To Gig, Or-Not-To Gig; That is the Question
It's not getting any cheaper for a musician to perform at a show, therefore, artists are having to be more selective in their gig choices. As a result, I have created the "Lou Mars Gig Formula," to aid in decision making as to if a band (or artist) should play a show, or not:
The following is what I also use to measure a split decision as to choosing one gig over the other when double-booked.
A "yes" must be applied to at least "1" of the questions below in order for it to be a viable gig. The formula can also be used for a split decision by selecting the show with the most "yes" answers or with the highest priority "yes" (higher up on the list).
1) Will the show/performance enable the band to perform in front of a fair sized audience that already either includes their current following, or more importantly individuals that have never seen the band perform before?
2) As a result of the show/performance will residual media support be realized? e.g. subsequent magazine review, music video, etc
3) Will payment or a form of compensation for the performance/show be provided that is 'more-than' the expenses required to perform at the show?
A yes, to any of the above equates to a viable gig. Note that #1 within the list is the highest ranked option, even though it does not necessarily equate to pay or media support, however, it is the ultimate reason a musician performs (to play in front of a live audience). There is no greater high in our business, to hear and/or feel that crowd respond. Number two allows for a performance with a low or zero present audience, but results in media support after-the-fact. Examples are music videos, or a gig where a news or online review is provided audience or not. This kind of gig is great for building your online portfolio and as a result is a good decision. Option three is simply to be paid. Note I list #3 last, as it is possible to be paid doing anything, however, sometimes more challenging to be paid doing something you love. But payment without a crowd present can suck as much as working a day job in a cubicle, hence it is listed last in importance but still viable as a reason to play a show.
--Lou Mars http://loumarsband.com
There was a six year period in my life at which time I totally stopped 'cold-turkey' from playing and/or performing on any musical instrument. I had just finished a tour that went terribly wrong, leaving me broke and homeless. In short terms: I was frustrated, and simply exhausted with the music industry and the goal (dream?) of maintaining the status as a professional musician. Read Full Article Here https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/handling-rejection-losing-win-lou-mars
How often should an individual rehearse their instrument? As an instructor, it is a common question asked by my students and their parents. Is there a magic number of days or hours that equates to proficiency? What I do know is that I can tell when my students do not practice at all. I can also tell when I have slacked off from my own private time to rehearse and/or learn new progressions.
As a result I have provided a list below of seven tips to get your rehearsal schedule on track...
1) Discipline. Create a checklist chart and stick to it: A daily checklist practice chart is a great tool, as it is not only a constant reminder, but a fantastic measuring device. Place your chart in a location that is always in view such as your bathroom mirror, refrigerator door, etc. Create a table splitting the week into days, next breakdown each day into hours or minutes. Each time you pick up your instrument, check off the allotted time rehearsed. This will provide you with historical data, by recording your patterns or lack of. Such information can be very useful to review, by providing patterns that can be studied and used to improve your scheduling times, increasing session count etc. I have included a link to a chart I created, that you may download and print for your own use if desired. Downloadable chart link- https://musicmotive.files.wordpress.com/2015/07/getbusy_practicechart.pdf
2) Choosing the proper time of day or night: We all have what I call power hours. A time of day or night that we excel in more than any other part of the day. Identify your power hour, and if possible schedule your practice time accordingly to take advantage of your accelerated greatness during that period of time. Sometimes a good time slot is more relevant to not being disturbed. If that is the case, identify the most private time you can rehearse your instrument and get into the zone.
3) Don't play to a failure point: Physical fitness organizations have discovered this rule. They tell you to not exercise to failure, i.e. which means don't keep doing push ups until you cannot do anymore repetitions. The same concept carries over to music, such as a new guitar player with tender finger tips. If your hands begin to hurt, stop. Wait until they do not, and start again. It is better to have several segments through-out the day, than one long segment that could equate to injury or thwarting your desire to play due to pain.
4) Quality not Quantity: I had a drummer friend who would boast about how long he would play each day. His time on his instrument was indeed impressive. However, when I stopped by multiple times to watch him, I found that when he did rehearse he simply repeated the same exercises over-and-over again never introducing anything new. This is a common issue among musicians, to get comfortable with a fixed routine and stuck in a loop. Sure some areas such as your warm-up and basic routines are great to repeat, but make sure you constantly insert new techniques, charts, and your own experimentation on a regular basis.
5) I'm a natural. A prodigy, do I still need to practice?: Yes. As a matter of fact, if you are indeed a natural/prodigy, you should find it more enjoyable than the average student to play your instrument. As a result a natural or prodigy rarely has to be coaxed to rehearse, as they are naturally in the zone with their instrument.
6) I don't want to be a pro, I just want to be good enough: Remember that you chose this instrument because you enjoy playing it. Good enough equates to as good as you want to be. I find playing my instrument to be a stress reliever, relaxing and in some cases even a spiritual experience. If you are going to shoot for the stars and be a pro in the music business, then I do recommend nothing less than one hour a day minimum.
7) Never stop learning: Read final step here: https://musicmotive.wordpress.com/2015/07/30/7-tips-to-creating-a-successful-practice-routine
BLOG UPDATE: Lou Mars Unplugged Secret Shows and much much more... VIEW READER LINK HERE http://rvrb.fm/1L7RhVZ
New blog written by Lou Mars for Music Motive READ Link Here: http://wp.me/p38cBN-pu
Lou Mars Blog Update: Resolution of Music and Fitness Article Link Here http://rvrb.fm/163AwZT
Read the Review "I'm OK, I Think I'm Fine" Readers Link Here http://t.co/MfEXIXTIGM
Critics Slice and Dice Lou Mars Band track "Me and She" Read Reviews Link Here http://tinyurl.com/nth4sp8
NEW Shows | NEW 2015 Lineup | NEW Album Click here for full story: http://www.reverbnation.com/c/fr5/artist_1691023?eid=A1691023_23572342_
ReverbNation Crowd Review (*Wisdom of Crowds), Takes Aim at the Lou Mars Band Track "Whispering 2 Shout." Comments/Observations from 'Wisdoms of Crowds' Critics: The very beginning sounds of this track are so different to the point that it grabs the listener right in and doesn't let go! This track uses different techniques with the vocals and harmonizing that isn't heard on the everyday radio play. This will definitely grab and hold on! The vocals have the sound as if being sung with a megaphone, or sung "through" a tube which gives it a hollow sound that is different and desirable! This being different makes this song more interesting and gives it better chances to rise up higher in the charts. Believe it or not, it's got a bit of a Beatle quality to it; almost as if there is the Sgt. Pepper album influence in this song. The beat keeps the listener on their toes and the lyrics flow extremely well with the sounds of the drum beats. Very original and the message the vocalist is getting across is heard plain and clear...use your voice and not your fists was my favorite line. This song will definitely make it on the charts and it has potential for a big audience. Very talented high action introduction would appeal to 'hippy'-ish personalities. The lyrics also go hand in hand with the hippy feel that the background track presents. The slight reggae feel presented creates a very enjoyable experience with a very easy to listen to voice over the top of good solid music. This is a strong piece but lacks depth in the lyrical construction as well as there being to much going on instrument wise at some points. That such a magical introduction to song, with a variety of strings instruments perfectly combined and played together, I especially enjoyed how the banjo was played, quite, close strokes that made track stand out right from the beginning. Absolutely adored percussion as exemplified by manner in which drum was played. Really enjoyed 18 first seconds (i.e., intro) of the song. Singer timed his coming in perfectly, but please DO NOT digitally enhanced his voice, song is losing its amazing professional quality because of it! I thought the lyrics as sounded by back sounded better. This is a very good track, just get rid of any digital effects! I enjoy the opening set of strings and the percussive instruments as they come in. I like this song, it reminds me of something that would be on a psychedelic soundtrack, similar to Across The Universe. I don't think that this is something that will make it to the radio, but I do think that it will be a huge hit in the indie music community. One of those bands that you knew first. This song is a really calm song if you are looking for some serenity. This melody is relaxing and tuneful to relax anyone listening to it. The vocals are distinctive and warm hearted. Lyrics make sense and sound good and at the correct tempo with the song. The instrumentals are awesome and in harmony. I loved the horn solo towards the middle because of the variance from the original set of instruments. the melody sounds on key and the melodies used work incredibly well with the harmonies used. the artist has a lot to offer to the music industry. The vibe that this track gives is very strong and bold. I really enjoyed this piece as it combined a folk sound with touches of rock, country, and even a smattering of the Beatles. The percussion is perfect with the drum corps touch tossed in here and there. The horn section was a nice touch. The song has a light and airy quality that I really enjoyed. Find more from the Lou Mars Band @ http://loumarsband.com