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When I was an (unoffical) teacher's aide working at a technical school for music for a summer, I only remember meeting one guy there. He was nice enough, but I couldn't really take him seriously after hearing about his "big idea"!

His whole band played miniature instruments.

Making yourself easier to talk about is fantastic, there's nothing wrong with wanting to increase the velocity of your word of mouth. But don't forget that the medium is a part of the message. Are "tiny instruments" the hallmark of a breakout success band or a cover band at a bar and grill? It all depends what the band's goal is.  I know I wouldn't take their music seriously, but if they were in the background at my pub I'd be OK with listening to them.


If it contributes more to your art than it distracts, it's art.
If it distracts more than it contributes, it's a gimmick.
Where that line is, however, is the audience's decision.


Musician Time

"Musician Time" is one of the most frustrating aspects of dealing with musicians. Load in time says 7 so, the average person would assume you should show up at 7.


Bands and everyone start sauntering up to the venue maybe 7:45 to 8. And this happens every time. Being as punctual as I am, this constantly drove me insane. It wasn't until I read Zimbardo's The Time Paradox and took a class on international strategy that I finally got it.

People's different beliefs in time affect their behavior and interpretation of the world. The conditions someone live and work in shape the person. It's simple, but often overlooked.

In Project Time, a product is done when it is absolutely perfect and has spent the last few months being tweaked. This is why albums take so long to put out, there's no concrete schedule (in most cases) other than when an artist thinks his work will be "ready'.

In Linear Time, a product is done when it's time to ship. This would be many business situations, where if you don't ship your product on time you're out of a house. Sure, there'll be bugs, but it's more important to be on time.

(Roughly) Most musicians live in Project Time, and most businessmen live in Linear Time. Being aware of the time perspective of who you are dealing with will make life much easier. Always understand how these differences in time perspective may affect people's behavior. If you think linear, (like myself), it's easy to get frustrated that nothing is ever on time with music, but by understanding the project viewpoint of "hey, as long as I'm on stage when it's stage time, we're good" it makes it much easier to work with.

Regardless, I'll still be waiting outside the venue at "load in time". It's how I think.


Science: How To Improve Your Practice

Practice is more effective if you vary between different tasks, such as between dexterity and improvisational exercises.

Courtesy of The Situationist:

“While it may be harder during practice to switch between tasks … you end up remembering the tasks better later than you do if you engage in this drill-like practice,” Winstein said.


Sustainable Fan Growth

Getting people to come out to your shows is the name of the game, but who you bring is just as important as how many you bring. Fan growth has to be sustainable for you to have a future in music.

Lately I've seen some local bands that miss the "sustainable" aspect of this formula. The band just printed off a new set of t-shirts (that look quite fantastic!) to help cover costs and plan for their next album. Cool, so I helped them out and bought one.

As we talked, however, I started to realize that the only people they were selling t-shirts to were other bands, not approaching new fans at shows.

It's not that it's bad to give and receive support from other bands, it's quite important actually. But this isn't sustainable fan growth. Musicians, (surprise!) have limited time and cash. There's a limit to how much each person can give.

Selling one shirt to another band will make you a couple bucks. Selling one shirt to an honest fan will make you a couple bucks now, plus increased devotion to your band. The real value in selling merch is helping your fans express their fandom to others. (Remember my post on
fan identity?)

You've only got so much time and energy to sell, make sure you focus your efforts on the
long-term. Are you selling to the right people?