Friday, February 22, 2008

Consistency is next to Godliness

I've been in rehearsals all week with a new band. We've got a gig this weekend!

And I've learned a lot about my playing in the past week. Over the years, I have developed a certain set of values, for lack of a better word, that I strive to infuse in my playing. Here's a few of 'em that have hit me in the face this week (if only I could apply them!):

1. Clean
Play it right, and play it clean. Don't be lunchin' and playin' it sloppy. AND wear your deodorant.

2. In Beat
Stay in the pocket, no matter what. Know where the beat is, and play from there.

3. Toneful
Sound good. All the time.

4. Informed
Know your part. Know it 110%, so other musicians may rely on you if they lose their place.

5. Aware
Listen to the mix. Play accordingly. Are you too loud? Too soft? Adjust.

6. Consistent
Playing consistently is a noble goal, indeed. For me, the biggest roadblock to it is concentration. If my attention lapses, the song suffers. I might be having a good day chops-wise, but if I play brilliantly for a solo, and then drop out the verse, what good is it? Consistency gives bandmates a benchmark of where you are. And, ideally, if you're already smokin' part of the time, adding consistency to the mix makes you brilliant all of the time. How does one achieve consistency? Practice, and again, concentration. Have your mind in the song, not somewhere else. Be present.

Interestingly, the last sentence sums up the entire set of values. Being present will make you a better musician.

Hmmm...I should print these out, and actually follow my own advice!

For those of you in the DC area, I will be playing at the Greene Turtle in La Plata, MD, tomorrow night at 9:15 pm. You're invited to come out, and watch me apply the 7th value:

7. If you forget your part, play air guitar.

See ya then!

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