Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Y Cover? A Fork In The Road

Quite often I reach a fork in the road with a new guitar student when trying to establish an understanding of “why learn a cover tune.” Often the new student wants to write their own tune or has written some thus far. Yet, when reviewing their songs or the fragments of tunes they think they “know,” often their own songs and creative adventures are structurally, however slightly or greater, missing some foundation in form, if not timing.  It is then the mentor often finds some resistance in the new study as they seek control, or want of creative and academic license in “learning” what and where they want to go.   If I were an unscrupulous type of teacher, I could take their money and let them run the lesson.  And then that, comparatively, presents another “fork in the road.”

Meanwhile, on review of the songs they have attempted to learn, their understanding and expression of their favorite piece is really, only a quarter or fraction understood.  And when trying to get a song correct within the context of a “lesson,” it becomes burdensome to the student, to be “analytical” with what they were doing and the “antiseptic” nature of breaking down a song they’ve loved for years, and putting it under a hard light.  [It’s sort of like waking up in the morning with that girl/guy you thought was awesome last evening after 5 pints at Trudy’s Bar, and now it’s 7:29 am, head-aching, hangover - and “something” ungodly is in your?] 

Yet, that, or this is the front side of becoming an instrumentalist, guitarist, singer-songwriter performer, no different than how an actor has to learn their lines, dialect, their part. The guitarist performer has to put the “front- end” time, prep, to learning a song, which can be tedious in the beginning, but all that much more rewarding when finally learned properly, under supervision and suitable levels of criticism.  The growth of that process is appreciable and doesn’t happen or occur in a vacuum.  It is only then, that the student grows to appreciate a mentor relationship with a studied work. It is after that, that one’s discipline and growth moves forward, and particularly when the student presents those learned disciplines to an audience in a performance venue.

In the big picture this is not unlike how Bach studied and re-wrote the works of Vivaldi, to Eric Clapton’s studies of Robert Johnson.  Learning prior works of other artists provides a good foundation for understanding how songs are written and structured, and played in time, tempo. Simply learning them, by rote – subconsciously establishes an understanding of form, without necessarily targeting that specifically. Big words like “form” or “pentatonic scale” (ive never used : |) too often are met with crossed eyes, if not other nervous fear.  So why rock the boat unnecessarily, and teach cleverly via prior songs and works.  It’s been going on for centuries and has had a substantial impact on 99.9% of written materials since Ars Nova! Music or not. 

John Michael Pendley October 2014


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Cover few dare to share - Manic Depression

Some years ago I found this vid of EE and was sold.  Then I meet her on a downtown Lexington M5 while on her way to find Great Lawn. What a chance. What a talent! CFM certified. Watch out LP!
; )  @MusicPromoHero, #octobercoversongs, @jmpsongs, @catfishmusic

Singing Nun Ya!

Singing Like a Virgin Nun tops any Vatican PR I've known in recent months. Brilliant! Cant wait to hear her and pope's duet cover of "Parigi, o cara, noi lasceremo" from La Traviata!
Ya.. Just in time for ‪#‎octobercoversongs‬ month.

Miss American Pie – Well done…

Miss American Pie – Well done… In 2011 while contributing some time musically to the “Occupation” movement, I met many fascinating ...