Coaches Corner, Episode 3

Join Christopher and the Next Level coaching team to discover the latest tips, tricks and techniques you can use to advance in your own musical life.

This time we have:

  • Zac sharing the “breakthrough that leads to ALL the breakthroughs”
  • Camilo with a nifty AI tool you can use to help with active listening, playing by ear and improvisation
  • Andy reveals a surprising way to improve your finger speed on your instrument
  • Andrew discusses how our musicality and creativity can easily outstrip our notation skills – and what to do about that
    • Tip: find just ONE idea from everything that’s shared, and take it to your next music practice session or apply it in YOUR musical life.

      Watch the episode:

      Enjoying the show? Please consider rating and reviewing it!

      Links and Resources

      Enjoying Musicality Now? Please support the show by rating and reviewing it!

      Rate and Review!


      Hello, and happy Saturday to you! My name’s Christopher, I’m the founder and Director of Musical U, and super excited to be back with you again for another daily livestream here, our reboot of the Musicality Now podcast and YouTube channel.

      We’ve got a new episode of Coaches Corner today with four really fascinating insights to share with you. Things that you can pick up and run with in your own musical life.

      And in case you missed any of our episodes this week, it’s been a jam packed week again.

      We kicked off with a Dave Smith interview. A really phenomenal drummer, Dave Smith, who has a great expertise in helping you connect with the pulse and get a better sense of rhythm. A mini-interview with him on Monday and then we shared an excerpt from his masterclass at Musical U, which got us all clapping and stepping and speaking rhythms, which was cool.

      Final reminder, Dave has a workshop coming up next week which I would highly recommend checking out. I’ll put the link in the comments now and make sure it’s in the shownotes with this episode.

      If you haven’t already, go take a look. It’s going to be a really in-depth workshop all about rhythmic connection and rhythmic expressiveness and all that good stuff. And he set up a special discount code just for you at Musical U, so definitely well worth a look.

      Then we had a slightly funny episode about a zombie cowbell. If you didn’t see that one, it was a lot of fun and with some substance to it, too. And then we gave I gave a little peek into the forthcoming musicality book. If you check out you can register your early interest and get sneak peeks as we gear up to release that in the near future. And I shared a bit of our expression framework, how to play more expressively. So do check out that episode if you’ve ever wondered what makes the difference between a dry, robotic performance and one that really moves the audience.

      Then I had the pleasure of meeting with Stewart Hilton, our Community Conductor, yesterday for our next Meet The Team interview, and we shared a bit about his own musical journey as well as the work he does at Musical U.

      And we’re back today with a Coaches Corner, episode three of Coaches Corner, which is where I get together with a few of our Next Level coaches and just ask them to share some of all of the Next Level goodness with you guys. Something concrete and tangible that you can take away and use in your musical life.

      In this week’s new episode of Coaches Corner, we have Zac sharing “the breakthrough that leads to all the breakthroughs”.

      Camillo shares a nifty AI tool that you can use to help with active listening, playing by ear, improvisation, a whole bunch of stuff.

      Andy talks about a surprising way to improve your finger speed on your instrument. Super simple tip, but really effective.

      And then Andrew discusses how our musicality and our creativity can easily outstrip our notation skills and what you can do about that.

      As always, I encourage you to find just one idea in everything that’s talked about and shared and take it to your next music practice session or find a way to apply it in your musical life. Here we go!


      Christopher: Hey, hey! And welcome to Coaches Corner, where I get to hang out with our Next Level coaches to get their insights and breakthrough ideas from recent coaching, things that could help you in your musical life, as well as providing a little peek into all the good stuff that’s going on every week inside Next Level coaching. Today, I’m joined by our head coach, Andrew Bishko, as well as coaches Zac Bailey, Camilo Suarez, and Andy Portas.

      Zac, why don’t you get us started this week? What’s been going on in coaching lately?

      Zac: Hey, Christopher. Yeah, coaching has been going awesome. One of my clients recently had this breakthrough that is so cool, and I’m seeing it as the breakthrough that leads to all the breakthroughs.

      So what they said was that they are no longer seeing their limitations or their challenges or their mistakes as negative or things that make them a bad person or anything. Anytime they’re coming up with a limitation in their voice or with their hands do, they’re now thinking of it as an opportunity to improve. And the way they said it was “oh, that’s something I can work on”.

      So they’ve been working on their voice, working on getting more tones, more range in their voice. So when there’s certain tones they’re not able to make or certain notes, they’re not quite hitting strongly, they’re no longer thinking “oh, well, I just suck at singing. I can’t sing. I guess I better quit”. No, they’re now thinking “oh, well, that’s something I can work on”. And they also know how they can work on it.

      And, of course, they have me as the coach, and we can work on it together, but it’s just a really, really powerful mindset shift to think about your limitations and your challenges. It just is things that you can work on, and it can even be fun. You’d be like, oh, it’s fun, I have this new fun thing I can work on.

      And so I really loved that breakthrough. That was a really powerful breakthrough, and I think that’s the one breakthrough that we all sort of need to make, to make all the breakthroughs. So I loved it. It was really amazing to hear him say that.

      Christopher: That is awesome. And absolutely, that shift from Fixed Mindset to Growth Mindset. But it’s easier said than done! Was there anything in particular you were working on or you said to them that helped them to make that shift? Because it’s not always easy.

      Zac: Yeah, I think that a big part of it is recording and listening back and active listening.

      They mentioned active listening had been a big part of their growth. So they’re active listening to themselves while they’re singing. Active listening to themselves when they’re doing their recordings and just recording a lot to recording.

      I asked them, are you recording? You’re singing and you’re playing a lot? And they say, oh, yeah, recording all the time. Listening back before they go to sleep and just being more constructive. With active listening, you can listen to yourself with a question in mind rather than listening to yourself with a judgment in mind.

      Christopher: Perfect. Okay. So that’s giving them both the kind of objective perspective and the opportunity to see the good things that are going on, not just tone in on the negatives.

      That’s fantastic. Awesome. How about you, Camilo? What’s one cool thing that happened in coaching lately?

      Camilo: Well, this week has been a week of excitement and discovery of the new tools that artificial intelligence is offering for music learning.

      So we’ve been working with clients on helping them recognize those songs that have three or four chords. These times, what we did is that we removed part of those tracks. We removed the bass lines, the accompaniment, the tracks.

      And I was amazed by how clients, by starting to form counter melodies to the main melody, were starting to pick up the harmonic framework. So that created excitement, motivation, because they are working directly with the musicians that they love and with the music that they feel passionate about.

      Christopher: Tremendous, that’s awesome. Which tool was it you were using for that?

      Camilo: I’m using a tool that is called Moises, es, and it’s offering a really great experience.

      Christopher: Fantastic, that’s really cool. How about you, Andy?

      Andy: Yeah, so an exciting thing happened this week with one of my clients. They’re currently learning some new songs as part of their Next Level training and coaching.

      And what was happening is they were playing the chord progression, but they were tending to overshoot where they needed to be on the guitar. And so I just kind of said to them, well, hang on a minute. What are your eyes doing while you’re doing this? And they said, well, I’m just following my hands.

      So I said, well, okay, how about you place your eyes where your hands need to go, too? Rather than eyes following hands, hands following eyes. So they started practicing, moving the chords around, and lo and behold, it became a kind of real smooth movement.

      From then on, they didn’t struggle with the song. So, like I say, that’s a nice short little tip, but really useful, I think.

      Christopher: I love that, yeah. And I’m gonna probably get this wrong because I’m not much of an ice hockey fan, but I think it’s a Wayne Gretzky quote where he talked about, you need to skate to where the puck is going to be, not where the puck is. Yeah, I think that’s really sharp.

      It’s a perfect example of the kind of insight that is obvious to you as the coach from your perspective. But they could have slaved away in their bedroom for weeks thinking their hand just wasn’t doing the right thing without it ever occurring to them that it was their eyes that were the problem. So I love that.

      That’s awesome. How about you, Andrew? What’s one thing from coaching lately?

      Andrew: I have a client that recently began Next Level coaching, and she has this beautiful song that she wrote in our Essence Of Songwriting course, and she’s had a lot of trouble notating it, but when she sings it, it’s very clear what she wants to represent musically. So, yes, the rhythms are a bit challenging for this song because what we eventually figured out is that it changes meter.

      There’s some places where it’s in 4/4, some places where it’s in 5/4. But she was wondering if she should change the song to make it easier to notate.

      And so that’s really flipped around. I mean, the purpose of our notation system and actually the purpose of music theory is to describe our music, not to give us rules about how we’re supposed to do music. She’s right to see that there’s so much to learn, and there’s always so much to learn. But where she’s not seeing is what a wonderful musician she already is, and that the music that she creates intuitively, even if she doesn’t understand how to notate it yet, or even if it might be complex to notate, doesn’t take away from its beauty.

      And many clients that come to Next Level, they don’t always have a full understanding and appreciation for their own musicality. They always judge themselves against others. They always think that others are better than them because they know this or they can do that and they’re not really looking.

      So a big part of our beginning assessment when we start coaching, our 4 H’s, our Head, Hands, Hearing and Heart is where we really do zero in on where we can take the next step that’s really going to bring them to the Next Level.

      And oftentimes it’s very surprising what that step will be. They might think it’s one thing coming into coaching, but once you go through the assessment, you realize it can be quite different.

      So she came into coaching expecting to improve on her piano skills, playing certain pieces, and two weeks into coaching, and instead we are working on having her do a choral arrangement of the song that she wrote. A very different thing because we realize that creativity, and claiming her own creativity and claiming her own musical creativity was really the answer was really the Next Level for her.

      Yes, she could go back and use her current superlearning knowledge to improve upon pieces that she’s been playing for 20, 30, 40, 50 years. But to really move her forward, it was the creativity. And communicating that creativity in a way that she totally didn’t expect to be doing.

      So that’s one of the joys of Next Level, is to figure out what is deep inside, what is the next step to the Next Level, and to be open and willing to go places that you didn’t expect to go, that you didn’t expect to blossom and to explore those new places.

      Christopher: Awesome, fantastic. Well, thank you all, guys from the Next Level coaching team for joining me for this week’s Coaches Corner. It’s been a blast, as always, and I will see you next time!

      Enjoying the show? Please consider rating and reviewing it!

      The post Coaches Corner, Episode 3 appeared first on Musical U.