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Watch the A Bandleader's Perspective online guitar lesson by Bill Evans from The Language of Improvisation

I have been fortunate to have played in the bands of some of the greatest innovators of our time. Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, John Mclaughlin and so on. In short, what did I learn from them? I learned that there are no shortcuts. You have to spend the time necessary to become the best player you can. I have spent countless hours AND WILL ALWAYS SPEND HOURS practicing the concepts I describe in this course. When an opportunity arises and you have a chance to play with some serious players, you want to be ready. When Miles Davis stood in front of me, the first hour I met him, and asked me to play a blues for the first time, I had to rely on everything I had ever practiced in order to make that moment the best moment in my life! If I didn’t know bebop, how to play a blues, how to tell a story, I would not have had landed that gig. This was monumental in my career.

I want to mention another important point from the perspective of a band leader. Let’s say, for example, there are 3 musicians auditioning for me, all of equal ability, and I can only hire one. The person, who is a good PERSON, is the one I’m going to hire. If there are ego problems, problems getting along with other people, etc. You will not last long in this business. Don’t forget that. I have seen many a great musician not working because he let HIMSELF get in the way of his own progress. It is not just about the notes. You have to work on being a good person as much as being a good musician. They go hand in hand. For me, music is a part of my life. It’s not my entire life. The more interesting things you do in your life I feel make you a more colorful person. A colorful person has interesting things to say on their instrument as well. Not a total necessity, but something to think about. You know?