Monthly Archives: October 2013

Resources That Make Ya Move!

Last week, I introduced a few Thought Leaders and their resources which I’ve began utilizing to increase my personal development. I kept the emphasis on Leadership. If you front a band, run a studio, promote shows (or all three simultaneously), you too will benefit from their wisdom and guidance. In this blog, I am concentrating solely on the gurus directly involved in the music industry. While there are many voices, books, blogs and “how to” videos available at a click, I feel that these particular few are the cream of the crop when trying to both understand and advance your career.

As a teen drummer in the ultra funk band “The Conquest Experience,” which grew popular in the Youngstown, Ohio area, circa 1981 – Here’s the video, though try not to watch while drinking a hot beverage, you might spray your children during the interview segment! – But, I was keenly aware that there was more to music than recording and gigging and wanted to learn all I could. The first book I read was “Making It with Music” by Kenny Rogers (yes, THAT Kenny) and Len Epand. Although he looked extremely different (and younger) – and DIFFERENT! – I gleaned a wealth of information that helped cement my decision to live life as a professional musician. Even as the times, technology and music business methods have, like Kenny, changed drastically, this book is a great place to get the feel of the industry from an extremely successful artist.

Several drug-filled and severe ‘lesson learned’ years later, The Good Lord gave me my life back. Then married with two daughters (now three), I was eager for another shot. The next book to fuel my fire was none other than Berry Gordy’sTo Be Loved.” This is a Must Read. If I have to list even one reason why, you may not be serious about your craft after all.

While working on SounDoctrine’s first CD, internet marketing was in its infantry. I was looking for a way to make our music thrive in this new environment. Three men mentored me online with a wealth of resources, articles and multiple email answers that helped (and continues to adjust) our thinking and strategy as we navigate our journey.

Bob Baker, in those early days, had the most material out there which helped clarify where the industry was headed. Somewhat a futurist, he continues to help musicians understand a 360 degree view of being an EntreMusician. I greatly respect his work.

Jeffrey P. Fisher‘s book, “Ruthless Self Promotion in the Music Industry” strong armed my thinking and helped me step out of the polite little, “Well yes, we’d be happy to play for exposure” gigs into quoting real fees. His strategies are simple, direct and although he uses the word ‘ruthless’ as a marketing ploy, you immediately BELIEVE you are IN Business.

Jeff’s book also got me interested in Jay Conrad Levinson‘s Guerilla Marketing books, which also jar you into more aggressive thinking!

Musician & CD Baby founder Derek Sivers is true hero. After selling the company to Disc Makers for about 22M and giving most of it away to charity, he continues to inspire, educate and affirm creativity. I can remember times when he’d personally answer my emails within minutes – and I had a LOT of questions. I began calling him Uncle Derek and I am forever grateful for his advice.

Although many EntreMusicians may not immediately want to asorb the cost of a publicist, Arielle Hyatt completely stepped outside the box and began to educate bands on what they needed to do to increase their visibility and social worth. I appreciate her many resources on Cyber PR and I’m a huge fan of her book, “Music Success  in Nine Weeks” although it has taken me much longer!

Not to be exhaustive, I’ll leave you with two ‘Must Haves’ and one which I’ve just began to read, offered as a free E-Book. Please let me know your thoughts as you dive in.

This Business of Music” is another that requires no explanation or introduction. Every home has a bible and every musician should have this book – period! I’ve had three different editions to keep up!

Donald Passman‘s excellent “All You Need to Know about The Music Business” is also foundational to any EntreMusician at any level.

Finally, David Hooper‘s complete “Six Figure Musician,” is available FREE and the few chapters I have read lets me know he is true. I’ll be finishing it up real soon.

As always, your feedback is important to me and appreciated.

If there are resources you deem invaluable to EntreMusicians, please share them with us. Interestingly I was NOT listening to any music as I typed this blog. I began at 5:30am and Lori would have – well, you know…

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Head, Heart & Hands

Today we continue down the thoughtful path through “Average to Amazing.” As we travel along, we discover the curious interplay of our Head, Heart & Hands, which navigate our transition out of the quagmire of average living to the wellspring of the amazing.

Funny thing about the Head & Heart – whatever they agree upon is always correct, be it wrong or right!

Our Hands are merely waiting around to implement the impact of our decision…

For example: if we believe that whatever we are attempting to achieve is too difficult or that we’re too _________ to accomplish the task, then we are correct! Conversely, if our Head Acknowledges that in spite of any and every obstacle we face, we will Overcome & Succeed, the Heart Affirms and the Hands go into Action.

Outstanding growth occurs once our Head Accepts that we are indeed Amazing!

We are NOT average!

Average people may experience a degree of success, but very few make a sustainable difference.

Amazing people constantly increase their awareness of Who They Are and Why They are Here!

Immediately, the Heart steps in to plant those fertile thoughts deep within to make sure they take root.

It matters not how much talent, experience, connections or money we may not have at our initial disposal. Once the Head & Heart have made an agreement, Watch Out!! Our Hands obey and begin to acquire the necessary tools and resources needed.

The books, blogs and podcasts we absorb, the conferences we attend and the networks in which we associate all create a catalyst toward moving beyond the Average Everyman existence to an Amazing Life beyond our wildest imagination!

The Bible states that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (AMAZING) and that we are placed into this life, in this exact dispensation, to make an incredible difference and to leave a legacy. As we contemplate how Amazing we were born to be, let us pay attention to these three essentials, our Head, Heart & Hands gifted by our Heavenly Father to assist us on this incredible journey.

I welcome your Amazing Thoughts…

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Confession is really, really good for the soul!

If I could pinpoint one of my more personal flaws that have kept me from achieving my higher goals thus far, it would begin with “Lack of Focus” and end with “Lack of Clarity.” Both are interchangeably linked, like Siamese Twins joined at the kneecaps with only one legs. Talk about Stumbling!

Lack of Focus, especially due to the fact that I’ve suffered from ‘Please Disease‘ since learning to crawl. I could not utter a polite “no” to anyone, for any reason. This flaw had always kept me spread too thin with far too little time to focus on writing or producing content of my highest value. At the beginning of last year, I have found great solace in that word, “No.” It’s a breathtaking, freeing experience! While creating an opportunity to focus on my priorities, another great lesson I learned in the process is that the person who originally asked me the favor ALWAYS found a very capable person to handle the task!

Lack of Focus spills over into all types of misaligned structural breakdowns, in my thinking and in building my unique groove. I have found myself on stage, in the middle of a set, as part of a major show, right before my drum solo, pondering bullet points I needed to put together for next week’s meeting…

Multitasking, which I used to think was an intelligent word, was what I used as an excuse for having 34 things undone, instead of the one or two most important that needed to be done.

The Cure was putting together a crack team who helps me think through, plan, prepare and create deadlines that we work on together, so I can be the best me I need to in any given situation (especially in the studio or on stage). My wife, Lori and our associates Seven, Felicia, Demetrius and Donna have changed absolutely everything!

Lack of Clarity differentiates only slightly, in that you cannot properly harness and convey exactly what you are trying to accomplish once the task begins. In my world, prioritization was a major problem!

Starting with the WHY has become far more important to the WHAT, than the HOW or the WHEN – and I have a bucket full of ‘Whens’ on public display that should have stayed in the oven!

WHY helps me to understand the WHAT to a more exacting degree. Musically Speaking, my WHY spells out the instrumentation, tempo, pitch, swing and emotion. In My Family, WHY means moving a recording session or rehearsal around when my wife or daughters needs me to pay attention to something important to them. I didn’t always do this. WHY also helps me to be more Creative and Bold. If something absolutely needs to be done and no one else is stepping up to the plate, WHY takes over.

Clarity demands that you examine all sides of a task, including the top and bottom. Clarity expects you to understand the difference between trying to be all things to all people (which is impossible) or narrow casting to your tribe and increasing solidarity.

The Cure (at least for me) again lay in the heart of my team. We encourage disagreements and opposite opinions. Our goal is never to prove Who’s Right, but What’s Right. At the end of a project, we want to be “intentionally crystal” and entirely purpose driven in every endeavor to maximize impact.

Sometimes this has meant saying “No” to some great opps in order to concentrate on what is best. So, when we finally take our swing, we aim for the fence, even if we only get to third base. This strategy gets us closer to our goal, rather than swinging at everything.

This month, we drill down deeper in our intentionality and will walk through Michael Hyatt’s “Creating Your Personal Life Plan” together. This plan will sharpen our Focus & Clarity, personally and professionally.

It’s a FREE E-Book which we are happy to be able to offer through Michael’s generosity. It truly adds value to your life. Download it and walk out the steps with us. Comment here on this Blog and let us how you’re doing. We’ll be sharing our progress along the way!

Lastly, I though it’d be a good idea to begin sharing with you what I listen to while I’m writing. Today it was Karl Denson’s Chunky Pecan Pie.”  This album is a jazz lover’s paradise, with enough exploration to need a GPS! It’s Raw! You’ll Love It!

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