Archive for the ‘Performing’ Category

Gig Memories: Viral Marketing with Flickr!

Friday, January 1st, 2010

By Debbie Cavalier
Republished with permission from Debbie Cavalier Music Blog

You outta be in pictures! In fact, as a performing musician in today’s self-promoting, DIY world, every one of your shows should be photographed and everyone who is there supporting your music should be included. Take pictures of your fans having a great time at your show. You should also have pictures taken of the band performing, the crowd interacting, the sound man, the club manager, the show poster on the door, the waitresses… everyone! (Of course, if you do children’s music, it’s important to secure the proper permissions before taking pictures of your audience.) Then, immediately after each show, follow up with everyone who was there using the pictures from the gig for viral marketing!

There are several web-based applications, such as Flickr, that will provide storage for your images online, and easy-to-use tools that enable you to share your memories with fans through your email newsletters, and Web sites such as MySpace, Facebook, Reverbnation, and your band’s own Web site.

Before you know it, your fans will link to the images from within their own personal blogs and social networking sites, and your gig pictures will quickly become viral marketing vehicles, making more and more people aware of your music!

With Flickr, you can upload pictures, add descriptions, links, and keyword tags, and then organize them into “Sets.” Here’s a link to my gig Sets on Flickr. A screen capture of my gig Sets page is presented below. Notice, each Set is focused on a particular show.

Each thumbnail image above leads to a Flickr Set page. Here is a link to a Set of pictures from a recent Debbie and Friends gig at the Cape Playhouse in Dennis, MA. The Set contains 17 pictures. Interesting to note that even though I only sent the link to a handful of people, the gig Set has been viewed 290 times on Flickr as of this article’s writing. The hits came from link-sharing and viral marketing efforts by a few fans. Nice!

You can add descriptions and thank you messages to the fans as a way to personalize your gig picture Sets, along with a link to drive traffic to your band’s site, after the images have been enjoyed. See an example of this below.


Here’s a quick, step-by-step list on how to get started using Flickr for your band’s gig memories.

1. Create a Flickr account. There are free- and fee-based versions available, depending on your needs. You will also need a Yahoo email account to create a Flickr account.

2. Log into your account.

3. Upload pictures.

4. Edit your pictures with comments and tags.

5. Organize your pictures into sets.

6. Spread the word: embed the set page link into your email newsletter and on your Web site(s).

There are many more features to explore on Flickr. To learn more, take the tour at

Sharing pictures after a gig is a great way to help build community with your fans and provide tools that enable them to share their excitement about your music with others.

You really outta be in pictures!

38 Ways To Change The World Through Music

Monday, December 14th, 2009

By Michelle Payne
Republished with permission from Music Teacher’s Helper

Seniors Music PerformanceThis past summer, I posted an ambitious article titled “50 Ways to Change the World Through Music” and asked teachers to help me come up with 50 ideas to put on the list. Well, I didn’t get up to the number 50, but with the help of my students, friends, and a few posters on this blog, I was able to compile a list of 38. I started the school year off by explaining to each student and parent that this year we would have a theme and the theme would be “Music and Service”. Each student received a copy of the list. I explained to them that I wanted them to try and complete at least 15 items on the list by the end of the school year. At the end of the year recital, each student who does this will receive a special certificate.

Some items on the list are simple, like #8: “Play music for your dogs.” (Yup, every student did this one first .) Others require more planning, like #13: “Host a Children’s Concert at a VA Hospital.” I tried to balance the list with easy and challenging tasks. So far, the students have done a great job. I have been blogging about their accomplishments here at .

So far, we have had two recitals at a retirement home, so most of the students have completed item #1. The kids and parents are really having a good time getting creative with the list. It’s exciting to see everyone use music as a way

A student plays an original song to a captivated audience.

to make other people feel good. The main purpose of this project is to begin seeing music as something that can be a tool for healing and social change.

I would like to invite all of you to participate in this project . My dream is to create a whole movement out of this project. I know personally how good it feels to play music for people who are sick, sad, or feeling alone. Playing music for family members brings feelings of happiness and pride to the listeners. The sick are uplifted, and the lonely feel acknowledged. Feel free to forward the link to your students,

Hosting a Sing-A-Long.

Sing AlongOr copy the list and hand out hard copies. If you have a student who tries one of the tasks, please post a response either here, or on the 38 Ways Blog.

Of course, we can also add to the list. I’ve already had students invent new things to put on the list. For example, one student hosted a Christmas Caroling party in her neighborhood, and even though that’s not on the original list, I think it counts! The possibilities are endless. It would be great to get the list all the way up to 50, so if you have any other ideas, post them here!

Creative Christmas Carols

Friday, November 27th, 2009

By Nicole Murphy
Republished with permission from Music Teacher’s Helper

CarolingIt’s that time of year again, when all my students are begging to play Christmas carols. If your students are anything like mine, they start requesting carols around October (possibly coinciding with the time that shops start putting up their decorations – I’m sure the requests are coming earlier every year), and no matter how long you manage to delay it for, it is inevitable that there will be some weeks when student after student turn up to their lessons, proudly displaying their version of Jingle Bells. So, how do you find pedagogical value in Christmas carols, and how do you keep it interesting for both student and teacher?

I find that books of Christmas Carols aimed at students are usually only useful for one or two years at the most, before students have made too much progress to find much enjoyment in sight-reading music that seemed like such a challenge a year ago (although it is a wonderful way for them to see how much they have progressed). So I prefer to approach carols differently than merely learning them as additional repertoire.

Depending on the capabilities of the student I use all or a selection of the following steps.

Younger students are given the melody of the Christmas carol in a simple key; while more advanced students aurally dictate it. Once the melody is written down and the key is established, we build triads on each scale degree, and play through the primary triads, discussing the function of each chord (for example, the tonic sounds like home, the dominant 7th acts as a signpost pointing towards home). For younger students I discuss how a chord progression can behave like a journey – starting at home, traveling away from home, exploring a new area, finding signs that point us towards home, and finally returning home.

Once the student is familiar with the harmonic language, we examine the melody and allocate chords that are appropriate. Each chord is checked for its effectiveness in the context of the preceding and following chords.

We discuss inversions of chords as a way for making block chords easily playable and then discuss a variety of styles of piano accompaniment, which are then applied to the chord progression. Students enjoy inventing their own variations on given formulae.

For more advanced students, the final step of the process is sight transposing their arrangements into different keys.

Hopefully these are some ideas that other teachers can employ in the lead up to the festive season this year.