Here is an amazing video by the Dutch film-maker Thomas Roebers. I fully endorse the sentiment that EVERYTHING IS RHYTHM. Watch this video, and you’ll believe it too.

By the brothers Thomas Roebers and Floris Leeuwenberg

Film Crew during one month in Baro, Guinee Afrika

Beautiful sound design and sound recording by Bjorn Warning
Translator and rhythm specialist Thomas Bonekamp

With special thanks to the chief:


Who needs Grade Exams?

Short answer:  No-one!

Longer answer:  You do!

Well, you do if you want to:
a) have a focus for your practice,
b) have a ready-made, universally-understood way of measuring your progress,
c) be able to compare your standard of playing with other people’s – and for GCSE and A-level music performances,
d) acquire a row of highly-impressive, gold-blocked certificates to put on your bedroom wall.

In my view, all these reasons are good ones.  Do you know the main reason that some people give up learning to play their instrument?  It’s lack of motivation.  And yet nobody goes along to their very first lesson with no motivation to learn.  Do you remember your first lesson on your instrument?  You were probably excited, enthusiastic, keen as mustard.  Then, when it was over, you couldn’t wait to get home and practise everything you’d learnt.  This state of affairs usually lasts several weeks or months, but there comes a time when the novelty has worn off, you’ve progressed to a point where the work has become ‘difficult’, and – common to teenagers, this one – other aspects of your life are competing for your time.

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You want to succeed with your music?  Of course you do!

So – how do you measure success in music?

Do you measure it by how many grades you’ve passed?  Or by the mark you got for the last grade you took?

Do you measure it by the comments your teacher makes, or by what your friends think of your playing?

Do you measure success by how much you enjoy playing your instrument, or by how many pieces you can play?

How do you know if you are being successful with your playing – and what does this mean anyway?

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How to get to Practice Heaven

Practising effectively is the most important thing you can do to ensure success in learning to play your instrument.  I call this being in Practice Heaven.

Practising ineffectively is worse than not practising at all.  After all, if you don’t practise, at least you know why you can’t play!  If your practice is ineffective, however, you may not be aware that you are going nowhere, and you will become frustrated and disillusioned. That’s when people give up.  What a shame.  If only they’d known the right way to practise….

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