In music whether it’s live or recorded, performance is everything. If you don’t connect to the song or capture the essence of it, it all goes flat. It’s the difference between good and great. I focus on this concept quite a bit, because I’m always studying and trying to figure out what makes something great. I mean, we all started from the same place, and yet certain people break away from the pack.
I’ve come to realize that it truly is about digging into the details. I was recording a song and it’s just a piano solo type song, and it has a Neo Soul/Jazz/funky type of vibe to it. I really began to listen to how I was playing it. My first takes just didn’t capture what the song was. I had to add that edge in my playing. Just playing technically or having good chops isn’t enough. I wasn’t playing it with that swing and that funk so I kept playing it over and over until I started capturing it. At the same time, I was really paying attention to my timing. Now when you are playing to a metronome or just practicing that is one thing, but when you are recording, you really hear all of your mistakes and where your shortcomings are. This type of attention to detail is what separates the good from the great. If you hear someone like a Cory Henry or Chic Corea, their ability is sensational and no doubt they have a God given ability. However, I’m sure they spent hours and hours fine tuning the intricacies of their playing. They didn’t just practice songs; they paid attention to every little detail.
When you can begin to transition your thought process to understanding that it’s the quality of your practice or effort in anything that you can do, you can really begin to grow. You can begin to separate yourself from the rest of the pack and take ordinary to extraordinary.