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Massage Therapy & Repetitive Strain
By Jeff P. Anliker
There is no question that conservative therapy is the best
option for those suffering with a Repetitive Strain Injury. From
Trigger Finger to Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, conservative therapy
produces the best results, limited side effects (if any),
quicker results and long-lasting relief.
There are many types of conservative treatments that provide a
variety of positive benefits to the user. Massage Therapy is a
terrific conservative treatment that provides good results by
itself, and even greater results when combined with a stretch
and exercise routine.
Massage is used to help relax and lengthen tight, restrictive
muscles, break down scar tissue in injured muscles, reduce
adhesions on affected tendons at their point of attachment to
the muscle or to the bone, remove toxins from muscles and
increase overall circulation and nutrient delivery to the
associated tissues. All of these wonderful benefits help
overworked muscles to relax and injured muscles to recover. The
problem is this. Massage Therapy does not correct the muscle
imbalances causing the Repetitive Strain Injury. Massage Therapy
can greatly assist the rehabilitation / treatment process, but
once a muscle has been injured and has atrophied to any
significant degree, or a muscle has gone into a state of chronic
hypertonicity, other therapeutic elements must be added to the
treatment regimen in order to completely eliminate the
Repetitive Strain Injury.
An integral part of treating Repetitive Strain Injuries is the
implementation of a stretch and exercise routine specifically
designed to create structural integrity and muscle balance where
the injury exists. If the injury is Tennis Elbow, there must be
an equality of strength between the wrist and elbow flexors,
wrist and elbow extensors, and wrist and forearm pronators and
supinators. By creating strong flexible muscles surrounding the
specific joint, that joint will no longer be highly susceptible
to Repetitive Strain Injuries.
The integration of Massage Therapy, stretches, exercises and
hydrotherapy is a highly effective treatment protocol for many
types of injuries. An example of a treatment sequence for a
'chronic injury', no matter the affected area, should follow
along these lines:
Hydrotherapy Heat - Heat to increase circulation to the area,
making the soft tissues relaxed and pliable.
Massage Phase-I - Specific massage treatment utilizing Trigger
Point Release techniques to release muscle spasm and Transverse
Friction Massage to break down adhesions.
Stretch - Stretch overly restrictive tissues to increase their
length and reduce their compression of underlying tissues.
Exercise - Perform strengthening exercises for the affected
tissues in order to reduce tensile strain on the injured area,
heal micro-tears and increase healing nutrients to the injured
area. Strong muscles create stability and prevent future
reoccurrence of micro-tears to a previously affected area.
Massage Phase-II - Perform light Petrissage and Effleurage
towards the heart to remove the toxins created from undergoing
Trigger Point Release, Transverse Friction Massage, stretches
Hydrotherapy Cold - Cool the injured tissues in an elongated
position as to not lose range-of-motion (ROM) of the affected
tissues and to further remove toxins from the area.
Massage Therapy and the involvement of the techniques listed
above are very effective in eliminating chronic Repetitive
Strain Injuries. Any one element by itself is OK, but by
implementing several sound conservative techniques, the success
rate of the treatment increases dramatically. Remember, when
injuries are present, choose the "Conservative Alternative".
About The Author: Jeff P.
Anliker, LMT, is a Therapist and Inventor of Therapeutic
Exercise Products that are utilized by Corporations, Consumers
and Medical Facilities around the world.
Balance Systems, Inc.
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Troubador! Richard Thompson Live
This week Ray and Jean travelled to Brisbane to see Richard
Thompson live at the Tivoli Theatre. Reading about the
event on the internet, he was billed as follows:
"A night of music rich in
substance and stripped of glitz. Hailed as “Britain’s greatest
living songwriter”, award-winning folk legend and WOMADelaide
hit Richard Thompson’s four decades of music-making have earned
him a devoted Australian following.
“His voice positively shone”
“Thompson hypnotised the adoring crowd…extraordinary technique”
Richard has already achieved
more as a songwriter and instrumentalist than most musicians
could do in a lifetime. Since co-founding the legendary Fairport
Convention in the 1960’s, his incredible gift has earned him
many accolades and the respect and admiration of his peers,
ranging back to Jimi Hendrix to today's young giants, including
REM and John Mellencamp."
Well, he didn't disappoint!
Here's what Ray had to say (and he rarely lavishes praise for
"Richard Thompson played The Tivoli in Brisbane on Wednesday,
March 15 and proved to be a consummate entertainer. His
songwriting, singing and guitar playing are considerable taken
separately, but in combination they move him into another realm.
If that weren't enough, his sense of humour
enhanced his easy rapport with the audience. So impressed
were we at the power and delicacy of his playing and singing
that we called him back for two encores. One man and a guitar -
Brilliant! ........Ray Hogan"
one of our favourite performers, we already have a section
devoted to Richard Thompson in our artists pages. If you'd
like to find out more,
click here to check him out.
Performance - Make The Most Of It!
Getting ready for any type of guitar performance can be a little
scary at first, but if you are well prepared, you will find the
experience much easier to handle. Whether you're playing with a
band, or by yourself; are a seasoned performer, or a rookie;
there are several things you can do to make the most of your
performance. First and foremost, realize that you are not the
first one on the block to ever feel jittery about playing your
guitar in public. It's a common experience among musicians, and
being a little nervous can even work in your favor.
There is always a mysterious struggle that goes on inside me
when I'm about to give a performance. I think it's something
akin to the Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde phenomenon. Two voices
bantering for my attention, the good guy and the bad guy. Mr.
Hyde tells me that I must be out of my mind. What makes me think
I'm good enough to get up on a stage and play my guitar before
an audience? Who do I think I am anyway? On the other hand, Dr.
Jekyl tells me that I've worked hard practicing my guitar and
know the material well. It will be fun to share what I've got
with others so they can enjoy hearing it too. Be brave, live
life to the fullest and go for it!
Because I am basically a shy person, it would be much easier for
me not to play my guitar in public. But there is a certain
drive, almost a need I have, to express myself through music;
especially with regard to playing my own material. Yes, there is
a certain risk involved; it's called being vulnerable. Anything
could happen... A string could break (been there), you might
forget the words or chords to the song (been there), you might
make a mistake and have to start over (been there too). But no
matter what happens, the world will go on and you will discover
that people are very supportive and encouraging overall. I'm
always amazed when I get positive feedback over a performance
that I thought was absolutely awful. It provides me with more
incentive to continue on.
So how can you make the most of your guitar performance? Below
I've put together several suggestions for you to consider. They
are in no particular order of importance. Some may be relevant
to you at certain times and irrelevant at others. Just take what
you need and ignore the rest.
1. Develop a repertoire (song list) of approximately ten to
twelve songs and memorize them.
2. Make sure you select songs with different tempos and rhythms
for your performance in order to create and sustain interest
from your audience.
3. Pick songs with varying degrees of difficulty, but don't
overestimate yourself. Be realistic about your own ability. You
want to pick songs that you enjoy and are able to play well on
your guitar when no one is watching. If you find that you are
constantly making mistakes in a particular song, give yourself
more time to get it down before actually performing it in
4. Practice playing with distractions. You will be amazed at how
beneficial this can be. I remember playing at an outdoor concert
once where the band that was to follow mine was warming up right
behind us! Tamborines and all. One of the bandmembers actually
started asking me questions about my guitar performance and
wanted to know how I learned to play like that! It was very
weird, but all I could do was ignore her. After that experience
and a few others like it, I began practicing my repertoire with
the T.V. and radio turned up pretty loud to mimic such
5. Start your performance off with something that you find easy
to play on the guitar and graduate to the more difficult pieces
later. This will help you to warm up your fingers and get
comfortable with being on stage. I usually like to start with a
strong, upbeat song in order to gain the attention of the
audience and rid my stomach of butterflys.
6. Get a good night's sleep the night before your performance if
at all possible. That will help keep you fresh and alert and
also reduce your level of anxiety.
7. Avoid drinking too much alcohol or caffeine.
8. Have all your clothes, equipment, contact information and
directions ready the night before.
9. Always have extra strings, pics and guitar batteries, etc. in
your gig bag.
10. Relax, take a deep breath and try to enjoy yourself. After
all, it's just another part of the learning process and
tomorrow's a brand new day!
About the Author: Kathy Unruh
is a singer/songwriter and webmaster of ABC Learn Guitar. She
has been writing songs and providing guitar lessons to students
of all ages for over 20 years. For free guitar lessons, plus
tips and resources on songwriting, recording and creating a
music career, please visit:
Review Is Required!
By Jamie Andreas
One of the aspects of a properly balanced practice approach that
is VERY often overlooked is REVIEW. The common tendency of most
students is to focus on "new" things to play, even if last
month's or last year's "new" thing was never properly learned.
There are a few reasons for this:
Reasons We Don't Review:
1. New is always exciting. There is a certain rush of
exhilaration as we begin a new song or piece, especially if we
really like it. Some of us are just addicted to that buzz!
2. Taking on something new gives us the feeling that we are
"moving along". Well, I guess we are, but where we are going is
not going to be any better than the place we just left!
3. Our teacher may want us to "move along" to the next page in
the book, or a new song. This is because he/she is afraid we
will think we are not learning if we stay to long on one thing,
or go back to something we had previously worked on.
4. Going back and reviewing something makes us feel bad about
ourselves as guitar players, since we know what is going to
happen if we go back and try to get that solo, or that piece, to
sound better than it did last time we played it. We won't be
able to! We will hit all the same problem spots, and they will
still be problems, and the music will sound the same as it did
the last time we battled with it. We will fight the same
battles, and we will lose again. That is because we are fighting
them the same way! Because we never learned how to practice, WE
DON'T KNOW HOW TO IMPROVE THINGS!
(As I began to learn how to practice, how to take something and
make it better, reviewing took on a very enjoyable, even
exciting aspect. Since I was getting better all the time, I
couldn't wait to see how much improvement I could create on a
piece I really loved, and had some little, maybe big problems,
You must examine yourself, and see where you stand with all of
this. Ask yourself these questions:
1. Do I regularly review songs, pieces, solos, and exercises?
2. Do I see the results of regular review bearing fruit for me
in the form of an ever growing repertoire (group of pieces we
have mastered and can play)?
3. Is this repertoire getting "better" all the time, or is it
plagued with weak spots?
We are, of course, looking for YES answers here. If you come up
with "No's", "Maybe's", or "Um, could you re-phrase the
question", then you need to take serious heed of what I am
Now of course, we must, on a regular basis, take on new
material. But we must also, on a regular basis, review old
material. Let's look at some of the reasons why this is so.
Reasons We Should Review: Long Range/Short Range Building of
Often, as I give a student something new, I will tell them "it
is not possible for you at the present level of your
development, to learn this piece (or song) well enough to be
able to play it the way it is supposed to be played. Consider
this piece like a tree you are planting. It will take a while,
maybe a year or two, to grow fully. Each time you come back to
work on this again, each time you review it, it will grow taller
and stronger. Right now, we are just going to "plant the seed".
We then work on the piece or song or even exercise, until a
"first goal" is reached. A "first goal" is the level of
proficiency that I feel the student is capable of achieving at
their present level of development. Of course, this means the
level they can bring the music to IF they do their absolute best
in terms of practicing it. This may take two weeks, it may take
two months, it may even take 4 to 6 months before I feel the
student has taken it as far as they can.
At this point, they can stop "working on" the music, and just
"play it". It can become part of their repertoire even if it
hasn't been brought up to performance level. Playing it will
keep it in their fingers, and in a general way, it may even
improve just by playing it, but usually whatever technical
problems still remain WILL remain.
Whether the music is still played, or put aside, the point is
that at some later time that music must be re-visited. Those
technical problems that were beyond reach must be gone back to
later on, maybe six months later, maybe a year. IF THE STUDENT
HAS BEEN DEVELOPING PROPERLY THEY WILL BE ABLE TO TAKE THAT
MUSIC FURTHER, BEYOND THEIR FIRST GOAL.
It is this process, repeated over and over, that builds a solid
repertoire, and a solid player.
A good example is a student of mine who was new to fingerpicking.
We worked on Dust in the Wind for about 6 months, and I mean the
whole song as a guitar solo, chord melody arrangement, including
transcribing the violin solo for guitar. He learned it pretty
well, but it broke down in a few places due to left hand
problems and the fact that he wasn't properly trained in
classical right hand technique (we had been doing mostly
electric and jazz up till then).
We then spent about a year doing classical studies, and
recently, I told him to review Dust in the Wind. What a
difference! He now can play it very fluently, and it is
extremely satisfying for both of us to see the progress that was
made. This is the way it should be for all of us.
Review with a "New You"
Robert Louis Stevenson said "A man who holds the same views at
forty that he did at twenty, is a man who has been stupefied for
twenty years!" I say, a person who plays a piece of music at the
same level now as he did a year ago, does not know how to
practice and does not know how to create vertical growth in
their playing ability.
At any given point, there should be a "new you", when it comes
to life, or guitar. When this "new, improved you" reviews an
"old piece of music", it should become a "new, improved, piece
of music" once again.
Copyright 2000 Jamie Andreas. All rights reserved. Used by
permission. Free! 10 Things You Can Do Right Now to Become a Better Guitarist!
“The Principles of Correct Practice for Guitar,” the Perfect
Start for Beginners, the Answer to the Problems of Players. Start
to play the
guitar without getting bad habits, or get rid of the bad habits
have, by knowing how to do "perfect practice" with the Principles
Practice for Guitar.
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Playing With Conviction
instrumentalists we have to try that much harder to communicate
with the listener because there is no vocalist to do that for
us. We have to make sure our instrumental voice carries."
I'm very often disappointed when I go and hear straight-ahead
jazz guitarists play in a club, no matter how good they may be.
Many have practiced their technique and have a knowledge of
harmony that is clearly impressive. They have good time and play
well with the other band members. But 9 times out of 10 I am
disappointed and for the most part I think I know why.
Most of these players spend countless hours in the bedroom
practicing, working on stuff, perfecting things, analyzing chord
changes, working on harmonic ideas and so on, something that no
one recommends more highly than I, but it seems that so often
these musicians lack the ability to communicate musically.
It actually reminds me a little of when I used to live in London
and I'd be having a drink with a few horn players at the bar
during an intermission (in the UK, horn players particularly
from the north of England seem to enjoy a pint or two!) and I'd
listen to them say how much they had no time at all for the
'punters' in the audience. With this attitude, those horn
players put themselves on a pedestal, instantly separating
themselves, drawing an imaginary line at the end of the stage.
More like an electric fence! I never understood it, it was
almost a way of justifying how little work they were prepared to
do to really get their musical point across. What they said
musically might have been very clever, even impressive, but
whatever it was remained on the stage. No one in the audience
was invited to experience that musical conversation. The
audience was the last thing that mattered it seemed.
Now I'm not suggesting that we as artists entertain with tap
dancing, plate spinning, telling jokes and so on, I'm talking
about finding a way to connect with the audience, and the first
step to doing this is through sound projection with our
instrument. Don't forget, as instrumentalists we have to try
that much harder to communicate with the listener because there
is no vocalist to do that for us. We have to make sure our
instrumental voice carries.
And I find, going back to my disappointment with so many jazz
guitarists in clubs, that they simply are not concerned with
that communication between themselves and the audience. I do not
believe it has been an issue with most of them and I believe it
is extremely important.
I am talking about playing with real conviction. So many players
lack that strength, everything is quiet and timid and they seem
like they are looking for the right notes, meandering away,
somewhat apologetically. This does not translate to an audience,
very often does not translate to other musicians. Too many hours
in the bedroom practicing obsessively and not enough time in
coffee shops talking to other human beings about THEIR lives!
Musicians can be horribly insular and those completely obsessed
with their instruments usually end up as the biggest victims,
and they may not even know it. But I digress a little...
What I am really talking about is playing every note with total
conviction, with confidence, like you really mean every note.
Even if that phrase is just five notes in length, really MEAN
that phrase. Make it important to you that Joe Blow in the
audience, who knows nothing about sophisticated harmony, feels
you, understands you.
Imagine you are in a club or even a concert hall. Play a musical
phrase and imagine that the people in the back of the theater
need to "feel" that phrase, just like you mean to feel
it. How would you do that? Imagine the sound really projecting,
cutting through right down the middle of the auditorium. Imagine
there's no mike on your amp and you have to really project your
sound. Not loud but centered. This is the stuff classical
guitarists have to deal with in their really advancing years
because very often they are at the mercy of their guitar and an
ambient concert hall. And get it together they do!
Go listen to Pat Martino in a club and see if you struggle to
hear, and feel every single note of every phrase he is playing.
And with a tone that is just unsurpassable. I saw a private
concert with Pat Metheny last year at USC and he came out on
stage, assumed a stance, closed his eyes and didn't move an inch
for the whole song, he was so transfixed, so in the moment. His
sound and tone was impeccable, and every note was played with
passion and conviction.
Not communicating may have something to do with jazz guys who
get concerned and somewhat insecure the more they know.
Conversely, rock guitarists who are often unabashedly complacent
about their musical limitations, play with a sense of angst and
conviction that seems to communicate quite well! Go figure.
Whatever the genre, I really believe it is the difference
between a musician playing for himself and an artist who really
needs to get his or her point across.
I especially noticed this whole, almost intangible philosophy,
when I first made the transition from touring sideman to
recording artist. As a sideman I found it all too easy to hide
behind my guitar even when I got the chance to really step out
as a soloist. But the minute I had to come to the front of the
stage as an artist, it suddenly dawned on me that I had to get
my guitar to really speak! I had to cut through the band like a
vocalist who floats on top. "How do I do that?" I asked
And this is the moment that I started becoming quite focused on
developing a unique sound and style. And I found that by really
meaning every note that I played (and of course getting the best
guitar sound I possibly could) and focusing on sound projection,
I started to achieve that.
And it is an on going effort, and I find I disappoint myself
too, and it is usually because I am not in the moment. And when
I am not in the moment I don't communicate the way I want to
I think it is also absolutely fine to play quietly. Joe Pass had
everyone on the edge of their seats when I used to see him all
the time playing at Ronnie Scott's in London back in the 80's.
Same with Ted Greene. Just astoundingly beautiful.
Here's another thing to think about. I have been in clubs where
the musicians actually stopped playing and complained that they
couldn't continue unless everyone in the audience stopped
talking. You know what I have to say about that? Those guys on
the band stand didn't have the audience in their back pocket!
They weren't communicating. And I'm not insisting on schtik, you
don't have to do that. But you do have to 'get over'. Those
great players I just talked about, they had the audience
entranced. You could hear a pin drop. Why? because they cared
about getting their point across. And get their point across
Back to Top
Gibson Pickups, Why?
For years or decades I've played
electric guitar in bands at bars, schools, concerts and
recording sessions yet I couldn't tell you what pick-ups (p/u's)
were about. I mean, I didn't have a clue as to what a pick-up
did what to my sound. I grew up in a Gibson family. I mean that
my relatives, when they didn't ridicule me for my participation
as a rock and roll guitar player, said if I played a guitar, it
had to be a Gibson. So, I only had a clue about humbucker type
pick-up's Gibson used. Oh yeah, it's little brother the P-90.
My first electric was a Tiesco Del Ray I got for Christmas in
1967. I did get a Mattel Tiger guitar that was made of plastic
and used a contact type pick-up. My brother and I each got one
that XMAS so often times we'd use one of the pick-up's as a
Those days' electric strings were extremely limited in types and
gauges available to young poor city folk like yours truly. I
think I only remember Gibson, Fender and Black Diamond strings.
This is before the Maestro Fuzz and the Vox Wha-Wha were
available to the buying public like me. Back to pick-up's!
With the limited info as to how the stars were getting "THAT
SOUND" we just kept trying to learn guitar without "how to"
magazines and poor sounding phonograph players playing 45's on a
tiny speaker. You could say there was no reason to discern
In the mid 70's I was already playing full time and knew about
vintage Les Pauls and the legendary PAF pick-up's that were
installed in them. Around that time a N.Y. Co. was making a name
for them selves as a replacement for your non- Gibson brand type
(humbucking) pick-up, DeMarzio. I ended up buying one for my 76
Explorer. Mind you I owned since the mid 60's, a late 50's
Epiphone symmetric cherry finish Coronet with a, I think someone
called it a cobalt pick-up. It is referred to as the "P-90", or
"soap bar" single coil type pick-up. I loved that guitar and its
sound. I just thought I should have a "real vintage" sounding
guitar with a humbucking p/u installed. I also owned a Les Paul
Deluxe with the mini humbuckers. It sounded great, I just
thought it should have full sized p/u's to sound and look right.
To quote Ian Hunter in the mid 70,s, "Rock guitarist's seem to
have this Gibson fetish", and I did! I wanted the "look".
Gil Pini, the other Guitarist playing with me was using the
DeMarzio super Distortion humbucking , and I for some reason
didn't feel good about it's sound and feel, although it was
touted as "heaven sent " sort of thing, especially for Marshall
amplifiers back then (no master volume on the pre-amp stage). I
eventually purchased a Super 2 p/u, because it had more bite.
And to me, meant, it would cut through cleaner and not be as
transparent in the mix. I even bought the Alembic 'Hot Rod Kit"
for my 56 Les Paul Jr. (stupid) in 1976 or 77. That was supposed
to be a good idea because it was hotter (better sounding) with a
ceramic magnet to install, and since it was from Alembic (from
California) and not some "upstart p/u manufacturer" it was the
right thing to do. I didn't think about the DeMarzio pick-up's
and I didn't know that those pick-up's used the ceramic magnets
at the time.
As I started to record in major recording studios I'd learn to
discern my sound. I didn't have those how to magazines to hip me
to that elusive vintage "sound". Yet, I could hear my Gibson
Explorer and my Les Paul Jr. distorting at all volume levels as
well as attack approach. It just wouldn't smooth out. I was
puzzled. Still trying to connect the look with the sound, I
stumbled through the maze for years.
Not having the patience, or the money to buy and compare p/u's,
I just tried to make a sound with what I had. I had all the
right Pro equipment. Yet I was looking back, "wagging the dog".
A good sound starts from the fingers, to the guitar to the P/u's.
If you don't start there, you're spinning in circles and you'll
end up with a transparent (fuzzy) sound without body and
response. "Your fingers are your tone generators". Not the amps
or pedals. Those are tools to augment your expression. And if
you learn anything about trouble shooting on the fly, you go
down the line to find the problem with your sound or rig. The
same goes for finding your sound. When establishing your sound
you start with you, through the pick-up on down to the amp. With
trouble shooting on stage, you should start with the amp and go
down the line back to you. Which makes sense since you've
established your rig set up, and you're trying to fix what was
working, you back track. If not, you're spinning in circles,
So, I had a friend who made the point about how some pick-up's
play you and PAF's don't. I soon tried two 57 Classic pick-up's
installed on my 92 Les Paul Classic and what do you know? I had
a sound that was tight on the bottom ringing on the top and
honking clear / dirty mids when I played hard, and subtle soft
tones when I backed off the and played lightly. I was in
HEAVEN!! And the great thing that went with it was that, this
same thing happened regardless of the volume setting on the
My experience was that the tone I got on full could be bright
and tight with honk, and as soon as I backed off the guitar's
volume, the tone would take on a dark or dull shade. This meant
I would spend a lot of time tweeking the blend between my
rhythms (clean and crunch) and lead tones. Looking for each was
a drag, and a waste of time!
I'm no tech. so I can't and won't waste your time with my take
of their specs. I do know that there's something about the
combination of the enamel coated copper wire and the alnico
magnets that give me a sound I can play with and use dynamics.
It was soon after I started using the Gibson 57 Classic pick-up,
that Gibson came out with their 57 Classic plus. This p/u was
designed as a bridge p/u.
In the 50;s the gals at the pick-up dept. would wind these
pick-up's using an egg timer or something like that. Sometimes
they'd be distracted and some pick-up's would end up with more
winds. Other times they would end up with less.
The p/u's with more sounded "hotter" and when people started
going for the tone, they'd notice the sound of certain pick-up's
compared to others. It wasn't rocket science to come up with the
idea to put one of those "hot" pick-up's in the bridge position
you would have a bright, tight, and honk'n lead tone where there
wasn't. And a whole new sub market in 'vinatge' pick-up's ' came
Which brings us full circle, "I use Gibson Pick-ups and I'm sure
that the other brands quality alnico pick-ups are a good
sounding product. I do know what sounds good to me and what I
know from "my" experience. I'm a guitarist who's been around the
block and my ears have a sense as to what a pick-up should sound
like, that's what I go for all the time.
Make your self happy and keep the communication's open!
Author: Michael Tafoya is
a two time Epic recording artist. He uses Gibson Guitars, Gibson
Strings, Epiphone, Marshall, and Crate amplifiers, and Dunlop
Write Songs? or
Ever wonder why some
songwriters get the deals while others, with incredible talent,
style and know-how, never even get the slightest nod from
industry professionals? As a former talent booking agent with
the William Morris Agency, and as a session singer and writer
myself with TV and radio credits, I am well aware of the
difficulties and challenges that face many young writers today.
As if talent and know-how weren't enough, today's writers are
faced with the ever increasing challenge of partitioning their
writing styles from the endless barrage of production makeovers
of what would otherwise be mediocre songs at best.
Understanding how the industry works, your new role and the
ability to demonstrate key marketing, is crucial for your
success in today's music industry. Gone are the days when great
songs were recorded in what would seem the worst of conditions
for a recording facility and recording hardware. Today, the
onset of the computer, drum loops, samples and limited music
abilities rule - Or do they? In one sense that last statement is
true, and in another, it's not. Let's take a closer look.
Yes it's true that many mediocre writers are making it, will
continue to make it, and in one sense it seems unfair, and in
another, what does one expect. Music is written, deployed and
embarked upon from a market driven perspective. While a volume
of music is being created from a very shallow writing and
production style, there is left a vacuum for songs and music
that is yearned by a large segment of the population,
particularly baby boomers, who miss the "days of the past" where
style and passion ruled. Don't forget that, and in fact, if you
will keep that in the back of your mind while you are writing,
you will be one step closer to success.
Continue to write from within and from who you are, but don't be
caught up in the music fads, what's hot at the moment and what
"seems" to work - Stay in it for the long haul. If you continue
to write with substance, style and your own creativity from who
you are and where "life" has carried your writing style too,
you'll be driven by the craft of the song and not the latest
music industry craze.
Your next step in your zeal in becoming a great songwriter with
artist deals and record cuts lies within your marketing. Today's
music industry demands that you not only write the next "hit"
song, but that you are able to sell and market your next big
"hit" - Forget the song selling itself. Sadly enough, this is
the case a lot of the time. But there are still A&R directors,
production and artists who look at the strength and character of
the song, yet they're becoming more and more obscure and
extinct. If you write country music, you'll have an easier time
finding individuals who will look at the strength of your song
and not just pure marketing, while other genres are not as
conducive to song viability, but marketing viability as the
"rule of law".
Understanding your new role as marketing agent is crucial to
your writing success. But just as crucial, as if there's not a
myriad of things that aren't, is your production strength. Many
great songs today don't make it, simply because the production
didn't yield the emotional tone, upbeat or not, that the song
implores. We all wish the day was back when a great song stood
on its own, but many a song demo is actually the track used for
the final artist record cut today. You can no longer get away
with "fairly" good sounding tracks, they have to sound like a
record cut. Now while I have just made that last statement
emphatically, again one of the few genres that will allow a
guitar/vocal, and I really don't recommend it unless requested,
is the country music industry. But just as country music has
gained in popularity the last decade and a half, so has the
demand for quality and highly produced song demos as well.
So much more can be written on this topic, but for the sake of
time and length restraints, I will end this by encouraging you.
Stay focused, believe in your writing, but be honest at the same
time and demand the highest in quality of your song demos and
learn from others who have the "sell ability" factor in
marketing their songs or products. This is a new day in the
music industry, but you can succeed if you will hold to your
writing values as key and not to the latest music whim.
This article was written by Tom Gauger. Please visit
www.reelmusician.com for more information on this topic. Mr.
Gauger is available for consultation, seminars, as well as song
production and individual jingle demo reels and can be contacted
at firstname.lastname@example.org or 615-300-5030.
About The Author: Mr Gauger is a former talent
booking agent with the infamous William Morris Agency and has a
variety of tv and radio credits as a session singer and writer.
Mr Gauger is the founder of
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Guitar Made Simple
As you may already know, this course is brand new and only in its first few weeks of release. Guitar Made Simple was
developed by internationally acclaimed recording artist Chris Standring (who
wrote the proven jazz guitar method "Play What You Hear").
Now we have even more exciting news!
For a limited time only, Chris has been kind enough to extend a
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With the Guitar Made Simple method, you can learn to play electric and acoustic guitar
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thoroughly researching the websites, courses, methods and DVDs for
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one has to know that, and all too often that important knowledge
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'Guitar Made Simple' is an extremely well thought out beginners program,
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look for yourself
and take advantage of the limited time discount available to all
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to find out more - don't delay!
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