Back on the blog trail again.....I was playing the other night on a gig and I realized something interesting.
I used to do shows for many years night after night. And in these shows the music would not change. So
after a while, I found myself going through the motions and sometimes I would do the shows half heartedly.
It got to be like a JOB and even a boring one. The thing that saved me was playing other gigs with different
music and styles. I found pleasure in playing again. Find something to spice up that monotonous gig and
do for the love of it. Peace!
If you haven't already now is the time to get all those holiday tunes ready for public consumption. This includes Halloween, Thanksgiving, and of course Christmas and the like. Just about all working musicians can throw a little Holiday songs into their set. People like to hear those familiar songs this time of year. So I better take my own advice and re-work some of those tunes. Peace to all!
Here is a cool idea I got from Jazz guitarist Sid Jacobs. He was telling us students at the time of this conversation that he had with guitar legend Joe Diorio, about this guy that actually played some of the melody lines in his improvisation. It was a big thing among jazz musicians that improvise for days on end.....The moral of the story was that it was ok to quote some of the beautiful melodies in the songs that we solo on. The listener can grab on to that familiar line or phrase, even though it's a lot of times surrounded by 16th/32nd note bliss. Try it out some time and you'll agree that the melody is all right....
Discerning musicians, specifically electric guitarist and bass players spend a great deal of time refining their individual amp tone. Some might plug straight into an amp or PA system, set the controls to 11 and their good to go. Others (myself included) regard our tone as a very important part of conveying our music to the masses. Tone is your individual voice. If your tone or guitar sound is unclear, too much lows, too much highs, too much of this or that, no matter what you play you will sound crappy. All your speedy licks go out the window because it doesn't fit into the context of the music. Forget about what you played, get your sound right first.
Years ago when studying with guitarist Scott Henderson, I got a chance to see his rig first hand. He gave all the scoops about his tone from the guitar to the speakers and everything in between. It was overwhelming to know that everything affected tone to a certain degree. When I saw him in LA a few years ago, his rig had changed again. Recently, I got a chance to hang out and play guitar with Aerosmith guitarist, Joe Perry. He talked about his personal rig, I told him about my setup, and of course back line gear for fly in gigs were using your own amps are not feasible. I'll add more about this topic in the next post. See you all soon.
It seemed to me that triads are looked upon by many musicians as something we learn in basic theory. We forget about triads when we seek larger chords or exotic alterations. But let's give little triad a break.
If we remember way back when, just about every possible chord voicing can be broken down into a combination of triads, or even smaller diads. I don't know if that is even a term "diad", but my former guitar mentor Sid Jacobs would refer to the essential tones as that. I think even the great Ted Greene would sometimes term it as that. Anyway, triads are a great way to stay away from standard arpeggios for soloing or even when chording, and this applies to any genre of music.
This reminds me of a gig situation I was in a few years back, when I was hired to play at a function and the so called "music director" booked me on guitar along with 2 other guitarists. I thought to myself, `why not have more diversity of instruments like a piano or horn player, but I was a hired gun.' I knew from the opening song, that the other guitarists were trying to out do each other, showing off ideas. I thought, `I'll let these guys play all those fancy chords and I'll just resort to playing triads.' It worked so well. When I comped and soloed, I just used triad ideas. The other guitarists were speechless and surprised. A lot of times simplicity works best. Peace all!!!!
These are very trying times for everyone here in the states with the economy in flux. Now days I find myself not been performing as much as I normally do because of the recession. So for the last 8 months or so, I have been occupying my time with practicing and learning. Studying not only music, but all kinds of other subjects not related to music. I find myself going to the library more often and getting lost on all that it has to offer......On the music side, I've learned at least 5 new tunes a month, cataloging guitar licks, and just trying to overhaul my musical presentation as a soloist and in my band, I'm really digging it.
The point I'm trying to make is this. Even though I have more time, I am getting into the habit of using that time to work on things that will move my music forward and make it better than before. So when I do get back into the swing of things I'll have new songs, a better performance, etc. Now is the time to learn something new, go back to school, work on your music. You get my drift?
So when things start rolling again, it is the new and improved you.
I used to have the belief that, I didn't have to learn to read music or music theory to be a great musician, but I have changed my thinking since those days. It is true that you can go through life playing the music that you love without even giving music theory a second thought. Many successful musicians have made a fine living in the music biz this way.
I can tell you from experience that music theory , even just a little bit, can go a long way. It can take your music to a whole new level and beyond, wether you're playing it or listening to it. You got to check it out. It is good for you.
In the next few weeks, I will be starting up guitar and theory classes. Many of the lessons will be posted online so that students can work on the material before coming to class. Stay tuned.
Just got through recycling our monthly (or two or three months) load. Feels good to know that we're doing our part to keep these items out of the land fill and in some cases out of the ocean.
Did you know that virtually all indigenous cultures around the world at one point, recycled everything. Take my ka papa (ancestors) in pre-European contact Hawaii, they recycled all the things around them.
We can all take lessons from different cultures if we stop, look, and listen.
I pride myself on being a true professional whether playing on stage, in the studio, or producing music. Thru hard work, goal setting and by having balls. I have become what people call “lucky”. I’ve earned it and still earning my musical space.
To me there’s no such thing as luck. When the opportunities arose, I was prepared. I learned music, composed my own, studied my scales and arpeggios, studied with world class musicians, because I made the choice early on that I wanted to be in the business of music. I would have done this even if I wasn’t getting paid. But, people paid me, and there still paying (very well too). I still remember not that long ago, making just $3 a night. The thing is that through thick and thin , I stuck though it.
Let me leave you with this one piece of advice I got from one of the greatest musical educators of the 20th century, Mr. Dick Grove. He said that if he had to pick his top ten attributes for a musician with # 1 being the most important. More important than talent, chops, even a music education, attitude is hands down number one. With the right attitude you can achieve all the rest.....I agree.
Hello people. I have some views that I'd like to share on the subject of profesionalism. I'll talk about my experiences being in the music industry, but it really can apply to any business or even social situations. Any way, I must be on my way now because I fancy myself a true profesional musician so I need to prepare. More on this later gang.