I know I am making a very bold statement here about “musical success” but I am speaking to you 100% earnestly and from life experience.
If you are in search of a wider audience, greater appreciation with your current audience, and maybe even a better “way” to make a living as a musician, this will interest you.
I am about to help you remove a HUGE block and change your life….yes that’s right.
As they say, “if the show fits, wear it.”
I am going to teach you about my formula…
“C + Y = R”
But first…the proof.
In the last 6 years I’ve increased my joy, my feeling of aliveness, number and quality gigs and overall lifestyle due to this formula.
I’ll present you with the info, and then you decide.
I hope that by the end of this post, you’ll have a new understanding about connecting emotionally with your audience.
When you “connect” emotionally to people with your music this is the start of all good things for them and for you.
Gig bookings, more students, more connection to your loved ones and yes (gulp) more money, can come to you from doing what you love – playing music.
Maybe you are student and money doesn’t matter, but the RELATIONSHIP to your listeners still does. This post is all about emotion and connection….money is just a potentially nice side effect.
Your audience can be your husband, wife, kids, friends, neighbors church group or even a club or concert audience. This applies to you whether you are a hobby player or pro player!
This “C + Y = R” formula was (and still is) used by artists and bands like:
- The Beatles
- The Rolling Stones
- Michael Jackson
- Led Zeppelin
- Chet Atkins
- Tommy Emmanuel
- and more…
Let me paint you a picture of how life was before “C + Y = R”
Years ago I played every little gig I could. I taught relentlessly, and it was as if my dreams of being a concert and festival performer just refused to become a reality.
I could hardly pay my rent! What was I doing wrong?
Then, I learned solo pop arrangement (my first Youtube Video was “I Wish” by Stevie Wonder) and a “flood” of activity started.
Later, I’d find that even on a small gig I could get the room’s attention and sell a ton of CD’s by playing “I’ll Be There” by the Jackson 5.
As if by magic, a whole audience of talkers would fall into silence and then applaud wildly after the song , as if it were some sacred ceremony sprinkled with gold fairy dust.
Why on earth did these little “ditties” turn heads, get people to shut up…when I could spin out endless jazz standards that only served to be “background music?”
I’m not dissing jazz. I am calling out musicians who overlook the all-important connection to the audience. Jazz can and should have that, and in it’s heyday – it did.
Back to the Stevie & Jackson 5 tunes….
I knew I stumbled on something deep after years of toiling away. Why did these tunes make life better?
Here’s my formula.
C + Y = R
Cover Song + You = Relationship
By playing a well known song, you access something ALREADY existing in your listeners mind, rather than teach them something new.
It’s like telling a little kid a bedtime story they already know…it provides a degree of security & comfort.
Rather than “confront” with new information – you give them the “warm fuzzies” by accessing a “corresponding” reality that they already know. As a result…
THEY FEEL GOOD and become open to YOU!
Very Important – and the Catch 22
In order to do this properly, you must be VERY honest with yourself because your “cover” songs must be infused with true love and dedication.
You have to let these ideas “sneak up” on you – otherwise they will feel “hollow” and “loveless” to you & your audience.
I know this because I have learned tunes that did not “vibe” with me. As a result, I basically never want to play them.
Use your head and your heart together when learning cover songs.
If you infuse the song with your love, your dedication, your touch, and your sound – it becomes an easy vehicle for you to connect with your audience.
They get to feel the love, warmth and passion that you have put in over hours, weeks maybe years.
They react to the “human-ness” you give them….
By doing this you build “R” – relationship.
By making it easy for them, you are communicating to them that YOU want a RELATIONSHIP and are taking the first warm friendly step towards them.
What About Original Songs?
Of course you should play your own music too.
Once your RELATIONSHIP is “activated” with C + Y = R your audiences will be open to your original music or more obscure tunes. Once you have bridged the gap, almost anything can go!
On the surface level it sounds like I am saying “play cover tunes”, and yes every wedding band does that.
I’m saying something deeper because it’s based on giving and not taking.
Make the RELATIONSHIP the priority in your performances.
For example – if I play for school kids, I’ll play a popular tune like “Billie Jean” so they feel “hey this guitar player guy is cool” and they’ll then feel open to my offerings.
Were I to barge into a school and play all originals – how long could I keep the attention of high schoolers?
The point is this…3 or 4 songs deep – everyone feels groovy and THEN I can say “Hey gang, here’s one of my tunes.”
Imagine for instance you have never heard my tune “Ciao Bella”.
If I come out and play1. Billie Jean2. Superstition3. I’ll Be There4. Ciao Bella
You’d likely be MUCH more receptive than if I played 3 originals, and then a 4th. (I speak of the general public.)
For some this would seem “un artistic”, but for me this allows greater possibilities to have a hungry audience for my own music and compose more music.
But Rock Stars Don’t Play Covers…Why Should I?
Actually they do if you think about it.
And – The Beatles and Stones started as blues bands covering Muddy Waters and Chuck Berry tunes…and slowly brought their tunes in…
Big rock groups are expected to play their “hits” in concert before they launch into the new album material.
Could You Imagine:
- a Bon Jovi concert without “Livin on a Prayer?”
- a Led Zeppelin Concert without “Stairway to Heaven?”
- a Stevie Wonder concert without “Superstition” and “Isn’t She Lovely?”
Of course not.
Pull your audience in with well loved songs FIRST, and then anything can happen.
You are still free to play what you want…only you are in a better position to do so.
I bet you’ll be closer to being a flourishing and successful musician if you use C + Y = R.
“Try it, you’ll like it!”
P.S. The All-New Volume II “How To Play Stevie Wonder for Fingerstyle Guitar DVD” launches tomorrow June 27, 2012.
If you want to try out your C + Y = R with 4 great new Stevie tunes (Isn’t She Lovely, Higher Ground, Cherie Amour, You Are the Sunshine of my Life), I’ve laid them all out or you in video lessons and written guitar tabs!
Coming June 27, 2012…