Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Talk about un-singable!

As someone currently in the twenty something generation, I can say that "rock" tends not to be in heavy rotation on my ipod, instead my music is commonly typified as alternative, electronic or R&B. But, these songs tend to be even less singable than rock! Try emulating the exact descants of any R&B singer-- now try it in a group. You will quickly come to realize that it is a soloist's art form.

No group singing here.

So we are caught in an even worse state because our music is often not about the melody at all, but rather about the rhythm guitar's lick, an laid back electronic environment or a cool drum and bass hook.

Minutes of a song can go by without words at all.

Plus, the drive to find hip, new unheard of artists keeps the unifying power of our generational music to a minimum. Avid music listeners pride themselves on having deep cuts from the most obscure, indie bands possible. (It's a hobby like collecting and trading baseball cards). But, when you go to a piano bar, guess what? . . . no one else knows the songs.

So what should we be singing in our generation? Well, all I know is that Justin Timberlake's "Sexyback" is hardly piano bar friendly. So we opt to sing "Sweet Caroline" or "Sweet Home Alabama" instead. You bet we know the words.

Man are we a mixed us generation.

Can you imagine? "Does anyone know any Goldfrapp?. . . I thought not, well onto the Beatles, Let it Be."

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Is Rock now old people's music?

I was with Don on the Alaskan cruise and he pointed out the disjuncture between the young players and the music they were required to play. I also wondered if rock was more appropriate for those listening. When I looked around the room I would have to say that rock was certainly the music of those who now populated the cruise line (hence the popularity of the piano bar guy). They had a club bar on the ship but it didn't seem to claim the interest I would think it should have had but then realized there probably weren't many on the ship there to dance to the DJs.

So in my career it seems I started (with Don) to play music for the generation older than I was and now see young players doing the same for my generation. For those who think their music is for all time -- think again.


Monday, August 13, 2007

Fall returns

After a summer on a cruise in Alaska and directly to New Orleans (wow what a weather contrast) I am back and ready to start the new semester. My teaching schedule will be mostly online -- who would have thought I would be teaching online when I started with orchestra and jazz band over 30 years ago.

On the cruise I heard several musicians playing tunes from the Real Book (still after all these years). These jazz standards were not really understood by these young musicians. I wish they would have played "their music" instead of what they thought the old timers on the ship wanted to hear. These tunes were 30 to 50 years old at least. I sat in on a tune when a good jazz pianist happen to be in the lounge (we played a Miles Davis tune).

In the piano bar was a "sing along" performer. He played songs from the 60s to the 90s. He was a good entertainer. Funny how all the old songs in the Lounge were singable but no one knew them. In the piano bar the songs they all knew were songs that could not be sung by a group (especially in their condition).