Go Hear Live Music!

Band Performing on Stage

I recently had a conversation with a student.

It went something like this:

X: I feel like I don’t know what to play. I never feel inspired.
D: What are you listening to lately?
X: Nothing really? I’m too busy and don’t really think about it sometimes when I have time.
D: Hmm… Are you going out to hear music live?
X: Not really. No. No time.
D: You seem pretty active online. Do you spend a lot of time on social media?
X: Yeah, I guess so
D: Do you search for new music on YouTube or something? Any channels you’re into?
X: No, mostly just whatever pops up on Instagram or Facebook.
D: Where do you think inspiration is most likely to come from?

In the spirit of the rest of that conversation, I would like to explore ALL students of music, lovers of music, members of your community, supporters of your scene, put down the phone and please, GO HEAR LIVE MUSIC!!

Keep apprised of who’s coming through town. Buy a ticket and carve out a few hours to listen.

Keep apprised of who you like locally and where they play. Buy a ticket and carve out a few hours to listen.

Does your local university have some master classes or demonstrations of different cultural approaches to music or something like that? Carve out a few hours and check it out.

Find yourself mindlessly swiping through Instagram or the app of your choice? Change gears and search for some new music on YouTube (at the very least). Better yet, throw on some headphones and go for a walk!

Even if you know the band, buy a ticket. Just being there is a form of support, yes, but if you really want to support them, cough up the $5! It’s a fraction of what you might spend on food or a beverage of your choice and, not only will you help the band pay themselves, but the club managers ALWAYS make note of how many PAID admissions they had, which helps the band get another gig there!

Now, not only are you supporting your friends but you’re also supporting the local scene. You’re also being seen and hanging in the local scene which means you have more exposure within it as a musician and music lover.
It’s a win-win-win.

And, (drum roll please), you are opening yourself up to moments of inspiration!! Hearing, watching, feeling others operate at a high level (or any level). Checking out how different people write, play, perform, behave, interact with the world. Observing how the audience receives information from both within and without.

Living life with eyes and ears wide open is the absolute best way to receive inspiration.

Inspiration comes from outside of yourself but you have to be in a place to receive it (both physically and emotionally).

Go hear badass players and bands. You will go home energized, excited about music and inspired to try new things (or dig more deeply into existing things).

Put down your phones. Don’t shoot a video while they play. Don’t take a selfie at the club. Be there and be in the moment. Observe and listen with all of your senses and without digital distraction.

If you just have to grab a pic of the band doing their thing, whip it out grab that snap and then put it away again. Don’t post yet, don’t start editing the picture, just get back to the real moment.

Additionally, it gets a little annoying from the stage when every face in the audience is glowing and people are looking down at their phones. Sure, they may be posting about how great the band is but, it’s still disconcerting. Save it for afterward. Be in the moment. Be present and celebrate music. You can’t help but discover new ideas and renewed excitement for your music. If you play music because you love music, you kinda have to get out there and be a part of the music, not just when you’re on the gig.

So, in short… This is PSA:


Have a question for Damian Erskine? Send it to [email protected]. Check out Damian’s instructional books, Right Hand Drive and The Improviser’s Path.

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Leave a Reply to Thomas Cordery Cancel reply

  1. Lenny Mo

    Yes, Damian. Please come out and catch some local live music and
    leave your cell phone in the car. It’s very boring playing to an audience
    that is glued to the cell phones.

    • Thomas Cordery

      Absolutely, Lenny. Not to mention people who show the musicians no more respect than a Bluetooth speaker, and yack all through the performance. At least those texting are usually quiet.

      This has always been an issue at some level, but it seems like it’s getting worse every year.

      People, show some respect for the artists. They’ve made huge investments in their creativity; in time, energy and treasure, and are up on stage giving you their very best.

      And while you’re at it, show some courtesy to those who came to hear the act. At arena rock SPLs, nobody cares what you’re shouting in your friend’s ear. But in a club, those pianissimo moments are not the time to share with the entire crowd your latest gossip, or whatever’s going on this week in your office. Sorry, but it’s really not more interesting.