Analysing a Practice Routine: Anna Webber

While some may find the dialogue a bit too detailed and inside, the answers from Anna Webber to News from the Shed’s Jake Wunsch’s questions about her practice routine are revealing. The British Columbia-born, New York-based  tenor saxophonist and flutist has generated praise for the music she’s created in a big band with fellow Canadian-in-New York Angela Morris, who also plays tenor nor saxophone and flute, and with her so-called Simple Trio with pianist Matt Mitchell and drummer John Hollenbeck. But she insists that such skill comes from what she calls “hyper-organized practice time.” Dividing her time between her instruments and working on various aspects of her playing she practices two hours a day, using her cell phone as a metronome. This is a steep drop from the eight to 12 hours daily she used to practice as a student. As for composing, she also does that every day, whether she’s inspired or not. “Just remember that every great composer did not write great music all the time,” she explains, “and not every piece needs to see the light of day.”