Planning Your Music Career

The Challenge. We study and practice. Yet the question remains, “What now?” How do I make a musical connection to others? How do I apply my skills to real-world experiences? It’s frustrating that the craft of drumming, and the landscape of the music business is not an exact science. But there are things you can do; steps you can take; and changes you can implement to take you out of the practice room and into the music business. Let’s start by planning and then by taking a look at your goals.

Take stock. Examine your musical and professional experiences and goals. Where are you in your music career? How many shows do you play a year? Do you have the network you need to achieve your goals? Do you have any network at all? What do you want to be doing next month or next year? Are you on the outside looking in? If so, what must change? This type of personal assessment will be different for everyone depending on your hopes and dreams. Allow yourself the time for this evaluation. Perhaps even do some research. Be very clear about the type of drummer you are, and the types of playing at which you shine. Taking an honest look at your present situation will save time now and perhaps avoid future disappointment. It will also pave the way for your next step.

Find your pigeonhole. Have a concise, truthful answer prepared to the “What kind of drummer are you?” question. Once you’ve decided, stick to the answer and tell people that answer when they ask! For drummers, this seems to go against our very core. We are taught to be well rounded and versatile. We should be open to many musical styles. However, it is also important to realize that fellow musicians, band mates, the music industry, even your local bartender, will classify you as a certain kind of drummer. For example, think of a drummer that you do not know personally, but one whose work you admire. What kind of drummer is he? If you had to put him in one musical category, what would it be? You see? We do it to others, and others will do it to us.

If you do not pigeonhole yourself, others may do it for you. For example, suppose you consider yourself a heavy metal drummer. Your band recently returned from a successful tour. You have several weeks before your band tours again. To pay the rent, you accept a six-week gig, playing a show at a local dinner theater. Because you are now working at a dinner theater, are you a show drummer? The outside world may see it that way if you let them. However, if you have already established yourself as a heavy metal drummer, the theater gig will only help you appear accomplished and versatile. Remember to decide your category honestly, and then stick to it, no matter what kinds of jobs you are doing. Soon, others will describe you by using your own phrase. If you do not take the time to type cast yourself, to pigeonhole your career, you are leaving your legacy open to the random interpretation of your peers. Now that you have your place in the music world, it is time to make something happen.

3 Do-Able Steps to Shift Your Mood in 5 Minutes or Less!

Music can uplift your day, but can it really change your day? Recent research indicates that the structured use of music is an effective way to manage your mind, body, and mood without harmful addiction. These quick tips are an easy way for you to experience a balanced YOU that will give the tools to get off the ever swirling merry-go-round and allow you to move forward toward what you want in life.

1. Use your love of music by understanding why we love it

The body is made up of frequencies just like music. It would make sense that you could use one to affect the other. You might feel like you can’t move forward because of a negative emotion or stress that stops you from moving to the next step. What happened? How do you get moving again? This is where music can be used as a simple and easy tool. To release these problems, the best type of music is classical music that has a lot of noise, and abrasive sounds. The purpose for this structure is to break through the blockages and allow the body to release that negative emotion. Be prepared to allow feelings like repressed anger, guilt, grieving, and maybe even problem relationships to appear. The next step is to talk with someone about it, or pray about it. Listening to music as a tool may cause you to cry, but that’s okay–JUST LET IT GO.

2. Shift from low energy to high energy and back again

When your energy is low and you have a long day in front of you, what do you crave? Many of you reach for that cup of coffee, or a soda with caffeine to give you energy. You know it’s addictive, right? Instead use a healthier and more enjoyable way to energize your body. For 5 minutes, listen to energizing music that you like. Have you ever heard foot-tapping music that caused you to get up and move? The relationship of brain-wave frequencies is what contributes to the changes in your moods and actions. The structure of the music is changing your brain wave from wanting to be relaxed to get up and go–the result is energy. The same can be said for wanting to relax. Now you know how to change your mood without harmful addiction. What a great fun addiction–MUSIC!

3. Make an appointment with yourself to enhance your mood

Just as we make appointments with our hair stylist, it is time to make an appointment with yourself to strengthen your brainwaves to continue to give you the balance you seek. One of my clients was having trouble going to sleep and staying asleep. We decided 30 minutes before bed she would find her quiet place, have a hot cup of tea and listen to soothing music like Enya’s Watermark. After only a couple of weeks of this relaxing routine she experienced restful healing sleep. Music is really amazing when you use this simple tool to create a balanced YOU.

Your first step is set up selections that will help you and then be sure to listen to these selections for changing your brainwaves. Now think of your day and where you can use your choices to help you have a successful day. When you are feeling tired use your energy music, when you have a task needing to be completed but you are distracted, pop in your focus music and get back on track. When you are feeling depressed or lonely use that wonderful uplifting music. To shift your mood, listen to your selection for five minutes and enjoy the benefits without harmful addiction. Surround yourself with the beauty of music. Music creates more balance & harmonizes the electrical frequencies within the body. Use music as your “power tool” to create a balanced YOU.

Action: Take your favorite music and find out what will help with energy, relax, focus, heal, uplift, cleanse, and create, which leads to a more balanced YOU.

Visit Karen’s website to download my FREE gift to you of music that will help you manage your mind, body and mood. Join one of Karen’s many programs to help you learn the do-able and simple steps to a balanced YOU.

Karen is a sought after wellness motivator, who merges fun with simple steps that instruct and empower her audiences. Audiences consider Karen Anderson an inspiring and motivating speaker.

A former music educator for over 25 years, Karen Anderson has taught hundreds of students in every age range. Today, Karen combines her love of music and health to teach the connection between the mind, body and mood using natural alternatives and tools that can easily compliment any busy lifestyle. Karen, a 2006 NAWBO Outstanding Women Leaders nominee is a Wellness Motivator and is working towards her PhD in Holistic Nutrition.

Learning Music For Absolute Beginners

Learning music as a beginner can be frustrating if you do not know where to start. There is no right or wrong way for a beginner to learn, but there are simple steps that can help anyone make learning music fun.

First of all, you’ll need an instrument. If you have access to a piano, you have got a head start. The piano is the easiest instrument to begin learning, yet is also the most versatile. Its notes are set neatly in a row with nothing hidden. Because of this simple layout, the piano can be used to learn the basic principles of music.

The piano has two sets of keys: the white keys and the black keys. Each key plays a different note. Starting on the note C and playing the next six white keys to the right will form the C major scale. Of course, finding the note for a beginner is half the challenge.

To find a C, look at the black keys. There are two groupings of black keys: two keys and three keys. Look for a group of two black keys. The white key just to the left of this group is C.

Now that you’ve found C, you will be able to play the C major scale. Just start at any C and move to the right, playing each white key in sequence until you have reached the next C on the keyboard. You have now played the C major scale, one of the building blocks of learning music. The notes are as follows: C D E F G A B.

Many popular songs can be played with this scale. You can play the melody of Old MacDonald using these keys. You can also play Let It Be by the Beatles, using only the C major scale. Both the melody and chords of the song can be played using the white keys.

Of course, no one wants to stop learning there. Learning some basic chords will be the next step. A basic C chord is played by placing the thumb on a C, the middle finger on an E, and the pinky on the G. Play these keys at the same time and you have played the C chord.

There are many more scales and chords to learn, but any beginner can start with C and create some nice results. Learning music needs to be fun, as theory and technical exercises can make it seem more like work. The great thing about learning how to play chords and melodies in C is that pretty much any white key melody will work over any white key chord progression. For someone learning to play the piano, this is encouraging.

Musical Fast Track Lesson 2 – Put Yourself On a Mission

In the last lesson of “21 Great Ways to Become a Monster Jazz Musician” we talked about musical values. We talked about how making choices based on our values will focus our musical efforts and ensure an individual and original sound and approach, the goal of all jazz musicians. In this lesson we will talk about being “on a mission.”

Now that you have determined your values and what’s important to you musically, the next step is to create your mission statement. In a nut shell, this is the ultimate purpose and objective of your practicing, gigging, listening, studying and composing. This is a sentence that explains what you are aiming to accomplish.

Think about it this way: When NASA sends a shuttle on a “mission” to space, they have a reason for it. They don’t just say, “Hey, we’ve got nothing to do today, let’s send the shuttle up into space, for fun.” They send it up for a reason. They send it up to put a satellite into orbit, to repair the XYZ doo-hickey on the space station and to complete a particular experiment. Now, it seems ridiculous to send the space shuttle into orbit and spend millions of dollars and thousands of hours of work for no purpose–in other words, with no mission. So why would you want to spend thousands of hours practicing and thousands of dollars going to school and studying with no purpose for your music?

Write down your mission. Write down in words what it is you plan to accomplish with music. What is your main focus? Don’t rush this. Spend some time thinking about it. Writing down your mission or “major definite purpose” will have profound effects on your musical progress. Without a mission it’s as if you are on a road trip with no destination or reason in mind. This might sound like fun for awhile, but unless you are extremely lucky and the exception to the rule, you will end up nowhere. If you intend to make a major contribution to jazz and become a monster jazz musician, you must have a purpose and a mission.

Here’s a great exercise to help you get started on your mission statement: Write a eulogy for yourself. What would you want people to say about your music after you’re gone? What do you want to be remembered for? What will be your legacy? If you know the answers to these questions, you are in the minority and on the fast track to realizing your musical dreams.

Once you have crafted a mission statement, use it as a springboard. Refer to it when you are making your practice routines. Refer to it when you start a new musical project or even buy a new method book. Use it to help you make all of your music-related choices.

Action Step1: Write your own eulogy. How do you want to be remembered?

Action Step 2: Get a blank piece of paper. At the top write your new mission statement. Remember, this is the ultimate goal of your musical journey. Next, write your list of values. These will be your guides and signposts on your mission. Refer to the list of your favorite players from Lesson One if you need inspiration. You have now begun a strong foundation to support yourself on your way to success.

In our next lesson we’ll start to get down to the nitty-gritty and talk about deciding exactly what you want to learn and achieve with music. Until next time…