I am very excited about this opportunity to share some of my musical advice and lessons with the Musicoff.com community. My name is Rob Balducci and I am a Musician, Guitarist, Composer and Producer based out of New York City. I have been playing guitar since I am around 11 years old. I have been teaching guitar since I am 14 years old and I enjoy teaching a lot. I feel I learn from the exchange between each student and myself. Each and every person views the guitar differently and seeing it through someone else’s eye is very important because it opens up new ideas for you.I have 4 CD’s released three of which were released through Steve Vai’s label Favored Nations Entertainment. My debut was released through Red/Sony Distribution in 1995. I recently released a 2 disc instructional DVD through The Rock House Method called Innovative Guitar, Rock Beyond The Boundaries. All of my CD’s and DVD’s can be purchased through my website.I am now working on my 5thCD tentatively titles “821 Monroe Drive” this new CD is an important one for me because the title comes from an address from where I spent a lot of my childhood years while woodshedding on the guitar! This column will feature topics that I feel are important in helping you become a better musician. We will cover a lot of different topics and not all will actually be musically notation. This brings me to the topic of this month’s column “ Confidence” let me tell you a little about when I started playing guitar. I was around 11 years old and my older sister Barbara had an acoustic guitar that she started to show me some chords on. This started me on the path of loving the guitar and learning music. I was a very shy introverted child and never really had confidence. Being a musician and a performer it is very important for you to have a sense of confidence in how you perform on your instrument. This is not easy task for many of us. It is something that you need to practice and learn just like anything else.
I don’t want you to get the wrong idea and think I am speaking about having an ego and thinking that you are the best guitarist in the world. Having a big ego will get you nowhere and will prevent people from wanting to work with you. My opinion is if you feel you are the best then there is no room for improvement and you cannot and will not progress in your development.
I did not always have this type of attitude and confidence. When I was in Music College I had a professor named Joe Carbone. He used me as an example in front of the class and asked me; Rob are you a good guitar player? I said yea I am ok. Joe said to me the next time I ask you what kind of guitar player you are you need to say: I am fucking great! So he asked me again and I said what he told me. Joe said that was better but I needed to believe it. Every time I saw my teacher pass in the hallway he would ask me that question and I would answer “I am fucking great!. At this time in my life I did not totally understand why he was making me do this.
I did realize later and this is why this topic is so important. You need to believe in yourself and have confidence in your abilities.Something else I experienced that changed the way I perform and play happened when I did some opening shows for Richie Kotzen. I used to have issues when I did live shows and I was always worried about my sound and how I was going to perform but in watching Richie perform it changed me.
Richie has a no nonsense approach when he is playing, His sound checks were not long and extended, he used very little effects and just plugs straight into his amp without many effects , most time no effects. He had such a great time when he played and seemed not to be worried about anything. His concentration was on the music. After witnessing this night after night I started to think about this and it had such a positive effect on me.
I started to free my mind up when I performed and was not worried about how I played and how my sound was. I actually even got rid of a lot of pedals. My board now is kind of small, wah, tuner, OD and chorus and a delay that is on my amp through the effects loop.
Once you start to think in this way it will help you. It is not easy and you need to make sure you practice this concept when is rehearsal with your band.
When performing it is important for you to have confidence in your ability on the instrument, you need to make sure your mind is free of negative thoughts and you must try not to let your mind wonder off thinking about other issues, problems or anything else but your music. This is not easy and you must practice this when rehearsing with your band.
There is a book that will help you with your confidence as well as helping you practice. The book is called Effortless Mastery by Kenny Werner. This book comes with a CD that has mediations that I find to be very helpful. I can give you an example of thoughts that will get in the way of you performing to your highest potential.
You may be thinking, there are a lot of guitar players and musicians in the audience and you are wondering if you will play good enough, you may be thinking the sound is not good from the stage. You may even be thinking about what you are going to do after the show etc…
All these thoughts cloud your mind. You need to be focusing on your music and feeling the emotion and connecting with the other musicians in your band. When I play I focus on my music and what the inspiration of my song is about. Steve Vai said “he becomes the note” when he is playing. If you ask most players they say the same type of thing.
A common response from some players is they don’t know what they are thinking they are off in like a meditation. I find this to be true as well. My best playing at live shows is when my mind is free and I just get lost in my music.I hope you enjoyed this first installment of my column. Get going on this concept and make sure when you look in the mirror you say to yourself I am a great musician, Stay tuned in and see you next time.
MusicOff.com is pleased to give a huge welcome to this new series edited by our great friend and excellent musician Rob Balducci. Straight from New York, Rob write for all of us for a more complete vision of the music from the point of view of a modern musician!