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Woody Brubaker: Blog


Posted on October 4, 2015 with 0 comments

Dedication.  Does anyone really know what this means?  A young musician in our area, who showed a great deal of promise, used to come to our jam sessions and was very well received.  He was also going to the local college in the music program.  One week he came to the club and announced that he couldn’t come to the sessions anymore because his mother told him he had to get a “real” job and wouldn’t have time.  Where have I heard that before?  If he had gone into the military as a musician, would that have been OK?  It took everyone aback a little. It is always a good thing, if you’re to be a musician, to get as much time as possible working with “the old guys”. I did it. I took the musical punches from the older guys and then bounced back. There are a whole bunch of things that you need to know about music that you can’t get in an institution of higher learning.  I’ve been to two different schools and knew that there was so much more I had to know that I knew I wouldn’t get. However, one school I attended, after my military years, frustrated me so much that I changed to an engineering program just so I could learn something.  I realized that how I wanted to progress as a composer and arranger would come only with experience.  Needless to say, I only lasted another year in that school before I realized that my real calling was, indeed, music.  I had to dedicate myself to that end.  I wasn’t writing at that time but was performing as an entertainer around the eastern half of the country.  I soon discovered that my arranging techniques were sneaking into the way I played piano and the way I played the popular songs.  I was on the road about nine months when I received a call from an old friend, now an agent, that there was a job that would be perfect for me back in my hometown.  It was six nights a week, which was great.  I would be back in the area where my children were.  What I didn’t realize, there was a local big band that was performing concerts in that area and I was chomping at the bit thinking about getting involved with that. With all this in mind, I hadn’t once thought about trying another job.  After all, the money I was making was very, very good for the time. It turns out that I made connections with the director (who is a good friend to this day) and starting playing and writing for the band.  What a dream job this was. It was like I hadn’t stopped writing at all.  I was performing on my own six nights a week and working with this big band the remaining day.  I was getting a wonderful reputation for working with the band and being a local personality on my own.  This also opened up other opportunities to teach and work with other local musicians and singers. What a ride! But, as in life, all good things come to an end.   After about seven years of riding the wave, I was discreetly removed from my duties with big band.  It seems as though some of the other “heavy” players in the band felt a little ignored with all my newly found celebrity.  My name was always in the newspaper about something connected with the band or my other professional work.  Eventually, I couldn’t maintain my money making ability, so I made a contact in Florida and away I went, to work performing six or seven nights a week with a smaller band.  Once again, though, my arranging experience played a large part in how the band sounded. Music kept me busy. Why change.  Well, that was twenty-five years ago and boy have things changed.  The whole point is, the minute you decide to make a change, all your years of dedication become wasted.  Until next time.