Sunday, November 1, 2009

Learn How to Be Lucky!?

Trying to succeed as an artist in today’s world is tough – kind of like chewing a burnt piece of stale meat that gets stuck in your teeth, making you irritable because you don’t have a tooth pick or floss – except its like this every day and you are forced to talk to people you really want to impress, but are failing to because it appears you have some strange complex, when you are just trying to hide all that burnt protein stuck in your teeth… I would expect hell to be fairly similar except; in hell you would have more hope because of that whole eternal life thing. On earth you only have a limited amount of time to succeed at something… because eventually you will die.

"Hi, how are you... sorry, I have meat in my teeth."

So with that painful rant out of the way – the main thing most people attribute to their success in the art world is that infamous word, luck. Like most of my blogs, I enjoy defining things. So here is the definition of luck:
noun: an unknown and unpredictable phenomenon that leads to a favorable outcome.
An unknown and unpredictable phenomenon… it sounds mysterious doesn’t it? Well it is, luck is basically a opportunity that falls into your lap. So how do you increase your chances of finding these rare unicorn like opportunities that will aid you in what ever it is you want to accomplish? Well let me share with you some secrets of luck!

The first concept I will go over is the studies done by “Richard Wiseman”; and yes just in case you were wondering, this doctor is a very Wiseman.

Richard-Wiseman-bubbles 400
swoosh - Dr. Wiseman doing a bubble flashback --- swoosh

Sometime during the late 80’s and early 90’s, Richard Wiseman put advertisements in newspapers and magazines, asking people who felt constantly lucky or unlucky to participate in some studies. Over the years, he studied 400 men and women ranging from ages 18 to 84.

He noticed that people who considered them selves unlucky constantly missed opportunities, where as people who considered them selves lucky, readily noticed and took advantage of these opportunities. As an example of one of the studies he did, I will quote the man him self:
“I gave both lucky and unlucky people a newspaper, and asked them to look through it and tell me how many photographs were inside. On average, the unlucky people took about two minutes to count the photographs, whereas the lucky people took just seconds. Why? Because the second page of the newspaper contained the message: "Stop counting. There are 43 photographs in this newspaper." This message took up half of the page and was written in type that was more than 2in high. It was staring everyone straight in the face, but the unlucky people tended to miss it and the lucky people tended to spot it.”
As he continued doing these studies, Dr. Wiseman noticed that unlucky people were much more tense than lucky people. A trait common with a lot of unlucky people was that they were too focused on something – like how bad their day was, or some other trivial detail. Where as lucky people, were more relaxed and open to see what was going on – not particularly focused on anything, just kind of going with the flow.

He boiled down the attributes of lucky people into three main points:
1) “Unlucky people often fail to follow their intuition when making a choice, whereas lucky people tend to respect hunches. Lucky people are interested in how they both think and feel about the various options, rather than simply looking at the rational side of the situation. I think this helps them because gut feelings act as an alarm bell - a reason to consider a decision carefully.”

2) “Unlucky people tend to be creatures of routine. They tend to take the same route to and from work and talk to the same types of people at parties. In contrast, many lucky people try to introduce variety into their lives. For example, one person described how he thought of a color before arriving at a party and then introduced himself to people wearing that color. This kind of behavior boosts the likelihood of chance opportunities by introducing variety.”

3) “Lucky people tend to see the positive side of their ill fortune. They imagine how things could have been worse. In one interview, a lucky volunteer arrived with his leg in a plaster cast and described how he had fallen down a flight of stairs. I asked him whether he still felt lucky and he cheerfully explained that he felt luckier than before. As he pointed out, he could have broken his neck.”
In fact, he took some of his unlucky subjects and trained them to utilize these points in their lives. One month later when he touched bases with them again, a dramatic 80% of them felt happier, more satisfied with their lives, and above all they felt much luckier.

"Despite my horrifying genetically modified looks, I'm one lucky bovine! My friend got stuck in that creepy guys teeth, but I'm still alive! Yeeeaaahhhh!"

So luck is more of a skill that can be developed rather than something you are blessed with. If anything this study proves how powerful our minds can be, if we can learn how to harness them neurons. The concept of “going with the flow” is also apparent in such books as “The Celestine Prophecy” and “The Secret”; both of which I highly suggest if you want to learn more about luck.

Another great point on luck that I find to be true is, to generate opportunity you need to work as hard as you can. The harder you work at something, the more opportunity you will come across – but its up to you to be open enough to see these opportunities and utilize them to your advantage. If you work hard your whole life and feel as though you should be further along than you are… you must be acting like an unlucky person!

opportunity 400

Its easy to get down on your self when you make a mistake or you miss an opportunity. Instead of dwelling on your mistakes, try to see the positive side and learn. This way you will grow as opposed to forever living in regret. Every experience in life is a learning experience – in fact if you think about winning and loosing, or making mistakes… all of these are just man made concepts. Why should either or have a negative context to them? As the brilliant Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” You hold the keys to weather you want to feel negative or positive about something.


I love Eleanor Roosevelt quotes… here is an other gem from her vault of wisdom.
“Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.”
So be positive, act like a lucky person, work hard to generate opportunities, and learn from others as well as your own mistakes! Go!! Do it now! Hurry up before you miss it!

If you want to read the article I got a lot of this information from, here is the link to it.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ear Training: Unlocking the Musical Tool Box

I should have covered this topic before I mentioned the idea of a “Musical Toolbox”.


To refresh your memory… A "musical toolbox" is a collection of musical ideas, you find pleasing from others compositions. The previous two blog entries, “Pablo Picasso is not an asshole: Introducing the musical toolbox”, and “You are what you eat!” describe in more detail what a musical tool box is and what exactly you should be putting your metaphorical toolbox. If your ears are not trained, it is very difficult to put anything in your toolbox at all. Sure you could write tabs or notation of music you find pleasing, but the goal is to write these musical snippets into your brain. This way you can acesses them anytime you want.

Out of any musical training I have done in my life, the one thing that has helped me the most was ear training.


Ear training teaches your ears to identify certain intervals and chord changes just by hearing them. Essentially it builds an instrument inside your head. Doesn’t that sounds amazing? With an instrument built into your head, you can actually compose music with out the use of anything else besides your mind! I will get into that more in later blog entries.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart could compose symphonies in his head because he trained his ears!

The litmus test for ear training is, if you can match pitch with your voice, than you should be able to train your ears. If you can’t, then I don’t think you will be able to continue with ear training. Some people are wired for this and others aren’t.

If you can match a pitch, go to, create an account, and start training your ears! I recommend starting out with interval and triad training. If you commit your self to using this web site for 10 minutes a day, every day, for 2-3 months; I promise you, you will unlock your hidden musical potential! Don't expect this to be easy; it takes a lot of time and frustration... but in the end, when you play exactly what you hear in your head, it will be worth it!


The skill you will be developing is called "relative pitch". In other words, you can tell the distance between notes in relation to your starting pitch. There are some gifted people out there with perfect pitch. Perfect pitch is when someone can identify a note with nothing to base it off of. For example, if you play a Bb, they could tell you its a Bb. Someone with relative pitch could figure out what note Bb is if they have a reference note (ex. what is a perfect 4th from F). Some say perfect pitch can be developed, but relative pitch can be just as good! I don't have perfect pitch... but i do just fine with relative pitch!

Jimi Hendrix had perfect pitch!

Another tip for training your ears is to sing harmonies. Since the voice is the most direct connection to music in your head, getting proficient at singing harmonies is another great way further train your ears. When listening to music in the car, try harmonizing as much as you can. The rule of thumb with harmonizing, is to do a third or a fifth, above or below the melody. If you don't know what a third or fifth is, you should start training you ears. Personally I think harmonizing is my favorite thing to do!

These ladies know what I'm talking about!!

Being able to identify the spaces in between notes, or the chord structure of a piece just by hearing it, is the best way to build up your musical toolbox. The better-trained ear you have, the easier it will be to figure out songs, get all those beautiful melodies and chords out of your head, and identify what people are playing just by listening to it!

So what are you waiting for! Go to and start unlocking your musical potential!

Myspace Music 101: The Five Secrets.

Myspace was one of the first social networking sites. Over the past couple of years, it has turned into millions of musicians all trying to add each other. Because of this rat maze of bands clicking buttons, Rupert Merdoch (the man who is worth 4 billion dollars and is the owner of news corporations such as FOX) makes millions of dollars from the ad revenue.

Rupert Merdoch… Even his name sounds like a villain from the marvel universe…

You can tell that chick is a gold digger, and Mr. Merdoch doesn't care... he's getting laid tonight! Thank you all you Myspacers.

It sucks, I know it, you know it, but unfortunately as a musician, you need a Myspace so people can listen to your music. It is a necessary evil we all have to deal with being musicians in today’s world.

With out further ado, here are five tips on how to get the most out Myspace with out a lot of work!

1) Add the top artists/famous bands.
Go to the music home page on myspace and click on “Top Artists”. Add all these people and leave a comment on their page. Think about it, if these “Artists” get 100,000 or more views a day and people see you commenting on their page, then statistically speaking at least 10 people will click on your profile and listen to your songs or add you! You can go to the next page on the “Top Artists” and do the same thing if you wish. The more you do it, the more hits and friend requests you will get every day. It works, try it out!

2) Comment back every time!
This is another great way to increase your visibility. Every time you get a friend request, comment back saying, “Thanks for being my friend” or whatever you feel appropriate. This way when people see their profile, there is a chance they might click on yours! Remember, try to sound human and not like an advertising robot. The more sincere you are the better results you will have!

Try not to be a robot!

3) Make your profile picture interesting!
Since you want people to click on your profile, you need to have a profile image that draws their attention. Weather it be an animated .gif or a picture of you and a lama… what ever you think is effective enough to set you apart from the massive hoard, do it.


4) Find bands you sound like and add their friends.
This takes more work, but it’s more successful in finding real fans, as opposed to robot bands. If you think your music sounds like “Sunset Rubdown”, go to their page and add some people. Choose five people a day, look at their profile and message them. If you compliment something specific about them, than it is likely they will listen to your music! The more human you seem, the better.

5) Add the friends of Peer bands.
If you play shows with bands from your area, add their friends because chances are they may like your music and come to your shows seeing how you are from the same area!


Keep on doing this and before you know it your profile will get more hits and have more plays than ever before… and if your music is good you might actually get some fans! Also if you do get some real fans, encourage them to spread the word! The best kind of advertising is by word of mouth.

So get to it!

P.S. I may as well plug my own music while I’m getting all Myspacey on all of yall.
Check it out:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

You Are What You Eat!

I’m sure all of you have heard this statement before... Its true, if you chug lard every day, you will become a tub of lard!


Aside from the obviousness of this phrase, there are many more levels that can be extracted from this plump fruit, fresh from the tree of human wisdom. If you read my last article, “Pablo Picasso is not an asshole”, then you will know what creativity or imagination is. Let me pamper your minds with the definition of imagination:

im·ag·i·na·tion [i-maj-uh-ney-shuh n]
1. The power of reproducing images stored in the memory under the suggestion of associated images (reproductive imagination) or of recombining former experiences in the creation of new images directed at a specific goal or aiding in the solution of problems (creative imagination).

So if creativity is us rearranging all we have known, then what is known to you will only be known because you exposed it to your self. The things you expose to your self more frequently are more likely so come out of your creative output. So essentially you are what you eat, or what you eat is what you create!


So if you want to become an indie rocker, than listen to indie rock! If you want to experience death by metal, than listen to death metal! Keep in mind, that in the modern realm “genres” are very diluted. You can take parts of Bach and apply them to Krunk rap if you wish!

If you want to write catchy tunes that get stuck in peoples heads, than don’t be afraid of listening to pop music. If I mentioned, “Single Laides,” by Beyonce, you may cringe and think, “You bastard, Why did you mention that?” But behind your internal voice reading this article, I’m sure Beyonce is echoing through the chasms of your mind.

I offer you two versions of this song - the original with horrifying arrangements (feel free to listen to this for 10 seconds):

Here is the second version with the brilliant arrangements of Jack Conte and Natale Dawn from Pomplamoose (which if this is the first time you have heard of these guys, I highly suggest you view some more of their videos... I am very jealous of what these people can do)

If you want to write catchy tunes, you need to listen to tunes that get stuck in your head much like, “single ladies” or “mmm bop” by the androgynous pop trio, Hanson. Don’t be afraid of the negative social context, these songs are catchy because they are well written! Don’t listen to the cheesy pop orchestrations or the lyrics; I try to imagine the music as a string quartet, this way I can hear the power in the songwriting as opposed to the teeny bopping vomit invoking message.


If you are feeling “dry” creatively, don’t forget to lubricate your frontal lobe and listen to music! It will help you remember why you started to make music in the first place. Not to mention it will help you fill up your musical toolbox.

This concept of “you are what you eat” applies to other areas of creativity as well! For example, when I read the harry potter books, I felt like J.K. Rowling was my internal voice. Also I remember I went on a Shakespeare kick for a while and I noticed the syntax of my writing turned backwards and my vocabulary was replaced by old English.


So remember… you are what you eat or what you eat is what you create! If you are displeased with you’re creations, than start consuming new music!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Pablo Picasso is not an asshole: Introducing the musical toolbox

“Good Artists Borrow, Great Artists Steal”

For this blog entry, I will be focusing on this frequently misunderstood quote. It is widely believed that Pablo Picasso created this assholish statement, but upon further research I found that this quote is actually based off a review T.S. Eliot wrote on Philip Massinger’s work. Eliot didn't actually say this quote in the review, rather he insinuated it's meaning.


So with no evidence Picasso said it, and a paragraph by the notorious T.S. Eliot that potentially sparked this quote – I would imagine a long game of telephone actually molded this set of words into it’s current form. It doesn’t matter where it originated; it exists because a lot of people believe it does – oddly enough that’s how god(s) came to be.


For aesthetic purposes, I am going to attribute this quote to Picasso - not to purposefully shit on the scholarly value of this writing but, because his name works well with asshole. (pic(ass)(o) – (ass)h(o)le).

On the first interpretation of this quote, it may seem like your betraying your artistic nature. “Why would I borrow or steal when I want to create something new?” Well schizophrenic other me… let’s dissect what creation actually is!

Creation is you subconsciously rearranging everything you have experienced in your life. That’s right, if you are a creator of things, everything you have created has been stolen from people, places, movies, music, or whatever you have experienced in your short life. Much like the vastness of our universe, an infinite amount of ideas have been thought before. So to be truly original is almost impossible.

If you haven’t done this before, you should drive to the ocean at night. The infinite blackness of the Atlantic brings out all the stars hidden by light pollution. It’s kind of like a black light revealing seamen stains after a successful 10,000 to 1 bukkake… Think about all those glowing dots (or seamen stains) like individual ideas. As artists, it is our job to connect all these dots. Connecting the dots is essentially creativity. The better you can do it, the more creative you will be.


Now where do we get ideas? This is where our musical toolbox comes in! I stole this idea from Stephen King's brilliant book called “On writing”, which if you haven’t read, I highly recommend it. To fill up our toolbox, you want to use Picassoisim ("…great artists steal"). If you hear a section of music that really moves you, mentally throw that into your toolbox. Even it’s very small... like a three second guitar bend that fascinates you, go ahead... throw it in your toolbox.

Child's wooden tool box small by Big Jigs

Essentially building your musical toolbox is like honing in on what you consider to be good music. Of course the definition of “good music” is different for everyone, but if you are taking a conscious effort to find and absorb parts of others peoples compositions that you feel strongly about, then you will know better where to go and what you want from a piece you compose.

If you think about it that’s how all ideas, sciences, arts, philosophies… or just about anything has evolved. A conscious understanding of the past and an intentional rebuilding to improve it just makes a whole lot of sense in every creative feild. To be fortunate enough to have 1000’s of years of musical development to steal from is a true blessing. Now I’m not saying you should totally rip of other artists – but I am saying is you should build off others ideas to take them to new places.


So build up your musical toolbox! It will help you hone in on the path your music is naturally going to. Like a plant that faces the sun wherever the sun may be… if you are gifted at connecting the dots, developing a toolbox will help your music face the sunshine… letting the sunshine in will help you grow and in the end, that is what existing is all about!

Now lets rock out!


Friday, October 9, 2009

No One Cares About Your Art: A Manifesto

Why would I name my blog, “No one cares about your art”? Why would I make posts tarnishing being an artist, when hypocritically, I am an artist my self? Lay back, relax, get a cup of tea, and let me tell you.


Let’s clarify the term artist. When people hear the word art, they think of drawing, painting, or sculpting… but art can be any form of creation, weather it be music, science, dancing, poetry, or even verbal communication. Art is anything that can invoke some sort of emotion in human beings… anything that is beautiful, ugly, or a mix of both. The spectrum of human emotion is endless, and the fact that a sound can summon feelings of nostalgia or nausea, is a beautiful thing.


To be an artist you need to know that the majority of the time, no one will care about it. So many people create for external gratification, that the preponderance of art out there is but a pretentious attempt at seeming “deep”. It usually is a futile effort to get laid or some ulterior motive that is hollow as the personality these so called “artists” carry inside their lackluster gray matter. I’m sure all of you know these kinds of people; I know I do.

jonas broz 1

Sure anyone can create something, but if you have a passion for creation, then maybe you are an artist. If you create with out caring if someone sees your painting or hears your music, than maybe you are an artist. If you create because you know it will last longer than having all the money in the world… then maybe you are an artist. If creating some sort of medium is fun to you and you find that time passes by fast when you’re doing it – then yes, you probably are an artist.


I have used the term artist quite a bit in this entry. If you consider your self one, don’t flaunt it – because again, no one cares about your art. If you truly enjoy creating then you shouldn’t care that no one gives a damn.

In this life your goal should be to make your self happy and if you are unhappy because no one cares about your art, then go do something else. Find something that makes the time pass through you like the laxative properties of coffee.

If creating things gives time haste for you, than continue to read this blog. I will be sharing with you some things I have learned in my life; as someone who genuinely enjoys creating things, i hope i can give some insight on the creative process. Though my main medium is music, a lot of the concepts I will be covering can be applied to any art form.

I hope this clarifies the purpose of this blog for all you human beings out there.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Straight Angular Live at The Polk House!

This is the video from the phoenix article. I had to post this to a separate blog entry because it wouldn’t let me embed it for some reason. Enjoy!!!

More From No One Cares About Your Art!