Recycling Chord Shapes – Do More with Less

Joe Pass is one of my favorite guitarists.  One reason I love his playing is that he does so much with so little.  There’s a great teaching video series in which Joe explains the importance of not overthinking in music.  He wants to make it as simple as possible in his mind.  Here’s my favorite quote from that video.

I don’t believe in playing anything that’s real hard.  If it’s real hard, forget it! – Joe Pass

chalk drawing and photo by the lovely Roopa Lee - @roopseydaisy

Chalk drawing by the lovely Roopa Lee – @roopseydaisy

I love that!  I hate working harder than I need to.  If it works for Joe, maybe it can work for us.  In this post I’m going to show you how to increase your chord knowledge 5x, not by working harder, but through recycling chord shapes you already know.

Gary’s Dead Simple Easy Guide to Have Fun in NYC in 3 Days

I don’t care what anyone says, I love being a tourist! I’m always immensely grateful whenever I have the opportunity to travel and see a new place.  Last week was my first time in New York City.  I went to perform with the young piano star, Ethan Bortnick, at the APAP conference (check him out if you haven’t yet).


I was definitely “that guy” in awe of all the bright lights in Times Square, the guy trying for the perfect artsy B/W shot of the subway, and the guy struggling to figure out the metro-card machine.  But it’s okay, that’s what you do when is your first time… let the over-posting on Instagram commence, right?

First 2 Weeks Touring with Ethan Bortnick

It’s been a pleasure touring and getting to know the great young entertainer, Ethan Bortnick.  At only 13 years old, Ethan tours the world as a pianist/songwriter, starred in his own movie, has the current #1 rated PBS TV special, and has raised over $30 million for charities.  Not bad for 13.


My good friend, Ryan Skiles has been Ethan’s music director for several years now and asked me to join the current tour playing bass.  We just finished up 2 weeks of touring playing 6 U.S. shows and it’s been a blast.  Next week we leave for another 5 weeks for a dozen more shows around the U.S.  Glee star, Damian McGinty has also been on the tour as a special guest.  He’s an amazing vocalist and it’s been great to work and get to know him as well.

Adding Value Reminder Emails

I decided to create a 13 Week Email Reminder Series to help myself (and anyone else who wants to join me) be better at developing professional relationships.  It’s based on a post called, Networking, Relationship Building, and Adding Value.  I wrote it to help people rethink what it looks like to network, especially in music business.

It’s about adding value to one another and asking less often.  That’s how relationships are built and that’s what networking really looks like.  Those with whom you have great relationships with are the ones who will be hiring you or recommending you.