Archive for the ‘ Professionalism ’ Category

Learning New Skills for the Gig

People often ask what it takes to be a working musician or artist in New York City. How can you as a musician or artist be heard above the static? How can you distinguish yourself so that you are the one that gets remembered, that gets the call for the next gig and the gig after that?
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Sometimes, a gig may come up that requires you to do something outside your comfort zone– it could be playing a style you’re not familiar with, arranging vocal parts, or learning new software. These are the best opportunities to gain new experience and develop additional skills that you can turn into further gigs in the future.

You’re a guitar player and a gig needs a banjo double? Now’s as good a time as ever to invest in an inexpensive banjo and learn the ropes. You’ll make the investment back in the gigs you’ll gain with this new skill in the future. (You’d be surprised…or maybe not… at how many artists don’t know a banjo player).

Learning new instruments or software can be daunting, but taking a challenging gig can be a great opportunity to develop new skills.


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Being Over-Prepared: Tips for Artists & Bandleaders

How can you as a musician or artist be heard above the static? How can you distinguish yourself so that you are the one that gets remembered, that gets the call for the next gig and the gig after that?

When you walk into the rehearsal room or recording studio, you will want to make an immediate impression– of professionalism, of precision, of creativity– of all that it is that you do and that you do it well. If you walk in unprepared, there’s simply no way that you can be at the top of your game.
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Continued from Being Over-Prepared: Tips for Musicians & Singers


Tips for Artists/Bandleaders
If you are an artist or bandleader, have everything on hand that you may need to prepare for the show, and make sure your musicians have them in enough time to prepare adequately: a setlist, listenable demos, appropriate charts, and any ideas that you may want them to realize. Send them mp3s– preferably not flooding their gmail inbox. If the musicians can listen to the tunes on the go, they will get to know them better. If the band needs to learn the songs by streaming them from YouTube or another site, they won’t be able to distinguish the parts as clearly and won’t be able to hear the songs as frequently. My favorite way to send and receive tunes is with Dropbox, Sugarsync, or any other platform that lets you send a link to the downloadable mp3. The fewer intermediate steps that stand between a musician and the music they need to learn, the better they will know the music.
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Being Over-Prepared: Tips for Musicians & Singers

How can you as a musician or artist be heard above the static? How can you distinguish yourself so that you are the one that gets remembered, that gets the call for the next gig and the gig after that?
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When you walk into the rehearsal room or recording studio, you will want to make an immediate impression– of professionalism, of precision, of creativity– of all that it is that you do and that you do it well. If you walk in unprepared, there’s simply no way that you can be at the top of your game.

The fix is simple: be over-prepared. Learn everything ahead of time. If you’re a sideman, know every note of your part. Have it charted out. I find that making your own charts helps to memorize songs, as I can later visualize the form in my head. The more time that you take to learn tunes and develop a personal and effective way of notating what you need to know, the more efficiently you’ll be able to learn them.
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New Year, New Voices, New Ideas

People often ask what it takes to be a working musician or artist in New York City.

No matter who you are, or how good you are at what you do, something very special about New York– or, I imagine, any other major arts hub– is that there is always, and will always be someone out there who is better than you. Some people find this intimidating, but for others it can be incredibly inspiring– there is always someone to learn from and an impetus to ceaselessly improve your craft.

But how can you as a musician or artist be heard above the static? How can you distinguish yourself so that you are the one that gets remembered, that gets the call for the next gig and the gig after that?

This year I’ll be exploring some of the skills and practices that I’ve observed in the best musicians, singers and artists in New York, Los Angeles and Nashville: those that I respect most– those that have managed over years to build a solid profession on being the best of the best. I’ll be interviewing some of them about their skills and sharing my own experiences and observations– and hopefully, you can share your comments as well.

For another spin on 2013, the Subdiversity blog will be joined by culture producers and curators karmeck360– (a.k.a. Morgan Karr and Lindsay Meck), contributing their own angle on the interaction between live and social media in the 21st century. More on that in days to come.

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Justin Goldner is a bassist, guitarist, producer, songwriter, language junkie and lover of culture in all its manifestations. Follow him on Twitter @JusBass.