Posts Tagged ‘ beatles

Maintaining a Good Vibe

It’s easy to get nervous when your music (and money) are on the line, but if you surround yourself with musicians who are supportive and experienced, they can take the pressure off and give you a team to fall back on. People typically work best in a guided but creative environment. Don’t worry about “letting people do their thing”– they’ll do it, no matter what, if they feel like what they’re working towards is valuable and taken seriously.

Nobody got into music to feel stressed out, so take a look at the factors in your musical environment and shape them so that you feel most creative and in your element. Music is fun, remember?

In this telling scene from Let It Be, we see The Beatles on the verge of falling apart. Paul McCartney, who knows the cameras are rolling, has been pushing George Harrison to play less (some might say “more appropriately”) on the classic song “Two of Us”. George, fed up with years of Paul’s pushiness, busts out his passive-agressive side. For me, the most telling moment of the entire interaction is how in the midst of what George is saying, Paul can’t look him in the eye, and continues noodling throughout what is a very tense moment: clearly, a subconscious way of avoiding the confrontation.

Paul may or may not have been right (you can take a guess as to which school I fall into), but it’s undeniable that by putting George on the spot in a negative way, Paul lost out on George’s creative impulses and contributions. Paul (and another one of my heroes, Sting) were both musical visionaries, as well as strong-headed (and sometimes hot-headed) bandleaders. But the proof is in the pudding: The Beatles and The Police would surely not have been the same without Paul or Sting at the helm, but their respective solo material following the demise of those bands never reached the same heights without the creative contributions of their bandmates. You may have an ingenious musical vision in your head, but even if you’re Stevie Wonder, realizing your creative vision often relies on the contributions of others– and maintaining a positive ambience is the best way to elicit those contributions that will take your music to the next level.

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Preparing Songs for Your Band

How can you as a musician or artist be heard above the static? How can you distinguish yourself so that you are the one that gets remembered, that gets the call for the next gig and the gig after that?

Artists: How to Effectively Prepare a Band

There’s no one way to get your band together. Miles Davis, James Brown and The Beatles, for example, all had notoriously different ways of running their bands, of working together (or not working together), and all made excellent music.

The harder it is for your band to listen to your songs, the less likely they are to know them!

There are, however, several principles to follow that will ensure that everyone takes your music seriously and that result in a much tighter musical unit.

Preparing Songs for Your Band
Send a single demo of every song. Make sure that the demo is listenable, easy on the ears, and representative of how you want the song to sound. YouTube and other streaming media are a no-go– if your band is able to get it to work, they’ll likely only get to hear it once. Read more

Arrangement: The Beatles’ “Because”

Thanks to Pierre from Canada, who requested my arrangement of The Beatles’ classic “Because” after seeing this video:

You can now view (and download) the arrangement here:

If you’d like to see more, subscribe here at! (Upper-right corner, near my pic.) I’ll be adding more and more sheet music in the coming days and months. Transcribing and arranging tunes has been an exercise that for years has helped me develop my ear and better comprehend the inner-workings of an ensemble. In the meantime, you can check out the transcriptions I already posted of Meshell Ndegeocello’s bass lines from songs off of Comfort Woman and The World Has Made Me The Man of My Dreams.