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Ronda Matson: Blog

Ronda's Top Ten Open Mic Tips

Posted on September 26, 2013
Open "mics" or "mikes" are everywhere these days. Have you been thinking about joining the fun or hoping to improve your open mic experiences? Based on my years as a host, player & listener, here's food for thought.
#10. Know your host. If you're new, briefly introduce yourself. 
#9. Have a plan. Be prepared, but flexible to change.  Avoid saying "I have no idea what I'm going to play."
#8. Strive to memorize! You'll feel liberated & can engage your audience better.
#7. Be professional & consider it a real performance. Make no apologies if you miss a chord or forget lyrics. (Pretend you didn't!)
#6. Keep it classy & you'll keep your audience. Use common sense with subject matter & language.
#5. Song length should be reasonable.  7 minute songs are usually snoozers. 
#4. Identify your music. Give credit where credit is due!
#3. Limit pre-song banter. A few words... perfect! Rambling stories or techie guitar [...]
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For Emmi :)

Posted on January 3, 2013
The new year has started, but not in the best way.  A cold and the flu turned out to be the least of it.  I never knew her, but when 10-year-old Emerson Barbaro died tragically in a sledding accident in Minnesota, it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I’ve thought of her and her family ever since that late-night phone call from my daughter, Erin, who was Emmi’s music teacher since Kindergarten.  We humans look for the sense in things, but some things just make no sense.  There was really nothing meaningful I could say to comfort Erin.
 
Emmi had been raising money for an American Heart Association jump rope event.  Erin told me she had raised $70 before she died. I clicked on the link and saw a beautiful, smiling girl wearing “Emmi 123.”  I wanted to help her.  Turns out, I’m not the only one.  I’ve been back to her page countless times and the dollars keep coming.
 
Erin sang “How Great Thou Art” [...]
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Meeting Tom Rush

Posted on December 9, 2010
The bad things in life so often come out of left field, which is totally annoying.  When the good things do, it’s such a relief.  Last weekend, Bob and I went to see Tom Rush perform for the first time ever.  Needless to say, we were mesmerized all night.  We bought his new CD at the intermission and the guy said, “Tom will sign that for you.”  I envisioned him behind a table, protected and carefully managed.  Cool, I thought.
After the show, someone pointed and said, “Go get your CD signed.”  There had been no commotion, no sign that something special was happening.  I turned to see Tom Rush standing in the middle of the room chatting it up.  NEVER in all my concert-going years… We got in the short line and suddenly, it was our turn.  No hurry.  No forced conversation.  It was like seeing an old friend.  Maybe he’s a really good actor, but I’d bet money he just really loves [...]
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Starting Over

Posted on April 9, 2010
Spring!  It’s my favorite time of the year.  Green comes from brown and gray.  Dark, cold, rainy days yield brilliance.  
Spring = Hope. 
It’s the season of optimism, of new beginnings, of starting over. 
Starting over isn’t always easy. When you lose the words you’ve written because the power suddenly goes out or forget the last number you entered in the calculator, it’s inconvenient and frustrating, but simple. Other times, it isn’t.  Sometimes it’s a fight for life.  
As many know, I’ve faced the fight for life more than once.  My family and friends have been forced to face it with me.  Last April, we were swallowed up more intensely than ever before.  Each day brought new uncertainty and many times, fear had the upper hand.  My brilliant surgeon found the answer and saved my life—again.  As I think back, it was a kind of gauntlet we ran.  By the time May [...]
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For My Georgia~

Posted on March 29, 2010
For once, I’m glad it’s raining.  The day is a mirror of my sadness as I consider the world without Georgia in it. 
“I met her on my lonesome day.”  It’s so true. 
A week after yet another brain surgery operation, in the Fall of 2006, I met Georgia Allen.  I was missing half of my hair & had covered my baldness & stitches with Erin’s wide knit American flag headband.  Somehow, I felt stronger with it on.  I was determined that the guitar-picking nails of my right hand would not be lost like my hair, like so many dreams I once had, in a blink.  I knew that I didn’t have the fine motor ability at that point to save them, so I braved potential embarrassment & went to the salon.  I didn’t talk to anyone or look at anyone.  It was a perfect misery.  Suddenly, there was Georgia—and she was talking to me!  Her energy and (eventually) her love of music came at me full force.  [...]
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