Collaborate and Learn
By Ben BlakesleyGeorges Music
NEWS FLASH!! There is a world outside your bedroom/basement/practice studio!
Get out and play with others!
Often, we musicians get trapped in the routine of holing up in a dark space focusing on our technique, craft, and musical skills while neglecting one of the great learning tools available in such an interactive hobby: Collaboration.For me, collaborating with other musicians is the lifeblood of my playing. There is no greater musical feeling than playing music with others and getting into a transcendental groove where all participants feel a strong connection to the music and each other. An experience truly unique to us as musicians.
Raise the Bar
But there is more to collaboration than simply feeling the joy of musical connectivity. Collaboration is one of the greatest ways to learn new skills and increase your musical ability. I can tell you from personal experience that if you surround yourself with great musicians and play on a regular basis, you will
become a better musician. Think of it as the other musicians raising the bar and making you rise to the challenge.As a young acoustic guitarist and steady gigging musician when I was in college at the University of New Hampshire, I got hooked up with a small group of Biology professors who got together every Friday for a few hours of acoustic jamming - mostly on fingerstyle blues and ragtime from the 30's and 40's. Although a fan of the blues, playing in this style was as foreign to me as playing the oboe, but after a couple of semesters of listening, watching, jamming, and collaborating with these gentlemen I had added a number of new skills and songs to my arsenal. I can honestly say my playing improved more from those sessions with those 'non-musical professors' than from any of the music work I did in the classroom that year.
Connect and Meet
So what do you do if you don't have anyone to collaborate with? Find them!It's never been easier to find and connect with other musicians than it is right now. There are any number of online groups that allow you to find musicians with similar (or dissimilar) interests. As a good place to start, check out Meetup.com
where you can find groups that are all about getting together and doing something
.Where else do musicians tend to congregate? Hmmm....maybe your local music store! Yes, George's Music is a great place to meet fellow musicians. If you're looking to find other guitarists, just hang out by the guitar section of the store and it's a pretty good bet that the majority of people coming by to look at guitars will be guitar players.The important part is, once you've connected online or off, GET TOGETHER AND PLAY!! Do it as often and for as long as you can and I guarantee you'll thank me with improved guitar chops, better drum skills, and badder bass lines.If all else fails, drop me a line. We'll jam. :-)
Ben Blakesley is in charge of Marketing and Technology at George's Music and will play music anywhere, anytime, with anyone.