I always used to wonder why there weren’t more musicians and artists that blogged, and now I’m beginning to see why. They’re so darn busy all the time.
I was thinking back over the last 10 years (this time of year makes me nostalgic) and feeling thankful for some of the things I’ve found along the way. Here’s a sketch of what’s interested me musically in each year:
Commercial airplanes are mostly flown by computers. There’s just a tiny fraction of time during the flight that a pilot actually has to fly the plane. Pilots spend years learning to fly, and spend the majority of their air time sitting at high altitudes doing essentially not much.
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Last night was a rough show for me. I ate some bad BBQ right before going onstage, and felt awful the whole night.
Mid way through the set I was on empty. I wasn’t feeling the music at all, and drifted into autopilot.
As as we walked offstage, the show’s MD told me I’d played amazing. At first I thought he was just trying to make me feel better. Listening back to audio recordings of the show I realized he was right. I had played pretty well.
Musicians are paid to show up and pour everything we can into a performance. That’s impossible to do every single time, because we’re human.
Pro musicians have developed the ability to let an autopilot step in when we’re not capable of making a great performance. We need the help of our internal automatic defaults to create the best performance we can when we’re running on empty.
Our autopilot mode is only as good as we’ve built it. It comes from hundreds of hours of caring about the music we play, and establishing routines that we default to instead of strive for.
P.S. Be careful how much you rely on autopilot mode. Automatic responses don’t handle changes, emotions, and unexpected problems well. But in a pinch, it’s invaluable for delivering consistent performances night after night.
The hardest part of being a musician is leaving. We’re torn, because we love what we do, and we love our family and friends.
I’ve been in love with the Nord Stage since I played a model one in high school for the first time, and Nord continues to impress me with how it makes its Stage series better with every new release. Here’s why this is my favorite keyboard of all time:
I leave in 3 days for a month of shows with an artist named Francesca Battistelli. All I have from her is a handshake from her manager and the promise that I’ll get paid on the first and 3rd Wednesday of the month. For this promise, I’ve cancelled all of my work for the next month.
We live in a technological golden era. Gear is cheap (compared to the past), and there’s literally hundreds of options for everything from sustain pedals to analog synths.
A few of you have requested I share more stories from the road. Here’s three short ones to keep you entertained, along with a self-righteous moral:
I've been kicking around trying to make music mostly without a computer, and I'm curious if any of my readers have any experience with producing/writing music without a DAW. What do you use?
NOTE: if you use a hardware based option for producing music, I'd love to talk to you! Would you include your email address?
(That was the lamest title I've ever done, but I couldn't resist).
So some of you have noticed I'm back from a long hiatus from blogging this week. I missed you all.
I didn't die, lapse into a coma, or anything like that. I just got busy.