Music is a universal language and it’s unique to each individual. My music language has no rigid rules. I use my feelings, understanding, imagination, and experiences to work on my pieces of music.
The Secrets to Becoming a Master Director of Music
Hello, I am Neung Jakkawal.
A Pianist, Commentator and Music Director
The Role of Music Director
Many don’t know what a music director does. A music director has to see the whole picture of the piece of work or a concert, from start to finish. From song selection, song positioning, and arrangements So that each song is interesting and impressive for the audience.
Today, I will share what it means to be a music director and suggestions on how to create something outstanding and unique, for all music enthusiasts.
My First Notes
When I started to play music, I didn’t even have money to learn it. I learned from my dad. Dad was my first teacher. He would sing for me and say this is the sound of music. Then he would ask me to try drumming with him. I used anything I could find, water bottles, a clothes basket, plates, and bowls. I arranged them in a row and drummed.
My dad would then teach me the patterns of rhythms like ‘Beguine’, ‘Cha-Cha-Cha’, or ‘Bolero’. They were the folks’ rhythms. That was how I learned. I did this every day and night because we didn’t have any toys at home. Our house had nothing to boast about.
Music is My Life
After I had been able to play music, my dad set up a folk band for me to gain experience. The only three instruments were drum, bass, and organ. We played at housewarming ceremonies, top-knot cutting ceremonies, temple fairs, or friends’ birthday parties.
I continued gathering experience. Until one day, I had this urge to try playing various types of music in a day.
Towards Becoming a Professional Musician
And when I had more experience from playing all kinds of music, I had an idea of sharing this with the general public. I wanted to let the public decide whether the songs we play or ideas we have can be successful. So I started rearranging and covering songs from various artists. I changed chords and rhythms. Then I asked people in the band whether they’d like to try them out. And I would write the chords for them.
All in all, it was quite unexpected. People liked and accepted our style of music. This spread by word of mouth from one artist to another, that if they wanted to have a band or to create songs, try letting Neung do it and see how they come about.
5 Keys to Becoming a Great Music Director
And today I will share five techniques to make you become a good music director.
1. Focus on Listening
Firstly, listening is crucial. If you practice a lot but don’t listen, you won’t have imaginations or ideas to work or create something new. Here is an example, this is the accordion, the instrument I learned to play as a child. An accordion is a Western instrument if it is played a Western song or style, It will have the Western flair. But if we adapt it to play a Thai traditional song, the tone and method will be different. Here we go. This is from the same instrument, the accordion. If we listen more, we will be able to use our imagination more. We will have ideas how to use our instruments to play various kinds of music or how to apply them to different songs.
2. Strong Fundamentals Make Strong Solos
Secondly, a good solo comes from good basics. Practicing the basics slowly, always with the melody. Here is an example. When I practice, I do it very slowly, to see how both hands coordinate. And balance the weight between both hands. We can do a solo with these. Everything comes from practice. Everything I play comes from the basics.
3. Unleash Your Imagination in Your Work
Thirdly, imagination is very important. When I work, when I have an idea or an initiative, it is usually the time when I am alone. I have to work alone in a studio. I cannot ask anyone or another musician to be with me all the time.
For example, if I need to work on a chorus, a film’s or a series’ scores, you will need to realize that these songs mostly use string instruments. You will need to imagine an orchestra in front of you.
Now you see, when you imagine string instruments or an orchestra, you need to balance your sounds, hands, and feelings to be clear how your music will come about.
4. Bring out the Uniqueness of Artists
Fourthly, each song and each artist is unique.
A music director needs to be on the same page with an artist.
– Let’s try doing a folk song out of this.
– Yes sure
Start with Li Kay (Thai Musical Folk Drama).
Pick a line.
Go on. Try it.
♪You are the one I have been waiting for♪
What you may not know is that when you see an artist working on a certain genre or style, they may be different at concerts. You may observe that everyone has their own tricks. So their fans can see that they have broader talent than what we can see on YouTube or CDs. This is how you learn about artists.
5. Understand Timing with Band Members
And lastly, what every music director should have is the ability to know the timings of the band. You need to know when is the time for a member to perform. Like this song, the violin is to do a solo, every other instrument needs to quiet down. Even vocalists will follow the music director whether to add anything to a line, or to just have the piano and vocalist.
Hence, we communicate within the band. We share our skills and do not compete. We don’t compete for solos.
The most important duty of a music director is to look at the band and strike a balance to make a harmonious piece of music. These are what make a good music director.
For me, it’s easy to play an instrument well. The difficult part is how to also create a good image of the band. How to make a vocalist look good. How to make the audience like you. That’s hard.
BE INSPIRED TO TAKE ACTION
WATCH CI TALKS