"Rockstar with an Air Guitar"
In a time when attention spans are shrinking by the day, young musicians often miss out on the power of the air guitar. Long before any real playing is done there is this powerful concept called air guitar. You are the star. The world is your stage. And when no one is looking, the instrument becomes a vehicle to another world entirely.
As a young student taking guitar lessons, I fell in love with the performance or entertainment aspect of music long before the theory and application. My mother, God bless her, bought me a Metallica box set of live concerts when I was only 11. Truth be told, I didn’t know anything about the band other than the fact that they seemed cool. I spent the following year watching the videos until the tape literally wore out (a problem we no longer have.) I copied every move, and when my Mother was at work, I put on my own concerts in the living room, jumping off of couches and sliding across the carpet (this is a painful, tested, and certifiably bad idea.) Something happened during those formative years that followed me all my life.
In the beginning, my friends and I would set up our equipment in a garage and play out to the street. We couldn’t actually play, so we turned the radio loud and pretended. This went on for weeks as we all continued lessons and worked our way up to actually playing bits and pieces of songs. As time went by we transcended to playing real shows, then parties, then clubs, and for me it continued all the way up to sports arenas. The growth can be pinpointed all the way back to the air guitar.
As a professional musician I am often called to play for various artists because of my reputation. Part of that reputation is what we call “stage presence.” To this day I am a high-energy performer running all over the stage. I watch every video and study what works and what does not to constantly improve. Early this year I received a call from Mexican pop star Ana Victoria to do some shows in America. The person on the other line specified that they wanted someone who moves and has fun on stage. I could very confidently tell them they called the right person. Performance is still my favorite part of being a musician. It is my favorite form of expression. No matter what style of music you enjoy, or what level you are as a student, it is vitally important to never loose your sense of imagination, expression and fun.
Unlike normal schooling, music is not mandatory. It is an accessory to life. Music lessons can certainly be frustrating and challenging at times, but in the larger picture, it is a fun journey and a limitless vehicle. I encourage students to take some time to work on their air guitar skills, to move when they play, and to smile. Go to YouTube and check out some of the greats from Jimi Hendrix to Ed Sheeran, from Janis Joplin to Taylor Swift, turn the speakers up and borrow some ideas. They won’t mind, and something tells me they did the same. Most importantly….Have fun!
Chris Vazquez is the co-owner and director of SoundLife Music Academy. He has performed as a session musician for Leona Lewis, Air Supply, Andre Cymone, Anthony Evans, and many other notable artists.