Kelvin Kaoz Presents: Alternative Kaoz

My podcast is geared towards Alternative Guys and Girls of Color and their interests. The topics covered are Alternative POC social matters, Comic Books, Horror Movies, Conspiracy Theories, History, Music Business Advice, and much more. Clink the picture of my face to listen to it.  Click the picture above to listen to the podcast.

My podcast is geared towards Alternative Guys and Girls of Color and their interests. The topics covered are Alternative POC social matters, Comic Books, Horror Movies, Conspiracy Theories, History, Music Business Advice, and much more. Clink the picture of my face to listen to it.  Click the picture above to listen to the podcast.

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How to Find Quality Local Musicians For Your Band 

So you just moved here from another state and you want to start playing shows and you don't know any musicians? Maybe you are finally realizing your dream of becoming a professional musician, you been offered a gig, but you don't know where to find quality musicians that don't flake? You've tried craigslist and you've found musicians with no gear or a scheduling conflict? Perhaps you've found quality musicians but you just can't afford them. 

Fear not. There are ways around this. I have been a performing musician for over 12 years and I have had all of these issues myself. Where many people make a mistake is that they do not develop meaningful relationships with their local music scene. Just like in Wall Street business, the music business relies on that saying "Your network is your net worth." So building your network by participating in the local music scene is not just cost effective but it brings more business in the long run. 

The better idea is to go to local jams instead. Jam nights are events usually held weekly where you can sing or play your instrument in the genre of the house band (Due to the limited number of songs offered, it's best you go to a jam with music you're most familiar with to start.If you aren't that familiar with any genre in particular then write down songs you know on the list and sign up to perform those). 

Once you're at the jam, introduce yourself to everyone and start to the mental notes of which instrumentalists/vocalists you like, then introduce yourself to them immediately after they get off stage. I prefer to do it immediately because people at jams are used to playing and getting no acknowledgement. A simply high five or "great job bro!" can be all the difference between getting to work with this world class player or not. Try to get them to join you on stage when you go up to perform your song. Don't worry so much about the performance, you're there to network and make yourself known in the local scene. That being said, if you nail your performance, you're much more likely to get these folks to want to work with you so Practice, Practice, Practice! Often times, folks that go to jams are producers or composers and could be looking to use your specific talent on a particular record. The often can end up referring you to other musicians looking to start a band or that need band members.

You don't have to stay the whole time but get the contact info of your favorite musicians you meet during the evening. If they are having a show soon, go to it and support them. This shows that you are invested in them as a friend as well. These artists can also end up working with more well known musicians pretty quickly sometimes so it helps to actually build meaningful relationships in jam circles. 

2018 in Review 

It has been quite some time since my last blog post and I have learned so much about the medium and life itself since then. 2018 had a lot of lessons for me. I wrote, produced, and published my first songs this year. I started a YouTube channel dedicated to teaching music skills. I started a podcast dedicated to helping people advance their music careerI learned to expand my skills in teaching (I started directing youth choirs) and decided to be more deliberate in choices I make. I chose to market myself more in line with how I really feel. Previously, I tried to fit into an idea of what I thought was acceptable and I turn, I ended up not pleasing any audience. I decided to take on a focus which began to develop as I developed my style. I throw away all my clothes I felt were unflattering so that I would be forced to buy things I liked. A like a lot of furturistic pieces as much as I dig Victorian items. I also really enjoy movies of all kinds. I value characters as the most important part of a movie so I began developing my outfits to fit a character I was creating. The style I was working on helping me direct my focus to a particular audience a lot easier. It was also more in line with who I am. I was also taking on a lot of situations that were below my capabilities because I really had to find myself. I am grateful for the experiences I had last year and I’m excited to greet this new year with more control and focus than I did last year. I’m excited to experience new things and meet new people. I will start up my podcast again with new guests and content. I’m going to continue to build my teaching business and I’m going to performing a lot more and it will be original music. Stay tuned! 

Preparing for Recitals 

I should've posted this before my students had their recitals this last Sunday but I actually learned so much from the experience that it actually works out better that I'm doing it now. 

I gathered all of my students in a practice and I explained to them how proud of them I was and how no matter what happens, they've already done the work and I already know they can play so now the goal is to go out and have fun. I reminded them to keep a smile on their faces and to breath deeply and and to relax. The performers all did wonderfully and I was very proud.

What I learned from this experience on my first multi instrument recital was:

-To organize the program in such a way that facilitates easier stage transitions.
-To not block students with music stands
-To make programs earlier
-To pass out my business cards after the concert
-To take more photos at the end of concerts

I have another recital with my middle school students next Thursday and will most likely add to this list

Auditions 

I've been going on a lot of auditions lately. I've done some for Rock acts, Hip Hop, Gospel, Jazz, and a Musical. What has helped me do well at auditions lately is that I've had all gear in working order and can dial the tones up that I need for the genre I'm working on right away. I just bought a new Princeton Reverb. The version I have has a 12" speaker instead of the usual 10".

Currently on my board I have a Line 6 M9 that takes care of all of my modulation, delay, reverb, and loops. I use my Mesa Boogie Flux Drive to get my dirty rhythm sound and my JHS Boost, to give me a thicker lead tone. Being able to dial in my tones very quickly saves me a lot of time and helps me be more confident in my presentation. Another thing that has helped a lot is my practice regimen. I've been practicing for the same amount of time (about two hours a day) but I break it into smaller, more practical chunks. Instead of playing songs for two hours, I practice chord fragments over different backing tracks. So I'm learning one concept and applying it to more than one genre. 

When I get to the audition, I try to get there at least thirty minutes early as to give myself time to check the place out and see what the setup is. For instance, one audition I did, I was required to perform with no track or band at all. That was a strange situation, but as a guitarist, there will be many strange situations and doing as many auditions (whether you get them or not) will have you better equipped to deal with anything that might come your way. Another instance of this was for the church gig I recently got, my audition was to go in and play with the band, even thought I'd never heard the songs nor had I met any of the other musicians prior.

My advice is to try to listen to the artist beforehand if you can and play along to some of their music. Try to get as much information as possible (I.e. Is there sheet music, a reference track, what key is it in, do you want it played exactly like the recording) All of this helps eliminate guess work and allows you to be more successful at each subsequent audition. Do as many auditions as you can. Even if you don't get the gig, you might meet someone later on down the line that refers you for another one. 

Practice Log  

Practice is one of the most important aspects of being a musician. Many of us are short on time and/or don't know how to organize or practice to be more efficient with our time. On my lessons page, I uploaded an excel file that helps students organize their practice. In it are three different varieties of Practice Log. The first is for my beginner students. The second is for my advanced students, and the third is for the working musician. 

The way you use the log is to print it out and put it in a folder labeled "Practice Log." Print one out every week and label the dates so you can see your progress from week to week. In the Day row, under whichever column your working on, document how much time you practiced and the metronome marking you started and ended at *if applicable). 

This log is very useful, even if you only practice five minutes a day because it gives your practice a direction and focus. No longer will you sit in front of your instrument just noodling away for hours and calling that practice. You can set goals and work towards those goals daily until you reach the goal you want to achieve. No go forth and practice!

Pettit Sheu Duo Concert at the American Guitar Society 

I saw a great performance this evening at the American Guitar Society concert series. The featured performers were Adam Pettit and Connie Sheu of the Pasadena Conservatory of Music, faculty. 

These two put on a fantastic concert that featured music not often heard in the classical guitar duo repertoire. The music was diverse and felt as though the listener were traveling on a journey across the continents in which the music was written. Pieces from Spain, Brazil, and even the good ol' USA colored the listeners ear palette and made for a most joyous evening.

The virtuosity they displayed wasn't just technical (although there was plenty of that), but in their ability to play as one unit. Their musicality was enchanting and really brought character to the composers' intentions. 

It was a wonderful and inspiring concert. It gave me a lot to think about in my own playing and teaching.

Thank you Adam and Connie was a wonderful evening!