Unlocking Your Musicality: Part One

Welcome to episode 100 of the Musicality Podcast!

It is hard to believe – but we have reached Episode 100 of the podcast!

It’s been just about a year since we launched the show and it has been an absolute blast. We knew it would be fun to connect with interesting people and talk about musicality, but we had no idea just how incredible it would be. We’ve been blown away by the amazing people who’ve joined us on the show so far.

We wanted to do something special to mark Episode 100 – and we’ll tell you in a minute what we’ve got for you, it’s truly something remarkable.

So we talked about what to do in the team. And we’re all hugely appreciative of *you* and everybody who listens to the show. So we thought about asking for listener contributions of comments or questions.

But the thing is, for the most part, you guys are pretty shy! We know from the download numbers that there are a ton of people listening, but it’s relatively rare that we get a new review or someone reaches out by email or leaves us a voice message.

And we get that! Hey, a big part of what we do at Musical U is helping people become more confident in music and be proud that they’re actively learning the skills that most people assume require musical “talent”. But we know a lot of you listening aren’t there yet – So it would be a bit nuts to expect our podcast listeners to be rushing forwards bravely to put themselves out there and get in touch!

So we didn’t do that. But we did just want to mention it here so you all know how much we appreciate you, remind you that you are always welcome to get in touch at musicalitypodcast.com/hello – and give us the opportunity to say a big thank you for listening to the show.

A special thank you of course to our *members* at Musical U who’ve trusted us with their musicality training and provide the financial support we need to put this podcast out for free every week.

So when we were talking with the team about what we could do to celebrate hitting Episode 100 the other idea that quickly came up was that we could recap some of the stand-out lessons and quotes from our amazing interviewees.

Which would be cool. But you know what would be even cooler? If we could get those same superstars to contribute something fresh and new – and something that would be really impactful on *your* musical life.

So that’s what we did. And a huge thank you to all our past guests who contributed a clip. We were hoping to get a handful back – and ended up with 26 contributions!

The question we asked was:

”What’s one thing you’ve learned that could help musicians to tap into their inner musicality?”

So what you have here – and these are going to run into a second episode too because there were so many! What you have here is an incredible collection of the most punchy insights and wisdom from more than two dozen of the world’s leading music educators and musicality experts, all in one place.

We have Gerald Klickstein, author of the must-have handbook for aspiring musicians, The Musician’s Way.

We’ve got the guys from the Music Student 101 podcast, my favourite podcast for learning about music theory.

We have #1 Billboard hit singer and award-winning song-writer Judy Rodman.

We have David Reed, the man behind the terrific Improvise For Real method for learning to improvise.

We have Forrest Kinney, author of the immensely popular Pattern Play series of piano books.

And I could go on and on…

This might actually blow your mind a little bit, we know that we had to take breaks when listening to the clips to let things sink in a bit before absorbing more! And we’re going to be splitting this episode in two, because there’s no way you could sensibly absorb all of this in one go…!

And speaking of jam-packed with amazing insights – before we dive into those answers from past guests, we must let you know about the Musicality Podcast Power Pack.

To celebrate hitting episode 100 and all of the amazing guests we’ve had, we went back into all the archives, collected together all 100 episodes and then we found and created a bunch of cool extra bonus resources and material to help you get the maximum possible impact from everything in the podcast so far. We’ve put it all on a handy USB thumb drive so you can literally have the world’s top musicality experts in the palm of your hand.

We’re making this available for a limited time only with free worldwide shipping. To get your copy, visit musicalitypodcast.com/celebrate – and of course not only will you be getting this fantastic resource to accelerate your own musicality training, you’ll also be supporting the show. We should also mention this would be an awesome gift for a musical friend or family member.

So if you enjoy the show, and whether you’ve listened to one episode or all hundred, please go check out musicalitypodcast.com/celebrate and see all the cool stuff we’ve packed into the Musicality Podcast Power Pack for you. This will be available for a limited time so go take a look today!

Okay, so in this episode you’re going to hear the first 11 experts answering the question:

”What’s one thing you’ve learned that could help musicians to tap into their inner musicality?”

These are in no particular order, except that I’ve tried to group them to make for two great episodes for you to listen to.

In this episode you’re going to hear:

  • Respected author Forrest Kinney, talking about the adventure of playing.
  • Saxophone guru Donna Schwartz with the one crucial thing that might be stopping your performance from sounding musical and resonating with your audience.
  • Our very own Andrew Bishko talking about “practicing magic”.
  • Jazz guitarist and the man behind Learn Jazz Standards Brent Vaartstra sharing the one thing you must focus on to have consistent long-term success.
  • Improvisation expert David Reed about when to introduce improvising into your musicality training.
  • Thought leader among piano teachers Dr. Melody Payne about the simple rules that can make you sound more musical.
  • Award-winning musician and Lydian Chromatic Concept expert Andy Wasserman talking about the “treasure hunt” of unlocking your musicality.
  • School music ed revolutionary Jimmy Rotheram talking about the four things which greatly impacted his own musicality.
  • Award-winning artist, song-writer and vocal coach Judy Rodman explaining what makes music compelling for the audience.
  • Natalie Weber from the world-famous Music Matters Blog on what helped her as an analytical person tap into her creative side.
  • And our friends Matthew Scott Phillips and Jeremy Burns from Music Student 101 round off this first episode by sharing several activities which can help you continually “level up” your musicality.

Enough from me! Let’s dive in.

Listen to the episode:

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Forrest Kinney

Forrest Kinney: So the question is how to develop or how to tap into one’s inner musicality. This is Forrest Kenny and for me there’s really only one answer and that is to put away the scripts, put away the expectation that you have to be impressive or good or that you have to accomplish a lot or prove that you’ve accomplished a lot and just sit down at the piano as I’m doing right now and play. Play a tone. Listen to it and how does it make you feel? What does it make you want to do? Well maybe that’s not the sound I want. Maybe I want this sound. Maybe just start with a favorite sound.

Actually, for me, this is a nice sound this morning. And so what I’m doing is I’m immersing myself in that sound and I’m responding to the suggestions that it’s giving me. Now, I know that might sound a bit odd, but I believe if we listened to tones long enough, they do give us suggestions. This one is saying to me, “No.” Aah. Now that’s more what I feel like.

Now how did I know what to do? Well, I’ve been playing for decades and so my ears and my hands are all connected. So I get a sense of where to go, but even if that wasn’t it, I would have explored and experimented until maybe I would have found what I wanted. But it’s this process of playing and exploring and discovering where I think we really begin to have the essence of the music experience.

So, I’m not quite sure what’s going to happen next. Am I going to go here? Or am I going to go back here? Am I going to play a blues note? No. It’s an adventure and if I’m possessed by the idea that I need to be impressive or accomplish something or look good or play correctly, that’s gonna paralyze that cultivation of that responsiveness and sensitivity that’s really what musicality is all about. Musicality is our responsiveness to what we’re doing at a musical instrument.

So, what I try to help others to do is just to play like a child. To forget all these adult concerns and get to that essence and then the paradox is, when we do that, over time, we find that without any intention to be good, suddenly, we’re really sounding quite good. That’s the paradox. Without trying to be impressive, we become impressive. The core of it is, the connection with the sound, the responsiveness of the sound and the enjoyment of the sound just for the sake of making music. Not for any other purpose. It’s much like having the piano as a friend. We have friends because we enjoy their company. We enjoy spending time with them, having conversations. And that’s really the kind of relationship we cultivate with our instrument when we just sit down and play and have a conversation each day.

So, that’s what I encourage you and others to do, is get back to that, what I consider the essence of making music. So enjoy.

Donna Schwartz

Donna Schwartz: Hey, Donna Schwartz here from DonnaSchwartzmusic.com. The site to bring your saxophone playing up to the next level.

One thing, there’s so many things, oh my gosh. One thing that I learned from one of my mentors and it sticks with me to this day, not only when I’m playing but also when I’m teaching is this: If you’re improvising or if you’re creating a solo, you’ve got to make it rhythmic. Audiences react to rhythms a lot more than a thousand notes at a time. If you can make your solo sound more rhythmic so that people can feel what you’re trying to say, you’re going to get more of a greater response from the audience and it’s just going to feel right, it’s going to sit better.

Now, why am I giving this particular tip? I notice a lot, with a lot of students, a lot of people that reach out to me, they’re having problems playing particular solos or improvising. When I hear them, they’ve got the notes pretty well but there’s no sense of rhythm. There’s no sense of timing as people call it. In order to improve that timing, you’ve got to think about being rhythmic and really focusing on those rhythms because in solos, it’s not just about the notes, it’s also about the rhythms. Remember what Miles Davis said, “Silence is just as important as the notes.” That is a pretty big fact when it comes to being rhythmic. I hope that this tip helped you and I’m so happy for the musicality podcast, such a great podcast. I’ continue to urge people to listen to it.

Thanks so much.

Andrew Bishko

Andrew Bishko: Hello, this is Andrew Bishko from Napasha Music and from Musical U, receiving the question here, what’s one thing I’ve learned that could help musicians tap into their inner musicality? The first thing is to really claim that I have something to share about my inner musicality. I always feel like I’m such a baby in music, there is so much left to learn, but I’m right here and now claiming I do have something to share. When I look at musicians that I admire and I watch them perform and see them really getting into the music, when music seems to be a part of their inner expression, it’s magic. It looks like magic to me, and the one thing I’ve learnt is that I too can learn to practice magic. For me the practice of magic really began when I started playing Klezmer music, and I had to really look deeply into the melodies that I was making.

I was encouraged to play melodies, pick a melody and then play it many many times over, and play it in all different kinds of way. Changing the dynamics, the articulation, changing the rhythm, slowing the melody way down and focusing my attention on every single note and the meaning of every single note within that melody. I learned that there is no such thing as a repeated note. That every new note, every note, is a new event in time. It has its own fragrance, its own special qualities, its own gravity. This focus on melodies, on spending quality time with my melodies, became such an enjoyable practice for me and it’s affected everything that I do with music.

So even now when I play chords, I have this sensitivity to how things are moving through time and how I can maybe just make a little change in my timbre or a slight change in the dynamics or articulation, that will add more meaning to what’s happening in that moment. And I get into it and I enjoy it. It’s so pleasurable. So I want to encourage you all to find that one musical thing that you love to do, that you want to practice over and over again, that you want to delve into the depths of it, find every little nuance. To play something over and over and over and find the nuances in all the different ways you can do it. Whether you’re improvising or playing something that’s already been played before, take that attention to slow down and enjoy your melodies, and you’ll find that magic within yourself. So I invite you all to be musical magicians. Thank you so much. Bye bye.

Brent Vaartstra

Brent Vaartstra: Hey, what’s up, this is Brent Vaartstra from learnjazzstandards.com. If there’s something that I’ve learned throughout my musical journey that I think can help others tap in to their inner musicality, it’s not something scales. It’s not learn this song. It’s not here’s this music theory concept. It’s actually a lot simpler than that, and it is learn the stuff that gives you energy.

Learn the stuff that gives you energy because at the end of the day, what’s going to help keep you motivated and what’s going to make you feel energized to continue on throughout your musical journey through the times where things are tough, where you may feel like you’ve hit a plateau. Maybe you feel like you’re not improving fast enough. Maybe you are comparing yourself to other musicians who are better than you.

If there’s one thing that’s going to help you get over those hurdles is by feeling energized by what you are learning. That means that sometimes, it’s not learning the things that everybody is telling you to do. You don’t have to learn that scale or learn that particular piece. Sometimes, those things while they’re all important, those things aren’t the things that are going to get you out of bed.

At the end of the day, we’re all playing the music because we love it, because it gives us joy and we have to remember that. If there’s a particular piece of music that you really want to learn, go ahead and learn that. Throughout that process, you’re going to learn all the other musical lessons along the way. Maybe there’s a tune or a song that you really want to play but you’re not quite there yet. Then you can put that up there as a goal, as something to reach for. That’s your thing that’s giving you energy that you’re going to climb up the ladder step by step to get to that point.

Always be searching for that thing that gives you energy and that’s what keeps me excited to improve as a musician is always searching and reaching for that thing. I think if we’re all doing that, we’re going to learn all the musical lessons that we need to learn along the way and improve as musicians.

David Reed

David Reed: Hi, this is David Reed. I’m the founder of Improvise For Real and the creator of most of the learning materials at improviseforreal.com. I think the tip that I would like to share is to make creativity and your own freedom of expression on your instrument a really fundamental part of your practicing right from the very beginning.

In other words, don’t think of expressing your own music or being creative in music as something that comes later, maybe after you’ve learned a bunch of theory or you’ve mastered your instrument or you’ve learned a bunch of scales, but rather think of it as an important part of the way that you learn about all these musical materials in the first place, just the same way we would study any other art form. If you take a painting class, you’ll be learning techniques and you’ll be learning about materials and things but right from the first day you’ll also be making your own paintings.

You’ll have to make your own decisions about how to use the things that you’re learning and you’ll have some creative freedom there. That’s a wonderful thing that you can apply in music as well. I’ll give you a very simple example of how to do that. Let’s say you’re starting out and you’re just learning the notes of a single major scale. That’s really all you need. Well instead of just practicing that scale mechanically up and down with a metronome, go get yourself a jam track in that key, put the jam track on in the background and improvise freely with the notes of that scale.

It’s going to sound beautiful because every note of your scale is going to harmonize perfectly with that backing track. That’s the whole magic of playing in the key of the music, is that everything sounds great. You’ll still be getting your technical practice because you’ll be playing the notes but you’ll also be developing yourself creatively and you’ll be really getting a headstart on learning about harmony and composition and the music that you can make with these sounds.

That would be my tip, is don’t wait to include creative activities in your practicing. Make it a basic part of the way that you’re learning about music right from the beginning.

Melody Payne

Melody Payne: Hi, this Melody Payne of melodypayne.com and I wanted to share with you one thing that I’ve learned to help students play more musically from the very beginning. I wrote a blog post about three rules for magical, musical, moving performances and I believe that we can give our students concrete rules of playing musically from the very beginning.

Such as when the notes go higher, play more loudly. When the notes go lower, play more softly and usually the last notes of a piece are the softest. Those are the three rules that I usually give to my students and before long, they’re playing musically automatically without even thinking about it.

Andy Wasserman

Andy Wasserman: Hello. This is musical artist Andy Wasserman. Certified instructor of George Russell’s Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization, The Art and Science of Tonal Gravity. I’m honored to be able to tell you something I share with students that may shed light on their ability to tune into their inner musicality.

As a lifelong full time professional musician, what intrigues me about this question is the key word inner, the interior perspective is indispensable if the wisdom required to uncover our innate talent is awakened and taken to a higher level where it’s free to grow and flourish. Imagine with me for a moment, that your awesome process of music making is like a treasure hunt. No matter what age you are, level, style, or whatever instruments you play, unlike the children’s game where a map gives clues to search an external location for the treasure, our musical treasure hunt is internal.

Now, imagine we’re searching for a treasure chest. Inside it is musical gold, our priced, unparalleled individual sound. It’s as unique as your fingerprint. Some people call this the universal sound but the cool thing is this, the treasure is actually in our very own chest. This singular treasure in your chest is where you’ll discover your sound and the most necessary thing of all, the heartbeat of rhythm and the fountain of emotion. It’s the basis for meaningful, enjoyable, and authentic music.

While creating our music, this inner music is our center of gravity. I like to say, it’s the music in us that hears the music. Connecting inwardly opens the door to listening in a new way. The hidden meaning within the treasure trove of sounds in our heart has the capacity to resonate as pure joy while we play as long as we trust it. That is why so many of us devout so much energy to the musical process because we simply love doing it.

Working on becoming the best listener we can be, brings balance into our lives and allows us to express our humanity, and in expressing ourselves through this ancient language called music, we have the humbling opportunity to return the inner resonance of our sound back to its source.

Jimmy Rotheram

Jimmy Rotheram: Hi, I’m Jimmy Rotheram from Feversham Primary Academy. I’m the music coordinator here. I’ve been asked by the guys at the Musicality Podcast to give some tips on how to tap into your inner musicality.

I’d say the first rule of any kind of music making is it should be ultimately a pleasurable experience. If you’re practicing and practicing, it should be with an end in sight and with a goal in sights, or otherwise it can just be frustrating and it can become quite a grind. If you find that practicing is becoming like that, then maybe it’s time to take a few steps back or do something completely different rather than sort of sticking at it and getting yourself very frustrated.

It is true that the more you put in, the more you get out of music but it’s also important that it should be a pleasurable experience. The thing I would recommend most for anyone who wants to improve the musicianship is to get some Kodály training. For me it works wonders. I was always a musician that could play by ear and I’ve been able to do it since I was a very small child. However, I always found reading music very, very difficult. The way that it was explained to me at school, dotted crotchet is worth three quavers and a quaver’s worth half a crotchet. It was explained in a very mathematical way. I was particularly good at math. What helped me was having rhythm as movement, and that’s rhythm’s syllables. A quaver’s not a TiTi. A crotchet’s ta so a rhythm would be something like ta, tee, tee, tica tica, taw. Titi, ta, tika, tika, ta. Far more easy than trying to think, “Well, that’s worth half of one of them and that’s worth two and a half of one of them.” It’s really hard work.

One of the things that Kodály training really improved my sight reading to the point where I’m actually saying now I’m quite good at it which I never, ever thought would be possible.

Another great tool that you learn through Musicianship and Kodály training is relative solfa. I always explain the benefit of solfa as being it makes some very difficult things suddenly very easy. For example, if we’re trying to sing the Locrian mode, the way I was taught that was that the Locrian mode has the most alterations of any scales so it would have a flattened second, a flattened third, a flattened fifth, the flattened sixth, a flattened seventh, and you’re trying to work all that out in relations were made to scales. Very, very difficult indeed.

There’s a really easy way of doing it and that’s simply to do “do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, do, ti, la, so, fa, me, ray, do”. But start in ti instead so you go “ti, do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, la, so, fa, mi, re, do, ti”. That makes it much, much, much easier.

As well as the Kodály training, I would recommend joining a choir. Joining a choir is a great way of just picking up lots of musicality and a lot of it will happen unconsciously, but you’ll get a very big understanding of how many are of good sense of pitch, very good sense of tone, a sense of working with other musicians, and synchronizing with them and bouncing with them. I’m not sure if you get an opportunity if you’re an instrumental player, join the band, or join the choir, even if it’s just as a hobby because that will keep you motivated to keep practicing and keep your standards up.

Finally, I would say get a good teacher. You cannot underestimate the value of a good teacher. I had things that I was getting frustrated on and I practiced it for weeks, and weeks, and weeks, and I was on end. All that it took was a really good teacher just to kind of move me away from the piano to a bit movement away from the piano and then a few little tweaks to my technique. All of a sudden, I could play these things that I’ve never dreamt myself able to ever do and also it was very easy for me. I didn’t need to do hours and hours of practice, just a few top tips from a top teacher, really, really made all the difference to me.

So there are my big main tips for tapping into your inner musicality. Remember, that everybody’s musical. It’s a myth, things like tone deafness and being unmusical – everybody’s musical if you get the right sort of experiences and the right sort of training. Good luck to everybody. All the best with it and do enjoy it and believe that you can do it.

Thank you very much. Bye.

Judy Rodman

Judy Rodman: This is Judy Rodman of judyrodman.com.

The subject of tapping into one’s musicality is fascinating. What awakens the muse to create musical expression?

In my work as a singer and songwriter and vocal coach and producer and musician, I have found that the most important thing is to remember that all art, including musical expression, is about creating messages.

Sometimes as with carving sculptures, the message only becomes clear as we make choices to explore melodic twists and turns. To add or clear away surplus chords, riffs or embellishments. Practicing technique is important but it can’t be the end goal if one wishes to dig deep into one’s creative source.

So how do you find a message? I find it really, really useful to ask questions. What is this guitar riff, keyboard pad or chord progression saying? Listen deeply and I swear there will be words. Or, what tempo, major or minor chord, melody or harmony choice would best express the heart of this message? And most importantly, to whom am I delivering this message? To what one heart? If I get through with the message, what would that look like, in the listener’s body language?

The point of your musicality spear will sharpen when you ask these questions. Great music delivers messages that get specific responses from specific hearts, so it follows that creating great music involves exploring, choosing and intending to deliver great messages. Especially those that somehow, in some way, make the world a better place.

Natalie Weber

Natalie Weber: Hi. My name is Natalie Weber from musicmattersblog.com. One of the things that has been the most helpful to me over the years with my music education is learning to really listen and giving myself time and space to experiment and create, specifically at the piano since that’s my instrument.

As somebody with a pretty driven type A personality, a lot of my music studies and then even as I got into teaching music were centered on getting things right or checking things off of a list and so, it was a pretty big step and sometimes, honestly felt like a bit of a step backwards, but just to not worry so much about what I was accomplishing and just to take time to explore and to create and to listen to different sounds.

One of the things that was helpful in taking that step was just seeking out different tools and resources and people who encouraged that kind of experimentation and exploration at the piano and then, building up a repertoire of tools that could help me in that whether it was a specific chord progression to try improvising different things or different compositional ideas, just things that helped me break outside of the box and the traditional mold of just read it off the page, check it off the list and move on.

That’s been huge in my own music development and interestingly, has helped me in reading music and building my strengths as well as helping give me tools to grow in areas where I tended to be a little bit weaker.

Matthew Scott Phillips and Jeremy Burns

Jeremy Burns: Hello, Chris and all those at the musicality podcast.

Matthew Scott Phillips: Hello.

Jeremy Burns: Congratulations on your 100th episode. I am Jeremy Burns.

Matthew Scott Phillips: And I am Matthew Scott Phillips.

Jeremy Burns: We are from the podcast music student 101.

Matthew Scott Phillips: Yes.

Jeremy Burns: And we have been giving a great question from Adam Lee over at the musicality podcast. He says, “what’s one thing that you’ve learned that could help musicians tap into their inner musicality?”

Matthew Scott Phillips: Tap into their inner musicality? That is a big question.

Jeremy Burns: Let us define that just in case people don’t fully … If you haven’t listened to 100 episodes of musicality podcast and don’t know what musicality is, according to webster’s musicality is, musical talent or sensitivity. The quality of having a pleasant sound or a melodiousness.

Matthew Scott Phillips: And if you ask our musicality podcast, they just saying, basically it’s musicianship.

Jeremy Burns: It is musicianship.

Matthew Scott Phillips: Pure and simple.

Jeremy Burns: So tell me, Matt.

Matthew Scott Phillips: Yes.

Jeremy Burns: What are some things that you could … that you found that has helped tapped into your musicality?

Matthew Scott Phillips: If I had to offer advice on this subject, I would say, just listen to music. Listen actively to music and try to understand what’s going on in whatever way you feel comfortable. Try to understand the chord progressions, the phrases, try to understand how that all works together. Sit there and think about it, sit there and listen to music. Actually listen to these principles at work. It can be very easy to get bogged down and music theory ideas or in practice routines or in learning the sound or this or learning this or that concept. And we can forget that all of these concepts came from music. Music doesn’t come from the concepts. The concepts come from music.

Jeremy Burns: Very nice.

Matthew Scott Phillips: I would say, listen to as much music as you can. Listen to different music. Go outside your comfort zone, listen to something you don’t listen to a lot of and try to understand how that works, what it’s trying to do and how it’s going about doing that. Do that a lot and you will find … I have found at least that that has helped my musicality more than anything else, just relishing in that sense of wonder I feel whenever I hear really good music.

Jeremy Burns: And you’re also … It sounds like you’re also kind of listening to other types of music that you’re not quite as familiar or comfortable with.

Matthew Scott Phillips: Oh, sure.

Jeremy Burns: And maybe applying some of your analysis, some of your theory analysis to that.

Matthew Scott Phillips: Absolutely. Yeah, it’s all the same 12 notes so that … you can think about … you can listen to a lot of things and apply what you know and it is a source of constant enrichment, it’s as a source of constant growth.

Jeremy Burns: Your method is based on more theory and ear training and kind of applying the knowledge that we are sharing with you guys and the musicality podcast is sharing with you guys.

Matthew Scott Phillips: Yeah, absolutely. Applying some theory, applying some ideas and also just … If you don’t hear any of that, that’s okay. Just listen and listen actively. Not have it on the background while you’re studying or something, but actually listen and pay attention.

Jeremy Burns: Okay, very good. I want to share my perspective from a performance standpoint.

Matthew Scott Phillips: Excellent.

Jeremy Burns: And this is something that came to me a long time ago, even when I was first learning how to play the bass and I’ll just lay in bed with the lights off and just play my bass and just get to know the fret board, get to know the instrument, gets to know how it feels to where it becomes an extension of yourself. That’s how intimate you want to get with your instrument, but that takes a lot of time and work to do.

Matthew Scott Phillips: It does.

Jeremy Burns: But keep in the back of your mind that as you’re doing this, anytime you even think about your instrument or music or notes that you play or sounds that you hear, anytime you pick up your instrument, if not to some nano degree, you’re getting that much better. It’s kind of like gaining experience points in the role playing game of music.

Matthew Scott Phillips: Even if you’re just noodling around.

Jeremy Burns: Yeah. Noodling, that’s a good one. What would you call that, Grinding?

Matthew Scott Phillips: Grinding.

Jeremy Burns: Grinding from experience points?

Matthew Scott Phillips: I tell you, one of the best decisions I ever made in my life was deciding I could not afford to buy the bass guitar and also a case. Because if I had put it in my case, I would have put it in the case and put it under the bed and largely forgotten about it, right? But because it was just sort of sitting in my room, every time I walked in I would pick it up.

Jeremy Burns: Saying, “Play me.”

Matthew Scott Phillips: Yeah, I would pick it up and I would play around and I would try to play whatever song was in my head at that moment or something and it helped me become really familiar, not just with my instrument but the way my music, the way my instrument functions.

Jeremy Burns: To even do that, to even set up some kind of a system for yourself that has that in consideration, shows the amount of passion that you have for music, you itself and I think that the innate passion that someone has about music for music is evident if they’ve made it to this episode.

Matthew Scott Phillips: Absolutely.

Jeremy Burns: Or episode 50 for our podcasts that is coming up. I think if the passion is there, It kind of comes naturally. But all those little things, if you do them, they can add to your musicality or your musicianship or just your relationship with music.

Matthew Scott Phillips: Yeah. Don’t forget, play with people.

Jeremy Burns: Play with people. That’s another important thing because you’re not going to know how to get in the pocket with yourself. Right? I don’t think.

Matthew Scott Phillips: I think you’re always perpetually in the pocket with yourself, right?

Jeremy Burns: Right, yeah. Sometimes you need a, maybe a drum player with a better sense of tempo than you do to really show you where the pocket is and if someone to work with and find the pocket together.

Matthew Scott Phillips: It helps your people skills too.

Jeremy Burns: Help your people skills.

Matthew Scott Phillips: It helps your collaborative abilities.

Jeremy Burns: Which is extremely important, I think, in the business world in music.

Matthew Scott Phillips: Yeah.

Jeremy Burns: And just playing with other people.

Matthew Scott Phillips: Yeah. Playing with other people.

Jeremy Burns: Because what do we always say? They’re not going to call you and say, “hey, we were going to get you for this Gig, but you’re just beep.” And we don’t want to work with beeps.

Matthew Scott Phillips: Yeah.

Jeremy Burns: They just won’t call you. They’ll call the next person who’s not a beep.

Matthew Scott Phillips: Yeah, and work with him or her. Yeah, absolutely. All of those things are important. All of those things are actually more important than being good, I think, at least in terms of enhancing your musicality, I mean if you and your buddies start a band to play around just because you like it. You don’t have to be the next dream theater. Just the fact that you’re playing together is enhancing the musicality. Just the fact that you’re sitting and playing your instrument in your room and it’s in your hands and you’re thinking about it. Just the fact that you’re listening to music with an ear towards, “well why does this music doing.” All of these things are extraordinarily important in your growth as a musician.

Jeremy Burns: Right?

Matthew Scott Phillips: The things that are often … can be overlooked in our quest for conceptual understanding, right?

Jeremy Burns: Right. Yeah, and of course, keep on listening to the musicality podcast.

Matthew Scott Phillips: Absolutely. They’re doing a great job over there.

Jeremy Burns: And check out and musical you, because I’ve been really digging that. I’ve been getting a lot from musical you.

Matthew Scott Phillips: And it’s a great little resource. It really is.

Jeremy Burns: It really is. Thanks again, Christopher Sutton. Thanks again, musicality podcast and thanks again musical you.

Matthew Scott Phillips: Thank you guys so much and congratulations on your 100th.

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The post Unlocking Your Musicality: Part One appeared first on Musical U.