Today I’ve released two new songs… One is rock and roll (Migration to Divine) and the other is a mostly piano-based song (Find My Way). These songs feature some of Seattle’s finest. They continue the series of letters set to music.
It’s always a little intimidating to sing/release songs that are raw and emotional. But it’s time for me to start sharing. Over the past few years I’ve been writing and recording a series of songs that are essentially letters set to music. They are written from one person to another and they loosely tell a story.
I’ve been so fortunate to have some of my favorite musicians contribute to this project. On this first set I have Rachel Eckroth singing the lead of the opening song, “A Believer”. Rachel is a remarkable keyboard player who also sings at the highest level (as you’ll hear on the recording).
One of the most important aspects of performing is communication. Even though the quality of our performance will mostly depend on how prepared we are musically, communication can help make the performance less stressful while allowing us to put most of our energy into the main thing – the music.
As endless and overwhelming as music can get, sometimes it feels really good to just let things fly on a simple blues with good friends. This recording is of a song I wrote called “Dead Man Blues”. Hopefully it will make it onto a record soon. In the meantime, you can check it out here…
While a student at University of Miami, I wrote an original jazz tune for one of our ensembles that I was very excited about. I felt the tune captured the vibe of the famous Miles Davis quintet from the ‘60’s… That was the theme of the ensemble. The tune had unpredictable harmonic rhythm, harmony based on modes of melodic minor and a lot of suspended chords, and romantic-influenced melodies. It wasn’t extremely complicated but it wasn’t simple either.
For many students of music, performing without the printed music in front of them can be a stressful venture. Over the years I’ve eliminated the word “memorized” from my teaching vocabulary – at it has helped my students tremendously. However, for the sake of honoring the tradition I’ve included the word “memorize” from time to time in the post – this is the first of a series of posts on playing without the printed page.
I have a new single out on all the major streaming services online. It’s called Love Song From a Montana Boy to a Wyoming Girl He Saw Once Forever. It features my friend from Senegal, Thione Diop, on the talking drum.
You can stream, buy and download through this Bandcamp player…
Here are the links… Please share on social media and add to your playlists if you’re so inclined.
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.