Holding Auditions For New Band Members

Whenever you need to replace a band member, you will probably have to hold auditions.

Paul Rodgers Passed The Audition To Replace Freddie Mercury In Queen
Paul Rodgers Passed The Audition To Replace Freddie Mercury In Queen

   Every live band will go through personnel changes throughout the life span of the band. Members of the band will quit for all sorts of reasons from health issues to the ever popular “artistic differences” which is really just code for personality conflicts. Whatever the reason, if your live band is going to continue you will have to find a new member to replace the one who is leaving.

   Sometimes you’ll be lucky and know a musician that can step right in and replace the person who is leaving. Most of the time you’re going to have to do some asking around  and find a few musicians who would be interested in joining your band. Once you have a few names, it’s time to have an audition session and give the candidates a chance to show you what they can do.   Continue reading “Holding Auditions For New Band Members”

John Bonham – Moby Dick Drum Solo 1973 Live Video

Live video of Led Zepplin playing Moby Dick which features an incredible live drum solo by John Bonham.

   One of the main reasons Led Zeppelin was such a huge live band was because of the incredible drumming of John Bonham. His drumming style was huge and bombastic which really added to the entire feel of the Led Zeppelin experience. He also had a great feel for playing the proper drum fill in the perfect place in any song.   Continue reading “John Bonham – Moby Dick Drum Solo 1973 Live Video”

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”

How To Make It As A Professional Musician

Making it as a professional musician is as easy as getting out of your comfort zone and start talking to people that can help you.

Madonna - Top Of The Promotional Heap
Madonna - Top Of The Promotional Heap

   Ask any musician that you know if they would like to make a living playing music full time in a live band or even as a studio musician and I’m pretty sure their answer will always be an emphatic “yes”. Every guitarist I know dreams of making their living playing guitar. The thing is, great musicians are a dime a dozen. You can find excellent musicians living on every block. So how come so few of them are doing any professional playing?

   The answer is incredibly simple, it’s because they have failed at self promotion. So how do you self promote? Again, the answer is a simple one. All you have to do is get out of your practice room and go talk to people! Musicians are notorious for staying in their own little world and dreaming about making a living playing music. All it takes to get out there and make it playing music is to get speaking to anyone and everyone that can possibly help you in your quest.

   So where can you find people that will help you with your quest to play professionally? The first place is your local music store. Get down there and start talking to the salespeople. Find out who the top players in your area are. Try to find out where you can meet the best players and highest level musicians in your area. Maybe they come into the local music store regularly. If so, see if you can find a time to talk to them while they’re at the store.    Continue reading “How To Make It As A Professional Musician”

Practicing One Hour A Day Will Make You An Elite Musician

Practicing your instrument for one hour a day, seven days a week will make you a truly elite musician.

Joe Satriani Is An Elite Musician
Joe Satriani Is An Elite Musician

   I’ve been playing in a live band since I was 14 years old. I’ve met and played with some incredible, elite musicians over the years. I’ve always had the goal of being the absolute best musician I could possibly be. So I’ve asked a lot of musician’s over the years how they got to be so good. The answer is always the same: Practice. 

   I’ve written several posts about the topic of practicing on Live Musician Central because I’m a huge believer in the power of practice to make you a better musician. I know for a fact that people with very little natural talent are some of the best players around. The reason they’re so good is because of their work ethic when it comes to practicing their instrument. Having a talent for music and talent for playing your instrument is a blessing and will help you to become a good player. But to be a truly great player, you need to work and that means practicing.     Continue reading “Practicing One Hour A Day Will Make You An Elite Musician”

Rick Wakeman Keyboard Solo

Keyboardist Rick Wakeman of Yes fame takes an electrifying keyboard solo.

   One of my favorite live musicians is Rick Wakeman who is best known for his keyboard work with progressive rock group ‘Yes’. Rick also has a huge body of recorded work and has played studio sessions with many famous artists. It’s his skill as a live keyboard player that we’re going to enjoy today though. This is a video of Rick playing a keyboard solo during the Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe tour of 1989 (that must explain the mullet!). I think this video showcases Rick’s skill as a live player quite well and it’s fun to see a player of his skill get a few minutes to just break loose and play.    Continue reading “Rick Wakeman Keyboard Solo”

I’m Thankful For Music

   Thanksgiving week is upon us and I was just thinking about how thankful I am to be a musician and for all the incredible music that we have available to us. It’s really a great time to be a Live Musician with all the fantastic technology available to use in the creation of new music. The digital age has given us the ability to build affordable and extremely powerful digital audio workstations. Computer and audio interface hardware is very affordable and there are some fantastic software packages that give us unprecedented control over our music. It really is a great time to be a musician so here are some things I’m thankful for to celebrate this Thanksgiving.

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Jimi Hendrix Performs Voodoo Chile

This is a classic live performance of Jimi Hendrix performing Voodoo Chile. There’s also a poll about Jimi Hendrix.

It goes without saying that Jimi Hendrix is one of the most influential guitarists that ever lived. It has been argued that he’s the greatest guitarist ever. Whether you love him or hate him, I’m sure you probably have a Hendrix tune that you love.

Here’s my favorite Jimi Hendrix tune, Voodoo Chile. There’s just something about this song that grabs me. I think it’s just the sheer energy and noise in the tune that I love. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this classic video of Jimi Hendrix performing Voodoo Chile. Make sure you vote in the poll below.

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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.

Continue reading “Improve Your Skills By Playing With Other People”

In Memoriam – Richard Wright of Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd - David Gilmour, Nick Mason, Richard Wright

   I was extremely saddened to hear the Richard Wright of Pink Floyd had passed away on Monday. Pink Floyd is one of my biggest musical influences and their music has touched me on so many levels. I have always been so impressed with Richard Wright’s ability to play the perfect keyboard part at the perfect moment to make Pink Floyd’s music become greater than the band.

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