Keeping the Blues Alive? Are We Killing the Very Thing We Love?

Uncategorized Dec 13, 2016

Many organizations believe that blues music is in need of life support. “Keeping the Blues Alive” is a common theme in the mission statement of several blues organizations such as the Cincy Blues Society. The Blues Music Foundation presents an award for “Keeping the Blues Alive” annually. Other organizations, such as the Mississippi Valley Blues Society, seek to “preserve” the music. Several groups attempt to do both! I wonder if the blues knows that it’s in such rough shape!

The Blues Is a Living Tradition

Musical expression, especially older roots music styles, survive only because they are living traditions. They thrive because people continue to play and listen to them. Artists and audience listen to older styles because they remain relevant musically and lyrically. Artists study the recognized masters of the past as they develop their own style and sound. Music has always been shared and open to interpretation and “fair...

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The 3 Relationships All Advancing Guitarist Need to Cultivate

Uncategorized Nov 13, 2016

Are You an Advancing Guitarist?

A true musician (or artist of any type), must be a lifelong student. Whatever level of mastery we think we’ve achieved, there’s always more to learn (not to mention lessons worth revisiting). Learning moments come from mentors, bandmates, fellow travelers, critics, rivals, fans, and hecklers. Are we open to them? Can we put your ego aside to listen, learn and improve? We better! As Ryan Holiday points out in Ego Is the Enemy, “If we’re not still learning, we’re already dying.”

The more accomplished we become at our craft, the more likely we are to allow ourselves to feel accomplished. We avoid challenges to or reconsideration of what we know or think we know. We are quite happy to sit in our comfort zone where we never feel inept or stupid and where we are never called out or upon.

I frequently catch myself enjoying this false sense of achievement. Happily ensconced in the warmth of familiarity, complacency, and...

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10,000 Hours to Mastery, but 20 Hours Gets You Started

Uncategorized Oct 13, 2016

“The 10,000 Hour Rule” was popularized by Malcolm Gladwell in his book, Outliers. I believe in it. It takes a lot of practice to achieve a level of mastery in any complex task that requires higher cognitive thinking.

Learning a language, becoming a chess master, coding, becoming a professional athlete, playing jazz guitar….

You get the picture.

Practicing with intention 4 hours a day 5 days a week (or 3hours a day every day), and it takes 10 years to achieve a level of mastery of your craft. A daunting amount of time and effort for most of us! But don’t be dissuaded!

We can achieve a remarkable level of competence in any of these endeavors after just 20 hours of practice. In other words, the journey begins with our first steps. Leaping and leaning into the process is the way we begin any meaningful journey.

Passion may be what compels us to begin a new adventure, but purpose is the only thing that will drive us to...

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“I Didn’t Have Time to Practice” - AKA “I’ve Been Really Busy….”

Uncategorized Sep 13, 2016

Really? You poor thing! Thank goodness you had time to breathe, eat, sleep and everything else essential to remain alive!

But how sad. You didn’t have any time to improve or edify yourself or elevate and enrich your life (and the lives of those who care about you and that you care about).

And how inconvenient that you had no time whatsoever to:

  • shop for stuff you don’t really need.
  • check or answer email.
  • watch television, Netflix or YouTube videos.
  • check in on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram.
  • listen to commercial radio.
  • whine, complain or procrastinate.

Please, do share the essential and imperative duties and obligations that required your every waking moment….

Or perhaps you should, instead, share the many other ways you ignored and distracted yourself from doing work that mattered.

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Guitarists who fail to plan, plan to fail! Get the free 5-step Plan for How to Practice Guitar. A short guide to creating a...

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We Are All Musicians!

Uncategorized Aug 13, 2016

Are You a Musician?

The answer to this question is usually based on whether the person being asked plays a musical instrument or not. If they do, then the answer is of course “Yes.” However, if they do not, the answer is most frequently “No.” This is both sad and incorrect. We are all musicians and I can prove it. Just answer the two simple questions below.

What Is Music & What It’s For

Music is a language. Like all languages, it’s simply organized sound. What’s it for? Well like any language, music is for communicating and connecting with ourselves and others.

Question #1

Have you ever sung a tune? Hummed or whistled one? Be honest. I mean have you ever done this? If you think not, ask your mom or dad if you did so as a child. I bet’cha did.

Question #2

Have you ever danced to music? Clapped your hands or tapped your feet to it? Felt it reverberate inside you? Again, I mean have you ever done...

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