How to Lead a Musical Life


Preface:  I’m a Husband, Father, Family Provider (Sales/Marketing Manager), Musician, Person of Faith, Student, Innovator, Teacher, Healer, Minister.


This book is for the musician whether you’re a professional, passionate, amateur, hobbyist, weekend warrior...I’ve been a traveling sales manager for 32 years.  Everything needs to fit on a desk and needs to be portable, fit in an overhead bin of a plane.  You don’t have to be a professional musician to lead a Musical Life.  Your passion will keep you alive and those around you.


Take Responsibility for your life, Stop Complaining, Be Thankful, Find Evidence of your progress and Believe...document it.  This is the real secret to my own progress.  I’ve finally started really taking it seriously and find myself in a better place than I’ve ever been.  All of the self-help methods, books...are now real, part of my life and I’m seeing that they were right.  I used to just understand it intellectually, now I understand it experientially.


Believe in your own music.  Find music that interests and inspires you from within you.  It’s so easy to get caught up in playing other people’s tunes.  The world is waiting for YOUR music.  Take a chance, get it out there.  These days you can publish and not care what anyone thinks...just publish.  Forcing yourself to record and upload something everyday is powerful.  If you write 360 tunes a year, you’re bound to have a nice amount of good tunes...JUST DO IT!


Document your journey.  Keep track of what you’re learning, what you need/want to explore, specific projects you’re completing, presets you like...create a reference journal, method journal.


Give priority to your creation time.  Often we leave the most important things to the time in the day when we have the least energy or ability to focus.  Reverse that!  Learn to work in shorter time spans but do it when you’re the sharpest and most productive.  It will help give energy and joy to the other tasks.  Start with 15 minute increments and make it count, work from there.  If you just get 15 minutes in each day it will add up quickly.


Negotiate your needs with your loved one.  You’ll need her or his support to make a musical journey work.  This can be a tough one.  The very reason he or she was attracted to you may end up feeling like competition...


Find your passions and quirkiness and make it your uniqueness.  You will find others who share and appreciate your crazy.  Learn from them and pass it along.  The unique and special thing that you do is where your abundance and peace will be.  You’ll find others there and you’ll attract others to you.


Put together a monthly and yearly financial plan.  Take the stress out of your life by figuring out the money side.  These days the stress is so much that money can put you over the edge.  It’s a rare person that has their financial life together.  You’re going to spend money on equipment...better to plan it than be impulsive.


Learn to listen to your inner wisdom.  There are two inner voices:  the ego which is generally negative and the higher self which is important, helpful and guides you.  Learn to differentiate between the two.  One will stress you out and lead you astray, the other will take you where you need and want to go.


Learn your lessons or you’ll continue to be confronted with opportunities to learn your lesson.  The Universe is perfect in its approach...keep recurring the situation until you really learn it.  The biggest lesson to learn is that all of this is illusion.  The drama is of our own making, between our own ears.  This is both in the negative and in the positive.  The “Sphere” movie really showed how powerful we are as creators.  I’m stepping out of it as an actor and want to watch it as an extra (Sarah’s comment).  Sarah was right.  Watching it take place is the only way to view it.  This displacement is not easy if the emotions get a hold of you but it’s the only way out.  How does this relate to music?  You’ll create music if and when you see that you are a creator and capable of incredible things.  Learn your lessons and get to the creating...it’s been waiting for you forever.


Start Habits with small steps, it will grow!  Beginning good habits often seems daunting.  Doing very small things is manageable and works.  Speed reading, short exercise rather than No Exercise is good, some playing rather than no playing is good.  The weight of good habit grows naturally and is very encouraging.  Getting past excuses with small steps is empowering.  Same thing with weight, just do a few things right and it will build.  Start with good, positive steps then eliminate the bad.  It will gain power, strength and translate into progress.


Start with the essential tools, learn them thoroughly.  It’s so easy to keep adding to the toolbox without learning anything in depth.  You must be an expert at something.  Go with what moves you!


Pick an instrument to master and others just for fun.  Multi-instrumentalists have all the fun.  Focusing on one instrument is smart for most people, it’s not for everyone.  There’s a group that sees the similarities in many instruments and gains inspiration from many instrument sources.



Do something everyday that moves you forward to your goals.  Make small progress every day and your progress in a year will amaze you.


Take any “gig” seriously and put your best foot forward.  My biggest gigs for the past 6 months have been weddings, concerts from the lawn, a Christmas party, playing from my back porch and another wedding service.  Take every opportunity to play as a gig that you prepare for and try to play your best.  You never know who is listening and it helps you get better and lose the fear and move forward.


Pick the key products that will make your music work and become an expert.  Focus on what will give you the most bang for your time.  Time management is life management.


Your Online Promotion is key to getting your music published and out in the world!  Bandcamp, a website, facebook, instagram...are all vehicles for getting your music out.  Take them seriously and have a regular routine of updating and improving and learning how to promote better.

Start a spiritual journey book to document your progress.  Write your own story, your experience, your self-help book, your “meaning of life” book, your “ I wish I knew this as a kid” book.  There’s power in writing and it’s your legacy to share with your family, friends and the people you’re here to help. 


Fill your subconscious with mental protein.  If there are things you are interested in, want to learn, are curious of...put it in your subconscious.  Find the right method for you.  Try several, try them all, try one at a time.


Be Systematic, Be Intuitive and just feel it.  Try both left/right brain methods for accomplishing your goal.  Force yourself to do SOMETHING every day, even if it’s a very small thing.  It brings you one step closer to your goal and is incredibly motivating.  This stacking is not an additional result (1+1=2) it’s exponential x2, x4 x8 x16...it will get to infinity sooner than you can believe.


Use Affirmations for focus and manifestations.  I make $10k per week from my music and love it.  Now Sarah and I are doing well, I’m losing weight/eating better/exercising, I have work success (FD, Cupa projects), Our wealth is growing, we now have net worth, I’m Healing from the Binaural beats and new learning (3-Principles), We have a neighborhood Ministry, my colleagues are Ministry and my family is Ministry. 


Use the tools you already have at hand before looking to new, better...  The addictive side of musicians often show in buying equipment with the justification that they are your “a22tools.”


Learn to feel the energy of playing and the feeling of accomplishment from reaching goals.  It’s really fulfilling to do things that you’ve always wanted to do but have either been lazy or it just didn’t make sense.  The movement forward begets other accomplishments.


Make some kind of progress each day no matter what.  Make the time, take the time and actually do music.  It’s so easy to spend more time thinking about doing music than actually doing it.  Sometimes just a dab will do to keep moving forward.  Do something that brings a new skill, helps you make progress.  Do something everyday that is meaningful for your music.  Resistance is the enemy of progress.  Write it down, do the work and feel the energy (don’t forget the coffee!).


Every chance to play is a gig, take it, work it. The work of a song is sacred, work it and make every opportunity to play something special, a memory, an event.  Playing for a wedding, sitting at the fire, playing on the porch, playing at church, playing at a party...it’s all important and leads to the next gig, playing experience, learning experience.


Focus on a single portable music making machine.  The goal is to be able to make music wherever you are.  The Deluge is the most advanced portable tool that I have. I’ll be able to take what I create and bring it to Ableton for further work.  I’ll also be able to pilot my synths with it.  It’s very deep and I’ll learn how to sequence drums which is a long term goal.


Don’t allow your demons rob you of productivity in the name of getting high.  Musicians struggle with the “get me high” syndrome.  We do it for the muse, for laziness for a lot of stupid reasons.  Doing the work is the only lasting reward.


Prioritize your musical expression so it doesn’t get left behind when you get wrapped up in your life and daily tasks.


Write out your goals/lessons on a daily basis to accelerate your progress.  When you figure something out, write it down.  You’ll want to keep track and remember what you thought of.  You’ll lose less good stuff this way.


Make a Long Term Decision:  I discovered Music, Languages, Curiosity, Spirituality at 9 years old.  It’s been a long unpacking experience. 


Talent vs. Enthusiasm:  Talent is overrated, sticking with anything is what matters.


Do the 80/20.  What are the 20% of your musical activities that give you 80% of your results...Do that.


Negativity can unplug the progress/creativity/fun/motivation...Find a way to change your thoughts should they bring you to a negative place.


Have a Vision:  See yourself playing.  Find a role model, watch biographies, get inspired.


Start with the End in Mind:  At the end of of your life will you remember the hours at work?  Will you remember the “life and death” problems that worried you so?  No, you’ll remember falling in love, your kids growing up, that book you wrote, the concert you played, playing for friends at a dinner, singing around the fire...


The Obstacle is the Way:  You’ll have kids that are sick, a wife who doesn’t understand your passion, bosses that don’t care, you’ll travel and not have time...


Conflict is good.  W Clement Stone is famous for responding to problems: “Good, now let’s find the good and make it a positive.”  This is true for the struggle to play, dealing with family, dealing with constraints.  It all forces you to learn things that maybe you don’t want to learn.  Find the good in the conflict and it will change your view of what’s unfolding before you.


Time Management:  You’ll always have time for what’s important.


Rest and good sleep fuels creative thinking.  It’s so important for the mind and body to rest and refuel.  Sleep is also an important creative space for the subconscious to take over and bring ideas to the next level. 


Keep your dreams a secret:  Share your dreams only with people you know support you.  There are a lot of people who never reach their potential and are envious of those who are seeking to do so.


Focus on small goals, what’s in front of you:  What’s the next song you want to record, learn, play, perform??  Start there and watch it grow.


The Power of Habits & Rituals:  Come up with healing rituals that propel you forward.


Force yourself to play/create every day, no compromise.  Have a way to play/compose every day and stick to it.  Music is a muscle, it’s like a language:  you lose it if you don’t use it.  The more time you invest in it the better you’ll get no matter how high your goals are.  Find your enthusiasm and feed it, it will keep you going. 


Celebrate the small breakthroughs.  Keeping a journal helps you celebrate your breakthroughs and keeps track of your progress.  It often seems that you’re not making progress, writing keeps track and also shows you when and where you’re getting stuck.


Focus on what you’re doing with abandon, don’t be two places at the same time.  Work when you work, be with family when you’re with family, focus on your mate when you’re together.  Multi-tasking can be a red herring and false skill.


Experience Nature:  Fire, Water, Wind, Rain, Earth... - Nature will inspire and speak to you.


You have the greatest teacher inside, follow that wisdom, access that wisdom, believe in that wisdom.  Have Faith in Faith. 


Be Bold, Go for it, Just do it.  All is consumed in the end, all is permanent in the end, all is transformed into something in the end...don’t worry, live boldly.  Experience the thrill of taking a risk and seeing where it goes, of challenging your intelligence and seeing where it goes of being alive and seeing where it goes!


Tactics

  • Pick a “low hanging fruit” goal and a “stretch, big” goal.  Examples:  simple looping with RC-30, looping with the Deluge.  One will inform the other.

  • Pick a simple song, pick a tough/interesting song:  Examples:  Breezin, Chameleon – Overjoyed, Africa, Feels So Good.  One wil inform the other.

  • Start a YouTube Channel for your work.  There are a lot of musicians who are very popular and helpful on YouTube.  Become one of them!

  • Record your Originals – sell them: on Bandcamp, Distrokid...

  • Find a simple system and master it:  Deluge, Blofeld, LinnStrument, iPad.


Appendix 1 – Spiritual Stuff

Meaning of Life – Experiences we’ve chosen to have.  Lessons we’ve wanted to learn.  Good Cop/Bad Cop.  The Obstacle is the Way. 


Bibliography:  Magic series, Peace is Every Step,


Appendix 2 – Self-Help Stuff

Know Thyself

Knowing and managing yourself is one of the most important and hardest thing to do.  How do you learn?  How do you manage stress/fear?  How do you motivate yourself?  What do you need/want from a relationship?  How do you manage conflict?  How do you deal with people who don’t agree with you?  Being honest with yourself about yourself is something a lot of people never do. 


Locus of Control

Is your life controlled by outside people/circumstances?  Is your life controlled by you and your own sense of intuition?  The more control you feel you have over your life, the happier and more hopeful you are.


Fear, the only thing to fear. 

It’s really difficult to move forward if you suffer from fear.  Manage your fear so it doesn’t keep you from following your path.  Be bold, find something you’re enthusiastic about ad really go for it. Talent is overrated, enthusiasm drives you to keep with your passion until it becomes an expertise. Take a long term view for your passion.  Some passions will follow you the rest of your life.  Be patient and keep at it.  Journaling helps monitor your progress and keeps you on track.


Appendix 3 – Tools

·         Speed Reading

·         Positive Affirmations

·         Hypnosis-Programming

·         Goal Setting

·         Gratitude

·         Evidence Journal, Belief development

·         Eliminate Negativity/Complaining

·         Trust in Faith, Have Faith in Faith

·         Write Lists

·         Journal your progress and thoughts




Old Blog


August 20/2017

"Learn the LinnStrument" has launched!

       The method is finally up and running!  Thanks to the LinnStrumentalists who have jumped on board day one.  I'm updating the method everyday to make sure it's as complete and helpful as possible.  This method has been a long time coming and it's exciting to finally have it out there.  Special thanks to Roger Linn for promoting the method on his site.  I'm confident that as people learn to play songs, the interest and importance of the LinnStrument will grow for musicians and non musicians alike...very exciting!  Stay tuned for developments...


July 7/2017

Post Gearfest motivation

       I spent two days with Roger Linn at Sweetwater's Gearfest in June and was encouraged that the attendees understood my method and saw that it could be a valuable approach to playing songs on this new instrument.  I'm finishing my intro video today for posting.  My plan is to launch the initial lesson video series on July 17th 2017.



July 9/2017 "Learn the Linnstrument" intro posted

       The "Learn the Linnstrument" intro video is up.  I've been using the method to teach myself and I'm now finally making it available to others.  The people I've taught with this method have been able to begin playing almost immediately.    


February 14/2017  Post NAMM motivation

       I realized at the NAMM show that there's a lot of excitement and potential for the Linnstrument if people could learn to play chord-melody arrangements.  I met Stick players who could not transfer their technique to the Linnstrument from the Stick.  I have renewed passion and interest to make my approach available to people looking to explore a new instrument with so many musicial possibilities.

July 17/2015 1st Linnstrument Blog

            What would you say if I told you there’s a way to play the keyboard in every key, in almost any style with 14 chords and 3 scales?  Sound too good to be true?!  Welcome to the wonder of the 4ths tuning and the Linnstrument.  Is there a catch?  Not really, just a few simple patterns, chord forms, regular scale fingerings and practice, I call it the Moen Music Method for Chord-Melody Playing. 

            Short history:  I started out as a guitar player and first saw the regular patterns of the guitar by studying a chord chart in the back of the Alfred’s Guitar Method.  I had just learned barre chords and noticed that the chords in every key were arranged in a grid pattern.  A few years later I had a teacher who showed me how pentatonic scales and scales in general could be transposed to every key on the fretboard using the same fingerings.  I was able to use these “guitar advantages” to learn to play by ear, transpose songs into any key, predict the chord progressions and associate scale forms to make music come together quickly and systematically.  The fundamentals of my method were tested and improved by teaching other people and coming into contact with increasingly complex music forms.  Time after time the system worked. 

            My appreciation for chord-melody playing came from listening to Chet Atkins and Joe Pass.  My mother challenged me early on to do more than just strum so she could tell what song I was playing.  Chord-melody playing became the focus of my solo playing. The guitar is a difficult instrument to play both chords and melody at the same time.  I have great respect for the many guitarists who do it well.

          Fast forward to the mid 80’s when Stanley Jordan came on the scene and everything changed for me.  “How was he doing that?”  It sounded like two guitars playing.  The playing was both rhythmic and melodic at the same time.  It sounded like a pianist playing the guitar.

I loved Stanley Jordan’s playing but could not make it work on the guitar.  It wasn’t until I bought a Chapman Stick and a Starrlabs Mini-Z that I was able to play chord-melody arrangements easily.

          The key to both the Stick and Mini-Z was the tuning.  Once I configured both in fourths I was able to play chords with my left hand and melody with my right.  I soon realized that I could simplify the chords and play melodies with a standard form.  The next step was the coordination.  I thought i would never get it and that I would go forward just playing one part and then the other separately on recordings.  The chord-melody coordination came slowly but once I could play “Europa” I knew it was now just a matter of practicing.

          After developing a basic solo repertoire and playing out in various venues and band configurations I began to experiment with other instruments:  Axis 64, You Rock Guitar, 7 string guitar in fourths, mandolin, 8 string NS Stick Bass, 10 string ADG and 12 string Warr Guitar.  Each instrument was playable because of the method I had developed using the same chord forms and scale fingerings. 

          Fast forward several years to 2011 or so when I found Roger Linn’s page about his new Linnstrument that was in prototype stage.  I sent an email to Roger to express my interest and tell him about myself and was surprised by his phone call shortly afterwards.  It took several years of waiting for the instrument but on a trip to San Francisco I called Roger and found out that the instruments had just arrived. 

          My initial hope was that I could play the Linnstrument in the guitar position but quickly discovered that it was best played flat like a keyboard.  Thankfully, the layout of the instrument was perfect for me “out of the box.”  The keys were fingertip size, the low to high  notes were in the range usually play in and the split feature allowed me to assign my chording to channel 1 and melody to channel 2.

          Roger made a few improvements to the firmware and I was able to begin playing my full repertoire of touchguitar tunes immediately.  The chord forms are the same, the scales and melody fingerings are the same but now I have all of the advantages of midi and an electronic instrument that can produce a controllable vibrato, finger slides and the expressions of acoustic instruments.  Thank you Roger for opening the world of midi to me in a way not previously possible. 


Jeff Moen

Milton, GA

jeffcmoen@gmail.com

jmoen@touchguitarist.com


Moen Websites:

JeffMoen.com

touchguitarist.com

avocarecords.bandcamp.com

youtube.com/touchguitar