Tag Archives: musicians

March Funky Time Jams

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March Funky Time Jams

Helloooo everyone and happy weekend! With a new month upon us, let’s discuss some of the music that I’ve been playing on repeat while driving about and getting ready in the morning. It’s a bit of a hodge podge collection this month, but that kind of fits in with the haphazardness that was February. So, crank up your volume and let’s discuss:

(And, as always, I have no rights to any of these songs or videos!)

As you can see, I wasn’t lying when I said that it has been a little bit of this and a little bit of that on my playlist. I have been spending a lot of time switching between funky AF Prince to emo classic The Used and Led Zeppelin sound alike Greta Van Fleet. They are actually coming to Cleveland in July and tickets sold out SO quickly, so I wasn’t able to snag them. I have also been enjoying listening through U2’s latest album Songs Of Experience, so including Get Out Of Your Own Way on this list was a must!

Who is on your March playlist? What kind of music do you listen to to reflect your mood? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

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In A Band? Here’s How To Get Some Attention

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In A Band? Here’s How To Get Some Attention

So, you’ve started a band, wrote what you think are some pretty good songs, and practiced until you’re all really tight. You’ve been playing lots of local venues, and it’s gone down well, but you want more; you want a real music career. The first thing you’re going to have to do is get more attention for yourselves. Here are a few sensible steps you should take if you want to propel your band into the spotlight:

Create Your Own Website:

If you have a band, then you should have your own standalone website and you should absolutely take the time to update its content regularly. If you don’t do this, not only will new people not find you, but anyone who has been following you will probably start to lose interest. Your website really does need to stay fresh if you’re to attract as big an audience as possible.

Upload Your Music in New Places:

Chances are, you’ve already uploaded your band’s music somewhere, but if you really want to get more attention, you’re going to have to keep uploading it to as many new platforms as you can, so that it can reach as many people as possible. For example, you could upload indie music on indiesound.com or feature your band on Dozmia.com. You should also be trying to get your music onto more popular platforms such as iTunes so that you can piggyback off recommendations and perhaps pick up more listeners.

Give Radio Stations a Go:

If you’ve recorded your music to a high standard (A professionally recorded promo CD rather than a raw demo, ideally.), then sending it out to various radio stations, both local and national is a good way of potentially getting more exposure. Obviously, just sending your music is no guarantee that your band will be featured, but if it is, you could see more opportunities to play in more places open up for you and that can only be a good thing, so give it a try.

Create a YouTube Channel:

It should go without saying that if you’re looking to promote your band in 2018, you need to have your own YouTube channel because so many now famous musicians have been discovered there. While we’re on the subject of YouTube, you might also want to take the time to comment on other people’s music videos, whether they’re indie like you or major names. Don’t be spammy, but where appropriate mention your own band (perhaps on the videos of bands you sound like), and you will probably get a lot more hits.

Network with Event Organizers:

A good way to get more attention is by playing more high profile gigs, rather than just playing in local clubs and bars where everyone probably knows you already. So, take the time to reach out to event organizers and let them know you’re available. If you stay in touch and build a strong relationship with them, it could pay off big time.

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Partayyyy

 

Talk to Playlist Curators:

Playlist curators on platforms like Youtube can get millions of views, so if you come across one who you think might dig your band’s style, don’t be afraid to reach out to them and ask them if they would like to include one of your songs. You lose absolutely nothing by asking, and you could gain a lot of attention if they agree.

Start Your Own Podcast/YouTube Channel Review Site:

A strategy that can really pay off if you’re dedicated to it is to move away from relentlessly promoting your band using the hard sell and, instead, set up another platform, whether that be a podcast, YouTube channel, review blog, or anything else, where you talk about music in general. By doing this, you can make a name for yourself as someone who’s passionate/knowledgeable about music and people will start to naturally look to your band. Of course, you’ll be able to slip in the occasional plug, too!

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Flickr Image

 

Send Your CD Somewhere Unexpected:

Although you should send your CD out to various music blogs, magazines, and reviewers, you should also consider sending your disc out to more unexpected places, which are somehow related. For example, if you’ve written your album on the theme of Paris, then sending it out to someone who blogs about the city might get you more exposure than you expected. Or sending a CD on the theme of Buddhism to a publication like Tricycle could prove fruitful. Whatever it is you can think of that will give you an extra and unexpected opportunity to sell your music, do it and you might be pleasantly surprised by the results.

Spend Some Money:

If you’re a bunch of struggling musicians, it’s understandable that you might not want to spend any money on advertising, but considering the fact that you can advertise on platforms like Facebook and Dozmia for as little as ten dollars, it makes sense to give it a go. The increased exposure you’ll get from it might actually make you some money in the long-term.

Take Promo Photos:

Another area where you might want to spend a bit more money is in the promo photo department. A few great shots of your band in various poses can make all of the difference between someone giving you a chance and listening to your music, and them ignoring you completely. Now, which is your best side?

Whether you’re looking to boost your fan base by enough that you can make a little money doing what you love or you want to make it big, doing any and all of the above is a great place to start. At the very least, you will gain more attention, which is what you will need to do if you want to convince more people to give you a shot. Good luck!

Featured Image By: Flickr

January Jams

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January Jams

Heyy everyone and happy Monday! Today we are going to rock out to the music that has been on repeat on the ol’ iPod. The icy cold winter weather is about to warm up with some flaming hot January Jams. Take a listen (And, as always, I have no rights to any of these songs or videos!):

I have been SUPER obsessed with Modest Mouse as of late and have been having a blast playing all of their albums on shuffle. I also recently got back into Purity Ring after a chance encounter with them on Serius XM, which brought me back to one of my favorite Danny Brown remixes on “Belispeak”. I am super pumped to get their latest album, Another Eternity, from the library because it has been far too long since I have heard anything new by them!

Another band that I have really been feeling lately is The New Pornographers and, like Modest Mouse, I have been playing their albums on shuffle, as well. Twin Cinema will always be the jam, though! And, as always, trust and believe that hella Marilyn Manson has been peppered into my selection, he just didn’t make an appearance on this month’s list. 😀

What are your favorite songs right now? What is your go to genre of music? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Why It’s Never Too Late To Learn How To Play An Instrument

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Why It’s Never Too Late To Learn How To Play An Instrument

“I should have learned to play the guitar, should’ve learned to play them drums”, so sang Dire Straits in 1985. While a total lack of musical knowledge or awareness hasn’t been an impediment to many people working in the music industry today, many of us regret either not having learned or abandoning the learning of a musical instrument. Today, we’ll look at why it’s never too late to pick up an instrument, the pedagogic and psychological benefits, as well as looking over some great instruments for neophyte musicians. Learning a musical instrument is more than just a fun hobby, it’s a valuable skill that has numerous cerebral benefits as well as being a cool trick to bust out a parties!

It’s literally never too late:

Virtually everyone benefits from some sort of creative outlet and while we’re all just sort of expected to find the right one in our teens or early twenties, many of us don’t find the right mode of self-expression until they get into middle or even old age. There are few subsets of people for whom the dexterity and mental faculties to play an instrument are prohibitive. If, for example, your arthritic hands make playing the guitar or piano problematic you may benefit just as much from learning the harmonica or the panpipes.

Getting over the learning curve:

The landfills are littered with guitars that were discarded because their owners deemed it “too hard”. Most of them were impatient children or teenagers (We all knew someone at school who quit their guitar lessons because they didn’t become a virtuoso within a month.). As an adult, you may surprise yourself with how well you navigate the learning curve. While your older mind may be set in its ways, you will have learned the value in persistence elsewhere in life.

For most instruments, unlocking the fundamentals is a huge step in smoothing out the steep learning curve. In guitar playing, for example, much of your musical vocabulary is formed by mastering the ‘barre chords’ – moveable chords. When one has the measure of these, they can play any minor or major chord from a good root position. It takes time to master, but it unlocks so much of the instrument’s potential when you do. When this obstacle is hurdled, a player has the inside scoop in learning to cover their favorite music and even learning to write their own.

Cerebral and psychological benefits:

When playing (or even listening) to music, multiple areas of the brain become active. Musicians may look calm and composed but there are firework displays in their neurons. Processing music is actually an incredibly complex mental process, giving our brains a great workout that most of the time we’re not even aware of. It keeps our brains young and aids cognitive dexterity.

Finding the right instrument:

Hopefully, you’ve been moved to consider taking up a musical instrument, but you may wonder which are the best or most accessible ‘starter instruments’. String instruments such as guitar, violin, piano, cello, and bass are fairly accessible for new learners, as are the flute and clarinet. The saxophone presents a slightly steeper learning curve but it’s so ubiquitous in so many forms of music, that learning to master it opens up a lot of doors.

There’s no such thing as the wrong instrument. Even learning an instrument that you don’t stick with tends to be a gateway to learning more. And isn’t it always fun to try new things?!

Featured Image By: Pixabay

Moving Past Open Mics With Your Indie Band

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Moving Past Open Mics With Your Indie Band

Sure, there are people out there who are going to tell you that now is the time to be a musician for the simple fact that there are more avenues than ever to explore. But just because there are a lot more ways to get heard does not mean that it is easier. In fact, being an indie band now is probably harder than ever before for the simple fact that there are so many options. Playing yet another gig at yet another tavern hidden way off the beaten track, the kind of place that makes you pay for your own water is not exactly a great way of making it. Don’t believe us, just look at your band’s communal wallet.

However, just because you’re broke and living at your bass player’s mom’s house does not mean that you should give up the dream. That is because you can still make it and live out your dream of touring some far-off country where fans chant your name in their adorable local accents. It is just about following the rules and knowing how to maximize your chances.

Of course, telling you that and then skipping town would hardly be rock n’ roll of us. So, to help you start living the dream and escape your bass player’s mom’s house (No offense, Barbara.), we have pulled together a list of insider tips and tricks. Check it out:

  1. Get To Know Your Fans Like The Back of Your Hand:

Pennies are short and, for some reason, no record labels seem to hang around open mic night’s held in Big Dave’s Garage (lol.). Basically, there is no sign of an advance floating your way just yet, which means your fans are your biggest financial life jacket. That is why you need to make sure that you are giving your fans something for their loyalty and love. Get to know the names of those guys and girls that are always in the front row. Give your fans a way of listening to exclusive music or interviews by creating a band website and then sharing this sort of content there. Share video recordings of acoustic sessions and behind the scenes banter on your social media pages and make sure that you are replying to any comments or messages that float your way. We used the life jacket analogy for a reason because, in the same way, you need to inflate your life jacket by blowing air into it, you need to give your fans something in return for being so awesome.

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 Party over hereeee!

  1. Play Your Strengths As Well As Your Guitar:

Every band has their own strengths, so make sure that you are aware of what yours are and then play to them in every way possible. Just being great songwriters with above average talent and the technical know-how when it comes to uploading your music onto Soundcloud, Youtube, Spotify or whatever else isn’t enough. You need to find other ways to shove your musical abilities into the realms of greatness, and that requires a little bit of magic (aka creativity). If you’re a band that offers more stage presence than the lovechild of Katy Perry and Bruno Mars, then try and play as many live gigs as possible, and maybe even consider getting a residency somewhere. Not only will you get paid, but you will see your star start to rise as more and more people see you. It could be that your sense of humor is your secret weapon, in which case document this and share it, get interviews with niche magazines and little radio stations, and then let this personality of yours show in your music videos. OK Go became famous for their viral worthy music videos, which means that it is totally possible to emulate this approach to success.

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 A cool band name is a must!

  1. Grab People By The Eyes And Ears:

Having a sound that people recognize is one of the most important factors when it comes to carving out some Top Of The Pops like success. But so is having the right visual branding, too. That is why it is worth spending a little bit of time and money (Presumably borrowed from your parents. Barbara, we’re looking at you.) on a graphic designer. This branding of yours is going to be stamped across all of your promotional material – Facebook page profile pictures, website homepage, Instagram, flyers, album covers, t-shirts, USB drives, and pub mic-night posters – and will help establish your place in the industry. Think about some of the greatest and most famous bands to ever walk the boards of the biggest venues. The Rolling Stones, Foo Fighters, Run DMC, Daft Punk. All of these legends created a visual identity so powerful that just their shadows would halt you in your tracks. Basically, get your branding right and you’ll have people want to sport your promotional products, whether t-shirts or posters, and that will spread the good word faster than the flu.

  1. Forget All About A Record Deal. Period.

No one from a record deal is going to turn up at one of your small gigs – or your bass player’s mom’s house (No offense, Barbara.) and hand you the golden ticket that is a record deal. That just isn’t going to happen, nor should you want that to happen. The hard work is there to be enjoyed, used in your music, and make you successful. Most importantly, though, you need to understand that no record label has a secret recipe that guarantees success. They just don’t. Instead, they pick up talent based on their independent success; so they will pick you up based on your independent success. That is what you want. You want to use this as a bargaining chip should the day ever come where labels start to notice you instead of getting snapped up early and dropped or, worse, hung out to dry. Concentrate on what you are doing, focus on your trade and doing your own thing; that is what will lead to success – not trying to chase the money and the labels.

Being in a band is cool. Finding success in something you love is cooler. Prepare for a lot of hard work and with just a little bit of luck, you won’t be crashing on Barbara’s couch for much longer.

Featured Image By: Pexels

Work Out Jams

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Work Out Jams

Hellooo everyone! So as you guys know, I’m making an attempt to get my walk/run/rawk on throughout the week and it’s going pretty good so far. If you’ve read my recent Monday Update, then you will have seen that I’ve recently started to bring my iPod with me during my excursions even though I have to carry it because no arm band. I’ve been getting my emo on more often than I care to admit during these jaunts but I feel like I enjoy myself so much more with my music playing. For that reason, I compiled some of my favorite tunes together for your listening pleasure the next time that you get your work out on. Take a looksee (and, as always, I have no rights to these songs or videos!):

Lol, so as you guys can see, I definitely go for either old school emo or fairly recent rap when I’m running and I think that this list is the most funny, random compilation ever. But hey, it really does get the job done when I’m hitting the pavement because the emo-ness gets me angsty and the rap gets me hyped and the result is a much needed extra energy boost!

Normally when I’m working out, I will just have one album playing the whole way through. For example, last night I was listening to Yelawolf’s “Trunk Muzik 0-60”. But, when I’m feeling saucy or bored as I’m running, I’ll switch up my music every so often to my inner emo kid jams or anything Kendrick Lamar because he’s my best friend in my head.

Despite my sweaty palms from having to hold my iPod while I run, it’s so worth it because my Work Out Jams definitely make for a much more enjoyable experience! What music do you listen to when you work out? What is a song that you play to get you hyped? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Making It In Music: From Covering Songs To Writing Them

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Making It In Music: From Covering Songs To Writing Them

If you love to play music, you probably started out playing covers of songs, whether you took part in lessons or got into the world of musicianship on a self-taught basis. Of course, if you find yourself wanting something more and you’re ready to start creating original tracks, then it can be hard to take the plunge in terms of putting pen to paper. While there are no ‘rules’ in terms of writing music, as creativity can’t be forced, there are ways in which you can hone in on your talents and start to create something original. Here are some pieces of advice to help you make a mark in the music world as a songwriter rather than a cover artist:

Understand the recording and production process:

When it comes to creating your own songs, writing something with a catchy melody and meaningful lyrics is only one part of the equation. In fact, being a musician with a beautiful singing voice and instrumental talent who performs well is also only a small part of the equation. You need to understand the recording and production process involved with creating music if you want your original tracks to really make their mark on listeners, and this involves more than simply turning on a mic and pressing ‘record’.

You need to ensure that the quality of the instruments being used and everything involved with the song has been honed to perfection, as it’s easy to capture every sound in a live environment, but not quite so much in a recorded environment. You might want to look into sites such as Box Tiger Music for help with choosing guitars or pianos based on reviews. It’s important that you strive to sound as good, if not better, than the top musicians in the industry before you’re anywhere near that status. That’s how you make it.

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He’s a babe! Shwing!

Jam:

Perhaps you understand the technicalities of music, but you just don’t feel creative or professional. While many big labels in the industry are full of songwriters and producers who have spent years learning how to create hit songs through observing what works, many musicians with a deep passion for the art of creating music want to ‘make it’ in a more organic way. If you’re much the same, then writing a catchy song which starts to turn heads and brings you attention in the music industry shouldn’t ever become a mechanical process. Instead of thinking about the simplistic chord progressions behind the biggest hits in history, you should just start jamming and see what happens.

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Pexels Image

We all have the power to be creative. Whether you’re in a band or operating on a solo basis, just hit ‘record’, start messing around with your guitar, piano, voice, or whichever instrument you play, and see what happens. When you listen back to your five or ten minute jamming session later, you’ll likely hate a lot of it. However, there’s every chance that you’ll hear a gem in the form of a musical nugget which will really inspire you to form a fully-fledged song out of what was originally nothing more than a small riff or chord progression. Play around and see what happens, super star!

Featured Image By: Pexels