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And what’s more, once you’re in, now you have access to learn from all the other top 1% musicians you’re hanging around. They call it “shedding.” You’re hanging out after a concert and you hear a new run or chord voicing they’ve played and you immediately say, “hey, let me have that.” And they gladly share with you because they know you can return the favor. They aren’t going to shed with you if you have nothing to bring to the table. It’s a catch-22.
I mean, some will share because not all the top players exhibit these characteristics... but I can tell you from experience --- it seems to come with the territory. Play for a few celebrities and they start thinking they’re one too! ☺ Most musicians would be laughed out of this circle unfortunately. They can sniff you out after just a few seconds of you playing.
If you think you’re good because your non-musician Pastor has pumped your head up... well, you’ll get a reality check when you get around “real players” from this group.
If you’ve ever been to a musical, they’re lined up along the walls or even hanging out in the “musicians box” or backstage if it’s a huge mega church.
Now just imagine every city having one of these “circles.” I only point out Los Angeles because obviously it’s a hub for music and entertainment and close to where I live.
But even in small rural towns, there are the “known musicians” and then there are the forgotten, “rest of them.” What’s interesting, though, is that I’ve seen singers, who were “connected” because of their brilliant singing ability, shift over to playing the keyboard from scratch... all because they had a professional head start from a fellow insider.
I’ve been baffled to hear someone accompany themselves on the piano (with very nice chords and progressions, not beginner stuff) --- only to find out they’ve been playing for just 6 months.
Have you ever seen celebrities bust out playing the piano and after years of following them, you never knew they played piano until now? That’s because they probably haven’t played piano until NOW!
-9Hey, but when you’re an insider and you have access to the help of professionals, that’s not impossible.
Luckily, there’s other ways to gain access.
You can “buy access” from a private instructor.
That is, if they teach what you want to learn.
Fact is, there are tons of teachers out there. But majority of them are classically focused.
You’ll be playing Beethoven and Bach and stuff like that.
If that’s your cup of tea, access to professionals is not a problem. Just be prepared for a minimum of 2-4 lessons per month at around $50 each. That’ll pay for a good 30-45 minutes per session... a budget of about $100.00 - $200.00 a month. If you’re serious, then $200 is the going rate... actually cheap compared to other alternatives...
...Alternatives like Julliard or Berklee School Of Music. And you can’t just have the $40,000 year required to go to these prestigious music schools... you better have a stellar audition piece and know how to read sheet music inside and out.
For those of us who play by ear, even if you have the money to fork over, you’re already disqualified. But obviously, this is the most rewarding option... it’s just not cheap and not totally geared towards church playing.
With the advent of the internet, you can now gain access to the knowledge and experience of others without living in their city or going to their church or bribing your way into the insider’s circle... or paying $200/month for lessons.
That’s why we created the Gospel Music Training Center. It’s an economical way to have the comprehensive access you need to piggy-back on the experience of trained, professional musicians and teachers.
It’s closed to the mass public at the moment but it’ll be open soon.
So those are some ideas concerning “access,” a major part of next-level growth because it’s impossible to go on this journey alone. Well, it’s possible but few can travel that path.
3) You take action and practice productively If you haven’t caught on, all of these go hand-in-hand.
Even if you have “natural abilities,” you won’t go far without honing and cultivating them.
Even if you have “access” in one way or another, you’re not going to magically inherit super powers.
If you have both natural ability and access, you’re still going to have to take action.
There is a difference between the two. Both are important.
When you practice, it’s important to do things right. This is called efficiency.
That’s why I always tell people to slow things down to “turtle speed.” Don’t be caught up on doing everything at the actual speed it’s performed. You will eventually get there.
But for now, you must get in the habit of slowing things down so that your fingers get used to the movements.
Surely, the mind is a powerful device. It has the power to do hundreds of millions of things PER SECOND! Yes it’s true.
But that ain’t so true for your physical bones and muscles. That’s why the saying goes “mind over matter”... not “matter over mind.” So when you slow things down, you give your muscles the opportunity to memorize the SAME movements over and over.
REPETITION IS THE MOTHER OF SKILL.
But watch this...
Because most musicians try to play things fast from the get-go, they never give their muscles the opportunity to memorize ONE CORRECT way of doing the movement because every time they play it, they play it a different way.
Or worse, they fumble over notes and never do them accurately. So they never achieve muscle memory.
Heck, they probably experience muscle confusion... a technique that may help bodybuilders but it won’t do you well on the piano.
So just applying that one technique can lead to more productive practicing.
Productivity is all about being able to walk away from your instrument feeling like you’ve accomplished as much as you possibly could in the time allotted.
If you simply fumbled over a few chords and called it “practice,” it’s possible that you’ve set yourself back a few steps rather than gained from the practice. Imagine practice that actually harms your growth?
“DOING THE RIGHT THINGS.” I think this one carries a little more weight than the former.
Because it’s possible to do the wrong things right... ain’t it?
If you “pay for access” to a personal fitness trainer like I’ve done in the past and they tell you to perform exercise A, B, and C, 20 times each --- but you get “smart” and only do your favorite exercise 60 times (let’s say “exercise C”) instead of doing each of the three exercises 20 times each. In fact, you even do exercise “C” perfectly. You don’t miss a beat.
Have you done yourself any good?
Yes, you did one of the exercises right.
But you failed to do the right things. There’s a slight difference.
I can play major scales correctly but if I fail to realize the TRUE importance of scales and how they allow me to understand the universal “number system,” playing in all 12 keys, and how patterns work... then I’ve missed the boat.
I’ve done something right but missed the right thing to focus on. The order of these words is extremely important.
I know these are way out analogies but many people focus on doing things right just for the sake of saying they are doing something when they can spend a fifth of the time doing the REAL STUFF that’s going to make all the difference.
Now you get it?
There’s tons of stuff to study in music. That’s why people pay $50,000/year to get a top notch music education. I’m not mad at them either! Go for it! Audition well and cross your fingers!
But for the rest of us --- those for whom a $50,000/year education would be overkill (considering what we do)... there are key things we can focus on and there are other things that we can afford to leave by the wayside. That’s what I mean by “DOING THE RIGHT THINGS.” The first two reports clearly detailed the 5 elements to focus your limited time and resources on.
Report #1 – http://www.hearandplay.com/mtreport.pdf (44 pages).
Report #2 – http://www.hearandplay.com/missingchapter.pdf (29 pages).
But that’s up to YOU.
Only you can decide if you are sufficiently fed up with being stuck at the same level while others pass you up and if you’re finally ready to take action to radically transform your playing.
Only you know if you’re lazy or disciplined; smart or dull; up for the challenge or defeated already; a loser or a winner, someone who is serious and committed to success.
Part Three: How To Take One Element From The Entire Musician Transformation Formula And Use It To Play Almost Any Song You Hear...
If you’ve read my first two Musician Transformation reports, you’re already familiar with the
five elements of the formula:
The Musician Transformation 12-disc package I gave away for free to everyone who joined the Gospel Music Training Center in November and December includes 5 separate sections that cover each of these
Worse, those musicians who can only play in a few keys. If you start singing a song in “E major,” they’re stuck.
The problems are endless for folks who don’t understand all 5 of these elements. They are just that important.
But out of all of them, I do have a personal favorite. It’s “Pattern Proficiency,” which is covered in the Pattern Paradise dvd in the 12-disc collection.
I’ll tell you why...
All songs follow predictable, systematic, recycled patterns.
Don’t get me wrong... there are some exceptions. There are some brilliant song writers that come along and totally reinvent the wheel. But again, those are the exceptions.
It goes back to 80/20 rule... AGAIN.
I’d say 80% of songs can be deduced down to the same, common patterns covered herein.
And for some of you who skipped the first two reports:
NOTES CREATE SCALES(that’s all in the Fundamental Factory dvd)
SCALES CREATE CHORDS(that’s in the Chord County dvd)
CHORDS CREATE PATTERNS(bingo... that’s what I want to talk about here and that’s what’s covered in Pattern Paradise).
AND PATTERNS CREATE SONGS!
(all covered in Song Station dvd) Scales are a series of notes played one after the other.
Chords are a series of notes played together at the same time.
Chord Progressions (or patterns) are a series of chords played one after the other.
Songs are a series of patterns organized in a particular order.
As simple as that.
Let’s start with the basics.
When you’re listening to a song, your first goal is to establish the major key of the song. I did a free 30+ minute video tutorial on this topic at http://www.hearandplay.com/findingkey.
Once you know the song is in, for example, “C major,” now you have the right floor to press on the elevator.
Imagine trying to find a buddy who told you to meet him in a 12 story high rise building. How would it feel going floor by floor looking for him?
It wouldn’t be smart either right?
Musicians who try to learn a song without establishing the major key do exactly that. They’re looking for someone in a 12 story building.
That person could be anywhere!
And you’re most likely to burn out before you find him. Same thing with music.
First establish what floor you need to be on. That will determine where you look for what you’re looking for. Make sense?
If you’re on the floor of “C major,” well, that will lessen the amount of options you now have available to you... thus making things a little easier.
And it gets better.
So now you’ve narrowed your search to one floor.
What if I gave you the order in which to search?
So you’ve already narrowed your search from 12 floors to one. But now I’m going to tell you to search this suite first...
then that suite... then that room... then this room. Would that be helpful?
That’s exactly what this chart does for
Understand this first:
There are 7 unique notes that make up a major key.
If you play a C major scale (C D E F G A B C), there you go!...the 7 notes that make up the major key of C.
Now each one of those notes carry a particular “role” in C.
One of the notes can be considered “home.” Another one can be considered “away from home.” Another one might function as the “on my way home” degree (or tone) of the scale.
There are other roles like “getting ready to be on my way home” and “at my cousin’s house” but what’s important is that you understand how each tone of the scale functions. This will shave years off your learning curve.
In my first report at http://www.hearandplay.com/mtreport.pdf you learned there are chords
most likely to occur on each tone of the scale. Here’s a recap of that:
For example, if you’ve determined a song is in the key of “C major” and you’ve happened to pick out these bass notes in the song: C G A F, this system tells you exactly what chords are most likely to be played on each one of these bass notes.
Of course, this isn’t 100%. You won’t always find a major chord off the 1st tone of the scale just like you won’t always find a minor chord on the 2nd tone but these are like the “defaults.” You should always try them first. If they aren’t right, move on to other options!
The first thing I’d do is convert this bass line into numbers.
In C major:
C is the ____ tone of the scale.