Time to L.E.A.R.N.!

TODAY’S YOUTUBE CLIP: Today’s clip will prove that I’m a true child of the 80’s. This is the theme song to the TV show “Perfect Strangers” (can I get a “what, what” for all my TGIF fans from back in the day). So why post this? Because it’s music. Also because this type of music sparks a unique feeling of positivity and good vibrations. Listen to it and see if you feel just a little bit better afterwards.

As a musician, 90% of what you do is listening. Music is too much of a universal language to get stuck on one dialect. Therefore, today’s blog is dedicated specifically for you to LISTEN (to the clip provided), EXPAND (your thinking on music in a way that you may not have considered before), AND ROCK NOW (with more musical knowledge added to your repertoire)!

“Don’t be reeeediculous.” Shared wisdom makes us all stronger.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own the rights to this song. The video included in this blog is only intended to bring musical awareness to the reader.

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The “I Do” Series [Part 5/8]: Respect Your Fellow Musicians

R-E-S-P-E-C-T, according to Bing Dictionary online, consists of three defintions:

1. esteem: a feeling or attitude of admiration and deference toward somebody or something
2. state of being admired: the state of being admired deferentially

…but the definition that I like the most is the third one which says…

3. thoughtfulness: consideration or thoughtfulness

As musicians, we need to always make sure that we have respect for each other. In a wedding ceremony, typically I play alone because that’s usually the request, but every so often other non-vocal musicians will be a part of the wedding ceremony. Sometimes the feeling can be anything from “Great to have you on board” to “You’re my competition so I need to prove that I’m better than you”. Regardless of what your personal feelings are at seeing another musician on a gig as specific as a wedding ceremony (or any gig for that matter), the bottom line is respect. They are there for a purpose and you are there for a purpose. In cases where your purposes have to coincide, be respectful towards one another (aka – “be thoughtful” or “be considerate”). Always remember that what you put out there will come back to you. Christians call it “sewing and reaping”. The world tends to call it karma. Whatever you call it, just make sure you put it out there. Even if it doesn’t come back to you the way you think it should, it will come back to you.

What do you think? Shared wisdom makes us all stronger.

The “I Do” Series [Part 4/8]: The Smile of Confidence

Vocalists. Gotta love ’em. My wedding experiences usually consist of amateur vocalists–amateur in the sense that they sing phenomenally (i.e. – can sing the paint off of your car and then repaint it another even more beautiful color), but not professionally (i.e. – singing is not their 9-to-5 job everyday). As a result, wedding singers of this calibur have differing levels of confidence. I have played enough weddings to tell the difference between those you are used to doing it and those who may have done it a handful of times. Either way, as the pianist/keyboardist you need to set the foundation so that the vocalist you are working with can do what they need to do with a sense of confidence and peace. There’s nothing worse than a shakey vocalist singing with a questionable pianist/keyboardist. In addition, the audience (although not musical experts most of the time) can detect “musical fear” and that’s the last thing you want to give off during a wedding. Therefore, be a strong pianist/keyboardist and remember that a smile can go a long way. Think about it, if someone were to frown at you while you were in the middle of a performance, it might make you question whether you’re doing a good job or not. Vocalists (as well as other instrumentalists) go through the same thing, so encourage one another. Most often times, a bride/groom won’t select a vocalist sight unseen/sound unheard so, if anything, the musical job can be done by all involved, but confidence is probably going to be the biggest roadblock. Therefore, brush your teeth, rinse with some Listerine, and lead the way with a flash of a few of those pearly whites. The smile of confidence can go a long way to a great performance.

What do you think? Shared wisdom makes us all stronger.

Time to L.E.A.R.N.!

TODAY’S YOUTUBE CLIP: For all my vocalists out there, here’s another clip just for you. This is Tuvan Throat Singing (a style of overtone singing that is practiced by the Tuva people of southern Siberia). Not quite sure how to explain this aside from (1) it is vastly different from our Western style of music and (2) it sounds painful to do. If you’re not familiar with the overtone series, you should read up on it. Check it out.

As a musician, 90% of what you do is listening. Music is too much of a universal language to get stuck on one dialect. Therefore, today’s blog is dedicated specifically for you to LISTEN (to the clip provided), EXPAND (your thinking on music in a way that you may not have considered before), AND ROCK NOW (with more musical knowledge added to your repertoire)!

What do you think? Shared wisdom makes us all stronger.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own the rights to this song. The video included in this blog is only intended to bring musical awareness to the reader.

The “I Do” Series [Part 3/8]: The Test of Endurance

This blog is brought to you in the wake of my own wedding anniversary just a few days ago so just a quick note to my wife to simply say 143.

The bride is having second thoughts… the groom is late… bridemaids are having wardrobe malfunctions… the limo is on the way and almost there, but not there yet… the church is full of people who have nothing to do except listen to you before the main event starts… and you’re running out of songs to play. Sometimes weddings can be a test of endurance because any number of things can happen that could delay the start of the wedding ceremony. As a well rounded, well prepared musician, always make sure that you have an army of songs ready to go (songs that aren’t already a part of the actual ceremony). I learned a long time ago that having a plan can go a long way and as a wedding pianist/keyboardist, you should have a backup plan just in case the ceremony is delayed. Typically most songs last about five minutes (taking into account that you don’t play a 40 minute solo per song), so prepare a list of about 12 songs because the math works out pretty good (12 songs at 5 minutes per song equals 1 hours worth of material).

The hope is that you won’t need it because playing for an hour straight is definitely a test of endurance, but in case you need it you’ll be ready.

What do you think? Shared wisdom makes us all stronger.

 

Time to L.E.A.R.N.!

TODAY’S YOUTUBE CLIP: This is Roy Hargrove and the RH Factor featuring D’Angelo performing “I’ll Stay”. First and foremost, if the artists don’t make you feel slicker than grits through a goose, then I don’t know what will. If you don’t happen to know who these smooth jazz/neo soul artists are, check this clip out and see if you can stop your head from nodding clean off your shoulders.

As a musician, 90% of what you do is listening. Music is too much of a universal language to get stuck on one dialect. Therefore, today’s blog is dedicated specifically for you to LISTEN (to the clip provided), EXPAND (your thinking on music in a way that you may not have considered before), AND ROCK NOW (with more musical knowledge added to your repertoire)!

What do you think? Shared wisdom makes us all stronger.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own the rights to this song. The video included in this blog is only intended to bring musical awareness to the reader.

 

The “I Do” Series [Part 2/8]: The Musical Ninja

In the last blog (https://lunsfordenterprises.wordpress.com/2013/06/10/the-i-do-series-part-18-john-327-30/), we visited the scripture found in John 3:27-30. In a wedding event, you have to remember that the event is not about you, it’s all about the bride and the groom. If you’re not one of them, then you’re making things happen “behind-the-scenes” so to speak. Of course, due to the nature of being a musician at a wedding (or being a musician period), you’re going to not only be heard, but seen as well. Therefore, it is your duty to make sure that you become a “musical ninja”. You will obviously be heard (because that’s what you were hired for in the first place), but “musical ninja” in the sense that you are seen, yet you are not seen. Contradictory as that may sound, it is achieveable. The main things to remember are simply this:
 
1) Wear either black and white or all black (no eye catching colors).
2) Make sure that you are setup and in place beforetime.
3) Do the job that you were hired to do and do it well.
 
If you stick to those three basic rules then people will know you were there, but your presence won’t distract from the main event. An homage to John 3:30 which reads “He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.”
 
(Key words: “less and less”)
 
What do you think? Shared wisdom makes us all stronger.