Shopping For Musical Gifts For Kids

You can find high quality musical instrument toys for your children in this excellent music toys for kids list.

   If you’re a musician who just happens to have some kids running around at home I’m sure you’re always looking for music toys to stimulate their musical imagination. It can be tough to find good musical toys for the kids to play with. I know I’ve spent hours searching on various websites looking for the perfect musical gifts for my children only to find a limited selection of low quality musical toys.   Continue reading “Shopping For Musical Gifts For Kids”

The Best Gift For Musicians – Gift Certificates

This Christmas Holiday give your muisician a gift they’re sure to love, musician’s gift certificates!

Gift Certificate For Musicians
Musician Gift Certificate

Every year at Christmas my friends that know I play in a live band shower me with music related gifts. I really appreciate the thought but I have to admit that a lot of those presents get put into the equipment bin going unused simply because they’re not exactly what I would have chosen for myself. How many of you have received a guitar strap that just wasn’t cool enough to wear onstage? Or how many of you have had a spouse buy you a brand new guitar without knowing what to look for in a quality guitar? That’s why I’m telling you that Musician’s Gift Certificates are the best gifts you can give to your musician friends.   Continue reading “The Best Gift For Musicians – Gift Certificates”

Christmas Presents and Gifts For Musicians

You can find the perfect Christmas gift and present for the musician in your life with these simple tips.

   It’s Christmas shopping season again and if you’re like me, you have a lot of live musicians to buy presents for. I like to purchase as many things online as possible because I don’t like going out shopping. The online music retailers are really starting to push sales early this year with deep discounts and free shipping. Musician’s Friend has some great ideas in their Musician’s Gift Center. Just click the banner below and you’ll find some great gift ideas for presents to all your musician friends.   Continue reading “Christmas Presents and Gifts For Musicians”

Tips For Answering “Musician Wanted For Live Band” Ads

When answering Musician Wanted ads, follow these simple tips to protect yourself and your equipment.

Frank With Drums
Frank Brought His Own Drums And Cords To The Audition

   I’ve played in a lot of live bands over the years and I’ve answered my share of “Musician Wanted” ads as well. Finding auditions are always an interesting process and I’ve always learned something going through the band audition process. Today I’m going to give you a few tips for when you answer a Musician Wanted Ad before you set up an audition.

   Let me start off with a little story. One time when I was about 18, my bass playing friend and I were at the local music store looking at musician wanted ads. We picked one out that said something to the effect of “Wanted, musicians to form rock band. Need guitar, keyboard and bass player.” So naturally we gave them a call. The guy on the phone said “bring all your equipment and come to our practice studio at this address.” We asked what constituted “all our equipment” and the guy said “microphones, amplifiers, mixer, speakers…whatever you have”. Luckily, we didn’t have much but we loaded up our beat-to-crap microphones along with our beginner guitars and amplifiers. We then set out to find the address of the practice studio.    Continue reading “Tips For Answering “Musician Wanted For Live Band” Ads”

How To Become An Expert Musician

It’s easy to become an expert musician. You just have to complete the 10,000 hours of deliberate practice.

Kent, Matt and Erik Rolling Up Gig Hours
Kent, Matt and Erik Rolling Up Gig Hours

   I recently had a discussion with a good friend about how the 10,000 hour rule applies to musicians that play in a live band. If you haven’t heard of the 10,000 hour rule it simply states that if you spend 10,000 hours of deliberate practice on something you will become an expert. Deliberate practice being defined as a focused study and application of a skill or subject. If you’ve been working at your job for 10 years then you’re most likely an expert as 10 years job experience roughly translates into 10,000 hours of deliberate practice at your job.

   I’m sure that if you’ve been doing the same job for 10 years that your co-workers probably consider you an expert at whatever your job function is. The same thing can be said for musicians. I’ve been playing in live bands for 28 years now and I have become an expert at playing in live bands through experience. I’ve put my 10,000 hours in by practicing my instrument, preparing for live performances, setting up, tearing down and hauling equipment. I’ve put the hours in working with agents, club managers and other musicians. I’ve put the hours in mixing sound, programming sound patches and running amplification.   Continue reading “How To Become An Expert Musician”

Playing Any Gig Is Better Than Playing No Gig At All

If you’re a musician, then playing any live band gig at all will help you become a better musician.

Matt Rushton Playing A Live Gig
Matt Rushton Playing A Live Gig

I’m a guitarist who has been playing for almost 30 years now and I’ve played in live bands almost that entire time. The reason I play is simple, I love to play in front of live audiences. Some things I love about it are the feedback I get from an excited crowd as well as the joy that comes with really nailing the music when the band is playing well.

I’ve played a lot of different styles of music over the years. I’ve played primarily rock-n-roll but I’ve also played country, jazz, pop, electronic and other styles that don’t really fit into any category at all. I’ve played in original bands playing my own music as well as backing up other artists who write their songs. I’ve played in cover bands with all kinds of lineups from two-piece bands all the way up to full size big bands. I’ve also spent time playing in pit orchestras for live stage plays.                              Continue reading “Playing Any Gig Is Better Than Playing No Gig At All”

Les Paul – In Memoriam June 9, 1915 – August 13, 2009

Tribute to the life and contributions of the late and legendary Les Paul.

Les Paul - Young or Old, the man could play!
Les Paul - Young or Old, the man could play!

   If you had to pick a guitarist that has had the greatest influence on modern music technology then the top candidate would have to be Les Paul. I don’t think any single guitarist has influenced the way we make and record music more than Les Paul has. His advances in the electric guitar and its amplification alone have completely changed the way guitarists play and perform in their live bands as well as in the studio.

   Les Paul was born Lester William Polsfuss in Waukesha, Wisconsin on June 9, 1915. He later adopted the stage name Les Paul which would go on to be one of the most legendary names in all of electric guitar history. Les Paul’s contributions to music have been many and they’ve also been extremely groundbreaking and important. There have been a lot of great guitar players but let’s face it, great guitar players are a dime-a-dozen. Les wasn’t just a guitarist, he was an inventor and an innovator.    Continue reading “Les Paul – In Memoriam June 9, 1915 – August 13, 2009”

Thanks To My Father For Supporting My Musical Journey

My tribute to my Father, Allen L. Rushton, for supporting me so much in my musical career.

My Dad, Allen L. Rushton, and my 3 older brothers.
My Dad, Allen L. Rushton, and my 3 older brothers.

   Yesterday was Father’s Day and I got a lot of love from my kids for being such a “great Dad” (their words). I’m glad they feel that way but I had to tell them that the greatest Dad was my Father, their Grandfather. My Dad, Allen Rushton,  is one of the biggest reasons why I play music and perform in a live band today.

   In his day, my Dad played lead tenor saxophone in various bands when he was in his late teens and early twenties. He was a member of the Nevada Musicians Union and would get called by the union and told where and when he would be playing on the weekend. He made some money doing this and wanted to be a professional musician. He then entered World War II and when the war ended, he went to college and got a degree in Education. He ended up being a Teacher, then a Principal and finally the Assistant Superintendent of the White Pine County School District.      Continue reading “Thanks To My Father For Supporting My Musical Journey”

What To Do When The Band Breaks Up

When your band breaks up, it’s an opportunity to expand your talent and skills to become an even better musician.

Sammy Hagar Became A More Complete Musician After He Left Montrose
Sammy Hagar Became A More Complete Musician After He Left Montrose

I’ve been playing in live bands for 27 years now and I’ve been through my share of band breakups. By band breakup, I mean either the the group will completely disband or I have quit a band that I felt wasn’t going anywhere. It’s always a bummer when your time in a band comes to an end but it’s also an opportunity to re-examine why you are playing music and what you hope to do with your skills as a musician.

I remember when my first band broke up. I had been playing with Seniors in High School and I was just a Freshman. They all graduated High School and that was pretty much the end of the band. I knew I wanted to keep playing but my skills were extremely limited at the time and I had no clue how to even go about getting into another band. I did know a couple of things though, I knew I had a deep love of music and that I wanted to become a better guitarist. So I immersed myself in the study of music theory and the guitar.   Continue reading “What To Do When The Band Breaks Up”

Developing A New Member Of Your Live Band

Developing new members for your live band can be challenging but very rewarding if done right.

Brian Johnson Developed Into A Perfect New Singer For AC/DC
Brian Johnson Developed Into A Perfect New Singer For AC/DC

   When you start a new live band it can be difficult to find an entire group of top level players. Sometimes you won’t be able to find the perfect player for your band. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t give up on the idea of getting your band off the ground. You can really help out an aspiring player as well as your band if you take the time to do some work and develop a player that shows good potential.

   The other day I wrote about holding auditions for new band members. One of the challenges you will face when adding a new member is developing their ability to blend with the rest of the band. Remember that everyone grows the more they play in a live band. If you find someone that is showing some good potential that you really like and seem to get along with, give them a chance. Even if they’re not the greatest player in the world you may find someone that will grow and become the best member of the band.    Continue reading “Developing A New Member Of Your Live Band”

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