Thursday, November 13, 2008

Just Jazz Guitar

I'm currently writing a series of articles for the national magazine Just Jazz Guitar. The articles take a detailed look at the process of reading music for the jazz guitarist. The first installment appears in the November issue of 2008.

Just Jazz Guitar, as the name implies, focuses on the art and craft of the jazz guitar.It's refreshing to see a guitar magazine that isn't loaded with Rock guitar gear and misleading columns.

I would highly recommend anyone interested in the jazz guitar to subscribe to this fine magazine.

Contact Ed Benson at and tell him that I sent you.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Marketing and Music

No matter what your involvement is in music, marketing needs to be a way of life. This is true more for the musician seeking to make a living in music but it generally applies to anyone with goals other than pure aesthetics.

What is marketing? Marketing is the entire range of activities that involve increasing your exposure in the market that you have chosen. It includes but is not limited to advertising, promotion, public relations, product creation, merchandising, endorsements, establishing contacts etc.

A typical musician runs hot and cold in this regard. He or she gets enthused about marketing and works very hard ... for a couple of weeks. Then, nothing for months.

What you need to do is to set aside time every day for something ... anything ... that would promote you and your work. It's a good idea to follow some simple advice from the exercise world and the diet world. Do what you can maintain. In other words, it's a lifestyle more than an emergency event.

The more you do, the more you will develop an attitude, a momentum. Soon, the process will be natural. It becomes something that you don't even have to think about, to do.

When this happens and continues to happen, you're on your way!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Practice and Performance

Practice is necessary to develop the skills required to pursue music successfully. But practice can also be a crutch - a delay tactic. Just as many people continue their college educations to avoid the necessity of getting a job - of facing the real world. It can be the same in music. You're "never" ready. The fact of the matter is : you're always ready. When you can struggle through one song, you're ready!

As in most things in life, it's important that you strike a balance between practicing and performing. By performing, I don't mean a huge concert venue. It might be a performance for friends or relatives. It could be at a coffee house or an open mike night. Anything that puts you in the position of having to play songs - original or not in front of people is valuable.

Songs are not exercises. They are vehicles of self expression through music. This often strikes fear into the hearts of new performers. This is an understandable reaction. Remember that fear can be redefined as excitement. They have the same physiological symptoms - shaking hands, a feeling in your stomach, the tendency to run. But if you enter the arena of performance, these feelings will ultimately turn to motivation.

So, practice and perform. Make it a lifelong habit!