Tour Tips: How to survive backstage…..

by Tammy Brackett

Touring musicians spend a lot of time in backstage and dressing room areas. Like hotel rooms, these range from top tier spaces with showers, refrigerators, and wide screen tvs to an abandoned 8×8 “office” area that looks more like a closet.

Since so much time is spent backstage and in dressing rooms, perhaps a portable backstage first aid kit should be part of your load in.

A simple small road case with things like candles, incense, pleasing photos, talismans, etc may be part of a backstage survival package.  Blankets and throws can be easily folded and brought out and tossed onto sofas.  Thin tapestries can be used on the wall. A portable humidifier helps the musicians as well as the instruments.

Remember the rules for hotel rooms and follow the same sanitizing procedures in a backstage area or dressing room.

With a little thought and planning, backstage areas and dressing rooms can become places of beauty and calm as you wait for your time on stage.

Last Waltz High Res


Choirs, jazz and concert bands and recording! Kenny does it all!


Kenny graduated from the Greensboro College in Greensboro, NC in 2014 with a Bachelor in Music Education, concentration: Choral Music and principal instrument: Guitar. He was on the dean’s list in 2010 and 2012, and was recipient of the Jazz Ensemble Award. While in college, Kenny also studied voice and bass, and performed in choirs and the jazz and concert bands. Kenny began playing and studying the guitar in the early 2000’s, and currently performs occasionally, including performances with artists like Paul Simon and Wynnona Judd. He’s currently working on a recording project. Kenny has been teaching since 2008, offering country, rock, blues, jazz, classical, and reggae.

Meet our new instructor Krista who specializes in praise music

Krista received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Dayton in Dayton, Oh in 2008. She grew up with music in her home, taking piano lessons at age seven and continued through high school and college. Along with piano, Krista took clarinet in the high school band, and studied guitar and voice in college. She was the drum major in high school, and has had some experience directing choirs. Currently she accompanies at her church and performs for local weddings and funerals. Krista began teaching in 2005 and offers classical, jazz, blues, and traditional and contemporary church music.


Want to understand audio engineering? Take lessons from Andre!


Andre holds a Bachelor of Music in Composition and Audio Engineering, concentration in piano at the University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX in 2015. Before that, he graduated from the Mountain View College in Dallas, TX in 2012 with an Associate in Arts, Field of Study in Music. Andre has been playing piano since he was four. Since then, he’s picked up several other instruments including guitar, voice, bass, percussion, drums, and flute. Throughout school, he played in multiple bands, performing in numerous venues. Andre has been teaching since 2009, offering both English and Spanish lessons, and he offers pop, rock, progressive metal, acoustic, electronic, classical styles.

Meet our new instructor Wilson in Florida!

Wilson got his first exposure to virtuosic playing in high school, playing in the jazz band and forming his own rock and punk rock bands. He then graduated from the University of FL in Gainesville, FL in 2015 with a bachelor in Music History, concentration in Ethnomusicology. It also included four years of private instruction on guitar and theory courses, as well as performing in the acclaimed Brazilian music ensemble. It was then that Wilson started his own publishing company for his original works, and he began teaching, maintaining a studio of up to 25 students. After college, Wilson studied finger-style guitar under world-renowned classical guitarist. Along with guitar, Wilson also teaches and performs on bass guitar, mandolin, ukulele, drums, banjo, voice, and piano/keyboard. His training on bass guitar includes an extensive experience composing and gigging with bands, in a variety of styles such as rock, blues, jazz, funk, reggae, samba, and alternative, and he has applied his knowledge of classical and Brazilian guitar techniques to the bass. He offers both 4 and 6 string electric bass lessons, and is currently developing a curriculum for extended techniques, such as slap bass and two-hand tapping. For mandolin, Wilson has lots of gigging experience, street performance, and home study, and offers styles from the Appalachian music, blue grass, and other folk styles, as well as all contemporary styles, with techniques like strumming, flat-picking, and tremolo playing. For the ukulele, Wilson is primarily self-taught and studied on his own, and specializes in folk and blues ukulele, but can also offer jazz and pop. On the banjo (5 string), Wilson is again primarily self-taught and studied on his own with method books. Wilson offers an entry level on piano and keyboard. His training was at the University of Florida in their piano course required for all music majors. He offers traditional and by ear (chords and improv). Wilson often uses the piano as a tool for music theory, no matter what instrument the student is learning. Along with all the music courses at UF, he was trained in voice and offers sight-singing, breath control, pitch-matching, reading, and diction, and offers all contemporary styles on voice. With whatever instrument the student is learning, songwriting can also be included in the student’s education if preferred. Wilson has been writing since the early 2000’s, and his passion is helping people express their own experiences in song. Lessons in songwriting includes thought-organization exercises for music and lyric writing, as well as studies in music theory. Wilson has been teaching since 2010, and offers any style(s) the student is interested in.MMSWilson

Recitals make the music world go ’round


A clip from our March 2016 Recital event in San Diego CA


Kathi’s best Practice Tips

Repeat troubled spots immediately
The sooner you go back and play the difficult spots again, the more you will retain. I call this “repeat before the glue dries”. Because there are different levels of retention, this is another reason why going back to the very beginning of a piece does not help you correct the errors or improve your playing. For most adults, you can remember the Pledge of Allegiance, because as a child you said it every day for years. So even now when you probably haven’t said it for a long while, you can still recite it. This is because you’ve learned it at a deeper level. Practicing a part over and over but doing it consecutively is the best way to retain what you’ve learned or corrected and sets what you’ve learned to that same deep level Tips

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: