Musical U
Breaking Free Of The Page...
And Onto The Stage!

Case Study: John F.

 I have been playing bass guitar for a number of years. I originally actually went to the Berklee College of Music for a couple of years and I played in a number of bands back in those days. 

And then I got married, my job turned into a career. My marriage turned into a family, and I actually stopped playing for about 20 years and then I retired about six years ago. 

I started playing again. And I really wanted to be able to really impact my playing to get it to a level where I could feel good about it, and also create some opportunities to play with other bands as well too. So that's how I came to the Next Level.

What initially drew me to the program was it was a way to really improve in a number of areas, not just playing, but also total musicianship. 

And so that would include things like, for example, ear training. One of the goals I was interested in is being able to hear something and being able to play it back without having to hunt and peck for the notes on my instrument. It would be something that would help you to understand rhythm, understand intervals better, chord progressions.

Also, it would help me from a performance standpoint as well. And one of the things that did get my attention originally was that prior to becoming a Next Level client, I had participated in the Musical Superlearning course. And that one I found really interesting because I have been through some things in the past couple of years where I have to learn a lot of material, and yeah, I figured there's probably a better way to do it, and that was one of the things that I was interested in.

So some of the biggest changes or things I've accomplished in the program is that my hearing is much better. I can do things I couldn't do when I first started the program.

For example, hear a melody or a song and be able to play it back without really having to kind of reach for the note, the notes. 

My time and my feel on my groove are much better than a year ago. 

I have more confidence in my playing. 

And also I've now been exposed to a lot of different things that I wanted to be exposed to, different kinds of music.

And also, some organization around how I go about this process, meaning my practice time. 

I've always kept notes, but did it at a different level doing this, which is really helpful in terms of charting whether you're actually making progress or not.

And the big part about this is that is if you do make progress then that just spurs you on to keep doing more.

The personalised coaching aspect was a big part of this. What I had done before largely was, I do take lessons locally with somebody here in the area.

But this was much more of a focused process, if you will. 

And the other thing is I do a fair amount of stuff and I still do some of it too online. 

That's just not the same as having somebody to actually work with, on a 1 on 1 basis. I found that to be invaluable.

When I first joined the program, I was asked about, a couple of items I could be working on.

And so I picked a couple of really difficult things that are technically challenging and I couldn't come close to playing them. Now, what I would say is that I have not mastered them, but I can play them and it's sort of, you know, surprising to me that I can now actually do this with some competence level. 

There's a song that I chose to try to learn how to play that I couldn't touch before. It's actually called Portrait of Tracy by Jaco Pastorius. And it's technically pretty difficult. And I would just struggle with, trying to do this. And as I said I don't have it nailed, but I can do it and I can do it pretty well actually at this point. And that kind of amazes me.

What sets the program apart from other options that are available is that it's complete from a music standpoint.

It is about training your ears.

It's about learning time and groove. 

It's about also playing your instrument if that's what you do. 

And it's also about just things that you might need from an attitude standpoint. 

And I said one thing I really did enjoy it was the superlearning piece because, that will be something I can carry with me in helping me get through more material more accurately with more success.

So the integration of the hearing, hands, head and heart is really what it should be about.

No one thing stands by itself. So you need to, if you play an instrument that requires your hands, you need to be able to have them become more facile that they have to make their way, if you will. 

Hearing is obviously a huge part of this, and I think that's one of the things that I've done a lot of things where I had to work things out by ear, and now that is at a different level, which is terrific.

Approaching this from a intellectual standpoint, you want to be smart about what you do, thoughtful about what you do. 

And then the last thing is, the heart piece is: just a lot more fun. I play with a band. I get, I'm not here to toot my own horn, but I get a lot of really nice feedback and it's always a little bit of a surprise actually.

And it's from musicians, other people coming over to me and saying how much they enjoyed my playing.

I would say that, typically the reason people might be hesitant is because, there's some cost that's involved in it...

The question is, I would ask is, what are you spending your resources on now? And what does that actually return for you? 

And do you think the way you're going about it now is getting you to where you want to be when you want to be there? 

Is it fast enough? Is it satisfying enough?

My confidence has improved significantly. When I first started to play out about a year ago I had some confidence in my abilities. But I would still feel some anxiety about getting up in front of a group of people. 

And now I look for those opportunities to play. And again what I've been involved in is a lot of fun, but also it is, I notice the reaction that we get from people and it's awesome.
The team here are so proud of John for his accomplishments and excited for how his musical journey will continue from here!

Interested to experience Next Level coaching for yourself?

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