As I write this blog I’m listening to the new Rush album, Clockwork Angels. I’m a huge Rush fan . . . but who isn’t? In my teens it was nothing short of idolatry and an endless quest to look and sound like Lifeson. It turned me into even more of a geek/loser in high school, but hey, I found a way to express my identity . . . through another person’s persona . . . hmmm, OK, moving on to the positive part of my addiction . . .
A knowledgable musician is a good musician, and a good musician never stops learning.
I was at a family birthday party recently and a relative asked me how the lesson scene was going. I explained that things were not as good as last year, but it’s still early September. His reason for asking was that he heard about the closing down of the biggest music store in the area, citing low numbers of student sign-ups as a big factor.
I’m not sure if this is what other music schools and instructors are experiencing, but I certainly am. In the decade I’ve been teaching there has never been a shortage of students, until now.
Is it the economy? High gas prices? Low wages or wage freezes? Joblessness? I don’t know.
But that’s not the reason for this blog. I want to talk about students’ attitude and perception. Who knows, maybe that’s also a factor in the low turn-out, too.
I know, it’s supposed to be the other way around, right?
If you’re like most other musicians you’ve had to do some teaching to supplement your gigging income. Maybe you hate it and view it as a necessary evil. I certainly did, until the lightbulb went off . . .
I proceeded to play the riff from ‘Show Don’t Tell’ by Rush, thinking, of course, I was all that and more . . . except Perm had the little solid state Peavey practice amp with the distortion set “on eleven”. You couldn’t even tell what I was playing because the sound was so distorted. Great for metal, bad for early-90’s Rush which should be clean to slightly overdriven, a touch of chorus and highly sophisticated sounding.
“Cool, man! Let me give you a scale to work on,” Mr. Perm said.
Jeremy is a freelance music educator, producer, engineer and musician in Toronto. You can also visit him at Propeller Worship and Propeller Life.
Propeller Sound's mission is to foster the development of the musician as a total person, to coach guitarists with their playing, recording and teaching and to guide people considering a music career.