About 6 months ago, I bought a Moleskine notebook, and started using it as a kind of professional journal. I use it for setlists when I play live, for rehearsal notes, on sessions I sketch out quick charts, and on every page I note the date, the location, and the artist. It’s kind of cool to look back and have a record of what I’ve been doing, in a way that makes a lot of sense.
I’ve never been a journaler (expect for the time my court-mandated psychologist insisted), but this serves the function pretty well. It’s also awesome to have instant recall of charts and notes from things 6 months ago, when the client calls again.
By the way, kids, forget everything Daniel is teaching you in Arranging 1. This is what real charts look like.
I teach a studio recording class at APU. The students produce an EP, I oversee (hang out and drink coffee). Every semester I push the students to go get real players to play the session. Go get the best people you can find, and ask them to help you out. If you’re not getting told “No” at least a couple of times, you’re not asking players at the right level.
This year, one of the teams took that to heart. They pulled together the following players for rhythm section tracking:
Oskar Cartaya (bass)
Chad Wright (drums)
Darrell Crooks (guitar)
This might be the most fun I’ve had in the class.
part 2 in a 586 part series
Very few people are allowed to define their music careers narrowly. People who make a living in this field have to be good at a lot of things, and you don’t know yet what those things are. We rarely get to define ourselves, we rarely get to say, “I am a violinist, and I’m only interested in playing Stravinsky.” You get defined by opportunity and necessity – what becomes available for you to do, and what other people need you to do.
The irony is that the better musician you are at one specific thing, the more people will ask you to do things that are outside of your expertise and training. If you’re good, you’ll be successful at it, and get asked to do it again, or something kind of like it, and then you’ll start drifting from the musical definition you imposed on yourself early on. That’s a good thing.
Your 30-year-old self shouldn’t be held hostage to the predilections of your 18-year-old self. Don’t define yourself narrowly. Grab every tool you can, because none of us knows what we we might need on the journey ahead.