Posts tagged #tennessee

My Other Job

Along with making the minuscule big bucks being a music artist, I also teach voice and piano lessons to some pretty cool folks. ...And the occasional demon zombie child... But mainly cool people. I absolutely adore teaching. I especially love teaching voice. I get very "into" it and sometimes quite emotional. I'll give cheesy thrilling motivational speeches and make my students do vocal exercises they wouldn't want anyone in the world to hear them sing. And, hey Jack (Si from Duck Dynasty reference, anyone??), it works. And it's fun to watch them squirm wwoohahaha.

The other day, I had a few lessons, and I had to grab a couple of new piano books for one of my students. I walked into Shuff's Music in Franklin, TN, my most favorite music store. Get in, get out. That's what she said. That was the plan.

But, nope. That wasn't going to happen. Why? Glad you asked. I'll tell you.

I walked back to the music book room, a very echoey, wood-floor room, and there was a lone high school kid trying out a trumpet for what sounded like the first time. "Awww," I thought at first. "That's so sweet."

My "awww"s turned to "WTF" after about 10 minutes, when he continued to toot that thing loudly and obnoxiously, as well as stand in the very spot from which I needed to grab my music. I wasn't quite sure what to do. So, I did what anyone would do. I pulled out my video camera so y'all could get you a piece of this action.


I finally quit being nice and nudged my way to my books.

As I was leaving, a store clerk came by to check on the trumpeteer (kinda like a rocketeer, but way, way lamer). He proceeded to ask if he could try out a saxophone. "I've never played one before, but I wanna try it," he said.

I ran out as fast as I could. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So I get to my lesson. And my sweet and gorgeous student Lucy greets me at the door with Setzer, the coolest cat in the history of cats.

photo 3-1

Did I mention that her dad is THE Pedal Doctor? He's a guitar gear genius, and pedal-maker to the stars! And the lead guitar player in my band. :) But I digress...

So take note of little Lucy's fingers in this picture...

Now take a look at 'em...

photo 4-1

This little smarty figured out that if she could just memorize WHERE to put her hands on the piano, and write all the note names on her fingers, then the piano was much easier to play. I can't say I haven't thought this very same thing.

And did I name-drop mention that BONO has played the piano I teach Lucy on? Yeah. STUPID!! (That means cool in this instance, Mom.)

I think my favorite part about teaching music, though, is just being around kids. I love their smiles and their enthusiasm and their - who am I kidding - I love their COMPLIMENTS! Ever feeling down about yourself? Go find yourself a kid. Don't kidnap the thing or anything, but just go find one and talk to 'em. They think grown ups are super stars! But be sure to stick around the 5-9 age group. By 11 or so, they pretty much hate your guts.

My last student was a sweet, sweet girl whom I had just met. She was a bit shy at first, but by the end, she was squealing and laughing and drawing pictures of she and I frolicking in flower fields. photo 1-1 photo 2-1

I think it's safe to say that I am full of it the child whisperer.

I feel quite lucky.

A Most Peculiar Concert

Before I begin this, I want to say, I am in no way "above" performing for small crowds. I've played many-sized concerts, large crowds and small. However, playing for small crowds is kind of the norm for a starving artist like myself. That being said...

My band and I performed a show yesterday at the Putnam County Fairgrounds in Cookeville, TN called the Upper Cumberland Music Festival. Now, before I continue, I must say 1. the music festival apologized to us, and 2. it's a pretty small town. They were very nice about the whole thing.

THAT being said...

We pulled up in our packed-out Suburban to the fairgrounds around 1:30 PM. We would go on at 3:30 PM. The festival had food vendors, games, little animal rides, a small stage, and a really big main stage (where we were to perform). The only problem was...

There were ZERO people in the parking lot. And when I say ZERO, I mean ZERO attenders. There were lots of workers buzzing around, trying to find something to do. Keep in mind, this was the 3rd day of the festival, and it had begun earlier that morning. And it was now the afternoon.

Imagine going to your local county fair. Now imagine not a SOUL is there but you. Funnel cakes, corn, and fried beef sticks, and only you, walking awkwardly around them, not knowing quite what to do with yourself. That was us.

"This sounds kind of weird, Jessie, but not THAT weird," you say. "Oh really?" I ask.

"Take a look at the stage..."


Or this angle...


Or... this one. Image

(Note the sound booth there in the middle).

Like I said, not a soul. Plus, the grandness of stage size (and fairgrounds size) created a slightly eerie, never-come-here-by-yourself-at-night kind of feel.

Lucky for me, I have a built-in travel fan-base.

Everyone, meet my in-laws!

They parked their travelin' chairs right down in front of the stage, the perfect place for doing "The Wave." They helped triple our fan base that day.

This embarrassing humbling experience, however, did not get our spirits down! (Ok, it got my drummer's spirits down a little, but he's almost through the anger stage of the grief process, so he'll be fine...eventually.) We put our stompin' boots on and performed the crap outta that empty  ghost town fairground! And that's kind of what it's all about right? Besides, you know, actually making money.


Posted on October 22, 2012 and filed under Concert, fair, Festival, Live shows.