Play It Like It's Music 020: Ann Courtney


OK, it's a new year, new decade. Goodbye teens, hello 20's!

Got a good one to start you off today:

In This Episode: ANN COURTNEY

[photo my Omar Kasrawi)

My 20's were a freakshow, but that's a tale for another day.

PRESS PLAY because we made it through, we're here now, this is Play It Like It's Music, the show is back, I'm Trevor Exter and thanks for tuning in!

If you know me at all, you know I've had my battles with music.

Not just with trying to play it or trying to get ahead in the music business or even just play a gig. But I've had battles just trying to come to terms with "what the hell music even IS" or "why do we do this??"

I've tried to quit a bunch of times, but by now I know that life is definitely better if I'm playing.

So a day doesn't go by...

I'm here at the top of the 20-20's, (20/20’s?) still playing cello and still talking to people. So wherever you are today, whatever your relation to music, whether you're playing or touring or struggling or listening or learning or all of the above, I want to wish you well.

And I want to make something clear, to start my own decade:

I defined the best parts of my career when I refused to think of music as a product, but as a service. My attitude got much better when I didn't stay locked into the idea that I had to make "things" in order to call myself a musician. The audience may or may not want to buy your pieces of plastic but they always want to be served by you. So I went around saying that "Music is not a product, it's a service" and that worked.

My gigs got better, my attitude was better. It's a good way to get in the door.

But it turns out music is more than a service. Before it's anything you provide to anyone, It's an experience. IT's a phenomenon, you know what I mean. But unlike a "service"…

we all get to have it.

It doesn't have to be a transaction, you don't have to separate everybody into audience and performers and producers... it's just a gateway that opens up to infinity every time you start making a noise on something.

So I'm just gonna say these three things before we move on today. On new years day, 2020:

1. you have the right to your own noise

2. No one can tell you how you should play

3. you don't have to perform if you don't want to

Because music is huge, it's like the water or the air. IT's not something that can be taken away from you just because you were told that you won't make it or that a gig has to go down a certain way and you don't fit. No, music is infinite and you can always connect to it.

So take that in moving forward into the year here.

PLAY IT LIKE IT’S MUSIC - EPISODE 20 with Ann Courtney

The band Mother Feather blows my mind every time I see a show of theirs, and Ann Courtney is amazing. She's a good friend and we go way back to my first gigs in Rockwood back in NYC. We get in to all of her background and her attitude and her approach, and you're in for a treat with that.

They have a gig on Jan 24th 2020 at Saint Vitus opening for The Giraffes that you can go to if you're anywhere near NEW YORK.

Go to:

Thank you so much for listening to the show. If you like it, tell a friend? Let's grow this thing.

Come find us at, we did some good episodes and there's more coming.

This show is for you! We're all contending with a mutating professional landscape, jacked revenue streams and a lot of noise out there in the culture. But you gotta keep playing.

It’s exciting times. It's almost as if the simple act of playing an instrument is a revolutionary one.

We don't draw any lines here between scenes or styles, so if you haven't done it already, head over to the web site and join the mailing list.

As always, thank you for listening and remember to play it like its music.

Big love to your ears.

And to your year.


(Did you press play yet?)




If you like my stuff, help it spread by sharing it!