Recently, I attended guitar virtuoso Mateus Asato’s guitar clinic in Singapore. It was part of an epic musical adventure in Singapore that began with the clinic, continued into a private lesson with Mateus the next day and a 3-day guitar camp, the very first guitar camp that Mateus has ever taught at.
Along with my manager Yin, guitar students Vanessa (from Singapore) and Aaron (from Kuala Lumpur) – we were all excited to be there to catch Mateus in person. This post collects my thoughts on what I learned from his very cool guitar clinic.
Granted, nothing beats actually being at the workshop. But, I wanted to share some of the most insightful things I learned from the session. Please bear in mind that I’m paraphrasing these tips from my own notes and memory of the workshop. I apologise if there’s any mistakes! I hope this captures the essence of what I learned. If you ever get a chance to attend a Mateus Asato workshop, clinic or meet and greet – go for it. It’s worth it.
Here are 10 of the important things I learned from the workshop:
1. Learn different guitar styles
Mateus regarded his time at Musicians Institute in Los Angeles as instrumental to developing his guitar skills and career. There, he learned different styles of music such as country, pop, blues, rock, jazz and more. One of the tips he had for us was to make each day have a stylistic focus. For example, Monday could be pop day – so for the entire day, he would listen to a Spotify playlist of the Billboard 100 or current pop hits so he could internalise that sound in his mind. This is also how he developed his language in these different styles.
2.Figure out your goals
Mateus emphasized the importance of knowing what area of the music industry you want to get into.
Do you want to become a session guitarist for a pop artist?
Do you want to become an in-demand music educator?
Do you want to become an artist?
To Mateus, it’s important to figure out what you want to do in order to figure out the steps to achieve it.
3. Make your lines sing
Mateus makes everything he plays, sings akin to how a pop singer might sing. He learned this from his work with Tori Kelly. Mateus draws his melodic sensibilities more from singers and from pop music. When he breaks apart parts of his songs, it really boils to vocal melodies harmonised in a guitaristic fashion.
4. Ask for advice and help
When Mateus was invited to audition for Tori Kelly, he sought guidance from his friends and teacher who had already played for established pop artists. Instead of going into the audition blind, he had help. This is an important part of developing your musical career.
5. Network in jam sessions
Mateus emphasised the importance of jam sessions as a way to meet other musicians within the scene. He recommended this as a way of developing your network and also to connect for future projects.
6. Use social media wisely
Based on the advice of one of his Musicians Institute instructors, Mateus said it’s important to not overpost on social media. As a touring session guitarist, sometimes overposting photos from a tour may make people think that you’re not available for other gigs. In addition to understanding balance in posting, he also suggested that social media is a good way to connect with other musicians. It’s definitely an important and essential part of the modern musician’s toolkit.
7. Understand your gear
Mateus has a workflow for his YouTube videos and Instagram videos. In addition to making good content, he has been improving his gear and quality of videos over time. What I got from this was Mateus knew how to use each of his pedals, recording gear and guitars for specific purposes that he aimed to achieve. Very cool!
8. Maximize the music school experience
According to Mateus, his time at Musician’s Institute was instrumental to developing his playing. Prior to his time in the United States, he was primarily a rock/metal guitarist into progressive rock. At Musicians Institute, he developed his playing in other styles such as country guitar, R&B, pop and some jazz too.
9. Develop your personal sound
For Mateus, it was not a very deliberate attempt to create his personal sound. For him it was very organic and he combined all his influences into one thing – his sound over time. For me, I think watching him play up close during the clinic and later the guitar camp has made me super inspired to be open to combining everything I’ve learned so far. Very inspiring!
10. Focus your practice sessions
During his first semester at Musicians Institute, Mateus wanted to master all the different guitar styles at once. It was only later on that he realised that this was not possible. What he did instead was to focus his daily practice (and listening) by creating specific days of the week for him to immerse himself in each style. One day would be just focused on pop music, another would be country music day and another day might be rock. By creating this focus, it helped him improve his playing and attention to details in each guitar style.
And this concludes the top 10 things I learned at the Mateus Asato Guitar Clinic at Hood Bar and Cafe on Feb 2, 2017.
Hope you found this blog post helpful. Please share this post if you think others might enjoy it!
Thanks to Fest Events International and G77+ for hosting this awesome workshop. Thank you to Tan Boon, Clement and Brandon Wee and their team for their amazing work during the Mateus Asato events.
Now, I’d love to hear from you.
Have you attended a Mateus Asato workshop before?
Did you learn something from his songs, clinics or videos?
Leave your answer in the comments below. Remember to share as much detail as possible so that we can all learn from one another. Your insight may help another musician from across the world.
Thank you for reading and for hanging out here. Be back again soon!
Wanna read more? Check out what I learned from Julian Lage, Jack Thammarat and Guthrie Govan in their workshops here:
[WORKSHOPS: LEARNING FROM THE MASTERS]
10 Things I Learned From The Julian Lage TIJC 2017 Workshop
10 Things I Learned From The Jack Thammarat Kuala Lumpur Workshop
10 Things I Learned From The Guthrie Govan Kuala Lumpur Workshop
Interested to check out what I learned from the Thailand International Jazz Camp 2017 (12 hours of workshops & 2 hours of jam sessions), check out the 3,100+ word blog post here: Thailand International Jazz Camp 2017 with Shai Maestro/Desmond White Group