I consider myself a very lucky man to have a job in the field I am in. What started as a hobby as a young boy has taken over my world and without it, I wonder what I would be doing or where I would be now without music. As I recall from my university days, and even school too, not many have had the drive to stick it out and really do something they love as a career. Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been an easy journey and still isn’t now as my career takes new paths through the musical world. I wanted to share with students and developing musicians alike my experience (and maybe a couple of words of wisdom) to inspire and hopefully keep you all heading in the right direction towards your dreams.
One of the most important things I have learnt over the years of performing, teaching and other such things us musicians do (and thats not just getting up late in the afternoon) is to be a Chameleon. We all have our favourite musical styles and techniques we like to play and listen to, mine are too embarrassing to mention. But learning other, maybe not quite desirable styles and exploring different musical ventures can really benefit you in a big way. I have many students at the moment going through the motions of GCSE and A level music and the attitude is – If its not metal, it’s not music! It’s great to be able to smash sweep arpeggios out at 300bpm, or play every Metallica song under the sun but all I see that achieving is a million views on youtube and eventually a Metallica tribute band. To a professional working band looking for a new guitarist, this stuff is futile. They’re probably going to be after a musician to sit in the pervertible pocket as it were. A guitarist that understands that sometimes it’s what you choose not to play that counts. I suggest, along-side your Metallica studies (if that’s what makes you happy) try something totally out of your comfort zone to really stretch your musical abilities. Maybe in doing so you might find something you like within a different genre and I guarantee you’ll discover something new for your technical ability bag of tricks.
If, at all, you’re into watching youtube videos of guitarists doing there ‘thang’ then you may have well come across some of these names before but if not try checking out players such as Derek Trucks, John Patrucci and my man Guthrie Govan. They have majorly different styles but equally as impressive in their fields.
So why not grab that technicolour dream coat of musical versatility and stretch your abilities. Thats it from me, back to my Metallica studies. R.