With tom Jackson Performer’s edge Your Matrix: the Red Pill is hard to swallow The question from last month was, “I saw you work with that artist, but what should I do?” Most artists want to get better, but it’s frustrating when many don’t realize there’s no 3-minute answer about how to change their live show. So I sound like a broken record: learn these principles and make them your own – get my DVD and get sick of me! You can’t hear or see something one time and immediately “get it.” I’ve never had an artist do this! It takes education, wood-shedding, rehearsal and developing the skills over time. One event I taught this year was different than any of the others. It was the Music & Entertainment Industry Educators Association conference in Miami. Hundreds of students and educators were there from all over— Berkeley, University of Miami, Belmont,… After I taught, no one came up and asked me the question! What they asked instead was “How do we learn this stuff?” “Do you have a book or DVDs?” “This would be very valuable for us, and they don’t teach it in our college courses.” It was really, really refreshing although I didn’t think much of it at the time. But in the last weeks (after my busy teaching schedule was over) it struck me that these young college students knew they were there to learn. In some cases, they’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to go to prestigious schools to learn how to sing, perform and play better. And they don’t expect to learn it in a 90-minute workshop. They take semester after semester of music business classes, music theory, applied performance lessons and on and on. They know they don’t know, and they’re not looking for the quick fix. The more I do this, the more I look at my Live Music Method as a “master class” for people who want to learn. You may or may not be in college, but here are my thoughts about the question “what should I do?” Can you imagine watching a contractor taking months to build a house, then walking up to them after they’re done and saying, “I love what you did with that house, but I’d like something a little different…what should I build?” They know nothing about you or your needs. How about walking up to a record producer who just finished a record with Michael Buble or Lady Antebellum or The Black Eyed Peas and saying, “I’m different than artist XYZ… what should I do?” He doesn’t know you, your style, what you know, your capabilities, your songs… But I CAN make one recommendation without knowing you: learn these live music principles from the planning through the fundamental—learn how to create a moment, learn technical skills and onstage tools. Teaching those things is my calling, and I want you to get this! I wish I had an easier answer. That red pill is hard to swallow… but it’s the best one to take! 62 CCM