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176 Chapter 8 When I practice, itâs very important to define a beginning, still keeping it open, but deciding how to begin, how to start the story. And then I just try things out, playing with other sound sources. When I rehearse, at the beginning, I really donât want to organise things too much. I just want to mix freely and then, after the first or second try, I listen back to the recording and say âThis part was goodâ, and then I ask myself why... I record just for myself, just to see whatâs working and whatâs not working. Itâs often more about working on specific details of mixing than the relation of sound sources... it can be better, it can be worse, but itâs really more to do with getting deeper into technical details - how to play certain sounds, or if I have certain sound sources, how to abstract them if I want, or seeing how much I have to keep it concrete... there is always this balance between playing and listening back. For Majkowski, in addition to finding details for exploration in his solo playing, recording enabled him to reflect on his timing, placing notes carefully in relation to one-another and describing how, working with specific musical materials: Some days itâs a bit too slow, some days itâs a bit too fast, and then you realise âOK, so I canât play it too fast, I canât play it too slowâ. [If itâs too slow] it kind of stops... If itâs too fast, it doesnât give you space to experience it... it loses its finesse, it loses its subtlety, it loses its intimacy. As opposed to creating recordings of themselves, many others, and especially those connected to jazz, emphasised the importance of practising by âdoingâ and always playing âin the musicâ (in other words, not practising abstract technical exercises), and Rudi Mahall, Tobias Delius and Els Vandeweyer all dedicated part (or all) of their practise routines to improvising along to records, primarily of the jazz âmastersâ. For Delius, from the beginning, and in addition to his uninspiring school clarinet lessons:42 I started playing... and basically what I was doing was just playing all day... with the records, or just playing around actually, just trying to make the thing sound and stuff. I didnât really have a routine. I had various teachers over the years and I always had a hard time, still now. Every now and again I promise myself, âNow get yourself disciplined and go through this every dayâ, and itâs not my thing really somehow. I enjoy playing by myself, practising, but itâs to somehow get yourself to where youâre starting to sweat, starting to do it... Iâve always wondered whatâs wrong with me, because Iâd see other musicians like going through this thing every day... just making sure that they have this half hour where they do their basic stuff. Somehow 42 See p. 148.