Let’s see what’s arrived in the MSOM Mailbag lately…
I am very interested in pursuing a future in music! I would love to be able to perform music on a professional basis. What advice can you give me?
Eager Beaver in South Portland
Well, you just asked a whopper of a question! Performing music for any audience large or small is a privilege you’ll need to work hard to enjoy. Here are some pointers that will help you on your way:
1. Practice, practice, practice. Then, practice some more. Then practice again. There’s a saying: “good players practice until they get it right; great players practice until they can’t get it wrong”
2. Go see lots of live Music. iTunes and YouTube are swell but pale in comparison to seeing and hearing the real thing! There are so many qualities both tangible and intangible that do not translate into mp3 or video. If you want to be a performer you need to watch, listen and learn from other Musicians!
3. Stay in shape and maintain good health. Playing music is demanding both mentally and physically. As a working musician you will have long days and keep late hours. Unless you can afford a crew of roadies you’re gonna be loading-in, setting-up, and loading-out your own gear. Music performance also requires great stamina! If you’re not fit it can make for a long gig!
4. Be versatile. Having a wide array of styles you can play makes you a better player and more employable. You may not want to take that job playing Gut-Bucket with the Hillbilly-Polka band but when you don’t have a gig, any gig is a good gig!
Thats certainly not everything you will nee to do but these four are a good start!
I’ve been thinking about taking some guitar lessons for beginners but I talked to a friend who plays a little and he said lessons are a waste of time because all the best guitarists never took a lesson! Is he right?
-Wannabe String-Bender in Standish
Many guitarists are self taught! The guitar lends itself to self-instruction because of concepts like movable scales and chord forms. Some of the best players in popular music claim to have never taken a lesson. But the truth is that for 99.999% of the guitar playing population that sort of supernatural six string success isn’t in the cards!
Unlike 25 years ago, there is a plethora of material available via the web on learning the guitar. However, its hard to tell what is worthwhile and what is a waste of time unless you have some experience playing already. Ultimately you are much better served by studying with a qualified instructor (like MSOM Guitar Faculty!) for many reasons. The guitar is especially challenging for beginners. Unlike, for instance, a piano it can take weeks or months just to coax a decent sound from the instrument. Also, many, many, many guitarists who are self-taught are deficient or at best at a remedial level when it comes to reading music (Q:How do you get a guitar player to turn down? A: Put some music in front of him!)
The ability to read lines, chord charts, and rhythms will be an asset in learning the instrument as well as give you a vocabulary to speak with other instrumentalists ( I am told this can be quite helpful in a band setting.) Moreover, when studying with a teacher you receive ongoing feedback as well as constructive criticism about what you are doing well and where to focus your efforts effectively. Lastly, it’s helpful to have a person with expertise to answer your questions directly rather than hoping you get lucky after a thirty minute wild-goose chase on Guitar-Freebees dot com!
Find a good teacher …you’ll be glad you did!
Another great night of Music featuring MSOM Students! Saturday, September 29th. Come have dinner at The Loft and see some great Bands!
Show starts at 8pm!
Don’t forget to sign up for Fall Ensembles!