Here we go again… last week I made the statement that sometimes when the inspiration strikes you just have to go with it. This is another one of those moments. So many thoughts come to mind watching, listening to this clip.

1. You know I often give a lot of thought to the state of music education in this country. For those schools that are still fortunate enough to have music programs why isn’t music like this part of the core curriculum? And I don’t mean going out and buying one of those hackneyed, dumb-downed arrangements I mean teaching the students how to play this arrangement note for note and every nuance. That would be an undertaking that would take a while but can you imagine how much learning could occur? The first step would be just listening/experiencing the music until you get it into your bones. Sure, you could spend some time writing it down but that doesn’t tell the full story here: You’ve got to know it, feel it, and then play it. I have the utmost respect for the so-called masters that so much emphasis is put on, but there are other masters of music and we need to start putting them into the proper context. Hell, at the high school level there could be an entire semester dedicated to the music of just Marvin by himself. Could you imagine how we could turn this music world upside down, when you have thousands of kids listening to this music for homework?

2. I just have to say a few words about Marvin… that voice, that voice and lastly that voice. The control, his effortless execution and the joy in his delivery. He’s not calling this performance in he is feeling every word of this song. This stage is his pulpit and he is delivering this message with the conviction of someone who has lived the words in their song. I also want to point out the class in which Marvin performs, when he invites the young lady on stage to dance with him… class. What happened to class? This is another lesson that could be learned while watching this clip, not to objectify but celebrate and respect the fairer sex.

3. I know I’m sure I’ve said this somewhere along the way but if you consider yourself a singer in the long tradition of soul singers and you don’t know the music of the true soul masters you haven’t done your homework and you should go sit down. When I say the homework I mean you should be able to quote some of these classic soul licks and lines verbatim. Doesn’t mean you don’t develop your own sound, you have to develop your own sound, but in order to get there you have to first imitate then assimilate and then you innovate. Now that’s not mine you can thank Clark Terry for that but that philosophy holds true across the board for music every instrument, every genre. Do your homework, do your homework, do your homework. If you don’t put in the time we’ll know..

Ivan Orr is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, performer, and writer. A native of Charlottesville, Virginia Ivan was involved with the forming and nascent days of The Music Resource Center as its first Program Director. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Music, Ivan currently resides in Richmond, VA where he maintains an active performance and production schedule while serving as the Music Editor for Grown Folks Music, a position he has held since 2010.