#9 Chris Potter
In our interview with jazz saxophonist Chris Potter, we discuss the most important things when learning to play music, jazz in particular, as well as some wisdom on practicing and being a musician…
The most important, most crucial part of learning music, Chris says, is listening. In order to be familiar with any language, you have to immerse yourself in it - familiarize yourself with the classics and let your ear draw you into what you like. Enjoying what you listen to and ultimately what you play has a positive effect on the quality of your practice and performance.
Once you have the sound of Jazz in your ear, the best way to acquire it in your playing is to emulate what you’ve heard: “Try to sound like they do on the record, figure out the tune and its form, learn the chord changes, and figure out what they’re doing. Not just the notes, but the articulation and the feeling — that’s the best way to learn the Jazz language.”
Even Chris Potter admits that he hasn’t mastered practicing, but the strategy that he says helps him the most is honestly thinking about what you can’t do and working on fixing that problem.
And the best piece of wisdom for the practicing musician: really work on what interests you and always keep the joy in music.