Tuesday, December 20, 2011

It's All About The Feel

I've had countless discussions with fellow musicians about how to make great music. I was a music major in college so I kind of have the best of two worlds. One being natural instinct and the other being music academia but what I've found is that it doesn't matter how many chords you know or how well you can read music. It's all about the feel. Now I'm not saying that you shouldn't learn to read music. I believe that every musician should develop some level of basic reading proficiency but it seems that a lot of so called educated musicians can be to uptight and stuffy. I can say that because, as I said before, I belong to both worlds. I teach drum lessons and I'm always telling my students to focus more on developing a feel and sound. Yes scales and rudiments are important but when you we create music we have to do so from the heart and we can sometimes let all this so called knowledge get in the way of our heart. I work on a lot of records yearly. I guess you could say that the studio is truly my second home. I don't stress over gear or spend to much time philosophizing about set ups or trying to reinvent the wheel. I just go in and surrender to whatever the vibe dictates. Whether it's blues, jazz, funk, r&b, country . . .etc. I just go for what the song needs. It never requires a lot of discussion. Once you start to play you know immediately what works or what doesn't. When I was in school I would have guys that would spend hours talking over this concept of that. The shuffle should be played here or there and the swing should feel like blah, blah, blah. Yes I know and understand all the text book concepts but when I'm playing and creating music, I'm only playing what feels right to me and sometimes that may involve something from the text book but most of the time involves me breaking the so called rules. I've found that the people that live and die by the rules and spend time talking instead of creating are simply doing so because they lack the true instinct and heart to just allow music to happen. It will always happen if you let it. The truth is some people have it and some don't. I've known guys that could technically do things that I could never do but they could not play a groove that would make people want to dance or cry. Music is ALL about expression. It's not about intellectual jousting. Miles Davis put it perfectly, he said,"Learn everything you can then forget it." I agree! It's a must to know fundamentals but you must always leave room for the universe to speak and breathe life into your art. Remember it's not what you know but how you make it feel. Enjoy the journey.

The Truth
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