This year I will be entering “15 Minutes of Fame” which is run as a part of the Adelaide Guitar Festival (July 17-20). If successful – I will get to perform a 15 minute set at the “Fox Creek” bar, inside the Space Theatre foyer. 

A fellow guitarist suggested that I enter it a few years back, but I was flat out with TAFE study at the time, and hence was under-practiced! I haven’t entered anything like this before, and any exposure I’ve had has only been at gigs. I thought this would be a great opportunity to get myself out there, and be seen by a new type of audience, instead of the usual cafe & pub patrons (whom I am grateful to, by the way!)

I have around 2-3 weeks to get up to speed, prepare, practice my butt off, and all the other cliches. I haven’t decided which songs to submit yet (the application must include 3x MP3s and a 2 minute youtube video.

So, I’m going to blog and hopefully “vlog” my progress, ideas, practice & thoughts for the next month or so, and let you know how I’m going. 

My next blog should include a video, all going to plan!

Cheers for now

Ken 

 

 

 

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three scoops

1daytodayAre you a sloth? Absolutely not (at least not right now), because you are here to get your hit of water cooler news. Reading this post is special, because you also happen to be taking the FIRST STEP to mastering your life. A well-designed day-to-day routine is the secret to unleashing a more productive, more creative and maybe even funnier you!

Instead of fretting about all the things you have not yet accomplished, take a deep breath and spend the next 2 minutes learning from the most famous thinkers and doers.

1. Taking control

taking-control-funny“It’s time to stop blaming our surroundings and start taking responsibility. While no workplace is perfect, it turns out that our gravest challenges are a lot more primal and personal. Our individual practices ultimately determine what we do and how well we do it. Specifically, it’s our routine (or lack thereof), our capacity to work proactively…

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Find your own voice

July 17, 2013

I often find that I compare myself to other solo guitarists.

It’s a bad habit to get into.

I have listened to so many fine players over the years, such as Tommy Emmanuel, Earl Klugh, Richard Smith, Adam Rafferty and Pete Huttlinger. These guys are heavyweights in the solo guitar world, and are highly regarded by many.
Trouble is, I ‘think’ I should play as good as these guys if I’m a ‘solo’ guitarist . I should be able to do it all, right? There’s that word – ‘should’.

When I practice, and make mistakes, I often berate myself and think thoughts such as ‘so-and-so wouldn’t do that’ … but in fact, they HAVE. And many, many times over. I started to slowly realise something : was I aiming too high, with the time available to me to practice these solo guitar classics? Maybe I was choosing the wrong material? Yes, I was. You see, in black and white terms, I just don’t have the time necessary to play some of the arrangements I was tackling in my woodshed!

I saw a segment on ABC few years back about Tommy Emmanuel, who said that he was asked to play with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, all dressed up in a tuxedo, and play some classical guitar favourites. He said no to the gig, as he believed he wouldn’t be doing any justice to the music, or offering anything new. Although he ‘could’ play the material if required, it just wasn’t him. I took a lot from that article, as it makes a strong point about finding your own style, and developing it.  Another point he made was that he said that he’d love to play some of Ian Moss’s guitar solos, but he can’t, because he’s not Ian Moss! The penny started to drop for me.

My Solo Guitar Style

When I began to get more solo wedding & event gigs more regularly, I rediscovered my passion for playing solo instrumental guitar. I felt like I’d finally found my own style, after being in countless bands in Adelaide for so many years.I was never 100% musically satisfied playing in bands, and towards the end I was quite bored with the ‘3 chord tunes’ I played over and over. These days I actually enjoy playing & practicing more melodic music. Playing songs that I like, and getting paid for it, is something that I’m grateful for. Sure, it’s background music I guess, but I’m finding that there’s gigs out there for me. I just don’t worry these days if I’m playing ‘Satin Doll’ and ‘Just The Way You Are’ instead of ‘Brown Sugar’ and ‘Sweet Home Alabama’.  Another point is to remember that if I’m playing at wedding/cafes etc, I choose music that is ‘middle ground’, and the audience will know the melodies. I have recently taken most of the ‘guitar-y’ classics out of my sets, as the average patron just doesn’t know the songs, and hence I save myself a lot of wasted practice time and frustration. I still have in my sets a good mix of jazz, blues, pop and a little latin, and it’s more than enough to keep me practicing. The songs I choose now though are ones that are easier to maintain, e.g. I don’t stress too much if there’s an upcoming gig and I have to play that song.

So, to all you budding solo guitarists out there, sure, learn Classical Gas, Windy and Warm etc but don’t let it get you down if you aren’t cutting it as good as the big boys. Take some time to find other music you also like, perhaps arrangements that don’t take 3 months to learn , and that are within your reach for now.

There’s an audience out there for you, I guarantee it.

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I read this just now. Some great thoughts made here by Adam

Adam Rafferty - Guitar and Spirit

HI Gang!

For those of you who are tech junkies, I’d like to tell of my journey on “the other side.”

The following negative experience had a very profoundly positive effect on my music and concentration.

On March 7, 2013 I was robbed while on tour. My backpack with my laptop and many other personal items was suddenly gone.

2 hours before a concert I had to freeze bank accounts, close credit cards and change passwords to 15 websites in a flash, because like an idiot I had no master password on the machine.  The stress was terrible!

Yet…the strangest thing happened about 10 days after the theft.

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Gig this week

July 16, 2013

I am playing solo guitar at Rezz Bistro (Newton) this Friday, July 19, from 7 – 10 p.m.

I really enjoy these gigs; I get to play practically all the music that I like! 

Maybe I’ll see you there!

Ken

Well – I’ve decided to return to blogging.

I have come to a realisation that as much as I try to tell myself that I should cut back on social media ‘stuff’, I actually enjoy being a part of the online world!

I seem to spend quite a few hours a week reading Facebook posts (and the like) by other solo guitarists, so I think it’s time to start sharing my thoughts, when I have the time.

Practice

Funny, when I returned to Music Study last year, I thought would be practicing even MORE than I currently was. Not so. I have actually experienced a drop in weekly time spent honing my skills on the guitar. Maybe it’s all that extra time I have been spending per week on the ‘other’ study material, Theory being the main one. 

It’s been a constant battle to find the time to squeeze in the time to play, work on scales, arpeggios etc., the usual stuff. (I’m doing a Diploma Of Music at TAFE, and a fair chunk of the course is jazz related). Sometimes I wonder if I have still have the same drive as I used to, you know, to practice hard! In some areas, I’ve had to own up to it; no I don’t. I guess I’ve had to be honest with myself; do I want to master the guitar? No. I read a great interview with Earl Klugh recently, where, when asked about sight-reading (and did he work on it? etc), he said “ah, I remain perpetually rusty at it”. Rusty, Earl? Wow. He said he spent his time on other things, and that “you can’t do everything all the time”, or words to that effect.

This made me feel a lot better, and relieved in a way. I have a wife & family now, and more responsibilities (including being self-employed) than I used to when I was young and played 3 hours a night. I mean, if the great Earl Klugh can accept that he’s not a great sight-reader, surely it shouldn’t bother me? 

I know I need to be more structured with my practice, but I guess I really don’t have much to worry about, at the end of the day. I’ve actually just been enjoying time away from the guitar a little over these last 2 weeks, as I have a short break from both teaching and study. i consider myself lucky that I get to spend most of my holidays with my family, as they are also on a break at the same time of the year.

So – taking time to smell the roses is a cliche that gets used often, but it’s ringing true for me lately.

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Hello world!

October 18, 2012

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Happy blogging!