Nashville Prep Diary: Better Gear, Better Practicing

It’s been a busy past few weeks both personally and professionally, but I’m still plugging away at prepping for our exodus to the holy land of midwest music, Nashville, TN. 


In my first Nashville blog, I laid out a couple of areas I wanted to work on: spiritual growth, my musicality, my appearance, and my equipment. This week I’ll explain a little of what I’m doing in 2 of those 4 areas- musicality and equipment. 



Upping My Chops


Over the last two months, I’ve been hitting the piano practicing exceptionally hard. I know I’m going to have to be the very best I can be to have a hope of making it in Nashville, and it’s really motivated me to improve. I’ve started to practice an intense 2+ hours each day on top of my usual band rehearsal and show schedule. A few things I’ve learned: 


• Let the music show you what scales, arpeggios, and licks you need to practice, not the other way around.


• Sight reading is and always will be my achilles heel, and I constantly have to work to keep it up with the rest of my chops. 


• I play the best when I do at least a half an hour of scales each day. 


• Bach’s inventions are the best music ever written for developing independent hand movement. 



Upgrading My Equipment


As I took a long hard look at my equipment, I realized that I simply didn’t have high enough quality to compete in Nashville. I sold a few pieces, and ended up getting a small but powerful arsenal of equipment together: 


• I sold my older audio interface and upgraded to a new MOTU MicroBook II. This is the perfect interface for running audio from soft synths live, and has amazingly clear preamps and headphone drivers. Definitely worth the upgrade.


• I’ve loved my classic Korg M50 keyboard since the day I got it, but I’ve grown to realize the sounds are simply too dated. I sold it, and upgraded to the brand new Roland FA-06 keyboard. It has the best quality sounds of any hardware synth on the market (in my opinion) and the ability to play backing tracks and trigger samples along with a host of other great features. 


• I sold my 2011 13” MacBook Pro, and bought a refurbished late 2013 13” MacBook Pro. It has double the RAM of my last computer, a solid state hard drive for recording, and a retina display.  


It’s been a great time of growth for me over the past few months musically, and I feel like I’m reaching a whole new level of understanding my instrument that comes with intense practice. I’m also hoping this gear along with what I already own can carry me through any recording sessions or tours I’m able to land in Nashville. Can’t wait to see what happens in the near future. . .