Success - 25 Strategies for Better Living Through Music (Strategies
By Bev Stanton,
my first 10 years of playing music, I was in a succession of bands
that went nowhere. Armed with the foolhardy belief that we were
destined to succeed just by playing out and releasing product, we
played gig after gig to dismal audiences and sent out hundreds of
CDs to radio and media, yet received little notice. After years
of frustration, I channeled my energies into a solo techno project.
I hit pay dirt and was signed to a record company after sending
out only 20 cassettes.
success was short lived because the label went bankrupt. I subsequently
dusted myself off and started using the Internet to pursue more
strategic, proactive promotional and artistic strategies. Although
I have not attained the fame and adulation I fantasized about in
my early years, my efforts have yielded more satisfying results.
I have managed to gain a small but loyal following, generate a sizable
turnout at events, and derive more personal fulfillment through
Listen To Music From Different Genres And Eras
have been guilty of writing in bios that my band has "a unique sound."
In retrospect, after listening to old CDs and cassettes from several
years ago, I have to face the fact that everything is derivative.
There is nothing wrong with having influences; it is all a part
of how musical movements such as jazz and techno percolate and evolve.
We can still be influenced by someone else1s music, yet craft a
to music from other worlds. Listen to music from the past. Don't
just mimic, but absorb other sounds and make them your own. If you
only listen to what's in the present, by the time your record is
released your audience will have heard it all before. On the other
hand, if music from a neglected genre or era resonates with you,
explore that niche and create something new that will sound fresh
to your listener.
let your personal background hold you back. For example, don't think
that if you're white you can't play jazz or that you have to be
from Ireland to explore Celtic music. When cultures blend, it can
create an exciting synergy, as when Latin music and Jazz intersected
in the 1940's, and American R&B begat Garage in the UK.
Practice Makes Perfect
used to consider band practice as instrument practice and not spend
enough time alone with my bass. To a certain extent this may have
been due to time constraints, but it also may have been to fear
of facing my own inadequacies alone. As a result I would be nervous
onstage because, although our band was tight, I lacked the instrumental
command to handle the unexpected. Sometimes my lack of confidence
would manifest itself in overplaying and interfered with laying
down an effortless yet effective groove.
more comfortable you are with your instrument, the more you can
demonstrate to people that you belong on stage. If you are nervous,
it will make the audience uncomfortable. Act confident and you will
BE confident. Don't be self conscious, focus on the music. If the
crowd doesn't react the way you want them to, focus on the one person
who seems responsive. If you question yourself, others will doubt
Learn Theory - Increase Your Vocabulary
there are lots of brilliant musicians who don't know theory, in
my experience it broadened my palette. I initially bought a theory
book so that I could better communicate with musicians at the recording
studio where I worked. Ultimately, an understanding of scales, rhythm,
and harmony has given me an appreciation for how beautiful math
can render a potpourri of moods. It is also more exciting to break
rules when you know what the "right" way is.
Don't Be Deliberately Trendy
the time you hear a hot new band, their music has been out at least
a year. Then it can take you at least a year to record an album
and release it, which places you two years behind the curve. Back
in the eighties, I was in several bands that were influenced by
the Smiths and The Cure. Many other bands back then were too, and
by the time our music reached the ears of record industry reps,
they had already heard enough clones.
you can often reach back into the past to rediscover new sounds.
Acid Jazz is an example of making something old new again. If you
do like something new, try to pinpoint what makes it great and harness
that quality in your own sound.
am a firm believer in traveling to musically vibrant and historically
significant places for inspiration. My personal Mecca is Britain
because, although the fashion gap has closed, they are still two
years ahead musically. When a commercial client says they want a
futurist piece, they are happy if I give them something similar
to what was big in the UK six months ago. If I can't afford the
plane fare, I buy a bus ticket to New York and soak up the artistic
Be Inspired. Listen To Music. Listen To Silence
songwriting changed dramatically when I started carrying around
a recorder to capture random inspirations. Stay connected and try
to view life from other peoples' perspectives. For example, when
you watch the news, think about what it must be like to live in
Afghanistan getting bombed by the richest country on earth. Or just
go with what you know...there's nothing like universal human experience
to help you connect with your listener!
Let Music Be A Metaphor For How You Live Life
the issues I have in life are mirrored in how I approach music.
For example, I am often afraid to try new things out of fear of
making mistakes. In life too, I am afraid to take chances. Once
I realized to what degree my musical approach was an extension of
my personality, I began using music as an arena to confront my shortcomings.
For example, instead of playing the same repetitive bass line on
a song, I would throw in a new riff. Once I developed the confidence
to branch out artistically and deal with the consequences of possible
mistakes, (i.e. just rolling with it when I hit a bad note), I was
able to transfer these skills to real life in ways, such as trying
new hobbies and changing jobs.
by the MusicDish
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It 2004 - Republished with Permission
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