Wynton’s Twelve Ways to Practice

A MUST read for any serious musician!!!

As a boy growing up in New Orleans, I remember my father, Ellis, a pianist, and his friends talking about “sheddin’.” When they got together, theyʼd say, “Man, you need to go shed,” or “I’ve been sheddin’ hard.” When I was around 11, I realized that sheddin’ meant getting to the woodshed – practicing. By the age of 16, I understood what the shed was really about – hard, concentrated work. When my brother Branford and I auditioned for our high school band, the instructor, who knew my father, was excited about Ellisʼ sons coming to the band. But my audition was so pitiful he said, “Are you sure youʼre Ellis’ son?”

At the time, his comment didn’t bother me because I was more interested in basketball than band. Over the next several years, however, I began practicing seriously. Practice is essential to learning music – and anything else, for that matter. I like to say that the time spent practicing is the true sign of virtue in a musician. When you practice, it means you are willing to sacrifice to sound good.

Even if practice is so important, kids find it very hard to do because there are so many distractions. Thatʼs why I always encourage them to practice and explain how to do it. I’ve developed what I call “Wynton’s 12 Ways to Practice.” These will work for almost every activity – from music to schoolwork to sports.


Hear an amazing young cellist with the GDYO on Sunday, March 1!

On March 1, 2015 at 7:30pm, Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra will feature a young virtuoso.  Each year, the GDYO program offers concerto competitions for four of the ensembles, including the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra.   These competitions cultivate solo performance, encourage personal excellence, and acknowledge the high degree of talent and hard work exhibited by individual musicians in the program.  Dallas area professional musicians will judge the orchestra members at their competition in early September, 2014.  The winner of the competition is eighth grade cellist, Sai Sai, who will perform Dvorak’s Cello Concerto in B Minor, Mvt. 1 on this concert.  Also featured on this concert will be Barber’s Overture to the School for Scandal, Respighi’s Ancient Airs and Dances Set III, Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 9.

Single tickets are $10-$40 (and $8 student tickets are available at the door).  You can purchase tickets online and at the door on Sunday.  The Meyerson is located at 2301 Flora Street in Dallas.

Cellist Sai Sai, age 13, is a third generation musician.  He began playing piano at age 4 and cello at age 6, with Mr. Xie and Mrs. Zou. By the age of 8, he had performed his first solo cello recital in Shanghai. Sai Sai was admitted to the Shanghai Conservatory of Music Affiliated Primary School at age 9, attaining first place in his professional field. Sai Sai and his family immigrated to North Texas in October of 2012.  Sai Sai is currently studying with Ko Iwasaki. Since arriving in the United States, Sai Sai has been recognized by the Carlson Cello Foundation and plays on the Leo Aschauer cello (on long term loan). He also performed his second solo recital, in Richardson, Texas in 2014. Sai Sai is in 8th grade at Evens Middle School in McKinney.

The young cellist is a prize winner of numerous national and international competitions, including first place in the Fourth Aegean Sea Cup National Cello Competition (Beijing) in August 2010, first place in the 21st Heran International Cello Competition (Prague) in April 2011, first place in the 9th International Solo Competition (Ukraine) in 2011, first place in the S. Knushevitsky International Cello Competition (Moscow) in 2012, first prize in the Junior Division of the First and Second International Conservatory of Music Competition in 2013 and 2014, and first place in the Lake Lewisville Symphony Young Artist Competition in 2013. Most recently, he was grand prize winner for both the Lewisville Lake Competition in 2015 and the Collin County Young Artist Competition in 2015.