One of the tricks for musicians is finding enough time and mental energy do everything. Here are 5 ways to save yourself some significant time:
I’m still on tour this week, and one of the things I tackled that I’ve long been putting off was cleaning out my phone.
Regardless of whether you’re a sideman or an artist, there’s some common things all musicians need to get hired and stay hired. Here are my top 7:
For those that keep up with the blog, I’ve been on the road for the last two weeks with John Berry (hence the missed blogs last week- sorry!) It’s truly been a life changing experience to get to work with John, and I’ve learned a lot that I’ll be blogging about in the future.
You get the call you’ve been working toward for years: a major artist wants you to go on tour with them. What do you do to get ready? Here are 5 tips for getting ready for the gig:
1. Get a detailed list of all your music and any charts available, then double check it.
I made the mistake of not double checking every track, and the artist I’m out with had live recordings I hadn’t learned (I learned the CD versions). Also, make sure to meticulously check your charts, and include notes on anything musically that’s going on.
2. Get Anytune practice software, and woodshed the songs.
I feel like I should have an endorsement deal with Anytune (I don’t), but they’re just that good. Anytune lets you slow down tempo without affecting pitch, create bookmarks for hard sections, and even has a “cycle” function which will speed up the tempo just slightly each time it repeats a section. It’s worth it’s weight in gold, and will help you efficiently practice your set.
3. Make notes of just trouble spots in all your songs, and just practice those spots.
I used the bookmarking feature in AnyTune, but you could also just make notes on your charts. Spending a lot of time on just the hard sections will help you use your time more efficiently.
4. Design your patches.
I like to use a basic piano/pad/organ for when I’m practicing, and I’ll make notes on patches on the chart itself. After I feel confident on the song, I’ll go back and start building my sounds from my notes.
For instance, I’ll make a note when I’m charting through the songs that my verse has a piano, and it switches to organ on the chorus. I’ll then design my first patch as piano, second as organ, etc. I then put them into a folder in MainStage or on my Nord Stage for each song.
5. Do a mock run through.
Set up all of your gear just as if you’re onstage, then play through all of your songs without any music or just a metronome. Try to simulate any things that might go wrong onstage, and try and correct them in real time. Prepping for the worst will help you be so much more relaxed when you first step onstage for sound check.
Did I miss something? Leave a comment for how you practice below.
Managing a worship band is challenging, and it takes special set of skills to keep everyone on track. Here are 7 mistakes I’ve seen even experienced worship leaders make on occasion:
There is nothing crueler you can say to a musician. Saying “you have to make your own breaks” is the equivalent of telling someone they have to be struck by lightning more often.
I’ll be the first to confess: I’m pretty bad with numbers. Over the last few years my wife has been slowly prodding me toward better financial practices, including writing down all of my business expenses. I wasn’t sure it would be worth it, but after almost a year of tracking nearly every dollar we spend (I still screw up occasionally) it’s been amazing the results. Here are 7 things that tracking expenses helped:
I was cramming for a gig this last week- a whopper set with over 64 songs and less than 4 days to work it up. Desperate for any edge I could get, I dropped $30 on the practice software AnyTune. AnyTune allows you to organize MP3s into sets, tag specific songs to practice, stair step up and down the tempo and key signature, and much much more.
This week I'm excited to have my friend and fellow Nashville musician DJ Phillips write about what he looks for when hiring pro musicians for his cover band, The Downtown Band.
DJ is someone I admire not just for his quick wit, crazy guitar chops and robust business sense, but also for his uncanny ability to hire and retain top level music talent in a town where it's difficult to hire top talent. My first gig with the band was subbing in for their keyboardist who was currently on tour with Brett Eldridge, and most of the musicians in the group are playing or have played with major acts during their careers. With over 100+ top level musicians in rotation, I don't know anyone better at identifying and hiring successful musicians.