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Inspiration Archives

Go Hear Live Music!
Ask Damian Erskine

Go Hear Live Music!

Damian recently had a conversation with a student who wasn't feeling inspired musically. Damian asked him what he was listening to, and discovered the problem was a lack of exposure to new ideas and music. So he wrote this week's column in response to that.

The Lightbulb Moment: The Joy Of Inspiration
The Lightbulb Moment

The Lightbulb Moment: The Joy Of Inspiration

When it comes to performing, practicing, or even making up your mind to pursue music, there’s no substitute for pure, heart-opening, eye-widening, blood-boiling inspiration. Depending on where you are in your musical journey, the moments of inspiration will take on different forms; they may be few and far between or you may be experiencing a particularly fruitful and creative period...

Staying Creative While Practicing
Ask Damian Erskine

Staying Creative While Practicing

Q: So I reach a point now and again where I feel like I’m not practicing musically or in a creative way. Instead, I seem to be practicing things that are useful (technique, location of notes on the fretboard, arpeggios, inversions, and scales) but the way I’m going about it feels rote and not much fun. I don’t want to...

Should I Learn Older Music To Understand Newer Music?
Ask Damian Erskine

Should I Learn Older Music To Understand Newer Music?

Q: I struggled with asking if I HAVE to learn trad jazz or if I SHOULD learn it, so take this question as both. And just as a disclaimer, I’m using “trad jazz” to mean the standards and the jazz being played predominantly from the ’20s to the ’60s and the styles that encompassed. I’ve been led by a lot...

The Lightbulb Moment: Touch Of Gray
The Lightbulb Moment

The Lightbulb Moment: Touch Of Gray

Cauliflower, that kind-of-like-broccoli-but-perhaps-less-exciting vegetable, was completely absent from my childhood. I honestly didn’t know what it was, other than something my mother breezed over in the produce section of the super market. She was not a fan of the baby-tree-like vegetables and therefore, it was often excluded from the communal veggie tray at parties and officially barred from our refrigerator....

Should I Quit the Bass? A Discussion on Burn Out (and More)
Ask Damian Erskine

Should I Quit the Bass? A Discussion on Burn Out (and More)

Q: I’m a semi-pro bassist of 15 years and have been playing for about 25 now, I’ve been with my current band for nearly six years and are about to release our second album. For the past two years, I’ve not been very happy playing, and it is a real conflict because of how much time I’ve invested into music,...

Ask Damian: More Album Recommendations
Ask Damian Erskine

Ask Damian: More Album Recommendations

Q: I really dug the last column about albums to check out, if you want to get into jazz. I found a ton of great stuff that I actually liked in there! Do you have any more suggestions that extend beyond the jazz genre? A: Thanks! I’m glad that you discovered some new music. That’s great to hear. I’ve gotten...

Album Suggestions for Getting Into Jazz
Ask Damian Erskine

Album Suggestions for Getting Into Jazz

Q: Do you have any suggestions for what albums I might check out if I wanted to get into jazz? I’ve, of course, heard bits and pieces of things before flipping through radio stations, in restaurants, etc., but nothing ever really grabbed me. What should I check out that might ignite the interest? A: Alright, the pressure’s on. This will...

How to Change Up Your Practice Routine When You Don’t Feel Like Practicing
Ask Damian Erskine

How to Change Up Your Practice Routine When You Don’t Feel Like Practicing

Q: What does one do about practice when you just don’t feel like playing and can’t get into it? Do you walk away for a few days or force yourself to play? A: Everyone likely has a different approach, but I have a few things that I try to do before throwing in the towel and taking a break. But...

The Light Bulb Moment: I Want To Be Like That
The Lightbulb Moment

The Light Bulb Moment: I Want To Be Like That

At the age of 15, I dreaded the thought of being caught at a movie theater on a Friday night with my parents. So. Lame. If spotted by my fellow classmates, I would immediately be identified as weird, uncool, and antisocial. Who am I kidding… I definitely was (and am) weird, uncool, and antisocial. It wasn’t my fault that my...