Improve Your Music

Improving the musical ability of all musicians, no matter what your style or level.

Musicians Are Expert Mind Readers

The SwamiWhen requesting a song from the band, just say “play my song!” We have a chip implanted in our heads with an unlimited database with the favorite tunes of every patron who ever walked into a bar and all songs ever recorded, so feel free to be vague, we love the challenge.

If we do not remember exactly what tune you want, we’re only kidding. Bands know every song ever recorded, so keep humming. Hum harder if need be… it helps jog the memory.

If a band tells you they do not know a song you want to hear, they either forgot that they know the tune or they are just putting you on. Try singing a few words for the band. Any words will do.

It also helps to scream your request from across the room several times per set followed by the phrases, “AW COME ON!” and, “YOU SUCK!” Exaggerated hand gestures expressing disapproval from the dance floor are a big help as well, such as the thumbs down or your middle finger. Put-downs are the best way to jog a band’s memory. This instantly promotes you to the status of “Personal Friend Of The Band.”

Entertainers are notorious fakers and jokesters and never really prepare for their shows. They simply walk on stage with no prior thought to what they will do once they arrive. An entertainer’s job is so easy, even a monkey could do it, so don’t let them off the hook easily. Your request is all that matters.

If a metal band had played at the club a few weeks ago, the next band that follows will automatically know every metal tune the previous band ever played, even if the current band is a blues or country band. It’s the law. Feel free to yell “AC/DC!” or “SLAYER!” to a band that plays strictly originals or jazz for example. Conversely, Deadheads may yell for Grateful Dead tunes at a dance or metal band.

IMPORTANT

When an entertainer leans over to hear you better, grab his or her head in both hands and yell directly into their ear, while holding their head securely so they cannot pull away. This will be taken as an invitation to a friendly and playful game of tug of war between their head and your hands. Don’t give up! Hang on until the singer or guitar player submits. Drummers are often safe from this fun game since they usually sit in the back, protected by the guitar players. Keyboard players are protected by their instrument,and only play the game when tricked into coming out from behind their keyboards. Though difficult to get them play, it’s not impossible, so keep trying. They’re especially vulnerable during the break between songs.

TALKING WITH THE BAND

The best time to discuss anything with the band in any meaningful way is at the middle of a song when all band members are singing at the same time. Our hearing is so advanced that we can pick out your tiny voice from the megawatt wall of sound blasting all around us.

Musicians are expert lip readers too. If a musician does not reply to your question or comment during a tune, it’s because they didn’t get a good look at your mouth in order to read your lips. Simply continue to scream your request and be sure to over emphasize the words with your lips. This helps immensely. Don’t be fooled.

Singers have the innate ability to answer questions and sing at the same time. If the singer doesn’t answer your questions immediately, regardless of how stupid the question may seem, it’s because they are purposely ignoring you. If this happens, immediately cop an attitude. We love this.

HELPING THE BAND

If you inform the band that you are a singer, the band will appreciate your help with the next few tunes, or however long you can remain standing on stage. Just pretend you’re in a Karaoke bar. Simply feel free to walk up on stage and join in. By the way, the drunker you are, the better you sound, and the louder you should sing.

If by chance you fall off the stage, be sure to crawl back up and attempt to sing harmony. Keep in mind that nothing assists the band more than outrageous dancing, fifth and sixth part harmonies, or a tambourine played out of tempo. Try the cowbell; they love the challenge. The band always needs the help and will take this as a compliment.

VERY IMPORTANT

Remember to allow enough time to make it from the stage to the bathroom in case of an emergency. On stage accidents are bad form. The band will carry on.

BONUS TIP

As a last resort, wait until the band takes a break and then get on stage and start playing their instruments. They love this. Even if you are ejected from the club, you can rest assured in the fact that you have successfully completed your audition. The band will call you immediately the following day to offer you a position.

See you at the next gig …

The Band

Internet Radio For Cars

I know I’m biased because I run an Internet Radio Station, but I was blown away to read the story of an Internet Radio reciever for cars in today’s news. It has just been a matter of time before something like this came along and will be a huge lift to the Internet radio industry.

Internet Radio for cars

The obvious problem for the industry has been that the listeners have been tied to a computer. 3G and Bluetooth technology solves this problem and allows the listener access to literally thousands of specialist radio stations.

From the article:

George Parthimos, CEO of Doncaster-based miRoamer, said in an interview his company had signed agreements with internet radio stations from all over the world and brought them together so they could be accessed through miRoamer.com and on devices including car radios and mobile phones.

“Some of them are small garage type stations that might only have five or 10 listeners all the way up to broadcasters which have an audience of up to 5 or 6 million people monthly,” he said.

All up, 30,000 stations are offered, which includes established AM and FM radio broadcasts from all over the world.

“You can listen to anything from traditional terrestrial stations, to internet-only stations, to genre-based stations – jazz, rock, pop, ’80s, ’70s, comedy, talk, finance,” Parthimos, 37, said.

“You’re not tied down to the limitations of terrestrial radio. We see this as an evolution of radio.”

The Blaupunkt radio accesses the internet by connecting via Bluetooth to the driver’s mobile phone, which must be hooked up to a telco’s 3G mobile broadband plan.

I can’t wait to see this become a standard item in all cars. The days of internet radio are almost upon us folks. What do you think about it? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Website Case Study

As you’ve no-doubt seen, we’ve launched a new website out of this one recently, called Taking Your Music Online. I’m really excited about this new site and the response so-far has been brilliant. Yesterday I released the first of a series of Case Studies where I look over a band’s website, point out the good bits and make suggestions for improvement. Normally these case studies are for registered members of the new site but I’d like to give the readers of this site a sneak peek at the first one.

Here it is folks… Website Case Study no1, Smart Artists
[flash http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=5ravB67TL58]

If you liked that then head over to www.TakingYourMusicOnline.com where you can see the video in much higher resolution and enjoy all of the other material to help you Take Your Music Online.

New website for George Sich

My good friend George Sich has a brand new website where he will be showcasing some of his original music.

While he is probably more well known as a member of Sydney based band Cut The Cake, this new site will highlight a different side of George, his original stuff.

Fans of George’s fingerpicking style will love the new site. It is still a work in progress but there is already a nice collection of his work to listen to.

Head on over and say hello.

www.GeorgeSich.com

Taking Your Music Online Major Update

I flagged a little while ago that I was working on an update to our free eBook Taking Your Music Online. Well… update is a bit of an understatement! After doing some surveying and talking to the readers it became obvious that the topic is growing rapidly and that modern musicians are really embracing the internet.

Rather than issue continuous updates in the PDF eBook format, I’ve made the decision to move to whole thing to a website of its own.  And so we have… www.TakingYourMusicOnline.com

This brand new site contains not only the original eBook, but now has two new chapters on Merchandising and Basic Marketing. All of the existing chapters have been updated and added to, as well as some downloadable examples in the Press Kit chapter.

All in all I’m really proud of this update and its new site. Please call in and check it out. It’s completely free to register too. Call in soon, call in often and tell all your friends! www.TakingYourMusicOnline.com

P.S. Due to the generosity of some of the readers of this site I’ll be adding some specific case studies on band websites real soon. Stay tuned.

Weekend Warriors

I had the great pleasure last Sunday, of going to watch the final concert of the latest Weekend Warriors course run by Allans Music in Sydney. The concert was at the Empire Hotel in Annandale and featured five great bands who had played together all of about 5 weeks. The atmosphere was brilliant and the crowded hotel was jumping all night.

The music quality varied from very good to bloody ordinary but if you are worried about that you’re in the wrong place. Weekend Warriors is not Australian Idol. It’s not a competition or talent contest. It’s all about having a go and that’s what makes it great. My good friend Mark “the Rock God” Britton and his pals, “Dan and the Trailer Boys” were fantastic. As nervous as they were you could see the sheer excitement on their faces as they blasted their way through their set.

If you aren’t aware of the concept then check out their website at: http://www.weekendwarriors.org.au/Default.asp for more info. In a nutshell it’s a short course on playing in a band rather than straight music lessons. If you’ve ever had the urge to strut your stuff on stage then Weekend Warriors is the place for you. Get in touch with them soon as they have courses starting regularly.

 P.S. The Rock God would not be happy with me if I didn’t mention his coach for the past few weeks, Dai Pritchard of Rose Tattoo fame. Every band present had nothing but lavish praise for the efforts of Dai and Peter from Allans Music and they deserve whatever kudos they get.

Taking Your Music Online eBook Update

Over recent times my eBook “Taking Your Music Online” has become a very popular item. Over the past few months I’ve gathered quite a few suggestions and comments about possible updates. Well… I can tell you now that an update is on the way very soon! I’m still going through the survey results but early research seems to say that there are a lot of folks who’d love more info on getting radio play, selling your music online and music marketing in general.

Stay tuned for an update very, very soon.

P.S. If you haven’t got your copy of my free eBook yet, you can download it now. Just see the info box at the top right of this site.

Compulsory Reading – 10 Mistakes that bands and musicians make

David Hooper has written one of the most sensible and straightforward articles I’ve ever read on the subject of “success” in the music business. It should be compulsory reading for anyone even slightly interested in a career in music. It is entitled 10 mistakes that bands and musicians make.

Here is point 7 which talks about a subject close to my heart, marketing music. Too many musicians believe that “Marketing” is some evil, mind control program to suck dollars out of gullible fools. That sort of definition is just a cop out. Have a look at what David says:

7. Not Building Strong Relationships with Fans

People aren’t stupid. They know that they’re being marketed to.  They know when you’re looking to sell them something.

Do they mind?  No.

In fact, if you have a good relationship with your fans, they won’t mind being marketed to and, if you do it well, they look forward to being marketed to.

However, they have to know you care.

Building relationships with fans take time.  You have to show them you care.

Do things like:

  • Give them a few free songs to download
  • Have message board on your website and build a community there
  • Do a “fan appreciation” show
  • Record a holiday album that you give out to your fan club.

Show them in special ways that you, not only care, but that you’re willing to go the extra mile to show your appreciation. In turn, they will buy your music, travel to see you play, call radio stations on your behalf and promote you all over the Web.

Every day, no matter if you’re busy recording, on the road or at home worrying about how you’re going to find the money to make your project happen, do something (no matter how small the gesture is) to reach out to your fans.

Anyway… as they say in the classics, go and read the whole thing.

The Vinyl Recording Process

I came across a brilliant video today on the vinyl recording process as it was way back when. You’ll see Duke Ellington and his band in the studio and how the sound is captured and eventually turned into vinyl records.

To those familiar with modern, cheap, digital recording techniques will be astonished at how things used to be done. No editing here!
[flash http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjKlFFp4-IE]

A Few Good Links

It’s been a little while since I last wrote a “links” post so here are a couple of great sites that I check out on a regular basis. You might want to bookmark them for future reference.

The first is www.audiogeekzine.com which, like it says, is a site for Audio Geeks. It mainly deals with audio recording and covers a wide variety of topics. You might want to start with Getting Started: A Guide To Home Recording for a good idea of what goes on there.

The next site you need to check out is the amazing www.MusicGadgets.net which again, contains exactly what it says, Musical Gadgets. From instruments to software to accessories to amps, this site covers the lot. If you’re a bit of a “gadget head” like me, you’ll love this site.

If you’ve got a favourite music related site why not share it with everyone in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.