Category Archives: Success

The Four Hands of EntreMusicianal Networking

Mastering the Art of Consistent Networking is Foundational & Essential if we are to Succeed as EntreMusicians. Advancement eludes us when we consider ourselves islands and isolate ourselves from community. Albeit, We bear the bulk of the Responsibility for our Careers, True Achievement is Not Created in a Vacuum.

Many EntreMusicians swallow the Myth of the “Self Made Artist,” who Writes Everything, Arranges, Produces & Plays Everything, but never ascends from his/her basement studio because they’ve eschewed human social skills and ignore establishing relationships with other bands, artists and creatives.

Even Musicians who’ve been fortunate enough to secure management, booking or some significant ‘deal’ which somewhat sets them apart from their contemporaries, find they have a much rougher ride and eventually hit a wall because they have set themselves (or allowed others to place them) above or outside the Collective Visibility  of the Creative Culture. The Truth is that even at the Highest Level of Triumph, Connectivity Still Rules! So here are a Few Rules to Perfect the Practice of Networking at whatever Position You Currently Occupy.

1. Reach Out!

Take the Initiative to Find Other Artists of Like Mind/Spirit/Heart whether within your musical genre or not. Arrange a Coffee or Jam Session or Gig that’s Mutually Beneficial. Without Becoming a Pest, Be the One Calling, Texting or Messaging Periodically to Let Them Know You’re Interested in Them and What’s Happening in Their Career.

2. Give Out!

EntreMusicians are Extremely Generous. Any Valuable Information, Resources or Viable Practicality which can be freely offered, Give It! Go Out of Your Way, Be On the Look Out and Intentionally Create Opportunities to Be A Blessing to Another. Is there any Old Gear hanging around that you’ll likely never fire up again? Don’t Pawn It, Find an Up & Coming Hopeful and Give The Thing(s) Away!

3. Help Out!

Everyone Needs Help at Some Point in Time. EVERYONE! Even & Especially National Recording Artists. Find Out How You Can Assist – Yes You! Graham Cochrane, an Engineer/Producer I Follow & Highly Respect once said that every time he attends NAMM or some other Industry Function, he abstains from strolling up to higher profile Artists/Producers/DJs with Business Card & CDs in Hand, asking THEM to either Listen to His Stuff, Get Him a Deal or “Hook Him Up” in whatever way. Instead, He ASKS How HE Can HELP Them!!

Chances are They will be playing his City soon (he asks) and perhaps there may be some assistance they might need when they arrive and/or before they depart that he may be essential in accomplishing on their behalf. He Never asks for anything in return and Graham’s (and now my own) methodology is 85% More Effective that the ‘Star’ will remember His Name…There are a Million Ways to Help – Find Yours!

4. Throw Out!

Discard ALL Negative Motives, Attitudes, Thoughts, Words & Actions!* Live By The Mantra that You NEVER Compete, NEVER Compare & NEVER Criticize!**

Throw Out ALL Feelings of Envy & Pride! Concentrate on Doing Your Best Work and Find Ways to Assist Your Peers in Doing Theirs. Hold The Door Open and Help Balance The Ladder for Other, Again Expecting (And Not Asking For) Anything In Return! Overtime You Will See, by Osmosis, the Law of Sowing & Reaping bearing Fruit and Your Life & Career Blessed because You have Blessed So Many Others!

I would Love to Hear How You Utilize Networking in Your EntreMusicianal Pursuits and the Profound Results. Leave Your Comments Below.

Download My Free E-Book “50 Engaging Ways to Transform Your Fans Into Family” and Subscribe at TheEntreMusician.com for More Ways to Engage, Encourage & Empower Each Other!

 

I was listening to Spyro Gyra’s “Incognito” on Vinyl while writing this post.

* &** Quotes of Bishop David L. Thomas

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5 Ways to Command Clarity

Just this past week I was in conversation with a young songwriter who said Yes to a project before he actually understood the expectations of the organization hiring him and was now mired in backtracking renegotiations. While consulting him on how to invoke a tardy “Win-Win,” I made a few notes for myself to follow and would like to share with you.

Before doing so, however, I need to acknowledge my inconsistency with these posts and apologize for any inconveniences I may have caused you.  Over the past several months, I have had to take on Non Linear Employment to compensate for a Financial Shift in our Family. Now, by God’s Grace we are back at Ground Zero, and it is My Pleasure to Blog & Vlog regularly.

The First Challenge facing our Composer was a Failure to Know What He Was Willing to Offer. With respect to his capacity to do a great job, (he certainly has the chops), but he had no idea how to present himself as a professional who would provide A, B & C.

His second issue was that he didn’t want to say “No, Thank You!” Obviously grateful for the opportunity to have his music placed with this organization (or anywhere else for that matter) became a stronger emotion than whether or not he should look for a more appropriate advantage.

Thirdly, Once he Agreed, he simply didn’t ask The Right Questions to Gain Enough Insight Concerning their Assumptions. Compensation is Not Always the Most Important Question. There is the matter of Deadlines, Who Will Own the Composition once completed, how it will be distributed & marketed and the Exclusivity factor after the Agreement’s Term had expired. These and other questions were never addressed after he settled on “how much.”

The Fourth Challenge was that he never expressed the Necessary Requirements needed to provide the proper arrangement his client imagined they would receive. Nor did he set proper boundaries once production began, which caused them to constantly reimagine a bigger arrangement than he conceived, so the goal post kept inching away from him.

Finally and Unforgivingly, the Agreement was Never Clarified in Writing, so the many conversations about what could and might be were reduced to conjecture with less than two weeks to go on the expected completion date. And that’s when he decides to call…

To Recap, Remember these Five Rules of Clarification:

1. Know In Advance What You Are Willing to Offer

2. Know When & If You Should Say No and Stick with Your Answer!

3. Ask The Right Questions! Compensation is Not The Most Important One…

4. Know Your Requirements and Set Appropriate Limitations.

5. Always In Writing. Laymen Terms, No Small Print, But In Writing!

 

I am listening to The HeadhuntersStraight From The Gate“on Vinyl as I am posting this and have been into Pat Metheney’s stuff all month…

It’s Still On You…

Sure, The Old Adage still rings true: “It’s Who You Know!”

Certainly it’s great to have an uncle who is one of three main limo drivers for the soon to be Sir Eric Clapton and/or a cousin who roadies for Chaka Khan when she’s on the West Coast or perhaps you live around the corner from Bob James, but once the Introductions draw to an end, it’s What You Know & How Well You Know It That Will Make or Break you.

Your Performance on Stage or in the Studio transcends any Professional Reference.

Your Professionalism in the most Stress Filled Situations Speak Louder than Any ‘Good Word’ Someone Puts in For You.

Your Character & Integrity Stands Taller than Your Résumé …in fact, Your Reputation Becomes Your Résumé

Your Choice to Integrate With Your Fellow Musicians and Play Your Lines Rather than the Role of the Superstar is What Gets You Called Back

Your Ability to Repeatedly “Bring It” On Demand Will Build a Far More Secure Stature Faster than Depending on Your Contact to Make a Connection.

No less than Quincy Jones quipped, “It’s Better that the Opportunity Never Come, than When It Does and You’re Not Prepared For It!”

So, It’s Cool, Go Ahead and Reach Out to Your Aunt Betty’s Friend of a Friend who golfs with Shawn Mendes, but at the End of the Day, It’s Still On You to Produce!

 

I was listening to Nathan East’s new “Reverence” on CD as I composed this Blog

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Your Year In Review…Today

EntreMusicians are Excellent Planners & Keen Executioners. We are Faithful at Follow Up and Process our Visions to the Nth Degree. We Face Forward and Effortlessly Advance to our Next Scheduled Items without Losing the Groove.

All Good, but…

EntreMusicians are also challenged with an Acute Inability to Pause and Review our Work. We fail to Properly Index our Calendars to Scrutinize our Previous Performances & Projects and Ascertain their Effectiveness.

While most of us maintain the habit of waiting until the Final Week of December to sit with our Old & Shiny New Planners, the Wiser Move is to Consistently Schedule Weekly, Monthly & Quarterly Reviews (the More Obsessive EMs Implement Dailies) to Appropriate Our Goals, Sharpening Our Saws as We Meticulously Slice Away.

As We Approach this Fifth Month of the Year (already!) let’s take a day or two to Glance Back at the Rear View to Make Sure We’re Not Adrift of the Course we launched in January.

 

I was listening to Herbie Hancock’s “Mr. Hands” on Vinyl while composing this blog.

 

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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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The Mystery of Generosity

One of the Wisdom Proverbs says:

“The Generous Person Prospers, The One Who Waters Will also be Watered.”

It’s An Incredible Statement for Every EntreMusician to Abide By as Most of Us Spend Many of Our Waking Moments Looking for Opportunities that Will Benefit US and Precious Few Searching Out Occasions to Benefit OTHERS.

If We Happen Upon the Good Fortune of a Great Promoter, Venue, Festival or Other Profitable Enterprises which Provide Advantage, Progress or Achievement in Our Own Careers, We Would Do Well in Seeking Such Favor on Artists, Musicians and Entertainers who would Never have the chance to Showcase Their Talents, Unless We Hold the Door Open for Them – Especially those Further Down the Totem Pole of Experience (Your Obviously Trusting that They Possess the Professionalism and Discipline to Handle the Gig!)

The Gift of What Comes To and Happens In You Is Immeasurable, the Wider You Open Your Heart. It Seems as If Platforms You Were Previously Denied Access To Suddenly Avail and Fees You’d Never Imagine Commanding Become Yours, with Less Effort on Your Part, Because You’ve Ignited the Miracle Circle of Blessings.

Of Course this Process Works Personally. I Must Confess that there was a Season in My Life Where I Held Tight to a Scarcity Mentality. When I Would Give, It Naturally Meant I Had LESS. So I Hoarded! When I Encountered a Disheveled Person at an Intersection, Holding Up a Cardboard Sign, I Rationalized 10 Million Hypotheticals as to How & Why They Ended Up in That Position OR That They Were Only Conning Me Out of My Few Wrinkled Dollars Tucked Away in My Ashtray. This Helped Me Justify Looking Away – and – Driving Away…

Thank God I Have Come to Learn an Abundance Mentality which Assures Me that Giving Really Means Planting! There’s Always ‘More‘ and at Some Point, in Some Scenario, My Seed Will Harvest and I Will Receive Exactly What I Need.

Try It!

Open A Door. Create An Opportunity. Give and Notice All that Happens.

You Become the Beneficiary of Bountiful Blessings, the Recipient of Joyous Transformation You Would’ve Never Imagine or Appreciated if You’d Remained All To Yourself.

 

Interestingly, I Was Not Listening to Any Music as I Wrote This Post…

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12 Tools You Absolutely Need to Prepare for A Wildly Successful Year

  1. A Reasonably Healthy Body, Mind & Spirit
  2. A Brain adept at Creative & Critical Thinking
  3. One Brilliant Idea
  4. The Ability to Prioritize, Plan & Organize
  5. A Mailing Address
  6. A Table
  7. A Chair
  8. A Smartphone
  9. Access to WiFi
  10. An Encouraging Friend for the Tough Times
  11. Humility
  12. Hardcore Perseverance

Now Let’s Go Get It!!!!

…I was listening to The Crusaders‘ “Chain Reaction” (again) on vinyl while composing this

Happy Birthday, Tejai!

 

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