Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Happy Birthday Bandcoach!

Bandcoach UK is now 1 year old! The acknowledgement is a little late, but personally I blame the rat race for bleeding my life dry. 

The past year I look back with sadness and look forward with potential. I have is feeling during New Years celebration too. It annoys me at the missed opportunities fluttered away, yet I look forward and hope things do change. 

At the time of writing I have no dedicated readers I know of and essentially use this space as a way to track my thoughts gathering ideas for forth coming writings. 

As with many people, I had my dreams and goals to take BandCoach on a direction. Maybe this year I can bring my goals to fruition with video, podcasts or even ebooks. 

If you do happen to come by BandCoach and like something you've read, leave a comment! BC is all about musician to musician support from me to you and you to me. 

I look forward to the next 12 moths and I hope you do too.  

Thanks for reading. 

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Band ladder - A career map

The stepping stones in the music industry vary in skill and distance. Knowing where you are and where you been helps you to understand the path you wish to take and the goals you want to fulfill in your career. Consider this blog to be a simple road map of a musical career.
Even if you know where your journey started its always better to understand the bigger picture and plan your route accordingly to learn and adapt.

The ladder explained below is an example to the bigger picture of how musicians begin their journey and offers an insight into the possible avenues within the music industry.

Obviously it's not always that simple and for some of the headings mentioned I will no doubt do a blog further down the line and expand on them but for now we begin with the listener.

He starts listening to music whether that be what his parents listen to or that of the 'popular' top 40. After developing his own taste he decides to pick up an instrument and go out into the world to find musical success.

Bedroom practise
Having his genre of music in mind he foresees himself playing a packed out venue with his band mates, but first he has to practice – usually in his bedroom. At this point he can have an elder teach the basics, have lessons taught unto him whether that be in school or private or lastly just pick up the guitar and learn by his own ear if he is lucky enough to process the skills to do so.

Forming the first band
Sooner or later a couple of his friends who share the same musical interests and goals decide to play together. Their parents offer the space of the garage for them to make their noise. Alternatively if they are lucky enough their school would encourage them to group together and explore the fundamentals of how a group works, psychology, give and take, commitment and talent come together.

Rehearsal room 
After a few years and incarnations of the band the young musician finally has his group to take on the world, but to take on the world you need to be good at what you do and need to rehearse some more. Spending a day or 2 a week rehearsing in the garage or professional rehearsal space just as long as all members are disciplined and growing together. Depending on the future goals 1-2 days a week is enough for now.

Alternative routes at this point would becoming a session musician ditching the band altogether.

Local support
After socializing he makes friends with other bands, sharing class rooms and watching them play at their own gigs. His band soon gets an offer to support their peers at a gig, accepting the support slot the band have their first performance to show what they're made of.

Recording a demo
The band, now familiar in local social circles. People are asking to hear their music more and more. A decision is made to produce their first demo in the studio just to settle the demand.

Gigging / Mini tour
Happy with the quality of their recording the band decides to go out on the road locally to gain more popularity with the demo production and tour the local venues.

Fan base
It's at this point many bands get stuck on, but not for our band in question. The tour goes well and the band gain more recognition and form a decent sized fan base.

From now on the last 3 steps are repeated changing only for the venue sizes.
Unfortunately (depending on how you see it) it is at this point record companies will take interest after all your hard work (... and steal it).

Sign a deal
Popularity depending – you have your fans and a decent sized music catalogue. A label makes contact and asks to represent you. The band accepts a deal being asked to re-record their album and go on tour to promote it.

Record and tour
Similarly to what the band was doing before they got signed, they will have to record an album with the label to the labels standards. To recoup the funds lost spent on recording the album the band will have to tour to make that money back again repeating the core steps before.
Only by repeating the core steps (in yellow) can you gain more fans, a larger music catalog, prestige, a Rock-God hall of fame and maybe even some money. 

Venue sizes increase
Based on how successful your home made productions are and the more fans you gain. You start playing bigger venues to match the demand - Seen by tour 1, tour 2 and tour 3. Again with repetition you promote your most recent production.

Congratulations you have completed the journey of the music industry, from here on out you can retire or go back to the core steps mentioned previously because you still owe the label money. If you lack money you can always re-release something from your back catalogue for a little extra income.

Good luck! 

Have you thought about Your Role In The Music Industry? 

 Or where it could eventually lead you? Your Role In The Music Industry Part 2 

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Researching Your Trade

As mentioned in a previous post, I have not long finished uploading my website
I wanted to bring an example I used in the creation of that site into the realms of learning more as a musician.

I had to get my facts straight about the operating's of almost all the content of which bass as I didn't want to post fiction or inproper information about how strings worked for example. As I went through all the topics I learned so much more knowledge that I didn't know before, and I'm supposed to be sound engineer!

This element of research also harks back to when I built my computer a few years ago, I knew how to operate computers better than most but was a little in the dark about the building of them. I read countless articles, forum postings and watched YouTube videos on the topic of what parts to buy, the difference between them, the pro's and the con's the difference between chip sets and bridges and so forth. I was then able to look up the parts I knew would suit my budget or own specification in a computer.

Having all the parts ordered in front of me to build my computer I was so excited putting this new found knowledge to work. I built my PC with no issues safe to say, and it is still with me till this day.

What's the musical link you ask? Learn as much as you can about your instrument, and all components of it! Look at the woods used for your instrument or the way your pickups were configured, string type and build, effect pedal build, amplifiers and wattage.

Even if you know just enough to get by with your peers have a look at a topic in detail. I bet you guitarists out there didn't know that higher wattage doesn't necessarily mean you'll get a louder amplifier huh? No, exactly. It's astonishing what a little research does for your future understanding of music that will stay with you from now on.

Just to take the time to better your understanding opens up so many more possibilities in your playing style, influencing of other band members and musicians, makes you opinionated and even more professional.

Have you heard the news about which bass should you buy?

Your Role In the Music Industry Part 2

A little while ago I wrote the blog "Your Role In The Music Industry" which as you can guess explores the avenues you can take and adhere to in the music industry (MI). As a follow on from that post I was reflecting on myself and the very idea of "what will I do next?" as presented by my introductory banner.

 The question mark felt like it was literally hanging over my head and after my most recent project I decided to come back and write an update using the themes of that post and enlighten you how to proceed in a new direction

Admittedly in these early year(s) of BandCoach I have neglected my duties to provide interesting enough content to provide a tip building community that hit the ground running. Having the real world knock on my door asking for rent money every month and joining the rat race everyone will agree is a time consuming (more like wasted) experience.

However all is not lost as I have been dreaming and pushing my ambitions forward, the result being I have used my talents in my spare time (and work time at that!) to be productive and make a website which is now online called WhichBass.

WhichBass is a simple but detailed site explaining what to should look out for when buying a bass and what factors you should take into consideration to make a decision when purchasing. There are also lots of other pages giving guides on amplifiers, strings and effects as well as a basic first step lesson.

It has to be said I'm not trying to ram down your throats "buy a bass now" by any means, I do however want to show you what you can learn when you push yourself into uncharted waters and adding new talents or knowledge to your craft. This journey feels like I have added another string to my bass - as it were.
This is the overall timeline for WB.

1)    In summer 2012 I was na├»vely searching blogs/articles for escaping the rat race and found a book detailing an interesting method to do so by building websites and making living off of them

2)    Obtained this book at Christmas 2012 and spent the next 3 weeks reading it thoroughly deciding this is what I wanted to purse and made a game plan

3)    Did some pre-emptive research and took the plunge buying a domain name as well as hosting for my new found site

4)    Planned out a basic site design and content I would need, learning from examples of my niche already out there and what new buyers would need to know

5)    Researched content and pieced it together with my site design finishing on the first weekend of March 2013

The process is self-explanatory at a glance; I had an idea, decided I would take a risk in my life and went with it. Most of us are (being me) are beings so bogged down in our ways and not happy with change we stand still, I decided this would be my time to branch out and take a chance for once and further myself.

During this project I have honed my website design skills, learned in rather great detail the workings of bass guitar types, woods, materials, strings, amplifier components. Even a new area such as affiliate marketing of which I had no clue about up until now. I hardly copied and pasted from other sources, I took the time to understand what I was trying to explain and write it as my own. In doing so I am far more opinionated with musical mind than I started with.

I spent about six weeks writing content for the site and it was harder than I thought it would be funny enough. Whilst advertising my skills as a Band Coach and sound engineer I thought I had a great insight to how the gear and systems work. Not that I was wrong by any means but I didn’t quite understand the full picture to offer any great value. I truly wish I had the knowledge I have now when I was in some previous venues.

The research I did for WB has pushed me into new realms of professionalism and understanding as I have a new found knowledge for my trade and musical creation that will be forever with me.

After reading this post I want you to take that project or idea you've been holding off of doing, put pen to paper and make some sort of timeline or to do list and get cracking! Do your research, find some motivation or the reasoning as to why you want to progress your project and hold onto that.

It might take a long time and won't happen overnight, you only have as much time in the day as anyone else and sacrifices will have to be made if you are serious. I stopped recording for Alfie Williams and stopped having long bouts of gaming, after spending the last few months in another rat race that takes away all my time, I truly value my free time to do what I want to do and appreciate my weekends to be productive.

WB is hopefully the first step in a long line of musical/web integration and I hope you'll join me in aiming high, grabbing those projects by the proverbial's and making a positive change for yourself once in a while!

Whilst WB has no direct link to the content provided on BC,it may help bassists who need more information or another point of view on the types of bass guitars out there or the differences between popular models such as the Precision and the Jazz. 

Monday, 21 January 2013

Bandcoach is alive!

Just a short post to let anybody who stumbles upon BandCoach that things are moving in the background, this site is not dead. Plans are being made to bring BC into full swing. Watch this space.