Tuesday, August 12, 2008

New Musician?

I occasionally run across new musicians who want advice, encouragement, etc. I most-highly recommend the book, "Getting Started in Christian Music" Reed Arvin, editor. Then, I've got a few questions. hopefully the answers don't hurt.

Are you good? --not just in your opinion, but have others showered you with praise they didn't have to give? Parents and other family members don't count. I hate doing a review and having to come up with words like "young, enthusiastic performer" or "strong lyrics" --without mentioning the vocal quality, or "here's an artist who could one day..." and so on. Those imply the artist probably shouldn't seek a career in music, yet.

Is your work full of my pet peeves? Pronunciation is important! "I" is pronounced, "eye" and not "high". Don't be too breathy or slur your words. Be clear. "Hugh are my ngod" is not a suitable substitute or a good emotional way to say "You are my God." Melismata is another peeve of mine. I used to call it warbling until I learned the musical term. Melisma is the singing of multiple tones on one syllable. A little can be OK, but too often it's overdone as a means to show off an artist's voice. C'mon you guys, nobody likes a show-off.

Is it lyrically immature or cliche? I've heard this referred to as "love and above" songs. They're too predictable. Overuse of "perfect rhymes" can destroy an otherwise wonderful message. This is well covered in the book I referred to earlier, so I'll not pursue it here.

Don't let this get you all disappointed. There are lots of areas in music other than performance or writing. We're not all gifted in the same areas. Some write, some sing, some play musical instruments, some are sound technicians, some like to organize concerts, some like to manage bands, and the list goes on. I, for instance, don't like to sing publicly, except during congregational singing, and I'm far from performance-worthy on any of the musical instruments with which I like to dabble. I do, however, love to write and talk about music. I may not be good at it, but I'll keep on anyway. Then again, there ARE singers who don't really sing well, but had some great support on the way. Think Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger

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