This article is about some of my early struggles as a pro guitar player and how I overcame them…I hope you like the info here.
As a young jazz guitar player I really struggled making ends meet.
I taught, played weddings, did little gigs and in NYC it was a “scramble”. If you live in a smaller town, with less musicians – it can be a little easier.
You may be in this situation yourself, wondering how you can boost your gigs, raise you prices, and so on.
I needed a solution for my situation at the time.
There was an oversupply of musicians in NYC…and because of certain things I had been taught I was not “connecting” with the audience which meant less gigs, and more financial hardship.
Fast forward to 2007…the year that solo fingerstyle guitar changed my life.
“Success” is personal and musical, but also has to do with gigs & professional life. Without enough gigs, the personal and musical aspects of life suffer…so all aspects of what we call success are connected.
The solution to the success lies in audience connection, delivery of the music and a “re orientation” of what’s important and what’s not.
That’s why I have launched Study With Adam…to show you & others what I have figured out. It’s more than just ‘put you finger here’ type lessons.
Just the same way I love my audiences when I perform, I want to give something great (practical, usable and REAL) to my fellow guitar pickers (YOU).
When Music gets Too Intellectual…
Audiences dry up, and so does your pay.
I myself studied classical and jazz guitar. Classical and jazz music are awesome, but due to the school business, music has become too intellectual, IMHO.
When an intellectual musician plays, it’s like there is a “plexiglass wall” between the musician and audience.
The audience can “appreciate that the musician is good” but doesn’t really DIG the music, down in their soul.
Musicians based in intellect often say things like:
- “I did everything they told me in school, how come I don’t have enough gigs?”
- “There must be something wrong with the audience!!!”
- “Things ain’t what they used to be!”
- “All they want is pop music, those idtios don’t hear how smart-cool-hip I am!”
- “Audiences today have no taste!”
And then they teach their students this:
- Play all the intellectual music games, and get a good grade in school.
- Your fellow musicians approval is more important than the audience’s enjoying it.
- If you have no gigs, it’s the audience’s fault for not being “sophisticated enough.”
This is why many educated musicians have lost contact with an audience.
(I am not “dissing” classical or jazz. I love George Benson, Oscar Peterson, DIzzy Gillespie – all master musicians who do in fact “connect” with the people)
The AHA Moment That I’ll Never Forget…
As I was in the “cocoon” developing my solo repertoire, I’d play at restaurants with a jazz duo (guitar and sax). Howevere, on our breaks, I’d play a few solo tunes for practice.
One night I played a solo version of “I’ll Be There” and it brought the restaurant patrons into applause!
This was an AHA moment!
“Play clear melodies for people with a good tone and good groove.”
Everything that I will teach you is not “ordained” by a school. I have no administration
that I have to answer to, except my own experience.
I am going to show you what’s worked for me. In a nutshell,
1) Play groove & melody with a good tone
2) Play tunes people know OR tunes they can understand
3) Don’t lose the people with long improvisations. Only musicians care about that.
4) Watch the people and see what they like, take notes.
5) Find the sweet spot that makes YOU and them happy. (balance the giving and taking)
This knowledge is not “ordained” or “approved” by a school system. It’s coming straight at you from real life experience.
As a dude with “rubber hits the road knowledge” I can show you what’s worked for me and what hasn’t.
I wish you all the best in your musical journey!