Lowest Common Denominator

Posted by Gregoire on July 06, 2015

Medium nylon string angst

The LCD. An awful when it's you, non? Or is it?

In a musical context people are quite often scared stiff to perform, improvise, or compose with people that they deem to be better than they are. Inner dialogue similar to "I won't be able to keep up" or "their tone is completely amazing and mine, well, is toilet tone" is standard but we shall rise up and become amazing because we surround ourselves with these fine musicians.

Some extremely accomplished, tremendously talented players can't be bothered. They're too good which translates to "they're egomaniacs who have sorely forgotten where they came from" and what they sounded like as beginning and intermediate players. Perhaps they have even forgotten the folks who gave them a chance to sit down and try out some riffs. To you, the accomplished musician who have invited your studying brethren into your home, your studio, your musical life, kudos to you, you fabulous thing.

We grow as musicians by exponents when we truly listen. To recordings, to our teachers, our musical surroundings. The perfectly reasonable and beautiful truth is that we're sums of our influences and the more we are influenced, guided, whichever word you like, we become more in tune [pun intended] to music and how to make music happen through our instruments.

Try first by going to open mic. Get a song or two under your fingers. Do you sing too? Well alright, double threat. Find two songs that you sing well and can accompany on your guitar. Find out where and when the sessions are in your 'hood and go play. Sweat, pee your pants a little, but get yourself in front of the mic and do your thing. Even if you forget words or mess up an entrance for a chorus, you'll be growing. More on performance readiness later. Read on.

The greatest benefit of doing open mic events or open blues or jazz jams comes by showing up well before you play and hanging out after you're done to hear other players. So you can listen to them. Talk with them. Go up and play with them. Pick peoples' brains about what they think about, or don't think about, when they are improvising or sitting nice and groovy-like in their pocket.

Play and listen.



When does technical proficieny overshadow soul and feeling?

Steven on July 19, 2015
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I guess it's a matter of who's listening and their personal preference, but I feel that that happens often. I see and listen to players with tremendous facility but sometimes feel that there is a technical show taking place without much heart... without naming names :)

If technical ability allows for expressive freedom and soulfulness, then you win.

Gregoíre on July 21, 2015
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Essentially -- suffer until it no longer bothers you ;)

Adam on July 25, 2015
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Gregoíre on July 25, 2015