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  • Getting Through A Bad Gig

    Getting Through A Bad Gig

    Q: What do you do on a bad night? Like, if the gig is not happening, what’s the best way to avoid toxicity and frustration and make the best of it? A: This question extends far beyond just musical situations. I recently heard an interesting podcast interview with a specialist who studies emotions and the... »

  • The Lightbulb Moment: One, Four, Five

    The Lightbulb Moment: One, Four, Five

    “Hey, so we’re in G and it’s a one, four, five thing. Cool? Count it off.” Here we go again… Whether it’s a local blues jam, and evening hang at your friend’s garage-turned-music-room, or a gig where someone decides to deviate from the setlist, the notion of calling a “One, Four, Five” can leave us... »

  • Taking Criticism in a Positive Light

    Taking Criticism in a Positive Light

    Q: How can I learn to take musical remarks/criticism from a bandleader/conductor in a productive way? I can’t help it, but I always get a little offended and/or insecure. A: Remember this: If you weren’t good enough, you wouldn’t have the gig. While not every band leader may have the best delivery, in general, suggestions... »

  • The Lightbulb Moment: Easy Come, Easy Go

    The Lightbulb Moment: Easy Come, Easy Go

    In true professional musician fashion, I recently received a set list for an upcoming gig and had a mini panic attack when I took a look at the final song. An anthem, that’s for sure, but one that is rarely attempted in a live setting. It’s a song that most people are familiar with, thanks... »

  • Staying Motivated Without Playing Opportunities

    Staying Motivated Without Playing Opportunities

    Q: I read your column for years, but I don’t know if you have answered this already: I have been playing bass for many years and, due to circumstances beyond my control, I cannot find people in my hometown to play (long story, small Greek city). I am taking some jazz theory lessons (via Skype),... »

  • Playing Etiquette While Subbing

    Playing Etiquette While Subbing

    Q: While I am stoked that I have been asked, I am a wee bit apprehensive. I have been asked to be a substitute bassist for a classic rock cover and original band by the band leader. My current gig is as a bassist in a trio which plays punk and alternative originals. The slight... »

  • Incorporating What We Practice

    Incorporating What We Practice

    Q: In your opinion, how does what we work on when practicing make it’s way into our playing? I’ve been thinking about the best ways to incorporate what I shed into my “vocabulary.” A: There are as many ways to incorporate what we practice into our actual musical vocabulary as there are ways to absorb... »

  • The Lightbulb Moment: Time Games

    The Lightbulb Moment: Time Games

    Game #1: The Record Release Show Round 1—Rehearsal Time There’s something invigorating about working with a new artist, especially when they’re releasing a record and learning how to adapt their songs to a live show. The drummer counts of the first tune and by the end of the chorus, the vocalist stops the band. “Hey... »

  • What Should I Play At Soundcheck?

    What Should I Play At Soundcheck?

    Q: What should I play at soundcheck? I always feel like I should be impressive or something when the sound tech says “okay, let’s hear the bass,” But maybe just pulsing on the open E string is enough? What’s your soundcheck agenda? A: This is the perfect opportunity for me to: a) make a suggestion... »

  • The Lightbulb Moment: Habit Vs. Intuition

    The Lightbulb Moment: Habit Vs. Intuition

    If there’s one thing I love doing, it’s pedaling eighth notes. So much so, you might say that I make a habit of it. There’s something incredibly therapeutic about playing one note, but playing it well, and focusing on all of the ways this seemingly simple rhythmic pattern can be manipulated. The art of the... »