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Riley Music Academy Music Cast: Do you Rock?!

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Do you Rock?!

When you walk down the street, do you think you can tell what music someone likes just by their clothes, their walk, their hairstyle?  It’s a fun game.

There have been some classic musical stereotypes over the years:

  • Rocker
  • Mod
  • Goth
  • Punk
  • New Romantic
  • Grunge
  • Emo

Do you/did you fall into any of these categories?  Post below…Id love to know.

I’m not out to ridicule anyone or to claim any of these styles are better than another; far from it.  I’m all for absorption of style.  I guess it’s just that, for me, I’ve never really fallen into one camp enough to be considered ‘in the gang’.  I guess I’m a hybrid, made up of:

2 parts Jazz
a cup of funk
slices of melodic cheese
a few teaspoons of prog
1 tonne of rock
1 large doze of Goan Trance
and to finish – a splattering of minimalism and art music of the 1950′s

There you go…if you’re interested…thats whats going on in my head!

Thats not really the point though.  The point is that I get a lot of people asking how to phrase like Charlie Parker, or play Blues convincingly, or to not sound so straight when they try to Funk things up a bit.  I always say the same thing…you have to absorb yourself in the style.   Now, I’m not talking about dying your hair or changing your outfit.  You just have to listen to the music…a lot!

Someone once mentioned to me that when asking the great British jazz musician Alan Barnes how to Swing…he simply answered “You need to eat the right food”.  I guess this slightly surreal answer means that you need to consume as much music as possible in the style that you want to mimic.

So how much do you need?  What are the correct doses of prescribed music?

Rather than copping out and saying something like: “as much as possible”, here’s some more tangible advice…

  1. Headphones – the commuters favourite.  Sit on the bus and watch the world go by with a soundtrack of your choice.  These moments are bliss.  1-2 times a day
  2. Car stereo – my personal favourite.  The acoustics of a small metal box might not be fantastic but having your favourite artist accompany you on a long journey in rainy Britain is a pleasure. Up to 4 times a day
  3. Kitchen Radio – background noise to the daily grind of domestic chores.  I/V drip
  4. Posh living room speakers – sat in a chair with the lights out.  The isolation booth of life.  1 large dose once a week
  5. AB repeat mode – an old CD player trick.  Sat with your musical instrument you can listen to the same few bars over and over and over again until you can play what they play.  This is called Transcribing and it’s one of the best forms of musical training.  It’s also very difficult which is why a lot of us don’t do it!  A short, intense course of treatment unless it produces adverse side effects 
  6. Watch a gig – the ultimate experience.  Why pay 99p to listen to an over compressed MP3 (which you do not legally own, you are just leasing) when you can have the full line up in real life.  Watch the interaction between musicians, feel the bass frequencies resonate with your torso and dodge the perspiration flying from the stage.  At least once a month for healthy exposure
  7. Silence – an often overlooked opportunity to reflect and let your ears decipher the information.  It’s a bit like resetting your mind by falling asleep each night; it allows you to interpret the sound and have it sink into the depths of your psyche.  2 drops to be taken in the morning and before bed

So when you hear: “that guy really rocks” or “this music really swings” or “she’s so funky” its probably that those people know their onions and have immersed themselves in the style, the fashion, the lingo, the history and are the real deal.

Did you have a Take That inspired centre parting?  Did you wear leg warmers?  Nose piercing and green mohican?  Post below…I’d love to know.

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