The Most Important Thing!

The most important thing needed to becoming a great musician is a passion that fuels an intense work ethic. To me this is more important than natural talent by far.
I always tell people that I’m not talented at music. They just look at me in dis-belief. Honestly, I feel like I have many talents but I’ve never felt like music was one of them. My biggest talents are passion and dedicated hard work. Since I started playing in seventh grade I have worked hard to become the best musician I can be. If I couldn’t grasp something quickly like some of my peers that meant I had to spend more time in the practice room to figure it out. I remember spending hours in high school trying to figure out the altissimo range on sax. I remember spending countless hours until I figured out how to circular breath. I remember spending countless hours learning all my chords. I remember spending hours playing along with Dave Sanborn and trying to figure out how he played like that!
Sometimes I have parents ask me if there child is talented? I always answer that question by talking about how passionate the student is and how hard they work. If they have those two things they will excel beyond the talented student who is lazy or isn’t passionate. Maybe not today,and maybe not tomorrow but given enough time I will put my money on the former student everytime.
I would like to dedicate these series of blog posts to practicing. What it is? How to do it? Why it is important? How do you keep doing it when you don’t feel like it? How do you keep motivated when everything in life is pulling you away?
I hope I can get help on this topic from my students and their parents who might visit here and can add some insight on what works and doesn’t work. Hopefully, we can all learn as we travel together. Thanks, Steve

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Steve About Steve

Steve Neff has been playing and teaching saxophone and jazz improvisation around the New England area for the last 30 years. He is the author of many effective jazz improvisation methods as well as founding the popular jazz video lesson site Neffmusic.com.

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