Jazz Piano Accompaniment – Secrets to Sounding Like a Pro (feat. Chad LB)

In this lesson, saxophonist Chad Lefkowitz-Brown and I explore different jazz piano accompaniment styles and techniques, showing you different ways of sounding professional when you accompany a singer or horn player.

For free Bebop Licks and Block Chord exercise PDFs, subscribe to my email list here: http://jazzpianoconcepts.com/subscribe

Quick Marketing Suggestion: Watch This TED Talk With Amanda Palmer

Amanda Palmer has essentially become a music marketing icon in today’s digital age. This is mainly because of her innate ability to connect with fans in exceptionally interesting and creative ways. She gives her fans trust and in turn receives loyalty. Check out this video to learn from a master!

How to Heal, Get Rid of Your Arm Pain and Tendinitis

Overuse injuries are particularly common in high-performing athletes and musicians. This article focuses on reducing and eliminating forearm pain, inflammation and tendinitis. A while back, I promised you a guide for how you can deal with these problems, so here it is! I tried to keep it concise and informative. Remember, this is based on my personal experience and I am by no means a doctor, so just as a disclaimer, you are applying these methods at your own risk. That being said, I have dealt with tendinitis for many years and have experimented with a multitude of different methods and techniques for overcoming over it. Much of my experience is not covered in this short guide. For further detail or personal questions, feel free to email me at JazzPianoConcepts@gmail.com.

Click here for your free copy of the guide: Guide to Overcoming Overuse Syndrome

Have you had  any experience with overuse injuries? If so, please help our community by leaving your story in a comment below the post, or by clicking the small comment bubble at the top right of the post (if you are reading this on the home page).

Your music is who you are.

When I say that, I don’t mean that your life depends on your music, or that music is all that matters in your life. What I mean is that you can always tell who a person is through his or her music. When you hear an improviser or composer who demonstrates a great deal of self indulgence, overpowering those around him with busy improvisation or writing difficult and pretentious music that serves to impress rather than to express, that says something important about the person creating the music.

If a person is able to write beautiful, tender music, or be sensitive to the musicians he is playing with, this demonstrates a certain legitimate part of the person’s personality. Of course, you might think there are exceptions. For example, what if a person who acts arrogant and selfish on the outside writes gorgeous, tender music? Either way, I personally believe that the music is expressing a part of that person that is not always seen.

Some people are completely incapable of writing beautiful music. Some people are completely incapable of writing exciting music. Sometimes, if you go to a jazz club in New York City and listen carefully to a musician, you can tell all you need to know about his or her personality. If the player is self-indulgent, playing lots of notes while not listening to the other musicians, chances are that this will show through in his personality. That person won’t really listen to you either if you talk to him. And that’s why I think your music is who you are. It is a direct channel of your personality.

What do you think? Is music “who you are,” or are there exceptions to the rule? Leave your thoughts in a comment below or by clicking the little comment bubble at the top right of the post.

Seth Godin’s Message to Musicians at the Manhattan School of Music

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to see marketing guru, author and lecturer Seth Godin speak to a room full of dedicated musicians at the Manhattan School of Music.  I think it’s safe to say that many of the people in the room were unpleasantly surprised by what he said. However, his overall message turned out to be a very positive one. Here is a quick review of some of the key points of his lecture:

1) Most of the people in the audience are being scammed. Mr. Godin began to describe what he called “the music factory.” Music schools, and really the educational system in general, are essentially built to encourage more people to become “factory workers.” What does this mean?  The creation of recorded music led to a massive change in the way the music industry functions. It used to be that your only opportunity to hear a piece of music was to see it performed live. Many people would never see the same piece performed twice in their lifetimes. Now, there are hundreds of recordings of the same piece easily accessible on the Internet and often for free. There is almost no demand left for performances of music that is 50 years old and older. Yet at music school, teachers enforce the method of spending hours and hours learning old music. As Mr. Godin said, there will almost always be 100 people who can play an old piece better than anyone in the room. And besides, learning to play old music off of the page isn’t truly a creative process. It’s a factory process. It is highly unlikely to get you anywhere in today’s market.

2) Our “lizard brain” makes us feel apprehensive and often stops us from being brave and doing something new and unexpected. Mr. Godin described our lizard brain, a concept that stems from the amygdala, the part of our brain that makes us feel nervous. However, in today’s world, we are unlikely to face the same threats that made the amygdala so useful, for example, escaping from predators and staying away from cliffs. Mr. Godin suggests that we do the opposite of what our lizard brain is telling us. He tells us to be bold, get naked and expose ourselves, fail over and over in an attempt to do something new and truly creative. This is how to get noticed in today’s world.

3) if musicians can learn to overcome the factory and do something new instead, there is an incredibly positive and hopeful future in store for them.  Today’s market is a niche market. It’s no longer about appealing to the masses, but rather about finding a smaller group of people who truly love what you do. Mr. Godin describes the concept of having 10,000 true fans. If you have just 10,000 people who are absolutely devoted to your art, they can sustain you for the rest of your life. Just imagine, if you had just 10,000 people who would buy your album for $10, well, you do the math. 10,000 may seem like a small number at first, but it isn’t so bad after all.  While he was in college, Mr. Godin realized that if he simply sacrificed getting A’s in all his classes for B’s instead, he could spend 10 additional hours a week working on projects that he was truly passionate about. Do what you are passionate about, not what the factory tells you to do. Instead of spending 8 hours each day learning old music and hanging onto a thread of a chance that you might be that one person who gets to perform Beethoven at Carnegie Hall, do something new and exciting. Be you. Find the people throughout the world who love what you are doing.

As Seth Godin ended his lecture, “I hope you all go out and create a ruckus.”