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Beyond Bass Camp

Digging Deeper Inside the Bass, with Steve Lawson.

May
27

I’m always amazed – and dismayed – at how often I fail to ask the above question in my life. I spend a whole lot of time on trivial, time-wasting things as a diversion from the important things I really ought to be doing. That’s not to say that ‘trivial fun’ isn’t valid – sometimes what’s most important is some rest n’ relaxation, or a good laugh, or some time playing a computer game to wind down – it’s just that so often trivia is the default because we don’t stop to think about what it is that really matters to us and what it will take to bring that about. (more…)


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May
12

I have certain pre-arranged responses to some of the questions and comments I get about my music.

One of my favourites to throw out is to comments like “hey, Steve, you should do a whole ambient record” or “I really like the funky tunes, you should do more of that“, or any other ‘you should‘-type comments. My response is invariably “no, YOU should, cos it’s you that wants to hear it!”
(more…)


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Apr
27

The question in the title is one that is so often ignored and yet is fundamental to the process of learning music (and a lot of other things!)

Because so much that happens in music education is based on a model established for teaching classical repertoire, the emphasis is hugely on “Is It Right?” - the notes on the page are the right notes, any other notes are wrong notes, and there are pre-established measures of what are the ‘right‘ ways to play a piece, what are the ‘right‘ techniques to use… The fact that at some point they were were established as ‘right‘ because of someone’s idea of ‘good‘ has been lost somewhere down the years – the subjective aesthetic assessment of a piece of music by the person playing it is no longer a factor in deciding whether the performance is worthwhile, meaningful, pleasing or anything else(more…)


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Apr
23

screen grab of susan boyle on youtubeFor a week or so now, it seems like everyone has been talking about Susan Boyle. She’s a 40-something year old woman from lowland Scotland, who went on Britain’s Got Talent - the latest Simon Cowell vehicle – and ‘wowed’ everyone with her unexpectedly amazing voice. (more…)


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Apr
23

Photo of Steve Lawson from someoneoncetoldme.com licenced under creative commons

The title of this post is taken from a book by American futurist and Christian writer , Tom Sine. The thrust of his book is that by chasing ‘stuff’ – bigger/better/faster/more – we end up missing the magic in life, that which we were born to do.

As musicians, the parallels are many – I know so many musicians who are downcast not because their music is in any way ‘bad’ but because in the pursuit of someone else’s idea of what music needs to be in order to succeed, they’ve ended up playing music they have no belief in, love for, or commitment to. (more…)


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Apr
22

Steve Lawsons bass set up, on stage at the XOX Theatre in Kleve, Germany

I asked a question the other day on Twitter, whether or not people thought that music education (in Britain specifically, but Twitter has no national boundaries) was complicit in peddling the myths of fame and superstardom, in collusion with ‘Big Music’ (a few people asked what ‘Big Music‘ meant – I used it in the lineage of terms like ‘Big Tobacco‘, ‘Big Food‘ and ‘Big Pharma‘ to refer to the multinational corporations who operate businesses on an international level making millions and, generally, caring little for much beyond profit margins.)

The reason I asked it is that my own answer to that is very definitely yes. Having been around music schools a lot, and having studied in one, there’s a heck of a lot of talk about ‘the music business’… I’ve even got ScotVec modules in it to tell me that I know all about the workings of the PRS/MCPS/Record Deals/Lawyers etc. (more…)


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