As you can probably tell if you are a current student at LAMA, Jazz is a big part of the curriculum at LAMA. While jazz laid the groundwork for so much of the music you hear on contemporary radio today, too often we don’t do the research into the masters of that genre. Today, we are going to highlight five of our favorite jazz musicians that you should check out for more inspiration. Who else do you think we should recommend?
1. Cannonball Adderley
Adderley is remembered for his 1966 single “Mercy Mercy Mercy“, a crossover hit on the pop charts, and for his work with trumpeter Miles Davis, including on the epochal album Kind of Blue (1959). He was the brother of jazz cornetist Nat Adderley, a longtime member of his band.
2. Sonny Clark
3. Grant Green
4. Herbie Nichols
Herbie Nichols (3 January 1919 – 12 April 1963), was an American jazz pianist and composer who wrote the jazz standard ”Lady Sings the Blues“. Obscure during his lifetime, he is now highly regarded by many musicians and critics.
5. Art Pepper
By the 1950s Pepper was recognized as one of the leading alto saxophonists in jazz, epitomized by his finishing second only to Charlie Parker as Best Alto Saxophonist in the Down Beat magazine Readers Poll of 1952.
At LAMA we are all about expanding our musical sensibilities. These are just a few selections for you to dip your ears in the musical waters. Who should we spotlight next time? Leave your comment below!
1. You use scales to study music, not to make measurements in science class.
2. Instead of listening to your iPod in between classes you are performing the songs on your iPod DURING classes.
3. Rather than studying in the library you are recording in the studio.
4. Your teacher not only has a PHd but a Grammy as well!
5. While your friends are studying Protons you are studying ProTools!
So musician friends…what other ways do someone know they are a music student?
There have been a lot of articles posted lately about stats on adults going “back to school”. The articles tend to list all the wonderful ways an adult can go back and get a sociology degree or an anthropology degree. We were dissapointed that there aren’t many articles about the benefits of them going back to music school. LAMA welcomes adults who come here to refine their skills or build on their existing knowledge — also to get that real world experience of playing with our instructors and ensemble workshop musicians. So we thought we would lay out the top reasons adults should go back to music school here:
Much like buying low, selling high, going back to school when the economy is at a low point is a common tactic. While it is looking like we could be seeing the end of the tunnel for America’s economic issues, there are others who argue that we could just be going down the rabbit hole. What that means is going to music school might be a nice little place to wait out our economic woes and graduate in a few years at the perfect time to start your career in music.
Take Your Skills To The Next Level
Have you taken a true inventory of your skills as a musician? Here are some good things to ask yourself. Can I read music? Can I jam with anyone in almost any style? How are my improv skills? Composition? If you are a little shaky on any of these, it might mean you have some room for improvement, which music school can help with.
There Are Great Career Opportunities
Unlike a lot of other careers, musicians actually have some pretty nice offerings waiting them after graduation. A school like LAMA will have a full-time career staff on hand to field job postings and make sure you have a good shot at landing a paying gig. The same can certainly not be said for graduating law students!
It Can Be More Affordable Than Other Educational Offerings
Speaking of law school — you might be surprised how much more affordable music school can be compared to the other degrees. Schools like LAMA have many scholarship opportunities too. LAMA also has staff on hand to deal with financial aid.
Do What You Love
More than almost any other area of study, there is something about music that brings out wondrous and joyous feelings in all who hear it. From performance, to composition, to practice, there is a pleasure with music that is so often missing when you are in a more traditional school setting. Many people who worked in the corporate world return to their passion and art by rediscovering it as an adult in music school. If someone said you could do what you love as a career, would you?
These are just a few of the reasons why adults might want to investigate going back to music school. There are about a million other equally good ones. If you are curious, make sure you do your due diligence in selecting the right music school for you. A tour of the school or an open house is always a good start.
You’re looking for the right music school and have narrowed down your list. What do you factor into your decision? Location? Tuition? Faculty? What about the community of instrumentalists, producers and instructors you’ll be engaging with daily during your school life? Since your ideal community isn’t as tangible as the gear in your practice room, let’s discuss five ways to gauge the community at your future music school:
1) Take a Tour (duh)
The best way to get a vibe for your future school is to visit the campus. Check out the classrooms, practice labs and studios…where you might hang out in between classes. Watch how the students and teachers interact with each other. How are you greeted by staff? If you can’t visit, see if they have a virtual tour or check out the school’s Facebook page (more on that below).
2) Open House
Open houses are a music school tour on steroids and another great way to get a feel for the community. At the Q&A session, ask a school official about the student community in particular and any events. If they seem caught off guard by the question, you might be suspicious. At a LAMA open house, you hear about social gatherings, faculty and visiting artist performances, concerts and much more!
3) Check out Facebook
We live in a social media world playing a great role in the lives of today’s professional musicians and producers. Check out your potential school’s public social networks. See if the school and students are posting on the wall, photo albums and the events pages. Look for student performances, vocal showcases, drum hangs and themed parties.
4) Lurk on Twitter
Use Twitter to discover more about your future music school’s community. Follow the school and check out the chatter. Look up alumni and see what they’re up to. Gauge the “temperature” of what others have to say. You might be surprised at what you find out but don’t believe everything you hear. That’s why you always need to do some fact-checking
5) Ask a Student
Ever heard the phrase “straight from the horse’s mouth”? It means cut through everything and just go to the most direct source – the students! When you are on an open house, touring or on Twitter and Facebook, ask some students about the school! You should get some pretty honest answers!
What are some other techniques you would use to gauge the community at your future school?
If you don’t remember trying to buy guitar pedals in the 80s and 90s (or weren’t even born yet), let’s refresh your memory: First you would grab your favorite guitar magazine and then read about how amazing each new pedal sounded. Next you’d go down to your local music store and hope that they just so happened to carry the particular one you wanted so you could try it out for a few minutes. Golly, such hard times for musicians! Enter YouTube…where anyone can check out virtually any instrument by watching the video demo about it. Guitarists! We’ve gathered a few great guitar pedal demos here…what do you think — make you want to buy one? Have you seen any others we should definitely watch? Let us know in the comments below.
You got your hands on front row concert tickets. You have your $10+ beer. You have your specially designed ear plugs to withstand the loud noise. You are ready to be blown away and then the opening band comes on. And stays on. And keeps playing and playing and playing. If you haven’t had something like this happen to you – you probably don’t go to many concerts! Opening bands have garnered the reputation of killing the mood of many a concert. However – every blue moon you see an opening act so incredible and so amazing that at times they are even better than the headliner. Recently Ranker, a website that ranks things of all shapes and sizes asked their community to to vote on the best opening acts they had ever seen. Let’s take a look at their Top 5 in descending order:
5. Weezer Opening For No Doubt
No Doubt in itself would be a great night of music – but add in the Blue Album boys!? It turns into an epic night. The band opened for No Doubt in the Spring and Summer of 1997 which was an interesting time for both bands. No Doubt was riding high on the chart-topping success of “Tragic Kingdom” while Weezer had released the now legendary “Pinkerton” record which at the time left their fans confused and unsure but now has legendary status. We wish we would have been smart enough to see this show!
4. Alice In Chains Opening For Van Halen
This is an ironic one because Van Halen infamously opened for Ted Nugent in the 70s and blew him away! Looks like Van Halen got a taste of their own medicine by letting these grunge icons warm up the crowd in 1991 during the “Van Hagar” era. Rumor has it that Van Halen would purposefully pick lackluster bands so that by the time Van Halen took the stage the crowd would be extra excited. Don’t pick Alice In Chains for this task.
3. Pixies Opening For U2
The Pixies are generally known as a band that got more popular 10 years after they broke up than they were at their prime. Leave it to U2 to be aware of new and cutting edge music to allow them to offer their opening slot to The Pixies on the Zoo TV tour. While audiences probably didn’t appreciate the quartet from Boston — these same fans are now kicking themselves that they didn’t get there early to hear The Pixies at their best! Although they did break up soon after this tour so maybe it wasn’t meant to be…
2. Foo Fighters Opening For Red Hot Chilli Peppers
What seems like decades ago, the Foo Fighters opened for Red Hot Chilli Peppers on their Californication tour. Um… wow! Two alternative rock legends sharing the same stage? If you were a fan of Alt-Rock you pretty much just needed to see this show and you were good for the year. We even remember the foreshadowing as we watch both of these acts grace the same stage at the Tibetan Freedom Concert in San Francisco — in 1996!
1. Jimi Hendrix Opening For The Monkees
This is the grandaddy of all opening act stories. We have heard this story in so many incarnations and so long we just wish video existed of the event. 60s Teen Pop sensation The Monkees were reportedly huge Jimi Hendrix fans. Yes, THE Jimi Hendrix. They were such big fans that they asked him to open up for them. Lets just say their fan base wasn’t ready for what came next. A cacophony of sound and vision and – just utter amazingness. There were boos, walkouts, and angry parents! We can’t even imagine what that would have been like to witness.
So what is the moral of the story concert fans? It is probably worth it to put up with hundreds of bad opening acts just for the chance to see one that blows you away. The easiest way to deal with a bad opening act is to bring your earplugs or to go out and get a beverage of choice in the lobby. Musicians! Use it as an opportunity to learn, what are they doing RIGHT, what are they doing WRONG! Critiquing leads to learning. And if you see a Jimi Hendrix opening for you don’t be on the wrong side of history and boo him! Always keep an open mind
Our students come from all over the world to study music here in Los Angeles. To find out why, we launched the new series on Get to the Music — 5 Questions — featuring 6th Quarter LA Music Academy students. It’s also an opportunity for them to tell us about upcoming projects and plans for after graduation. Introducing, Seth Jamison!
Seth Jamison – LA Music Academy Guitar Department
A: I chose to attend LAMA because of my passion for music. I was faced with a choice of going to a regular university back home in Iowa or LAMA. I decided that I wanted to do what I loved more than anything else in this world: music. LAMA turned out to be the best choice for me as far as music schools go because it’s small and private, which allows for more participation and focus in classes.
A: I think the fact that you are virtually around the best musicians in the world makes all the difference. LA is definitely one of the top music scenes on the planet right now, so getting the chance to not only see the best musicians but also learn from them and play with them gives you an experience that you will not find anywhere else.
A: It’s hard for me to choose a favorite instructor. For me they’re all excellent at what they do. Jody Fisher, Bill Fowler, Art Renshaw, Dave Hill, and of course Tariqh Akoni are THE best teachers I could ever ask for. Without their dedication, their care, their knowledge and patience, I would have never improved like I have. So I have to give a huge thank you to all of them from the bottom of my heart.
A: Funny story. I actually didn’t start listening to guitar based music until I started playing Guitar Hero. I was addicted to that game. Later on, however, I decided that it would be awesome if I could play this on a real guitar. My mom had one upstairs in the attic that she never played. I picked it up. The rest is history.
A: After graduating I want to try and find a job. Ideally, I want to teach. Whether it be at a music store or just privately. I think it’s a very important and beneficial thing so hopefully that works out. I also have a few projects I’m in that I hope will work out. One of them is a hip hop group called EYM (elevate your mind). Right now we are in the process of recording our first album and making a music video while promoting ourselves through Reverb Nation and Facebook. Look us up. I am very proud to be a part of this group and I really think we can make an impact in the industry. I am also involved in a blues project. Hopefully we can regularly play around LA after March as well. More details on that later.