09 June 2016

Double dose workshopping

I just hope this continues. The ANU School of Music presented another public, free workshop with visiting artists, this time Quentin Angus with Ari Hoenig and Sam Anning. This is the NYC connection and I was waiting with some anticipation for the gig in the evening. The workshop was an added bonus. I arrived early enough to hear Ari experimenting with various polyrhythmic stuff. It was going ot be the theme of the day. I thought it was a warmup, various limbs playing various patterns, but he told me later it was trying to revisit something he'd heard. Then into two talks. Firstly, Quentin on the business side of making it as a muso. This is not something students always put their mind to but it's essential. He suggested even 50% of time on career vs craft is apt, perhaps even 70% career to establish yourself. Times were that you a record label contract or nix; now it's different. Then he ran through a string of matters: power is now with the artists; streaming pays virtually nix; video equals discoverability (use both Facebook and Youtube); diversify with multiple income streams: gigs, tours, workshops, music libraries, transcription and other books, teaching; philanthropy, grants and competitions; use tools (contact managers, email marketing); join APRA; websites; agents and publicists; legal matters. Lots ot investigate and necessary to make a buck.

Then Ari provided the earliest of introductions to polyrhythms (which we mostly failed). Firstly, don;t be in denial; it's needed for all. The session reminded me of similar exercises by Will Vinson a few months before at a workshop at Smiths (Ari plays with Will). We tapped 4/4 and clapped 6 against it (quarter note triplets); then 12 over 4/4 (eighth note triplets), then displaced the accents, from first note of triplet, to second, to third; then accenting each fourth triplet note, then sixth, etc. All against the 4/4 tap and singing a song along (we did Blue monk then Blue bossa). This is the first steps for complexity in rhythm, polyrhythms, and it's needed by all players, even if only to respond to others using it. Suffice to say, we were weak. This is not easy but it is something you can practice anywhere, anytime, with no gear.

We heard some enticing music that promised much for the evening's gig and got challenged on two fronts, Quentin's, the business front that many tend to ignore, and Ari's, the complex polyrhythmic richness that is an essential ingredient of today's jazz. I'm still pondering; a very beneficial outing.

Quentin Angus (guitar), Sam Anning (bass) and Ari Hoenig (drums) presented a workshop at the School of Music. Quentin spoke on business matters in music; Ari spoke on first steps in polyrhythms.

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