For Time To Come

Hey one and all!

A lot of my posts are mostly motivational or how I am feeling about what has happened in the week prior. Reflection is great, not only we can learn from our mistakes, but we can learn from what we did well.

A lot of musicians, tend to not think of themselves as a business. It takes a lot of time and dedication to get to where you want to be, no matter how many steps you will want to, and have to take.

I always have a practise diary. Every evening and every Sunday, I plan ahead of what I will want to achieve in the week ahead and the month. This way, you’re consistently reflecting and adapting to unforeseen challenges. I find this method I worked out, helps to build a stronger base for the larger picture. That being, building connections in an already familiar environment, to begin establishing who you are and what you can offer. Then, where you base yourself is mostly dependent on where the work is.

When it comes to monthly or yearly planning, it can be hard to tell how much of what you plan will come to effect. It’s a good idea, I think, to take advantage of all the opportunities on offer, with the long term purpose in mind. For me personally, I go to Jazz Jam sessions, with the purpose of improving my ear and playing, but also to expand my relations with new and existing connections. Existing connections, I’d say, are vital because it takes time to build strong relationships with people.

I go by this formulae

Plan

Expand

Apply 

Base

Let me explain ;

  1. Plan/Replan – This is essentially writing down what your ideas, goals and dreams and prioritising them in order of short to long term achievements. (I’ll get to replan in a minute)
  2. Expand – This is looking at each goal and expanding it to the opportunities that are available to you. The opportunities available is not only what is easily accessible, but they are also events that are in the present and future that may arise. You have to be on alert for this one, in order to make the most of anything. 
  3. Apply – #JustDoIt and be proactive. You will have to get out there, show up, make yourself known.
  4. Base – You must be aware when you are beginning to develop a base, from where you can start to replan. This means, when you have got a platform to work from i.e. regular income, base of connections, where you are based geographically, social profile etc. Then you can begin the process again. A never ending work frame.

It doesn’t matter how small the base is, as long as there is something to work from, you can start to replan and the replan could be very small e.g. Making a connection, in person and online, going to an event where the connection is and promoting yourself whilst learning and developing your skills on a practical level.

IMG_2853
THE NEXT STEP – I will be performing a piece that requires a loop pedal (see image) in May 2018. It’s time to get practical and explore electronics.

That’s all guys!

Thanks for taking some time out to read my Blog!

Albums of the week

Donny Mcaslin – Fast Future (Full Album) 2015 – Contemporary Jazz! Explore the personnel on this album!

Irakere (Cuba, 1979) – Live (Full Album) – Recognised as one of the first groups to establish Timba! This a Cuban dance and has influnces of Salsa, American funk/RnB and strong Afro-Cuban Folkloric music. Here is a taste of Salsa and Afro-Cuban Folkloric music – listen carefully and hear the similarities!

Thanks again everyone! 

#BlogNo. 10

For Time To Come

The mystery of #BlogNo. 9

I’m back..

..and right on track. I will (should) be updating this space every Sunday now! The past few weeks I’ve been here, there and everywhere. This is my version of a Sunday evening, relaxing on the sofa and it’s great!

In this blog, I will simply write an overall summary of how I’ve felt and where it’s lead me.

In my opinion

It’s all about enjoying who you are, where you are and what you have at the current time of your life. 

Why sulk or feel sorry for yourself about what you can and can’t control, when you can train your mind to be comfortable in the place you are. We’re here for only a relatively short time – it’s important to remember this.

We live only to discover beauty. All else is a form of waiting 

Kahlil Gibran

It can seem like a waiting game. This quote sums up perfectly how I imagine most people feel. Most feel heavily weighted to the waiting side of things, but through seeing what you see through your eyes in a positive, lighter light; it all becomes clear that, it is what it is. 

I played drums in a concert on Wednesday and afterwards, I received praise on my playing. All of the hard effort, dedication, hours of practise. This is the waiting, the daily grind, which leads to the discovery of beauty or in a non-philosophical term, feeling pretty damn good. The discovery of this quote has been an important find.

This leads to an important idea

See what you see as an opportunity. All will unveil itself in time.

The other day

I was on my way back from Bristol after a crazy African Sabar Drumming session with Dave Smith (drummer for Robert Plant) and Batch (native of this music) I was on the Megabus (it was actually nice and new) and ended up sitting next to a girl who was also in her final year, we talked for the whole journey and at some point, she said she wasn’t into music. HOLD UP. Not into music?!? But wait, I thought, let’s try to discover what this really means. Turns out, it’s factors such as seeing specific artists, mood, time, place etc. that changed and directed her to certain types of music.

This was a great example and turning a closed road into an open road. Which leads me to the next point.

People tend not to remember how what you say. 

But how you make them feel.

Moments like these, make you want to transfer a learned experience to all walks of life. I think that the person you talk to is always new, whether they are unfamiliar or familiar to you because, relations change and develop and it’s important to discover something about everybody. You’ll always find something!

Thanks for visiting!

Please leave a note if you like what I’m doing, or think I could improve in someway! Or give this a share! Check out my Twitter page too for live updates!

On that note, I’ll leave you with this tune ––> Hank Mobley – This I Dig Of You <––

Have a discoverable week guys!

#BlogNo.9

The mystery of #BlogNo. 9

Making the most out of anything….and Cuba

This week I’ve had a moment of inspiration. So I’ll post earlier than usual whenever this happens.  I find that if you’re aware, you’re always surrounded by new opportunities – whether that’s in your favour or not! Recently, this opportunity seemed to be not in my favour – in any conservatoire of music, there is an inundated amount of competition for practise rooms. Basically, whoever has the smartest approach to skilfully book rooms, wins the race.

To the point…

I have a room which essentially is the spot I have inhabited. One day that room was full for the day, my day could have been a total mess. At first I saw it as a joke, which is was, but on the day I didn’t feel so much in a jokey mood. So, there’s no point getting funny, I decided the best thing to do, was to focus on what I don’t usually spend time to do. And you know what, I felt somewhat in more of a benefit than I would have been if I was in my usual routine. Changing it up every so often is a great thing. After this lesson, I will now try to incorporate more time where I can grab a coffee, research, little practise and whatever else. Time doesn’t stop, so as long as there is a reason, it’s time well spent.

So next time…

you’re in a situation you dislike. Hold back, think what else you could do that is still productive but adapts to the new situation at hand. It’s all about playing the system. 

Cuba

BAM! Dropped that one pretty quick, I mean it’s the second time I have the opportunity to go back to Cuba for more lessons, learning and last but not least, rum! Last April I went with a group known as Tradicional Cubano; the flautist (Jose-Zalba Smith) is the son of Bueno Vista Social Club saxophonist Havier Zalba. Over the 3 weeks I had an immense time exploring the culture, language, dance and music. Now I get to do it all over again, this time, for an intensive 2 week course focusing on Rumba and Western Cuba.

The image featured is a gear stick in one of the taxis we were in. Fair to say, they may be 1950s American relics but oh boy they have some seriously modern, bassy speakers in those!

 

Songs (albums…got to be honest) of the week

I must give you a flavour of what you’d probably hear in Cuba. I find it surprising how not many people have heard of these guys —> Bueno Vista Social Club <—- Check out this too, some classic folkloric rumba. This is manly Pilon and Guauangco.

Enjoy!

I’m now on Twitter @H_P_T_B so if you want more up to date score of what I’m doing in the here and now, give me a lil old followroony!

#BlogNo. 8

Making the most out of anything….and Cuba

Living It Up

I’ve been…

..full out this week, of which, has left me with a sore throat and a illness hangover. But, that’s not stopping me from getting out there and dirty.

!Make well calculated rest and keep on the grind!

There’s been a fair amount of tension this week, probably to do with the colder weather but also it’s nearing the time of exams. And now matter what anybody says, that causes some form of stress. It’s interesting to see this from a learnt perspective, or in your language, seeing how you once dealt with stress and how you cope better now. You’re able to take people’s comments or actions with a pinch of salt, at the end of the day, how people behave around you isn’t going to affect your life, enabling you to live your life positively positive!! I think that is important. But also to make people aware with just a few carefully chosen words here or there, those words at some point come back when a person comes to realise truth.

On other news…

..progress is being made! I’ve now got a logo, I won’t be sharing it yet until my promotion page is ready! I can’t wait to share it. It’s important, I think, to do something and have something about yourself and business that makes you a little bit more distinctive. I mean it’s how you do it and not what you do. Making limitations can be a wonderful tool.

I

just back from London today. I stayed with some family members, it’s really important as a musician to take some time out and spend it with your loved ones when you can. On another note, I had a crazy time. I had never been to Soho before. If you’ve not been. GO. It is jam packed with life and plenty of gigs. Check out –> YPlan <– if you’ve not already! It has events listed in London everyday. I went to see Alex Wilson & Nolita Golding Latin Soul Night at the Pizza Express Jazz Cafe. The percussionist playing mentioned it so I went to see him. I mean you can’t go wrong with pizza and live music! Especially when you conveniently have this spot 😉 IMG_2796

Then I went full out and saw Havana D’Primera. Check them out. They’re from Cuba and their music has caused a storm everywhere. That went on until 3.30am this morning, it was worth every penny.

 

Song of the week

Here it is! Havana D’Primera. One of my favourite tunes from their album.

Passporte – Havana D’Primera

#BlogNo.7

 

Living It Up

The modern time keeper. What goes on underneath?

This week I’m back at home, so I’m particularly busy at the moment which is why I’m posting a few days early than the usual slot.

I’m currently performing a brand new theatre production called Murder Ballad. We are the FIRST group outside of the West End to have the opportunity to play this. Times like this as a musician, is what I and we all in the community really live for and when I say community, I mean everybody whether you have an interest in music or not (I’m there isn’t one person who doesn’t like music) I’m aware that the last blog was a little too much about myself and not about involving you guys reading my blogs. More on this below!!

So, today I wanted to share some thoughts behind what goes on in the depths of a drummer’ mind. Murder Ballad isn’t what you would call a technically challenging show, the parts are relatively simplistic. However, where most people fall, musician and non-musician alike, is the complexity behind the music. This week, it’s not just what I’ve learned but this blog, and thereafter, is trying to portray an understanding of music from how a musician sees it, without getting too technical.

We are a four-piece band and first of all, nobody is marking a formal assessment on what we are playing. As long as we are making the audience feel good and enjoy the show, that is the main outcome. As a drummer, I personally subdivide each sound I play in order to achieve a certain feel, or what makes somebody listening feel on an emotional level. Take David Bowie’s song Young Americans (Young Americans – David Bowie) Listen to the drums, particularly the kick drum and snare drum, the gap between beats 1 and 3 is where I would be hearing and feeling an underlying rhythm. If I want you to feel relaxed and in the music, I’ll be a little behind beats 1 and 3, or if I’m after energy, I’ll be bang on beats 1 and 3.

Going back to the four-piece band scenario, this means we have to be locked into each other and the internal metronome i.e. how we each feel the pulse, for this show, it is 1000% important (no error on the 1000% fyi) as each song runs into the next and each song’ tempo can be very drastic. At some points, we’ll be playing 77bpm then go straight into 161bpm (Beats Per Minute). This is by far, one of the most challenging aspects of music by far. The more one understands, the more one appreciates and enjoys the music with more meaning!

We want to provide the best sound possible. It’s having the positive energy to give to others, to put your time and expertise before yourself. I always try to make sure the others in the band are feeling good and if not, I try to help them as much as possible and if not, then that’s the time I focus on myself and challenge myself to sound the best I can.

In life, generally speaking, it’s really important to help others first whilst making an authoritative stance. The people who are most successful, have this authoritativeness yet they have a yielding understanding and compassion towards others. If you can tap into that, then for sure you’ll have a deeper level of understanding for what it is you’re focusing on and have a deeper level of satisfaction.

Bottom line

The take home message today.

Be a positive influence, whilst being authoritative and compassionate towards others. 

Instead of Songs of the week, I wanted to share this podcast I listened to (below) today. Do something different today and take some time to listen and be inspired! 🙂

If you’re interested, follow the link to the website here and search for podcasts (there’s an option to subscribe too)

See you all next week! Have a great one.

#BlogNo. 6

The modern time keeper. What goes on underneath?

Goals, Ambition, Drive.

Expect the unexpected

Recently, I’ve been visualising my dreams. Not intentionally, but out of pure self-driven ambition. With hard work, I know I’ll be able to make those dreams into reality. Usually, it’s not healthy to imagine what could be, because we truly don’t know what’s around the corner. That’s what makes being a freelance musician so exciting though.

Where do I want to be and who?!

Currently, I’m striving not only to be the best I can be at drumming and world percussion; but also striving to project my ideas and concepts into an educational book as well as teaching! I think it’s so important to pass on ideas to those learning, which is anybody really!! This will take time, but that doesn’t matter. I’m here for the long run. 

This past week has been a week of feel good. I’m on top of my projects for college, this goes from arranging and composing to preparing my pieces for the final final recital! As well as projects that will put me in the best position possible, before I leave and thereafter. As well as feeling good; this week has been a realisation, not for me per se, but for others around me, now I can see what is ahead of me more clearly. In a music specialist conservatoire of music, it’s expected that we hone in on our craft on a daily basis. It’s not just about that though, in such a specialist place, it’s easy to forget that there is the world surrounding you.

Goal 1

Learn as many tunes as possible. Everyday, I will learn at least one song, know the chords, form and melody. Practising for amazing technique is one thing, but that’s not going to help you when you don’t know a tune/song in a live situation. I had a jam session on Monday and……yeah…..I need to know my forms. It felt like just about everything that could go wrong, did. If I’d known the tune, I probably would have been in better stead. Not only is this my new goal for jazz, but for world music, primarily Cuban as the music spreads throughout Spain, Africa, South America, so there is a lot of music language to cover!

Goal 2

Hone in on Jazz vibes. I have this urge, hunger to really delve into jazz harmony, primarily. Now I’ve come to the stage where I now need to master typical chord progressions, change from one chord/scale to another bar by bar, beat by beat etc as well as chord voicing and applying what I know already to jazz standards. That may sound a lot, but from the skills I’ve developed already, I know this is just a few little steps with a few bigger steps i.e. short and long-term goals.

Goal 3

Project my ideas to the world. I’ve touched on this briefly already. It’s fair to say that nobody what anybody else thinks, I will be perfecting my concepts, ready to put out there. It’s time now to, put it all into order and ask those who I know will be able to help me in one way or another.

Song of the week

I wanted to have only one song this week. This is sooooo groovy! This is a Cuban dance known as Chachacha – Enjoy!!

Orquesta Aragon – No me molesto

#BlogNo.5

Final words of Wisdom

Now let us play hide and seek. Should you hide in my heart it would not be difficult to find you. But should you hide behind your own shell, then it would be useless for anyone to seek you.

Kahil Gibran

Goals, Ambition, Drive.

Change

This week, today, I was inspired to write about CHANGE. A good friend of mine, this morning, wrote to me about how he was feeling. I won’t be specific, but it was on the basis of negative thinking. Negative thinking is a result from how we feel.

I made one decision…

and that decision, was to acknowledge how I felt and how I react in certain situations I’m not comfortable with. I’m naturally quite an anxious person, but catching that feeling in those first few crucial seconds, seeing it for how it is, made me content with not only the feeling, but with who I am. The second we detach our feelings from our mind, the more we are not able to take the step into our relationship with our body. Not changing the way we feel, but the relationship. 

We as humans in the current era with live in, tend to guard our feelings and guard going back to a way we felt in the past. With any feeling, hiding or putting it under the blanket is only going to enhance that feeling. It’s a natural process to feel emotion, in order to improve in anything, you must change the I Want, into I Will or I Must, with a positive mindset towards this change.

When You Wake Up

When people wake up with a negative mindset, you will feel the way you had thought. Usually, before I sleep, I will take 30 seconds to go through my day from the moment I wake the the present. One day I thought, ‘Why do I create this mindset every morning’. From then on, I would acknowledge any thought with no pre-emptied thoughts about those thoughts, and soon enough, fewer and fewer of traits that I had decreased and allowed me to have a positive outlook.

The featured image

This is where I usually do calisthenics, this is the place I practise change. Every time I feel like giving up, like not giving it that push, I change this and do the opposite. I am left feeling pumped and ready to smash the day ahead. Or if I don’t feel like practising, I change this and Do It. 100% focus, because nobody is going to do it for me. Only I can do this and this gives me more satisfaction than ever. You Know You Can Do Anything. 

The week just gone…

I have been up to lots, but the most important part of the week I am pumped for, is to be play with other people. With the nature of my course, it was somewhat difficult to find that balance between playing in a jazz/afro-cuban jazz situation and keeping up work for assessments on the classical side of things. Now as a 4th year, I have more time than ever to organise how I wish (to some extent) and now I can get back on the treadmill and keep on running towards what I need to work on now, playing with people. Playing with people, is a completely different ball game from playing to a recorded track or practising solo.

Mis últimas palabras (My Final Words)

I hope I have inspired you today with what I wanted to say. This may be a music blog into the life of a world percussionist/drummer, but it’s not all about the music and I think delving into the areas not directly looking music, is far more interesting. I mean, I did say life. 

Songs of the Week

I was going to a gig at the London Jazz Cafe. All of the top cats in world percussion were going to be in one spot and I was super excited. Unfortunately, the main player who this gig was for, got too ill to travel. So these songs today are for him.

Song No. 1 Bahia San Juan – Giovanni Hidalgo

Song No. 2 Loving Drums – Giovanni Hidalgo

Have a great week ahead.

Don’t forget to share!! 😀 Much love!

#Blog. No. 5

Change