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Musically Speaking: Talk the Talk - Walk the Walk

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JJ Rocks Article # 39: Talk the Talk - Walk the Walk
Im sure many of you have experienced the annoyance of someone who talks about and criticizes music and musicians that are miles beyond their comprehension. These are the people who have to compensate somehow for their lack of musical abilities by playing a role in an imaginary world that they created instead of using their time to practice and be the real thing. They seem to remember the names of all the members in every famous band, but still cant remember where a C# is on the instrument that they are pretending to master. And they can tell you where all the local bands are playing each weekend and who in those bands are fooling around with whom, but in the same breath tell you that practicing with a metronome takes away from your feel. Musical idiots are the only words that come to my mind. But without them it would be hard to gauge the levels of the serious musicians. Theres that Yin Yang thing again.

Now there is a very big difference from the people that I just mentioned and the players who only know a few chords and get up on stage and play their hearts out. My hat is off to them and the fact that they are trying to find their own voice in this musical world without being concerned with any certain technical level of instrumental virtuosity. Does Bob Dylan ring a bell? Its all the proof you need to realize that my subject this month is not about someones musical chops. Hey, that brings a joke to my mind. How many talk the talk instrument players does it take to pick out the greatest musician? The answer is one. The one who talks about who plays the fastest!

We all know that talking the talk and walking the walk is something that we deal with almost every day of our lives. Theres always somebody out there who wants to give you advice on what ever you do for a living even though its not their line of work. But musicians should win some kind of academy award for what they have to listen to and put up with at many of their gigs. Think about it. You would not walk up to a computer programmer and comment on his technical skills unless you were in that field. And most people dont criticize their plumber because you hired him to do something that you were not skilled at. The list for that analogy goes on and on. But when some people hire a band, they and their party guest feel as if they can comment on any aspect of the music simply because they have and extensive CD collection.  Real musicians have to accept that as a fact of every day life and are expected to just deal with it because the customer is always right.

So lets put this in a musical nutshell. A true musician is flattered by someone who is truly trying to be themselves no matter what level of technical ability that they have. We are not impressed by the fact that a band is playing at a lot of  clubs or have done a good job promoting their gigs. And even if a band has a hit song out, it still may not be impressive to real musicians. That's usually a product of good promotion and a ton of marketing skills. True musicians will hold their heads up in pride no matter what commercial success has come their way as long as they stay true to what they feel in their hearts.

So if youre ever wondering where the real musicians are in your favorite bar, just slightly listen in as you walk by where you think that they are sitting. If you hear talk about other bands, who plays faster than who, whos running out on who, what piece of new equipment that they just bought, or how good they know the owner because of how much money they spend by bar hopping with their wife and kids, you are at the wrong table. The real musicians will probably be somewhere in the back of the room talking baseball.

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