Marketing Your Music

I was browsing The Trombone Forum and came across a gem of a post by an old friend from DePaul University, Tom Matta.

Social Media = Marketing

Everything that a performer, composer, arranger (et al) does today can impact what happens to him or her tomorrow. That can come from a performance, a new piece of music, a recording – anywhere.

That big band arrangement you wrote that you thought nobody heard?
…Someone heard it, and they want a copy.
…….That same guy wants 10 more.
……….Someone heard that band, and they would like to commission you to write something new.
……………Oh, you play too? Wanna play in my band and write me some charts?
………………..Do you ever write for strings? So and so has a pops orchestra with a singer….

That silly polka band you went on the road with thru several midwestern states?
….The bass player has connections to Pamphlet B bus/truck tours…
……….The accordion player plays in a very popular Baltic band that needs a player just like you to go to Europe this summer…
……………Someone at the Elks lodge runs the local jazz festival, and learned that you have an acclaimed septet….

The CD you composed, produced, and released sold only 10 copies, but —-
….one copy ended up in the hands of a college kid that shared it with 40 others…
…….10 of those college kids ended up buying your CD from iTunes….
……….3 of those kids stopped by the club the last time you were in Denver to check out your band…
………….1 of those kids convinced his professor to hire you for a masterclass and clinic weekend at the college….

My point?


Get good.
Get busy.
Get the word out.

Like Tom, I’ve found that often times the performances you do for little or no money ends up leading to bigger and better things.  If you demonstrate your professionalism while sitting in with a community orchestra, people will notice and the next time it might be the paying professional group.  If you compose and arrange music for local ensembles for free, your music gets heard and can lead to other groups wanted to purchase those pieces or commission their own.

While I’m at it, I want to plug Tom as a fantastic bass trombonist and one of the finest jazz composer/arrangers I’ve come across.  We played and hung out together while we were students at DePaul.  They liked Tom’s teaching as a grad assistant so much they ended up hiring him, first as an adjunct and soon as the Assistant Professor of Jazz Studies there.  Go check out his music.

Brass Embouchures: A Guide For Teachers and Players Take 2

Here is a cleaned up version of my 50 minute video presentation called Brass Embouchures: A Guide For Teachers and Players.  While I’ve had this presentation up on YouTube already, I had to split it into 6 parts when I initially posted it.  Later I tried to post it in a single video, but the audio and video didn’t sync up towards the end.  This time I believe it should work just fine all the way through.

Just Friends For Saxophone Quartet and the Minor Plagal Cadence

I’ve just completed another arrangement for the Lenoir Saxophone Ensemble (Robert George, David Kirby, Patrick Brown, and Mike Myers).  I heard them perform last November and was really impressed with the group.  Having worked with a couple of them in the past, I knew they were excellent musicians, but their playing was incredibly tight.  They certainly don’t slap their music together, they take a lot of time and effort into rehearsing and getting their music to sound good.  That means I can write what I think will sound cool and not worry so much about how challenging it will be to play.

Here’s my take on the jazz standard Just Friends for them.  It’s a MIDI realization, so you will need to pretend you’re hearing four saxophonists playing with expression and style, rather than a computer.  Brownie points to anyone who can name all the quotes that ended up in this arrangement.

[audio:|titles=Just Friends]

While Just Friends is a tune that most jazz musicians are probably already familiar with, it is very interesting harmonically.  Most notably, the tonic chord of the tune really doesn’t get strongly cadenced until almost the very end of the tune.  It does, however, show up in the 5th measure, but approaches it from an interesting direction.  Since my arrangement is in the key of C major, my example is in that key.

Notice that the first chord is the IV, which then becomes a minor iv, leading to what would be a ii-V in a different key.  Instead of resolving to Eb major, this chord pattern resolves to the I chord.  So what does this progression have to do with a plagal cadence? Continue reading Just Friends For Saxophone Quartet and the Minor Plagal Cadence

Musician Looking For Restaurant To Promote Their Work

Spotted on Craigslist, but already removed.

Craigslist Ad :We are a small & casual restaurant in downtown Vancouver and we are looking for solo musicians to play in our restaurant to promote their work and sell their CD. This is not a daily job, but only for special events which will eventually turn into a nightly event if we get positive response. More Jazz, Rock, & smooth type music, around the world and mixed cultural music. Are you interested to promote your work? Please reply back ASAP.

And the reply:

Happy new year! I am a musician with a big house looking for a restauranteur to promote their restaurant and come to my house to make dinner for my friends and I. This is not a daily job, but only for special events which will eventually turn into a nightly event if we get positive response. More fine dining & exotic meals and mixed Ethnic Fusion cuisine. Are you interested to promote your restaurant? Please reply back ASAP.

Performing Attire For Musicians

A short post for my first of 2012.

I’ve noticed a lot of younger musicians showing up to gigs calling for “concert black” attire wearing all black.  Concert black means tuxedo for the men and formal black dress for the women.  Black bow tie and cummerbund gentlemen, women should have longer dresses or skirts that go to the ankles.  Other attire that working musicians might want to get a hold of include a dark jacket for coat and tie.  It’s not uncommon for me to play shows where the attire is navy blue blazer, white shirt, tie, and khaki pants.  Khaki pants and a golf shirt is also sometimes used for less formal shows.  All black is very common, but you’ll want to avoid things like black t-shirts and black jeans, get something a little more formal.  Wear appropriate shoes on the gig too.  Don’t wear gym shoes unless the performance is informal.

If you don’t have these clothes yet and have aspirations to perform start accumulating them.  You can find a cheap tux at any rental place if you buy one used.

Happy New Year and happy gigging!