrument and the challenges of managing their voice against a familiar 'jazz standard' context. There are many such books out there and there is also a wide variety of teaching approaches and pedagogical insight from writers. Some books just read like a computer manual with lists of mechanistic instructions while other more aesthetic texts explore the process of making music and help you treat every practice session as a performance situation, grappling with all the unpredictable dynamics of body/brain/heart/instrument interaction. An excellent example of the latter is Madeline Bruser's book 'The Art of Practising'; although written by a classical pianist for a classical audience, it contains many valuable insights on the process of learning to make beautiful music and understanding what happens to the body, brain and heart in the process. Her approach is that you master technique by learning to play music beautifully, rather than the other way round, a common misconception.  

In the same vein, an interesting album to explore is Zakir Hussain's 1990 album 'Making Music' with Hussain on tabla, Jan Garbarek on tenor sax, Hariprasad Chaurasia on bansuri or Indian wood flute and John McLaughlin on acoustic guitar; some fun improvisations from very simple back-of-envelope sketches on the way into the studio and with great use of space for each musician to contribute. 

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