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”

Movie Review – The Rocker

Rainn Wilson in The Rocker

   I just went and watched the new movie “The Rocker” starring Rainn Wilson of “The Office” fame. A lot of people have been saying the movie is a “School Of Rock” ripoff and even though there are similarities, “The Rocker” has more adult laughs. So being a rocker myself and a fan of Rainn Wilson I was really excited to see the movie.

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The Hohner Blues Harp

The Hohner Blues Harp is a very easy instrument to learn and play the blues on. Even Abraham Lincoln played the Harmonica.

Hohner Blues Harp Harmonica
Hohner Blues Harp

   Mathias Hohner started making harmonicas in his kitchen in Trossingen, Germany. Amazingly, Hohner harmonicas are still made at a factory in Trossingen, Germany after all these years. I don’t think there’s any question that the Hohner Harmonica has had a profound influence on American music. The harmonica is one of the easiest and most fun instruments I have ever learned how to play. I play the awesome Hohner Blues Harp harmonica.

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The Police Tour Wraps Up

The Police - Madison Square Garden August 1, 2007

   Well The Police played the last show on their reunion tour at New York’s Madison Square Garden on August 7th 2008. They played it at the Garden because they played their first U.S. show at CBGB’s in New York. The tour lasted for 15 months, 150 concerts and they played for 3.7 million people. Sting was quoted as saying “The real triumph of this tour is that we haven’t strangled each other. That’s not to say it hasn’t crossed my mind, or Stewart’s, or Andy’s.”

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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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A Classic Performance From Sister Rosetta Tharpe

   After playing music for so many years and being in the business I do tend to get a bit ho-hum about all the greatness out there. I start saying “Well, another Van Halen clone…yawn.” Or “Wow, 500 notes per second…snore.” Then something truly great will catch my attention.

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A Good Show Is A Collective Effort

   I always figured if I practiced long and hard enough that I would become a good enough musician that my skills would guarantee a successful show every time I played. So I practiced and I became a good musician but I found that a good show doesn’t just depend on musical skill. A good show is a collective effort between several different factors.

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Am I A Good Musician?

When comparing yourself to other musician’s it’s all about perspective.

Prince - The Complete Musician
Prince - The Complete Musician

If you’re like me you’ve probably pondered the question “Am I a good musician?”. I know that for me, I’ll just get to the point where I think I’m a really good musician and then something will happen and humble me back down. I’ll go hear a great band or jam with an unbelievable guitarist and I’ll be back in the practice shed trying to get better at what I do.

It’s not a bad thing to get humbled like that if it motivates you to do better. We all feel like giving up from time to time but what makes you a great musician is rising to the challenge. I’ve always been able to use those times where I’m blown away by another musician and use them to make myself better. You can learn so much from other musicians that it’s in your best interest to search out musicians that are already great to see if you can learn from them.

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