Break

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The sumer gear collection…more latin gear has been added since ūüėÄ

The last week at the RWCMD came to a close on Friday! Now I’m back in my hometown of Bath and safe to say, my body has shut down. So I’m taking a break from playing for a little bit, so I can rejuvenate my mind and body.

Because of this, and also as a heads up, I may not be blogging next Sunday!

It’s important to take time off and I’m certainly one that can keep powering through no matter what, perhaps I’m stubborn but I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t been.

Listen to your gut more and your mind less.

It’s harder to be aware of this during the day than you think.¬†

Next week I’m back in Cardiff for rehearsals at the Welsh Millennium Centre (WMC) in the Cardiff Bay. I bumped into the Operatic Director for an independent/contemporary Opera I did over a year ago and now I’m playing in her test run of her own company. Even though Opera isn’t my thing per se, but when there is room for creative direction then who knows where it could lead to! This is something I’m really excited about.

Over the next few weeks, as well as spending time with family and friends, I’ll be working hard on my own ideas and planning ahead for the next two and final terms at the Royal Welsh. Just so that I can really enjoy my time in Cuba and not think about missing two weeks of college! There will be lots of photos and experiences shared come early New Year!

That’s all for today guys! Take some time out for yourselves too!

Songs of the week

Here are two songs that I hope will set you up for the week no matter what you’re doing!

Some cheeky Bileo – You can Win¬†– this is from the early 80s and it’s a massive soul song!

Roy Davis Jr ft Peven Everett РGabriel (Live Garage Version) Рthe sound of human nature and original music is a beauty when you mix it with electronics

Rest Hard, Work Harder.

#BlogNo. 14

Break

New found experiences

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Everyday is a learning experience. I try to be as aware as possible, to make the most the any opportunity that may come my way. I think it’s important that we all have a similar attitude.

The reason being; I used to feel a bit awkward or uncomfortable, when I would see clich√© images of motivational pictures on Facebook or Instagram. Though, those people are perhaps and probably, some of the most happiest and driven in whatever they are doing. One day I stopped and told myself, no matter how I felt or what had gone on, that I would be positive and drive that through my life. Because at least that way, it’ll channel through every aspect of your day to day life. We all have our off days, it’s human nature of course.

So if you’re somebody that may feel a bit out-of-sync with it all – bite the bullet and exclaim it as soon as you wake….no matter what anybody thinks.

This week, I put myself out there and contacted a percussionist that did a masterclass at the¬†RWCMD. I had a great experience with the percussion guys from the BBC Concert Orchestra and observing the drummer and brass section from the BBC Big Band. Being brought in as a world percussionist or drummer for those sort of collaborations would be awesome to do – of course, that’s rather difficult or as one of my teaches put it; “yeah, and so do the other 10,000!” – one new learned experience, is that these musicians, are all average people. I mean, I knew this already but I think you only learn when you experience it.¬†

Here’s a song from her to set the mood for the other part of the read ->¬†Cleo Laine & Johnny Dankworth – Oh Lady Be Good

Main News

I had the most obscure experience, one that I’ve never had before. I went to see a group called Hang Massive. They’re a group that developed in my home town, Bath ūüėÄ

The instrument they play is called a Hang Drums. The sound that is created could be described as groundless (in a good way) or ethereal. TO THE POINT, in the gig they did in a few days ago, I was experiencing feelings space, a bit out of it, which lead to me passing out for a split second! Luckily I snapped out of it and luckily my weight went onto my friend! I don’t want to put you off from checking them out –>CHECK THEM OUT HERE<–it was merely a case of feeling the resonance, you should be fine in the comfort of your own room!! Also, check out ->¬†Govardo | Bridge Over Troubled Water | Simon & Garfunkel Cover–they were part of the tour, his voice was stunning. They’ve been around for one year #SupportTheArts #SupportIndependentArtists

That’s all for today guys – Song(s) of the week include all of the links above!

Have a great week guys! Go for those new found experiences!

#BlogNo. 13

New found experiences

P ure D edication N o D istraction

Hey one and all!

I hope you all have had a great week. Last week’s blog was about finding your path. So today I’m continuing this idea, but taking a little further with some underlying truths that we take for granted, and may stop us from progressing as much as we can!

It is simply the cost of distraction that can stop us. (That was quick!!) As you can see, it doesn’t take 1000 words to tell somebody this. For example, by simply changing the spacing of the title, forces the reader to focus on the words in order to be able to read it (and it kinda looks cool)

Awesome!

In order to reach your goals, ambitions, focus; you have to really understand what your motivation is firstly. WHY are you doing what you are doing?! HOW can you CHANGE the tiniest part of your work ethic to enhance your performance?!

You yourself can only help. Nobody else can analyse the WHY and HOW of your work (I’m not shouting fyi – I’m merely stating key words that have been based on my previous blogs –>¬†CHECK IT OUT¬†+¬†AND THIS¬†+¬†and FINALLY)

You may ask, ‘what are the simple things’?! Well, it all depends on what technology you use, your work environment and most importantly being realistic about how you are really focused. For me, it’s turning my phone on Airplane Mode, only having the essential notifications from my apps, only subscribing to emails that I actually read etc. See how you work and see what you can change, even if you think you’re on top form already ūüėČ

It could be having a clean/spacious work space, music that helps you to focus, or simply setting a fixed time to get as much done of your project as possible! 

Not only is technology a factor, but also how much you work you set yourself, and whether you have a reason behind your work i.e. what we call motivation, I like to call it PURPOSE. 

What I do, is I get everything that’s in my head, put it into a day’s work of practise and prioritise them from highest to lowest. What I don’t get done, is carried on into the next day, I simply reprioritise them. If there is a particular aspect I’m not focused on, I ask myself why I wrote it down and usually, it’s something that motivates me to go and do it, to go through the motions, work the logistics out, and continue it with full focus the next day.

If I’m not sure why I wrote something down, I’ll research it or ask myself whether it’s useful to do it at that moment in time.

In short, if you simply boil your down, you can see it clearly and have a flowing work schedule. Also, you can see where, why and how you’re perhaps not getting as much as you would like (think distractions and motivation)

TIP: Boil what seems complex down so anybody could understand it, simplify it to it’s raw ingredients.¬†

If the fundamentals are at there best, then you can really explore your passion.

That’s all for today guys. Remind yourself at least once a day, why you are motivated to do what you do. PURPOSE.

Bring yourselves back to reality this week guys.

Music of the week

Today, I feel in the mood for Brazilian. This is style of Brazilian music called Capoeira. This song is called Parana ê Parana

Love to one and all!

H

#BlogNo. 12

 

 

P ure D edication N o D istraction

Knowing where your heart truly lies

Buenos días a todos!

(Good morning everybody!)

I hope you all have had a discoverable week guys!

This week, I will be talking about being¬†realistic¬†about where your heart truly lies. By this, I mean where your passion is, when you get goosebumps, or where you’re reacting in ways that you’re not even aware of…!

…and I also mean, being realistic about what skills you have and if these skills are at a level, that you can reach your dreams and goals! It’s all very well saying you want to be the best at one thing, but if the time, place and location aren’t in the right place for you to utilise the necessary skills, then it can be quite unrealistic.

I had this realisation where I wanted to be a music producer. That guy or gal who’s in the studio mixing, setting up mics etc. That was just an unrealistic goal, and a misunderstanding of where my passion lies. I have little understanding of the role of a producer. Where I am currently in my stage of life, I would seriously have to change everything and put my soul into producing.

In order to come to this stage…

I think it’s important to;

  1. Take some time out for yourself
  2. Look at your situation as clearly as possible
  3. Be realistic about the proficiency of your skills and what you can actually achieve
  4. Try to understand where your true passion is and follow it all the way

But how do you come to realise this?

The way I found this out, was by putting myself out there and trying all the avenues that seemed to interest me. Sending emails, shadowing etc was and is a great way of getting to grips with a particular area of interest. Usually, the people in the chain of the business, are able to see very easily, whether a person is suited/100% in it for the long run. Be aware of how people react and their willingness.¬†You can’t fault eagerness, but at the same time, you don’t want to create a bad impression.

Now, I know where and what I am aiming for. Developing myself as a world percussionist and drummer. Combining the two together, to create something new and unheard of before. This link¬†here¬†will take you to the guys that made me come to the climax to my conclusion. I saw the live performance of Omar Sosa and Seckou Keita where at the RWCMD – that special time in life where you’re experiencing something that hits home hard – I was reacting in an uncontrollable manner (not extremely ha!) in relation to the music.

The use of percussion and electronic sounds, emulating drum kit made me go ‘dayum, this is it!!’ I can see I was and am on the right tracks and how I can get to where I want to be! I was at a jam night the other day, I mentioned Cuba to the drummer after I played and eyes lit up when I said I could bring my congas down…little moments like that really bring home¬†where your heart lies, truly lies.¬†

This week and thereafter – sit yourselves down and ask yourself where your heart lies. Follow it 100%.

Your gut feeling may mislead you sometimes, but the more you do this, the more times you will learn from errors and the more you will get closer to your path.

 

Album of the week

Check these guys out, who really made a difference to me –¬†¬†Omar Sosa & Seckou Keita – Transparent Water¬†(the link is above too!)

Go and find your path guys!

Thank you to everybody! Love to one and all

#BlogNo. 11

 

 

Knowing where your heart truly lies

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 РThis 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.

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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 РFast Future (Full Album) 2015 РContemporary Jazz! Explore the personnel on this album!

Irakere (Cuba, 1979) РLive (Full Album) РRecognised 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 Рlisten carefully and hear the similarities!

Thanks again everyone! 

#BlogNo. 10

For Time To Come

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