Garnet Walters

Pianist Educator Producer Composer Arranger

The Official Website of Garnet Walters and Geephlat Music
 

Just Keeping It Simple

Well we are halfway through January and I've come upon some things. (By the way, I know it's been a long time since I put up a blog! Please forgive me! Lol!). In my musical journey, I've checked out many different theories and methods to improve musicianship. Most of them are great and they give great insight on different things from music theory to technique. One thing to keep in mind is that with all of this knowledge and insight, these things are a means to an end. The end is to make music. Music is art for the ears and a musician should never forget that. So what I am doing is that I am listening to more and more music for the experience. Music is a language so why not understand and improve musical vocabulary by listening to music. Since this switch, I have experienced exponential growth in creativity and the language. I didn't discount music theory in this. It has it's place. I use theory to identify what I am hearing and playing. The average listener won't understand theoretical aspect of music like (C# 7 flat 9), but they sure can relate to music sounding good and the confidence, conviction and emotion behind what is being played. This leads me to another thing. I used to be under this thing where I tried to listen to one artist that I like for a month. It was cool but I realized that this wasn't for me. I view music as food. Sometimes I will have the same food for days because that's what I want. Other times, I will have different foods each moment just because. My thing is as long as I am being musically and creatively fed, I'll be satisfied. In doing this, my practice sessions are more like creative experimentation sessions. I am more fulfilled doing this. I think it is important to experience music on different levels. Just like food, some foods I will love right away. Other foods I will have to develop an acquired taste for. Sometimes I'll be in the mood for a specific food just because. I believe that all of this fortifies one key thing in music: Listening. My ears are getting bigger and bigger just because I am actively listening with intention. This paradigm shift is also shoring up my learning methods in paying attention to detail and working on things until I can't get it wrong. This is actually an amazing breakthrough for me. Try it out if you want. Don't knock it until you have tried it. If it works for you, great! If it doesn't, no worries! It's not the end of the world. Customize it to your learning method. Everyone is different so as long as it brings the best result (also as long as it is healthy mentally, physically, emotionally etc) go for it!!

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A Few Nuggets...

Here are a few things that I picked up today: 1.  Where you are is just a stake in the sand in comparison to where you are going.

2.  You do not have to ask for permission to be great at what you do.

3.  If you wait for the perfect condition, you will never get anything done.

4.  Although going to school is great and getting your degree is a wonderful achievement, you do not have to learn a specific skill before you go out and be "marketable".  In music, you learn by experience.  You add skills along the way.  (This is not a pass to not practice on your own.)  You have trust in the skills that you already have and get yourself out of the way.  There is always something to improve on.  Don't beat yourself up.

5.  If you feel like you are not good enough, then you will never go out to play music.  If you don't go out to play music, then no one will hear what you have to offer musically.

6.  Playing along with other musicians will increase your progress and will increase accountability.

7.  Have fun playing music and relax.

8.  Network, network, network!!

Put these nuggets to good use!  Onward and upward!!

Rehearsal With The Verve Jazz Ensemble

Today was a great day!  I really enjoyed the opportunity to rehearse with the Verve Jazz Ensemble in NYC today.  It was a lot of fun.  It was straight ahead jazz with their special arrangements.  I was somewhat reserved since it was a brand new environment.  I didn't want to rock the boat.  I wanted to be a team player and be complimentary.  During the first break, the drummer Josh came to me and said, "Go ahead!! Let 'er rip!!".  That was the green light!  So on the next few tunes, I opened up a whole lot more and I could tell that the rest of the band was into it. The more I played, the more comfortable I became.  It was an awesome experience!  I also got some great words of wisdom from the pianist, Matt. (I am subbing for him in December.)  It felt great to play with other musicians at a very high level.  I am so grateful for this opportunity!!  More to follow!!  Onward and upward!!!Image

A Step of Faith

Today I did something really special.  I started on my first solo piano album.  I'm pretty excited about what's going on!  I recorded six tunes that I really liked, 2 of them being originals.  I feel at peace that I am doing this.  I've been told by family, friends and loved ones I should do something.  They were right.  More to follow...Forward and upward!!!! image

Oh My Goodness! How could I Forget!!

Yeah, so I forgot to update you about the Village Underground gig!  It was...FUN!!!!!  I have to go back at play there again.  I know that I have to learn A LOT of tunes.  It was amazing to see that everyone knew the random tunes that were called throughout the night.  I guess it's safe to say that if you know a lot of songs (along with other things), more than likely you are able to get gigs!  I felt so free to play there!  I exchanged numbers with other musicians who liked my playing and they want me to come back and play.  I will definitely do that!  I need to become an IPod or even Spotify to play any song.  You know what, I can do it!!

Musical Literacy

Lately, I have been learning more and more that music IS a language.  Yes, it is a saying which can come off as a cliche, however it still holds true.  I have been working on my sight reading a lot lately.  I can read music and learn a piece when I have to.  The one thing that I want to improve is my sight reading.  Think about it.  When you go to the doctor's office and you see a magazine that appeals to you, you just take it up and read it.  You probably haven't seen the magazine before but you still read it AND you understand it.  I want my sight reading to be that way as well.  Playing music is like speaking a language, writing music is like typing an email (or this blog), so reading music on sight should be like going to Barnes and Noble to read through books that catches your interest.  It is a humbling experience but it is worth it.  I can sight read hymns pretty well but I need to branch out and challenge myself with different styles of music.  At the end of it all, I want to be fluent in the language of music, always adding vocabulary to what I already know!

The Village Underground!!

On September 9, 2013, I will be playing at the Village Underground!  I'm very excited about this.  I've been there a few times and the music I heard was awesome.  To be able to play there is an honor and a privilege.  I know it's going to be fun!  Come on out and support!!  Doors open at 10:30pm!

Pure Intentions

I remember when my daughter was born in 2012. It was a joyous occasion. I'm thinking, "WOW!! I'm actually a Dad". I had all these plans in my head in how I was going to be a great role model for her, how she will love music as much as I do and how she will be a great pianist like her Daddy and singer like her Mom. Even though those thoughts were great, a reality hit me and it hit me really hard. The reality was that I wasn't going to be able to play out as much as I would like because I have the little one. With my wife going back to work, I had to take care of her during the day (and no I wasn't being "Mr. Mom". I'm a father. I'm supposed to take care of my child. It's a God-given responsibility that I take very seriously.) I knew going in that my practice time would not be as much as it was in the past. I maneuvered past that by practicing while she was taking naps. It was good for some time but as she got older, the naps got shorter so I had to really make the most of the time that I had. (I was really grateful that I read the book "The Musician's Way" before hand). I had to make continuous adjustments.

During this process, I had to question my intentions with music. (I am going somewhere with this.) I sat down at thought to myself, "Why am I doing this? Is it for money? (Music is my passion and my vocation in that order) Competition? Bragging rights? Or do I really love music from the bottom of my heart?" I asked myself this question everyday because I felt like the world was passing me by. Don't get me wrong, I love being a father. I would love that my daughter and any future children that I will have with my wife see me as a great Dad and a great musician. I just didn't know how those two aspects would connect. I knew that practice is the lifeblood of the musician and it is a means to an end. I was practicing for something great in the future.

I realized one day that in this season that I was practicing for me and for no one else. I had to be conscious of that. God gave me a gift and He wants me to use it the best way possible. I learned patience, self-control, attention to detail. I also learned how my mind works in practicing. (Slow and steady is the way to go! Mindless repetition is a waste of time.) I learned to practice and I went back to my fundamentals to reinforce my foundation. Now I am a much better and seasoned musician for it. I am more ready for any opportunity to make music.

Now that my daughter is about 15 months, I felt that God released me to go out and play more. I am glad for every opportunity to play more than ever before. My passion is still here and heightened. I believe that this time was used to hone my craft and skill in a more intense way. There are no regrets looking back at all!! There is so much that I want to do musically and I know it will be done. It's still a journey. I believe that God is the great orchestrater, composer and arranger in my life and I am just sight-reading along the way. I know that I will make God, my wife, my daughter, my family and friends proud. So is it safe to say that I love music, love playing music and everything else that has to do with music? I really love music and it really comes from a pure place!

Allow me to introduce myself...

Hi everyone! This is Garnet Walters. I am a musician! I play the piano. I also compose, arrange, and produce music. I love music and everything about it. This blog is about whatever comes to my mind musically that I would share with others, especially musicians that need advise or inspiration. I love to help others and be a resource. I will have clips of music that I am playing, practicing, composing as well as tutorials (It's called Musical Wisdom which is on my YouTube page). It's nice to meet you as well!