Essential Tools for the 21st Century Musician: Technology

In my previous post about tools for the 21st Century Musician, I discussed improvisation as probably the most useful tool musicians can be using. In a way, technology is even more indispensable. Unless our voice is our primary or only instrument (and even then there are exceptions), then nearly everything we make music on is the result of some level of technology.  Whether we’re talking about the technology of carved bone flutes and dried skins over a wooden frame, or the highly advanced craft that luthiers use to carve/mold stringed instruments, or the ability to build circuitry or program for electronic instruments or computers, there is always some level of technology involved in the making of musical instruments.

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What is a “full-time musician” anyway?

Benzaiten, the Japanese Goddess of everything that flows, including music.  Polychrome Woodblock print. 19th Japan.
Benzaiten, the Japanese Goddess of everything that flows, including music. Polychrome Woodblock print. 19th Japan.

There was a recent piece on slate.com by composer Andrew Watts titled, What Kind of Stress Do Full-Time Composers Experience? The thing is, and this came up on a recent facebook discussion, the conditions in points number 1. and 4. have nothing to do with being a “full-time composer.”

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What’s it like playing with Grammy Award winners?

Jon Silpayamanant playing with Yo-Yo Ma and Eric Edberg in Kresge Auditorium during DePauw Discourse.  September 29, 2011.
Jon Silpayamanant playing with Multi Grammy Award winner, Yo-Yo Ma, and my former cello teacher, Eric Edberg, in Kresge Auditorium during DePauw Discourse. September 29, 2011.

Sometimes it’s good just to reflect on your musical experiences.  I know I’ve said that in the grand scheme of things the Grammy Awards don’t mean much and given what I said in my previous post even a figure some of us might consider to be the elder statesmen of post WWII Anglo-American pop doesn’t seem to be known by a wide swath of younger audiences, it does still matter to some folks.

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‘Lost Girl’ and a lesson in Music Economics and Ethics

The cast of Lost Girl

So I’ve been watching Lost Girl1 which is a Canadian supernatural crime drama that recently premiered on SyFy.  The series follows a Succubus, Bo, as she negotiates her way around the newly discovered (to her) Fae world while she remians unaligned (the Fae are divided between the “Light Fae” and the “Dark Fae” who have an uneasy peace between them due to the actions of the “Blood King“–yeah, I know, way too much backstory to relate in a blog post–read the links above for more info).

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Diversifying your Performance Skills Portfolio

I like to put all my eggs in one basket. Good thing I have plenty of odd eggs, right?
I like to put all my eggs in one basket. Good thing I have plenty of odd eggs, right?

As I mentioned in a previous post, developing versatility, Dick Weissman says that Developing Versatility is a key factor in pursuing a lifetime career in music.  Another way to put that principle is to Diversify your Performance Skill Portfolio.  Obvious to anyone with some knowledge of economics or finance I’m taking my cue from the idea of Diversification.

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