Business

‘Hey, man, wanna jam?’

Bub Pratt, an Olympic College alum, is finishing an album and helping get Practical Applications Music Studios off the ground this spring. - Sean Janssen/staff photo
Bub Pratt, an Olympic College alum, is finishing an album and helping get Practical Applications Music Studios off the ground this spring.
— image credit: Sean Janssen/staff photo

Practical Applications Music Studios is a project and a business taking a little different approach to teaching the art of music.

The “practical applications” part of the name makes perfect sense when Bub Pratt, who has led the charge to put PAMS together, explains the studio’s philosophy.

“It’s not about the recital,” Pratt said. “Music is a social art and you want to be able to play well enough to be able to socially interact musically. Our recital is a jam session where people get together and play together.”

Pratt said that ability is what brings a lot of joy to musicians.

“You never know when you’re gonna walk into a café no matter what instrument you play and see a guy playing there,” he said. “And what we focus on is being able to say to them, ‘Hey, man, wanna jam?’”

It’s not something that comes easily.

“There’s a lot of things that go into that,” Pratt said. “You learn to play a bunch of different things but also to be able to articulate what you play and be able to relate that to someone else who’s maybe never played it before.”

What goes into it is a lot of practice. Pratt knows that first-hand. In fifth grade, he picked up the drums but had no success with it. After a year he tried another instrument and got nowhere. When he finally got serious about playing guitar, he saved up to pay for private lessons on his own. And while at Olympic College, he learned perhaps the most important thing of all, how to practice.

“Something the PAMS instructors focus on is teaching the students how to practice. I think that’s missed a lot,” he said. “We give the students a minimum practice regiment. Something to do regularly. Because practice is the key, no matter how gifted you are, you’ve got to practice to get good.”

The PAMS concept is a referral service with about 30 different instructors teaching a wide variety of instruments and styles, including voice. They also vary in age from 20 to 60, just as their clients run from the teens into the 70s.

“It’s an idea a bunch of musician friends and I had about two years ago,” Pratt said. “We’ve been starting to do business within the last couple months.”

Some instructors have their own studios and others go out to students’ homes. Pratt offers free student evaluations and then refers clients to an instructor.

“Other instructors can refer to (fellow instructors) in PAMS, it’s like a co-op,” Pratt said.

PAMS covers all of the Kitsap Peninsula. Pratt resides in Bremerton where he has a small home studio but the North Kitsap High grad also has studio space in Poulsbo and is looking for students in that area.

The 30-year-old musician is putting the finishing touches on his “Ticket to Rio” full-length album with the Bub Pratt Circus Sideshow, eyeing a late spring release. Those curious to see what the teacher has learned in his years of playing can usually check out Pratt and the occasional special guest at the Manette Saloon every other Thursday from 9 p.m. until 1 a.m.

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