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August 2, 2011

What first made you interested in music?

My dad played the piano for Southern Gospel quartets when he was young, then did more contemporary gigs later.  I grew up watching him set up and take down equipment, and I have lots of memories of him practicing through his big Peavey speakers.  That was where I learned how awesome reverb is.  I took piano lessons when I was young, but really didn’t like them.  The first song I really learned was “Desperado” by the Eagles.  I watched my dad play it a lot, then he showed me how to play it myself.  After that, I started to get more interested, getting a 4-track recorder when I was about 16.  I started writing a lot of really bad songs and recording them, which eventually led me to writing (hopefully) better songs and recording them with increasingly professional equipment over the years. 

Who are your main influences and why?

Elton John and Billy Joel have always been my main influences, I guess partly because they sing and play the piano, but partly because their songs are so meaningful, both melodically and lyrically.  I still listen to both of them often.

Do you have formal musical training?

Yes, I went to Belmont University and graduated with a degree in vocal composition in 1996.  That’s really where I took what my dad taught me and put it together with what I was taught at Belmont to create my own style.  Honestly, I probably learned as much from the other students around me as I ever did from the faculty.

What is the process you go through when writing a song?

That’s an interesting question.  I know a lot of people treat songwriting as a craft.  They sit down with some co-writers and say, “Hey, let’s write a song.”  I’ve rarely been able to write that way.  I’ll have these times of inspiration where I’ll sit down and write an entire song in 30 minutes, but then I might go a month or two without writing anything.  It just depends on what hits me.  I like to say I don’t write because I want to, but because I have to.  It’s like something needs to come out of me before I can find peace in those moments.  That’s why I think the “All the Way Home” album is so powerful, at least to me… because all of it was written during the pain of watching my dad die of cancer.  Those songs weren’t “crafted”… they just sort of wrote themselves.

What are your next plans, music-wise?

Well, I’m working on three new albums.  One is the new “Here I Am” album, where I took a lot of songs that I wrote a while back and am re-recording them and making a more professional product out of that.  I think the songs themselves are good, and that represents another meaningful time in my life.  I’m bringing in some other musicians for this one, as opposed to doing it all myself like I did in the “All the Way Home” album.  I’m also recording another album similar to the “Mentored By Life” album called “Leaving the Chrysalis.”  That’s where I just wait for times when I feel particularly inspired, and I sit down and play the piano.  Nothing is planned beforehand, and I think that makes the end product very enjoyable and creative in a different way than a lot of what you hear recorded today.  I’m also working on a new hymns album since that one got a lot of good response.  I’m going to sing on this one.

After these three, I am writing for another album in the future.  I have a song that I wrote for my daughter, as well as one that I wrote from the perspective of my grandmother, who lives in a nursing home.

What do you hope to accomplish with your music?

Well, I think music can be a great way to get people interested in things… for example, right now I’m offering a free download to anyone who donates to the Charity: Water for clean water in Africa.  My hope is that as my fan base grows, I can use my music to promote other similar things that make the world a better place.

 


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What follows is some articles with information about various musical topics.


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ight, that's what I thought.  Honestly, the reason I did that "interview" is that I'm feeling the pressure in this age of a million downloads to make my site different somehow, so I thought maybe my sense of humor would help.  But you're right, it just ends up being confusing to most people, so I'm changing it.

I'm toying with this (unrelated) new concept that any time people talk, they're actually expressing something deep inside them, even if all they say is, "Hey, what's up, Ben?"  I'm trying to listen for that deeper thing.

Also... there was a South Park that totally used our humor concept.  It's an old one.  Basically, the lady goes crazy and tries to kill her son, and all these people who have been accused of killing their own children show up for support.  At the end, they find their son, and the guy makes this speech for the media, and he says, "Man, this was really difficult.  I mean, there were times when I was walking down the street, and people would say, 'LIAR!  YOU'RE A GODDAMNED LIAR!  YOU KILLED YOUR FUCKING SON AND YOU LIED!!"  And while he was saying that, they'd pan to the other people.  This went on a few times and was pretty well-done, but we did it better.

Articles" target="_blank"><a name="articles"></a><p> <b>Articles</b>

These articles are provided as sources of information only. Ben Travis does not necessarily endorse or support any of the opinions of the authors below. Click on a title to read the article.


The Truth Behind Press Kits, Bios, and Controlling Your Image

 

Three Things You Need to Develop to Be a Singer

 

Sounds Good to Me - Eliminate Throat Tension

 

Hitting High Notes - It's Easier Than You Think

Divide and Conquer: The Secret to Booking Gigs

 

Composing Using Chord Charts

 

How to Become a Better Sight Reader

 

What to Expect During Your First Year of Vocal Training

 

Why Colleges Are an Independent Musician's Goldmine

 

Sending Your Demo: Doing It Right

 

How to Promote CDs at Gigs You Don't Play

The Truth Behind Press Kits, Bios, and Controlling Your Image" target="_blank"><a name="truth"></a><p> <b>The Truth Behind Press Kits, Bios, and Controlling Your Image</b>

 

A lot of what you have been told about creating your image is false. This article is meant to be a simple list of things that might surprise you as a musician. Some of you have had “managers” misguide you. You know the drill. Your guitar player’s girlfriend has a connection at some local club so now she thinks she is fit to orchestrate your entire career. Maybe you have a know-it-all singer who spent 5 minutes glossing over some music industry website and now he is writing your bio chalk full of transparent lies and over-exagerated descriptions of your rock fury. No matter what the case may be, I can guarantee you that you have at least a few misconceptions about how to properly present your image. This article will briefly outline some of the major issues on writing better bios, press kits, and press releases.

 

YOU HAVE MORE CONTROL THAN YOU THINK

 

The most important thing I can tell you is you have more control than you think. If you really get the hang of image presentation and playing this game we call the music biz you can virtually create any image you want of yourself or your band. First and foremost I want to talk about the press. Ever surf the net doing some research of some new band your friend told you about? Ever notice how multiple music sites will have the exact same description of the band? Of course, you aren’t an idiot, you realize these sites simply rip what the band wrote in their bio on the band homepage. But do you realize the POWER of this? Basically, you have the power to syndicate your image in a way. These websites simply don’t have the time, nor intimate knowledge of your band, to create some pseudo-bio for you. They rely on you, and what you have to say about yourself. This is power. Use it wisely.

But you already knew that. What I’m about to tell you is something you may not know, but could drastically affect your bands promotional campaign. PRINT MAGAZINES DO THIS TOO. Yep, a lot of those long write-ups you see in your favorite magazines about your favorite band, have content ripped straight from the bands’ bio. The trick is that this only applies to well written bios. If you do in fact have such a bio, this can be the most powerful weapon in your promotional arsenal.

 

THE SECRET BIO SAUCE RECIPE

 

Ok. So let’s recap real quickly. You know that your bio can help control your image on the net. And now you know you can even control how the print media presents you. But how do you write such a bio? First, let’s go over what NOT to do.

 

INFLATE: Do not inflate your image beyond the reality of your band. Don’t be all flash and no smash. In other words, don’t talk about what you can’t back up. This is the most common mistake in bio writing. I call it “inflation”. This is pretty much adjective abuse. Avoid phrases like “intense live show” or “super sonic blast from the future”. This is stock. This is not creative. If you aren’t the biggest drawing band in your own market, don’t say “this band is taking the nation by storm”. The press and online community have been reading bios with such inflations since the beginning, they see past this very well.

 

QUOTE FANS: If you can’t get someone credible to say something nice about your band DO NOT resort to using a fan comment. Ever…for any reason.

 

LIST SONG DESCRIPTIONS: If you are already an “inflator” then talking about your own songs will only cause pain and tragedy.

 

SPENDING TOO MUCH TIME ON PREVIOUS BANDS: If your last band didn’t have a record deal or tour, don’t bother. If you have some leverage with your “former member of…” status use it tastefully and only in brief.

 

Now that we have got those cardinal sins out of the way you are probably thinking “jeeze, what else is there to write about”. This is where we start digging. Time to put on your thinking cap. You have to think like a reporter looking for a refreshing angle. You have to find the one thing that can create an image that will stick. You have to find THE STORY.

 

By this time I have lost some of you. You either don’t know what I mean by “the story” or you have a bio that breaks every rule I just outlined and you can’t admit it. The best bios read like a good music rag write-up. If your bio is written correctly it should make a staff writer’s job easy. It should be easy for him to “rip” or “cop”. It’s no co-incidence that many pro bands use these kinds of writers to pen their own bios!

 

Perhaps you have an interesting story about how you came together. Perhaps you have some gimmick, like Siamese twins or 3 bearded lady bassists. But hopefully you have something that connects your band to something going on in the world of music. You need something that will get people’s attention. Maybe your band is the only Death Metal band for 100 miles in the Bible belt. You get the picture.

 

I am going to list some things that can make great stories (and double as press releases).

 

- Being produced by someone reputable

 

- Being managed by someone reputable

 

- Breaking some mark in online CD sales or downloads

 

- Getting a supporting slot on a festival or tour

 

- Having a reputable person as a quoted fan

 

A PHOTO SPEAKS 1,000 FLAWS

 

I want to get one thing out of the way: I’m not going to tell you how to dress. But I am going to tell you that it may be your biggest problem. I am not a stylist. I can not solve this problem. I can tell you this though: The camera will expose every flaw you have in your style. With that said, let’s get on with at least getting a quality photo.

 

I am not a professional photographer. I am not going to tell you how to take a photo of yourself. I am going to tell you where to get one. Your best bet is to find a local photographer that you see at local shows. More often than not, they are either legitimate press, legitimate artist, or a legitimate student. Browse their catalog of band photography and if you think it stands up, there ya go. This may all seem like common sense, but I want to stress that this is abandoned and somehow your guitar player’s girlfriend is your “photographer” because her mom has a camera. Do not let this happen to you. Find people with pro gear. Get a professional or at least a digital arts student. These are always your best bets.

 

If you are going for sheer impact with your 8 x 10 one good tip is to at least look like you are in the same band. I’m not saying get a gimmick or wear make-up. I’m saying that even if you think your personal look is “plain”, your band as a whole can benefit from at least being on the same page.

 

LOGO

 

The miracle of Adobe Photoshop has given birth to some of the most breathtaking digital art we have seen. It has also, to the misfortune of bands mostly, created total rubbish. If your logo sucks it says many things about you.

 

It shows you have high tolerance for bad art.

 

It shows you yourself might be a bad artist and were not smart enough to hire a professional.

 

It shows you have a very distorted view about the genre of your band.

 

It shows some of you are totally unprofessional and don’t care about your image.

 

You might be surprised how many ways there are to find good digital artists to create your logo. In my personal opinion, even paying up to $100 is worth it for a good logo. Bottom line, the sites below are the best place to find killer artists.

 

DeviantArt.com Mylkhead.com AngryBlue.com PlayWithKnives.com EyeSuckInk.com

 

PRESS KIT SECRETS

 

One very strong tip I can offer is to try to think of your image as “dynamic”. It has to be all things to all people. You might have to add something extra to that envelope before you send it off.

 

If you are sending your kit out to an artist rep at a prospective endorsee you ALWAYS want it to contain tour dates. This is the most important thing in your attempt to get gear for cheap and say those lovely words to all your loser musician friends playing crappy guitars… “I got an endorsement deal”.

 

A great add-in is a DVD. There are a lot of affordable ways to make a DVD these days. Again, this is one of those things that will expose your flaws. You don’t want to put your life story on there. Live footage is great if its done right. Fake smoke and that cheesy “page turn effect” are not. Don’t make a wedding video. This will be valuable in your arsenal when try to book gigs.

 

Ask First. Send. Follow Up. This is your best way to make some impact and get a solid contact in the biz. Your press kit will always have more impact if the person is expecting it (send it promptly).

 

Make sure you are to the point when calling someone you’d like to send a press kit to. You are Jon Doe from The Doetones. You are going to be in town around this time. You want to send a press kit for a possible gig. If you are sending an email and have an EPK (Electronic Press Kit) NEVER send the press kit in first. Always try to get a response before sending the press kit. If you are sending to a possible endorsee put your upcoming dates in the initial email.

 

Following up is crucial. Many of the people you will be dealing with in this business are either busy or forgetful…mostly both. You must initiate contact. Be tactful and patient. Do not hound people, but make sure you give yourself a chance to make some opportunities and pick up the phone yourself.

 

Remember, you are in essence, trying to self yourself to a company or consumer. You have to be a salesman. Try to connect to people and have them want to talk to you. If you can do this they will always want to help you or get you involved in something that will. Or best of all, spend money on you and your product.

 

Bruce Prokopets, aka Bishop Dolarhyde, is co-founder and editor of music news blog http://www.scenejumper.com Bruce had his first live gig at 15 and has had various jobs in the industry since. He spent years as a guitar tech, tour manager, endorsement liaison, bassist in a national act, and promoter in the Tampa Bay area of Florida.

 

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/

Three Things You Need to Develop to Be a Singer" target="_blank"><a name="three"></a><p> <b>Three Things You Need to Develop to Be a Singer</b>

 

You say you want to sing. What does it mean to sing or to be a singer? The answer may appear obvious, but is it?

 

When we think of singing, we may think of a specific song or performer. We may think of notes, pitch or wonder how many octaves someone is able to sing.

 

The one thing you may not consider is your mind. Singing starts with your thinking. It is your mental attitude. What you think, you will feel. What you feel, you will sing. Your voice tells us what you are feeling long before the words you say or sing do. If you feel happy, excited, or love for example, vocal adjustments will happen automatically in order to match that thought. If you feel fear about hitting a high note, you will not be able to focus on the approach needed to reach it. As you cannot think about two things at once you will undoubtedly miss the note and naively think it is caused by poor vocal technique, lack of range, a dry throat, nerves, or one of many other mind games singers play with themselves because they do not understand how their thinking determines the sound they produce.

 

So what is singing? What do I need to develop to become a singer? Singing is the combination of three things:

 

1. Vocal Technique

 

2. Music

 

3. Creativity / Self-Expression

 

Vocal Technique: Vocal technique is practical information about your thinking, breath co-ordination, tone production, chest and head registers, resonance, and maintaining healthy vocal cords. These techniques are practiced until the vocal co-ordination needed to produce the desired sound becomes automatic. Often, singers focus only on technique resulting in a rigid and uninteresting style. They lack originality and are disconnected from the audience.

 

Music: It is your ability to understand the structure of a song and communicate your ideas to other musicians. Those who focus primarily on the music hinder the development of their distinct style. They sound as if they are imitating someone.

 

Creativity – Self-Expression: Creativity and self-expression allows you to develop a style that is unique to you. It is the result of exploring and stretching your musical boundaries. Singer’s who focus only on creativity and self-expression lack proper technique limiting their ability to hit high notes, sing with power, and the ability to control the voice allowing them to express any song in any style they choose. Un-necessary strain is put on the vocal cords, often causing damage. They do not reach their singing potential.

 

To be a singer you need to develop a balance between all three areas. Imagine a three-legged stool. You will certainly “wobble” and possibly “fall over” if you do not maintain a balance of all three elements.

 

Learn and practice vocal technique on a regular basis, understand the structure of the music you are performing, and always challenge your creative boundaries. It all starts with your thinking. Following these guidelines will put you miles ahead of the competition.

 

BIO:

 

Over the years, Donna has developed a complete mind / body / spirit / voice method designed to access the power from the body to eliminate any pressure that may prohibit us from singing our best.  She combines specific rhythms and music patterns along with exercises designed to build proper breath support while gently working the entire vocal range, top to bottom. 

 

Donna Flynn 416-436-8063 donnavocalcoach@yahoo.ca www.vocalcoach.ca Creating the Sound in You………………..

 

Sounds Good to Me - Eliminate Throat Tension" target="_blank"><a name="sounds"></a><p> <b>Sounds Good to Me - Eliminate Throat Tension</b>

 

As a vocal coach, I hear it all the time. I love to sing but when I do, I get hoarse and need to shout to be heard after only a few hours. Some days I just want to give up. What am I doing wrong? What can I do about it?

 

Sadly, this is an all too common problem for many singers. The good news is that it is not your fault. Many people sing from a place of passion without having the control to protect their voice. We are encouraged to do so from other musicians, choir leaders, friends, our audience etc. Oh yes, and because we love to belt out our favorite tunes. It is no wonder we forget that the voice is “our” instrument and that it is to be treated with care and respect.

 

Some singers are born with a gift to sing but most need to understand how the voice functions naturally and take considerable care not to sing in a way that will limit their ability.

 

What are you doing wrong you ask? While you are probably doing many things right, I suspect you have developed one or two bad habits throwing everything off track. Let me explain. The throat does only two things. One, it produces the tone that differentiates one sound from another. This is what makes you sound the way you do and me sound the way I do. Second, the vocal cords vibrate creating a pitch. Slower vibrations occur for lower tones with faster vibrations for the higher tones. If we push too much air through the vocal cords to reach up to high notes or sing louder then we are able to control, the vocal cords slam together cutting off the sound. If done for an extended period, the voice will get tired and sore. If done on an ongoing basis, it will cause damage decreasing your ability to sing. Many people who sing well in their 20’s lose their voice early in life because of this lack of information. Sounds simple doesn’t it? That’s because it is.

 

What can you do about it? Singers have an enormous amount of fear when it comes to singing. They worry about what people think so they inevitably put far too much emphasis on the throat. This must stop. What you need to realize is that only 25% of your voice comes from the gift you have been given. 75% comes from understanding how the voice works and how to bring out the best in your voice. Taking the emphasis off the throat will eliminate the tension that cuts off the sound we produce. Use proper breathing techniques to support your singing, taking in only as much air needed to sing a phrase. Remember, the voice has the ability to get stronger and better as it matures rather then deteriorate.

From time to time, we all push our voices beyond their limits, become ill, or need a little something to sooth the throat. Please consider products without sugar or alcohol. They will only dry the vocal cords. Herbal teas such as mint is very soothing. Choose natural products and not products that only have artificial flavors. They will not take the edge of an already overused and tired throat. Drink lots of water 48 hours before singing and more if you are ill. Avoid anything that will coat or dry the vocal cords the day of singing such as dairy products, greasy food, decaffeinated drinks, alcohol, high-carbohydrate foods and smoking.

 

To wrap things up….what I am saying is please stop putting emphasis on the throat when the throat has very little to do with your singing ability. One last thing….relax, relax, relax. Singing was meant to be enjoyed by you and your audience, so don’t take things too seriously. In time, with a little practice, it will all fall into place. Trust that you are on the right path and that you will reach your goals. It’s really that simple!

 

Donna Flynn 416-436-8063 donnavocalcoach@yahoo.ca www.vocalcoach.ca Creating the Sound in You………………..

 

Hitting High Notes - It's Easier Than You Think" target="_blank"><a name="hitting"></a><p> <b>Hitting High Notes - It's Easier Than You Think</b>

 

In order to understand what takes place when singing high notes you first need to understand what pitch is. Pitch should not be thought of as a note. Pitch is a musical thought. A mental image. First, the singer gets a strong image of the note they wish to sing. You then sing the desired pitch mentally being guided by how the voice feels. You avoid the urge to listen to the music or to yourself. Musical cues within a song are meant to guide you but singing is a feeling and needs to be felt or heard mentally before attempting to sing the note.

 

Singers believe a pitch is something to be reached or hit. While “reach” and “hit” is terminology used to direct a singer to sing a specific note, it is not what we actually do to produce the higher tone. The higher you sing within your range, the more difficult you perceive it to be. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

 

When we think of high notes as “up” we instinctively try to reach “up” to them. We tell ourselves that they are above the notes in our lower register. This will cause us to push or strain up to the note developing poor vocal habits that will cause the voice to cut off the air supply and tone, making it impossible to sing the note. High is the term used to explain notes that go higher up on the musical staff. When singing them, however, they in fact do not move up but rather are positioned and sung in the same resonating area as all the other notes within your range. The vocal cords, or larynx as it is also referred to, stays relaxed and seated when the proper muscles and vocal co-ordination are used. The vocal cords stretch and thin as you sing higher notes but they in no way need any special co-ordination or breath support to accommodate this. In fact, if we do attempt to sing high notes differently then lower ones the voice will crack causing you to flip into a light falsetto voice rather then a strong and connected head voice. You need to give up the urge to control the sound. When we realize that the larynx is to stay in the same, seated position throughout your entire range, top to bottom, we can eliminate the fear associated with singing in certain areas of our range.

 

If you have been reaching up to notes or pushing excessive air through the vocal cords, you likely have over-developed muscles in the throat that are not meant for singing. The muscles on the side of your neck, as an example, are used for chewing and swallowing. As they are dominant muscles, the lack of proper tone co-ordination and control over airflow will result in these muscles taking over keeping you from singing in the upper area of your head register, or range. Any time muscles that are not meant for singing get involved in the process, the larynx will rise immediately cutting off the air supply, tone, and will keep you from reaching the correct pitch. If you are having difficulty reaching high notes it is because you have developed poor vocal habits that will eventually cause vocal cord damage. You need to stop doing what you are doing immediately and get help from a qualified vocal coach.

 

When trying to correct this problem you may feel tension in the neck, around the jaw and mouth area. You cannot feel tension in these areas unless you are focused on the tension. Developing the correct muscles needed for singing, combined with proper tone and breath co-ordination, your focus will shift and the tension will disappear.

 

So stop worrying about what notes you are singing. Over time, all the hard work you have put into properly developing your voice will pay off and you will hit any note you wish effortlessly. Continue to nurture your gift and you will be amazed how much more talent you have developed. Experiment, get creative with the music and have fun doing it.

 

Donna Flynn 416-436-8063 donnavocalcoach@yahoo.ca www.vocalcoach.ca Creating the Sound in You………………..

 

Divide and Conquer The Secret to Booking Gigs" target="_blank"><a name="divide"><b>Divide and Conquer The Secret to Booking Gigs</b></a>

 

Most everything you are told about booking gigs is wrong. An average band hears so much advice from so-called experts they can write a book about it. Most misconceptions are harmless. The ones that cause the most damage are the ones that are the most popular. Popular opinion should almost ALWAYS be avoided when dealing with the music business. This report is meant to deprogram you and tell you what no one will share about really booking better gigs.

 

It is important to attack the root of misconception fast. Therefore I will take a stab at it now. If you are a good band playing horrible gigs it is most likely because you have a skewed perspective of "time line". This article will be littered with the term "maintaining time line". This is not some trendy "industry term". This is simply the best way to describe your main priority in the quest to tour on your own 4 wheels.

 

What is "time line"?

 

Time line is a concept. It doesn't really exist. You have to think of it as rule that governs your music business habits. If your time line is too short, your success at gigs will be sporadic. If your time line is too long you will remain stagnant. You have to handle your gigging schedule with precision and thought. You must tweak your time line in order to correct what ails your band.

 

LESS IS MORE

 

This may be a cliché you hear tossed around a lot in the music business, but it is seldom followed. Playing too often in any market will kill your draw. That is the bottom line. Don't listen to anyone who tells you otherwise. I will spare you all the metrics and sterile accounting speak that proves this point. You must break free of the shackles of saturation if you are going to maintain time line and reach booking zen.

 

THE WAR

 

You want to think of booking your band like a war. There are territories you must win. From here on out we will refer to these as markets.

 

You have to find a way into each market and begin your campaign. For the remainder of the report these will be referred to as gigs.

 

You must find allies that align with your intentions and best interests. In other words, bands.

 

You must find a marketplace that has something to gain from your war. This report will refer to them as promoters.

 

WHO WILL HELP YOU THE MOST

 

The one thing that will probably surprise you the most is where to start getting better gigs. Many of you started out "cold calling" clubs out of the phone book or local rag and ask for a gig. Although this smash and grab attempt can create some lucky opportunities here and there, it will destroy your time line. The truth is, bands that are already successful in that venue will be your greatest ally. If already have some "cherry popping" gigs under your belt, or a demo, this will be crucial in forging a relationship with bands.

 

Many good drawing bands will have very strong connections with local promoters. Promoters are drawn to them because these bands are a vital commodity in their industry. Club owners and promoters plan to have these bands a certain many times in the year and account for so much business. Usually, in this type of relationship the band can book virtually at will and many times can create bills, or cards. Your best bet is to align with such a band. If you can do this it will launch your time line correctly.

 

WHEN TO DO IT YOURSELF

 

Assuming your first gig at a venue was under the circumstance outlined above you should make sure you meet the promoter and/or club owner that night. You want to make an impact. When a promoter feels like giving you a bone he doesn't want to throw it. Your initial gig at a venue via another band is the best time to see if the promoter was even paying attention. If they were they might need you for another bill, but you have to come to them.

 

LEVERAGE

 

Your draw in your home market will determine your leverage against other markets. In other words, a following in your market will create opportunities in others. This does NOT mean "create buzz here and then everyone will beg for us elsewhere". This means you can now find other bands in other markets that are successful and trade shows, or "swap gigs". Other bands that want to break into your market will want to align themselves with you. Repeating this across multiple markets, and applying a solid time line, will create success. You will also always have a good show supporting locals who draw at least as much as you do on other markets. Creating this leverage, by raising your draw, will be the key to routing better gigs across markets. How does one do this? Simple. Maintaining time line.

 

HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU GIG IN ONE MARKET

 

When you are fist starting out, it is important to play whatever gigs you can to get the hang of how it works. Think of those early gigs as practice. Think of the gigs you do supporting better drawing bands as where you really iron out your craft. Eventually you are going to want to test the waters and see what you are really worth. A band will, at some point, have to go out on its own and try to "headline", or put their own bill together as the "biggest" band. The first couple of times you do this it should be no more than once every 6 weeks. When your time line is ready to be set at optimum performance you should not headline any one market more than 4 or 5 times a year, or once per season. That's right, your time line gets longer, not shorter. When everything is working properly you will play less gigs, but with significantly more draw at each.

 

CHOOSING THE RIGHT VENUE

 

You want to fight battle you know you can win (we will talk more about battles in a moment). You want to play where you are confident you can draw. If you know a certain venue is famous for having death metal bands, and your name is DECAYING FLESH, you should probably put that club high in the running to become your home venue.The venue you draw the most at should be the one you concentrate on in the market.

WAR IS MADE UP OF BATTLES

 

As General, it is important to have a keen sense of delegation. You must be aware that the entire campaign is on your shoulders, but you have resources and a team of people to help you. Your band may not seem like an awesome war machine now, but you have to think logically. You have to delegate.

 

The easiest way to start creating a draw is to first hit your friends via your band mates. Delegate a realistic amount of responsibility to the other players in your band with a real value. You should start with "heads", or people they bring. Every member of your band should feel they are responsible to bring 20 heads that pay to get in. Instead of looking at your promotional campaign as a daunting war you will gain more ground with your band fighting smaller battles at once.

 

Some of the members of your band will have 20 cousins who will love to come. Some of your band members will have to resort to begging ex-girlfriends they dumped. Most of you will go the traditional route and hand out fliers at shows. No matter how, you each must meet your goal of 20 heads.

 

The PR and marketing front is a whole other battle. The Internet has made it possible to have your music heard, gigs found, and pictures seen across the world in hyper-speed. Properly presenting your image will be very important on this front. If you feel you need help in presenting your image you should refer to my previous article "The Truth Behind Press Kits, Bios, and Controlling Your Image". Remember, there are bands in other markets looking for bands to swap with, so make sure you are easy to find on the Internet.

 

OPTIMIMIZING YOUR TIME LINE

 

At first, you might be surprised that you do not meet our goal of 20 heads per member. Do not be discouraged. But when you finally create that watermark you are ready to begin stretching your time line and playing less gigs. You should reserve your headlining events for once a season and only break that rule for an opening slot for a national act or a great promotional opportunity like a benefit.

 

GROWTH

 

At this point you should be concentrating only on creating new fans. Think of the first wave of friends as your new soldiers. Delegate some task to them with a real value. A good starting point is having all your friends get at least 2 people to the next show or to at least sign up for the mailing list on your website. You have a website with a mailing list don't you?

 

You should not neglect historical methods of creating interest. Giving away free tickets to people who sign up to your list always gets some response. Promoting the fact you are giving away something for free at the next gig works too.

 

The actual venue that you play is often overlooked as a great place to promote. Not just by handing out fliers to patrons, but perhaps posters and banners. Most clubs will not have a problem with you putting up promotional materials around the venue. Always get a professional artist or art student to create your posters and fliers. This is the first thing many people will see promoting your band, make sure it counts.

 

MERCH

 

If you can afford merchandise, or "merch", like apparel and stickers, it can be a great revenue stream for your band. But again, you have to apply time line to your stocking habits. You want to be able to create and sell a new item at every couple of shows. Even if all you can afford are some new stickers or a new style button, do it. So if you really want to get those expensive glow-in-the-dark sweaters that say your band's name when you press a button make sure you have enough to get some more new merch soon.

 

New merch is a great way to train your fanbase. You have to train your fanbase to bring money to your gigs. When your fans are expecting new merch they are more likely to come prepared, or "armed with dough". Go to Scenejumper.com for more info

 

DIVIDE AND CONQUER

 

Use your newfound leverage to repeat success across multiple markets. Trade shows wisely and always do your research. Always make sure a gig swap is really worth it. Choose your markets carefully. It should be practical and affordable to gig other markets. You want to move out from your home base logically. Eventually you will be able to easily route yourself across your surrounding markets. Applying the proper time line and work ethic you can do mini-tours every season.

 

Bishop Dolarhyde is co-founder and editor of music news blog http://www.scenejumper.com. Bruce had his first live gig at 15 and has had various jobs in the industry since. He spent years as a guitar tech, tour manager, endorsement liaison, bassist in a national act, and promoter in the Tampa Bay area of Florida.

 

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/

 

Composing Using Chord Charts

" target="_blank"><a name="composing"><b>Composing Using Chord Charts</b></a><p>

 

A chord chart is a navigation tool. It's a way for the composer to chart out musical phrases and notate where chord changes occur.

 

It can be anywhere from 2-bars to 200 bars or more depending on how long the composition is or how many bars it takes to notate a musical idea.

 

For example, in the piece "Egrets," we have an 8-bar phrase with chord changes on top. This is a chord chart. It tells the performer where the chord changes occur, what the melody is, and when to change chords. This is all that is necessary to create a full arrangement of the music.

 

We don't need to write out every single note. We use the chord changes to create fresh arrangements of how we want the music to sound.

 

Notice that the first 2-bars of melody are written out. This was the initial idea. I then drew out 8-bars and finished by putting the chord changes on top. Now, whenever I want to play this little piece, I can play the initial melody and the whole thing comes together.

 

Of course, I could have written the whole thing out note for note, but this would have taken 30 times as long as just notating where the chords change.

 

Another benefit of this method is that the music is left elastic and fluid - that is, the aliveness of the music comes to you each and every time you play it. Why? Because each and every note is not written out. You can play it a little differently each time and each time the music will speak a little differently to you.

 

EzineArticles Expert Author Edward Weiss

 

Edward Weiss is a pianist/composer and webmaster of Quiescence Music's online piano lessons. He has been helping students learn how to play piano in the New Age style for over 14 years and works with students in private, in groups, and now over the internet. Stop by now at http://www.quiescencemusic.com/piano_lessons.html for a FREE piano lesson!

 

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/

 

How to Become a Better Sight Reader

" target="_blank"><a name="sight"><b>How to Become a Better Sight Reader</b></a><p>

 

If you are like most people, your performance of a piece of music “at first sight” could probably stand some improvement. Oh, to be able to breeze through a brand new piece without all the stops and starts!

 

What you may not realize is that sight-reading is an art in itself, separate and apart from pianistic ability. Many conservatory musicians, even many soloists, are not the great sight-readers you might expect. Sight-reading is a special craft within the art of music that won’t come automatically.

 

You must work at it just as you work at technique, or interpretation. You could have the technique of a Horowitz on the keyboard, or a Segovia on the guitar, but still be a laughable sight-reader.

 

There are many tricks to the sight-reading game, no matter which instrument you play. If these tricks can be used properly, and with regularity, two things will happen: 1) your sight-reading improves, of course, and 2) your over-all technique automatically improves. And if you regiment yourself to a daily sight-reading program, even just fifteen minutes’ worth, your entire outlook on your instrument will change drastically in a matter days!

 

If you practice scales, for example, you only improve your ability in playing scales. Nothing more. However, with sight-reading practice, you improve your scale playing technique, your octave technique, your arpeggio technique, because you are using actual pieces, which can encompass all of these techniques and more.

 

Let’s talk more of those “tricks” that will get you on the road to better sight-reading. First of all, you need a metronome. That’s trick number one.

 

What A Metronome Does For Sight-Reading:

 

Have you ever played chess, or watched people play chess by time-clock? The object of time-clock chess is that each player has a stipulated amount of time in which to make his or her move. They cannot exceed the amount of time allotted, or else the bell will sound and s/he will be penalized. This is exactly how we use a metronome in sight-reading. We must make our ”move” to the next note, or next chord, within a set time period.

 

And that’s the trick that gets our reflexes going. Sight-reading is nothing more than training our reflexes. In order to do this we have to fight the time-clock. In the case of music, our time-clock is the metronome. It’s an absolute necessity if you are serious about becoming a good, or better sight-reader. Besides that, you will find it invaluable for other practice purposes, which we will deal with in the future.

 

There are all kinds of reasons for having a metronome. So you might as well invest.

 

To learn more piano "Tricks of the Trade," please visit the following websites: http://www.mrronsmusic.com http://www.playpianotonight.com

 

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/

 

What To Expect During Your First Year Of Vocal Training

" target="_blank"><a name="expect"><b>What To Expect During Your First Year Of Vocal Training</b></a><p>

 

You have heard all the claims…..Sing Like a Star …..10 Easy Steps to Sounding Like a Pro …..Increase Your Range by 2 Octaves Guaranteed! It can be overwhelming to sift through the scads of information on the latest vocal techniques and easiest road to success. These promises can be alluring to even the most experienced singer. To help clear up some of the hype, I have outlined what you can realistically expect during your first year of training. Once you have the facts, you will be better able to select a vocal coach that will take you where you want to go.

 

For most people, the decision to take vocal lessons is a big one, so please give yourself credit for taking this important step. Proper vocal training will result in a strong healthy voice that will continue to improve long after you have stopped regular lessons. Some people need a few classes to ease into it while others jump in immediately. Regardless of where you are currently, know that you have made the right decision……………….

 

WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT

 

Beginner – First 3 Months

 

During this time, you will have the most vocal challenges. You may have developed poor technique or damaged your voice due to a lack of proper training. You do not know your true potential. You may lack confidence or may even be overconfident. Your voice gets tired when singing. You lack range, power, and are apprehensive about hitting high notes. It is difficult to put aside old ideas in order to make room for new ones. It is difficult to absorb all the new information at this time so a student may push too hard wanting to progress quickly. They may choose to drop out before making noticeable improvements.

 

Believe it or not but this is good news! This is a temporary stage that will pass with practice and patience. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses will allow you and your coach to work together to eliminate these limitations. You can do it!

 

Intermediate – 4 to 9 Months

 

This is the period where significant progress is made. The learning curve and settling in period has passed. You have made the commitment. Bad habits are replaced with good ones. Proper technique is becoming automatic. You begin to connect with the music not only on a technical level but on a creative level as well. Your unique sound is being discovered. Friends and family notice an improvement and are curious about what you have been doing. They start to make positive comments about what they are hearing. Confidence increases. You become willing to stretch your boundaries even further and leave old ideas behind.

 

Advanced – 10 to 12 Months

 

You are now able to sing using proper vocal technique. You sing from the bottom to the top of your range without strain. Your voice is stronger and louder. You have more stamina and singing appears effortless. Your range has increased and you reach the desired pitch, including high notes. You become independent and learn how to monitor yourself when practicing. Lessons start to become less frequent.

 

Graduate Student – One Year Onward

 

Periodic classes are required to keep you on track and discourage you from falling into old habits or creating new bad ones. As a singer cannot hear the real sound of their voice while singing, an occasional class is necessary. All of your hard work has paid off. Congratulations!

 

OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER…….

 

Vocal Training CD: While a vocal training CD will accelerate the learning process, they do not replace lessons. Most products offer a variety of exercises. Some exercises are intended to activate qualities in your voice while other exercises are designed to de-activate qualities. A student has no way of knowing what is helpful and what is counterproductive. Please, use them as a learning tool only. Leave the training to a qualified vocal coach.

 

Selecting a Vocal Coach: A coach must practice what they preach. Are they able to sing a variety of musical styles or just their favorite? You will want to select someone who will take you in the musical direction you want to go in and not just follow the path they have taken. Do not limit yourself to teachers close to home or work. Working with a coach that can bring out the best in your voice is the goal. It will be worth the extra distance. Find an environment where you can express yourself freely and one that offers open communication so training can be modified with your changing interests.

 

Remember, it is in your hands. The commitment you make to lessons and practice will determine the outcome. Go for it and have fun……………

 

Contact Info: Donna Flynn www.vocalcoach.ca donnavocalcoach@yahoo.ca 416-436-8063 EzineArticles Expert Author Donna Flynn

 

After moving to Toronto from Montreal, Donna began a journey of vocal training that connected her with coaches in Nashville, Los Angeles, San Francisco, as well as the Royal Conservatory in Toronto.

Although she found the techniques to be practical and was taught scales designed to improve the voice, she soon realized that no one was able to offer a method that allowed her to sing the many different styles of music she enjoyed singing.

It was clear that the only way she would find training that would bring out ALL the qualities that are UNIQUE to her voice, would be to develop it herself. So she did………..

Over the years, Donna has developed a complete mind / body / spirit / voice method designed to access the energy from the body to eliminate any pressure that may prohibit us from singing our best. She combines yoga and tai chi breathing along with specific exercises designed to building proper breath support while gently working the entire vocal range, top to bottom.

Donna is a member of SOCAN.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/

 

Why Colleges Are An Independent Musician's Goldmine

" target="_blank"><a name="colleges"><b>Why Colleges Are An Independent Musician's Goldmine</b></a><p>

 

by Kenny Love

 

Most musicians, independent or major, understand that the college market is one of their prime markets, if not their leading market for radio airplay and media coverage.

 

In contrast, however, most musicians do not seem to take complete advantage of this market and "milk it for all it is worth," so to speak.

 

As an example, artists send their CDs to college radio stations and newspapers seeking radio airplay, feature interviews and/or music reviews. Even if you get airplay or press coverage, it is, at best, limited and short-lived.

 

However, since colleges also present the lowest rates for affordable and consistent advertising, musicians should take ongoing advantage of this market's low-cost advertising rates through its various available media outlets.

 

In fact, many (if not most) musicians can afford to place a simple text line ad in a college newspaper that runs during the entire Fall and Spring school semesters (to economize, be sure to first select the college papers that publish weekly, as opposed to the ones that publish daily. You can always "move up" at a later time).

 

Doing so will keep your ad in front of college students, whereas, many students may have missed your airplay or press coverage.

 

Also, most college newspapers will also place your ad (at no additional charge) on their college newspaper websites, which is where many of the students read their school paper.

 

There's no need to get into an expensive situation by running large display ads that include your photo or CD cover (students can see them when they visit your website, and eliminating the photos and CD cover from your ad piques their interest and causes them to visit your site).

 

At this point, the idea with the ad is to get the maximum results for the least cost.

 

You can limit your ad size to three text lines that simply consist of: * Your band's name * Your band's genre description * Your website url

 

And, since college papers' advertising sections tend to be fairly spacious, there is usually no need to worry that your ad will get "lost" among a glut of other ads (that is, unless a thousand musicians read this particular article and select the same college paper that you do). :-)

 

The great benefit of the college market is that:

 

* It is diversified (practically, any genre is accessible)

 

* It is a HUGE market (The University of Texas alone has approximately 40,000 students during regular sessions)

 

* It is open-minded (meaning, it is ready and willing to give you a chance, whereby, much of normal society is jaded, cynical and doubting)

 

* One of the primary products college students spend their money on consistently throughout the year is *MUSIC*

 

This is a perfect time (October) to get started with setting up a regular advertising schedule with colleges, since students have settled down to a regular session for a few weeks now.

 

Again, don't simply stop or be cut short of earning a great income from music sales all school year long by only going for college radio airplay or media coverage.

 

Take advantage of both free media publicity coverage as well as continuing sales through college media ads after the publicity has long disappeared.

 

And, a peripheral benefit is that, by continuing your ads in the school papers or on the school radio or television station, you should also get some regular gig interest from various campus organizations as well.

 

By the way...while you're talking to college newspapers, be sure to also check with the college radio and television stations to learn what their ad rates are.

 

You may be very surprised to learn the positive sales results that you could have already been getting through colleges for some time by maximizing the potential of this market goldmine.

 

About the Author

Kenny Love is president of MuBiz.com, a multi-service music firm providing radio promotion, media publicity, gig publicity and business services for musicians. Get complete details at http://www.myspace.com/kenlove

 

Sending Your Demo. Doing it Right

" target="_blank"><a name="demo"><b>Sending Your Demo. Doing it Right</b></a><p>

 

by Peter "Jazdout" Weis

 

Tip #1 - Put your contact information on everything. This may sound simple, but it is one of the biggest mistakes people make when they send me demos. Use a clear font like Arial or NY Time Roman at decent size. If you are sending a CD make sure the CD is clearly labeled with your name, phone number, email address and website if you have one. This same information should appear on your business card if you have one as well. Make sure that if you are sending a picture, you include your information on that as well. Most professional headshots can have your name and contact info at the bottom of the photo. If you can't afford big time photography, at least write your contact info on the back of the picture with a Sharpie marker or something. If you are using a folder or some other type of portfolio, make sure the information is on the outside of the folder as well. Important Indusrty Tip: Include your government name on your info especially if you're under 18 or still living with some one else. There is nothing funnier than returning a phone call to someone named "Blaze" Or "Murderer". This is a true story: Ring, Ring. Your mom picks up the phone. "Hello is Murder there" - "Who? There ain't no 'murder' here what are you talking about? Is this some kind of sick joke?" Then a younger brother in the background yells, "That's Frankie, mom, he's a rapper!"

 

Tip #2 - A Good CD Cover. Unless your Demo is professionally duplicated stay away from a crazy looking CD cover unless you feel itwill really make you stand out from the crowd. Bad CD art work screams "I'm new at this, throw my demo in the trash." If you're not an art genius or can't get good artwork for your CD, then just leave it off. A clear jewel case with a nice crisp white label and black text looks pretty professional. Bad covers are a big turn off.

 

Tip #3 - You got 15 seconds, maybe a minute. The 15 second rule is a must. One of the most common mistakes new rappers and singers make is not getting to the point. Most people in the music industry have very short attention spans when it comes to listening to demos. If 30 seconds of the beat have passed by and all you have said is "What Whuh, Yeah Uh Uh, Yeah we going to do this," it's going in the trash. By 15 seconds I should know your stage name and be hearing some lyrics. Do your shout-outs at the end of the track. Get to the point. I wouldn't wait too long to get a hook in there either.

 

Tip #4 - Good sound quality. We have reached a point at which recording quality is no longer expensive. Studio time can be found dirt cheap in many places. Equipment has also become affordable enough to put your own small studio together on a very limited budget. That said, most people's demos still sound like crap. Distortion, static, noise, can't hear the vocals. The list goes on and on and on. There are 2 ways to solve this: Get someone that knows what they're doing, or have some one teach you how to do it. If you are going to a studio ask to hear something they have recorded. If it doesn't sound good or clear then find some one else. When recording yourself, I would recommend having some one that is more experienced do the mixing. I would even recommend talking to whomever you're going to have mix your project or tracks before you start recording . Doing this will make life easier for both of you and you'll end up with a better sounding product. Most people always ask why sound quality is important. Why cant they just hear my talent? Well, part of the answer to that is very often the recording is so bad it is impossible to make out the lyrics, let alone want to listen to them. It's also important because your demo is competing with many others that actually do have good sound quality.

 

Tip #5 - Get help. If you are putting your demo together and have questions, it is better to seek help and do things in a more professional manner then do everything yourself and sacrifice quality. Use the people that you have around you for help. Friends can be good at offering you suggestions and it's always good to have another view of things. Incorporating your family and friends into your project will also show them you are serous about what you're doing and gain their support. Now I'm not saying you should get your mom to do your graphic design or something, but to put out a professional looking and sounding product you will need help and support.

 

Peace,
Producer / Engineer - Jazdout

Beats, Recording, Production, Remxing and Sounds

http://www.gnxmusic.com Copyright 2005 GNX Music

Author Bio Creator of the Mixtape Toolkit and Hip hop producer and engineer for GNX Music a NY based production, recording and sound design studio.

 

How To Promote CDs at Gigs You Don't Play

" target="_blank"><a name="promote"><b>How To Promote CDs at Gigs You Don't Play</b></a><p>

 

by Kenny Love

 

Here are several questions for you to ponder:

 

* How much would it be worth to you to learn how to promote your CD at gigs you never even play, but create a large number of sales from these gigs just the same?

 

* While these particular gigs are promoting your CD, at the same time, what if you could play a completely different gig and get paid for it while also selling CDs at it and, in fact, possibly *doubling* and *tripling* your CD sales profits *each* night?

 

* Even better, what if you could not only do this in your own local area, but also do it regionally, nationally, and even internationally?

 

What I'm speaking of, is major cross promotion and incredible joint venture partnering with other bands that you know that are equally as serious about and strongly committed to their careers.

 

Naturally, you should do some background research on each prospective band prior to getting into such a venture with it. You should also sign an agreement to ensure that each band is aware of its commitment and responsibilities.

 

So, with each successful qualifying band that "passes," in terms ofa background research, approach the band with a cross promotion and joint venture offer to promote each other's CD at each other's gigs. Here are some guidelines:

 

1. Make sure the band is within your genre, and has a similar music-styled CD that is current (no more than a year old).

 

2. Each band in the network needs to create a CD of song samples or snippets (brief samples of each song from its full-length CD, much like the 2-minute samples on such sites as CD Baby, Amazon.com, etc.).

 

3. While each band will sell its own full CD at its gigs, each band will also hand out CD samples from its partner bands as freebies to each person who buys the performing band's full-length CD.

 

4. During gigs, in addition to announcing that its own CD is available for sale to the audience, each band should also inform its respective audience that each person who purchases its CD also gets a FREE bonus sample from (three, five, whatever number in your network) of its fellow bands.

 

There is nothing like free giveaways to produce bonafide sales on the spot, so to speak, and this will actually "force" and increase sales at gigs that may otherwise have not occurred. And, the more band sample giveaways you have, the better chances for even more sales and, possibly, complete sell-outs of your nightly stock.

 

Note: Don't make the mistake of giving away your fellow bands' samples to people who don't purchase your own CD.

 

5. Each band should also have a website that is listed on each CD sample's label, cover and as a file on the disc itself so that audience members who purchase the gigging band's CD can also have immediate access to the fellow bands' websites for getting more information and the opportunity to also purchase their full-length CD as well.

 

6. In addition to creating peripheral sales for all bands in the network, this promotional system will also greatly help build each band's audience and sales without the need to actually perform for these particular sales.

 

7. Likewise, each band is eliminating the need to spend additional time and money promoting and publicizing its CD for these particular future sales.

 

Now, again, imagine doing this with the bands that you know just in your local area. Then, consider the potentially incredible results in exposure and financially that can occur should you decide to branch out regionally, nationally or internationally.

 

About the Author

 

Kenny Love is president of MuBiz.com, a multi-service music firm providing radio promotion, media publicity, gig publicity and business services for musicians. Get complete details at http://www.myspace.com/kenlove