Evolution As a Self-Sufficient Musician..

Before I came to LACM, my musicianship and music career was surrounded by limits. I had come pretty far for someone only in high school – I could sing and play guitar, I was booking my own gigs, and I had recorded my own debut EP. But I knew that there was so much more that I would need to be a successful, working musician and performer. I had never put pen to manuscript paper to write a chart, I didn’t know what guitar chord I was playing with a capo, I didn’t know how to perform without hiding behind my guitar, and I didn’t know to how to communicate with a band. All of this knowledge I had not yet acquired became very clear once I started school, but what also became very clear was how I could deconstruct all of these limits and move forward.

Looking at only the difference between the rehearsal with my band for our first gig and the one for our second gig is so drastic. My first gig was putting together an acoustic trio for a holiday show at a local coffee shop, Republic of Pie. I didn’t have any charts or sheet music for my bassist and percussionist to read, I wasn’t quite sure where to cue – I barely even knew what chords I was playing! But with a few more rehearsals, we got it down and still put on a great show by just “vibing it out.” But for my next gig at a more established venue (Room 5 LA), I wanted things to be different. I wanted to come in more confident, professional, and self-sufficient – I wanted my band to have a fun and less difficult time playing with me, and I also wanted them to respect me as not only a singer but also as a musician. I delved into my chart writing class and started writing charts for all of my songs, I kept improving my physical performance in my EW classes, and I had my private instructor help me with learning more about transposition. And, with just a few weeks of doing this, I made sure my next rehearsal was ten times better than the last. I had all my charts/sheet music, prepared, I knew what I was playing and I knew exactly what I wanted the band to play, I was able to communicate respectfully – and most of all, I was able to prepare my band to put on a fantastic show. I had never known the satisfaction and sense of achievement that I could feel when controlling every part of my own show – booking the gig, assembling and leading a band, writing the charts, and performing confidently. It was the first time that I had put something together that was bigger than myself – and it worked! Since then I’ve put together even more groups, improved my performance and instrumental skills, and I even tutor other people for chart writing. My first band was just the start of a new journey I have embarked on towards becoming the most self-sufficient musician I can be – a journey that I am still continuing on today.