Feel what you play, play what you feel


If there is one piece of advice that I would give to a fellow musician it would be; as the title of this blog post expresses, feel what you play, play what you feel. There are two profound and important pieces of information within this title. The first; feel what you play, means that you should express yourself through whatever it is you are playing and always try to find an enjoyable aspect of what you are playing. The second; play what you feel, even though it is often the case that we must play music that is not of our liking, we should try to stay as true to ourselves as possible. Always aspire to work fulltime on the type of music that you love, with enough hard work and dedication it is possible to achieve this.

Returning to the first topic of feeling what you play; as musicians it is not uncommon to find ourselves playing a piece of music that is not to our liking, but it is important to find something within this piece of music that we enjoy. In my experience I have had to play tons of music that is not to my liking, often times music that I don’t even listen to regularly. But I make sure to find something fun within it. Reach for an uncommon chord voicing when accompanying, try creating some fun fills, hell just plain old dance to the music if the music is asking for it just don’t stand there looking like an old sourpuss.

There is nothing more boring to an audience member than seeing someone on stage who is completely bored and miserable looking. This person spent their hard earned money on watching getting a seat for the show the least you can do is try to do your job and entertain them. We often forget that we are performers and that this entails us moving our asses a bit and creating a fun environment. Think about why people go out…DUH to have fun. If you look like an oddly painted area of the wall you are not doing YOUR JOB. Plus aside from the audience you as a musician will indeed have major improvements and will enjoy the show a lot more.

Now on to the second topic of this post, play what you feel. When the opportunity of having a creative output on a project arises, be honest with yourself and let your inner artist blossom. It is sad to see people playing “fear-based” or “low self-esteem music” because they are so wrapped up in impressing their audience that they can’t let their real playing ability shine. There are a lot of reasons for this happening; either you want to be seen as the best thing to hit the world since nutella (yummmmm nutellaaaaaa), or maybe you completely sell out thinking it’s the best way to get your band to make it (ps. the greats are just that because they had the balls to be who they are). Among other reasons…

I will admit that I have been caught up in more of my share of those schemes or ways of thinking than I am willing to share. But at least I am very weary not to fall into those traps again. And every single time I notice and get out of those situations my life improves tenfold. It is important to stay true to who we really are in music and in life. If being a hypocrite to other people blows, just try being one to yourself, you’ll end up unwell in the head.

Well, now you know, feel what you play, play what you feel…

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© 2015 by Juan Antonio Music.