Sunday, October 31, 2010

Time Management


You will find it necessary to manage your time in order to accomplish the activities that will assure your success.If you save an hour a day, you gain nine extra weeks a year!

I. Time management allows you to effectively use your time.

II. Keep a daily record of how you utilize your time.

III. Analyze your use of time and beware of time wasters such as:
A. Telephone
B. T.V.
C. Unexpected visitors.
D. Excess paper work.
E. Poor planning.
F. Unclear objectives.
G. Crisis management.
H. Being disorganized.
I. Inability to say 'no'.
J. Procrastination.
K. Messy work area.
L. Meetings.
M. Ineffective delegation of responsibilities.

IV. Respect your time. People without goals are used by people with goals.

V. Effectiveness is doing the important things right.

VI. Tune into your natural life cycles.

VII. Utilize idle time with learning seminars, reading material, recorded creative ideas, mental practicing, dictating ideas and activities.
A. Own a mini recording device.

VIII. Act on ideas immediately.

IX. Develop your mental time clock.

X. Learn to say no.

XI. Start and stay organized.

XII. Make time everyday for your 'physical', 'mental', and 'spiritual' self.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Evaluating Yourself

You are hiring your most important employee-you! What skills and traits do you have?
What do you need to develop? Here are a couple of scenarios that suggest why
it is necessary to evaluate yourself.

• You are into the third week of a new practice routine and making progress. Today, however, your mind starts to wander and fills with self doubt as well as pity. There is no time for exercising, reading , or other interests. The initial motive for practicing is hazy and you ask yourself whether this is worth the time and effort. You feel as though you have been neglecting your family, and your social life is non-existent. Is it worth it? Will you be on the road all the time? The words clutter your mind- can't; won't; never; couldn't; wouldn't; how can I ?

• You're practicing, exercising, reading, dieting and improving yourself in everyway possible; however, your car is going to be repossessed if you can't make up the last two payments.

The skills we learn in life are a means to an end fitting into larger 'ends' or goals in a constantly growing cycle. All the pianistic dexterity you possess can prove useless if you never develop the interpretive and creative art of playing. The complete development of musical abilities in accord with your life's pursuits requires clearly defined and deliberately plotted goals creating a road map through life. Without this map we may not know where we are going; and 'if we don't know where we are going we probably won't get there.'

Start to develop your goals by determining the necessities, the luxuries, and the character traits and abilities you desire. The proper character traits are necessary to obtain the tangible things we need and want. To help you develop these personality qualities, reflect on your self image and why you have not achieved your fullest potential.

Our self image may be inadequate in many areas. Criticism, rejection, reprimands and various forms of negative reinforcement nurtured during our impressionable childhood years manifest themselves as moments of self doubt in our adult years. Were you repeatedly told you would never amount to much if you didn't practice? Did older musicians ask you to lay out on your first gigs? These experiences could only result in present moments of self doubt. The knowledge that you haven't practiced for two weeks can be enough to frustrate you and doubt your abilities just before you're ready to perform. Reflect on your fears and insecurities. Were your parents overly protective of you or did they encourage you to swim and enjoy the water? Were you chased out of your dad's workshop or encouraged to learn how to use tools and help him? How were you accepted by classmates? teachers? musicians? members of the opposite sex? We could spend the rest of our life overcoming our fears and insecurities, but by understanding how they start we can help bury them.


In what personality or character traits do you feel inadequate? Make a list of the traits you need and want.(Examples: Self-assurance; Self-respect; Energy; Motivation; Perseverance; Organization.)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

No Guarantees

Successful people have many things in common. We have all read the self help books that tell you to manage your time, have clearly defined goals, visualize your outcome, overcome your fears and take action. Successful people take these actions and share these characteristics. However, there are no guarantees and there are many people who have given up and say they tried these actions to no avail. Successful people try and retry until they get results. These actions and characteristics help give you purpose and relieve a lot of life's anxiety. Even if there are no guarantees, they make you feel better and, like playing the lottery, you have to be in it to win it.

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Working Musician- Networking

Do you know who will be attracted to your product? What is the demographic for your product? How do you communicate to these clients?

In the past there were mailing lists and phone calls; and musicians relied on agents more. Embrace the present where you can have a retail store front for almost nothing.
I built a web site as an experiment for fun and with no knowledge of HTML or how to build a web site. Here were the overall costs. A web domain name cost me $14.00 for two years. The web program was Web Studio 4.0, a simple drag and drop program that allowed music examples, pictures, slide shows and more. The cost was $60. I simply upgraded from Web Studio 2.0 given to me at Best Buy with a new computer purchase as a lure to purchase the larger program. Hosting the domain was free on Go Daddy if I allowed ads to run on the top banner. The web site was $74 and my time. The site is
A YouTube site is free. A Google business calendar is free. An email address at Gmail or AOL is free. There are many great bargains for your own domain name, hosting the site and email. Email and web sites are the beginning elements of electronic networking. We will give you more details later. These initial postings are an over view.

Social networking is the best. If you are performing live, are you getting to know your audience. Do you interact with them in between sets? Do you trade email addresses? There are numerous organizations that the buyer of your product attends. You need to investigate these organizations and attend them if you can, or advertise in their subscriptions.

I recently attended a networking organization of professional wedding planners. A harpist moved to this area six months ago. She performed for free at the meeting and offered a marketing package with a CD and small brochure in it. She had lunch with the organization, mingled, and met as many people as she could in three hours.
Four weeks later I went to a meeting of catering executives. She was there again, performing and distributing her promotional materials. I called her to see if she was available for some future events that we contracted. She wasn't! She will be one of the busiest harpists in this area. In future postings I will give you some of these organizations.

Robbie Schlosser is the leader of a local Dixieland Band. He networks with almost every organization that could use his services. I've known him for 21 years. He has always marketed his band. He has a website, a blog, Facebook and utilizes an email list. We are speaking of the present, not the past. Did you think people stopped booking Dixieland Bands and Swing Style Jazz Bands? Ask Robbie and he will tell you there is always a market for good music. He knows his product; he believes in his product; he markets and sells his product and he is earning a full time living as a working musician.

Collect email addresses and use them with discretion. Don't waste time with jokes.
Network with musicians for work recommendations and contracting. Network with potential clients with emails consisting of appearances, new services to offer and a newsletter. Group your emails into distribution lists. Personal emails are the best.
You don't have to give your email list to everyone. Use the BB or blind copy option to protect your email list. A good email list is one of your most valuable marketing tools. Work on it. Refine it. Update it. We will discuss this topic in greater detail.

Here is a homework assignment. If you don't have a website begin researching web sites by using a Google or other search engine and search for the product you are offering. If you are a music teacher put "piano lessons in (your area or nearby)".
See what comes up. Keep changing the search words. Try 'learn piano' 'music lessons in your neighborhood'. Do it for a half hour and record your results or save them as favorites for future research.

As people find this blog, comment on what you want to learn or share. We will be going into more and more detail as days go on. Share this blog address and pass on the invitation to comment.

The Working Musician- Change

We discussed examples from the past but the question is how do we market ourselves now.

Change is neither good nor bad. It is simply change. It is a natural phenomenon in every aspect of life. It is a social evolution. If you embrace it, it gives the brain new puzzles to solve. The basic principles stay the same. You have a product to offer and you need to market it and attract consumers.

We discussed taking inventory. Taking inventory of yourself requires you to understand what motivates you in order to continue to improve and want to work at your service; and what you are proficient at (don't be a studio musician if you can't sight read music well). We will discuss what usually happens when money is your only motivation, in the future.

If you know your product and believe in it, the next step is to market your product.
Who would be attracted to it? How can you attract them? What is the best way to communicate to your potential clientle?

Let's start solving some puzzles. The next post is networking.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Working Musician- Taking Inventory

Upon graduating from Hofstra University with a degree in Bachelor of Science in music, I went directly into teaching Junior High School music.

I was still performing as a musician for agencies that booked catered social events. There were no DJs on the scene yet, so musicians worked often. It wasn't uncommon to do four weddings or Bar Mitzvahs on a weekend. The band members were picked from a pool of musicians and the bands often met for the first time on the band stand. The afternoon musicians might be going to an evening concert with their band. It was exciting when members of Blood Sweat and Tears were on your bandstand in the afternoon. I heard musicians say that they played a Bar Mitzvah with Chick Corea.
(If anyone who finds this blog speaks to Chick ask him to say it's not so...)

We didn't read music on the bandstand and we faked a wide variety of music. My inventory was forming. I was a 'jack of all trades' -variety of music- musician that could fake his way through many types of music, and I was an educator that can combine the music and stage presence to do a music clinic. A friend of mine on and off the band stand, Dom Famularo, came into my class to do drum clinics. At first he did them as a favor and then he did them at other schools. He parlayed his visiblity infront of hundreds of students that would become potential purchasers of drum equipment, into endorsements with drum companies. He marketed the endorsements into profitable clinics. The clinics were marketed into more endorsements. Google Dom Famularo. He took inventory and marketed the inventory.

Dom and I traveled from New York to California with Tony Oppedisano, an excellent all around musician who was self taught on guitar and bass. We arrived in California with no contacts. By promoting ourselves to agents, networking, interacting with customers on our breaks, taking dedications, distributing tent cards and generally enjoying the marketing process, we worked continuously until we went our separate ways. Tony had a passion for Frank Sinatra and his music. His knowledge of 'everything Sinatra' made him part of Sinatra's inner circle and road manager. He is now road manager for Don Rickles. Tony took inventory and acted upon it.

That was then; can it be done now? Yes!