The KoriSoron EP, The Crowd And Ronda Rousey

The KoriSoron EP

is done.  Farzad is working on the cover art /  layout and then we’ll submit it for online sales and press some cds for sales at shows (yep physical compact discs – people still listen to things on them amazingly enough!) .  There are a couple of things about the release that readers of this blog might find interesting.

1.  It’s an EP (and not a full release).   I think that there are certain genres where people still buy and listen to fill releases (metal comes to mind, as does jazz and word music), but for the most part people just look for singles and whatever you have that’s new.  It’s much better for you to have multiple releases in the same year than putting all your energy into a full-length and then promoting that just to have people ask if you have a newer release.  So the goal is to get this out in the next few weeks online (and a few weeks longer for physical copies), promote it and then work on another ep in March/April.  And then another one in August.  We have something like 15 songs in repertoire so the goal is to write more material, get the best songs recorded and keep aiming higher.

2.  It’s a live recording.  We really wanted to approach this like a Jazz or classical recording and just get what happens when we play live as that is the real sound of the ensemble.  We don’t play to a click live so we didn’t on the recording either.  That means that it is not a quantized metronomic recording, but it IS a realistic documentation of what we do.

3.  The fact that it’s a live recording means that the guitar tones are a hybrid acoustic / electric tone.  We play with amps live, so having a recording where the acoustic guitars were close miked and we didn’t use any amps, wasn’t going to get what we sound like live.  We didn’t go for a pure acoustic tone and even though we bill ourselves as an acoustic act (because we play acoustic instruments) we are very much an acoustic electric ensemble.

4.  The solos are what we improvised on the take.  For me, that was the hardest thing to sit with because the internal editor in my head made me want to get a “perfect” take and as I started going down the rabbit hole of, “Well what would other guitarists think of this?” I watched the latest Ronda Rousey match and fall out play out.

Ronda Rousey

For those of you who don’t follow MMA, Ronda Rousey is the first female champion in the UFC and one of the most dominant fighters (if not the most dominant fighter) in the history of MMA.  Her autobiography, My Fight / Your Fight is well worth reading as it details the years of struggle and self doubt that go into being a champion.  As a guitarist, I often get comments from people about some aspect of what I’m doing on stage – but they don’t understand the (seemingly endless amounts of) practice that goes into developing that skill set.

There’s a reason I can play at the velocities that I do and if you sat down with a metronome for as long as I did, you could reach those velocities as well.

There’s a reason that Ronda Rousey could finish the bulk of her fights in under 30 seconds, and it all came down to training and preparation.

When Rousey was finishing those fights in record time, she had a lot of people saying great things about her.

But then she fought Holly Holm.

Holly Holm is an experienced boxer.  And Holm set up a game plan for Rousey that Rousey wasn’t prepared for.   Rousey got caught with a kick and KO’d in the second round.

And the anti-Rousey backlash came.  And it was brutal.

Suddenly everyone wanted to take a potshot at her.  They called her cocky and a paper champion and reveled in her defeat.  They said she was washed up and over.

She had a bad night.  It happens to every professional.  It would be like going to see John McLaughlin in concert, him having an off night and then saying, “Oh my god that guy sucks.  It’s over for him.”

If you were dumb enough to step on a stage with him, John McLaughlin would destroy you in a concert.  Don’t confuse a bad moment with a lack of skill set.  I’d like to see any detractor get in a ring with Ronda Rousey and last 5 minutes.  She’ll put you in an armbar and break your arm.

I thought of all of this as I listened back to the KoriSoron EP because musicians, and many guitarists, are the some of the most vindictive people on the planet.  They take absolute glee in finding fault and trashing other players.  Read any comment line on a YouTube video or visit a forum anywhere and you’ll see what I mean.   I had to quit some of the groups I was in on Facebook because it was just too much bashing of things.

I used to be one of those people.  Man, when I was at Berklee I was opinionated and, in retrospect, on some topics I was just an asshole.  I had a lot of company in that area.  We were all opinionated and we were all assholes towards other players.

Then something happened.  I got more confident in who I was as a  player. What drives that rancor is insecurity and the belief that things aren’t fair.  People would look at a player like CC Deville of Poison and get angry that he had fame but what they were REALLY angry about was the perception that they put a lot more work into playing guitar than he did and they felt that they were more deserving of attention.

As you get further into the industry you start seeing more of the factors that go into something like that and, trust me, the man put time in to put himself in a position where he got attention.  No one is found randomly.  If they get to a place where they get attention it’s because A LOT of work went into it behind the scenes.

So as I thought about the recording, I heard the words of my potential detractors in my head, and then ignored them.  The work is what it is and has to stand on its own merits and each release will be better than the last.

Some people love to build people up and then, when they get too big, try to tear them down.  Ronda Rousey is a champion.  She will regroup, build her skill set up and become a better fighter after this set back.

Don’t get too caught up in the scaffolding people put around you (or try to remove from you), instead concentrate on your foundation.  Make your core identity as strong as you can and root deep so that no matter what others do or say, you remain upright in who you are and what you do.

I hope this helps!

As always, thanks for reading.


4-Day GuitArchitecture Book Sale on

11/27 – 11/30 Print Book Sale on Lulu

I’m not a big fan of Black Friday sales in general, but in this case is offering a 4-day sale that benefits the authors there (and benefits myself more specifically as the book cost is taken out on the printer’s end so it doesn’t cut into my revenue).

(The books and descriptions are listed below).

If you go to my Lulu page:

today (11/27/15) and enter in SUPERGIVER in the checkout code you’ll get 40% off print editions and 5% off PDF editions.

If you go on Saturday (11/28/15) and enter in SATSAVERS you’ll get 30% off print books.

** Just added on 11/29, Lulu now has two more days onto the sale:

If you go on Sunday (11/29/15) and enter in TWOMOREDAYS you’ll get 30% off print books.

If you go on Monday (11/30/15) and enter in ONEMOREDAY you’ll get 25% off print books.

(As I’ve mentioned before – I make more money from PDFS than from Print editions – but I thinks the print editions are much more helpful to people.  For me this is a win-win.  You get a print edition at a drastic discount and I still get paid!)

The books that are on sale are:


12 Tone Cover small

Symmetrical Twelve Tone Patterns is a 284 page book with a large reference component  and about 100 pages of extensive notated examples and instruction.

In “The GuitArchitect’s Guide to Symmetrical Twelve-Tone Patterns”, Scott Collins has taken the approaches from “Melodic Patterns” and “Guide To Chord Scales” books and applied them to a rigorous examination of twelve-tone patterns that can be used for melodic, harmonic, improvisational or compositional resources.

Eschewing a reliance on academic jargon, “Symmetrical Twelve-Tone Patterns” investigates the material in an intuitive and accessible way that will help players access new sounds in their playing.

minor-scale-2My GuitArchitecture method replaces the standard approach to learning guitar (rote memorization) with a simple, intuitive two-string approach that anyone can learn. This method, where players can actually see scales on a fingerboard, is called sonic visualization, and it can be applied to any scale or modal system.

In this volume of his Fretboard Visualization series, I’ve used my two-string method to present the pentatonic minor scale in an easy, intuitive and musical manner.

This book not only demonstrates how to “see” the scale all over the fingerboard, but also shows how to use the scale in a variety of contexts and presents strategies that can be applied to making any scale more musical.

The Scott Collins Fretboard Visualization Series: The Pentatonic Minor Scale is an invaluable resource for guitarists who are looking to break through to the next level in their playing.


In The GuitArchitect’s Guide To Chord Scales, I show you how to make your own scales to use over chords and how to derive chords from whatever crazy scales you come up with in an easy, intuitive and musical way.

Over the course of its 190 pages, the Guide To Chord Scales not only offers extensive instruction and approaches, but also acts as a reference book covering chord scale options ranging from three notes right on up to the full twelve note chromatic.

While devised as a guitar resource for instructional, compositional and/or improvisational material – this book can be a vital component in any musician’s library.



In The GuitArchitect’s Guide to Modes: Harmonic Combinatorics, I’ve gone into the nuts and bolts of chord construction and analysis by taking a systematic approach to generating thousands of chord variations that can be utilized intuitively in any key.

In addition to being a vast harmonic resource, I also show the reader ways to make melodic lines from this material allowing the book to double as a melodic resource as well


In The GuitArchitect’s Positional Exploration, I’ve taken an introductory guitar exercise and turned it on its head to reveal deep possibilities in not only in positional visualization, but in technical awareness as well.

This book shows how to take a simple idea and creatively develop and modify it through melodic, harmonic and rhythmic variations that can be applied to your own music as well.


In this volume of the GuitArchitecture series, The GuitArchitect’s Guide to Modes: Melodic Patterns, I’ve used my two-string visualization method to create a reference book of thousands of melodic variations.

With this information, you will be able to create a near infinite number of unique riffs and melodic phrases, which you can use individually or combined to compose or improvise your own music.

The GuitArchitect’s Guide to Modes: Melodic Patterns is an invaluable compositional and improvisational resource for both guitarists and bassists.



Non Book News

I’ll have a new post up soon.  In other news – we’re just mastering the live KoriSoron recording and then pressing some copies which we hope to have available before the end of the year (we’ll have digital down loads up even sooner!)

As always, thanks for your support.  And thanks for reading!


Recording Prep, A Mini String Review And Why I Rarely Write About Gear Anymore

KoriSoron’s Recording!

KoriSoron is going into the studio next weekend to record 3-4 songs for release before the end of the year.

By “studio” I don’t mean tracking something at one of our homes and self mixing and releasing it (though there’s nothing wrong with that), I mean actually going to a distinct physical location where a professional has set up gear to mix and record and recording something, mixing it there and releasing it.

Now I hear a number of people saying, “Well that’s dumb – why would you do that when you can do it at home and save money?”  The answer is multi-faceted.

  1. Time is money and I want to save time.  If I’m working on a project with a budget and a deadline, it’s pretty easy for me to knuckle down and get things done.  But when I’m working on projects without a deadline…’s just too easy to go down the rabbit hole of distraction.  What’s the quote, Perfect is the enemy of done?  If you want it done, you need to have limitations and the external studio is an awesome limiter.
  2. A big part of our sound is the group playing together.  Doing something where Dean records a percussion part and Farzad and I overdub everything would ruin the sound.  It would be sterile.
  3. Live we improvise a great deal.  That requires getting it off the stage instead of making 100 passes at something and comping it together in a take.
  4. Recording acoustics at home – without an iso booth – is a nightmare.  Really.  It’s worth it to me to just let someone else do it.

So that means I’m spending time in pre-production so I’m not wasting time in the studio.  We use a Tascam DP-32SD to mix our shows and generally hit the record button which gives us valuable information on how things sound in reality (often very different than it sounds in memory and/or in our head at the time) and allow us to really prepare for things.

In a live setting everything I play for solos is improvised – but in the studio that ratio is probably more like 25-30%.   Live, I’m dealing with immediacy and in recording I’m dealing with posterity.  Recordings for me are sonic documentaries in that they’re a reflection of where I am in the moment.  Although I really like the work I did with Tubtime (and some of my other projects) I don’t go back and listen to them often as it’s like finding a picture of yourself in your high school year book and cringing a but while asking, “What was I thinking?”.

Since I relate all music to communication –  in a live context I try to have a moment of inspiration where I start to say something and come to a conclusion or observation that is engaging and surprises me as well.  A recording is more like a speech where I have have talking points and a general idea where I’m going to end up, but want to keep the transitions loose so I can engage the audience more.

Preparation in this case means really being aware of what the other guys in the group are doing and being aware of what I’m doing as well.  Sonically, that means really having my sounds down so I can be adaptable in that what might sound great in the practice room or on stage will not work for the studio.  I not only have to be dialed into the nuances of my tone to be able to adapt to what’s going on but I also need to be comfortable enough with what I’m playing to be able to play even if I don’t like the sound coming out of my headphones.

The Gear (and why I rarely write gear reviews here anymore)

My electro-acoustic rig is a Yamaha APX-1000 and a ZT Amps lunchbox acoustic amplifier with a boss volume pedal, a looper and (lately) a LR Baggs Session DI in the effects loop.  Everything is cabled with D’Addario/Planet Waves cables. Sometimes a Yamaha THR-5A is thrown into the mix as well.

For strings, I’ve used a bunch of them but keep coming back to D’Addario for my steel strings and electrics.  A while back D’Addario was looking for beta testers for their Acoustic Alloy N6 strings and I sent them my bio and they send me a pack of beta strings.

I really dig them, and they’ll be my go-to acoustic string once they’re commercially available.  They look more like electric guitar strings in that they don’t have that phospher bronze color.  D’Addario cites their use of hegagonal cores and High Carbon Steel in the construction.  All I know is the harmonics of the pitches seem to be clearer, and warmer.  They hold tone really well and also hold tuning really well.  It’s a great sounding string.  If you pick up the upcoming KoriSoron recording you’ll hear it on there.

Two other quick notes about my current rig.

1.  My electro-acoustic.  I really lucked out with this guitar.  I think Yamaha is doing really great work at a great price point.  Originally I played at APX 500’s as they were easier to get my hands on – but I like the nut spacing and construction better on my APX1000.  This is just a great acoustic-electric guitar and I hope to expand my relationship with Yamaha in the future.

2.  My amp.  The ZT Amplifier folks have been really supportive of KoriSoron and their amps have actually made me a better player in that they have a hi-fi quaility to them.  By that I mean, that they take whatever you are playing and reflecting that accurately at a higher volume.  In my case, it meant  some of the things  I was playing that I thought was “good enough” turned out to have technical issues and every biffed note and non articulated thing I played became apparent.  I had to go back to the drawing board for and really clean up some of the things I was playing to get them to sit in the live setting properly.  Those are things I might not have noticed with a mic – but it’s really re-focused how I play lead on acoustic in a good way.

Not all traffic is good traffic

When I write about gear on my blog, I only write about things that interest me or that I use (or have used) that I think would be of interest to other people.  There are a lot things that I’ve used that I don’t like and I don’t write about them because there’s enough other negativity on the web.  I’d rather be constructive about what I like and what could be made better about it, than trash something.

From a traffic standpoint that’s not a good idea.  I’d get much more traffic knocking something than writing about liking it – but it’s not the kind of traffic I’m looking for here.  Several years ago I write about a brand of tuners that I was using at the time.  I won’t mention them here because I don’t want additional traffic from them.  I found out that people were VERY opinionated about these tuners.  I started getting daily notifications from people who had technical questions about the tuners.  Requests for advice on installation or repair of the tuners.  Several people tried hijacking the blog and making it a marketplace for the tuners.  One person accused me of being a liar and fabricating my experience leading up to my use of the tuners.

I had posted my opinion about the tuners on the blog because I was using them and because I thought it would generate some traffic.  I thought that traffic might lead to people checking out other things I was doing and maybe buying a book or a cd.

But that’s not how the internet works.

People find a blog based on searches.  If they are looking to have an opinion validated or disputed about their a piece of gear, they are not going to read other things on your site to find out your approaches to pedagogy or art and artistry.  I have always been upfront about my posts here.  I write about things that interest me and write from a standpoint of what will help other people on the same journey.  I also promote things that I create.

Not all things are going to be of service to all people. In the words of one would-be commentator on a post about paying dues;

“Hey Man, WTF? I subscribed to your list as a way to learn. Your explaining company policy? Ok, that’s your focus. Cool. Thanx, but I’m out.”

Think about this from my perspective.  Someone came to the website, got free information and then got offended because I didn’t post another free lesson?  That person will never buy a book, buy a cd or support me in anyway.  They came because they wanted something free and only because it was free and I’m supposed to be upset because they’re gone?

Oh well….

Not all traffic is good traffic.  You’re not going to please everyone with everything that you do.

  • My interests are music and the deeper developments that we make as people by going deeper into art (or deeper into any kind of interactive experience).
  • My interests are how musicians and artists can navigate the current economic landscape to allow them to devote the time and resources to their art that they wish to.
  • My interests are in how to communicate on a deeper level and reach people.

That’s why my posts are generally longer.  From a pure traffic standpoint it’s dumb to write a 3,000 word blog article.  My writing is improvisational as well so these posts typically take hours to write as it requires substantial editing to make it something readable – but I engage in this process because it makes the writing more immediate and, in my experience, makes it more engaging and thus more rewarding for the reader.  Again, not smart from a business perspective but necessary for my goals.

I don’t write the article for the reader who is looking for a quick hack to get 1% better at this thing to then move on to the next thing to get 1% better at.  There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s not the focus here.

I write for the person who wants more.  Who wants more deeply.  Who wants to engage with the world on a deeper level.

If you’re reading this and nodding your head.  I write for you and I’m grateful for the opportunity to reach you.

As always, thanks for reading.


KoriSoron’s Busy November

Hi Everyone,

It’s been a bit since I posted, but I’ve been busy with some projects.

The electro-acoustic global fusion group I play in, KoriSoron, has a bunch of things going on this month.

  • This Friday we play a double header: A noontime concert at HVCC (Hudson Valley Community College) and then at 7pm – we’re back for our monthly residency at Arthur’s Market & Historic Coffee House on 35 North Ferry Street in Schenectady. We have a new indo/funk-ish tune we’ll be pulling out for the Arthurs Show as well as all the old “classics” – We have about 15 tunes in repertoire at this point and I don’t know that any of them are particularly easy to play.
  • We’re recording an EP mid-month which we hope to have out before the end of the year.  It’ll have some Bulgarian, Macedonian and Middle Eastern inspired pieces on it with Dean Mirabito on percussion and Farzad Golpayegani on guitar and violin.
  • We will be playing a really cool Festival Cinema Invisible event “Pathways to Iran: Silenced Sounds – Music and Censorship in Iran” on Sunday 11/22 at 4pm at Proctors GE theater.

    In addition to KoriSoron playing, the event will also have a rare screening of two short documentaries by director Mojtaba Mirtahmasb that share common themes of music and censorship in Iran. “Back Vocal” (Sedaye Dovom – 40 mins.) and “Off Beat” (Saze Mokhalef – 45 mins.). KoriSoron’s own Farzad Golpayegani, who is featured in “Off beat” will also be part of a Q & A panel to discuss his experience in the film. The discussion will also include a Skype call from Iran with Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, the director of both films and a Skype phone conversation with Mark Levine, the author of the celebrated book, “Heavy Metal Islam”. Persian style tea and sweets are also included in the $10 admission. Event information and tickets available here:

Regular posts will return soon and some other announcements along with some more guitar related things!

As always, thanks for reading!


“Guest Lesson” With Jack Sanders

Jack Sanders

Years ago when I was at CalArts.  I studied with Miroslav Tadic and he had me play something for him and immediately came up with this analysis.

“Your left hand is completely compromising your playing.  You have to address your fingers and your pinky or you’re never going to get to where you want to go.”

Correcting that was a lot harder than I thought it would be.  It turns out that I had YEARS of bad habits ingrained in my muscle memory and adapting to proper technique was a real struggle.

Enter Jack Sanders.

Jack is a brilliant luthier (check out this video and this interview I did with him on his builds) and also an incredible teacher.  He happened to be teaching at CalArts my last semester and so I took lessons with him that completely changed how I approach guitar.  So much of the things that I assist students with in terms of hand tension, positioning, posture and attack now came directly from things Jack and Miro and I worked on.

Guitar Salon (a cool blog that has been kind enough to repost several of my rantings) has uploaded several mini lessons that Jack did for them that use scales as a diagnostic for left and right hand technical issues.

The advice he gives is gold, and well worth your time.

KoriSoron comes to Boston

In other news – KoriSoron is making its Boston debut at Johnny D’s on Wednesday October 21st on a VERY early show (we go on at 7pm) opening for Bob Forrest (Thelonius Monster / Dr. Drew).  Ticket info here.  Facebook here.

We’re really excited to be playing this show.  As a preview, you can see some Al DiMeola / Vlatko Stefanovski inspired improvised soloing on “Drowsy Maggie” here.

And we hope to see you there!

Asking The Right Questions And Being Clear On What We Do

Asking the Right Questions

I read a lot of different material.  I believe that reading is, at least, as important to what I play as what I listen to – just as I would also say that what films, and television I engage in is equally important.  This goes back to some of the statments echoed in Swami Childvilasanda’s The Yoga of Discipline (yes I had to go to my book shelf and pull down my copy to get the spelling of the name correct, which talks about how important it is to be vigilant about what we expose ourselves to because it all influences (and ultimately becomes) a pat of us in some way.  The book is a collection of essays on discipline (discipline in Seeing, Listening, Eating, Speaking, Silence and Thinking) as a path towards spiritual liberation. It’s a very interesting book and one that had me take several lessons to heart.

With that in mind, I tend to do a lot of reading on a lot of different topics because I find that I’m able to implement ideas or strategies from a business book in a different way than, say learning a melodic minor lick to play over a chord progression.  In this case I was reading a 99U book, Make Your Mark The Creative’s guide to building a business with impact and came across a Tim O’Reily quote that engaged me.  I’m going to hijack that quote, bracket one term that can be replaced with practically anything and add bolded emphasis for what I think are the two critical takeways:

“I was in a brainstorm about the future of the US economy recently , and it was all about the decline of the middle class.  It reminded me of so many  conversations that I have had with [*major labels].  They ask, ‘How are we going to preserve our place in the ecosystem?’ and I say, ‘Nobody cares about that.  That’s the wrong question.’  The right question is, ‘What does the world need?  What do my customers need?  What can I do?’….So you have to clarify: Who is your actual target?  What are you trying to accomplish in the world?  Everything else should flow from that.”

* This was originally [publishers], but could also be [live music venues], [musicians], [artists] etc. etc.

(For what it’s worth, here’s a related quote from the same interview that you may find interesting:

“Aaron Levie of Box tweeted something great about Uber recently.  He said, ‘Uber is a $3.5 Billion lesson in building for how the world should work instead of optimizing for how the world does work.'”)

This is something that so many artists, including myself, frequently get wrong.

We make it about us.

When asked the question, “why” we (as in we musicians and artists) often focus on what we do. We set up a scenario that works on the idea that because we are doing good work that the nature of that good work will attract other people – like bees to a flower.

That’s nonsense and I’m occasionally guilty of that thinking as well. “Nobody cares about that.”  That’s what people don’t realize about getting internet traction.  People don’t care about what you’re doing until you give them a reason to care. That means engaging them and making it something they care about.

If you’re a musician – it’s not all about you.

“The right question is, ‘What does the world need?  What do my customers need?  What can I do?”

I don’t engage people because I play guitar.  I engage people because I have something to say that they want to hear.  What we do as musicians is tell stories.  We move people.

People come to see us because of how we help make them feel before, during and after a show.  That’s what our customers need.  That’s how they become fans and come back to our shows.

What I work on technically is in service to that goal.  I work on those things so that I can express myself in the most honest and direct way possible and not have that engagement with the audience interrupted with mistakes or other issues.

I was reminded of this because I played a show with KoriSoron on Friday and it took me about four songs to get into the groove.  The volume levels were mismatched and I was distracted and it took a while to get into the zone (and even then it was hard to stay in the zone – realizing that I had counted off one tune too fast and was not going to be able to execute the ending figure cleanly at that tempo I had to re adjust the form to make it work).  Part of me was really disappointed with my performance that evening but the audience liked the show and will be bringing even more people with them next time.

Is it about me or my perception of the show?

“I can’t believe I wasn’t playing better!!  The audience will tear apart my performance (assumes Piper Laurie voice from Carrie, “THEY’RE ALL GONNA LAUGH AT YOU!”)!

Or is it about communicating something honest with the audience, being genuine in the moment and giving them an experience that they can take with them?  The audience liked the show, warts and all.  That doesn’t mean that I can stop and sit on my laurels and just slide – it means that I should keep working to the best of my ability but rather than getting hung up on one particular aspect that it would behoove me to remember why I’m practicing the things I’m working on (to make an optimum performance for the audience and not stroke my ego and say, “look what I can do!” to no one in particular.)

If you’re not getting the results you want from what you’re doing you may not be answering the right questions.  Once thing you can do is to harness the voice of your inner 2 year old niece or nephew (the one who always asks “why” after everything you say.)  When you state something, ask “why?”  and when you answer it, again ask “why?” and keep challenging your beliefs and assumptions until you get down to the core of what it is you’re doing.

A quick note and a quick plug:

For those of you who are in a rut and/or interested in developing your lead and rhythm playing I’m developing an exciting new group program that will help take you to the next level in the shortest amount of time.  I’m pulling the material together now and looking to launch later this year or the beginning of next year.

Please be aware that about the only thing in the world i hate is hype.  This is no hype or no miracle cure that “works” on osmossis or some other ridiculous claim.  This is a hyper-focused, results driven process that combines effort and efficiency to get players who are willing to put the work, time and dedication in to get where they want to go.

I’ve been doing a lot of research and I haven’t been able to find anyone that’s using even a remotely similar pedagogical system.

I’ll have more information about this in the months ahead, but if you’re interested in the meantime – send me at email at guitarblueprint at gmail [dot] com.

A quick plug (for those of you in the capital region of New York)

KoriSoron frequently collaborates with FCI (Festival Cinema Invisible) on their film series (Korisoron’s Farzad Golpayegani does the poster designs and I help with the press releases and event planning).

FCI is kicking off a cool new bi-monthly series “Pathways to Iran” that explores Persian culture through film and dialog with “Food Stories – Uncommon Recipes, Common Humanity” a film screening and recipe tasting at Proctors GE Theatre on Sunday, September 13th at 4pm.

This cultural event features a rare screening of two films from Iran; “Five Pieces on Iranian Dishes” (a documentary directed by Sepideh Abtahi, 54 mins.), which looks at Iranian society of the past century through food, and “A Perfect Meal” (a short directed by Pooria Jahanshad, 8 mins.) which uses a formal meal setting to examine food and culture.

After the screening there will be a panel discussion on the role of food in Iranian culture with audience Q&A and a recipe demonstration and tasting of various dishes from Iran.

1. Abgoosht: A meat based traditional, middle/working class food that now is turned into an adventurous favorite. There will be a demo of the food on one of the films, and the panel will talk about its cultural connection. There will be a tasting of Goshte Koobideh, a part of this food that tastes good even cold.

2. Borani (vegetarian): a mixture of yogurt and spinach with variety of nuts, was used as food, but today it is mostly served as dip.

3. Salad Shirazi (vegan): A uniquely Iranian salad which is also claimed by Israelis and Arabs. The organizer calls it the “Peace Salad” because of the stories he will share about his travels to Israel and Palestine.

Additionally, there will be handouts with the recipes for guests to take home: Persian style tea is also included in the $10 admission. Tickets are available at the Proctors box office or online at

(The next event will be on Sunday November 22 and will feature a performance by KoriSoron (!!), two very cool documentaries on music in Iran and a panel discussion with some special guests! Future events include the topics of Women in Iran and Outsiders in Iran.)

That’s it for now!  As always I hope this helps and thanks for reading!


KoriSoron (me), Feedback Analysis (and You)


Last year on this day, I wrote a post called Due Versus Do.  The post talked about the need to put the work in and pay dues in building your craft and building an audience and outlined a plan for building a regional audience (If you’re playing live music – you might find it to be an interesting read).  It’s also a good example of setting up a parameter for feedback analysis.

Feedback Analysis

I first read about this term in a book called Heart, Smarts, Goals And Luck which was a book that talked about self assessing those areas on a HSGL scale to determine where the reader’s strengths were as an entrepreneur.  The quote below is from notes I made from the book – so I believe that it’s paraphrased from Peter Drucker.

Whenever you make a key decision or take a key action, write down what you expect will happen.  9-12 months later compare expectations (with outcomes).  Otherwise it’s too easy to rationalize a decision Ex Post Facto.

This is something I happened to be doing in goal setting – but was remiss in going back to see how well those things actually worked!

What This Means for You

Feedback analysis is a great way to look at how your goal setting is actually working.  It’s not enough to just write down goals.  In reviewing them you can also see what’s working, what’s not working and how to best steer your ship from here.  It requires looking at what you did, warts and all, and coming up with an honest assessment.

As an example of this process using the web post from a year ago – how did KoriSoron do with feedback analysis? (again the initial post is linked here in case you’d like to compare Due Versus Do).

1 / 2.  Open Mics (play in front of people) / play traditional non traditional venues.  We didn’t explore this a lot.  Largely because we put our focus on working on new material and playing new venues.  It’s something I’ll probably explore solo to try to open some doors – but the yield of getting people from an open mic to a show was non-existant and the open mics didn’t yield gigs in and of themselves.  It IS a good way to network (in a legitimate way like making friends instead of a slimy way of using people), but it requires showing up every week to do so.  Typically it’s a 3 hour investment in an evening to play for 5-10 minutes but probably worth it if you’re trying to break into a new market / venue.

We played a number of different venues, and that coupled with the monthly gig at Arthur’s has been REALLY useful for us in terms of feedback for what works and what doesn’t work for the show.

For me, it’s interesting to see the yield of what I practice that I think will work versus what works in a live setting.  No matter what methods I use, it always tells me something different and I can only get that information playing live.

3 /5   Developing Marketing material / Social Media / Get Visible and Record material.  We made some strides here.  Farzad pulled together a strong website and we did a lot via Facebook.  We wrote a lot of new material and got Dean Mirabito to play percussion with us (which added a whole other dimension to what we do) and  started digging deep to get into the nuances of the tunes to improve our performances and live shows.  This also involved a lot of experiments with arrangements and live sound options and involved a lot of trial and error.

We also started recording every show (and using a standalone recorder for a live mixer as well) and that’s been great pre-production for going into the studio.  But recording is the next thing that we’re targeting in a big way.

4.  Network.  This is something that needs improvement.  Our tunes are very difficult to play and require a lot of practicing.  It’s only now (a year later) that I’m starting to get a sense of what the tunes are and what our sound is enough to start going back out to shows in a consistent way.  Everything is this business is based on what you can do and who knows what you can do.  Again – I’m not into spammy networking, you have to have legitimate relationships with people – but if you don’t network you’re going to play in your room forever.

6.  Build bigger.  Here’s a GREAT strategy from Heart, Smarts, Guts and Luck that encapsulates this –

Think Big – Start Small – (Scale Fast)

I put scale fast in parenthesis because in business you need to scale quickly.  In art, you need to scale at the rate you can scale.  You’re developing a foundation that you need to build on.  To modify the suggestion strategy:

Think Big – Start Small – Output Constantly – Review – Revise – Repeat

I hope this helps!

As always, thanks for reading!

(and hope to see you at a KoriSoron show soon!)