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With tom Jackson
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
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!