J.P. Kallio’s Musician Quick Tips Pt. 8
by J.P. Kallio
It’s Wednesday and I have part 8 of of my musician quick tips. In my nearly two decades as a full time musician I have learned a thing or two about this business. I also have become very fast at assessing what works and what does not when it comes to promoting, recording and performing your music.
Remember, these quick tips are simple actions that you can put to use straight away.
Don’t get hung up
Here’s another lesson, that I learned the hard way. In fact This was one of those things I used for years as another excuse for not getting thins done. Don’t get too hung up about meaningless details. And even sometimes you just need to pick your battles. By you getting hung up about a small detail in a song you feel is important, might be something most of us would not even hear, or would not even care about. So get it done!
Here’s another example. There was a bar I played few times over the years. It was always as a part of a tour, so I wanted to post a link on our website to the bars website. But the bar did not have a website. Every time I approached the owner about the subject, his excuse was that he was too critical, and would not want to make a website until it was right… So for years the bar did not have a website, until a passionate customer made one for them.
So don’t get hung up on the small things, that will hold back the progress of your career.
Don’t force it
I know yesterday’s Quick tip was all about not letting the little things get on the way, and just getting on with it. So today’s quick tip is a bit of a contradiction to that in many ways, but life in general can be one big contradiction This is something I do all the time and that is why I often have few tasks lined up, so even if I hit a brick wall, I just swap over and I can still be productive.
When it comes to art, content creation, or even planning, sometimes you just can’t force it. From time to time things need just that, time. Sometimes our unconscious mind needs to process things at its own pace. It’s an organic process where shortcuts rarely yields in to a great results. I often find my self indecisive about certain things, whether it’s an arrangement of a song, promotional plan, or what ever. And no matter how foggy it all seems in the moment, I’ve noticed how my unconscious mind will keep working on the subject even if I move on to something else.
So if you hit a brick wall, don’t force it. Put it on a back burner for a day or two, and get on with other things on your list.
Whether you’re a solo artist, or in a band, you need to rehearse. It is so important for all the band members to “speak the same musical language”. And if you are a solo artist, don’t just assume you will be able to get up there and play your songs live. Being able to record a song in a studio is completely different story than performing it live.
Rehearsal room is where you define your sound. It’s where you repeat the same thing over and over again, until it is committed to your muscle memory and in to your unconscious mind. In the rehearsal room is where you get the mistakes out of your system and build confidence. So when you eventually get up on that stage, you know exactly what you are going to do.
I know it feels like a social occasion, but it is not. If you want to take your music seriously, rehearsal room is where you do the heavy lifting. There is no rooms for alcohol or drugs there. These will only make things sound “better” in your mind. If you want to get some serious work done, get your set in to order in a timely manner, then come in with a clear and focused mind.
I know some of you will like to disagree with me, so here’s a challenge for you. We all have smart phones these days. Set up your camera in your rehearsal room and film a performance of few of your songs after you enjoyed few of those beverages, or other “recreational enhancers”. Don’t worry about watching it straight away, leave it until the next day. Then sit down with a clear mind and press play. I am pretty sure you will not be too impressed.
Rehearsal is where you do the hard work.
In the world we live in today, where we socialize online as much, if not even more than in the “real life” it never stops amazing me how artists still expect people to find them. We just assume that as soon as we set up our profile on social media sites, people will come to find us, and when this does not happen, we feel defeated.
Social media is not some magical tool that makes musicians famous overnight, despite what some people would have you believe. It is still your own action that is required. It is not the fans job to find you, an unknown artist. It is your job to find your potential fans. It is your job to create content, and by this I mean recordings, videos, photos and if you’re really adventurous, blog posts. It is your job to get this content in front of potential fans. It is your job to be proactive, not just sit around and wait for a miracle to happen.
Social media is a tool for you to utilise, not a service that does the job for you. Like anything, you need to learn how to use it wisely. Look into how start-up companies utilise it. Educate your self. Not putting the work into social media is the online equivalent of not going out to play live shows and expecting to become famous.
Do it your self
Most musicians suffer from the “next level” syndrome. We want to find a manager, promoter, booking agent, PR company, record label to take us to the “next level”. Most of us don’t even know what that next level is… The problem is, we expect not to walk up the stairs, but take the lift instead. There are no levels, they are thousands of little steps. Basically what we want, is someone else to do the work for us.
Sure these people possibly have a great deal of experience and knowledge. The thing is, knowledge can be learned, and should be learned by you. It is the lack of knowledge that makes artists the victims of major labels, tied to contracts that only serve the label. There is no point having an exclusive contract with a booking agent for a specific territory, when they don’t get any bookings for you.
There is no one who will fight for your career in the early days like you will. So don’t get someone to do a job for you that with a little bit of knowledge you can do much better your self. Learn your business, the information is out there.
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