10 Tips For Playing Like Top Session Players

Over the last few months I’ve had the honor to work with some amazing sidemen in Nashville. There’s something incredible about working with musicians that have dedicated their life to their craft, and there’s so much I’ve learned from watching them. Here are 10 things top session players do that sets them apart from the rest of the pack: 

I’m back! 

After taking a month off from blogging every week, I’m finally back. It was wonderful to have the month to think, relax a bit, and recharge a bit before heading into a new year. 

 

So what’s going to happen with the blog? After giving it a bunch of thought, I’m going to keep blogging weekly like I have for the last 5 years. I find a lot of value in blogging, and I feel like a lot of the things I write about are useful to my readers. 

 

I’ll be mirroring a little more closely what I’m working on as a musician, and focusing less on other things. As I become more plugged into the Nashville scene, I’m getting to see first hand some amazing sides of the music industry that few get to see (for instance, playing the Grand Ole Opry and the Ryman in the same week)I’m working more and more as a sideman and producer. 

 

I’ll do my best to share some of the useful things I’ve picked up and share them in a quick and fun way here. 

 

As always, I appreciate you reading the blog. I’m looking forward to an awesome new year together.

 

Eric 

5 Tips to Consider When Making Music for Video Games

5 Tips to Consider When Making Music for Video Games

This week I have a guest blogger share a little bit about how to create compelling music for video games. I've always been intrigued by the way composers have to create cinematic scores while allowing extreme looping flexibility, and David really nails it with this post.  

Without further ado, here's David Freeman's thoughts on creating great music for video game scores:

Poll: What should I talk about in 2017?

It's a new year, and as always I'm thinking about my priorities in 2018. 2017 was a fantastic year for the most part, and as my career as a gun-for-hire keyboardist and producer continues to develop I'm always trying to tweak what I say here on my blog. And I need your help.

Which one of these things should I blog more about this year? I'd really love to get your opinion, and your voice will have a big impact on what I decide to do. Here's the options: 

Note: I'm doing all of my MainStage blogging over at www.patchfoundry.com/blog, which is why MainStage stuff isn't an option. 

5 Tips For Prepping For A Tour

You get the call you’ve been working toward for years: a major artist wants you to go on tour with them. What do you do to get ready? Here are 5 tips for getting ready for the gig:


1. Get a detailed list of all your music and any charts available, then double check it.


I made the mistake of not double checking every track, and the artist I’m out with had live recordings I hadn’t learned (I learned the CD versions). Also, make sure to meticulously check your charts, and include notes on anything musically that’s going on.


2. Get Anytune practice software, and woodshed the songs.


I feel like I should have an endorsement deal with Anytune (I don’t), but they’re just that good. Anytune lets you slow down tempo without affecting pitch, create bookmarks for hard sections, and even has a “cycle” function which will speed up the tempo just slightly each time it repeats a section. It’s worth it’s weight in gold, and will help you efficiently practice your set.


3. Make notes of just trouble spots in all your songs, and just practice those spots.


I used the bookmarking feature in AnyTune, but you could also just make notes on your charts. Spending a lot of time on just the hard sections will help you use your time more efficiently.


4. Design your patches.


I like to use a basic piano/pad/organ for when I’m practicing, and I’ll make notes on patches on the chart itself. After I feel confident on the song, I’ll go back and start building my sounds from my notes.


For instance, I’ll make a note when I’m charting through the songs that my verse has a piano, and it switches to organ on the chorus. I’ll then design my first patch as piano, second as organ, etc. I then put them into a folder in MainStage or on my Nord Stage for each song.


5. Do a mock run through.


Set up all of your gear just as if you’re onstage, then play through all of your songs without any music or just a metronome. Try to simulate any things that might go wrong onstage, and try and correct them in real time. Prepping for the worst will help you be so much more relaxed when you first step onstage for sound check.


Did I miss something? Leave a comment for how you practice below.