music lessons

Be Prepared. Be Nice.

By | Music, Philosophizing | 2 Comments

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My daughter and I were having a conversation a few months ago about what it is you actually learn in school. We were going through how important academics are and how it’s a big deal to try to understand and retain the information coming at you – to really get it. And we were also talking about the social side of things, how school is a training ground to learn to deal with different personalities and to see how forming and maintaining good relationships affects your day-to-day life and potential to succeed.

This got me to thinking about my work in music and, it’s the same situation! Whether I’m jamming with people, playing at church or on the road, trying to get along makes a huge difference. It’s important to come as prepared as possible musically and be ready to give your best effort, but you better hope you’re close to a living legend if you’re going to be a jerk to people, because they won’t WANT to work with you. They’ll just be trying to make money off you.

Leland Sklar, bass player wizard, said in this article (quite the picture!!) that the supporting musicians’ job is to come prepared and be a cheerleader for the other musicians. He’s addressing the same issues my daughter and I were talking about.

Granted, musicians do have a reputation!!! They can be prickly, moody, inconsistent, tardy, bad at communicating, sensitive and awkward BUT, if you TRY TO GET ALONG and simultaneously keep the bar as high as possible in terms of musicality, things can work out so well! Time flies, people have fun and inspired playing can take place.

I don’t know, maybe this is just how my personality works best, but it seems to be working for Leland 🙂

BE PREPARED. BE NICE.

Falling Asleep Drumming

By | Music | 6 Comments

I must’ve been about 21 years old. I’d had very little sleep, wasn’t eating well and was taking every musical opportunity that came my way – jazz gigs, experimental music, rock and latin gigs, musicals, jam sessions, etc.

Paris on the Platte

The gig was playing jazz at Paris on the Platte in Denver. The crowd was younger (high school/college age) and focused on drinking coffee, intellectual conversation and being counter-culture. I was in a fog. I don’t even remember who the other musicians were.

I do remember my head snapping up and waking out of a dream to realize that I had nodded off and I was still on stage playing the DRUMS! I quickly looked around but none of the other musicians were looking at me and no one in the crowd flinched. After my heart stopped pounding I realized no one was listening. Like, no one.

And no one cared.

I began to wonder why I was there.

It was a clarifying moment.

I was scared and disappointed that night because I thought I was there to play music that would help bring everyone together and transport us all to that “other dimension” which music can and I thought I had destroyed that chance. Turns out I was just hired to do background music haha!! And really it was an opportunity to practice my craft and gain life experience. I was putting in time toward those “10,000 hours” so that in the future I could be ready to help facilitate those special musical experiences when they did happen.  Seeing the situation for what it was and getting ahold of WHY I was there really helped.

There’s always the chance that someone’s listening, though 😉

Play an instrument!!

By | Music, Philosophizing | 2 Comments

My brother forwarded this video to me today.

Regardless of your end goal, playing an instrument is a huge plus. I’ve heard discussion around this before but the research done showing the effects of how playing an instrument is different from other activities is what really got me!!

‘Nough said – watch the video!!

 

Learning Double Bass Drumming

By | Practicing Drums | No Comments

Happy New Year! I wish you all a great beginning to 2016! Welcome to my blog.

To dive right in, one of my most recent ideas is to do a series of videos about double bass drumming. I have never invested consistent time into learning double bass and as a teacher, I want to be able to help my students who are interested in learning it. So I thought maybe there’s a way I could chronicle the process AND provide a way for drummers to learn along with me.

The videos are pretty low-budget (haha) but functional (I hope). Sometimes having something to practice along with in real time is an added motivator and makes it more fun!

The YouTube playlist is here: Practice Double Bass Drum with Me!

If you have any questions or feedback, it would be great to hear from you!

J