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.
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.
Hello everyone. I’m finally getting my routines set up after moving my stuff down to Los Angeles. It’s been a whirlwind mostly due to juggling some music projects with trying to unpack and find which box my socks were in.
After fourteen years of teaching about forty students a week and being hands-on at Creative Music Adventures, I’m taking a little break. As many of you know I was up at 4:45 a.m. five days a week to be at a high school where they participated in a curriculum I developed. Keeping that schedule, working on finishing the books/method, performing and producing left little time to sleep.
For the last several years I’ve been wrongly thinking that a teaching method I was working on was ready to release. The world certainly didn’t need another collection of music arranged into a method. I have written over 200 pieces for students over the past few years, but I felt that the impact of those on future generations of music makers would be small if I didn’t properly wrap them in the context, methodology, long-term vision and core philosophies that initiated their creation.
Thankfully, current technology has allowed me to build an interactive website for teachers over the past couple of years so that the written music can be part of the bigger whole. Teachers and students will be able to move through their development in a way that is consistent with the intent of the method.
This video covers the background and motivations behind making the method.
I’m really excited about sharing this with everyone. It’s been a lot of blood, sweat and tears but I feel very strongly that this will help a lot of teachers who are frustrated on some level with options available to them as teachers and more importantly – to future generations of music makers.
The last couple of weeks have been pretty intense. After ten years of working really hard on a project that I hope to share with you soon, there were some epic failures followed by epic successes in the testing stages. I won’t be quite as prolific on the blog posts for a couple of weeks as we finish working things out.
Many of you know that I’ve been writing music to help kids and adults learn to play music. However, I have never really communicated the scope of the project and how it reaches beyond more music books and learning methods. I’ll try and share some updates once I have something more tangible – which should be in the next couple of weeks.
Since several of you have been emailing questions about the project, I’ll try and give updates here when I have time. Once we test and proof everything, I’ll post a comprehensive guide to everything the project involves as it stands and looking forward.
In the meantime, enjoy this photo of the clutter on the main workstation.
It’s been a rough 24 hours mourning with so many around the world over the loss of Prince. There are beautiful tributes by his friends and loved ones, by female musicians that were inspired by his inclusion of amazing women in his bands from the beginning of his career, by African Americans for all he represented and inspired within their diverse communities, by musicians who marveled at all he could do with seemingly any instrument he touched, by songwriters for his ability to craft perfect songs, by producers and engineers who were influenced by his creative use of technology in making records that will stand the test of time, by creatives who felt inspired by his disregard for the rules and by anyone who didn’t feel like they fit in their environment.
As you can see by the picture below, there is a lot going on right now. I’ve been fortunate to teach for a long time – so long that my former students have grown up and become collaborators. And to top it off, one of my favorite new bands comes to town and I get to play a show with them.