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Season change

We, in Chicago, have been going through a very rough winter. Now, this is not to say that it has been easy everywhere else. Yesterday, it was snowing in Las Vegas, for example! But in good ol’ Chicago, we’ve gone severe, we’ve gone berserk. We went to a polar
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Just play!

I happen to play 5 different instruments. Drum, Piano, Voice, Bass and Guitar. I just listed the order of proficiency I’ve got on them. I am the best on drums and the worse on guitar. But I practice each instrument as much as I can. And I never neglect the drums or the
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Improvisation. Part 2

I am a drum and piano teacher. And I teach improvisation on both instruments. It is a lot of fun. I’m pretty good at it, but I also know there are things I can’t teach. I can go step by step and tailor the progression to everyone personality and abilities. I can
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Improvisation part 1

Improvisation used to be a tenant of American music. Almost every instrumentalist was required to play a little something on his or her own. Yes, I am talking about Jazz. Or Blues. Then, in the beginning of the 50’s, rock and roll changed that landscape. Band would go on
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Teenage years

I remember being a teenager and listening to music while contemplating the ceiling. I liked what my parents liked, mainly. French singers and composers: Jacques Brel, Jacques Higelin, Bernard Lavilliers. Artists of the time. I am surprised today to still listen to those old
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Nervous

My family band had a gig last Friday, January 25th. We played at Sully’s, a very nice place where they gave us a big room for a big crowd. The owner even let me set up the gear around noon, when we were scheduled to play at 8 pm. Like I said: a very nice place. Yet I was
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Wrong.

Music is sometimes very cruel. I just had a student yesterday who was confronted to the harshness of this art. He had had a good lesson last week. He had left my studio with a big grin, his mum congratulating him on the job he’d done. He was beaming with pride. Whether it
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All at once

The world of musicians is sometimes similar to the one of people with 9 to 5 jobs. There are some instances where it crosses path. And not because the politicians decided it, but because of fate. Yes, fate, absolutely. Bam! I’m going strong. Follow me. This way, please.
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Don’t let the crowd get to you. Part 3.

Once you have rehearsed and prepared your performance, you’re just about ready to go on stage. Just about. Because there is something else that needs to be addressed: don’t let the crowd get to you. Yes, we are finally coming to the title of this series of blogs.
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Don’t let the crowd get to you. Part 2

Once you have chosen what your direction will be, what you want (hope) the audience will get from your performance, it is time to prepare. That’s where the discipline comes in. And the creativity. Because, no two ways about it, playing music is a handicap. You have to use
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