I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I’m going to tell you about a tool that is incredibly powerful in connecting with your audience, and yet completely underutilized particularly in the world of musicians. It has the power to bring forth laughter, tears, reflection, happiness, and most of all, it evokes a sense of connection from the reader to the writer.
I’m talking about blogging.
The power of words is not to be underestimated—beyond their daily use in our lives, we use them all the time in our careers. Every time we craft an email, post to our social media, or send out our newsletter, we’re harnessing the power of words to connect with our audience.
And yet for some reason musicians overlook blogging as one of the most powerful ways to connect with their audience.
As an indie artist, most of the time you end up doing everything yourself from recording your album to taking your own band photos to promoting your new release. One of those do-it-yourself items is creating your album artwork. You may be thinking “but I’m not a designer” or “I don’t know how to use Photoshop.” An alternative route would be to pay a graphic designer to put something together for you. But what if that’s not in your budget?
In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to create your album artwork for free using a website called Canva. With Canva, you don’t have to know how to use Photoshop or pay a graphic designer. It’s very user-friendly and they even have templates you can use for social posts, album artwork, gig posters, and lots more.
If you’re young and single, touring with a band can be one of the greatest experiences of your life. In addition to getting to play music all across the country and possibly the world, touring can be an experience filled with late night partying and endless possibilities for meeting new people. But if you’re a bit older and are married or in a committed relationship, weeks or months at a time spent away from home trying to promote new music on tour can be massively challenging for even the strongest couples.
If you’re in a serious relationship and plan on touring for long stretches at a time, you’ll have to go through a difficult balancing act between the needs of your music career and your obligations at home. Couples can still manage to thrive if one of its members tours regularly, but not without a lot of hard work and planning. Here’s a few tips to help.
While seeing Phish perform a sold out show in Charlottesville, Virginia, a naked man ran onstage and interrupted the performance until security could catch him. It was very strange and unsettling, and for a moment, frightening. But what happened later in the show was absolutely incredible. During the band’s encore, they performed a fan-favorite song, “Run Like An Antelope.” The lyrics are simple: “You’ve gotta run like an antelope, out of control.” The crowd always sings along loudly and gleefully. But on this particular night, Phish took advantage of that weird scare earlier in their set and changed the lyrics to, “You’ve gotta run like a naked guy, out of control.” Now, this might sound weird on the surface, but for everyone in the audience, it was magic! Everyone sang along, screaming at the top of their lungs, laughing. The show became known as “the naked guy” show. It created a special moment for the concert goers.
So, what’s the story here? During live performances, there are going to be mistakes, slip-ups, gear malfunctions, and everything your nightmares can possibly imagine. Sometimes these mistakes are as simple as landing on the wrong note for half a second; other times, it means taking a 15-minute break out of your set to address a complex gear issue. When these panic moments appear, have a plan ready to control and own the issue, and even turn it into a special moment with the audience like Phish did that night in Charlottesville.
This is the second half of a special Reverb Nation Guide To Music Theory. In Part 1, I taught you how to build and understand intervals and basic chords. If you haven’t gone through Part 1 one of this guide, stop reading this and check that out first. To understand everything in this article, you’ll need to have a basic knowledge of everything I talked about in that first guide.
In this article, I’ll introduce you to scales, Roman numeral analysis, and the circle of 5ths. Having a solid grasp on music theory’s basic concepts can be a huge help to you no matter what your unique experience and background in music is, and by the end of this guide you should have more than enough information to be able to wrap your head around the ideas that govern music. Let’s jump back in.
You know when you’re mindlessly browsing your inbox and you come across something that really jumps out at you? For me, one of those things is the newsletter from Music Launch Hub and Music Launch Summit founder Steve Palfreyman, a musicprenuer (read: musician/entrepreneur) who’s always doling out real life scenarios and advice from the perspective of both a musician and an industry entrepreneur. He offers lots of free tools, workshops, and support and here’s the key — doesn’t try to sell me anything. Because of all of this, I tend to feel a bond with his message and his mission, and naturally gravitate towards keeping up with him via his Facebook group and emails. This is an example of email marketing done right.
Then there’s those other mailing lists that I initially subscribed to because they promised me free goods or a discount, or because I was genuinely interested in what they had to say, but I now find myself rapidly deleting and unsubscribing from because they’re either a) boring b) they’re trying to sell me something or c) both. This is an example of poor email marketing.
Here’s the thing though. As an emerging musician, I’m willing to bet that you already know having a mailing list is key when it comes to connecting with fans and fostering that sense of community. With social media algorithms being what they are, your mailing list is the one place that you can be sure your fans are seeing your updates every time. The tough part is continually putting out content that makes your fans want to stay around. So how do you do that?
Arguably the most prolific pop songwriting duo of the 20th century, John Lennon and Paul McCartney crafted some of the best known and most beloved tracks of all time as the major powerhouses behind the Beatles. Although each would go onto have successful solo careers — McCartney with Wings in the ‘70s and largely by himself thereafter and Lennon, along with wife Yoko Ono, helming politically charged outfits during his tragically short post-Beatles career — many insist they were never as good apart as they were together.
When boiled down to the basic status of “co-writers,” however, Lennon and McCartney aren’t so different from you and your writing partners. They dealt with many similar issues that, hopefully, won’t crop up too often in your own career, including copyright disputes, claims over who wrote what, and the public deifying one half over the other. It’s indisputable, however, that their combined power created a musical benchmark few other have risen to.
Although there are many, many lessons to learn from Lennon and McCartney’s songwriting partnership, here are three key takeaways that will get you and your present and future co-writers on the right track to crafting musical masterpieces.
When working with the endless options of vocal effects in today’s average digital audio workstation (DAW), it can be very tempting to go overboard. It’s like having a huge, free buffet in front of you — of course you’re going to want some of everything. But that doesn’t mean you need to put chocolate on pizza or eat four plates until you get sick. Several artists get away with large swaths of effects on their vocals. Look at Radiohead for example. Their seminal album Kid A opens with the song “Everything In Its Right Place,” in which singer Thom Yorke’s voice is reversed, looped, pitched up & down, and drenched in a variety of distorting effects. However, above all of those vocal FX lies Yorke’s clear human, emotive singing voice. So, when experimenting with effects like Radiohead, be on the lookout for these five signs that your vocals have too much processing.