Monthly Archives: April 2012

What’s your point of view on the future of musicianship?

On Tuesday May 1st 2012 a bunch of very smart and passionate people come together to discuss the Future of Musicianship in our very first event. If you are in central London and can free yourself 5-8pm this Tuesday, we’d love for you to come along.

It’s open to public and it’s completely free – simply register here:

You can simply come along to listen or if you want to join in the discussion at any point, we welcome that as well! After the discussion there is time for networking with a couple of drinks included.

It’s a great crowd and we are really excited. We’ve seen some of the preparation emails by the speakers fly around and there is definitely going to be a lot of passion and opinions in the room!

Confirmed speakers:

Andrew DubberAndrew Dubber – @dubber

Reader in Music Industries Innovation at Birmingham City University, Advisor to Bandcamp, Co-Founder of New Music Strategies

Paul Kirkham

Paul Kirkham

Managing Director of The Institute of Contemporary Music Performance

Steve LawsonSteve Lawson  – @solobasssteve

Professional musician, masterclass-giver, social technology consultant, co-founder of New Music Strategies and Amplified

Pete LutkoskiPeter Lutkoski

President of the Association for Music in International Schools & Assistant Principal at the American School in London

Bill Martin

Bill Martin@bcmartin

Music Education Manager at Yamaha Music Europe & Manager of the Yamaha Class Band project

Simon Purcell

Simon Purcell

Head of Jazz Department at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance

Tony Whyton Tony Whyton – @TonyWhyton

Professor of Jazz & Musical Cultures at Salford University

What happens after May 1st?

We are lucky to have photographer Alan Tucker coming along to make sure we get some photos, and Ben will be taking care of the audio recording, so we can make the highlights available for all of you afterwards, to enjoy and to share. We will also be presenting guest blog posts from some of our speakers – make sure you come back to comment and take part in the conversation!

Masters at Work

There’s nothing like hearing and watching masters of your craft at work. On Wednesday night we went to see Chick Corea and Gary Burton at the Barbican and got a perfect example of some of the things we’ve been talking about on this blog.

This is a partnership in it’s 40th year. Obviously at complete ease with each other, throughout the evening they were generously leaving space for each other, weaving their parts together, each picking up on the phrases, dynamics and moods of the other’s playing and complementing it perfectly. What struck me was how they seemed to use their knowledge of each other’s playing, not as an excuse to take it easy, but to listen deeper into what each other was doing.

Also in evidence was the duo’s wide influences, playing jazz standards as well as versions of The Beatles’ Eleanor Rigby, pieces by Scriabin and Bartók, and an brilliantly witty original piece inspired by Mozart.

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Where do we get the knowledge we need? – Guest post by Eric Rupert

As the first in a series of guest bloggers to the Loving & Living Music project, we give you Eric Rupert.  As I’ve talked so far about the listening aspect of musicianship, I invited Eric to write from a different angle, one that he’s passionate & highly knowledgeable about – the importance of stylistic & historical knowledge of music.

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 Eric RupertAs musicians we are called on to use our experience, ears and instruments to create substance to the music we perform. To play with great feel and musicianship we need to go back to the beginning of our craft, mainly our predecessors. Before finding our own voice we need to know who’s been here before and how they made their mark on the music and on us. Like in any history lesson we need to explore the explorers. This means listening and learning about the musicians, not just on our own instrument, but the whole group to understand how they achieved the sound and textures which created the sounds of the times.

All genres have a groove, whether it is rock, country, classical or jazz. To understand the music we have to find out about the creators. So we ask ourselves who played piano on Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue, what drummer played on Aretha Franklin’s Respect, who’s bass sound is on Steely Dan’s Deacon Blues, what inspired Dave Mason’s trumpet solo on the Beatles Penny Lane? All these things we should know before we try to find our own voice. It’s like collecting an encyclopedia of players, grooves, colours and textures to be used at the drop of a hat or on the gig. These are the building blocks of the “Tools of the Trade”.

Every week we should listen to something we wouldn’t normally and research the musicians; this doesn’t mean we have to like it, it just helps us learn more about our art. Find music to listen to by a player instead of an artist, you may find a person you already respect has done some varied musical work. A great example is pianist/keyboardist Don Grolnick who has performed and recorded with Steps Ahead, Brecker Bros, Bette Midler and James Taylor, quite a dichotomy of genres and artists.

This will bring us to ask why drummers should know different between Purdie or Porcaro shuffle; bassist and piano/keyboardists need to know the difference between a New York style groove (e.g. Will Lee on bass, Richard Tee on keys) an LA laid back style (e.g. Nathan East on bass, Dave Grusin on piano) or Blues style (Roscoe Beck on bass, Johnnie Johnson on piano), players that left their thumbprint on each. Guitarists should know who played different styles (e.g. Brent Mason in country, Chuck Loeb in jazz, Dan Huff in rock) to emulate them as a sideman. The players of the time and genre are the keys to a deeper understanding of the music. Classical musicians need to know more about the time periods, like painters do, of the pieces they play and the feeling around the era or the country of origin.

This takes us back to the question at the top: Where do we get the knowledge we need? We each take a glimpse back and learn from the forefathers of our idiom.

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Eric Rupert has spent 20+ years teaching and playing bass while recording and touring worldwide with artists from Dizzy Gillespie, Dolly Parton to Slash and West End/Broadway shows. He endorses Ibanez Basses, BBE Pedals, Breedlove Acoustic Basses, Stentor Upright Basses, Laney Amplifiers, RotoSound Strings and Ritter Cases.