First Year In Review

NewYearCelebration-2015My twenty-fifth Christmas has come and gone, and my twenty-fifth New Years is in sight. What better time to reflect on what went right—and wrong—in 2015?

Before I do this, though, it’s important to view what I’ve accomplished, and what I want to accomplish, through the lens of my ultimate goal: to create superior music and share it with the world.

Just as in the previous year, my efforts will be centered around furthering my abilities as a composer, pianist, and vocalist. Also like the previous year, I plan on playing as many shows as I can to try and increase exposure. But for one, I have to alter course just a bit.

What Went Right

Despite my limited time due to a day job, I’ve worked on music, in some capacity, for every day of 2015. As a result, I’ve improved as a pianist, in both technique and improvisation, and my compositions have improved as well.

I’m pleased with the fruits of my dedication.

As for sharing my music, my music aired on a couple of local stations. The band also played a total of 75 shows in the past 10 months (we only started playing live in March) which is a very solid number for a freshman effort. I’m proud of that. Because of those shows, I learned the basics of the juggling act that is playing live: how to talk to the audience, select songs on the fly, transition between songs, speak to managers, and, most importantly, I learned how to manage myself—a clear mind is critical to performing music well.

What Went Wrong

Despite dedication to sharing my music, the results simply aren’t there. After playing a bunch of shows along with local airplay, we still don’t have much of a following, on- or offline. I think the problem is threefold:

  1. Working on exposure isn’t the most efficient use of my time
  2. I lack the resources to spend on advertising
  3. We’re playing at the wrong venues

When we first started playing live, we played almost exclusively covers. This was good for what it was, enabling us to get into the local bar and restaurant scene quickly. But now that the band has a bunch of originals, we need to transition into becoming less of a cover band and more of an act known for its own music.

In order to make this transition, we need to first start by trying to play at venues where people are actually interested in hearing new music, not just bars and restaurants. I think our resumé is strong enough that it won’t be too difficult to get booked there. If I’m wrong on that, we’ll need to go to open mics and push hard to get booked.

In addition to working on exposure in person, I’ll need to do a better job of doing it online: posting to the website, uploading videos, engaging in social media. Hopefully that will eventually catch someone’s attention.

Conclusion

Now that I have an understanding of what went well and what didn’t, I’ll keep doing the things that are working and try to fix those that aren’t. Obviously, my main concern is finding ways to increase exposure, and I think that begins with, despite recognizing it isn’t the best use of my time, posting quality content as often as I can.

Other than that, I just need to keep on grinding.

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