Rocky Howard Music Blog

Rocky Howard Music provides a spectacular live sound on digital orchestral accordion–an elegant appearance and music that reflects you. With Rocky Howard Music, you’ll have that remarkably personal corporate event that you deserve. Rocky also coaches keyboard students (especially piano and accordion) in all styles of music.


What to Do After a Long, or Not So Long Layoff

I heard from a friend recently who is going to have to stop playing for about three weeks. His doctor is removing a skin growth on his hand that doesn’t look right and he told my friend that although it is benign, it should be removed “the sooner the better.” My point here is that sometimes we have to stop playing for a while either by our own choice or because we have to–like my friend. When that happens, I have found that there are several things you can do to accelerate your comeback.

1. Listen to music that is “sticky” for you (Music that always makes a heavy impression on you. Maybe even music you avoid listening to because it is so intimidating. Sounds that inspire. Sounds that are interesting.) Get your musical mindset BACK.

2. Start getting reacquainted with your instrument (Let the creative juices flow. Just get back into playing music. Long tones are super. Pick a key and just start noodling around a little bit. See what comes out. “Hey, we haven’t seen each other in a while. Let’s start with some small talk.” No stress.

3. Start practicing common chord progressions (What do you need to improve on now with your technique? Consider your next gig. Look at those types of chord progressions…Play with a backing track or play it freely and slow to begin with. You are just working through a progression. Good!

4. Practice a song you are comfortable with (A song you are very familiar with. Try using a backing track. Ballads are good. A song you feel great when you play. Chord melodies can really get you opened back up. Meanwhile, remember flubs are okay. Just go with it. Relax. You are meeting an old friend again. What’s new for you? Keep it light.

5. Practice a song from a performance you are preparing for. (Gig on the horizon? What songs will be expected? Set list? Pick one song and work through it. Choose one that is a little bit challenging. Understand that you are not where you want to be yet. Keep in mind the power of the word “yet.” Afterward, write down your reflection in your rehearsal notes and refer to them before you play again. Here are the guiding questions I always answer before I let myself stop: “What went well?” “What did not go well?” “Why didn’t it go well?” “What will I do next time?”

Doing this for up to a week can bring you a long way back, depending on how much time you took off.

You cannot lose music you have internalized already.


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