Posts Tagged ‘ musicians

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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Being Over-Prepared: Tips for Musicians & Singers

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?

When you walk into the rehearsal room or recording studio, you will want to make an immediate impression– of professionalism, of precision, of creativity– of all that it is that you do and that you do it well. If you walk in unprepared, there’s simply no way that you can be at the top of your game.

The fix is simple: be over-prepared. Learn everything ahead of time. If you’re a sideman, know every note of your part. Have it charted out. I find that making your own charts helps to memorize songs, as I can later visualize the form in my head. The more time that you take to learn tunes and develop a personal and effective way of notating what you need to know, the more efficiently you’ll be able to learn them.
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