3 Ways Music Can Help Your Brain Function Better

When I write, I listen to upbeat but not stressful instrumental music. I feel like it helps the words flow.

And as it turns out, there’s science behind that feeling.

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Should Music Be A Product Or A Service?

I conducted a poll on Twitter to see how musicians view their own music — service or product?

The results were overwhelmingly “product,” not “service.” I wondered if this was how most people actually view the music they make…

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Stage Presence Is Crucial To Your Success As A Performer

Happiness is contagious. So is every other emotion. That’s why it’s so critical to have a good stage presence as an artist.

Josh Garrels and company
Josh Garrels and company

I got to see Josh Garrels and John Mark McMillan in concert recently. Both were great live, but one of them, I think, was objectively more entertaining to watch.

I went to this concert to see Josh Garrels. He’s in my top five all-time favorite artists — I mean, I helped run his merch table for goodness sake.

But as it turned out, McMillan was much more entertaining to watch live. From the moment he and his band walked on stage, they were all moving around, interacting with each other, having fun, and smiling. Something Garrels and co. didn’t do a whole lot of.

Me (left), McMillan (middle), my brother (right), and the two guys who helped me run Garrels' merch table
Me (left), McMillan (middle), my brother (right), and the two guys who helped me run Garrels’ merch table

Don’t get me wrong, Garrels was very good in concert. It’s just that McMillan was more energetic, and if that’s what sets your pants on fire, then I suggest you see McMillan perform. The fun he and his band were having spilled out over the crowd. He talked with us, laughed at stuff people were saying from the audience, and he even got us singing for a couple songs.

For example, McMillan got half of the audience to sing “Crazy Love” by Van Morrison and the other half to sing “King Of My Heart” by Sarah McMillan, his wife.

John Mark McMillan – song mashup


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5 Musicians That Are In My Ears Right Now

Here’s what I’ve been listening to lately…

Chris Smither

Chris Smither is classic acoustic blues, and this song just makes me feel good. He put a lot of thought, it seems, into his lyrics. I can pick out what his worldview is if I listen long enough.

That voice sticks out among a choir of uniform and forgettable singers. I wish I could sing that low, but it sounds like Smither is hogging most of the low-register-singing skills in the world.

Sufjan Stevens

He’s back, and I still have no idea what most of his lyrics mean. But he has enough relatable lines in there that make the album sing-along-able.

He’s still Sufjan, which I’m glad for. Because I didn’t care for The Age Of Adz – I think he went too deep in the deep end of the pool with that one. Carrie & Lowell is a sort of a swimming back to where most people, including me, like him the best.

Josh Garrels

I love the music he makes. He’s on my “Top Five All-Time Favorite Musicians” list. And Home is a solid next step for him.

Shawn James

I hear a 20-person choir backing this artist (like this performance by Nick Jonas), especially in the above song. Somewhat of a chain-gang feel. I may have to steal something from these guys.

Ben Sollee

It’s difficult to go wrong with Sollee. I mean, who can deny listening to a fellow playing cello and singing at the same time?