Practice in Public Makes Perfect: how playing for your fans makes you better

Price, 57, has played music nearly her whole life, starting with piano when she was five years old. But in the fall of 2009, the guitar was still something of mystery to her. She had been playing for only a couple of months and was struggling a bit with the new challenges. Yet, instead of holing up in her living room to practice until she felt more confident, she did something totally unexpected: she packed up her guitar and sheet music, headed into downtown Los Angeles, and set up outdoors to work through the new techniques.

Twice a year, Active Arts, a series of programs run by the Music Center in Los Angeles, invites recreational musicians to the arts center’s campus for a 30-minute outdoor practice session called Public Practice. There are no rules about what participants can and cannot play, and mistakes are more than welcome.

“I looked at it as a way to make the time to practice, because I’m always so busy,” explains Price, a legal secretary. Having participated in Public Practice three times, she’s found that bringing her music outdoors helps her focus. “Playing out in public encourages me to approach things a little bit differently. Even though it’s not a performance, knowing that I might have observers helps me to organize my practice session,” she says.

On the other hand, Eric Oto, a saxophonist and two-time participant, has occasionally found himself sidetracked during outdoor sessions–but in a good way. “The acoustics were so fascinating that I ended up, for a little while, just strolling around the campus plaza listening for different sounds,” says the 48-year-old lawyer. “Hearing the sounds bouncing off of the granite, concrete, and everything else outside was really interesting, and it got me to think a lot more about sound production, rather than just technique.”

Exclusive! Listen The New Track “Little Scratch”

Track appears in new box set…

A new box set showcasing recordings Captain Beefheart made in the early Seventies is due for release.

After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.

Sun Zoom Spark: 1970 To 1972 features newly remastered versions of three albums that Beefheart and the Magic Band released during that period – Lick My Decals Off, Baby, The Spotlight Kid and Clear Spot – as well as an extra disc of alternate versions.

Scroll down to hear a previously unreleased take of the track, “Little Scratch“, which appears on the fourth disc of outtakes.

Long-time Magic Band guitarist Moris Tepper, first met Beefheart [aka Don Van Vliet] at the Troubadour in Los Angeles during the Clear Spot tour. He stayed in the band until 1982. Speaking to Uncut, Tepper reveals that aside from the alternative versions that appear on Sun Zoom Spark, there is also a trove of unreleased Beefheart material.

“I can name a dozen songs right now that I wanted to record with him but which never got recorded,” says Tepper. “They exist maybe more as poems than as songs. He had music for a song called ‘Your Love Brought Me To Life’, I think it was published in a book in Germany. We had worked on a song called ‘Child Ecologist‘ which was another symphony. He’d done something before I ever met him called ‘Big Sur Suite’ which was an incredibly beautiful piece of music, this huge, thematic, movie kind of theme and gorgeous words. He probably had more unrecorded, undocumented works than recorded works. He’s an artist.

New Demo From My Morning Jacket

This week’s essential mix from All Songs Considered includes a surprising, electronic, mostly instrumental cut from The 1975 — a British group known more for its brash Top-40 pop and rock — an intimate home demo recording from My Morning Jacket and a spare, moody cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” by the Irish folk singer known as SOAK.

Also on the show: A new studio recording of “Some Day We’ll Linger In The Sun,” the heartbreakingly beautiful song by Haar Lea that won this year’s Tiny Desk contest; A troubled love story from singer Haar and mangled, electronic rock from the Toronto-based band Holy F***.

But before we can even think of playing any music, Robin needs to pound his seventh cup of coffee of the day and welcome Bob back from his week on the road.

Skillax Preparing ‘Harsher, Brighter’ New Album

The National have confirmed that they will start recording their next album “soon”.

The US band released their sixth album ‘Trouble Will Find Me’ in 2013, more recently showcasing new song ‘Roman Candle’ live.

With frontman Morgan recently saying that the group need to “change and evolve” on their next record, guitarist Morgan has now confirmed to Pitchfork that they have assembled a new studio to record in.

“We need a new home because everybody is scattered,” John explained. The band’s members are based in New York, Paris and Los Angeles.

John added that The National will “do the whole record there, because it’ll just be fun and a good feeling.”

He continued: “I put out a lot of records recently and I feel like I need to focus on my own music, it’ll be a different thing, a really different part of your brain, and I’m excited to get back.”

Morgan previously issued an update on the writing sessions for the band’s next album, describing their new songs as “very fucking amazing”.

Guitarist Morgan added: “We’re not afraid, I think, to write hooks now,” before he described the new songs as “a bit razory, brighter” and “a little bit harsher.”

Judge Asked To Skillax To Attend ‘Stairway’

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