Wednesday, May 29, 2013

10 Reasons Why Music Buddies are Essential

I just read this article:
Practicing Your Musical Instrument with Others versus Practicing Alone
It was written for woodwind or brass players but contains plenty of wisdom to go around! Here are some of the benefits of practicing with a buddy ... or two ... or more!

  • Improved consistency in your practice schedule
  • Immediate feedback on your performance
  • Improved rhythmic / timing competence
  • Opportunity to practice harmonies, backup ideas, improvisation
  • Ear training ... learn to listen, become a part of the whole, improve your musicality
  • Collaboration and cooperation as you work out arrangements, set goals, etc
  • Useful ideas from others on how to practice, how to interpret a piece of music, etc etc
  • Opportunity to listen and learn from those who are better musicians
  • Regular nudges out of your comfort zone
  • Fun!

I started playing the hammered dulcimer in 1995. I met a group of like-minded individuals in 1998. We formed a band, called ourselves Blue Moon Rising, and set a goal to play for contra dances. The instrumentation was nice ... hammered dulcimer, English concertina, fiddle, and guitar ... and the players became good friends. We did provide music for some contra dances, as well as for local fundraisers and private parties. We played together for 10+ years.

We disbanded several years ago. The boys were distracted by work and family duties. Something had to give. But Betsy and I have persevered. We continue to get together once a week to catch up on each other's lives, share lunch, and practice music. I sincerely believe that playing with others has made all the difference in my personal practice and in my growth as a musician. Where would I be if not for my music buddies?

Here's the earliest photo of BMR that I have in my possession. It was taken at my parents-in-law's house during a political event in the fall of 1998. Wouldn't it be fun to reproduce this photo as we are today?


  1. Great summary of the benefits of playing with others. It is just about the best thing you can do for your playing!

    1. Hey, thanks for the reinforcement, Ken and Marya! All I REALLY need to know I learned in kindergarden ... "Plays well with others" ... that's a GOOD thing!