Monthly Archives: February 2017

Always On (Even In Your Downtime)

An EntreMusician is Always On

Although Acutely Aware of Proper Life/Work Balance and Extremely Protective of his Privacy and her Moments of Solace, a True EM is Spiritually & Creatively Constant.

Ideas Permeate the Psyche 24/7. You Unfailingly Keep a Small Leather Pad on Your Person, or a Voice Recorder at the Ready to Capture that Next Notion of Genius, be it at the Grocery Store, in the Middle of a Traffic Jam, the Big Game, the Beach or your Cantankerous Cousin Larry’s Boring Barbecue.

It May Not Be a Song, Poem or Screenplay. Often it’s a reminder to call that Booking Agent you met last week, or change a rehearsal date, or schedule an audition for that part you saw on Friday’s Flyer. It Seems Endless, but I’ve Never Met an EntreMusician who Could Successfully Shut It Down. The Switch is Broken and We Like It This Way!

I Remember Distinctly pushing my 2 Year Old Daughter (now 16) on the swings at Boardman Park and the squeaky chain created a odd 7/8 rhythm which produced “Hermeneutics,” one of SounDoctrine‘s Funkiest Spit Fire Tracks. I kinda regret not taking My Little One Off the Swings until I had the horns figured out. She was More Than Ready for Ice Cream Time and was Letting Dad Have It!!

In Reality, Our Roles in Life are Always On. Whether I’m Sleep, On Vacation, In The Shower or Away from My Phone, I’m Always a Christ Follower, Husband, Father, Brother, Uncle, Nephew, Cousin, Pastor, Writer, Producer, Wannabe Actor and EntreMusician who keeps Setting Audacious Objectives and Aspiring to Reach As Many As I Can Before I Check Out Of Here – And Hopefully You Are Too!

Download My Free E-Book “50 Engaging Ways to Transform Your Fans in to Family” at TheEntreMusician.com and Join the Conversation to Engage, Encourage & Empower Each Other! 

I Was Listening to the 1979 Funk-Jazz Band “Pressure” Produced by Ronnie Laws on Vinyl while composing this blog.

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Always In Review (Get Some AIR!)

Before Diving into This Week’s Topic, I’d like to bestow honor to the legacy of Premiere Vocalist Al Jarreau, a True Original who Forged and eventually Owned a Style Unique to Him which can never be completely copied (though some have tried). Although he did not invent the art of “Scatting,” framed masterfully by the great Ella Fitzgerald, Cab Calloway, Scatman Crothers and others from the 1940-50’s era, Jarreau’s multilayered contemporary approach expanded the technique beyond spectacle and made it simultaneously romantic, passionate, fun, serious, silly, thrilling and most of all, thoroughly engaging. I was 16 when I fell in love with the album “Breakin’ Away” and immediately had to go backward to find all I had missed. Going forward only increased my impenetrable appreciation for his incredible artistry. He Made Me Feel Like Family!

 

GET SOME AIR!!

Evaluation is the Kissing Cousin of Every Serious EntreMusician. The Tendency to “Go, Go, Go!” without creating scheduled moments to understand Where You’ve Been, How You Arrived There and Appraising Your Journey Before Planning Your Next Steps will Certainly Cripple Your Progress.

Unfortunately, I have Failed more in this area of my career than I care to count. Whenever I’d Abort the Importance of AIR (Always In Review!) I’ve Found Myself in Free Fall, Usually Having to Begin Again.

This Destructive Practice is Subtle & Quiet, because EM’s are generally programmed to Only Think Ahead and Develop a False Belief that hints toward the practices and habits which worked successfully for us in a particular season will continue to do so. We then default to a “Maintenance Mindset” rather than “Coordinated Calculation” which comprises both Assessment & Strategic Advancement.

Taking Into Account even the Tiny items like The Structure of Your Band, Your Present Personnel, Your Genre(s), The Venues You Always Play, Your Rehearsal Methods, to the larger Whys of How You Spend/Save/Invest Your Income, or When to Update Your Website, Change Your Merch Selection, or perhaps Your Growing Tendency to ‘Let Things Go’ that Should Be Addressed, or conversely Constantly Address Things that You Should Let Go without valuating Your Reasoning in each situation will leave festering teeth marks in an otherwise promising career.

The Solution to Terrible Tendency Rests in the Security of a Sound Team. Schedule Regular Spiritual/Philosophical/Theoretical Visits with Your Manager(s), Band Members, Attorney, Accountant, Advisers, Mentors and Other Trusted Family, Friends and Associates to Ask the Tough Questions, Review Your Successes & Failures and Discuss the BIG WHYs. You will find Essential Wisdom in Pausing to Learn from Your Past before Plowing Ahead. Only What Makes You YOU Need Remain. Destroy Everything Else!

Remember, Your Life & Career ALWAYS Comes Down To Your Core Purpose. Your Laser Like Focused Answer as to Exactly Why You Are an EntreMusician finds its Foundation in Continual Evaluation. Applying AIR Continually Keeps You Grounded & Flying concurrently!

Download My Free E-Book, “50 Engaging Ways to Transform Your Fans into Family” at TheEntreMusician.com and while there sign up for a More Great, Encouraging, Empowering & Engaging Experiences.

I Listened to Both War‘s “Deliver The Word” and Spyro Gyra‘s “Incognito” while composing this post.

 

 

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Always in Advance

Last Week We Discussed the Importance of Always Making All of Your Agreements with Promoters & Venue Owners In Writing. Today, I want to emphasize, Especially to Younger EntreMusicians the Seriousness of Always Getting PAID in Advance.

The First Step to Achieving this Objective Immediately after Negotiating a Fair Price (based upon Your Experience, Reputation & Sales) is to gently Reaffirm the Date Your Deposit is Due. Remember it’s Printed in the Agreement.

The Second Step Stipulates the Time Your Balance is Due. And It’s Always Prior to the Start of Your Performance. Sound Check is an Ideal Time. All the Equipment is out of the Van, You’re Plugged in and Properly Preparing, On Their Stage! There is No Argument or Sign of a Breach on Your Part – Now is the Perfect Time for Them to Complete Their End of the Deal. Specify This is You Somehow Failed to Reach a Prior Understanding, or if Mrs. Club Owner suddenly comes down with a case of ‘Forgetfulness.’ If Your Written Agreement is Clear & Concise, then Stand Your Ground and Refuse to Go On Until You’re Paid – but Leave Your Equipment Intact, Plugged In, On Their Stage.

If You are a Younger Performer, these types of Standoffs may seem Intimidating, Unnecessary and are Not Why You Got Into the Biz – Besides Your Older Cousin Bobby (who taught you how to play drums) is coming to tonight’s show, so You just wanna Play!

But Remember You Cannot Repossess a Performance…

If Mr. Promoter should Weasel Out of Any or All of Your Payment, That Incredible Sax Solo and Ultra-Phat Rhythm Section Cannot be Recalled or Resold (unless you’ve recorded the hit and plan on selling CDs, but I digress…) It’s Worth Everything to Wait Before Potentially Giving Your Show Away. Again, I’m Assuming You Already Have A Written Agreement in Place.

This is Not the Time to Begin a Whining or Screaming Session. Remain Professional.     Order Food from the Bar or Order Out. Chill Backstage and Wait Till the Hall Fills Up.         The Closer it gets to Showtime, the More You Will See the Balance Shift. Be Prepared to Hold Out Until the Money is In Your Hand. Then Go Out There and KILL!

For Many Years, I have Also Made it a Habit to Always Pay My Fellow Band Members in Advance. As a Bandleader, I Set a Precedent that Allows My Partners to Concentrate Only on the Music and Not On Whether They Will Hear A Sob Story from Me, Quite Possibly Blaming the Club Owner because I Did Not Do Due Diligence.

Headaches are not Something You Need on Game Day, So Prepare Accordingly.                 This Practice Not Only Increases Your Business Acumen, but Solidifies Your Stature among Your Musical Peers as a Serious Professional.

Download My Free E-Book “50 Engaging Ways to Transform Your Fans Into Family” at TheEntreMusician.com and Join the Conversation!

I Was Listening to Various Prince and The Time Prime Cuts on Vinyl while Writing this Blog

 

 

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Always In Writing

One of the Earliest and Most Critical Mistakes Any New EntreMusician tends to Make in this Business is Relying Upon Verbal Agreements.

It’s Easy to Do Because at This Stage You’re Extremely Excited that the Phone Even Rang!

And Before You Know It, Your Enthusiasm Gaining the Advantage, You’ve Locked in The Band, The Date and Invested Precious Time & Resources solely based upon what some Stranger (or Friend) Said she was going to pay you.

There’s already a degree of embarrassment because you nervously negotiated a price and most likely settled for less than Your Original Fee. So with the possibility of losing the entire gig dangling in your imagination, you choose to forego any further timidity and agree to most everything else.

You arrive on time, perform magnificently (of course), only to have the venue owner congratulate you on a wonderful show but with apologies that he didn’t sell enough tickets, drinks or secure the amount of sponsorship he was hoping to receive (which has absolutely nothing to do with you – unless you were not listening) so now he claims he can only pay you…

The very best way to avoid this type of robbery is to Always Place Your Agreement in Writing and Make Certain You place this important piece of conversation atop your discussion.

The All Important Question “And What is Your Budget for this Event?” will provide you all of the necessary information you’ll need before continuing “Please Email Your Agreement to…”

At this Point Either Two Significant Events Will Happen:
1. The Reputable Promoter will make sure they’ve spelled your email address properly and send you the requested document or perhaps ask you to send yours (more on that in a bit)

2. She will begin making several excuses about why she doesn’t use/have one or a Written Agreement, or begin to use those infamous words ‘trust me…’

It’s Vital that You begin to utilize a Written Agreement the moment you’ve formed your act. Even if only charge $50 for the night, get into the habit of using a contract!

If the club owner doesn’t have one, present one. If you don’t have one, create one or download one from http://www.theentremusician.com, and don’t forget the include asking for a 50% deposit!

Serious Venue Owners take you far more seriously when You Talk Terms of Agreement and are prepared to document them even if they are not prepared to present one. The offer itself adds major validation to your professionalism.

And Remember, That’s Exactly Who You Are!

Next Time, We Talk About Getting Paid BEFORE Your Performance!

Although I wasn’t listening to any music while composing this post, I going to be listening to Stevie All Month!

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