5 Reasons You Should Listen to Mr. Haircut

Improv podcast mr haircut john ray
Posted by John Ray Category: All, Improv, Music, podcast, Writing

Is this something about Haircuts? I’m not really into hair styling, I’m a finance manager. Oh, it’s about music? IMPROVISED music? But I don’t like jazz, I listen to what’s on the radio.

Most people I talk to, from all walks of life, listen to music. Most people I talk to do not listen to jazz, and most of the people I talk to are musicians!

So why make a podcast about improvised music?

First, Mr. Haircut is a podcast about improvisation, something we all do every day and something most people don’t understand much about. When you carry on a conversation with your friends, you are improvising using spoken language. When you make breakfast for your family, you are improvising using a set of ingredients or a recipe as a framework, and improvising a set of actions to put them together in a way that tastes good. In a more general sense, your whole life is an improvisation – you might a have a basic structure of an idea of how you want to live your life, i.e. marriage, job, hobbies; but you improvise every day as to what you are doing in the moment.

My goal in making Mr. Haircut is to have a series of conversations with people about improvisation to figure out how and why we do it, so that we can understand it and use it to our advantage. I am a musician, and I plan to use music as an avenue to explore improvisation.

Improv and jazz are not synonymous; there is improv within a lot of jazz, but there is also improv within a lot of hip hop, country, salsa, dance and even EDM music. Improv is integral to ALL music. Musicians improvise to compose music, record, even mix and master. In fact, the more I pay attention to improvisation, the more I see it everywhere. It is an integral part of our thinking and acting, all the time.

So why NOT study it?

In my opinion, improvised music is the only completely pure form of music – I’m not discounting compositions or recordings in any way though. What I mean by pure music is music that communicates emotion. When you see a musician improvise on stage, you are experiencing that musician’s emotions and state of mind in the moment. She is communicating her feelings to you as they happen, and if you are paying attention you can connect with that musician in a real way. You can understand and experience someone in a wholly different way than you could without art (music, visual, dance, etc), and I believe that that relationship is essential to human understanding and empathy.

What I am saying is that we, as humans, need to see live music. That there is something you can attain from a concert that is necessary to our well-being as a society that cannot be attained outside of art.

Those of you who are concert aficionados already know this on some level, that’s why you go to concerts. But you can’t always wait until there is a band you want to see, or until you can afford to go to that big stadium concert to experience it. There is probably great music happening in your town about every night of the week, and the musicians performing at the local deli, bar or sidewalk corner probably need your support more than ever right now.

GO SEE THEM. Listen! It doesn’t matter what music they are playing, and it really doesn’t matter if you like the style or not. Listen to what they are saying. Listen to what they are feeling. That is real communication, on a level you can’t get to any other way.

This is what we talk about on Mr. Haircut, and we do in a way that makes us laugh a lot. And then we improvise for you in the studio so you can really understand what it is that we musicians have been trying to tell you all along. Listen!

2 thoughts on “5 Reasons You Should Listen to Mr. Haircut

  1. You, my friend, are the wizardliest wizard of all the wizards. I’m excited about all your new adventures and it’s inspiring to see you live so passionately. Go get em Radagast Ray!

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