KoriSoron (me), Feedback Analysis (and You)

KoriSoron

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!)

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As You Gaze Into The BabyMetal The BabyMetal Also Gazes Into Thee

BabyMetal

Earlier this month on Facebook, I put up a link to a video that a friend of mine hipped me to called BabyMetal.

I loved it for a number of reasons.

As someone who was familiar with J-Pop and Metal, it was a bizarre juxtaposition of two musical styles that at first glance appear incompatible, but actually works in an indescribable way.

I may have been amused watching the video up to the verse of the tune but I was dumbfounded when it got to the chorus.  It completely surprised me, and I can’t tell you the last time that happened to me in a popular song.

I dug the production.  I dug the concept.  I dug the band in skeleton costumes.  I dug that SO MANY people were there to see the show.  (And it is most definitely a show – based on the audio in the video – I doubt that much of that performance is “live” in the same way that a Britney Spears performance is more about being a live show/event than a musical concert).

On repeated viewings, it made me smile ear to ear regardless of whatever mood I was in before I heard the tune. It’s high energy and fun and if given the chance I’d do that gig in a heartbeat.

However, when other people posted about this on FB, it appears that 3 young girls fronting a metal band, singing about loving chocolate and dancing synchronized steps to it can shake some people’s delicate sensibilities to the core.

There were people that were outright angry at having been exposed to this.  Comments like “This is cancer for metal” or “I don’t find this funny at all” or a dozen other sentiments of people who were annoyed or outraged that this existed in the world and that they saw it.

And then I had a realization about strong opinions to art.

Art can be a Rorschack test.

It’s not the inkblot on the paper, but what you see in the inkblot that’s important to what’s happening with you.

If you have strong opinions about something it’s because it challenges or conflicts with beliefs and/or aesthetics that you have.  However, that’s what art is supposed to do.  It communicates and challenges. It exposes you to things you haven’t seen/heard/experiences before so you can expand your horizons and develop your own aesthetic.

I heard a quote on The Wednesday, March 12th show of @ Midnight (a gameshow riff on Comedy Central) from staff writer/contestant Matt Mira that resonated with me.  When asked to help define the internet he started his punch line with:

“The Internet is actually a place where non-content creators go to complain about content that’s been created….”

For many guitarists, YouTube has become a delivery device for an endless pissing contest of this guitarist’s solo being better than that guitarist’s solo and this gear being better than that gear but do any of those comparisons challenge anything other than your opinion?

“As you gaze into the abyss, the abyss also gazes into thee.”

I posit that if the BabyMetal video makes you angry, it’s because you’re already angry.  If metal as a genre is so fragile that 3 girls (and a talented producer) combining J-Pop with it ruins it for you, then it’s probably time to move on.

Here’s what I see.

This video inspires me.  It has over 4,200,000 views on YouTube.  They had the number 2 album on iTunes and their cd’s are selling for $40 on Amazon!  In the video, it looks like they’re playing to a crowd of at least 5,000 people if not more – and the crowd is into it!

If a concept this weird can get traction, then what’s my/your/anyone else’s excuse for not getting things out into the world?

When asked by an acolyte how to make the world a better place Lord Basho replied something to the effect of, “Just be the best person you can and then there will be one less rascal in the world.”

It’s well documented that goal setting is a critical element in getting things accomplished, but in the best tip I gotten in a while – reverse engineering goal setting by looking back from the future is a great way to keep yourself on track with achieving goals.

  • Instead of looking at where you are right now, take a moment and write down today’s month and day on a piece of paper and add in the year 5 years from now.

 

  • Then write down all the things you accomplished in your life by that date.

 

  • Finally, write down today’s month and day and one year from now.

Now the question is, what are you doing right now to achieve those 5 year goals?

I’m going to go watch the video again, and then get my sounds together for a show next week, and put things in place for getting things done this year in meeting those goals.

What are you going to do?

I hope this helps and as always, thanks for reading!

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Working With Limitations

There is a Stravinsky story I find myself telling often.

Allegedly, when he went to compose, the first thing Stravinsky would do is put a time and key signature on a piece of manuscript paper to limit himself.  Without that he would look at the piano and, seeing an almost infinite number of possibilities, get overwhelmed and shut down.

A key part of the process to learning anything is overcoming limitations.  By expanding one’s knowledge and skill set things that were impossible become possible or even easy.  As a musician, when I find an obstacle to something that I need to be able to do, I often practice playing that thing to add it to my abilities.

But what about other strategies for dealing with limitations?

Instead of assuming that limitations needed to be eliminated, what if, limitations were embraced and worked with to reach your goals?

Kang Yana Mulyana

I know very little about this Indonesian guitarist other than the fact that he has some very real physical impediments that make playing the guitar in a “traditional” manner impossible.

Check out his workaround!

What’s technically amazing to me about this is that the fretting hand is only using the thumb and pinky (!?!) to get those notes out of the guitar!

How did he do this?

1. He had a why.

Again Victor Frankl, “He who has a why can bear almost any how”

2.  He worked with his limitations rather than try to overcome them.

If he had gone to a guitar store to take a lesson, he probably would have been told that his physical limitations would prevent him from playing and that he’d have to do something else.  But his numerous work arounds (putting the guitar on the floor, finding alternate ways to fret and pick notes), allowed him to get the same end result.

Do you.

Let’s not get this twisted, I’m not saying that you should be lazy.  Kang Yana Mulyana spent an unimaginable amount of time working on guitar to get the end results he wanted (and that’s some real physical and mental obstacles to overcome).

What I am saying is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to achieving your goals.  What worked for one person will not necessarily work for you.  The important things are to have an end goal that you’re trying to achieve and to work with your attributes and limitations to achieve them.  Learning what works for you is a lifelong lesson and it’s definitely one worth taking on.

Here’s one more video to help keep you inspired.

As always, thanks for reading!

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Guit-A-Grip Podcast Episode #14 – Book Excerpt And Some Project Management Tips

Hello everyone!

Episode #14

Guit-A-Grip podcast episode #14 “Nothing Ever Got Done With An Excuse Excerpt #3″ is out and available for download/streaming.

Subscription Notes:

  • You can subscribe through iTunes here:
  • You can use this link to subscribe with any other feed based service:
  • or you can right-click here to download it.
  • or you can stream this episode below.
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Show Notes:

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The Book

Much of this section of the book came from experiences that I had in, first, getting my Melodic Patterns book written and then, secondly, getting the book in a month project off of the ground.

I’m using that book as a case study, but I believe that the steps behind it help form a reasonable approach to working on any large project that’s unfamiliar (or largely unfamiliar) to you.

The steps to follow:

I made a reference to various pieces of advice.  The overall categories of this are:

  • Build off of past experiences (or go with what you know)

  • Whenever possible start with the heavy lifting

  • Beware of the rope swing

  • Be realistic about what you can do

  • Break up overwhelming things into small chunks

  • Contortion doesn’t hurt if you’re limber

  • Projects have a tendency to run wild on their own – so plan on constantly monitoring their growth

  • Be prepared to go a lot of it on your own

  • Be ready to make a lot of mistakes

  • Be ready to improvise because you can’t plan for everything

  • Have a deadline and/or know when you’re done

  • You really can’t do it alone

    Here are a few specifics related to the above:

Beware of the rope swing
The advice I gave for this was a little too vague so here’s a qualifier.  It’s all about balance.  If you jump into something with no research, knowledge or plan, it will generally go badly.  If you put too much energy into research, you may face paralysis in actually acting.

Deadlines
I’d write more about this but I’ve already written on it here.

That’s it for now!

As always, I hope this helps you with your own goals.

See you soon and thanks again for listening/reading!

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Limiting Options Is A Key To Productivity

One of the benefits of living in the 21st century is that we have more options in every aspect of our lives than ever.

Consider music for a moment.  In Beethoven’s day, If you wanted to hear Bach’s St. Matthews Passion, you had one of two choices.  You could either go to where a choir was performing the work, or acquire sheet music for the piece and organize your own choir to perform it.  ”Hearing” a piece performed for anyone living outside of a city meant that you could have been traveling for days or weeks to get somewhere where it was being performed.  Your “favorite” orchestral works may be something that you only heard 3-4 times in your lifetime.

If you have an internet connection, you can listen to any one of a hundred versions of the work instantly.  You can listen to it anywhere at anytime – even while driving. That’s an amazing thing.

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But too much of anything is a bad thing.

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When faced with too many options people generally shut down.  If you’ve ever watched an episode of Kitchen Nightmares, one of the first things Gordon Ramsay does is cut down the menu.  This not only focus the diners on a few select dishes  but also ensures  that the kitchen doesn’t get overwhelmed in preparing dishes.  When a kitchen can focus on a one page menu rather than a ten page menu – their chances of getting the dishes sent out the way they’re supposed to be climb dramatically.

Relating this to practicing – it’s easy to fall into this harmless looking trap.  You decide to sit down to practice and the first thing you think is, “Ok time to practice! I should practice scales, and comping – I have to make sure I work on improv – oh and reading – wow I really need to work on reading, and…”

…and…and…and soon it’s an hour later and nothing is done.

I’ve already posted about the importance of defining practice sessions and maintaining a practice log here, and about developing practicing as a habit rather than an event here, but I think it’s important to note that in whatever you do

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the end result of too many options isn’t freedom

it’s paralysis

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Have you every woken up with a goal for the day and not gotten it done because too many other things got in the way?  ”I wanted to go to the gym, but I had to get groceries and then while I was out I had to run some other errands and then…” (insert infinite number of events that go until the conclusion of the day making going to the gym impossible).  This is an example of getting overwhelmed with too many ways to spend time instead of just picking one thing at a time a focusing on that.

Here’s a related  productivity secret that may help you focus on your priorities:

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The important things in life are the things you do

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You can tell me that going to the gym and getting in shape is important to you – but if you spend the day watching TV instead of going to the gym than being comfortable is more important that being in shape.  In college you see people who blow off classes and then pull a week of all nighters to pass the term.  This shows me it’s important to them.  Their priorities may have gotten skewed over the course of the term but, at the end of the day, they made themselves very uncomfortable to achieve a goal and that shows where their priorities are.  This is in contrast to the people who say that they’re going to pull all nighter to get the paper done and take the F instead.

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Here are a couple of inter-related strategies to getting things done:

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  • If you are not getting things done – Identify what you want to be important and then make it a habit by doing it – a lot.
  • Clearly define your goals.
  • Make daily steps toward achieving those goals.
  • Realize that as each day is different – the results you get each day will be different.
  • When facing discouragement – keep your eye on long term goals.
  • Periodically assess your progress and adjust your actions accordingly.

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And finally, some related quotes:

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“If you always do what you always did you will always get what you always got”

(Unknown but I did see one reference that attributed it to J. “Moms” Mabley)

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“If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing well. If it is worth having, it is worth waiting for. If it is worth attaining, it is worth fighting for. If it is worth experiencing, it is worth putting aside time for.”

– Susan Jeffries

I hope this helps!  As always, thanks for dropping by.

– SC

Guit-A-Grip Podcast #13 – New Book “Excerpt” #2

Hello everyone!

Episode #13

Guit-A-Grip podcast episode #13 “Nothing Ever Got Done With An Excuse Excerpt #2″ is out and available for download/streaming.

Subscription Notes:

  • You can subscribe through iTunes here:
  • You can use this link to subscribe with any other feed based service:
  • or you can right-click here to download it.
  • or you can stream this episode below.
.

Show Notes

The Podcast and the liberal use of the term “Excerpt”

Part of working in a format like this is being able to review things that you wrote a while ago and seeing how they shake out in a conversational manner.  That means that when I’m reading the book I’m editing the text in my head to prevent really awkward (or wrong things from being said.  It also makes for some stilted moments, but the good news it that it tightens up both the podcast and the book in the process.

I’ll talk more about why I do this in the future but (editing this down from a lumbering 23 minutes) I’m hoping to convince you that there is a method to my madness (or vice-versa).

The steps to follow:

Just to recap, these are the steps I reference in the podcast (I skipped a few of them on the audio!!!)  Good thing it’s an edit!

How to manage a project in a few broad strokes

  • Have a clear vision of what you want to do (set quantifiable goals).
  • Align perception with reality and create priorities (in other words make an honest assessment of what needs to happen to reach those goals)
  • Set deadlines and benchmarks.
  • Be accountable.
  • Do daily focused work on those goals and limit distractions and obstacles in the way of achieving them.
  • Make periodic reviews to check your project’s status against the benchmarks and timeline.
  • Utilize available resources when possible/necessary.

Come prepared:

I should have taken a page from the Boy Scouts this time around and been better prepared for a podcast.  Then, perhaps, I would have had something novel like water handy and not had either a coughing fit (edited out) or the scrath voice that comes in mid-way to the podcast before I started coughing.

Related material:

Most of the observations on this site, will work in directly with the podcast posted here.  But the two links I cited specifically were:

It’s not all gold and

Podcast Episode #12

That’s it for now!

As always, I hope this helps you with your own goals.

See you soon and thanks again for listening/reading!

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More Content or Extra! Extra! New Neu Knew!

Hey everybody,

Just a few quick updates in chronological order.

Guitar-Muse

My not-quite-a-review review of Yngwie Malmsteen’s memoir,  Lessons Learned From Relentless: A Memoir By Yngwie J. Malmsteen is up on Guitar-Muse.  You can read that here.

There’s also a unison tapping lesson for those of you interested in creating interesting aural effects, making unlikely artistic connections or learning about the mysterious superhero/super villian side kick Cigar-Boy.  You can read that here.

Guit-A-Grip

I’m doing something different on my podcast and serializing the book about my experiences releasing 4 books in 5 months, Nothing Ever Got Done With An Excuse.  I hope that it will provide some good tips and mindsets for those of you who are trying to get any long term goal or project done.  It’ll be a weekly podcast and episode 1 is here.  If you haven’t had a chance to check out the podcast, all of the past episodes deal with similar issues. and may be interesting to you.  Those episodes can be found on guitagrip.com.  A new post on depth of experience is up as well.

GuitArchitecture

Not to be forgotten, there’s a new rhythm guitar lesson here as well you may find interesting on this site!

More reviews, interviews, podcasts, lessons and other content to come!

As always, thanks for reading!

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