Have you ever been a starving musician? It’s no fun. Wondering where this month’s rent money is going to come from, scrounging up change in the sofa to put gas in your car, hoping that a string doesn’t break during the gig. No one goes from a little known performer to self-sufficient artist overnight. Here are seven rules to help you transition from someone with talent and a dream to someone with talent and a career in music. Read more.
In Part 2 of our interview, songwriter Ben Camp shares his perspectives on the art and craft of songwriting, including methods he uses to develop compelling song ideas. He expands on his thoughts about the importance of co-writing and why he believes it’s essential to build a network of talented collaborators while pointing out some of the common mistakes aspiring songwriters often make. Read more.
Ben Camp interview, Part 1. “Doubt is part of the creative process. Even people who are at the top of the songwriting game today struggle with the process. [One hit songwriter I know] has said that he’ll come up with 100 different melodies to find the one that sticks. So it’s essential to not be afraid to throw out those hundred until you hit on one that lights you up on the inside and you know, ‘Wow, that’s it!’” Read more.
Guitars use what is known as an equally tempered scale, which is a compromise and doesn’t result in 100% precise tuning or intervals between notes. Since guitars have this inherent weakness when it comes to being in tune, it helps to have a basic understanding of guitar intonation and adjustments to get the best performance. Read more.
I have sort of an irreverent attitude, so I’ve been inclined to do things that were supposed to be wrong. I always like using cheap or ancient, wheezing gear along with the usual pro gear, because I really think the “action” sound comes from musically effective distortion. Sometimes this oddball gear makes a bold sonic statement you just can’t get any other way. I like tape delays, for instance a [Roland] Space Echo, especially if the tape has a little crease in it. Read More.
Benito Cortez maintains a four-pointed portfolio music career. His first call is as the violinist and mandolin player for Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks, an internationally acclaimed acoustic acoustic jazz and swing ensemble. “While the work I do with Dan is the biggest part of my income, it actually amounts to a really good part-time job in terms of my overall earnings.” Read More.
Whatever the genre or instrument, few musicians make it to the level where they can pursue their music passion 24/7. Indeed, in nearly every professional industry, portfolio careers are becoming commonplace, and a portfolio music career is a great way to diversify income via music, or to add music to other career exploits. Read More.
Daniel Ebbers, voice instructor at the Conservatory of Music at University of the Pacific, shares insights and vocal exercises in our video series for vocalists. In these videos, he explores the upper register of a student’s vocal range and summarizes our four-part series. Read more.
You wouldn’t see a top athlete compete without going through a set of warm up activities, and if you are a vocalist, you need to do the same kind of preparation every time you sing. Professor Daniel Ebbers has been training singers for more than twenty years, and in the following videos he explains the benefits of warming up and takes us through a series of vocal exercises. Read more.
The Nadas have built a 20-year career in music. Through playing hundreds of shows and releasing 11 records, they’ve learned what works when building a sustained career in music and an audience that spans one-third of the country. We spoke with Nadas co-founder Mike Butterworth (guitar/vocals) and dug up nine nuggets of wisdom that have helped the band survive for so long. Read more.
This post was revised March 2017. Got questions about what to deduct, 1099s, and audits? We’ve got tax tips for musicians from a CPA who specializes in the music industry. Read more.
Once you dive into learning the proven techniques that have helped bands to dramatically boost their fan base and build an audience on YouTube, you’ll begin to understand how to develop an overriding video strategy and leverage the power of the platform. The best place to start learning is the YouTube “Creator Playbook” that spells out how successful creators conceive, produce, publish, and promote their content. Read more.
With six words, “Not everyone wants to be an entrepreneur,” Alina Simone gives voice to a nagging feeling many musicians and songwriters have. Sure, the social media platforms and music promotion tools available to any musician today form an impressive array of conduits to share your music, reach out to new audiences, and establish your “brand.” But what about the shy artist who is not comfortable displaying her entire life to the world? Read more.
Investing your time, talent, and emotional capital by sharing what you find compelling can help to not only build an audience for you and your own music, it can help you better define your brand. And these days, aside from the music itself, branding may be the most important element in determining who makes a living in music and who continues as an infrequently paid music hobbyist. Read more.
The new definition of artist development hinges on emerging artists consciously establishing a career plan and then implementing that plan over time in order to accomplish a series of ever more ambitious goals. To learn more and get practical advice, I spoke with Catherine “SupaCat” Enny, CEO and founder of Guerrilla Management. Catherine established her management credentials when a then-unknown band she produced and managed named Kyuss broke out on the strength of her production and business acumen. Read more.