Playing and practicing music can be a real grind. Just like anything that requires discipline and hard work, it’s easy to lose track of why we even do it. We often lose touch with what is really important to us or we never find it in the first place. We simply follow a path that has been well worn by teaching methods, peers or mentors.
This week I was reminded of what it looks like to be emotionally engaged in the music-making process. It was a very inspirational and informative moment for me.
There’s an assignment that we often miss as teachers. And it’s one that always makes our jobs way easier – maybe easier than anything we could have students do. Over time it simply transforms our students’ musical experiences and their abilities.
Students should be asked to listen to music each time we see them. It can be done in casual conversations about what they’ve been listening to (or what we’ve been listening to), to more precise assignments based on what you’re working on in lessons.
There are allegedly only so many hours in a day that students can set aside time to learn repertoire. Many teachers I speak with get flustered by the amount of time they spend trying to get one to a few pieces up to a student’s potential, knowing all along that the student needs to know far more repertoire than what they ever have time for in the lessons and in their practice.
For those of you who I was able to cross paths with on the Seattle trip, thank you so much for a great time. It ‘s been a real pleasure to reconnect with so many friends, former students and meet new folks.
Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been working on a song and video concept that I decided to release today. Many of you know my affection for many of today’s cutting-edge electronic artists. I guess you could say it was inspired by that along with jazz orchestration and chords like Gil Evans.
Today Genevieve Artadi released her new single and video called “Nowhere to Go”. It’s just an incredible demonstration of genius writing, production and vision on her part. I mixed and mastered this track and thought I would share it with you. I hope you enjoy.
Anna Freedman has released her new single, “Big Plans”. I’m really excited because the record turned out great and it’s my first release as a producer/mixer/arranger (besides my own music). Many of you may recall the series I did on how to make a record in this blog. I wanted to announce the official release with you here, in this post.
A couple of days ago I stayed up until 6 am mixing and mastering a new song that Genevieve Artadi had just finished recording. I think I started at 10 or 11 p.m. the night before, so a pretty standard amount of time for a mix/master with this type of song. After finishing the mix and revisions (and sleeping a few hours), I processed the whirlwind of activities and thought about it from a teacher/mentor perspective. There were many cool lessons that I learned from the experience, but the thing I kept thinking about is how Genevieve left no room for fear, self-doubt or negativity through the whole process.
Students have often come to me asking if they are “ready” for a musical situation. Whether it be an audition, adjudication, festival, accompanying gig, college program, a certain ensemble, a tour, etc. – my answer is always the same… Participate in as many musical situations as possible where you are the worst one. Be musically overwhelmed as much and as often as possible. We grow the most from these experiences. And if we are taking lessons, earning a degree or just trying to be the best version of ourselves that we can be; growth is the most important thing we can aspire towards.