Guit-ing A Grip On Technical Difficulties (Podcasting)

Hi Everyone,

Here’s the podcast streaming message but the real notes are below:

[audio:http://traffic.libsyn.com/guitagrip/Guit-A-Grip_Podcast_Update.mp3%5D

iTunes Trouble

I thought this was fixed, but apparently some component of the lib syn/feedburner/iTunes trinity is broken and despite re-uploading some of the files the links for Episode #4 and Episode #5 are pulling up podcast #2 in iTunes.

I have NO idea for why that is happening but I’ve included streaming and download links here for all of the current episodes.  These load right up in my podcasts so hopefully they’ll do the same for you!

I’ve moved all the podcasts to one central place, the PODCAST tab on the top of the page.

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Again, my apologies for the inconvenience everyone!  More content coming soon!
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Guit-A-Grip Episode #8 Don’t Just Buy The App – Be The App

Hello everyone!

Guit-A-Grip podcast episode #8  is now out and available for download/streaming.  I’ve changed the order up a little bit and you’ll find the stream and links below.

The Guit-A-Grip Podcast Process

This podcast format (instead of just blogging) largely came about because discussions with friends of mine in any kind of creative field would result in my going off on some tangent covering the intersection of music business and personal motivation which sometimes people got something from.  I’ve tried to keep some of that flavor here (minus the manic expressions and cursing).  So when I go to do a show – I’ll have some talking points and then improvise around the notes and try to hit a few marks.

While this may work in a conversation, it’s a mixed bag for audio recording.

The plus side of this process is that you come to realizations about things that you weren’t planning on.  While I had been conceptualizing the area around the actionable differences between an answer and a solution – I never verbalized it before like I did in this podcast.

The down side is that you have to remove a lot of awkward pauses, “ummmms” and “uhssss” that come up in conversation getting to points like the one above.  I want to distill the audio experience and get it down to the essence of what the listener is looking for.

In addition to taking some time, this editing process occasionally leads to some stunted audio.   It also leaves some conversational holes for ideas that are half started and then need a resolution.  Hence the need for the show notes.

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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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Guit-A-Grip Episode #8 – Show Notes

“One thing I see more and more….”

Trying to find a segue (as opposed to a Segway) into the topic.  Yes, there are a lot of ads for apps.  There will be many more.  It’s not some kind of advertising menace.  Yet.

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The Calculator.

The idea I’m rambling around in the early steps of the podcast is how the use of a calculator is completely divorced from both the math required to solve the problem and the mechanics of how the calculator arrives at the solution.

Conceptually, this goes hand in hand with the message behind my previous post, Don’t be afraid of the work.

In playing guitar, something can come out of the work that goes into really learning a piece at a deep level.  It’s why some music theorists go so gaga for analysis because they’re finding new connections and seeing things on a deeper level.

To be sure, I’m not a Luddite.  You’re not going to gain much doing long addition for EVERYTHING – but if you get used to using a calculator – you’ll be amazed at how quickly your math skills start to atrophy.

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The App 

In the app story I used an app that addressed a specific issue with a limited answer base. Most apps don’t exclude other people BUT if you’re using YELP during a vegetarian conference to find a local vegetarian restaurant in the area – and there’s only one – guess who’s going to get a table?  The first person who finds out about the restaurant and gets there.

The main point is that other people’s solutions are often adaptable to your situation, but the better you get at finding your own solution, the better you will become at developing solutions in general.  Ditto for applying those solutions.

That’s a wrap.

As always, If you like the podcast please let me know. If you really like it -and listen to it on iTunes –  leaving a rating there would be really appreciated!

More posts and podcasts are on their way.

Thanks again!

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Mas Posts

Hey everyone!

I have a few new posts up that may be of interest to you.

1.  There’s a new podcast on Get-A-Grip (Confessions of a former music school “failure”) You can find that here.  There’s a post on the mindset differences between a professional and an amateur (found here) and a post on the instructional benefits from examining how not to do things (found here).

2.  In Guitar-Muse news –  A review of the Mono M80 hybrid case is up (you can read that here) and the lesson in Odd Time Riff transformation lesson with eX-Girl went up last week as well. You can check that out here.

3.  The edits to the print edition of the Pentatonic Visualization book are almost done and I’m waiting on the updated cover.   I should have the Pentatonic Extraction book out by mid fall.  It’s a book that will work and in hand with the chord scales book and approach the material in a different (and I hope cool/useful way).

4.  I’m in the process of refocusing both sites so there will likely be some dust and disorder here for a while.

More things in the pipeline as well.

As always, thanks for reading!

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Guit-A-Grip Episode #7 – Confessions Of A Former Music School “Failure”

Hello everyone!

Guit-A-Grip podcast episode #7 (Confessions of a former music school “failure”) is now out and available for download/streaming.

Subscription Notes:

  • You can subscribe through iTunes here:

(https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/guit-a-grip-podcast/id638383890 )

  • You can use this link to subscribe with any other feed based service:

(http://feeds.feedburner.com/GuitagripPodcast)

  • or you can right click here to download it.

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Guit-A-Grip Episode #7 – Show Notes

Several things got me thinking about this topic – but the key moment I knew I’d have to write about this came the last time I saw my mother in upstate New York and found a bunch of old scores from my Berklee composition days and sat there scratching my head.

They were really disjointed and amateurish.  It was like seeing myself go through puberty again and hearing my voice crack.  For a moment, it made me feel awful and then I remembered that I wasn’t that guy anymore.  Just as a 5 year old version of me tried to stick a fork in an electrical socket to see what would happen (I’m not doing that anymore btw) I’m not that same person.

I should know this but it’s either The Code of the Samurai or The Hagakure that has a philosophical maxim that I’ve held onto for much of my life,

“Seven times down – Eight times up.”

And it’s served me will.  You will hit walls and obstacles in whatever it is you do, but the actions  you take in resolving those things will ultimately be how you define yourself.

You are not your job (Unless you define yourself that way)

One of the first jobs I ever had was in a department store.  It was supposed to be a temp job during renovation, but I worked really hard, hustled and made myself an asset to the store so when the time came to keep a handful of employees – I was one of the ones they kept.

Perhaps there’s an alternate universe where I’m still working at that store, but I knew that there would be other things for me to do and so I moved on.  It’s not part of my self definition.

While my undergrad experience was a lopsided one  I don’t view myself as a failure (even though I have a few grades that argue that point!)

I had a bad experience and had to decide what was important and move on to the next thing.

I had to teach myself what I needed to know and transition from thinking to knowing.

I made myself a better musician, learned a lot of hard lessons and eventually transitioned to a place where I got into grad school (and no failing grades that time around).  That experience is a big part of what’s gone into making me who I am but, like the department store job, it’s not part of my self definition.

Things referenced in the Podcast

I mentioned that I’d link to some things in the Podcast so let’s try that.

First – some clarifiers

1. I remember the instance with the guidance office now.  We had to fill out the applications but the guidance office would not release transcripts to us – so we needed to give them our applications to submit so they could enclose transcripts.  I was told, “Our office does not make mistakes” when I got the letter back from Berklee even though I pointed to the requirement in print and noted that the transcript provided didn’t meet them.

2.  Eugene’s trick bag is the Steve Vai guitar solo that Ralph Macchio is hand synching to for the film Crossroads.

3.  Self Educated man – was a reference to self-taught man in La Nausée – a novel a mischievous member of the faculty gave me to read as a book report.  In 7th grade.  Brought up unsuccessfully in an attempt to woo a weary admissions counselor.

4.  Books Berklee recommended – Robert Starter’s Rhythmic Training was one of them but the others evade me now.

5.  In finding the scores I actually found the letter kicking me out of the composition department and found the photocopy of the letter I got from the chair to get back in.  A series of correspondences (and conversations) that I had previously blocked from my memory.

6.  Juggernaut.  This was the composition I referenced in the Podcast.  Don’t ask.  My instructor didn’t use the term “stones” that I used in the podcast either.

7.  “They were torn apart” – specifically one faculty member with a real problem with me blocked my graduation and took no small pleasure in COVERING my scores with red writing.  Now I don’t blame him – but at the time my thought was, “I was already graded on these why are you grading them a second time?”  Other comments included weird personal observations on how he didn’t like my music.

8.  This podcast is for everyone who had a plan.  Tried to execute the plan.  Had the plan blow up in their face and continue on despite everything.

Second – some music links.

Comité de salut public

I mentioned that I had a group at Berklee that used some of the contemporary composition techniques and wrote tunes with them.  That group was called The Committee Of Public Safety and (to my knowledge) was the only avante garde-core French Revolution “tribute band” in Boston at the time.  I wrote all the tunes and some of them are below:

But you can hear (and download) all of the tracks (and read more info than you ever wanted to know about this group) here.

The Committee of Public Safety was:

Pat Aldous/Marko Djordjevic – drums

Caroline Dillon – cello

Mike Mallory – bass

Teresa Sienkiewicz / Pat Raymaker- voice

The Time with the Tub

tubtime

Click for more info

Tubtime came out of a series of sessions I had with drum / recording guru Geoff Chase.  I dragged my friend Joe Rauen along to play bass and Geoff dragged the incomparable Patty Barkas along to sing.  Somehow we got the mighty Keichi Hashimoto to play with us as well.

We recorded another album’s worth of material that we’ll leak out eventually but for now here’s a soundcheck you might dig as well.

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The Book

Ah, yes – I referenced the book I wrote to get into grad school.

First, there were two components to the application.   In addition to the Tubtime CD there was some audio:

and then the book.  Excerpts of the ORIGINAL (error plagued) version was on Google Books but I don’t see it now.

The New (VASTLY improved) book:

12 Tone Cover small

Is available on Lulu or Amazon.  (Amazon probably ships it easier – but the Lulu page has WAY more information and book excerpts).

Note: the cover is vintage 2013.  The original cover was a flat blue with a white title.

Post

I promised a linked post that related more of this story and you can read that here .

Onward and Upward

I hope this helps (or is at least enjoyable or amusing to you)!

As always, If you like the podcast please let me know. If you really like it – leaving a rating on iTunes would be really appreciated!

More posts and podcasts are on their way.

Thanks again!

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Guit-A-Grip Podcast #6: Lessons Learned From A Small Town Store

Hello everyone!

Guit-A-Grip podcast #6 is now out! (And the links should be working now!!)

Subscription Notes:

  • You can subscribe through iTunes here:

(https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/guit-a-grip-podcast/id638383890 )

  • You can use this link to subscribe with any other feed based service:

(http://feeds.feedburner.com/GuitagripPodcast)

  • or you can right click here to download it.

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Guit-A-Grip Episode #6 – Show Notes

Stewart’s is a family owned company that has convenience stores in upstate NY and Vermont.  The Drake brothers started by making ice cream at their farm in 1921.  In 1935 they start Saratoga Dairy out of their barn.  That same year pasteurization of milk is required by the state and many local farmers use Saratoga Dairy for this service.  1938 they expand into producing other milk and milk based by-products such as cheese, powdered whey and casein.

Stewart’s has come a long ways.  Their Wikipedia page sites 324 stores and 1.4 billion (!!) in sales of Stewart’s branded products such as coffee, soda, milk, chips and ice cream.  You can find out more about them here.

In contrast, Wemple and Edick’s is a small ice cream shop on the outer edge of Johnstown NY.  Run from an old-fashioned general store that’s been there since 1826, they make hard ice cream, and baked goods.  They’re only open seasonally.  They don’t have a web page – but you can find their Facebook page here.

Stewart’s makes a lot of money.  They do a lot of things.  Wemple and Edick’s basically does one thing, but even though they’re only open seasonally they make enough money to keep the doors open doing what they want to do.

In typical Guit-A-Grip fashion relating aspects of each of their merits to what you do as an artist/entrepreneur is at best a gross over simplification, but you might be able to get something out of the contrasts that are presented.  (Also, that part of the podcast apes the Seth Godin Start Up School presentation style in manner that was unintentional when I did it, but eye rolling on play back.)

If you travel anywhere in upstate NY – you’ll find a Stewart’s – but you have to seek out Wemple and Edick’s (and many’s a time I went and was crushed to find out that they weren’t open).

While on the surface this is a music business post, at its core the topic relates to both the how and the why of whatever it is you’re doing and I hope it helps in some way.

As always, If you like the podcast please let me know. If you really like it – leaving a rating on iTunes would be really appreciated!

More posts and podcasts are on their way.

Thanks again!

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Guit-A-Grip Podcast Episode #5 – What Is A Fan?

Hello everyone!

Guit-A-Grip podcast #5 is now out!

I was thinking about the earlier podcasts and one thing I wanted to experiment with is really focusing the podcasts into short take aways that can be acted on immediately.  Kind of motivational and philosophical licks if you will.  So the next posts will be short but I’ll continue to intersperse them with longer posts for people who want more information.  I’m trying to find the ideal format here, and I guess I’ll wait to see what springs up.

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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.

http://traffic.libsyn.com/guitagrip/Guit-A-Grip_Podcast_Episode_5.mp3

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Guit-A-Grip Episode #5 – Show Notes

So this episode goes all into the lifeblood of any artistic longevity, your fans.  I mentioned the “Don’t Stop Believing” documentary in the podcast and while it should be out on DVD eventually, you can stream it now right here.

Arnel comes across really well in the video – and what the video doesn’t highlight is that Arnel was a 40 year old singer in a Manilla based cover band.  In the often ageist rock and roll market, that’s a time that many people consider a death sentence for achieving their dreams.  One incredible fan may have given him the platform for Neal Schon to find him, but it’s his talent and energy that put him on that stage.  He kept working even when logically, there wasn’t much point in his doing so.

Perhaps the greatest lesson in the movie comes at the point where he’s blowing the audition.  Arnel relates that he has this burning question of, “How am I going to let my true self come through if that want a classic sound?” during the audition which he finally answers with the realization that they brought him there to do a job and that that’s what he’s going to focus on.

If you commit to something and do your best – you don’t have to worry about whether or not you’re going to come out of your shell because people will see you for who you are.  How many times have you gone to see a band and walked away with an observation about one player? “The band was good…but that drummer was unbelievable!”  And I’m not talking about just dumping a lot of chops here, I’m talking about how great players transcend the material by being in the moment of what they’re doing.  They say something real and the audience gets that message.  Then you get players like Vinny Golia who have all the expression and chops in the world and is just a force of nature on a bandstand where you’re never going to doubt who that guy is.

(I’m off topic here but I will, yet again, plead with anyone who will listen to me that Vinny Golia is one of the closest things that we have to a national treasure and I can think of no one in the arts more deserving of a MacArthur fellowship than him.  Please tell all your friends – particularly the ones who submit nominations.)

As a secondary lesson, it acts as a great reminder about opportunity.  When opportunity knocks most people ignore it because they don’t recognize it as an opportunity. Arnel was going to blow off the e-mail from Neal Schon because he didn’t think it was serious.  Keeping options open makes it easier to answer the knock of opportunity when it happens – even if it just sounds like someone tapping their fingers on something.

Jason Becker

Additionally, if you’re looking for an inspirational guitar documentary –  I would implore you to buy the Jason Becker documentary.  Jason Becker, an astonishingly talented guitarist on the eve of his greatest guitar victory (securing the guitar slot in David Lee Roth’s band) get’s diagnosed with ALS which ultimately robs him of the ability to play guitar.  The documentary about Jason showcases his early story but is also about Jason’s refusal to stop making music and how he is still composing music using eye movements to enter in midi notes.

I have a movie review (and a transcription of one of the excerpts from the film) on Guitar-Muse, but the heartbreaking thing is that while Jason has a legion of well meaning fans that many of those fans uploaded all of his recorded material (including his DVD) to web, which deprives he and his family from income that could help maintain his life.

If you have Netflix, you can stream the documentary (which might put a few pennies in his pocket) but it’s also available for purchase on dvd or you could make a donation directly to the family here.  If you’re a fan of his music, it would be a great way to give something back to someone who really needs the help.

next time

 

Back to the podcast – If you like the podcast please let me know. If you really like it – leaving a rating on iTunes would be really appreciated!

More posts and podcasts are on their way  Next time, I’ll talk about the best ice cream shop in NY that you never heard of (unless you know where Sammonsville is)!

Thanks again!

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Podcast #4: Separating The Suck From Success

Hello Everyone!

Guit-A-Grip podcast #4 is in the bag!

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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:

http://traffic.libsyn.com/guitagrip/Guit-A-Grip_Podcast_Episode_4.mp3

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Tech Note:

A trip to Radio Shack netted me a score on a $6 boom stand and a replacement wind screen for my Shure so audio wise hopefully this is a step up from podcasts 1-3.  I’m still sussing levels out (like at the end of the podcast when the music drowns me out a little bit  while I’m hawking my wares so I guess I’ll take that as a lesson to make sure that I keep my energy level up from beginning to end!

Guit-A-Grip Episode #4 – Show Notes

When I recorded this podcast, I was sitting about 4 feet away from Mrs. Collins who was sound asleep but listening back to it, it sounds like a late night cough suppressant commercial!  I hope that no one mistakes my dry delivery on this as being lacksidasical about the subject matter.  It’s just that volume may have subdued my passion.

It’s easy to get sucked into the trappings of using someone else’s definition of success and not realize it. (Hence the title of the podcast). One thing alluded to in the podcast (but not stated out right) is that as an artist, you need to have as objective a view about your skill set as you can.  Telling yourself that you suck at something isn’t going to make you better at it.

At a certain point, everyone sucks at everything.

It’s called being a baby.

You have no skills as a baby.  You suck at walking, at talking, Hell even craping in a socially acceptable manner is a dismal failure.  However, you learn all of those skills – because they’re just skill sets and behaviors that you have to learn – and no one expects you to be awesome at anything out of the gate.

So you’re not a baby anymore, but adopting a mindset that everything is a skill that can be learned will probably help you grow much faster than adopting a mindset that says, “I suck at this.”  There’s a story in the podcast that touches on this idea as well.

Mindsets

This is the topic of a whole other podcast, but the important thing to note about mindsets is that they can be changed.

As humans, we have the capacity to be adaptive individuals.

The good news is that you don’t have to maintain a defeatist mindset.

The “bad news” is that you have to be self-aware enough to understand your mindset, and emotionally distant enough to analyze your reaction and make a conscious decision to react to situations differently.

That requires habitual behavior, awareness and discipline.

A topic for another time…but something to consider as this podcast rolls along.

I hope the thoughts on success help! If you like the podcast please let me know. If you really like it – leaving a rating on iTunes would be really appreciated.

More posts and podcasts are on their way. Thanks again!

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