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Archive for March, 2007

     Songwriters!  Where do you go to convene?  Do you even have a place?  Well of course you do!  And if you’ve never visited www.CtSongs.com, you’re missing out on a place made especially for you.   

      On this website, the Connecticut Songwriters Association has their headquarters. There is a lovely navigation menu bar to the left of the screen with links to everything you could possibly be looking for, and all the hottest new events and news are plopped right smack-dab in the middle of the homepage, making it easy to always be up-to-date with the CSA’s goings-on with minimal clicks of the mouse. Currently, they are advertising a song-writing competition wherein they have created a special category for songs about hunger and homelessness. And this directly benefits CSA Community Outreach. What a warm, fuzzy organization ! 

       As I’ve found on most musician-related websites, there is a link for classified ads on this page. But these are specifically for song-writers, so it makes the hunt a lot more simple. There is also a link with their current newsletter and also archives of their old newsletters. There is a lot to be learned from reading these if you’re in the field, so I definitely recommend checking them out.     

       Becoming a member of CSA is easy. You can choose your membership length from three plans: the $40 one-year membership, the $70 two-year membership, or the $99 three-year membership. Obviously, you save the most money ($21) by choosing the three-year membership. And according to their site, once you’re in, you get “free or discounted admission to all CSA events, free use of the CT Songs Cafe e-group, free classified ads, discounts on most services, and free subscription to the electronic newsletter.”

        Sounds like a pretty good deal to me, if you consider the time and money you’ll be saving by using their discounted products and classifieds. Plus, imagine all the great connections you can make through an organization like this!  When you’re attending all those free events, you’ll be glad you put up the hundred bucks for three years of it. 

Kara Nielsen, Editor  (3/29/2007)

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      By Bizzy Bender, musician  

         So, you have been singing with the worship band for a long time now, honed your guitar skills, and written some decent songs and now you are ready to break into the Christian music scene.I am here to tell how not to succeed! Yes, that’s correct, how not to succeed!

     First, make a CD without any forethought. Record it at multiple studios and use all of your friends regardless of their level of talent. Mix and master it yourself then send it off to the absolute cheapest place to reproduce them and make 1000 copies of it. Don’t put a bar code on it – it’s just money well spent! Plan a CD release party. It will be a huge success and you will sell at least 100 copies of your new CD! Ask people to sign your mailing list.

     Now I know you are probably saying to yourselves “this sounds like what I should be doing. What’s wrong with that? Other than mixing and mastering myself that is.”Here’s where you start to set yourself up for failure.  1. Never set goals or make any plans of how this will work or where you want to go with your music ! 2. After your big CD release concert, go home and promptly forget to add all of those names to your data base. Better still, don’t even create a database ! 3. Now you need to sell the other 900 CD’s. So for distribution place a box in the back of your car and keep them there for all future sales.  4. Under no circumstance should you ever be proactive about your music career. Always wait for others to contact you.  5. Sign up for all sorts of contests and seminars. Spending your hard earned money on related fees will greatly add to your lack of success.  6. Create a xianity space and a mymusicespace page [and as many other similar sites] and don’t learn how to use them properly.

       Check in on them only very sporadically. Ask random people to be your friend who will never really be interested in you or your music. Friends from far away countries are very cool, they certainly won’t be coming to one of your gigs anytime soon. 7. Find as many different places to list yourself as an artist online and then do nothing about it. For example, CD Baby, Taxi, Indieheaven, Garageband…8. Email as many different venues as you can find but don’t keep track of who you email and never, absolutely never try calling someone to make a personal connection. That works way too well in securing gigs! 9. Here’s a great way to keep from succeeding. Design your own website. Make sure it’s not in any way, shape or form cool or attractive. Of course you wouldn’t want to find out how to optimize your site by adding metatags to your site to increase the number of hits to your page.  That would be sheer folly!! {I’ve saved the best for last!} 10. Probably the most important tool to increase your chances of failure is to put everything in God’s hands and do nothing else.

    This IS Christian music after all ! Peace, Bizzy

(Editors Footnote: Bizzy is a Musician from Conn. One would call her a cross between from Joni Mitchell to Sheryl Crow. She plays for churches as well as numerous Coffeehouses. BUT, probably her bigger claim to fame is the SoulFest in Gunstock, NH. www.TheSoulFest.com . Bizzy has shared the billing with people like “Tammy Trent”, “Chris Tomlin”, “Casting Crowns”, “Seventh Day Slumber”, etc.  You can contact Bizzy thru   www.BizzyBender.com & listen at www.MySpace.Com/BizzyBenderMusic.)   

Bizzy     

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      Let me paint the age-old picture for you. You’ve just graduated college with a music degree, you’re currently making some semblance of minimum wage at a completely unrelated job, and you’re ready for a change. But what could you possibly do with that music degree in the real world? Your dream of being discovered and swept off to Hollywood is rapidly fading.    

     Sound like you? There is hope! There are actually tons of open positions for people just like you. Whether your passion is performing, teaching, or even just writing, we’re here to teach you how to take full advantage of the surfeit of wonderful musician-friendly websites out there. 

         So what’s the best way to just get started? Whether you’re a solo artist or a band-member, the best way to start is by letting the world know who you are. We’ve reviewed a couple of very helpful sites that would definitely be worth checking out. They’re both free, and they’re both effective. What’s out there for job-seeking musicians? Plenty. All it takes is a little hunting. Lucky for you, we’ve already done the dirty work. So just sit back and prepare to check out the great opportunities you never even knew you were missing.     

    At www.bandmix.com you can create an interactive profile for yourself or your band that assuredly will be viewed by the masses. Don’t have a degree? Not an issue! In a band that hasn’t played out yet? Who cares! All you need to get your money’s worth from this sweet site (which happens to be free) is a computer keyboard and a self-promoting attitude. After entering your personal info (name, hometown, birthday, etc), you get to move on to the juicy part. Select, from a list, the instrument(s) you play, which genre(s) you prefer, and if you are looking for any other instrumentalists. Then you can write up a personalized description of yourself or your band, your influences, and even what equipment you have. How many gigs have you played? How often do you practice? How many nights a week can you gig? When are you most available? Get as vague or specific as you want! Then, upload a picture of yourself or your band to be displayed along with your profile, and you’re ready to go! Upload images, audio and video, manage a calendar of your upcoming events, and keep your profile current with other fantastic options provided by this exceedingly professional site.  

        A similar site that is an absolute gem for musicians is www.myspace.com . A MySpace account is one of the most popular ways right now to introduce new music. MySpace, like BandMix, features a page for classifieds that you can either post on or surf to find other musicians. On your actual profile page, you can post media, links to other sites, personal information, events, blogs, and acquire “friends.” Your “friends” are the people who visit your site regularly, and they will ultimately be your links to success. The average MySpace user has at least 100 “friends,” and their pages are always viewable by each of their 100 friends. Thus, for each five friends you have on MySpace, your page can potentially be viewed by 500+ “friends.” This unique way of gathering followers has proven to be very successful. It is not uncommon for a MySpace Featured Artist’s page to be viewed by a recording company, and there have been cases of recruitment by big-time agents simply based on an artist’s MySpace page.  

      After choosing one of these excellent starter-sites, you’re ready to really self-promote. Include any graphics, images, audio, video, or text that you would find interesting when surfing another artist’s page. Don’t be afraid to get a little personal – after all, some of the best music is extremely personal. Put your own flavor into the page.

     Through www.BandMix.com  , you can always upload new media, search for other musicians in your zip code, and express your musical opinions on the various forums that are open to users. Personalize on the www.MySpace.com page by changing the background and format, selecting an audio or video clip to play whenever someone visits the page, and consistently blogging to alert fans of upcoming gigs. Take advantage of these great innovative sites, made especially for people like you. You’ll be glad you did.

Kara Nielsen, Editor www.BandSpace.Fm (2/9/07) 

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      Trinity Covenant Church in Manchester, CT is looking for volunteer singers to participate in their recording of a CD Album. Trinity has been producing an annual Christmas musical for about twenty years now, and there are some staple songs that they always get requests for. Ten of these will be recorded in June, 2007 and for sale for $15 in August, 2007.         Not lacking any talent, the show is always fantastic, and they sell out four-to-five performances every year. Of course, being a church production, they do not charge for admission, but they do ask for donations from whoever is able to give. The sales from this CD will be pumped right back into the show to make this year’s bigger and better.       Each year, they hire musicians from all around, including several from the Manchester Symphony Orchestra, and they begin rehearsing with the singers early in the fall for the December production. Every Sunday, this church has a live band as part of their worship service, and some wonderful vocalists leading the congregation in song. Brass, woodwind, and string players frequent the stage along with the consistently present drum kit, bass, and guitar. It really is an event every week, complete with a great sound system and a projector beaming the words of the songs onto the front wall for all to see (no more flipping through hymnals at Trinity !). The result is a flawless mini-concert every Sunday morning, praising God through song and adding warmth and spirit to the worship service. 

      They pull out all the stops for their Christmas Cantata, and the best of the best are front and center belting out old favorites and contemporary hits. Several churches join together to assemble the massive choir behind the soloists, and everyone is welcome. But be ready for music boot camp ! Steve Nielsen will definitely whip you into shape in the few months he has with you. 

         To top it all off, you can actually take private lessons from musicians within the church. They are offered in voice, piano, keyboard, and guitar. If you’re interested in being a part of the recording, or just in participating in their Christmas musical this coming December, you can visit www.TrinityCovenantChurch.org for more details or to contact the Director of Music & Worship Steve Nielsen. Click on the “Worship” tab and then click “Great Joy CD” from the drop-down menu.  Order form www.trinitycovenantchurch.org/cd/    

Father & Son Mother daughter

Kara Nielsen, Editor  (3/22/07) www.BandSpace.Fm

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     A great opportunity for band exposure in Conn can be found in the copious variety of summer festivals they have to offer.

     Whether you’re in a genre specific band or just a laid-back we’ll-play-anything group, you can find a spot for yourself in one of CT’s several summer band festivals.   At the Lebanon Fairgrounds, in Lebanon, CT, they hold a concert called Festivus each summer. This year it will be held July 21st through the 23rd. They welcome campers, and it’s not uncommon to see people lugging in tents, grills, and food supplies for all three days. They always have locals offering up “breakfast burritos or grandma’s world famous iced coffee,” but they also caution that you try them at your own risk It’s probably best to bring your own munchies and be able focus on the music as opposed to chancing the burrito and worrying all day about E-coli.

   The Pipes in the Valley is another summer music festival that is held in East Hartford, CT. As you may have guessed from the title, it’s a Celtic festival. They gather together to celebrate music, food, and fine beer. This is a perfect venue for any of those obscure bagpipe bands out there. I know, it sounds funny to think of a regular rock band (guitar, bass and drums) with a bagpipe thrown in the mix, but it’s actually not that uncommon, and it’s a fairly well-received genre. My brother was actually in a Celtic Rock band for a few years, and they performed successfully at several different battle-of-the-bands festivals, but never The Pipes in the Valley. I think it would have been a great setting for them. It’s a one-day festival taking place this year on September 29th at the Riverfront Plaza. Their website, www.PipesInTheValley.com, actually offers some links to other local Celtic festivals if you’re interested in checking out something new and different.

   The line-up for this next one is already secured, but it’s something that’s worthwhile just to go check out. The Green Apple Music & Arts Festival actually takes place in NYC, Chicago, and San Francisco, but if you get a chance to make it to NYC (come on, it’s not that far…), you’ll get to witness the biggest Earth Day celebration in the nation. It runs from April 19th to the 22nd, with a huge line-up of bands including such big names as Edwin McCain, Tower of Power, Piebald, Brand New, Umphrey’s McGee, and American Idol’s Taylor Hicks. Most shows are only $10, and they’re at a variety of venues. This really is a huge event and a great opportunity to check out a lot of big names and names that will be big very soon.

   This is just a small initial sampling of what’s out there for band festivals. Some others will be featured at a later date. But these are definitely a good start to get your feet wet and consider what’s available.

Kara Nielsen, Editor  (3/22/07) www.BandSpace.Fm

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        Want to start a career in music production?  Check out www.FullSail.com . Full Sail School of Recording Arts can jump start those dreams!  Their website boasts that “for more than 25 years, Full Sail has trained some of the most respected engineers, producers, and mixers in the audio industry.  Full Sail’s Recording Arts Degree Program gives you the training you need to get started in the world of music production.”      

         Their website currently features a graduate who has done especially well for himself.  His name is Sean Spuehler, and he has worked with Madonna, No Doubt, and Beck.  He’s quoted as saying, “Every studio I go to, I run into Full Sail people… they definitely jump start your career.”               Production is not for everyone, but neither is performance.  This is why it’s important to find out what your specific musical interest is.  Some talented musicians begin their careers as teachers or performers, but they quickly lose interest if this isn’t their real passion.  If you think you might prefer being behind the booth instead of on the stage, check out Full Sail’s website.  You can enter your information and they’ll send you a free overview of the school and what it offers.             Want to be more in the middle of the action?  Check out the Los Angeles Recording School at www.LaRecordingSchool.com to begin taking classes in the music capital of the world.  They offer 15 studio lab environments to “provide the perfect training ground for you to get hands-on and start learning all aspects of music production and audio engineering.”  They have a great mission statement, outlining their goal to clarify the world of professional audio equipment and techniques, and to offer students the latest technology to practice on, and the most competent faculty to guide them along.  They also guarantee that their graduates will be provided with the greatest possible opportunities for career advancement. 

            On the East Coast, check out Berklee College of Music for classes in music production, www.berklee.edu .  In the heart of Boston, a place where some of the finest musicians serenade you on the subway, you will be surrounded by the best of the best, and you’ll get to work with some of the world’s most talented individuals.  From famous faculty (including Livingston Taylor) to amazing opportunities (including working on tracks with major artists), you’re sure to find something to feed any passion.   You can major in Music Production and Engineering or just opt to take a few choice classes.  They offer courses in Music Acoustics, Audio Technology, Mix Techniques, Sound Reinforcement, Creative Production Skills, Multitrack Recording Techniques, Vocal Production, Masters Engineering, and Production Analysis, to name just a few. 

             So whether your passion is fading on performance, or you’re just beginning in the music industry and production has caught your eye, check out these hot schools and see if they’ve got what you need.

Kara Nielsen, Editor   (3/15/07) www.BandSpace.Fm  

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           Have you been doing your daily check-in?  Remember that list of free musician oriented websites you can take advantage of on a daily basis?  Well, I have’ve been doing it, and I’ve found some great opportunities for musicians that you’re still letting yourself miss out on by neglecting this simple routine.   

           At  www.BackPage.com , I found voice lessons in the Hartford, CT area at a very reasonable hourly or half-hourly rate.  I also found an available guitarist in my own town looking for a band, a really fantastic deal on a cool guitar effects pedal (it makes a great gift for guitarists!), and a quality repair place for woodwinds. All this from one website?  And organized into location-specific categories?!  Seems too good, huh?  Yeah – too good to neglect!        

       And how about  www.CTMusicScene.com , where I found tickets to the March 21st Elton John concert and the April 27th Christina Aguilera, Pussycat Dolls and the Danity Kane concert all at the Hartford Civic Center. It’s important to remember these little things, because they’re a really simple way to keep current and make sure you know what’s out there for you.  With daily updates on each site, there’s always something new to discover.  When I checked my BandMix account this morning, I had three different notes waiting for me – each with a different offer for establishing bands in the Hartford area.  This is proof that the people are out there, and they’re looking !              

      So make sure that the first things you do when you log on to the Internet each day involve checking these awesome sites that have so much to offer you.

Kara Nielsen, Editor  (3/15/07) www.BandSpace.Fm  

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