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Get off the Screen, Get Out, and Learn!

I can’t remember where I heard the comment, (I think it was a Facebook comment) but someone was speaking to the value of what he learned from going out and seeing a live band. He felt he learned more at that concert than he could have ever learned spending hours at home practicing, or watching videos.

We are truly a video run society at this point, YouTube changed everything. To be clear, I’m not presenting video in a negative context, as that would be seriously short-sighted. But I’m in agreement with what this individual was trying to convey. Nothing can match the emotions that one will experience at a “live” concert, and what that might invoke us to think about as a player, an artist. And as hip as some videos are, we will not take away anywhere near the same emotional experience that live, interacting, in the moment players can communicate to us. There’s an energy that can be felt, as well as heard and seen, and that to me, is invaluable.

Forgive my scrolling back in time, but I remember in my earliest days as a player how a particular concert more or less changed my life. I was very much enjoying being a musician at that point, practicing and rehearsing as much as I could. Had a favorite band, and listened to their recordings regularly. Then I finally went to see them live. It was after that concert that I turned around and said to myself, this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. My point here; I was enjoying playing and jamming, and listening, but I wasn’t really being moved to think about just “how” committed I was to my new found passion. It took that “live” experience to push me into a true full time commitment to the arts…pretty powerful.

That story is just one facet of my greater point here. I had been listening to Jaco recordings right after that experience, (me and 8 zillion other bassists) and was again, like many others, very moved by what I heard. But as much as I enjoyed and learned from those recordings, it was nothing even close to the experience of seeing him live for the first time. There’s just something about what you get from the raw energy coming off the stage (which I believe to be tangible, not just a mere statement) coupled with the shared experience of others around you that cannot be matched, or better said, learned at home or at rehearsal, or for that matter, on a video.

I’m fundamentally talking about inspiration here, which I feel is just as vital to our overall musicianship as anything, and I mean anything else we work on. Bottom line, I’m just recommending that we make available to ourselves every experience possible that helps inspire us to go beyond what we think we can do, to what we really can do, and I believe live music is absolutely part of that paradigm. And I’m back to my opening statement; Get off the screen, get out, and learn!

Jake Kot

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