Monday, October 20, 2008

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Versatility

It's obvious to everyone that versatility is an advantage! You're in line for more work and more variety of work. Certainly, versatility is better than limitation. Versatility also allows you to move in and out of areas if you get tired of them. Generally, this is a good thing!

On the flip side of this, there is another issue to consider. Using my career as an example, I was highly reputed in the show side of music and worked in that field for many years, I then got tired of it and went hard in the direction of Jazz concerts. From there, I returned to show playing and studio work. In time, I switched my focus to composing, working in corporate, radio and television advertising. Next was an eight year period of Neo Classical guitar with concerts, recordings, radio and television appearances. From that endeavor, I began writing instruction books on music. And through it all, I continued to teach and consult. The only activity that has been constant in my career has been teaching.

So where's the problem? Recently, I made a hard shift back to jazz concert work. But in my absence, everyone forgot who I was. It's like starting over. The same is true of all my contacts in each other field.

If you can maintain a series of activities simultaneously, it's more realistic considering how quickly the world forgets you. If you leave a field behind and don't go back to it, no problem. But all in all, it's good to have consistent activity in as many areas as you want to pursue.

Balance as always is the key to virtually everything.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Three Words

There are three words commonly used in music that should be avoided - or at least redefined.

These words are Practice, Play and Rules.

Practice - This implies boring repetition. It's uncreative and unproductive.

Play - This connotes casual fun - a frivolous, optional activity.

Rules -These are a rigid set of "laws" which must be followed.

I would suggest that the word Practice be replaced with the word Explore.

I would suggest that the word Play be replaced with the word Work.

I would suggest that the word Rules be replaced with the word Principles.


When you explore music, it becomes fun and exciting. To explore is to discover!

Work in the music business is not like work in any other field. Most musicians feel blessed to make music their career. So work in this context is joyful not tedious.

The Principles of music hold the key to the development of your potential. Within these principles, there is unlimited opportunity to expand your creativity.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Entertainment as a Career

Let's say you are pursuing the life of a performer. Whatever makes you inclined in that direction tends to make you "un-inclined" to follow up on the business side of music. Are you sure that you want to pursue this as your business? Are you sure that this pursuit is not just a hobby? If it is a hobby, that's fine. But if it's going to be a business, then you have to take care of "business".

Back in the day, a manager was necessary to pursue this field. Today, things have changed so much that I'm not so sure that it's as necessary as it once was.

What do you absolutely need today? An agent's job is to get you performances. That's essential! There is no performing career without performances. How about a lawyer, an accountant, a road manager, a sound company, a lighting company, roadies etc,etc. Well, all in good time.

But I want to focus today on the role of Public Relations. At one time, this may have been considered a fancy luxury. But, considering the changes in the industry, I feel that the role of PR is now one of those necessary things to have. Of course, it has to be a good firm that can deliver what they claim to be able to deliver. That will take some searching and some interviewing - both on your part and on their part.

Some simple guidelines. The firm or individual should have been in business at least 10 years. They should specialize in music - in particular your kind of music. They need to be flexible as far as the programs that they offer and the fees that they charge. After all, you're not usually rolling in money at the beginning of your music career.

It's a search but it's well worth the effort. So that's my overly simplistic suggestion. You need an agent and good PR. The rest will be up to you!