It is time for a new interview on the blog: today Corie talk with Jacopo, aka Jalo Sounds, a talented musician – and much more as you will discover – who you can meet often on the Luxembourg nightlife scene.
Good Evening and welcome at Barefoot in Luxembourg for a new episode of our series “Barefoot in Luxembourg meets people”, thank you for joining. So, let’s introduce yourself first!
Jalo: It’s me who thank you for your time and the opportunity. I’m a 3-in-1 restless Italian having the time of his life (of his 3 lives) in this little known amazing country. My 3 lives are: making music, teaching music, creating music events. My mission is to make more of all 3 for more people to know, enjoy & share. Not necessarily for all the people. But for the right people. That’s why Luxembourg is fantastic for me.
3 LIVES? CAN YOU TELL OUR READERS MORE, AND WHY?
1. making music: I play guitar since over 28 years ago (I love making my one guitar versions of timeless classic tunes – I sometime add vocals, or play with selected duo partners). Luxembourg has lots of great locations perfect sized for single / duo performers.
I am having lots more chances here than those I would have had in Italy, like playing live on Luxembourg Radios.
2. teaching music: since I left classic training (over 22 years ago) I have developed what I believe the fastest, easiest and most personalized system to learn guitar. 22 years ago I discovered that practically all people regardless of age, tastes and nationality they all love music but no one really wants to study an instrument, to be schooled, or to be constrained in time & space. So I took action. I know it sounds like a big claim, that’s why even after over 80 people trying my method, I still let people try me risk free.
3. creating music events: based on a great examples like the one in Konrad, I started an Open Mic Group for people to share listening / playing music on small scenes to friendly audiences all around the city. It is slowly growing and the right people are making it better every time. There is lots of musical talent and loving to share music in Luxembourg. Both for locals and for expats that may have just arrived in Luxembourg.
WHICH OF THESE LIVES DO YOU BELIEVE TO BE MOST INTERESTING?
Oh well, I find them equally interesting to work on, but the most transformational for me and others is probably the teaching music. I have seen what great change can occur in people of all age / nationalities / when enabled to play music they like.
WHY TEACHING? WHAT’S IN IT, FOR YOU? AND FOR OTHERS?
I believe there is something special with teaching that it makes it close to a divine thing, not really in the sense of some teaching-god with some sort of infinite god-like knowledge pushing information some passive-mortal-being that is just to execute repeatedly. Teaching means most to me in the sense of finding the most effective, understandable, enabling & energizing way to share mutually interesting information between human beings so that this information can build up in form of knowledge, action & sense of purpose in the mind of more humans than before it happened. This is what I see in it, for me and for all others I have the privilege to meet.
HEY, SO MUCH? A SOMEWHAT RELIGIOUS THING?
Things do not change themselves, nor anything else. People can change themselves, and can change things. Teaching can change people. Both the teaching people, and the people who are taught. And we are the people. It’s just so endlessly fascinating. It also take great effort and genuine will to help. When teaching means oppression, or manipulation of the unaware, it’s not teaching. We all know what that is, instead.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN?
I would say the most tragic consequence of bad teaching is when the wrong-minded teacher becomes a representation of the subject taught, in the eye of the unaware, so people end up quitting to learn that skill, thinking they anyway cannot make it so why trying in the first place, whereas instead people should be thinking of quitting to learn that skill they love with that bad teacher. This I believe is the tragic heritage, vocational wasteland and countless body count left by bad teaching and bad teachers. I try not to sound too theatrical and rhetorical, but I do see it as a genuine tragic loss of human capital through history. And a perfect mass murder with well paid responsible still at large. With good teachers in every school we might have flying cars running on water, for what I know….
YOU SHOULD BE THE PERFECT TEACHER, THEN?
Perfect teacher? Me? Not at all, but after 28 years of playing guitar, I surely have things to say to anyone wishing to play on guitar songs in a very simple and accurate way. It’s the same method I wish it was offered to me when I started. Thanks to modern technology I have a way to make my physical presence as minimal as possible, so I can reach in different ways with my guitar training into even the busiest agendas. I had also very interesting experiences helping songwriters with new ideas and music, and arranging for guitar some great songs that have no guitar in their original versions. Sure, any of these things I say can and should be tested! Just send me an email ( to : firstname.lastname@example.org ) and schedule your 1h risk free trial.
Yes! Promotion, here! But how else and how best to check about what I can really do?
AND THE OTHERS? ALL BAD TEACHERS? SURE?
I am not accusing anyone. But I can surely share what I think about 2 categories of my – so to say – teaching competitors. Let me say some about Long Established Music School & Independent Teachers.
DO YOU REALLY BELIEVE MUSIC SCHOOLS CAN DO WRONG? WHY?
About Schools, those with the “maison fondèe en 18..” ….. I believe in lots of non-musical subjects, and for classical music too, conventional teaching might still be the best. But about guitar all I want is to provide another method to people that are in the most vulnerable position of being passionate of music and unaware of alternative methods, especially as they say “you don’t know what you don’t know”. And I am not in a position (nor I want to be) where I tell people that I am The School, I have The Method, therefore I want them to Join My School on My Terms, applying My Program, adapt to My Schedule, buying My Books, paying in advance My Fees for a Full Trimester / Semester / Year… and if people dare not finding it such a Good Deal and end up dropping out, they are the failures, surely not My School. I believe most of these terms are unacceptable to anyone older than, say, 8 years old!
AND INDEPENDENT TEACHERS? WRONG TOO?
About Independent Teachers, I believe these are those who apply the above teaching methods to people, as a sort of karma circle of Oppressive Teaching that never asks what interests the students. Never asking is practical. Asking the students is much less practical. Asking the students, requires acknowledging their Musical Rights, their Musical Ideas, their Needs, and requires probably working harder on finding new, relevant and meaningful answers. But some Teachers use oppression and a false authority to unilaterally impose their one-size-fits-all approach to all people they come in contact with. But learning guitar, like music, means very different things to different people. Having the willingness to ask students, and the knowledge to provide relevant and motivating answers to very different people, is for me a better way of teaching. And I do not mean that I have something meaningful for every guitar player every time! That’s why I offer risk free trial time. As if I can’t provide musical value and motivation, I can’t accept wasting anyone’s time & money.
Some other Independent Teachers are for me mainly performers (sometimes very high level performers) who try their best to take care of students that in reality do not want to take care of, or do not know how to listen to, how to motivate them, how to awaken the musician in them. Teaching is way way beyond getting people listening to their Teachers’ level performances, that can be nice to listen to, but of very little educational value.
SO THERE IS NO BETTER WAY THAN YOU FOR GUITAR SONGS LOVERS?
Oh, if the arguments I made are still so controversial and unacceptable?
Sure there are still other ways! That at this point might still be better, way better than me! If you are up to 5 years old, you should go for a big plastic thing with fun shaped buttons, called Guitar Hero video-game.
BUT AREN’T GUITAR EXPENSIVE?
Nowadays, you can get a fair quality acoustic or a classical guitar mailed to your doorstep for 100€ or less. Never been a better time to invest in music and in guitar.
Or if you don’t want to invest a cent in your guitar, but still play in front of lots of people, go & learn to play the invisible Air Guitar! There is even a Festival for that!
WHY YOU ALSO PLAY LIVE MUSIC? ISN’T TEACHING ENOUGH?
I am such an incredible player that I absolutely want the world to listen to my live greatness!!! Jokes aside, I believe teaching cannot be “full time”. Every teacher should test its value and relevance vs what the outside audience likes (or not!). In other words, good teachers should perform (as much as good performers should teach too!) even if it’s very true that being a good performer does not make you a good teacher automatically. I was taught by a good performer, who was not a good teacher to me. But this pushed me to go beyond his method and classical guitar so I do still thank him a lot, as here I am!
WHY YOU ALSO ORGANIZE LIVE EVENTS? ON TOP OF TEACHING & PLAYING LIVE?
I also create monthly events where all sort of amateur players (not only my students) can play some music to small audiences so they can get some live results & feedback from their hard work practicing. Or they can even end up winning a live paid gig. Sure, anyone can come to listen only! The reasons I do this is because I see this as a better monthly alternative of what some music schools offer only once a year, a closed doors End Of Course Performance. Hence, missing the contact and the feedback of a real audience. Here’s my Live Events Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/openmicgroup.lu
WHAT ARE YOU LEARNING, FROM YOUR 3 LIVES?
From playing live? I learned the need to constantly question my music knowledge, to get better and to be more respectful to listeners’ Fundamental Right to Good Music.
From teaching guitar? How big of a change can make to offer the possibility to make music. We humans are not only social animals, but very, very, very musical animals.
From organizing music events? I learned how much interesting music hides inside many people with very ordinary life that for too many reason are rarely offered occasions to participate and make something very ordinary, very human and very of their own like making live music and/or listening to live music together. And most importantly, what is mostly valued in participants is not the fact of sounding like a professional level musician, but instead being authentic and showing respect to the ears of the audience.
WAS THERE A LIFE OF YOURS BEFORE THESE 3 LIVES CAME ABOUT?
Ah, there was. I came here, like many expats, called in by the financial sector. Yes, suit, ties and stuff.
HOW WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE OF LUXEMBOURG?
Very good! Natural landscape is smaller than, say, France or Brazil, but the human landscape is enormous, interesting and never ending! And being from the industrial North of Italy, I value mostly the human landscape over the natural landscape. But I do understand those who come from, say, Barcelona and miss the seaside.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN LIVING IN LUXEMBOURG?
13 years, of which the last four particularly interesting and unexpected!
WHAT IS YOUR MOST BELOVED PLACE IN THE CITY?
Something non musical here! Any of the many beach volley courts in the city, on a sunny day. This country has incredible sport facilities all around.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE RESTAURANT IN THE CITY?
I love the great position, the kind service, and the reliable quality of a good tartare in the super central La Boucherie. I love the passion and the hard work of people around the simply great food of a few more places like Matelots, Brooklyn Bar & Bay of Bengal. I sure know I am missing lots more nice places.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE NIGHTLIFE SPOT?
No real favorite one. I like, depending on occasions, places like The Tube Bar, Rocas, Oscar’s, UpDown, Urban, Konrad, and Brasserie Neumunster.
WHAT IS THE BEST ADJECTIVE TO DESCRIBE LUXEMBOURG?
Unexpected, and great in spite of size!
WHAT ARE YOUR PROJECTS FOR THIS YEAR?
Live better my 3 lives, make more and better music, and something secret I cannot tell you right now, but I will someday!
HOW TO KNOW MORE ABOUT WHAT YOU DO?
Message me on Facebook! I always respond.
Here’s my FB Pages where you can write to me.
LET’S FINISH WITH A FEW OF YOUR FAVORITE QUOTES
The man that hath no music in himself, Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds, Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils; The motions of his spirit are dull as night, And his affections dark as Erebus. Let no such man be trusted. Mark the music
The definition of genius is taking the complex and making it simple
Studying without desire spoils the memory and retains nothing that it takes in […] Learning is the only thing the mind never fears, never exhausts and never regrets […] Knowing is not enough, we must apply!
(Leonardo da Vinci)
Without music, life would be a mistake
Music mix the bourgeoisie and the rebel
(Louise Veronica Ciccone)
I SAID “FINISH”! AND I ASKED FOR JUST “A FEW” QUOTES!
As you’ve just seen, I tend to talk a lot, write a lot, play a lot…
Thanks again for your patience & understanding
A FINAL WORD FROM YOU?
Thanks so much! To you, and to Luxembourg