4 True Confessions Of A World Touring Jazz Pro
My wife just made me watch a chick flick with her. Maybe I’m in touch with my feelings now?
Since I’m feeling so emotional now I might as well roll with it right? So, today I want to share with you 4 true confessions of a world touring jazz pro.
I mean, might as well tell all while I’m in such a heightened emotional state right? Lets do it!
1. Is Practice Always Sunshine & Roses?
Most amateurs think that since we’re pros we want to practice ALL the time. It just comes natural for us right? That’s not true. There are days when we pros don’t want to practice either.
The reason amateurs think that is they haven’t figured out how to focus their musical passion toward daily practice yet. When you can do this it’s like an unstoppable force.
I have lots of tools I use to motivate students. Here’s a quick video I made on one of them.
Here’s another important thing to keep in mind about pros. Our stakes are higher. We can’t afford to embarrass ourselves on stage.
Nor, can we afford to lose the gig if we screw up. So, some of it is our motivation but the real truth is we want to look great and always keep the gig!
We take this mental approach to everything we do. Demand and expect excellence. It’s a powerful philosophy. That’s why we tested ourselves and did only 1 take only for each of the example performances in the Jazz Improv Super System.
We wanted students to learn from how jazz pros tackle real world live performances. This is the best way to learn. For example, this solo was 1 take:
2. We Know The Power Of These 2 Skills
Here’s the deal, there are lots of things that every great jazz pianist must have down cold. But, 2 big ones come to mind. Ready for them?
1) Great pianists have a big repertoire of tunes. If you want rich musical experiences you must learn tunes. Period.
Some people think this sounds daunting but it’s really not.
In fact, there are basically 5 tunes that once you learn them the right way will open up the door to learn 500 tunes very quick.
Once I learned the 5 most important jazz tunes I was able to start entertaining at parties and book my first gig. Those smiling faces after my 1st performance is a feeling I’ll never forget.
I show you step by step how to play these 5 tunes (any many more) inside The Premium Jazz Success System.
2) The 2nd skill is unshakeable rhythm and groove. Not a popular practice topic but the fact that I can groove has gotten me at least 1000 gigs if not more.
This is the most under practiced musical skill by the way. Become best friends with your metronome.
3. What Jazz Pros See That Amateurs Don’t
Amateurs think jazz is hard. It doesn’t have to be. That’s because when pros learn tunes we simplify big time.
We look at the most important elements of the song.
- What’s the form? AABA, ABAC, Blues, ABAB, etc…
- What’s the chord progressions?
- How does the melody relate to each chord?
- What’s the harmonic rhythm of each chord?
- What are the rhythms in the melody?
- What other tunes have the same moves?
Once we do that work it removes 95% of complexity.
If you’re not doing that start today. You’ll thank me later. If you want to remove that feeling of info overload or are constantly musical things this is how you fix that.
4) Yes, We’re Having a #$# Of Fun
I’m not going to lie, playing music in front of others and getting paid to do it is FUN!
If you are the type who loves meeting people, making music, being creative, traveling, drinking good wine, and having people cheer for you then you’ve got try & get some gigs.
It never gets old.
I mean if you correctly file a paper at work they’re not giving you a standing ovation right?
But, when we take a great solo on the keys we get one. What’s not to love about that?
I don’t have to think when I play and for the most part I’m being paid to enjoy myself. So, how do you relax when you play and just have fun too?
You have to invest a couple months into building your fundamentals the right way.
If you’re new to jazz and want to a path to do it in 30-60 days check out the Zero To Jazz Piano Hero.
Or if you know some tunes already but want to see how pros take those tunes and transform them into masterpieces then check out the Premium Jazz Success System.
Alright, my ‘emotional wounds’ from the chick flick have healed. Time to go practice.
I recommend you do the same. If you’re not sure what to work to remove your current musical problems you can check out any of my recommended resources here. They’ll help you.
Steve “True Confessions” Nixon