Play It For Language – Part 3

Language is so important for communicating different things at different times. It is a very important thing that helps people interact with each other through life. Music as a language is such a powerful medium of communicating, because for a lot times there are no words, and you still have to have something to say.

In my recent Blog Post on Play It For Language – Part 2, there was a Ted Talk Educational video that talked about Music As A Language by Victor Wooten, renowned Bass Guitar player. In that YouTube Video, he espoused the fact that children who grow up in a house full of musicians, tend to learn to jam and play by ear a lot faster than children who do not.

I thought about it, and I had started to do this very thing a few months back. I must say that my kids with this method of music instruction, namely just jamming with them and imparting my musical knowledge as organically as I can. It has been surprisingly satisfying. I don’t know if I had shown this video to you yet, but here is a little sample of me and my son just jamming to Chick Corea’s SPAIN! This clip is only a minute long.

I don’t know if I mentioned this, but my son heard me playing this tune and wanted to learn it, so he just started to play it. So I stopped by and started working with him on it. We worked on the phrasing, and different things over time, like adding the bass note in the left hand, among other things

I recommend this method to everyone who is thinking of learning or teaching music. Find a mentor/teacher if you can. And remember that your attitude determines your outcome. So remember:
1. You have to enjoy it.
2. You have to embrace it.
3. You have to Be PERSISTENT!
4. You have to BE
5. You have to have SOMETHING to say!!!

So do as I do! Just pick up your instrument and PLAY IT BY EAR!!!

Play It For Language (part 2)

Victor Wooten Playing The Bass - Music As A Language!
Victor Wooten Playing The Bass – Music As A Language!

Just recently I posted an article on language – You Talk Before You Can Speak! In that article I basically acknowledged how music can be learned in the same way that we learned the language that we speak, that we communicate with. This post is simply a follow up on that concept and is in the form of a YouTube video from Ted Talks by the Extremely Talented Bassist – Victor Wooten! He talks about Music As A Language – The Way All Musician’s Should Learn Music. Take a listen and let me know what you think:

Let’s Jam! That’s right! Just Pick Up Your Instrument and
Play It By Ear!!!

Play It For Juicing

Joe Cross courtesy of

A few years ago I saw a movie called Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead. It put me on a path of wellness that I haven’t looked back from since. The movie chronicled the health of an Australian business man, Joe Cross, who was 100 pounds overweight and also had a debilitating autoimmune disease that affected his skin. In addition to his skin condition, he had high cholesterol and other conditions all of which required medications to mitigate the symptoms.

He took a journey across the US, and traveled for 60 days. He was able to cure his disease and get off ALL his medications just by drinking fruit juices of all types for 60 days. Yes. Only juice for 60 days.

It was at a truck stop in Arizona that Joe met a truck driver, Phil Staples, that had the same disease and he also changes his life and he also goes on a journey to wellness using the same principles that Joe used.

I am amazed that so many people are on a fast track to sickness and they don’t know it. Get in touch with a medical professional and seek help. I did. I juice every few weeks to reboot my system as I also haven’t about 35 pounds and dropping.

Joe Cross has put together a great resource called Reboot With Joe that is phenomenal and very comprehensive. Everyone should check it out.


I have done my share of juicing and a few of the recipes are listed here. Mostly I just juice what I have at the time I’m juicing. But I feel great, the best I’ve felt in years. It should be noted that juicing is medicinal in nature, meaning that this is NOT meant as a permanent replacement for food, but should be used as a way to promote healing and well being for a period of time until you are well again enough to PLAY IT BY EAR!

18 Blogs In 8 Days!!!

18 Blogs In 8 Days


On top of all the challenges that I have for the new year 2014, I just gave myself a new one – 18 Blogs In 8 Days!!! It is a challenge that I think will be accomplished. Here’s why I think so.  I have a lot of subject matter still to cover with my health, my love of music and technology (PCs, Tablets, and Smart Phones) and the sports teams in the best region of United States – Boston and New England!!!

One of the challenges that I have are the creation of graphics for these blogs. I recently turned to the internet for answers and found this blog by Ryan Hanley: that shows how to create really cool graphics using the free web resources of and also the free graphic editor by These websites are phenomenal to say the least. If there are other viable alternatives to these websites please let me know so that I could pass them along.

Health is very important for happiness and all around well being. Most people don’t pay enough attention to their health until it is almost too late. In a lot of cases, the diseases are treatable if caught early enough. You can’t mess with your health. I’ve got a challenge with a group of friends who are in different parts of the globe. It’s called Focus T25 and it just uses 25 mins a day for your work out and then 3 mins of streching. It’s been going great. I Love This!

Then there’s my love of music and technology. They make a very good way to spend time and money to get back to the rest of civilization and the billions of people who use music and technology in their daily lives.

I’m counting on you all to help me get there: 18 Blogs in 8 Days? It can be done; It will be done. How? Just relax, enjoy and…

Play It By Ear!!!

Play It For Business

Play It For Business
Play It For Business

These 4 things – Music, Life, Business, & Marketing, have one thing in common. They are all sound and flow better if you have the ability to Play It By Ear.

Playing by ear involves the ability to take input or circumstances and create something beautiful and lasting. In Business it may mean being able to think fast on your feet and to make fast critical decisions. This may mean the difference between a successful performance and dismal failure (epic).

I remember one occasion where a young man was singing a song using a backing track on CD. Suddenly the CD stopped playing. As he kept on singing someone ran to the piano and started to play the song by ear. It saved the performance and everyone remembered it for a long time afterwards.

There is a method to the madness of playing by ear. It’s called PREPARATION. Yes PREPARATION. An accomplished musician has spent considerable time and effort playing different progressions and scales so that it becomes second nature. Similarly a small business owner can get a sale or create a networking opportunity by having his/her business cards or business product samples readily available when they meet someone looking for their product.

As a musician I think about this a lot. People have come up to me asked me, “I love your piano playing. How can I learn to play by ear like you?” At those times I wish I had my book on playing by ear already written so that I could give it to them to read. I would also point them to my blog on playing by ear.

The next key to playing by ear is to be DECISIVE.  In life sometimes you have to take things as they are, but when you make a decision based on the facts, then you go with the decision that made and stick with it. It helps to know your market and products and try to anticipate what you would face in each situation.

The next thing to remember is to be FLEXIBLE. You can’t play by ear if you are inflexible. That’s called playing by the book. For some people if it’s not in the book, it cannot be done. This will kill a business so fast your head will spin. There are some  business models that will not utilize social media to promote their products and services. But if you want to do business in this modern age, you have to use social media to promote and grow your business. It is one of the reasons why I’ve decided to take up blogging and my blog is now listed on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Path. More will be added later.

So just remember that Playing By Ear does not just involve music but it also can be applicable to life, business and marketing. You just have to be Prepared, Decisive and Flexible as you meet each challenge that you face. Just Keep Smiling and Play It By Ear.

A King’s Legacy

Legacy of a king - Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I have often wondered what it would be like to have no rights or less rights than my fellow man. It must have been tough. It must have been rough. I’ve heard story after story of discrimination and inequality, and that always amazes me.

Why am I amazed? Well, I never had to experience any of it. The legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr is such that I did NOT have to experience the things that he and his contemporaries had to go through. I heard the story of a negro soldier in uniform who was told, “We don’t serve your kind around here!”, when he asked for a sandwich and a coke at a restaurant in Columbus, GA.

Its good to know that the Legacy includes the fact that my children will NOT be judged by the color of their skin, but the the CONTENT of their CHARACTER, and where I am also judged by the Content of my Character.

It’s good to know that I have a Dream, and that dream can be realized and brought to fruition, because of Dr. King. A man of God, that made a difference in his world, Rev. King was such a man.

I. Have. A. Dream. Today!

And I have more than a dream. I have A King’s Legacy to turn that Dream into Reality as I continue to:
Play It By Ear

Life – Enjoy It

I Love Flying My Helicopter
I Love Flying My Helicopter

I. Love. Life. I really enjoy it. I live with a clear vision for my life. There is an ultimate destination in mind for my life, and I have determined that nothing is going to keep me down this year. I’m Moving Forward!

#ForwardEver #BackwardNever

Sometimes though, life throws you curve balls that are devastating beyond belief and you wonder how you are going to make it through. For me? I look to God Who Give Me Strength!!!

I keep a positive attitude and I’ve learned along the way to enjoy the life that I’ve been given. I’m occasionally happy, but I always have JOY! I also love seeing other people smile because of my antics. So I will fly my helicopter and I will keep on smiling and as always, Play It By Ear as I ENJOY LIFE!


Language – You Speak Before You Read

You Talk Before You Can Read
You Talk Before You Can Read

I was talking to a friend recently, and I had an interesting perspective on teaching my kids to play music. I was lamenting that I wanted them to be able to read music as well as play music by ear. He said something that stuck with me all weekend long. He simply said, “Don’t worry about them reading music. How long did it take you before you learned to read English? – You Talk Before You Can Read!”

WOW! It’s so true. In 99.999 percent of the time children learn to speak before they can read. The reading comes at different times, but most start the reading process when they get to school. This is something that I never really thought about. It will change the way that I approach teaching young people to learn to play.

Take a look at this video featuring jazz legend, Bassist Jaco Pastorius, as he gave a lesson on the bass guitar. He talks about his philosophy on playing and how he learned to read music long after he had learned to play by ear.

So pick up your instrument, no matter what it is. Have Fun and continue to Play It By Ear

A Clear Mind Is Essential

Workout - Sweat for T25 Alpha Cardio

Believe it! It is true! A Clear Mind Is Essential to being effective in life. You need a clear mind in your personal life. You need a clear mind in your business life. You need a clear mind in your spiritual life. And you need a clear mind in your musical life, which includes Playing Music By Ear 🙂  I had to say it.

One of the ways to keep a clear mind is through exercise. I find that when I exercise in the morning, I function better that day. It’s a really good way to start the day and I can maintain a clear mind. Sometimes I may feel sluggish after a meal, but if I can do a quick 20 pushups or so, I’m able to function much better.

I really started working out on December 1st, 2012, when I did 1 pushup. Today, January 9th 2014, marks the 405th day since I started. So today’s total is 405. Here’s a video of a person you may know finishing a workout:

I will have more to say on this subject later on, but right I’m smiling. Why? My mind is clear and so I will always be happy to Play It By Ear!

To Teach or Not To Teach?

To Teach or Not To Teach? That is the Question!!!To Teach or Not To Teach? That is the question. Well for some teachers its not even a question. It’s anathema to them. What am I talking about? Playing Music By Ear. It just is not done. I have had people come to me and tell me that they started experimenting with playing by ear and their music teacher forbade them from doing so. And so it is now that they “THINK” that they can’t play by ear so they don’t try.

I’ve wondered to myself, “Self! What is the reason for this kind of thinking by music teachers who insist on teaching ‘By The Book’?” And the answer is a simple “Lack of Understanding.” In my humble opinion and experience, people fear what they don’t understand and they can sometimes pass that fear on to their students. It is also true that you can’t effectively teach something that you don’t intimately know. Music is a performing art, and you have to be able to demonstrate the lesson as it happens.

There are people who say that playing by ear is just memorization of songs. And to a certain extent that is true. Playing by ear is more a matter of a coming together of a working knowledge of music theory, chord progressions, bass line movement, alternate harmonic anticipation and melodic interpretation. For some who have more experience playing by ear, you can utilize structures and chord progressions that may come from other songs and intersperse them into what they are playing as they are playing it. This is often seen in Jazz, Gospel, Country and other popular music genres of modern times.

So if you want to learn to play by ear does that mean you shouldn’t learn to read music as well? I answer that with an emphatic, “NO!” Learning to read music opens up a whole new world to the music performer and rounds out his or her education. It enables a musician to be more marketable and versatile when they can do both – Read Music and Play By Ear!!! Its quite interesting to note that musicians who can only read music look up to musicians who just play by ear. And musicians who play by ear look up to musicians who only read music.

Oh for the day when musicians can be equally proficient in reading music and are also able to Play It By Ear!!

Marsalis – A Great American Musical Family

(L to R) The Marsalis Family - Wynton, Delfeayo, Ellis, Jason, & Branford

Family is very important. And speaking of families, The Marsalis Family of New Orleans has emerged as one of America’s greatest musical jazz families in the last 20 years. The Marsalis Family is patriarched by Ellis Marsalis on piano. The most famous names in the family are older brothers Branford and Wynton, with younger brothers Delfeayo and Jason as upcoming stars.

This family is an inspiration to me because of the work ethic that they espouse. They are never satisfied with where they are at. Even though they have reached a very high level of competency with their craft, they still seek to be better, and that’s a beautiful thing. It’s something that I hope that my family will take and carry on to the next generation and the next. Even though playing by ear is a very big feature of jazz and improvisation, playing with music is just as important to musical development.

I wanted to thank my father and my brothers for taking the time to teach me to play both by music and by ear. So I will keep working. I will keep smiling. And I will keep striving to occasionally use sheet music and also strive to Play It By Ear

All In The Family Too

Dad And Joey Hunte playing Spain by Chick CoreaI Love My Family. I love my immediate family that I grew up with. I love my wife’s family. I love my church family. I love my work family. I. Love. My. Family.  One of the reasons that I love my family so much is that I get to make music with them. I have come to appreciate the times that I have with my wife and children in that they are precious. And before you know it, they’re gone; Gone to College and work and just gone, just trying to pu
So one day I had to play Spain by Chick Corea for Old South Jazz Service. So there were some growning pains with it. But I was able to learn it.  A few months later I heard my son, Joey, trying to pick it out on the piano. So I stopped what I was doing and helped him to learn the song to the best of his and my abilities. Any time he saw a piano, he wanted to play the song. And so when we went to my daughter’s school for her piano recital, we were able to get the song recorded for our enjoyment and yours. I. Love. My. Family!!!

So now when I’m tempted to be down, I look at my family who I love, and I keep smiling as I continue to Play It By Ear…

All In The Family – Bassics!


This is going to be a great year. I had the awesome privilege to teach my kids some music. Specifically I was able to acquire a bass guitar and teach both of Kids to play. It was very exciting! In this case with the bass guitar being the foundation of the songs that we were listening to at the time. It was Chris Tomlin’s rendition of the “God of Wonders” song.

The beautiful thing about this is that I had recently showed them the pattern on the guitar, and when I played it for them they were able to catch on pretty quickly. It was Absolutely Amazing how much they were able to experiment and get on their own.

The most beautiful thing about this whole situation is that I’m able to spend time with them and pass on the knowledge and experience I’ve gained playing music for the last 30 years. Just the thought of it keeps me smiling and willing to continue to Play It By Ear!

The Struggle Is Real

The Struggle Is Real!!!

I went down to the basement to get clothes out of the dryer that I had forgotten and almost turned all of the water in my body to ice. There’s No Heat in our basement.


But what do you do when faced with impossible circumstances? You press on. You Soldier On! You find a way. At least that’s what I thought you would do. Right? So I added an extra layer of clothing and pushed through. The Struggle Is Real!

I. Got. The. Laundry!

If you’re ever in a situation that seems to be insurmountable, don’t give up! Do Not Give In To Your Circumstance! Just keep on keeping on! The Struggle Is Real!

I pray for those who have to experience – 20°F tonight that do not have a place to stay! The. Struggle. Is. Real!

Keep Smiling, Adapt and continue to:
Play It By Ear!

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