Why you should also play music you don’t like

It is one of the myths that musicians always play music to which they have a deep connection, which inspires them, which transports a secret message…
But sometimes a piece matches to a program which is on your “private blacklist”, music you don’t like to listen to and you never in your life wanted to play. ( Confess it: every musician has a list like this in his head….).

But to embrace a piece which you don’t like can be one of the most powerful lessons for all your preperation routines:
1) You don’t want to work it – so be efficient!
2) You don’t enjoy hearing it – you never get carried away from practising into just fun playing! ( important in EVERY piece you are working to know when it is work time or pleasure)
3) You need to “sell” it – find a way that maybe also you but for sure the audience enjoys listening, so look at it with the loving eyes of its composer or with the eyes of researcher showing why this piece is important for this special program or instrumental history

…. and maybe you will fall in love with it then also!!!

P.S.: I will not tell you which piece inspired me to this blogpost – and you should never give anybody your private blacklist, especially your audience should NEVER be able to find out which pieces are on it!

Recording my new CD

A little diary, I just came home from studio:
December 2015: Decided to go to studio in April 2015.
That is soooo far away, completely relaxed trying new pieces for the CD, changing the order of the program, practising all the stuff for my normal “work”.
January 2015
This recording I want to do something better than the last time: Having booklet etc ready when I go to studio.
Still not knowing which pieces exactly to record, but April still is sooooo far away.
But starting to do test recordings at home and to play the program for the musician whom I trust completely ( Thanks, Inge!).
Lots of sports.
February 2015
okay, March I will have many concerts, so really starting to focus on the CD. Social Media starting to disappear from my everyday life, starting to tell friends if we could talk or meet after the recording.
Deciding what to record plus the order. More test recordings, less conversations with the real world.
Lots of sports.
March 2015
The plan was besides tough concert schedule to play once a day a runthrough. Forget it! The old professional rule: “The next work is the most important!”
Starting to turn into a helicoptermum for my hands.
Last minute gigs including Flamenco arriving ( brushing up my rasgueado-OMG, the nails!).
Less sports, more chocolate.
Two weeks before going to studio
Oh, I completely forgot the booklet…
Panic for my fingers, starting to wear gloves, my home turning more and more into chaos, almost impossible for outside world to talk to me on the phone.
No more sports, just a little stretching after work, lots of chocolate
One week before the recording
Just can’t wait anymore to finish the CD!!!!!!!!
Home in messie status, brain cool and focussed- and nails and hands still perfect.
Missing my daily sports – and no more desire to eat chocolate.
Day 1: recording as many pieces as possible
Day 2: recording tough pieces
Day 3: recording the beasts, those pieces where you have to cross your own limits.

Returning home, unloading the luggage, breaking my thumbnail.

Recording session
Recording session



Facebook is getting more and more a difficult place for musicians. We once believed that giving our content and our data was enough paying, but Facebook pages which many of us use as second ( or first) homepage are less and less visible without paying more and more money…
We have seen Myspace disappearing and with it all the energy we had put there to share our music, so it is really time to rethink our socialmedia strategies.
I see just one solution:
Having a wellkept homepage, building a good newsletter- and everything you share in the net should appear in different places too!
I personally love to use Twitter and especially google+ ( Hey, you are in the social media of THE search engine), but I see there many abandoned zombie profiles of fellow musicians.
If you are used to the mutual system of Facebook it is in the beginning quite a change to go to a non-mutual place and it is not enough to create a profil and believe that people will find you…
In a nonmutual you have to do the next step and that is searching what you want to read:
Twitter is my culture newspaper, I am following all the culture news I can find, musicians and some nonsense to have fun. ( Calling it “my playground”)
Google+ is a place to be professionell ( Hey, you are in the social… etc), fill out the profile as precise as possible and connect your youtube channel with the profile there! ( Calling it “business fair”)
In nonmutual networks I see the crucial number of 500, if you are following minimum 500 pages/profiles, you start to discover what those networks can offer.

So I am giving you some starter kits:

Classical guitar 1
Classical guitar 2
classical music
And spend half an hour to search for your newspapers, local news…

Google+ :
classical guitar
classical guitar community
and search for what you love to read! ( Hey, you are in …) about music, news or your local stuff!

I do not use automatic postings, but you can tell FB to post to Twitter, or with for example IFTTT create system of autoposting. I prefer to copy and paste the basic info, shorten it for Twitter, use the layout possibilities of google+ .. and to tag all the people in each network that are mentioned in my postings!
And I comment a lot and I love to give stars, plusses and likes to show that I read and appreciated posts of yours!!
I hope this was helpful, we all give a lot of energy for our music and classical music and we have limited time…

P.S: Facebook I call “The bar around the corner”, where you meet your friends!

10 classical guitar print magazines adressbook

1) Akustik Gitarre Acoustic Music GmbH
Jahnstrasse 1a
49078 Osnabrück (Deutschland)

2) Gitarre Aktuell
Schlüterstrasse 77/77a
Postfach 131081
20110 Hamburg (Deutschland)

3) Seicorde
Viale Lombardia, 5
20131 Milano (Italia)

4) Soundboard
769 NE 72 Terrace
Miami FL 33138 (USA)

5) Classical guitar
1&2 Vance Court, TransBritannia Enterprise Park
Blaydon on Tyne NE 21 5 NH (UK)

6) Gendai Guitar Magazine
1-16-14 Chihaya, Tashimi-ku
Tokyo 171 00 44 (Japan)

7) Il Fronimo
via Orti,14
20122 Milano (Italia)

8) журнал гнгарнст
125635 г.москва А/Я 68 (Russia)

9) Guitare classique
14 rue Corneille
91270 Vigneux sur Seine (France)

10) Gitarr och Luta
Dösvägen 31
22654 Lund (Sweden)

classical guitar charts in Facebook pages

Classical guitar charts of active and living soloist with more than 1000 fans (number of likes from the 4th 11, circa 15 pm)

1. Berta Rojas 54,780 like

2. Edoardo Catemario 34,709 likes

3. Ana Vidovic 34,o43 likes

4. David Russell 21,951 likes

5. Milos Karadaglic 18,741 likes

6. Pirai Vaca 16,327 likes

7. Pepe Romero 15,031 likes

8. Lily Afshar 14,347 likes

9. Cristiano Porqueddu 13,310 likes

10. Tariq Harb 12,739 likes

11. Liona Boyd 9,566 likes

12. Pablo Sainz Villegas 9,277 likes

13. Manuel Barrueco 8,069 likes

14. Julian Bream 6,101 likes ( ??? problems with the site)

15. Andrew York 6,890 likes

16, Marcin Dylla 6,527 likes

17. Sharon Isbin 6,316 likes

18. Eliot Fisk 6,225 likes

19. Roland Dyens 5,284 likes

20. John Williams  4,824 likes

21. Thibault Cauvin  4,359 likes

22. Heike Matthiesen 4,185 likes

23. Vladimir Gorbach 4,182 likes

24. Kaori Muraji 3,962 likes

25. Tatyana Ryzhkova – Official 3,791 likes

26. Scott Tennant 3,228 likes

27. Antigoni Goni 2,998 likes

28. Sabrina Vlaskalic 2,889 likes

29. Xuefei Yang 2,846 likes

30. William Kanengiser 2,751 likes

31. Galina Vale 2,750 likes

32. Gabriel Bianco 2,646 likes

33. Petar Čulić 2,269 likes

34. Pablo Garibay 2,170 likes

35. Artyom Dervoed 1,890 likes

36. Karin Schaupp 1,764 likes

37. Jorge Luis Zamora 1,696 likes

38. Dimitri Illarionov 1,632 likes

39. Zoran Dukic 1,556 likes

40. Shin-ichi Fukuda 1,550

41. Elena Papandreou 1,537 likes

42. Gaëlle Solal 1,520 likes

43. Judicaël Perroy, Classical Guitarist 1,486 likes

44. Maestro Angel Romero 1,354 likes

45. Carlo Marchione 1,264 likes

46. Luz Maria Bobadilla, guitarrist 1,170 likes

47. Roberto Aussel 1,130 likes

48. Guitarist Susan McDonald 1,065 likes

49. Ian Watt 1,029 likes

I am sure I forgot some pages, next update around christmas I will include them!

social media suicide

It is a quite new phenomenon, collegues of mine closing their facebookprofiles…
No matter if you like the blue giant, one thing is right now fact( april 2013) : Facebook is mainstream!
Friends from school are there, all your family, maybe even your grandparents, collegues, business contacts, fans, it is wild heteregeneous mixture of contacts..
And all those who say: “oh, I waste to much time there”- who is forcing you to play games and watch every funny video flooding your timeline?
And of course, the big excitement about the possibilities of socialmedia is calming down to almost being bored, it has simply turned into a part of all our everyday lifes!

Today we are so many artists trying to find our audience and the habits have changed:
How many times in the last months did you really go to an artist’s homepage, just thinking: “Oh, let me check his/her news..”
-How many artist’s homepages have you subscribed with RSS or something similar and really read the feed?
-How many newsletters have you subscribed and do you really open and read?
-How many times do you check local newspapers for concerts?
-How many specialised magazine you really read?
-How do you find out about concerts in your region within a acceptable travelling distance not listed in your local newspaper?
-Okay, even worse question, do you read regularly a local newspaper?

These are all questions from the listener’s point of view– now switch to the artist’s view:
-How big is the part of audiencecontact you receive through your homepage compared to contact in Socialmedia?
-How many concerts offers come through your homepage and how many through other channels?
-How many people are in your newsletter list?
It is not the point that your “hardcore”-fans recieve the news, they will find out anyway… but how to reach everybody else?

Habits constantly change but nowadays it seems to be the rule that everything should be available with the smallest click number possible- meaning: offer the possibility for contact with you where the people are ( of course without agressive egospamming)!

And give yourself a “diet”:
1)Don’t watch every video
2)Don’t play games
3)Switch off chats/Skype
4)Give yourself permission for letssayforexample 30 minutes and really switch off after 40 minutes and go back to the instruments ( I use my practising breaks for internet)!
See Socialmedia also as part of your professional being, it is like booking etc a certain percentage of your life..

And then add freetime there just for fun and friendships!!!

musician’s mathematics

A fictional calculation:
If you want to survive let us say you need 42 gigs/concert a year ( not meaning feeding a family of four ) with average standard payment of small concert series and poor guitar festivals and not having the support of a major record company.
It is always something special if a presentor hires you every year,but sooner or later it turns into a rhythm between 2 and 5 years to return, so let us count with 3!
If you write 100 concert proposals you will get around 70 times no answer, 3 YES, and the rest something between clear “no” and “let us stay in touch, maybe next year”
In my beginner’s years it was 90% with no answer!

So numbers:
42 gigs a year meaning 1400 letters ( 980 no answer)
In three years:
126 gigs meaning 4200 letters ( 2940 no answer)

Correct if my I calculated wrong… but for sure it means that you need a BIIIIIG adressbook!!
How many letter do you write each year?

Should a soloist play with score on stage?

It is an old discussion but in times where everywhere concerts are videotaped more active than ever:
Who in classical music has “permission” to go with score on stage?

First some words about the brain levels on stage:
1.Rallyedriver-modus: Your brain tells you exactly the next information, like the copilot in a rallyecar
2.Photographicbrain-modus: You visualize the exact score and play like if it was there and you are reading it
3.Jazz-modus: You know what sound is next and you find it like a great improviser,following you audiomemory
4.Dancing-modus: Your fingers learned a structured choreography and you just repeat it
5.Analytic-modus: You exactly know the structure, including the harmonic patterns
6.Alphawaves-modus: The music is just there, you just listen while your fingers move

The ideal is of course number 6, but many players are able to do great things in all of the other modes, so let us look at them closer:
Alphawaves-modus gets destroyed with score..
Difficult with score is the dancer-modus where you don’t need the visual control with score, but if the score is prepared right it can give you a lot of help to find the next “group of steps”, it is especially for guitar an important topic that the tabulature can be more important than the knowledge about the actual note you are playing – depending also on which styles of fingering you chose!
Number 1 ,2 and 5 are supported by the score!!
Number 3 just good if it helps you to remember the next sound!
And it is normal that for different types of repertory or your personal “daily shape” you choose or even sometimes switch between the levels hopefully without anybody in the audience noticing it..

It is one of the biggest part of stagefright that musicians fear to get lost, they can be blocked by this fear and the problem is immediately solved if they are allowed to have the score with them.
I experienced that when I have the score with me that I feel more freedom in interpretation when I am not on Alpha, but in all other modus, you can always discover something new in the score, the control part of your brain is free for phantasy

and it is like in school: the things you believe you want to write on the little paper you would love to have in your pocket exactly shows your weaknesses, so it is a great step in learning a piece to prepare your score- maybe to shorten it just to the parts you need or to choose senseful pageturning moments, mark important parts with coloured pencils etc , it shows you also where to add some extra work!

When I learn a new piece after writing the fingering it is the first task to learn a piece by heart, then I start to practice it ( My mantra: “Practicing means repeating the right thing”).. and then after endless hours I like to have the score somewhere with me on stage, it is like airbag, that one moment where you might need is worth having it with you- and there is a magic about it: When the score is there, I do not need it!!!!!!!!!!!!

classical guitar composers by date

I always wanted to have calendar like that and could not find it nowhere…so here it is!
Source is mostly Wikipedia plus some guitar dictionaries,please help me if there are errors or if I forgot a great guitar composer.. list will be updated!!

* 1.1.1796 Felix Horetzky
* 4.1.1882 Angel Barrios
* 5.1.1917 Reginald Smith-Brindle
† 12.1.1626 John Dowland
† 15.1.1949 Joaquin Turin
† 16.1.1853 Matteo Carcassi
† 18.1.1923 Alfredo Cottin
† 19.1.1830 Wenzelaus Matiegka
* 26.1.1907 Maria Luis Anido
* 26.1.1949 Jorge Cardoso

† 3.2.1882 José Broca
* 10.2.1770 Fernando Carulli
* 14.2.1778 Fernando Sor (?)
† 17.2.1841 Fernando Carulli
† 17.2.1883 Napoleon Cost
* 18.2.1882 Angel Barrios
† 19.2.1813 Leonhard von Call
* 20.2 1947 Carlo Domeniconi
† 20.2.1626 John Dowland ( funeral date)
† 20.2.1996 Tori Takemitsu
† 21.2.1848 Simon Molitor
† 22.2.1938 Miguel Llobet
* 28.2.1956 Nikita Koshkin

* 1.3.1939 Leo Brouwer
* 2.3.1913 Celedonio Romero
* 3.3.1891 Federico Moreno-Torroba
* 5.3.1887 Heitor Villa-Lobos
† 5.3.1953 Daniel Fortea
† 7.3.1916 José Ferrer
† 8.3.1983 William Walton
† 12.3.1950 Heinrich Albert
† 16.3.1968 Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco
* 17.3.1924 Stephen Dodgson
* 18.3.1835 José Ferrer
† 19.3.1767 Leonhard von Call
† 24.3.1916 Enrique Granados
* 29.3.1902 William Walton
* 29.3.1936 Richard Rodney Bennett
* 31.3.1776 Joseph Küffner

† 1.4.1580 Alonso Mudarra
* 3.4.1895 Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco
* 4.4.1640 Gaspar Sanz
* 7.4.1886 Emilio Pujol
† 7.4.1858 Anton Diabelli
* 8.4.1784 Dioniso Aguado
† 24.4.1948 Manuel Maria Ponce
† 27.4.1860 Leonhard Schulz
* 28.4.1882 Daniel Fortea

† 3.5.1996 Dimitri Fampas
* 5.5.1885 Agustin Barrios
† 6.5.1872 Giulio Regondi
† 8.5.1829 Mauro Giuliani
† 8.5.1996 Celedonio Romero
* 9.5.1931 Jorge Morel
* 12.5.1805 Jan Nepomucem de Bobrowicz
† 18.5.1909 Isaac Albeniz
* 23.5.1912 Jean Francaix
* 29.5.1860 Isaac Albeniz

† 3.6.1849 Francois de Fossa
* 4.6.1774 Francisco Molino
† 4.6.1996 Maria Luisa Anido
* 11.6.1897 Alexandre Tansman
* 11.6.1880 Ferdinand Rebay
† 16.6.1840 Joseph Kreutzer
* 27.6.1806 Napoleon Coste
† 28.6.1979 Paul Dessau

* 1.7.1926 Hans Werner Henze
† 2.7.1844 Karl Ludwig Blum
* 6.7.1773 Wenzeslaus Matiegka
† 6.7.1999 Joaquin Rodrigo
† 10.7.1839 Fernando Sor
* 16.7.1870 Heinrich Albert
* 27.7.1781 Mauro Giuliani
* 27.7.1867 Enrique Granados

† 5.8.1877 Luigi Legnani
* 8.8.1945 Stepan Rak
* 16.8.1795 Heinrich Marschner
* 17.8.1806 Johann Kaspar Mertz
† 17.8.1944 Agustin Barrios
* 31.8.1775 Francois de Fossa

* 6.9.1781 Anton Diabelli
† 9.9.1856 Joseph Küffner
† 9.9.2003 Reginald Smith Brindle
† 12.9.1982 Federico Moreno Torroba
* 21.9.1805 José Broca
† 25.9.1997 Jean Francaix

* 2.10.1919 John Duarte
† 6.10.1870 Felix Horetzky
* 8.10.1930 Tori Takemitsu
† 11.10.1936 Antonio José
* 12.10.1686 Sylvius Leopold Weiss
† 14.10.1856 Johann Kaspar Mertz
† 15.10.1750 Sylvius Leopold Weiss
* 16.10.1878 Miguel Llobet
* 19.10.1955 Roland Dyens
* 25.10.1832 Julian Arcas
* 27.10.1782 Niccolo Paganini
† 27.10.2012 Hans Werner Henze

* 2.11.1901 Joaquin Rodrigo
† 2.11.1981 Jan Nepomucem de Bobrowicz
* 3.11.1766 Simon Molitor
† 6.11.1953 Ferdinand Rebay
* 7.11.1790 Luigi Legnani
* 11.11.1790 Joseph Kreutzer
† 14.11.1946 Manuel de Falla
† 15.11.1980 Emilio Pujol
† 15.11.1986 Alexandre Tansman
† 17.11.1959 Heitor Villa-Lobos
* 21.11.1852 Francisco Tarrega
* 22.11.1913 Benjamin Britten
* 23.11.1876 Manuel de Falla
† 27.11.1964 Angel Barrios

† 4.12.1976 Benjamin Britten
* 7.12.1957 Maximo Diego Pujol
* 8.12.1886 Manuel Maria Ponce
* 9.12.1882 Joaquin Turina
* 12.12.1902 Antonio José
† 14.12.1861 Heinrich Marschner
† 15.12.1909 Francisco Tarrega
* 18.12.1894 Paul Dessau
† 20.12.1849 Dionisio Aguado
* 22.12.1921 Dimitri Fampas
† 23.12.2004 John Duarte
† 24.12.2012 Richard Rodney Bennett