The Playful Musician dives deep into a musician’s journey, techniques and influences. From the first instrument they played to how they prepare for big concerts or recordings to how they find joy in the long practice hours, this podcast reveals the beautiful, and peculiar, details of an artist’s journey.
Whether you’re an aspiring musician looking for inspiration, a seasoned pro trying to find new techniques, or just a fan of the musical process, you’re going to love this podcast.
Steve Smith - Epic Rock and Jazz Drummer
Steve joins The Playful Musician to discuss his journey to Ashland, Oregon and how the pandemic has impacted his life. We chat about the nuances of keeping time, his practice routine, and how practicing ambidextrously can improve your match grip. Steve tells stories about learning how to play the drums on a practice pad, touring with Jean-Luc Ponty, and playing big stadium shows with Journey. He shares who he dreams of collaborating with, what he’s currently listening to, and where he finds inspiration.
Laila Biali - Juno Award Winning Jazz Vocalist, Songwriter and Pianist
Laila joins The Playful Musician to discuss the ups and downs of being a musician during the pandemic and the tough decision to release an album on March 27th, 2020. We chat about her “quarantunes” video project and how she approaches songwriting. Laila tells stories about recording a DVD and touring with Sting. She shares about the Juno Award nomination process, her essentials for composing and the advice she has for young musicians.
Clarence Penn - Renowned Jazz Drummer, Cook and Educator
Clarence joins The Playful Musician to discuss his transition from touring to going back to school to get his Master’s Degree. We chat about the impact Ellis and Wynton Marsalis had on his music career and playing his first gig with Ellis. Clarence shares his transcribing process and the advice he has for young musicians. He tells stories from touring with Michael Brecker and his experience preparing for gigs in just a few hours. Clarence shares where he’s currently finding inspiration and what he likes to do when he’s not playing music.
Joel Frahm - Jazz Saxophonist and Educator
Joel joins The Playful Musician to discuss how the pandemic has shifted his career, the recent passing of legendary jazz artists, Chick Corea and Freddy Cole and how he developed his signature sound. Joel shares his practice routine and how he draws inspiration from books, art and of course, other musicians.
Sara Gazarek - Acclaimed, Grammy® Nominated Jazz Vocalist
Sara joins The Playful Musician to discuss the Grammy® nomination process and what it’s like to be nominated and attend music’s biggest event. We chat about the loss of legendary jazz musician Chick Corea. Sara shares about finding success at an early age, improvising beyond melodies, and the value of going on the road. We discuss teaching practices and how she empowers and challenges her students. Sara also shares her approach to songwriting and how she’s finding inspiration with her new vocal group, säje.
Rhett Bender - Saxophone Professor and Lifelong Learner
Rhett joins The Playful Musician to discuss pandemic challenges, including teaching remotely and how performing has changed. He shares about his time as a student of Dr. Kenneth Fischer, and how Fischer taught him to practice efficiently. Rhett talks about his journey to become a saxophonist and university professor. We chat about the difference between playing and practicing and Rhett shares where he finds creative inspiration.
Was a good interview. Captured Matty very well. This was easy listening.
Hit the play button
In our culture, we manage to turn just about everything into work, including music. Steve Davidson rightfully reminds us that music is to be played, not worked. Refreshing look at getting to the pure joy that attracts us to music in the first place.
Excellent new contribution to musicianship
Steve is really focusing on something so important to all musicians....how to maintain a creative approach to practice and accelerate improvement, but optimize enjoyment. Highly highly recommend listening!