I used to do civil rights law, was pretty good at it, you even have rights as an employee here in Oklahoma against being fired for reasons that violate Oklahoma public policy because of my efforts. Then I transitioned from male to female. That was a hard decision, and a very costly one. I was no longer able to find a job, even among firms that specialized in civil rights law, because they feared that a jury or clients would not be as open minded as they claimed to be. But I am who I am & like who I am, and you have to be you, sometimes society does not make that easy LOL, but you have to be true to yourself, let your light (not "their" light) shine. I've always been interested in music. Picked up a guitar in high school, but never stuck with it back then. After my divorce, after being diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder & during the whole transition process, writing songs kept me sane. If not for songwriting & music, I would have lost hope & would not be here. That's a pretty serious, but true, statement. Having little actual opportunity to return to practicing law, and having almost died twice from two major heart / pulmonary embolism episodes due to medical complications, I decided to go to music college to pursue music. My songwriting & performance skills have all gotten much better lately. I don't have much opportunity or the money to return to law ... so I'm all in on music. Got to find a way to make this work for the sake of my twins, and to pay off these student loans lol. Recently, I've freed myself of the burden of having to know every song, and just been focusing on playing the ones I like better, and that's been working nicely. The new album is coming along nicely, love these guys, & so focusing on that. Got my Associates degree in music last semester & may even get my Bachelor's degree in music this semester, hopefully. Would like to eventually teach. And tour. That would be sweet. And fight. For your right to be yourself too.
Our old Twitter account @BeThisBell got hacked, well actually the email associated with it LOL, so we've had to wipe the slate clean and start completely over again on Twitter. So the band's NEW Twitter page is @BeThisBellBand - so please follow us on Twitter. It's sort of lonely at the moment with only 1 friend. Ha ... well, hope you can help by following us on Twitter at our new page @BeThisBellBand
Hey y'all. The band is recording a new album (psychedelic grunge punk) with Justin Hays on guitars, Nick Ley on drums, Cody Fowler on bass, and BeTh isBell on vocals & guitars, due for release later this summer. This is a link to our new app for your iPhone or app-capable cell phone. You have to load it through your internet browser on your phone: http://www.bandapp.com/bethisbell ... but once you do it shows up as an icon on your phone & you can listen to music, be the first to get the new album when it comes out, first to get news, show & ticket info, photos, etc., and stay in touch with the band & other fans. Awesome!
Well, we're three days into recording our NEW album "We Are The Gods!" at Bell Labs Recording (Studio) in Norman, OK. And so far, we've finished all the drums and bass guitar parts, and 1/2 of the rhythm guitar work. Still have the other 1/2, plus lead guitars & lead vocals to record, but everything is starting to sound big. Y'all are going to dig it. The new album is scheduled for release later this year. It's going to rock!!!
The new BeThisBell album 'We Are The Gods!' tells a story of real life heroes rising above histories of family and cultural abuse, leaving home to face their external and internal fears, and returning to their villages as a wise shaman sharing a beautiful message of hope and love. With Nicholas Ley on drums, Cody Fowler on bass, Justin Alan Hays on guitars, BeTh isBell on guitars & vocals, and Trent Bell, producing. Coming soon!
Here's a sneak peek behind the scenes!
"SOME THINGS I'VE LEARNED ON THE ROAD:
*It will always be finals week, a game, or homecoming, somewhere. Always.
*2 guitar amps are too much trouble, night after night
*People are f****d up no matter where you go
*Rich people dance worse than the rest of the population
*Go ahead and turn down, before you even power up
*The hotel will NEVER have things right, even if you just called ahead
*Texas has the prettiest women, per ratio
*Some places actually play music during the breaks that is relevant to the band
*Gonna need you to turn down some more. All of it. Drums too.
*Soundman will always be stingy with the vocals in the monitor
*Even if the vocals get where you need them in the monitor, the soundman WILL bring them down. They like to be the extra band member.
*Vodka WILL give you a hangover if you drink enough
*Just because your bass player says he didnt turn up, doesnt mean he didnt f*** with the EQ or hit a boost pedal
*Orange soda being purchased means vodka WILL be consumed
*You can never take enough guitar picks with you. Where do they go???
*There is a man in every bar who yells out 'Freebird' and thinks that he's the first to ever do so. He also thinks he's H.I.L.A.R.I.O.U.S.
*5 guitars is too many, even if they all serve a different purpose"
Jason is a great guitarist, awesome. Check out his band (Vodoo Witch) and website.
Yep, that's right, BeTh TV is now on the air! My new YouTube channel featuring a cool selection of fun & interesting music videos, concerts, politics, music lessons & more. Every video playlist is set up like it's own 20, 30, 40 minute or 1 hour show. So just find something you like, click on it, and enjoy the show. Complete with commercials - ha! This is your link to BeTh TV!
New BeThisBell band show on YouTube. Music videos of the band and an interview with BeTh by music journalist Doug Hill. Here's the link to watch - hope you dig it!
I have been racked by confidence issues throughout my career.
And now that I'm finally starting to get on the other side of that,
I want to share what I've learned that actually works the best.
(This is as much a reminder to me as advice to other musicians).
This is the best advice I can give you when you go out & perform:
Practice what you intend to play & play what you actually practice.
Keep it simple. Don't try new or fancy things at the gig.
Take a deep breath, focus, stick to what you know & do best.
And at the gig, stick to what you have planned & practiced.
Do not try to impress anyone. Stay within yourself.
In front of an audience. Start small. 1 song. 2 songs. 3 songs.
By doing this, with each success comes more confidence.
But with each new challenge will inevitably come new doubts.
So stick to the formula above each time you take on a bigger challenge.
Be positive. You can do this. Visualize your success. Feel it. Own it.
Do not focus or worry about failure or embarrassment. Just do your best.
If you feel that feeling coming on, pinch yourself to remind yourself that you've practiced what you're about to play & to just play what you've practiced. And to remember that the audience wants you to succeed, they're on your side.
At the gig & while playing, do not dwell on mistakes, focus immediately on the next note, the next riff, the next song.
Fix your mistakes the next time you practice. At the gig, no matter what happens, stay positive & have fun.
These things are easier said than done - so remember, keep it simple & start small & build on each small success.
And this is very important - SMILE. The simple act of smiling will project confidence & actually make you confident.
It really is this simple.
My biggest and most embarrassing mistakes in front of an audience have been the result of ...
1. Not practicing enough before the gig (which is always at least 3x more than you think you need to)
2. Not staying with what I know & instead trying to be too fancy or show off
3. Trying to do too much or more than I was ready to do skillwise
4. Psyching myself out because I knew I was not ready or had not practiced enough
5. Not listening to the other players on stage
6. Not communicating properly with the other players on stage, AND
7. Not being organized and not thinking through situations before acting (particularly with equipment issues)
And I should add a #8 - becoming distracted by my own thoughts instead of focusing on the next note or riff.
Don't repeat my mistakes. Stick to the formula spelled out above.
Good luck. You can be awesome. Believe it. And practice your ass off!
I cannot emphasize enough that all new students need to be taught & master the Major Scale first.
Make sure they know all their open position chord shapes and position I (E form) and position II (A form) barre chords.
Teach them how to play the major scale and then the major scale using power chords (1 5) ... (and the b5 of the 7th step of the scale, i.e. 1 b5 / diminished). And how it can help them quickly identify chords by ear in most songs. And how this knowledge can help them not only in figuring out songs they hear, but also in their own songwriting
Learning the major scale on just one string - then on each string. And then positionally. Then the relative minor as part of that scale. Then in modes as they become more advanced. These ARE the building blocks for everything.
I cannot tell you how much learning pentatonics and minor scale stuff first thoroughly screwed up my playing for many years. Teach the major scale. It's application. And how it can help them quickly identify chords by ear in most songs.
Teach them how to hold their pick properly and how to strum properly with a loose wrist instead of their arm or elbow. Teach them how to pick a single chromatic line in ones, twos, threes & fours using alternate picking & as all downstrokes. (Wait on directional picking until they've mastered the basics lol). TO A METRONOME. Teach them how to play on beat and how to count subdivisions of the beat. As they advance, then introduce three string scales.
When they have mastered the major scale and are working on playing leads, teach them triad and 7th arpeggios since these will be resolution points for their leads. DO NOT teach them pentatonics UNLESS AND UNTIL they've mastered the Major Scale. Reality is that they will probably discover it on-line or through their friends, etc., anyway. Keep them focused on the Major Scale. When you do finally teach them pentatonic scales, teach the Major Pentatonic as a subset of the Major/Ionian, and the minor pentatonic as a subset of the Natural Minor/Aeolian. But make sure they understand the Major/minor relationship and three fret shift in their roots before doing so.
Teach them a simple chord progression and emphasize the importance of landing on the 1 on time on the beat. I use a simple progression like this ... A, C, G, D (repeats) to E, G, then switching over to Am, C, Dm, Em, (repeats) to G, G, back to beginning. (Each comma representing a 4/4 measure). This does two things - it gets them used to landing on the 1 on time/beat, but also gets them used to hearing the difference between Major and minor in progressions. And it teaches them to actually use all of the common and most used open major and minor chord shapes. (Then eventually teach them to put barres under each shape or adjust the chord shapes to accommodate barre forms, with 7th chord variations, etc.)
So the basic approach is to start with the basic building blocks and make sure they have those under control before moving forward to more advanced approaches or articulations or applications.
I usually also ask them for songs or artists they like and try to find some that fit within their skill level and what we're working on ... and then every fourth lesson or so, teach them how to use what they've learned to play that song or parts of it. You may have to simplify it. But you have to keep them interested while at the same time keeping them focused on practicing and incorporating what you're teaching them into what they really want to play. Be careful to not let the student drive what you teach them, make sure that you go through your checklist.
The start of your first lesson with each student, ask them what they'd like to learn or accomplish, and have them actually play you something - anything - a song they know or are learning, one they've written, etc., so you can actually get a good feel for where they are actually at in the process, and where they want to go.
You'll be surprised that often their interests and goals for their playing are not the same as your goals for your playing - i.e., they will have different interests, different favorite songs & artists, different desires for how they want to perform or even if they want to ever perform live ... So LETTING THEM TALK will tell you a lot that will help you guide them toward their goals.
Just a few thoughts on teaching beginners, well how I teach & how I wish I had been taught to begin with anyway. Would have avoided a whole lot of headaches and problems in my playing that I'm still in the process of correcting LOL.