Playing Cover Music Vs. Playing Original Music Part 2

Which type of band takes more individual playing skill to be successful. A cover band or an original band?

George Thorogood Plays Original Music And Cover Music
George Thorogood Plays Original Music And Cover Music

The other day I wrote a post titled Playing Cover Music Vs. Playing Original Music Part 1 which covered the amount of creativity involved in playing cover music versus original music in a live band. Today I’m writing part two of that post to give you my view on another angle of the Cover Music Vs. Original Music debate. I’ve been seeing a lot of action in the online forums on this topic and I wanted to give you my view based on the fact the I play in both a cover band and an original band.

In my previous post I wrote about the amount of creativity involved in playing cover music vs. original music. I gave a slight edge to original music since it does take a bit more creativity to create a song from nothing. If you remember, I believe that playing cover music requires just about as much creativity as playing original music. Today I’m going to write about the skill level involved in playing Cover Music vs. Original Music.   Continue reading “Playing Cover Music Vs. Playing Original Music Part 2”

Playing Cover Music Vs. Playing Original Music Part 1

Is there more creativity involved in playing original music vs. playing cover music? Matt discusses his experience playing both types.

Matt Levitates While Tapping The Creative Juices
Matt Levitates While Tapping The Creative Juices

   I have been seeing a lot of action in the online forums on the topic of playing cover music (other people’s songs) versus playing your own original music. I feel I have a unique perspective on this because I actually play in two live bands. I play in both a cover band and an original band. I’ve played in both types of bands continuously over the course of my career as a live musician. Today I’m starting a series of articles that discuss the differences between playing cover music versus original music.

   Today I’m going to address one of the misconceptions that I’m seeing in the online forums. The misconception that there is no creativity involved in playing cover music. To me, that’s just crazy talk! There is a ton of room for creativity when you play cover music in a live band. There are hundreds of ways to approach playing a cover song. From keeping only the lyrics and melody while re-writing every instrument part to playing the cover song note for note just like the recording. There is a massive amount of room for creativity with any approach to a cover song including a note-for-note rendition of the original.      Continue reading “Playing Cover Music Vs. Playing Original Music Part 1”

Improve Your Skills By Playing With Other People

Matt Rushton and Tom Warnick

   I remember when I was starting to learn guitar, I wanted to be in a band so bad but I didn’t think I would ever be good enough to do it. I would practice in my room for hours and I finally got to a point where I was pretty good. The next logical step was to start playing with other people. I was nervous, but when the chance presented itself, I seized the opportunity. When I got together with other people to play music, my skills as a live musician increased more than I ever could have imagined. There’s just nothing like the interaction that you get playing with other musicians.

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The Crowd At Your Gigs

Crowd View Of In Stereo Band

   The other day I came across a really funny cartoon which depicts the type of crowds that come out to see a rock show. You can check it out here: The Crowd At A Rock Show. It’s really funny because it’s so accurate in it’s depiction of the makeup of a typical rock show audience. Being a live musician up there onstage, I’ve made a lot of observations about the crowd at our gigs.    Continue reading “The Crowd At Your Gigs”

The Delicate Art Of Playing Keyboards

Richard Wright or Elton John?

   I love playing keyboard instruments. The first instrument I learned to play was the trumpet but the first instrument I learned to love was the piano. The piano offers so much in the way of musical satisfaction when compared to other instruments. On what other instrument can you so richly play all the bass, harmony, melody and rhythm? Not to mention the technical complexity you can achieve on the piano. It’s a very satisfying instrument to play. Like most piano students I learned to play it as a solo instrument.

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Playing The Song Instead Of The Instrument

AC/DC Play As A Band

   As a musician have you ever heard the saying “Playing The Song Instead Of The Instrument”? I was having a discussion with some fellow musicians the other day and we were discussing the problem of musicians overplaying during a song. It’s something that I guarantee you’ll have to deal with at some point if you’re playing in a band.

   Let’s define what overplaying is: Overplaying is when you play too much to suit the song. Let’s use the drums as an example. A blatant example of overplaying would be changing the beat deliberately to 5/4 without the rest of the band, just for a measure or two to show you can do it. Blatant overplaying would also be putting a drum break in every bit of extra space in a song. Continue reading “Playing The Song Instead Of The Instrument”

Why I Keep Playing Music

In Stereo - 2002 Winter Olympics Medals Plaza

   Tonight my band “In Stereo” is playing at Club 90 in Salt Lake City. I’m really looking forward to playing while at the same time dreading all the work that comes with playing a show. I often ask myself  why I keep playing music. There are so many things that are a pain in the butt about playing yet at the same time there is such a high that comes with pleasing a live audience.

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Preserving Your Musical Legacy

Archive Those Tapes With Mass Storage

   As a musician I’ve wondered what my legacy will be. Will anyone remember or care that I worked so hard at music for so many years after I’ve gone? I’m hoping that at least my kids will remember and care about my musical legacy after I’m gone. So what is something concrete that you can leave behind? I believe that the recordings that you should be making over the course of your career will be the biggest evidence that you really gave music your best shot. A good body of recorded work will document your life as a musician in a way that nothing else will. It will show your progression from beginner to being the best you could possibly be. A good body of recorded work will bring you a lot of enjoyment as you get older and want to take a trip down memory lane to see where you’ve come from as well. I know listening to my old recordings makes me feel really good about where I am now.

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To Be A Great Musician, Be A Fan Of Music

Ringo Listening To Some New Music

   I have people ask me all the time who my biggest influences are in music. I always just keep it simple and say “The Beatles, The Who and Pink Floyd”. While that’s true to a large degree they’re obviously not my only influence. When I first started to get really excited about music those three bands really turned me on to a lot of great things. But then naturally I wanted to hear more new and exciting music. Which brings me to my topic today. I can honestly say that I’m a huge fan of all music and that every piece of music I hear influences me in some way or another.

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Follow-up To Yesterdays “Importance Of Learning Piano” Post

   Yesterday I posted about how much learning to play the piano has helped me throughout my career as a musician. My post is titled “The Most Important Instrument To Learn – The Piano“. Dr. Christopher Foley who teaches at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Canada and is also the author of The Collaborative Piano Blog has written a fine article referencing my post. His article is titled “Piano as a Second Language” and you can read it by clicking on the title.

   Chris makes some excellent points in his article that I’m sure you will want to check out.