110 episodes

Purists may whine that the best days of music are behind us, that capital “M” music has seen its peak and is no longer relevant. But here at Play It Like It's Music we believe the opposite: not only is the act of musicmaking an essential life skill with a lineage stretching back to the beginnings of human history, but the vocation of the professional musician is more vital today than it ever has been. Once a month, join musician, songwriter and producer Trevor Exter as he drops in on working musicians from every genre.

playitlikeitsmusic.substack.com

Play It Like It's Music Trevor Exter

    • Music
    • 4.9 • 33 Ratings

Purists may whine that the best days of music are behind us, that capital “M” music has seen its peak and is no longer relevant. But here at Play It Like It's Music we believe the opposite: not only is the act of musicmaking an essential life skill with a lineage stretching back to the beginnings of human history, but the vocation of the professional musician is more vital today than it ever has been. Once a month, join musician, songwriter and producer Trevor Exter as he drops in on working musicians from every genre.

playitlikeitsmusic.substack.com

    "The thing that I enjoy the most"

    "The thing that I enjoy the most"

    080: Chris White

    Good morning! This is the final (for now) episode of Play It Like It’s Music. I’m Trevor, thanks for listening.

    We’ve got a great guest today to wrap up this phase of the show.

    On Wednesday, March 24th of 2021 as always, music is not content. It’s connection.

    I’m thrilled that we made it this far, and this is definitely not goodbye. Just a transition as I lean hard into some of the music projects I’ve got going on over here.

    Moving forward I’ll still be sending out updates on the email list (in a yet-to-be-determined frequency and format) so make sure you sign up at playitlikeitsmusic.com if you’re not already receiving those.

    The podcast feed will go to sleep for a bit but if you know me, you know I can’t stop releasing audio. You’ll find new stuff going up on Soundcloud, Bandcamp and my socials, so hit that follow button over on Twitter and Instagram. I still spend as little time as possible over on Facebook, but it can’t hurt to throw a follow over there as well.

    Meanwhile, today we’re going to meet the man who pretty much started me down this road. The guy who taught me where a 7th chord could be found on a cello and how to walk a bass line on it as well.

    Based in Ithaca New York, Chris White has been exploring new directions for the cello since the late 1970’s. Whether playing in an intimate duo with piano or guitar, a jazz string quartet or with his groups the Cayuga Jazz Ensemble or the Cloud Chamber Orchestra, Chris’ playing has the vibrancy and the urgency of someone who is excited about what he is communicating.

    White’s development as a jazz and improvisational cellist has been strongly affected by his guitar studies of folk, rock and jazz during his formative years. These studies were largely self taught, and focused on learning by ear, improvising, experimenting, and studying chords – things which cellists are usually not encouraged to do in traditional study. As he began applying these skills to the cello, he found it to be a wonderfully versatile instrument for playing all kinds of improvised music because he could play melodies, chords, and bass lines.

    He’s a major figure in our world, as the founder and director of the New Directions Cello Festival for 25 years. He recently passed the baton to the very energetic and talented Jeremy Harman and some other great musicians who are going to keep the thing going, starting this June 26th and 27th.

    I couldn’t be more honored to put Chris on today’s episode as I wrap up this phase of doing my music podcast. It’s been an incredible run, and one could argue that Chris was the man holding the pistol at the starting line. It’s a great honor to call him a friend and a colleague after all these years doing this crazy thing we do.

    So let’s say hi.

    Press PLAY above to hear my conversation with Chris White.

    Or subscribe in your podcast app: Apple Podcasts - Spotify- Stitcher - TuneIn - Overcast - Pocketcast

    Thanks so much for listening to Play It Like It’s Music. Thanks so much to Chris White for spending some very generous time with us. You can find him on the gram @chrisjazzcello. Go say hi.

    I can’t believe we did 80 shows! I’m gonna wrap it up here for a bit as I drill down on finishing my next couple of albums and then we’ll see. Who knows what’s going to happen now with the scene, the world, the universe. All I know is that I’m super happy to have shared this time with you for the last couple of years, blessed that you cared to listen and given us your ears.

    All of these episodes will remain available indefinitely, so if you believe the show deserves a wider audience or you want it to come back in the future, help people find out about it by telling a friend:

    Follow me on twitter @trevorexter and talk to me on there if you have thoughts.

    We're all contending with a mutating professional landscape, jacked revenue streams, a catastrophic global pandemic and plenty of other n

    • 1 hr 4 min
    "A safe place to deal with my problems"

    "A safe place to deal with my problems"

    079: Dwight Ritcher

    Good morning! This is Play It Like It’s Music. I’m Trevor, thanks for listening.

    On Wednesday, March 17th of 2021 Music is not content, it’s connection.

    Glad to be here with you today. As I’ve been mentioning, I’ll be winding the show down for now after next week’s episode (#80). It’s been great and I’m super gratified with the response, but I need to focus on a couple of big projects I’ve got brewing. Make sure you sign up on the mailing list over at playitlikeitsmusic.com so we can stay in touch. I’m not going far, and I’m always reachable.

    Today we have the honor of hanging out with musician, guitarist, drummer, bandleader, singer and songwriter Dwight Ritcher of Dwight and Nicole. You may remember we got to spend time with his fairer half, Nicole Nelson back in Episode 50. Today we complete the picture.

    This band is so inspiring on a lot of levels. First, they kill. They can rock in a loud way and also in a super quiet way. They write great, perform consistently and are altogether inspiring in a musical sense. I found this out firsthand when I opened for them at Banjo Jim’s back in the day.

    Second, they’re a couple! I’m always amazed when you get to see a relationship play out musically in real time, whether it’s these two, Donny and Marie, Captain and Tenille, Sonny and Cher, Ashford and Simpson, Break Out The Crazy or one of the many others working today. It’s rare and beautiful to experience this as a fan.

    Both Dwight and Nicole possess strong natural voices that stop you dead in your tracks. Whether belting or whispering, their singing commands attention. They are captivating performers, multi-instrumentalists and strong songwriters, standing far out from the slagheap of gutless conformity.

    Dwight plays a Gibson Flying V guitar – picking up his first one as a teenager in Long Branch NJ – he has never played anything else. It was a great honor to get him on a mic and dig a little bit into his background and into his process.

    So let’s get into it:

    Press PLAY above to hear my conversation with Dwight Ritcher.

    Or subscribe in your podcast app: Apple Podcasts - Spotify- Stitcher - TuneIn - Overcast - Pocketcast

    Thanks so much for listening to Play It Like It’s Music. Thanks so much to Dwight Ritcher for spending some very generous time with us. You can find him at Dwight and Nicole dot com and follow them online @dwightandnicole.

    I can’t believe we’ve gotten to 79 shows! I’m gonna wrap it up next week at 80 with a very special guest. Still, if you believe this show deserves a wider audience or you want it to come back in the future, please help people find out about it by telling a friend:

    Follow me on twitter @trevorexter and talk to me on there if you have thoughts.

    We're all contending with a mutating professional landscape, jacked revenue streams, a catastrophic global pandemic and plenty of other noise out here.

    But you gotta keep playing.

    We don't draw any lines here between scenes or styles.

    As always, thank you for listening and remember to play it like its music.

    You can check out my NEW instrumental records on bandcamp, and I hope you will. Volume 3 is coming out April 1st.

    Sign the mailing list on substack to get my music sent right to you the very moment it comes out.

    Music is a beautiful thing and it makes the world go round.

    Big love to your ears.

    Trevor

    (Did you press play yet?)

    .

    .

    .

    Do you like this stuff? Please help it grow by sharing it!

    DID YOU KNOW you can take lessons with me online!

    Hear all of our guests in rotation on “Playlist It Like It’s Music” (Apple/Spotify)

    Hear my songs: the “Trevor Exter Playlist” (Apple/Spotify)

    Vibe out, here are 200 songs I like: (updated regularly on Spotify)

    Sign the mailing list!

    Hire me to produce your podcast.

    Follow me on IG \ TW \ FB

    More @trevorexter.com

    psst… sign up for emails:

    This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with

    • 48 min
    "It's important to find things that give you pleasure in life"

    "It's important to find things that give you pleasure in life"

    078 Gideon Freudmann

    Good morning! This is Play It Like It’s Music. I’m Trevor, thanks for listening.

    On Wednesday, March 10th of 2021 music is not content, it’s connection.

    It’s March Madness!

    As in, I’m going mad over here. There is so much life-stuff interfering in my musical life right now. It’s a weird feeling when you’re a trained professional in something with solid marketable skills that you’ve always used to live by. And then gradually the market and technology conspire over time to make you out as a hobbyist.

    What was that degree for again?

    At least I don’t have loans, but it’s maddening. Not like I need to be a musical factory worker, but more and more these days it’s just a giant neverending free obstacle course you run all the time: sending out emails to strangers, courting likes on the ever growing number of platforms, watching kids run circles around everybody and also get sad because you can’t just go to a club these days.

    Music feels like a figment of our imagination without the live component, video games are more immersive, netflix is more engaging, sports are more connective and the news will give you a run for your sanity any old time you turn it on. So who - including us - has any time to do music or listen to it anymore?

    Not trying to be a downer here, we all grow up and no one gets a pass on basic life skills like earning and knowing where to draw lines.

    I’m grateful for the space I’m in, the health I enjoy all day long, sunshine, sound and creativity which just won’t leave me alone these days. We have a great musician to speak with today.

    Gideon Freudmann, cellist and composer, has been on the forefront of our instrument's modern creative expansion for more than 30 years.

    A formal education at the University of Connecticut laid a solid classical foundation for what has become a diverse soundscape encompassing a wide range of musical genres.

    He’s been at this for way longer than it was trendy. In fact it’s his mission to make the cello hip, modern and fun. He’s toured all over the place, worked in lots of small ensembles, he’s a founding member of the Portland Cello Project and the band Caravan Gogh… he’s one of those guys who, if you’re into the cello you definitely know who he is.

    And if you’re not, then you’ve probably just heard him a bunch of times without knowing it. His work is all over NPR: All Things Considered, CarTalk, This American Life. Movies too, Good Morning America… everywhere.

    Gideon lives to Portland, Oregon in the mid-2000s where he is a founding member of the Portland Cello Project. He has also branched into live soundtrack accompaniment to silent films. He’s a great musician, a great cellist, a great guy and I’m very glad to have him on the show.

    Let’s get to it!

    Press PLAY above to hear my conversation with Gideon Freudmann.

    Or subscribe in your podcast app: Apple Podcasts - Spotify- Stitcher - TuneIn - Overcast - Pocketcast

    Thanks so much for listening to Play It Like It’s Music. Thanks so much to Gideon Freudmann for spending some very generous time with us. You can find him at CelloBop dot com and follow him on Facebook @cellobop.

    I can’t believe we’ve gotten to 78 shows! We’re going to put this show on indefinite hiatus after two more interviews. Nevertheless if you believe this show deserves a wider audience or you want it to continue in the future, please help create even more demand by telling a friend:

    Follow me on twitter @trevorexter and talk to me on there if you have thoughts.

    We're all contending with a mutating professional landscape, jacked revenue streams, a catastrophic global pandemic and plenty of other noise out here.

    But you gotta keep playing.

    We don't draw any lines here between scenes or styles.

    As always, thank you for listening and remember to play it like its music.

    You can check out my NEW instrumental records on bandcamp, and I hope you will. Volume 3 is c

    • 1 hr 4 min
    Creativity is in the cracks.

    Creativity is in the cracks.

    Episode 77: Announcement! (and some choice rants)

    Good morning! This is Play It Like It’s Music. I’m Trevor, thanks for listening.

    On Wednesday, March 3rd of 2021 music is not content, it’s connection.

    Saying hi to you from the interwebs in these uncertain times. I’m going to do something different for this episode. Check it out.

    [What follows is the full transcript of this week’s show. Feel free to press Play and read along if so inclined. I promise it’s more fun with audio, plus there’s some music on there!]

    Listen in your podcast app: Apple Podcasts - Spotify- Stitcher - TuneIn - Overcast - Pocketcast

    I’ve had a number of shifts in my creative life over the last few years, things that knocked me on my ass, things that have made me think/question what this is all for but also which got me digging further into how it all happens, and finally some major openings that brought some beautiful new energy and momentum into my musical process.

    Some of these changes happened because of doing this podcast and others are separate. But if you listen to this show and you’re engaged with music in some way, one thing you probably know is that the ground is always shifting beneath us. We can’t always think on our feet, sometimes we have to think with our feet. More on that in a minute.

    Right now I have an announcement.

    And it has to do with the above.

    This show in its current form is going to go away for a while. I’ll do a few more episodes with a couple of great people, take it up to Episode 80 and then put it on hiatus.

    I’m incredibly happy for how it’s gone and this is not a decision I take lightly at all, since I know that many of you tune in each week for the fellowship we get here. It’s exactly the kind of community I feel I was made to serve, but it’s also catalyzed some really important shifts in my creative life which I have to honor.

    I’m going to lean into the music 100% for a while, which will include reclaiming the handful of hours I put into producing this show every week.

    The energy is simply too great right now, music is pouring out of me at a rate I can barely keep up with. I want to celebrate this and strike while the iron is hot.

    I’ll still be sending you emails and sometimes there’ll be sounds with them. But “Play It Like It’s Music” the show is entering a cocoon phase as it finds out what form it wants to take in the future. I’m so thankful that you are all here listening to this process as it unfolds and sharing your own experiences with me. I’m not going anywhere, this is just a metamorphosis.

    So during this episode today I’m going to go through some of the changes themselves, and what they might mean for some of us who’ve been chasing the muse our whole lives.

    I think you’ll get something out of it, so let’s dig in.

    I got my first drum machine in 1987.

    Yes, I’m that old. It was a Roland TR-505, it had some samples on pads and some basic sequencing on it but it wasn’t much to shake a stick at - or shake a room with.

    Now tell me if this is you: we put our fingers on an instrument, start getting some cool sounds and then start dreaming of putting a beat together with our sounds, maybe getting a band together and seeing if folks might want to go somewhere and dance to some of our stuff.

    That was me as a teenager in the 80’s, and it’s still me today.

    I went on to log a few hundred thousand miles on the road, playing in every kind of bar imaginable. I did a couple of local cover bands as well, but it’s all the same chase.

    AND! Before you do any bands or put on a show, you gotta have band practice. And because you might not have a drummer lined up right away, you try getting your hands on a drum machine and see if you can make something happen with that.

    Sound familiar?

    Honestly some people start there and go pretty far with it, becoming electronic artists, DJ’s and producers. But I’ve never been able to keep my fingers off

    • 26 min
    "Music is the first language that made sense to me"

    "Music is the first language that made sense to me"

    076: Eugene Friesen

    Good morning! This is Play It Like It’s Music. I’m Trevor, thanks for listening.

    On Wednesday, February 24 of 2021 music is not content. It’s connection.

    I had a crazy performance anxiety dream the other night. In the dream I’m famous enough to get invited to do crazy random things on stage, and they offer me a gig to play Romeo at an outdoor Shakespeare production of Romeo And Juliet.

    Of course I take it, even though I have no business doing something like that.

    Meanwhile, also in the dream I’m in the process of buying an old apartment building. So the bulk of the dream is spent visiting the site and going over minutiae like how old the wooden bannisters are and what kind of plumbing needs to be ripped out and what does the landmark commission have to say…

    I don’t do a single rehearsal for the play.

    Gig day rolls around and we’re still checking out the property with different real estate agents and managers. I’m riding around in the back of the car - the folks I’m with are completely oblivious to my having taken on a monumental role and they’re just talking about it like I’m going to play songs at a bar or something. Like “that’s so cool that you’re doing this thing tonight”.

    Meanwhile it dawns on me that I don’t even know a single one of my lines, haven’t even met the cast or the director.

    They drop me off in front, like half an hour before curtain and I realize that I have to find a sub. No matter what, even though it’s my name on the marquee. I am not gonna be that guy who got dropped right into a Shakespeare play with zero prep. I start looking around and see Willem Dafoe on his way in. We’re not friends in my dream either but he recognizes me and treats me like a friend because it’s like “my big night”.

    Yeah right.

    I tell him the situation and offer him the chance to play Romeo at a moments notice. He says thanks, probably not but he might know somebody and starts calling around. I see the real estate agents walking in, start to lose my s**t and…

    that’s the moment I woke up.

    Whew.

    What a fun one! Some ego, some anxiety, a bunch of hubris and the walls all closing in. Maybe it ended well, I don’t know. We’d all like to get bailed out by a superstar at some point in our lives.

    I’m just so glad it wasn’t real because I do not belong anywhere near a Shakespeare stage.

    Meanwhile, today on the show:

    Four-time Grammy Award-winner Eugene Friesen is active internationally as a concert and recording artist, composer, conductor and teacher. Eugene has worked and recorded with such diverse artists as Dave Brubeck, Martin Sexton, Toots Thielemans, Betty Buckley, Dar Williams, Will Ackerman, and Dream Theater.  

    Eugene's passion for improvised music has been featured in concerts all over the world with the Paul Winter Consort and with Trio Globo (which is Eugene, Howard Levy and Glen Velez). He appeared on "A Prairie Home Companion" playing with superstar soprano Renée Fleming and has performed as a soloist at the International Cello Festival in Manchester, England; the World Cello Congress in Baltimore, Maryland; and the Rio International Cello Encounter in Rio de Janeiro.  

    He’s a world renowned teacher of new cello techniques and improvisation in the United States, Asia, Europe, Egypt, and South America. Recording credits include five albums of original music, more than 30 CDs with the Paul Winter Consort, and hundreds of tracks featuring his rapturous cello playing on instrumental albums, films, and television scores. 

    Eugene is an artist-in-residence at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, and on the faculty of the Berklee College of Music in Boston. 

    It’s an honor to have him on the show.

    Eugene was one of the very first cellists I ever saw on stage when I was a kid, someone who liberated us from the idea that we had to stay in line and only play the notes on a page with pre-prescribed inten

    • 1 hr
    "It's part of the fabric of my family and my community"

    "It's part of the fabric of my family and my community"

    075: Samuel Glazebrook

    Good morning! This is Play It Like It’s Music. I’m Trevor, thanks for listening.

    On Wednesday, February 17th of 2021 music is not content. It’s connection.

    I’m making this connection with you now, and I’m making the content too. It’s all happening in 21. So far I haven’t been impeached but only time will tell.

    Sam Glazebrook is a cinematographer who spends quite a bit of time touring professionally as a musician. I first met him on a gig with Roo Panes, and we got to put in a few thousand miles together.

    With everything he does, he strives to communicate a positive message of a collective human experience through his work. I wanted to have him on the show because a) he’s a great guy and b) I just love the simultaneous levity and depth of his commitment. The man blazes on multiple instruments, he’s also built the house he lives in and he’s got a prodigious output in the world of media and film.

    In the pro music world we’re always chasing down a gig or shedding some new lick or trying to hustle the marketing thing. It never ends, and it’s really easy to forget why we bother to do this. I’m guilty of that, even though I deeply love what I do and enjoy it every single day. Walking into the rehearsal room with Sam (and Josh from Episode 47) I was instantly brought back to the infant joy I first felt, before I even became a musician. The band just had so much fun on the road and playing together, and it all just felt so spontaneous.

    Sam had a lot to do with it. It turns out that he’s got loads of talent, but also was raised by rocknrollers. I’m a bit envious of kids who have musician parents because a lot of the stuff the rest of us have to learn - not just playing but vibes and etiquette too, a feeling of comfort in a musical space - can come naturally to someone who was raised around the stuff. Sam is a beautiful cat and he conducts himself with a naturalness we’d all do well to remember.

    We get into his musical childhood and the elements of his career, how he’s pieced it together for himself and the general ongoing-ness of it all.

    It’s an honor to have him on the show.

    Sam’s dad’s band from the 80’s, Marino The Band:

    Quick ask: if you believe this show deserves a wider audience, please tell a friend:

    Now on with the show!

    Press PLAY above to hear my conversation with Samuel Glazebrook.

    Or subscribe in your podcast app: Apple Podcasts - Spotify- Stitcher - TuneIn - Overcast - Pocketcast

    Thanks so much for listening to Play It Like It’s Music. Thanks so much to Sam for spending some very generous time with us. You can find him at Samuel Glazebrook dot com and follow him on the gram @samuelglazebrook.

    I can’t believe we’ve gotten to 75 shows! If you believe this show deserves a wider audience in 2021, please tell a friend:

    Follow me on twitter @trevorexter and talk to me on there if you have thoughts about the show.

    We're all contending with a mutating professional landscape, jacked revenue streams, a catastrophic global pandemic and plenty of other noise out here.

    But you gotta keep playing.

    We don't draw any lines here between scenes or styles.

    As always, thank you for listening and remember to play it like its music.

    You can check out my NEW instrumental record on bandcamp, and I hope you will. Sign the mailing list on substack to get this show sent right to you the very moment it comes out.

    Music is a beautiful thing and it makes the world go round.

    Big love to your ears.

    Trevor

    (Did you press play yet?)

    .

    .

    .

    Do you like this stuff? Please help it grow by sharing it!

    DID YOU KNOW you can take lessons with me online!

    Hear all of our guests in rotation on “Playlist It Like It’s Music” (Apple/Spotify)

    Hear my songs: the “Trevor Exter Playlist” (Apple/Spotify)

    Vibe out, here are 200 songs I like: (updated regularly on Spotify)

    Sign the mailing list!

    Hire me to produce your podcast.

    Follow me on IG \ TW \ FB

    • 45 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
33 Ratings

33 Ratings

ADAS_West ,

This Podcast is Much Needed!

Listened to this podcast driving back to L.A. from A gig in Bonsall, CA. Was so happy to have these substantive interviews of understanding musicians to keep me company for a couple of hours. Much needed as I’m trying to navigate the landscape of what it means to be a professional musician. Thank You!

Emciess ,

Your love of music is inspirational.

First let me say that this podcast is top shelf stuff. The first time I saw you live set me on a new path. I’ve been djing for a long time and just grinding away doing weddings and sweet sixteen parties while dreaming of bigger, better gigs. Listening to the stories of your talented guests gives me a shot in the arm and a heart full of hope while exposing me to so much more than the songs drunk aunties request. Thank you,Trevor. This is obviously a giant labor of love and we appreciate it.

KIMOCK ,

the maestro nails it ... pwr pck ;)

love listening to trev on the road! the pwr pck never dies.

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