Multitasking Will KILL You

T​his title oozes drams, I LOVE IT! It reminds me of the channel TNT and how they know drama. Does that channel still exist? If it’s not streaming, is it real? Perhaps a question for another time.

I​ read this phenomenal post from Pointless Overthinking. Here’s my honest plug for them. It’s a daily post and they hit on anything and everything intellectual. You really should subscribe to the blog! They’re relatively short posts that are easy to sift through and it’s always an enjoyable read.

Check it out here! 

After reading this column I was inspired! I wanted to give it a nice little spin as well. Something with the ole Crazy Legs’ touch, you know. 

Raise your hand if you’ve ever tricked yourself into believing that you are killing it with multitasking – I can’t see you, but everyone should have raised their hand. 

I’m guilty of doing it right now – I KNOW! I’m working on it…

Multitasking is so dangerous because it seems like we’re getting so much done. It makes sense; we’re doing twice (or heaven forbid three times) as many things. But if we had someone to watch what we’re doing, or even if we were savagely honest with ourselves, we would see how much longer it takes for us to finish anything and how poor the quality ends up being for each of those things. I’m not saying that Muli-tasking can’t be done the right way. God knows I’ve met a few people that can do it with extreme proficiency. Most of them are Moms. But you my friend – yes, you reading this blog. You are not the exception. 

I can say this with kindness because I am not the exception here. You are special, I absolutely know you can do whatever you want to accomplish, but you will only be making it harder on yourself if you attempt to multi-task your way through life. Think back to last time you tried to juggle three things at once. Even if it was something simple like, 

1. Listen to a song that takes a lot of your attention 

2. Scroll through Instagram responding to comments

3​. Write a blog post on multitasking

I​’m spreading my attention thin! I have a hard time concentrating on what I’m doing and in the end, I will have a shitty product, I just listened to a new song, but I felt stressed because I was thinking about how to respond to that post, or setting up that gig. Hell, confession time – I’ve tried to watch a youtube video while playing a video game while writing a song with a guitar on my lap and responding to emails. What the hell was I trying to do?! Have the most fun anyone has ever had?! How much entertainment can I cram in there? And why? What was I trying to accomplish? I gained nothing and honestly, I stressed myself out. I kept dying in the game, I don’t remember anything from the video I watched, the song was definitely not finished that night and those emails probably rambled on. I mean, I’m focused on this now and I’m still rambling. 

Have you seen someone that has 15 different tabs pulled up on their computer? Their brain has started and has kept thinking and trying to break down the information of 15 different things at once! That’s crazy! No wonder we feel like shit somedays! 

I​’m not saying that these are not great ways to relax, or that you shouldn’t have downtime when you can shut your brain off. You need that daily unwind! What I am advocating is that you allocate time to these activities when you play that game, when you watch that movie or youtube video. ALL YOU DO IS THAT. Don’t respond to a text, don’t think about work, don’t play a game and watch a series on Netflix at the same time. 

Obviously, don’t do it all day. But I promise you can afford not to touch your phone for an hour. Here, I will prove it to you – Are you a doctor getting paged? (What is this the 90’s) No…? Are you a firefighter? Wait, no? Ok, then what the hell is so important that you can’t give yourself 1 out of the 24 hours that you have as a little downtime?

If you were to run from midnight till midnight consistently, your body would eventually shut down, you would not be able to move, I know you probably wouldn’t die, but I love being dramatic, so I’m gonna say YOU WOULD DIE. – This is what your brain does every day. It is what your will does every day. You are taking micro naps with your drive in life and that’s why you hate what you’re doing. You are not giving yourself the rest you require from pushing for what you want in life. A big reason this happens is that you’re not allocating the time towards pure work, or unmitigated pleasure. You have to have both!

Experiment with it for a couple of days. Have the discipline to follow through with an hour of devoting your attention to one form of entertainment. At the end of the hour, put it away and don’t touch it for the rest of the day. 

This is coming from a place where I’m struggling as well! I struggle with this every day, I want to get better at it as well guys!

The Power of Communication – This Will Save Your Next Band Practice

L​et’s fix a big problem!

This concept applies to the workplace, it has a massive role in all relationships. It will improve every situation, and it’s straightforward, and people rarely do it in a band setting. Here’s the thing, you can do it today, and it will make you ten times better.

To start off, I will admit I​’m guilty of this too, I get super self-conscious, I look down at the ground during practice. I think this is because performing together is kind of an intimate thing. You’re creating music, you’re making something beautiful together, and you are all invested in it. It’s awkward to look at each other while performing, especially singing, but you need to break past that feeling! You need to look around at each other! Right now you’re only using your sense of hearing when you look down at the floor. You’re not fullying emersed in the music.

We can make it easier by simply talking it out, say aloud the things that you don’t think need to be announced.

I get it!! I have a hard time with this, I frequently think, well, I don’t need to say that. “They know…

NO!!! They don’t!

Even if they did, how beautiful would it be to hear someone yell, “Man, I really like it when you do this part! Keep doing that!

Or say you can say, “Let’s play softer.” Or even “I don’t like that part, what else do you have?” They can defend it at this point and tell you why they like what they’re doing. This is ok! Maybe that will make you appreciate it that part? Who knows – well, you won’t if you don’t say something.

I want to be at a practice where people are almost consistently talking through the song, building each other up, working the song into perfection. WHY NOT?! Why do so many bands not speak during the song? I have no idea.

I’m not an idiot, you shouldn’t do that up on stage. But if you hear something during practice, say something while you’re playing. “DUDE! I love that part!” I promise this will make for a better practice. Stop leaving things unsaid.

You don’t have to be the singer or the frontman to speak to these guys. If you’ve ever worked a fast paced job, you know how frustrating it can be when you don’t communicate the simple things.

I have one more point to make about the whole thing. When you hear something you like, or especially that you don’t enjoy. If you don’t say how you feel until about it till the end of the song, you will be thinking about it until the end of the song, which means you’re really not focused on what’s going on at the moment. It takes you out of the magic of the moment if you don’t say something. It also wastes time! You have to go back to that part and try to fix something, this messes with the feng shui of practice.

Photo by Oleg Magni on Pexels.com

Think of an orchestral conductor, he does this in real time! “You play softer, you play loud… let’s go a little faster now.” It’s not like this is a new concept.

Promise me you will try it as an experiment.
PROMISE ME!

Promise me that the next time you’re playing through your set at practice. Look around at your friends. Tell them you love a piece while they’re playing the part! Hell, ham it up with them, if you’re not doing it there during practice, when will you be doing? At the show, probably not. And people LOVE bands having fun up on stage.

That’s three times you promised me. Don’t you break it.

Photo by Jasmine Wallace Carter on Pexels.com

With the coming new year, it’s time to have your EPK ready to fight for you!

We have gone over this before. If you haven’t read the blog post on creating an amazing EPK then follow this link 

Ok, not a great joke, that actually just takes you to a previous post I made.

I wanted to update this a give you an example of what your EPK should look like. I will include two buttons. One will take you to a funny video of a cat. The other will be to my EPK.

How to make your Set-list into a Hit-list

The setlist, you’re most important tool while you’re sitting up there in front of everyone.

Point #1


I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten up on stage and thought to myself, “I’ve got this, I know what I’m going to play.” Then after the first two songs, I blank, and I can’t remember what the hell I was supposed to play next, I look around awkwardly at the other band members and mouth,

“What’s next.”

Now, does it look bad… Honestly, no, not really, most people won’t notice you doing this. But it has a more significant effect than that…

I want you to listen to this because it’s a crucial truth – when you are lost in the set, you have lost your shine on stage.

Let me ask you a question, what makes Mick Jagger so much fun to watch on stage? Is it really his choreographed dance moves? No! Hell no! It’s a rock band, they should be doing stuff on the fly. It’s lame to think they staged all of that out. No, it’s fun to watch him because he is one CONFIDENT dude.

I’m going to rattle off names, Adam Levine, Tyler Joseph, Stevie Nicks, Nikki Sixx, Miguel, Beyoncè, Steven Tyler, Garth Brookes… I’m intentionally going across different genres here. They’re fun to watch because they are outstanding, but they are also confident (at the very least, seemingly confident).

When you turn around and ask the band “What do we play next?” it makes you DOUBT yourself. This is a bad thing! It really isn’t hard to write down what you’re going to do. I don’t know why so many groups have such a hard time with this.

Wait, what key is Buttermilk in again?

Point #2

Pop quiz – What do you pissy little sister and your setlist both have problems with? The answer – flow.

That was an off-color joke, I’m just as upset as you are, I apologize to all little sisters everywhere.

A​ big issue with setlist is the flow of the set. There are a lot of different ways to do this. You’ve heard of the U shape, or the W shape if you’re playing an extended set. I would highly suggest the A shape or the V shape. By this I mean… if you’re going to play a slow song. DON’T DO THREE IN A ROW. EVER. Ok if you’re playing at a coffee shop as background music, that’s ok. But keep in mind that even Jeff Buckley couldn’t save the set and keep someone interested by playing that many slow songs in a row.

People want to come to come to hear something that makes them move or something they can sing along with. I want you to think about the last concert you went to – maybe it was Enya. (In that case, forget everything I’m saying to you) Even if it was a band known for playing light stuff, I would bet you twenty cents they didn’t play more than two slow songs back to back. Even that is such a set killer. You need to grab the audience and not let them go.

WE WANT BUTTERMILK!!!

If you are looking at the set list and you have half fast songs, half slow songs, it’s time to write some new music or learn some new covers. Ask yourself this question – where are your slow songs going over well? In your home? Late at night? Who is telling you that they want a set of you whispering? There is a place for that, MOST live shows are not that place. This is the entertainment industry. ENTERTAIN ME! I don’t want to be put to sleep. One slow jam is okay, make it beautiful. But make no mistake that more than one is indulgent unless that is your gimmick. You will lull people to sleep, and they will forget you.

Point #3


Y​our set should not feature filler songs. We’re better than this people. Don’t play a song because you need to fill time. Even for the bands playing 4 to 5-hour sets at bars. I want to ask you this question. Throughout the history of music, has there been at least 5 hours of music that really kills it for you. I mean, 5 hours?!

Having the same setlist for multiple shows is ok. I’ll be the first to admit that I have had a hard time with this one. I want it to be raw and real. I hate a stagnant set. But I have been told time and time again that the people coming to the shows are different people and those nozzles that tell me that, they’re right.

Furthermore, the reason you love your favorite band is that you can sing along with their songs. Let’s follow this logic through… if you are mixing up the tunes and making it hard to sing along by making little live changes you’re making it hard for them to connect with the song and you. The song you play doesn’t need to change, your connection with them does, and we keep it running with them by having a great time up on stage and keeping them engaged through eye contact and simple stage tricks.

I have seen some astounding talent on a stage not connect with a crowd. I have seen crappy bands connect with an audience and win them over. Who is more successful here? The former was hands down more talented. A great listen. But will they ever be heard without a crowd? Its a sad truth in life.

POINT #4


You need to keep the set moving.
Consider playing condensed versions of cover songs, most people don’t know the words to the bridge of a song. I’m not saying change who you are for the crowd. I am telling you to start playing a shorter amount of time, give them the best parts of you for that short amount of time you’re playing. You don’t need to cram a 40 minute set into a 30 minute allotted time. Give them 25 and leave them wanting more.

Point #Final Point


Slow songs have their place, I’m just saying, it really not meant as an overabundance in a set.

1 Slow song for every 6 explosive songs will be just fine.
Don’t trick yourself into believing you’re the exception. Don’t you get complacent and put fillers in the set list.

If you’re trying to make an impact, make an impactful setlist. That’s where you will win the crowd over. I promise that you’ll start to feel like a king/queen as soon as you step off the stage if you give the crowd what they’re asking for!

DO YOU HEAR THEM?! They’re calling your name! Give them something meaningful, provide them with something they can sing along and move with. HAVE FUN! IF you are not having fun, they will not be having fun. If you have a killer set list, you will have fun. Give yourself the chance to succeed here!

How to name your band – Spoiler, there are no rules to this thing.

Foo Fighters, The Beatles, Post Malone, Atreyu, The Postal Service, Barenaked Ladies, Alvin and the Chipmunks… Okay, maybe not the last one. 

The name of the blog is how to name your band, but the truth is, there are no rules to this thing. The Foo Fighters doesn’t make any sense, and somehow it totally works.

Actually, with the exception of the last one and The Postal Service, none of these names make any sense. Let me point out the obvious here and say that a bands name has the same value of your own name, Steve. If your name were Kevin instead of Steve, it really wouldn’t make a lot of difference to you or anyone else. Now, let’s say your name was Mary as a boy, that would probably suck. Still, ultimately we dictate the value of a name.

I’ve set the field perfectly with that killer example (I wish I were really that confident). Now, let’s liken this to band names. If you are a metal band, you probably don’t want to be named The Temptations. It just feels kind of off. I use the Temptations instead of following through my first urge of calling it “Mary had a little band” or something ironic. This is what is interesting about band names and what makes it different from a person’s name.

  • Sometimes irony works when naming a band. I have seen too many groups struggle far too long with naming a band, and then pick something super (subjectively) lame.
  • I’m going to make the first rule of thumb, don’t over think it. If it sounds good, it is probably good.
What about… HELLO?
Oh I like that! But I feel like I’ve heard it before.

Do you know the reason Stone Temple Pilots picked that name? They just like the way that STP looked. That’s it, there’s no reason behind it. They were very big! I remember I was talking with a label (disclaimer, it was a very small label, we have another name for this… its called a scam) they didn’t like the name of the band (Winchester) they asked us to come together and decide on a new band name. We went through a lot of names… I mean A LOT of names! I didn’t love most of them, I know this was because I was thinking way too hard about the whole thing. Eventually, we got back to the label, and they picked three names for us to choose between. They were all something I wouldn’t be proud of being called. We countered with “What about naming it, Dean Nelson? Just keeping us underneath the name of the artist?” They responded that they didn’t like that sound of the name. It’s my name, I mean that is my name! When we asked them why they didn’t like it, they said: “We knew a Dean who worked here, he wasn’t very nice.”

Even now as I write this three years after that conversation, I put the palm of my hand to my face.

It doesn’t matter! If a no can be as simple as “I once knew someone with your name.” Then what’s the point of painfully going over all the options? No, what is crucial is picking something that YOU are proud to be called. You can name your band Speed Dog the Fluff Buttand if you are happy to be called that, then that’s all that matters!

Fun spellings can be cool, but don’t go too crazy. Have you ever met someone named Dafydd? I have, it’s confusing as shit. You want to call the group something that you love, but that is also easily accessible. If your band member has a hard time pronouncing or remembering the name, I won’t pick it.

  • Not everyone will love the band name you pick, its ok!
  • Band names with that start with “The” seem to become popular every other decade. Isn’t that weird and kind of funny?
  • Sometimes it helps to combine two words that shouldn’t go together and make a new word. Coldplay, Radiohead, Redhill. These things shouldn’t work, but they do. It has a nice flow to them.
  • Don’t be afraid to give it the old test run before you try it out for real. Go play a few open mic nights under that name and see if you like the way it sounds over the PA system.
The owner’s name is actually Pete.

I’m not sure why “The Jakes” doesn’t work, it just doesn’t. I can assume that it is because it puts a different image in my head versus “Young the Giant” both of these are made up of words. But one seems to grab my attention and the other sounds like your older brother’s Garageband that played at NXNW (a sad rip-off of the famous concert series in Austin) So, if you can find something that has a little mystery to it, meaning a series of words that have a nice flow and are intriguing. I would recommend going with them. Just remember, if The Jakes never became Young the Giant, they would still probably be killing it right now. Don’t overthink it.

  • I believe this is true of life – We go wrong when we start worrying about what other people will think or say. It’s okay if they don’t like it.

In the music industry, at every level, you will be criticized for how you sing, how you play, what you look like… You need to have some thick skin if you want to make this a full-time thing. It’s ok to have your mind changed by someone. It’s ok to try and fail and come back the next week and fail again, and again. That is part of life, and it’s the only way you improve. You will not grow if it stays locked in your mind. I heard this quote recently, I’ll do my best to paraphrase it.

“I tell my kids, what is the difference between a hero and a coward? No difference. Only what you do. They both feel the same. They both fear dying and getting hurt. The man who is a coward refuses to face up to what he’s got to face. The hero is more, and he fights those feelings off, and he does what he has to do. But they both feel the same, the hero and the coward.”

You subconsciously ask yourself every single day, every single time you’re faced with a decision, are you a hero or a coward?

I feel that bands get caught up in the process of naming themselves because they are afraid of being themselves. Maybe it is in sound, or style, and that manifest in naming the group. It’s just easier to point out to that one because it should be an easy (ish) decision.

What does it mean to be yourself? To be unapologetically yourself? First, we must ask ourselves what makes you, you? Is it your name? No. Is it your face? Well, that will change with age, and what if you wear makeup? Which face is yours? I could be wrong, I have been before… but I feel that the essence of you rests within the values and beliefs you have. That never say die attitude, that devotion to the tenderest of all emotion, love. That devotion to music, to your craft. That is you. And it will stay here after you are long gone. This isn’t about the notes in a song, or the name of a band, or even your name. You have stepped into a room and instantly felt connected with another person, that’s because you see them, not their name, not where they came from. You just know them. This is what drives a fool back to love, the promise of a soulmate or partner. You are made up of the values and beliefs, the style and words, the prose or flow, that right hand and the way it moves, the density of it, that’s what fires that neuron and tells you to run. You will continue to collect information, and it will shift your belief here and there, but that acceptance of change is what makes you unapologetically you. I promise that if you focus on that, you will quickly find a band name, you will feel fulfilled after the shows. You will find peace.

Ok, so this went from guidelines to naming the band to a philosophy lesson, If you ask me, it’s all connected.

To go against everything I’ve said above and now play the devil’s advocate, have you ever noticed that almost everyone you meet with a particular name sucks? I have the hardest time with people named Aaron, I don’t know why It’s a mystery that will forever elude me. Think of a name that multiple people have had that you really don’t like. Post it down below or message me! I love hearing that stuff, I think it’s amusing.

Learn how Kenny Loggins saved my life in this post

A Step Away From the Music – 2013 Rarefied

A quick introduction to this post.

I wanted to take a step away from the killer music advice I’m giving (I wish I had that much pride) and I wanted to share with you a post I found from back in 2013. I’m happy to say I still believe this. It’s strange to think how much we change. I always answer to the same name though. I have a few more memories, a few more scars, seen and unseen. I’m happy to have all of them. I have come to learn that I am not the body I have, that gets hairy and sleepy, it gets a little more grey every day. I’m not the memories or the past that made me. I’m the values and beliefs I hold and share. In some shape or way, that makes me immortal I guess. I will live on through the love and hope and strength that I share. Long after my body is covered by dirt and the few streams of music dissipate into white noise. There’s a certain sweetness to the pain that love causes now.

Rarefied

August 4, 2013, at 3:01 PM
This post has no one specific in mind, maybe just myself. Is it conceded to write a note for yourself? If I expected someone else to read it, yes. I haven’t slept in 48 hours, in that time I’ve thought about a lot.
I’ve come to the conclusion that no matter what I say, or how I say it, it will never mean as much to you, as it does to me. I’m not upset, most of the time when you hear me speak, they are just that, words. They mean absolutely nothing, their property holds no value. No matter how many times I say the word “Love” it doesn’t mean anything to you till you feel it for yourself. I’ve said the word “hope” over a million times. But I’ve never really understood its meaning until I stood out in the rain, praying for it to end. “Hope”… once you’ve got it, you’re hooked. Still, I throw the word around, not truly understand its gravity. We can have it in its purest, complex form, or we can hope the Cubs will win the world series (I’ve come to the conclusion that this hope will never be satisfied).

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I would tell you all the words in my heart, the ones that make my face red. The ones that never are spoken, not because I don’t feel them, but because they are sacred to me. I don’t want to use those words because they mean something to me. Words like “hope” and “love” have decreased their value. They still hold true, but we scan over them now. How much lay inside these words? How many sleepless nights were spent, concocting phrases, playing out scenarios? I don’t see them, but they’re there. The blinding happiness, burning soul, relentless hope. Nothing to say of the sleepless stress, self-scrutinization the crushing wave of reality. The paralyzing passion and softening look. Ecstasy without any prescription. All this and more held by a single word. What’s more, that it changes for its host. Heaven sent, to keep you crazy.
How could I have been capable of feeling such a thing? What have I done to deserve this, this feeling of being alive for the first time? This awakening from a dream, or rather a nightmare, one which held me captive for so long. What happened to sunsets and music? How did my sense of touch become so heightened that I become worthy to touch something so beautiful? How has hope become greater than the sound of the word that it confines itself to? A Hollywood sentiment, come to life. Never has hope been such a standard to our lives.
Still, my mind grounds me. Hope is always wrong. It leads me out to drown, it changed my very nature, it broke me. How could I trust it again? No hope could save me from my reality. That is where courage took precedence. A rarefied ambition, a hopeless quest. Our lives are lifted by our dreams, destroyed by what’s real. But if I refuse to give existence its ground… If I defied my own undoing. If I became hope’s exception. Could I assume such a lofty goal?
No.

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But I can and will try. Why? Because I’m an idiot.
Intrepid perseverance. That will be what killed my soul. Not hope.
I want you, the reader (if I could be bold enough to assume you’re still reading this) to succeed. Every success you make is a standard to our kind. I want to take my name off of this. I want to get everything I hope for. I want you to see that, without my face or name on it, and be inspired. Put God’s name on it… Put your own name on it. Inspire yourself! Don’t believe the impossible, for it does not exist.
Maybe that’s stupid to believe… I’m okay with being stupid.
Don’t underestimate the power of words. The ones we’ve yet to say, perhaps what we were meant to say. No matter how often you say it, or hear it. It only takes one time, and your world can change. All because of one word.

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Performance Zones

I was just about to go in to record the grammie*winning album Twist of Blue with my band at the time. The stakes have never been higher. I was recording with the platonic love of my God-fearing life, Chuck. He has worked with Pixar on creating music, we called him the soundtrack stunt-man. There’s a reason behind that, but it doesn’t fit into the point I’m trying to make right now. Chuck sat us down before we pushed that big red button and told us something that has stuck with me ever since. He told us about the Performance Zones. It’s a great concept, it’s true, I’ve seen it in my own life, and I want to share it with you here today. So go grab a toga, cause I’m about to go Aristotle on your ass.

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Butt wait, there’s more!

 

Performance Zones

Zone 1 – The Concentrated Performance

The concentrated performance zone is an obvious one. You’ll see in a lot of local bands. These guys aren’t moving, their eyes are closed most of the time. Maybe they are nervous, maybe not. Either way, they are trying to concentrate through the performance, moving around causes them to make mistakes. This performance isn’t entertaining to watch. I want to clear up that this doesn’t mean they’re terrible or that they haven’t practiced. They just haven’t practiced enough. This can even vary between songs in the set. This zone is where we start, we want to move from it and on to the next one.

How to improve: We need to focus our time practicing pragmatically. Practice in your room standing up, keep your eyes moving, find fun ways to keep time. Tapping your foot has been done by everyone, everywhere. So try doing new and exciting things instead. I love this story of Elvis, he was asked about his gyrating (not my word) and jumping around up on stage. He said he wasn’t thinking about it, he was just trying to keep time. Well, it helped to make him famous.

Zone 2 – The Danger Zone

The headspace that Kenny Loggins, Tom Cruise, and Archer constantly live in.

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This is what danger looks like

 

Ok, but for real…

Zone 2 – The Conscious Performance

In this zone the musician is looking around, adding to the visual vibe of the group, but the performance still feels stunted by a lack of confidence. This one is harder to spot and more natural to feel, and yes, I realize that sounds pretentious. This is a dangerous, if not comfortable position to fall into, we need to fight against that urge! I am guilty of falling into this, you get content with some of the songs, and you think to yourself, “I don’t really need to practice this anymore.”For the sake of sounding dramatic, I will say, “THIS is a terrible thing!”Mediocracy is not very fun to watch. We want to push ourselves through this and on towards glory!

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Gurl, you are beautiful! Don’t be shy!

 

How to improve: Where the first zone is easy to push past because it is apparent that we need to work on our parts, the second zone lulls us into complacency, and we become just another average band. No one wants to talk about an average band, NO ONE! To improve we need to practice often with our group. We need to use a little planning (without too much choreography to make it feel contrived) of stops and movement. I would say that unless you sit during the song on stage, you should always practice while standing up and jumping around. If you’re by yourself then try this, I realize that it sounds goofy, but play in front of a mirror. I know, I hate typing that out. But it can help you see if you’re doing something that looks stupid. Realize that when you’re up on stage, the way you look and move is a big part of how your audience will interact with you.

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This hangs above my bed, it scares a lot of women away.

 

Zone 3 – The Unconscious Performance

Think of Mick Jagger or Matt Shultz. Those are front men… if you close your eyes and picture your favorite musician, are they standing perfectly still on stage? Or are they having the time of their life up there? I know you have been to a concert where this happens, it’s usually your favorite band/artist. They move around a lot, they make eye contact with the audience. Actually, they’re always looking around. They’re smiling or acting or using some dramatic facial expression. They have practiced so much that they’re able to perform without thinking about playing, it is unconscious… right?! The thing I want to point out to you is that they are really PERFORMING, and although stage one and two are technically performing… sure, but if I saw them on stage, I might not use that word. They played their parts, but they didn’t draw me into their performance. There’s an in-depth linguistical discussion here, I’m passing on that though. I will ask you this… How do you feel about your music? Do you feel like it is something special? I will assume your answer is yes sir! If that’s the case, you really owe it to yourself to make it to this unconscious performance zone. I promise that if you get here, you will feel deeply fulfilled at the end of your concert. I hate stepping off stage and wondering, “Did everyone have a good time?” I want to know while I’m up there strumming and humming! Your music is unique because you are special and unique. (Cheesy) But if you’re not in this last zone, you’re not fully letting your audience in.

How to improve: Play a lot of live shows, keep your head up, make and keep eye contact with band members and the audience. If you’re having fun up there, you know you’ve made it!

Final thought –This doesn’t’ mean you have to jump around on the stage, that’s just one way to draw people in, and ultimately, this doesn’t mean you’ve made it to this unconscious performance. And although I would recommend watching live performances and taking little things from them (we’ve all done it, it’s acceptable and even encouraged). I would also urge you to find your own way of drawing people in. I don’t know if you’ve ever watching Nine Inch Nails perform, they draw people in very different than say, Katy Perry does. No matter how you do it, I would say that keeping your head up and watching your audience will be a HUGE step in helping to break through and drawing others into your performance! STOP THE MEDIOCRCY! Make it to ZONE 3!

REMEMBER THIS Practice is the key to confidence! From now on, you practice how you perform!

* An award I made up

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Eye of the tiger

 

How the first practice should go – What to expect and the Do’s and Dont’s

You’ve booked the night up, you’re in the car, headed to a new place to jam with someone for the first time. Then it hits you,

what the hell are we going to play?

I ‘ve been playing for a long time, and I can adequately tell you that the first practice/tryout is usually is pretty uncomfortable. At first, it’s exciting. Then you pick up the instrument, and you look at each other, and it’s like you’ve never touched the thing before. The problem with the practice, the first, the tenth, hell the hundredth practice, is that we don’t do a proper job planning how we’re going to utilize our time. We might think, “oh, we’ll play this, then that.” But when you get there, it all goes to shit. You get nervous when you realize this person is judging you and might not like you or want to play with you again. It can be messy. No, to really make this work, you need to write down what you want to work on. Never is this more important than the first practice.

  • I think the best way to keep everyone happy is to set up one or two songs from each of the musicians playing. That way one party isn’t having to learn multiple songs while the other is just playing old jams that they’ve been playing for years. This isn’t limited to covers, but covers will be more a little more comfortable to pick up than an original. When you give them a song to learn, send them the key you’re playing in, if you can send the chords or tabs, do that as well. The more information they have beforehand, the better the practice will be.

  • Don’t make it a long practice. Sometimes we feel like we have to jam for 3 hours everytime we met up. If you plan on it not taking up a large chunk of your day you’ll avoid that unfortunately all too common feeling of, why did I come here to play with them, they’re not very good.

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  • At the end of the practice, dedicate a few minutes to some jamming. See if you gel, it doesn’t mean much in the first practice. But it can be a great exercise between you.
  • Before you meet up, write down a quick itinerary. You don’t have to share this with anyone, it’s just nice to get your thoughts together before you get there and start playing. I HATE looking at another musician and saying, “Well…. what do you want to do now.” and they respond “I don’t know?” It’s a waste of time and not a good feeling. It makes you feel like you’ve failed or that it’s going poorly. But you haven’t, and it isn’t. You just feel anxious because you’re human and it happens to all of us. But it doesn’t have to, not if you take things into your own hands. Don’t wing it here. You will feel anxious and make mistakes and waste time.

  • Do take time and speak with them about themselves before and after you play. To really groove with someone you have to get a feel for them.

  • Do talk to them about what you’re looking for, what you’re plans are. Ask them what they have planned for this, what they want from it.

  • Be yourself, even if it’s loud, but also if it’s quiet. Just have fun, remember that this is fun!

  • Don’t be late. For the love of GOD, don’t be late.

  • Don’t bring everything you have, bring the simple version of your rig, or drumset. Chances are, it might not go well. If you can make it with a few things, you can make it work with everything.

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  • If you have fun and want to work together more, do set up a solid follow up practice before you leave. “We will meet again on Saturday at 4pm! We will work on ABC before we meet, we will practice this together then!” If you’re working, or going to school and practicing and/or jamming with someone else, it will save you so much to do this simple thing.

  • Go easy on yourself and them. It takes time to really get on the same wavelength, it’s ok if it isn’t immediate. Hollywood makes us think that our favorite bands have been killing it and found their sound on day one. This is a vicious and horrible lie! Haha! All of these bands suffered through thousands of hours trying to find their sound and mesh together.

This stuff is common sense, but it took me a fair amount of time to make the first practice/try out go smoothly. With a little bit of planning and patience with others (and especially yourself), you will eliminate most of the anxiety you feel with change and performing with a new musician.

Picking bandmates can be tricky as well! Take a look at this post I made a little while ago. Coming Together – Be careful who you pick to be in the band

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