October 14, 2013

Miscellaneous Musical Monday: October 14, 2013

What’s up, rock and rollers!

It’s been a number of months since I’ve done a Free For All Friday article, which, you may remember, featured some of my fave links to some of my fave stuff.

Well…I couldn’t wait until Friday to share my new fave stuff, so instead we’ll launch our first ever Musical Miscellaneous Monday! (In case you can’t tell, I’m quite the fan of alliteration. Please help me stop.)

Today’s Highlights:

1 – The Sound City documentary.
2 – Making your practice stick with The Bulletproof Musician.
3 – The first music video by my former student, Piper Bateman (recorded and produced by yours truly).

Let’s get this party started!

Sound City

If there was any doubt that Dave Grohl rules, let this incredible documentary put all that to rest.

The man is a freaking machine. Drummer for one of the most influential rock bands ever, Nirvana: check. Mastermind behind one of the biggest modern rock bands of the last decade, Foo Fighters, where he sings, plays guitar and writes songs: check. Plays drums periodically in his “other” bands, Queens of the Stone Age and Them Crooked Vultures: check.

The latest in Dave’s achievements happens to be one of the finest musical documentaries you’re likely to see: Sound City. It details the classic artists and albums – including Nirvana’s Nevermind – that emerged from “America’s greatest unsung recording studio”, deep in San Fernando Valley, California.

It also brings to light one of the main reasons for that studio’s success: the fat, powerful sound of the recordings made through its legendary Neve mixing board. (Grohl subsequently bought that Neve console when the studio was selling everything off and put it in his home studio.)

If you love music of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s…watch this flick. You can often find it on channels like Palladia or you can do what I did and get it on Amazon: Sound City.

The Bulletproof Musician

A few months ago I was turned onto a terrific website called The Bulletproof Musician. It’s the brainchild of Julliard-trained violinist Dr. Noa Kageyama and features some beautifully written articles on the art of musical practice, understanding and combating performance anxiety, audition tips and much more.

I immediately signed up for his weekly email and have been devouring them ever since. This latest article – written by guest author and clarinetist, Dr. Christine Carter – is a fascinating look at how we are typically taught to practice and why that may actually set us up for failure.

If you’ve been frustrated at how your practice improvements seem to NOT carry over to your performance – or even your next day of practice – then this article is for you. While you’re at it, sign up for the newsletter and get the knowledge bombs straight to your inbox.

Why the Progress You Make in the Practice Room Seems to Disappear Overnight

“(Finally) A Refugee”

I’m excited to announce that my longtime student, Piper Bateman, has released a music video. I’m even more excited to share that it’s a song that we worked on together!

Over the summer, Piper – who was once featured in my article Student Success Story: Cryin’ Out Loud – finished writing the song and brought it to me with news that it was going to be made into a legit music video.

Through some professional contacts, she hooked up with director Jane Hollon, who was impressed with Piper’s talent and songs. The two of them organized a Kickstarter campaign to help finance the project and they eventually hit their money goal.

Piper asked me to record and produce the track for the video, which I was honored to do. We did all the work in my studio over the summer before handing off the finished track to the director. Filming then commenced and, I think it’s safe to say, Piper’s just as comfortable in front of the camera as she is behind the microphone.


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Jim Bowley is a professional guitarist, teacher and blogger. A native of Baltimore, he has over 30 years of playing experience and an advanced degree in Music Education from Towson University. Jim lives in Bel Air, MD where he maintains a thriving private lesson studio and performs with his band, Remains of Radio.

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