Reputation is not a one shot deal; it is how you #perform over time. #MusicEducation #MusicEd #Livemusic #musicians
Had some great advice between sets last night. For those of us you have performance anxiety on the band stand (and there are a lot of us), it is good to keep in mind that it is not any single number or night that defines us as musicians, but our reputation over time. I have spoken before about how the audience can be forgiving. Likewise, your fellow musicians can be understanding, if you have a good track record. If you miss a note or under perform, here and there, is not as big a deal as how you perform generally, and people will remember your overall competence. So take that breath and let your true ability shine through.
Take a breath: Audiences are there to be entertained and can be very forgiving #music #performance #livemusic #audience
Even if you make some mistakes in a performance or even if you happen to fall apart at a point, keep things in perspective. The audience is generally on your side. They want to be entertained and are not there to chastise you when things go astray. Brush it off and keep delivering that high energy show and good quality music. The audience will remember the overall effect.
An "Ella Meets Mel" concert tonight at the Harbour Banquet Centre. Starts at 7:30 PM. I haven't done this series before, so I am pretty excited. You can get more information at www.octokats.com
Live at Old Town Hall @TownofNewmarket New tracks from @AHBBjazz w @NewmarketCB #livemusic #jazz #bigband #band
When I think about musicians that I recommend for gigs, for clinics, or for lessons, they are always highly skilled (of course) but they are also just some of the nicest people I know. I think being amicable, affable or just friendly is something that all musicians need to work on and finding character role models on the bandstand is useful. If you are from the southern Ontario region and are in the music biz, you will know Rob Somerville and Mike Malone; two fabulous musicians. In addition, they are two of the most humble and kind-hearted people I know, which makes them amazing colleagues and teachers. These two are unflappable in any social or musical situation and are gracious at all times. I strive to be more like these two. So besides having a musical model to emulate, find a social model in the music community, because it can be a bit rough-and-tumble at times and some people just maintain a great disposition, raising their fellow musicians to a higher level. On a side note, I will hire a lesser player who is of a higher moral character. A healthy band environment is key and it only takes one or two players to start souring that mix. I will end with this: if you know of someone that you feel is such a role model, let him/her know. It will be appreciated.
So I have recently learned that a new big band has emerged in the area. Cool. It will be playing some hip charts like Rob McConnell and Gordon Goodwin. Cool. It will be rehearsing at the same location as my big band . . . I guess that's cool. Half the band is comprised of the same players as my band . . . cool? I think so. After being with a band for several years, sometimes you need such a momentous change to shake things up. Although, if time is tight, where will the players' allegiance lie and what if there is a conflict with gigs? Speaking of gigs, there are not exactly a bountiful number of them in the area. On the positive side, this change makes me reassess my pedagogy and the path the band is taking. Are we playing too much contemporary music? Am I challenging the band enough? Is there enough authentic repertoire in the mix? Do I have a solid big band philosophy or am I leaning on the belief system that was here when I arrived? These are questions that I will be stewing over for the next few weeks/months, as I watch/listen to this new group. Heck, I even want to part of it. Hip big band charts that I do not have to drive down to Toronto to play? I am in. As you can see, I have conflicting thoughts but in the end, I think it will be a gut-check for me as a leader and ultimately, it will take my band down the right path, and maybe a new path.
I find that I can become envious of the player next to me; he/she might be stronger in sight-reading, improvisation, intonation, range, etc. However, in doing this, I neglect the bigger picture. First of all why am I there? The answer should be because I enjoy playing music. If I get so tied up in worrying about making mistakes or keeping up with the Joneses, maybe it is time to find another profession or hobby. If you too find yourself doubting your place "at the table," remember that everyone has something to offer the ensemble. The least experienced player can always add musicianship to the ensemble by listening intently and blending his/her sound with the group's. Be humble, but know that everyone is unique. That killer improviser might not honour the dynamics like you do or might not follow the leader/conductor as diligently. You are there for a reason, as a valuable member of the group. Have faith in that and enjoy!
After Hours Big Band performing this Sunday @GreyGoatPub @TownofNewmarket 12:30-2:30 PM Check out the set-list! #bigband
While I can not lead the band because of my daughter's baptism, the group is in the capable hands of Don Finlay. I look forward to a full report when I get back. I am sure the patio will be packed and the reception will be warm. Check out the set-list here.
Of sure, you need to have killer chops, know the standards, be on time and wear black socks with black shoes, but did you take the time to thank the band leader for hiring you in the first place. I just did a gig where one musician was not only a good player but a hell of nice guy and it reminded me that, yeah, nice guys can come first. I would want to work with this man again and I am sure, so would the band. Not only that, but he sent an email afterwards thanking everyone. Just smart . . . well, smart and polite. I hope to work with him again soon and I will likely be the guy giving him the work.
Dr. Michael Kearns
Musician, educator, husband, father, web designer ... my life is like a mosaic with each piece vying for my attention.