Wednesday, November 2, 2016

First show with the Collins Live Experience: looking back

As announced previously, last Saturday I played the first live show with the Collins Live Experience. We are a 12-piece band including horns and backing vocals, and it was a pleasure to hear and see everybody perform at their best. We were lucky to work with the guys from MilleniumSound, who provided their sound and lighting equipment. They reserved the whole afternoon to work on the light show and to get the best possible sound for the audience and for us on stage. So we basically had one more final rehearsal on stage, while they optimized their settings. This left us with a very good feeling, and we could enjoy our dinner before the show in a relaxed and confident atmosphere.

When we finally hit the stage everything went as smoothly as during rehearsals, with the additional energy that you get from a great audience and from the live sound and light show. We played our 90-minute set as if we had been playing it for months, and all of us were very pleased with the result. I'm grateful to everybody who worked hard to make this such a rewarding evening!

So we can't wait to play our next show on 12 November in Podium 10 in Bladel (NL). Join us for another great evening with music from Phil Collins and Genesis!

All photos in this post © by Martijn van Dijck

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

First Live Show - The Collins Live Experience: Saturday 29 October 2016

Hi everybody,

I'd like to announce the first live show I'll be playing with the Collins Live Experience:

When: Saturday 29 October 2016, starting at 9:00 pm
Where: Gemeenschapshuis de Schans, Schoolstraat 1, Westerbeek (NL)

Free entrance!

We spent the last few months looking for the right people to make the band complete, and we've rehearsed a 90-minute set of Phil Collins and Genesis songs. I'm really pleased with the result and I'm looking forward to a great evening. Join us and enjoy a 90 minute live show with songs by Phil Collins and Genesis!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Student concert Saturday 16 July 2016

Hi guys,

the end of the school year is approaching quickly, and of course we'll have another student concert!

When: Saturday 16 July, starting at 19:30
Where: Café Kraaij en Balder, Strijpsestraat 79, Eindhoven

It will be another great evening full of guitar music of all styles!

I also invited several special guests:

  • Ellenor: voice and guitar, original songs
  • Jos and Wynand's Cowboy Blues: guitar-duo, rough semi-acoustic blues
  • Sander Borgers: voice and guitar, original songs

Join us for another cozy and inspiring evening!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Start recording!

I've been preaching this to my students, but I realize that I haven't yet written about it: recording yourself! Nowadays it has become so easy to do that, and I can promise you that it is a valuable tool that helps you to become a better player!

But let's go slow; so why should you record yourself at all?

There are many reasons. I'll try to convince you giving you the ones I find most important:

If you play or practice by yourself you need to focus on a lot of things (what is my right hand doing? what is my left hand doing? how do I sound? how is my timing? etc.), but you can't listen as carefully as you can when you lean back and listen to a recording. Listening to a recording of yourself can be very confronting: suddenly you hear that annoying string that keeps on ringing after that bend; or you hear that your chords are always slightly before the beat, which may sound a bit hectic; maybe it turns out that you're not locked in with the drums at all; is the sound right for the song? You see, there are so many things that are important and that you often can't really judge well while playing.

When listening to their recorded solos, many players realize that they keep on repeating the same phrases over and over again; that their timing isn't the way they thought it was; or that their solo could really need more pauses to make it more interesting.

A similar thing is true for rhythm playing. Experienced players feel when they're locked in with drums and bass, but even they might be wrong sometimes and find out that they want to do the take one more time after listening back to the recording.

The bad news is that for most players, recording themselves will reveal shortcomings of their technique, their timing, etc. The good news is, now you know about it and you can finally do something about it. And hey, after all that's the only way to improve!

I hope that by now you agree that recording yourself does have advantages. Of course it's much more fun (and also more helpful) to be able to make a backing track over which you can try your licks or your rhythm vamps. Or there is that terribly difficult break that you've been trying to play with your band, but there's always someone losing the beat. In the latter case you can just program and/or record that break and practice it at home. And at the next rehearsal you'll be fine, and you can even tell who's the one that needs your backing track to practice at home!

What you need to do all that is a computer,  one of the many commercial or free/open DAW software packages, and an audio interface. Simple USB audio interfaces with one or two inputs have become quite cheap, and most of them come with a limited version of some commercial DAW software. So if you have a computer, it is enough to buy a simple audio interface (including the software), and you can start recording and making your own backing tracks.

Apart from becoming a better player (we all want that, don't we?),  recording yourself also has a great advantage in finding a band, or finding jobs as a musician. You can present yourself on the internet and people can check you out. If you make some youtube videos, it's easy to get in touch with other players around the world, and often this is the way new projects start. If you don't want to film yourself (think about why), you can still upload audio files on soundcloud to present yourself and get in touch with others.

Finally, if you've reached a certain level, you can also earn money if you're able to produce high-quality recordings at home. And you don't need a lot of expensive equipment for that. When other people ask me to play some guitar tracks on their songs, more often than actually going to a studio, I'd have them send me a recording of the song, I'd record some guitar tracks at home, and send my tracks back so they can put them in their mix.

Enough said, get yourself a USB audio interface with some DAW software and ... start recording!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Book review: 3 Shape Fretboard by Gareth Evans

Gareth asked me to review his latest book 3 Shape Fretboard, which I gladly did because I'm always interested in new educational guitar books, not least because I spend quite a bit of my time teaching students. The book is about learning to play and understand scales on the guitar. The emphasis is on understanding as opposed to just memorizing dots on the fretboard. You learn to think in intervals and to immediately see these intervals on the guitar. You'll go through all important scales, like the major scale and its modes, harmonic and melodic minor scales, and pentatonic scales. All scale shapes are reduced to three basic shapes that you will manage to find very quickly everywhere on the fretboard, no matter what scale or key you're in. It takes some effort but working through that book will give an immense boost to your scale and fretboard knowledge.

If you want to know more about the book and what I think of it, please read my complete review on Gareth's site (scroll down to "3 Shape Fretboard" and click on my name).