Grammy winner Michael League has tips for budding musicians | music | Hindustan Times
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Grammy winner Michael League has tips for budding musicians

Michael League, the Grammy Award-winning composer gives 10 lessons for budding musicians.

HT48HRS_Special Updated: Sep 18, 2015 13:11 IST
Meenakshi Iyer
Meenakshi Iyer
Hindustan Times
HT48Hours

Michael League - the Grammy Award-winning bassist and composer for Snarky Puppy

Michael League and his Brooklyn-based band, Snarky Puppy, shot to fame when they were awarded the Grammy for Best R&B Performance last year.

The video for their track, Something, featuring Lalah Hathaway went viral, clocking in over two million views. With this win, the band’s decade-long journey of sleeping in people’s basements and playing at no-name bars paid off and today, it is among the most recognised names in the genre.

League was in town for an impromptu workshop at True School of Music (TSM) earlier this month.

Micheal League

Michael League (Photos: Pratham Gokhale/HT)

1) Naming your band: Think hard before naming your band. If I knew we would last these many years, I would have given it a better name.

2) Be choosy about your ensemble: Pick your musicians carefully. They are going to be your new family.

3) Get your act together: Find what drives you and stick to it. Even if you have to practise over and over again, do it.

4) Learn the song: When you rehearse, make sure each member knows everything — right from the language of the song to the vocabulary of the chords.

5) Learn to let go: Put people in a position to do what they are best at. I used to be a control freak. But once the band started to sound like how I wanted it to be, I started giving my musicians a little room.

6) Learn to let go: Put people in a position to do what they are best at. I used to be a control freak. But once the band started to sound like how I wanted it to be, I started giving my musicians a little room.

7) You don’t own music: Music floats around us. All we do is pick up bits from here and pull out something from there and use it. Singer Bing Crosby would always say, “I found this song … or I found this lyric…” Most of the music that is going to be made is already done. Be a discoverer of music, not an owner.

8) Get excited: Don’t ever settle for something you’re not excited about. If you are not excited about it, the audience will not be excited about it. People buy confidence.

9) Music business: Build your business around your music. When we started touring, I remember sending out 150 emails to pubs and bars and got just ten responses of which six were a ‘No’. Share your music with everyone you know.

10) Stop reading reviews: Lead your fans and don’t follow them. Bands like The Beatles, Radiohead and Miles Davis wrote for themselves. In fact, Davis turned his back to the audience while performing for five years.