• Top Three Things Every Studio-Recording Or Stage-Performing Musician Must Do Intentionally

    in Piano

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    So you really want to know the top three things every recording or performing musician must do?

    Congratulations! You are on the right page.

    This lesson is for all musicians and according to the dictionary definition of a musician, anyone who sings or plays an instrument is a musician.

    Submission: I’m aware that it takes more than just playing an instrument or singing (in certain circles) to be a musician. But we’re focusing on the dictionary definition and that is basically concerned with instrumentalists and singers.

    If you’re a singer reading this, count yourself lucky because the tips you’re about to learn will help you improve your delivery (be it on stage or in the studio.)

    Let’s get started with the first one on my list, and that’s communication.

    Point #1 — “You Must Communicate”

    Every heard that music is a language? Well, music shares a thing (or two) in common with language and that’s why it can be read, listened to, written, and spoken.

    If you really believe that music is a language, then have you considered it to be an effective medium or tool of/for communication?

    As a musician, and it doesn’t matter if you’re singing or playing now, you are supposed to be very effective in communicating your ideas through words and music.

    While recording or performing that song, you should be able to convey your thoughts from your mind to that of the listeners. You should ask yourself a few questions like “am I communicating?” and “how well am I able to convey my thoughts?”

    In a live performance situation, there’s usually an accompanying feedback that comes to you when you’re communicating and this is because communication is usually a two-way street; you say something, and you get a response.

    If you’re getting an undesirable feedback while communicating with your audience, then chances are there that you’re not saying the right things; which (in this case) means that you’re not giving them what they want or how they want it.

    Understanding when NOT to shout, the right way to present your ideas while speaking, when to speak and when to be silent, and how to punctuate while writing can all be brought into music.

    We’ll dedicate a lesson to the understanding of music as a medium of communication in the not-too-distant future and we’ll talk about several aspects and approaches to communication and a lot more.

    Point #2 — “You Must Express Your Feelings”

    Man is an emotional being.

    On social media platforms, there are a lot of emojis, GIF images, and stickers that are used by users to convey their emotions and this because those who designed these social networks understand the dynamics of the human emotion and the wide spectrum of emotions everyone of us can possibly have.

    On Facebook, you can react with a like, love, wow, sad, or angry and it all depends on how the social media content makes you feel.

    Every song or piece of music should create a certain mood or sensation and this doesn’t happen without the involvement of  the emotion of the musician.

    For example, if the theme of a song is on Love and the musician is able to inject sentiments, passion, warmth, intensity, etc., and in their right proportion, he/she would have an amazing performance or recording to say the least and the feedback from the audience would be positive.

    A musician who doesn’t know how to express his/her feelings using the voice or an instrument will definitely struggle while performing and most importantly, people will hardly feel the groove or get into the mood when he/she is performing.

    All the great singers and instrumentalists of all times that we love are people who know how to express their feeling using music as a tool and that’s why they are able to get us to tap our toes, snap our fingers, nod our heads, and even cry.

    Let me also add that one of the most expressive music genres of the 20th century (if not the most expressive) is Blues music; which sounds melancholic and was initially used to express the day-to-day struggle of the African-American people. This music genre featured “blue notes” that were used to express sadness.

    Studio musicians are not left out. Most of the time, how you’re feeling during the recording of a particular song is directly proportional to how the listeners will feel anytime the music is played. It’s a real life example of GIGO: garbage in, garbage out.

    So, do your best to always find the right expression that will give you a great interpretation of the song you’re preforming or recording.

    In classical music, you find words like Spiritoso, Animato, Pianissimo, and other terms that can keep you to the suggested mood. But as an ear musician, you need to be sensitive and smart to know what would work in any given situation.

    Point #3 — “You Must Serve The Purpose”

    There are so many uses of music, which include (but is not limited to any of) the following:

    1. Entertainment
    2. Education
    3. Communication
    4. Religious Worship
    5. Therapy
    6. Advertising

    Every musician must serve the particular purpose he/she is hired for and for studio-recording and stage-performing musicians, religious worship and entertainment are the regular gigs they can get.

    So, keep in mind that the goal is to provide people with the right ambience for religious worship or entertainment for a variety of occasions and the question you must ask to keep yourself in check is “Am I serving the purpose?”

    Here are some direct questions for you:

    • In a funeral, and you’re hired to sing, would you serve the purpose?
    • In a birthday party and you’re hired to perform with your instrument, can you keep the celebrant and guests in the right mood with your music?
    • In a national event and you’re hired to sing the national anthem, can you serve the purpose?

    There’s a why, what, who, and when dimension to serving the purpose. You must understand why you are hired, what you’re hired to do, who you’re hired to serve, and when you’re performing if you are really want to serve the purpose.

    Final Words

    Be it on stage or in the studio, always do the following things intentionally:

    1. Communicate
    2. Express your feelings
    3. Serve the purpose

    …and I guarantee you that your musicianship will never be the same again.

    Time would fail me to outline the impact of these principles in the life of so many revered musicians. But you can take my word for it that your musicianship will never be the same and this applies to both secular and religious musicians.

    All the best and see you in the next lesson.

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    Onyemachi "Onye" Chuku (aka - "Dr. Pokey") is a Nigerian musicologist, pianist, and author. Inspired by his role model (Jermaine Griggs) who has become his mentor, what he started off as teaching musicians in his Aba-Nigeria neighborhood in April 2005 eventually morphed into an international career that has helped hundreds of thousands of musicians all around the world. Onye lives in Dubai and is currently the Head of Education at HearandPlay Music Group and the music consultant of the Gospel Music Training Center, all in California, USA.

    Attention: To learn more about this, I recommend our 500+ page course: The "Official Guide To Piano Playing." Click here for more information.



    { 2 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 mapquest driving directions

    Your post is great and engaging, the content is very practical, and gets people’s attention. Thank you for sharing.


    2 Okyere Terry

    Thank you Dr Pokey
    I love you dearly


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