YES!


 

“Ray, when someone asks you if you’re a god, you say yes!”
– Peter Venkman

            The above is one of my most favorite quotes of all time. This could quite possibly be one of the best pieces of advice to ever be given. It works for anyone in just about any situation.  My theory teacher, who was also the head of my music program in college, told us in class one day, “Always say yes, if you don’t know how to do it, you better learn”. Its one of the few things I remember from college, and also the most important.  Here are a few scenarios where I’ve applied it: Q: Can you record and mix a few songs for a television show I’m writing music for?

A: Yes (I had never recorded or mixed someone else’s music before, for any medium, let alone gotten paid for it)

Q:  Do you think you’ll be able to run sessions in the studio in a week?

A: Yes (probably the only answer to that question, but the studio was brand new and I had only a vague idea of what I was doing. Of course by the end of the week I could run it with my eyes closed)

Q: Can you teach my son to play piano/Can you teach the midi lab/Can you teach Pro Tools/Can you teach….

A: Yes (I just make it up as I go along, also teaching is fun, and probably one of the best ways to learn there is, of course I didn’t know this going into it)

Q: We need an Orchestral Score for our film in a month. Do you have time? And can you give use three opening examples this week?

A: Yes (Holy Sh-t, what have I done?)

Q: Do you have time to work on a demo?

A: Yes (No)

Q:  You do session work right? Here play this.

A: Ok (gulp, but it lead to a great collaboration with a great band)

            This could probably go on forever, I’m sure you get the point, but I’m going to sum it up anyway.  Don’t’ be afraid to get in over your head and take some risks. The worst that can happen is you screw up, and you’ll never get the call again. But making a mistake is a great way to learn, and you certainly wont get called back if you say no right off the bat. I’m sure some of you out there have had some musical sink or swim moments. Please share them!

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3 Responses to YES!

  1. Modium ? says:

    Yes, I remember those… [Q] Can you DJ at this party we’re throwing? [A] Yes (I wonder if I have enough records) [Q] Can you record a playback of this song for a play at this school where I teach? [A] Yes (Uh oh… time to hunt for instrument samples pronto) [Q] Can you edit the song I chose so it can fit in the time limits of a floor gymnastics excercise? [A] Yes (What the heck is she talking about?).
    But, this post is not complete without a post about asking questions – sometimes saying yes means you have to learn a new field, which is hard if there is no one to guide you. If you go to college I guess you can find someone in the teaching staff to help you, but if you are really on your own and, say, promised to score a soundtrack for a film, it might be a good Idea to ask the director or whoever is in charge of the music side, to give you a little bit more of their time than usual. This is what I call the “Yes, but…” approach.

  2. I like the theory, my motto is with the right instructions (and often times with sometime the right man) I can do anything..
    Q : Want a space ship built….no problem…google..space ship building. next google out of work nasa scientist…Bam! Your customized space ship is ready for pick up..you can paypal me. (this is not an actual story in reality but it demonstrates my tenacity ;p)

    However I seem to be a bit more timid when it comes to music. Especially putting myself out there. But I l like this concept and I think it’s good advise.

    Thank you.

    AJ

  3. I like the theory, my motto is with the right instructions (and often times with the right man) I can do anything..
    Q : Want a space ship built….no problem…google..space ship building. next google out of work nasa scientist…Bam! Your customized space ship is ready for pick up..you can paypal me. (this is not an actual story in reality but it demonstrates my tenacity ;p)

    However I seem to be a bit more timid when it comes to music. Especially putting myself out there. But I l like this concept and I think it’s good advise.

    Thank you.

    AJ

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