I didn’t write a blog on Wednesday like I have every week for the last 3 years because I was lucky enough to be playing my first recording session in Nashville! It was a very informal writing/recording job, but I had an absolute blast working with another creatively like-minded musician here in music city. Here are 5 things I learned on the job:
With NAMM around the corner, I go on a rant about what features are being overlooked in the keyboard industry, but desperately needed.
We’ve all had to play with them- those annoying musicians that constantly clutter up the frequencies that your instrument occupies with their musical doodles. Here are 5 ways to not be that guy on stage and in the studio:
We own music equipment to serve a means, not to be an end in itself. Here are 7 ways to make your performances more about your music and less about fiddling with your equipment:
• Practice pressing buttons. The quicker you are at getting the sound you want, the less you have to worry about twisting knobs during the performance.
• Pre-prep everything. Don't wait to the last second to put together your equipment – test everything at home, so it's not a distraction at the venue.
• Buy intiutive equipment . If your live rig is difficult to work with, get rid of it. Speed is everything when you're making on the fly tweaks.
• Buy quality equipment. Settling for cheap may be easier in the short term, but paying a few extra dollars for something that won't constantly need fixing saves time and a lot of headaches.
• Don't switch equipment too often. It's tempting to always buy the latest and greatest, but having equipment on stage that you're comfortable with is often more important than having all the latest bells and whistles.
• Practice using your equipment at home. Don't just program at home – set up your equipment just like you'll be using it at the venue, and practice with it frequently.
• Simplify, simplify. The fewer cables, software instruments, and keyboards you have on stage, the less likely you are to have a problem with one of them.
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.
1. Stop complaining that you don’t get paid enough. We live in a free market, and people will pay what they think something is worth, not how much you think it’s worth. If you’re not getting the price you want, reposition yourself in the market and offer buyers something they don’t mind paying a fair wage for.
this last week, I landed my first gig with the largest booking agency in St. Louis, Contemporary Productions. Contemporary books many of the largest venues in St. Louis, including Busch Stadium, most of the casinos and hotels around town, and all the major corporations. When I got the call, I was so excited.
Nobody wants to hire the person that’s pretty good at what they do for the really important projects, the really big shows. It’s fine to be average on small stuff where there’s not a lot at stake, but when it really counts and there’s serious money on the line, people always go for the best.
While I don’t always recommend it, using two keyboard controllers with Mainstage can be a lot of fun live. Here’s how to pull it off:
I think I hold the record for coming up with the least effective practice prep before shows. After failing at a ton of gigs, I’ve learned a few things about working up music. Here are 5 kernels of hard-earned wisdom: