Bob Lanzetti is a Brooklyn based guitarist who hails from New Jersey, and who currently performs with the fusion band/collective, Snarky Puppy. You should definitely check them out if you haven’t come across them already.
How many days a week on average do you practice?
I try and do a little bit everyday if possible. Sometimes it’s not! At the very least though I’ll try and do some deep breathing and playing a scale or just improvising for a couple of minutes. A very meditative sort of thing.
What time of day do you normally practice, and for how long?
The length all depends on how busy I am. Usually I’ll try and do something in the morning. It’s nice to start the day, when possible, with the aforementioned deep breathing.
What does a typical practice session consist of, does it vary at all, and how has it changed over the years?
I kind of let whatever I feel in the moment guide me. I’m not big on forcing yourself to practice certain things because you think you need to be better at them. I’d rather practice what I really want and that usually ends up giving the most benefits and being the most enjoyable. As far as what I do it varies a lot. Sometimes I’ll sing solos with records, do ear training, improvise over a standard or free, etc. I should mention that I consider writing music or working on music for a gig a separate thing in a way. I obviously do those things as well-sometimes more than anything else-but it isn’t the same as practicing.
How has your current routine evolved to where it is now? Did you develop it yourself out of necessity, or have you been inspired by anyone else’s methods?
It’s changed a lot over the years. I used to do a lot of stuff where I would record the changes to a tune on a tape machine and then just practice playing over it. I would do all different kinds of metronome practice. Putting the metronome on different beats or parts of the beat or whatever. Two years ago I began studying with Connie Crothers. She was a protege of Lennie Tristano. She has completely changed my view of practicing. Singing with records, deep breathing, practicing what I want as opposed to what I “should” pretty much all comes from her.
Do you try to make time to practice a little bit of everything each session, or do you spend more time on a few specific ideas before moving on?
Usually a few specific ideas.
Do you have any practice methods that you would deem unusual?
Haha. Well, I would say the deep breathing stuff may be a little different.
We mortals have to constantly remind ourselves that exemplary musicians like yourself are really human. It is clear that personal practising is only one part of the puzzle in eventually becoming accomplished on any instrument, but do you think that it has played a major role in helping you to get to where you are today?
Absolutely. I’ve spent countless hours practicing in many different ways. Taking a little from many different teachers, professors, idols, and peers. All of those different methods and influences mix together and help me make the music I make now.
Finally, do you have any words of advice for anyone who is trying to practice more productively and become a better musician?‘
I would say the thing that has helped me the most is surrounding myself with positive, inspiring, like minded people. I’ve learned so much from teachers and peers that I never would have discovered otherwise. Also, follow your heart. It’s important to have a lot of basic musical stuff together but beyond that you need to make the music that speaks to you.