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MusicThinkTank Weekly Recap: Try Remote Work


Struggling In A Traveling Band? Try Remote Work 

Touring is one of the funnest things about being in a band. But too often, bands mistake touring for an excuse to party. When my former band, The Kitchen, toured down the West Coast in an ‘87 Dodge Prospector that was ready to die, and we mostly partied and ate out a lot and put thousands of dollars on a credit card, I learned the hard way. Looking back practically hurts my brain (and my wallet). When you’re funding your own tour/party-on-wheels, and big payouts aren’t guaranteed at venues, you end up literally paying the price in the long run. 
Now there’s this thing called remote work. I wish I’d thought of it back then. About 53 million Americans are independent contractors, and nearly 40 percent of them rate flexibility as a top benefit. You could become a digital nomad: working during the day and playing shows at night. Goodbye tour debt, hello sustainable music life.

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10 Gigging Mis-haps For Your Band To Avoid

It’s show time! There you are, waiting in the wings for what’s shaping up to be one heck of night, and lo and behold, something’s gone wrong. Here’s a few common problems you might face as a gigging band, and how to deal with them as and when they occur.

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4 Ways To Improve Your Music And Utilize Every Minute Of Practice Time

Music is great as a form of expression and a way to unwind. However, you need to put in work if you want to see results. No one, whether it’s Beethoven or Bruce Springsteen, became accomplished without putting in the necessary time to learn their instrument. Even when you start becoming proficient, you still need to challenge yourself. Here are four ways to improve your music and utilize every minute of practice time.

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5 Albums To Roadtrip To This Winter

The “holiday season” as it’s called is a time of change and contemplation, as well as travel. A lot of us end up traveling for the holidays, driving for long periods of time through snowstorms and fog to see our loved ones. Some of us just use the winter time to go skiing or see new places that thrive in snowy environments. Whether you’re riding along with your snowbird parents or just going by yourself, a fun part of preparation is what you’ll be listening to.

Road tripping, moving, simple holiday travels — the soundtrack to your journey will often stay with your memories of it. Here are some of my favorite winter-travel tunes.

1. “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (Soundtrack)

If you’re driving with a loved one, this is a good 41 minutes of conversation music. I know that Christmas is already over, but if you are still in the holiday spirit, this record is for you. Not only will it keep you in the mood for Christmas, but it’s not overwhelmingly loud on the vocals, so you can continue to chat while it plays in the background.

2. “Even If It Kills Me” by Motion City Soundtrack

This is a great driving in the snow record for people my age who remember the “emo” days of junior high and high school. Really an underrated talent, Motion City Soundtrack’s “Even If It Kills Me” is an album that got lost in the shadow of its precursors and peers. The mood of the album is sad and mellow, but yet pretty hopeful at the end of it and has some great, emotionally intense moments. I remember listening to this in the back of my parents car in the tenth grade while driving up to McCall, ID, and I’ll always look at it as a winter album. It’s a great one to sing along to with a friend or family member who also loves it.

3. “Reunion Tour” by the Weakerthans

A lot of people talk about the album Reconstruction Site, but I think it’s a bit too country for a drive through the cold and snow, albeit emotional and sad in the way the Weakerthans are so good at. Reunion Tour begins with a song, “Civil Twilight”, about a Canadian bus driver in the winter reminiscing, and if that doesn’t say “midnight drive in the snow” to you then I don’t know what does. As the album goes on, the emotional tones of the record along with the contemplative, reflective, and remorseful lyrics work to help you reflect on your year and think about some of the deeper questions of life (it is John K. Samson, of course).

4. “Let it Snow Baby, Let it Reindeer” by Relient K

Again, high school was cool. Relient K’s Christmas album really takes me back to — again — driving in the snow, all winter of 2008. Religious lyrics aside, this is just a fun album to listen to if you want a more upbeat, punky approach to typical Christmas songs. It’s silly, fun, and lighthearted. While most of the albums I’ve listed here are more sad or contemplative, this album does a little bit of everything while still leaving you with a smile on your face.

5. “For Emma, Forever Ago” by Bon Iver

This record has a somber, wintery feel that really fits the mood in the middle of a road trip. Driving through a snowstorm, nothing totally keeps you contemplative and peaceful feeling like the debut release by Wisconsin’s Bon Iver, AKA Justin Vernon. It depends, of course, on how the holidays make you feel. But for me this is a great album if I want to think about life and contemplate where I’ve come in the past year.

What are your favorite winter road trip albums? If you don’t celebrate Christmas but still travel for the holidays, what songs do you listen to and what holiday do you celebrate? Let me know on Twitter @Robolitious.


5 Albums To Roadtrip To This Winter


15 Best Part-Time Jobs For Musicians

This post was written by Lisa Occhino and originally appeared on the Bandzoogle Blog

You were probably well aware when you decided to pursue music as a career that money wasn’t exactly going to start pouring in on day one. It’s no secret that until you’re able to earn a full-time living as a musician, you’ll need to supplement your income in some way.

The key is finding jobs that provide some financial stability, but also flexibility so you can still play gigs, rehearse, write, and go out on tour.

While having a side job that’s related to music is awesome for obvious reasons, many of the best jobs for musicians are actually in completely different fields, allowing you to dedicate all of your creative energy to your craft. The 15 jobs for musicians below are far from an exhaustive list, but use this as a starting place to see what jumps out at you or sparks an idea.

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MusicThinkTank Weekly Recap: Build Your Fanbase


Everyone Wants To Build Their Fanbase

I ask everyone who joins my email list at HTSR what the single, biggest, most important thing that they are worried about or trying to do when they are making or releasing music, and here’s a selection of responses (these are actual quotes):

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4 Points Every Music Venue Owner Needs To Jot Down

If you own a music venue, such as a club, you have a lot of technical maintenance issues that you need to consider to keep your place attractive to potential music goers. Any place that is crowded has to be kept both comfortable and safe. To do this, you as the music venue owner should have a list of things that you should be maintaining. Here are four.

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When Should You Hire A Booking Agent?

Every artist goes through phases of their career as they evolve and mature over time. No matter how famous an artist becomes, they all started out somewhere. In the early days, a lot of bands book their own shows until it becomes necessary to seek out an agent or when an agent finds them. For serious artists, hiring a booking agent can be a big step in launching their music career to the next level. If you are wondering when you should get a booking agent, here are some things to consider:


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How To Make A Great Website For Your Band 

Look at any full-time, legitimate band. What’s the difference between them and a minor band? They have a website. Here’s how to build a great one.

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A New Discovery In Music: 144 Notes

Did you ever wonder how it would look like to connect colors to notes and bind them with musical instruments?
144 Notes is the answer!
It is a visual representation of musical notes, where colors are used as symbols to represent pitches.
The main discovery is that you can every note’s pitch represent with 2 predefined colors.

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MusicThinkTank Weekly Recap: Experimenting


Not Experimenting With Instruments? You're Doing Things Wrong

When we think of the standard instrumentation we hear in bands and orchestras, we tend to stick to what we’re used to. I’m here to tell you times are a’changing, and whether you trade your viola for an electric violin or your guitar for a modular synthesizer, the world of opportunities can have a profound impact on your music, even when you return to your original instrument.

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