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The Music Man Podcast episode writing sample:
Title - The one secret and quickest way to getting better as a musician or songwriter
For many of us we look for a shortcut clever path to excellence. Being a beginner in any skill is hard. We can be overwhelmed with what we have to learn. Most main skills can be broken down into sub skills. And if we want to learn a new set of skills it’s usually because we’ve seen someone else do some cool stuff that we want to learn how to do. And taking on that new skill can be a bit overwhelming when we try to break it down. It sometimes can feel like taking on climbing a mountain without the proper gear. Well I am here to help with clearing that up.
So you really want to know the secret to the quickest way of getting better at music? I won’t leave you waiting for too long then. But before I do I think most of you already know this secret. Whether you took lessons or not you probably already heard what I am about to tell you. All you really have to do is practice and work on the fundamentals. I told you you probably already knew this. This key mastery alone can make you grow exponentially. 2 very famous people even have said how important fundamentals are. Vince Lombardi - “excellence is achieved by the mastery of the fundamentals.” And Gandhi “All compromise is based on give and take, but there can be no give and take on fundamentals. Any compromise on mere fundamentals is a surrender. For it is all give and no take.”
In sports most athletes train the fundamentals over and over and over again. They work on the basics and build up their speed, accuracy, and confidence. When a basic tackle is missed on the field, when a basketball player misses a simple layup or when a ball player misses a grounded ball we go back to saying they need to work on the fundamentals. Coaches preach the fundamentals especially in practice. There’s a universal understanding in sports, if your fundamentals aren’t built in instinctually, then you’ll have a lot of difficulty performing on game day. This can be interchanged with performing music and your musical instrument of choice.
Pay attention to the details. That’s the key to fundamentals. The tiniest details to every movement, where you put your fingers for learning scales or chords, how your wrist moves with every stroke of a drum rudiment, or proper hand position for playing piano. These details are critical when starting out because instead of progressing forward you could be doing 1 step forward 3 steps back and having to retrain your brain and muscle memory with learning the proper way of performing fundamentals. And the small details can sometimes seem like “common sense” but for most of us as beginners, seasoned musicians, or professionals these details aren’t. We usually need someone to tell us to slow down and focus on them. Well I am telling you, slow down and focus on the fundamentals.
Many of you will say “But practicing the fundamentals is extremely boring.” Well break up the boring. You don’t have to do all fundamentals in 1 sitting session. In between practicing fundamental exercises practice along to some of your favorite songs. Or find ways to make fundamentals more fun. For example almost all songs on the radio are recorded with a metronome or click track. And if you are a drummer practicing your rudiments can get pretty boring. Put one of your favorite songs, find the beat and practice your rudiments to it. Do it with different song tempos, fast, medium and slow. And stay within the tempo. There’s a future video I will be doing about the fundamentals every musician should know. But for now you understand my point on making it more fun for you to practice.
We have some of the best technology now for learning. When I was growing up and practicing fundamentals we didn’t have a way to watch videos instantly on our phones, computers or tablets. The internet was still relatively new. Now you can slow the speed down on a YouTube clip and see exactly what is happening all in HD quality. It’s such a great tool to have especially when seeing complex techniques broke-down. Not only will you see movements but you can see where the fundamentals come in.
So now you know fundamentals are the secret for the quickest way to getting better. I hope you took something useful out of this. Please follow, like, subscribe and share if you did. Always remember don’t do music just for money do it because you love it. Stay safe The Music Man out.
Things That Make you Go Hmmm Podcast episode writing sample:
Question: Why did people not smile in photographs and when did they start to?
We have all heard a “Picture is worth 1,000 words''. Sometimes multiple ideas can be conveyed by a single still image. Photography has been around since the 1820’s. When compared to our history of human existence that is not very long. But for 200 years we have enjoyed still pictures that have now evolved into some of the most advanced technology. We have instant film, high megapixel lenses, speedy fast shutter speed, interchangeable lenses, and small enough to fit into a pants pocket which is just a few of the modern day luxuries with photography.
When we see photography from the earlier days during the 1800’s we always notice how nobody is smiling. Seeing old black and white photos of our long lost relatives or historic figures. There have been a few theories as to why we don’t see happier humans during those times. Some believe poor dental hygiene or bad teeth was the cause of lack of smiles. Another theory is that due to the length of exposure time people would be in comfortable poses so they could stay still long enough to get the picture. But most experts actually believe the real reason people weren’t smiling was photography took guidance from preexisting customs in paintings. Many associated smiles in paintings with madness, lewdness and loudness.
When we smile for real it’s capturing a moment. We are able to capture these moments more easily now. Moments of happiness, grief, beauty and despair. There’s usually context behind a smile. Capturing a parent and a child playing, a bride walk down an isle, a firefighter tired from fighting a fire. Back in the beginning of taking a photograph those moments may have not been as easy to capture. In the 1850’s and 60’s photography became more popular and cameras were becoming more advanced that the exposure times took only a few seconds. Which would make capturing those moments a bit easier.
According to experts at the National Library of Wales, the first smile ever photographed was in 1853. The photograph is called “Willy” and It features a young man with close-cropped hair, wearing a nice collared shirt and jacket. He is looking at something off to his right that is amusing him, and the photograph captured just a little smile from him.
Capturing moments, that’s what photography comes down to. Moments of joy, happiness, sadness, and beauty. We can capture far off distance planets and the vast spaces of the universe all the way to the smallest of particles found on our own planet. Andy Warhol said it perfectly, "The best thing about a picture is that it never changes, even when the people in it do”.