Thursday, June 5, 2008

War Zone Instruction

Yo Rockers!

Man oh man. I'm always going on about how much I love the window in my teaching studio. Well, when severe thunderstorms and a tornado warning swept the Washington, DC area yesterday, I was ready to holler Auntie Em!

After the worst had passed, I went outside and watched the sky light up with the fury of the electromagnetic force. As ten gazillion volts arced across the Waldorf sky, and reminded middle class to scuttle away to their safe places, a lonely train rumbled behind the grocery store.
Now, trains are one of my favorites. They're just cool. They make the ground shake. But this train was a girly man indeed compared to the electric atmosphere that was hammering the ground twenty miles away.

It brought up the question of power. Power in music is awesome. A few musicians popped into my mind.

Stevie Ray Vaugahan.




(Of course, these are my views and opinions, and I'm sure you've got your favorite powerhouses.) How does one get that raw, unbridled fury? Practicing scales can help you channel it, and give control, but it's still not the source. Great gear will produce the sound, but it's not the only factor. (I remember when a friend of the family came over and totally rocked an itty bitty little keyboard with a Christmas song...The keyboard was junk, but they knew how to play, and it was unstoppable.)

I don't have an answer, but I think the place to start is by osmosis. Seek out sources of power, and learn from them. Put some coins on a train track, and stand back as the train flattens 'em. It's fun, you get a cool trinket, and you realize you're a frail little bug. It's great.

Watch a thunderstorm instead of TV!

Go hiking in the deep woods, and feel the power of the stillness and silence.

Keep this in mind when you're playing, and muster that intensity and power. Hey, if you get the power of one one thousandth of a lightning strike, you'll set the venue on fire.

Rock on!

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