Music Helps in Hard Times – Don’t Quit Piano Lessons

Recessions force people to make difficult choices about the “extra” things they do for themselves. News reports reflect those changes in spending trends.

If you’re feeling tempted to drop your piano lessons in an effort to save a few dollars, here are five reasons to reconsider:

1. Music represents beauty, and you need beauty even more during ugly times.

Wikipedia says about the benefits of music,: “It is often thought that music has the ability to affect our emotions, intellect, and our psychology; lyrics can assuage our loneliness or incite our passions.” (January 13, 2009). Tapping in to these effects will help you transcend and rise above the less pleasant sounds, images and issues in your day-to-day life.

2. Doing something you enjoy will help you keep a positive outlook.

An important element of the Law of Attraction, made famous by the movie The Secret, is that whatever you focus your mind on is what you will create in your life. If you quit learning piano and spend all of your time worrying about your finances, your worries will get bigger and the life you enjoy will get smaller. You can look forward to feeling good about yourself, rewarding yourself with piano lessons.

3. Depriving yourself too much could result in rebellion and even a spending “binge.”

While it would be wise to cut your spending and use your resources wisely, that doesn’t mean automatically cutting out everything you enjoy. If you try to control yourself too tightly, you may end up at a breaking point, going out and blowing your money on something you don’t really want and definitely don’t need. Keep one or two so-called luxuries in your life so that you’re not tempted to binge.

4. Sometimes we can turn our hobbies into real income.

Piano lessons could lead you anywhere. With your newfound creativity and skill, you may come up with an idea for a whole new business for yourself – whether it involves music or something else you can teach! And every little bit of extra income will help!

5. During challenging times, your piano lessons are a way to relieve stress and to relax.

Stress can lead to all sorts of health problems – from muscle and back pain to digestive problems, fatigue and difficulty sleeping – and sometimes serious disease. You need all of your energy and strength to cope with the recession. Focus your practice time specifically on the types of music that you enjoy the most and that help you relax.

Breaking News – The Mastermind Support Group

A way that I have found invaluable in maintaining focus is by being a member of a superb writers’ group called Sisterwriters with my two lifelong and forever friends, Wendy and Isha. We have been together for a number of years and offer to each other whatever support is needed.

The support is as varied as talking about and sharing our writing to talking about our personal relationships. We reside in a place of no judgement. We come together in a place where we can be ourselves. The importance of this in our writing and life process cannot be overstated. It is imperative. It is a must in order to enable our creativity to flow through. We recognise, too, in this space that we are holistic human beings. When we come together we bring all of ourselves, not just a part, and that if one aspect of ourselves is unhappy in some way, then this has an impact on other aspects of ourselves, and so it is very much a support group with writing at its centre. We meet at least once a month.

Fanatical focus means doing whatever it takes. I use candles virtually all the time. There is something about the element of fire that touches my soul. I know that if I am working on a project that I am having some difficulty with then, where possible, I will light candles and use them quite literally as a point of focus. The candlelight warms my heart and helps me to stay focused. Whether this is purely psychological or not, essentially does not matter. The point really is to do what works for you. I will often stare into the candle and internally ask the questions I am having difficulty answering and I hold an absolute, unshakeable expectation that the answer will come at some point in time when I need it to.

I burn incense and use essential oils. They give me a sense of well being, as well as enabling me to stay associated to the state of being focused. I particularly like frankincense and myrrh, lavender, eucalyptus, orange, lemongrass, clary sage, ylang ylang, geranium and rosemary. These help to create a relaxed and to some extent meditative mood. I also listen to great soul-fullness music – and this can be of any genre.

I read biographies of people that interest me – Oprah Winfrey, Linford Christie, Henry Ford, Richard Branson and Ray Kroc. I am keenly interested in seeing where people started, finding out about their motivation for being who they are and the direction they have taken. It is rare that people say that they simply drifted into the position that they are in. I want to know and understand what it was/is that they believe about themselves, what sort of things they tell themselves about their abilities. I want to know about their trials and tribulations and what they did to overcome them. I love to know where people are now on their continuum and get a sense of where they are going. Having this information really helps me to stay centred on where I have been, where I am now and where I am going, providing me with a sense of certainty about achieving what I want.

Typically, achievers have a sense of being driven, a sense of purpose. They have goals that they set themselves, they work incredibly hard and stay focused. And deep down they have a sense of their possibilities, even in times when others may not have that same sense of them.

We all have inner self-talk and we can make a decision about whether the self- talk will serve us or defeat us. Most successful people have inner self talk to reflect empowering beliefs such as: ‘Yes I can’, ‘I’m worthy’, ‘I’m intelligent’, ‘I have got lots of great ideas’, ‘This can be done and I’m the person to do it’, ‘I can ask for support and expect to receive it, recognising that people do have a choice about whether they give that support or not’, ‘I wonder what great ideas I can come up with today’ and ‘There’s always a way’.

Disempowering beliefs such as: ‘I’m not worthy’, ‘I’m not good enough’, ‘I’m not intelligent enough’, ‘I’m scared, I cannot do it’, ‘XYZ has better ideas than I do’ ‘I’m too old to start again’ ‘The system won’t let me’, ‘What’s the point, I won’t get a loan anyway?’ ‘I’m not part of the old school tie network’, ‘I’m not well connected’ and ‘I haven’t a clue’. These and other similar thoughts really have an immobilising effect, often leaving the thinker of the thoughts doing nothing to secure their dreams.

5 Rules of Successful MySpace Music Promotion

The music and recording industry is overcrowded. Hundreds of demos make their way into the mail rooms of the big recording studios every day. Very few of these demos will ever lead to profitable recording contracts because the big record company executives know that they have recording artists over the barrel. With such a huge surplus of talented musicians yearning for their big break, the big record executives are free to pick and choose who they sign and they don’t always offer a fair deal to unknown artists. It can quickly turn into a vicious cycle of submission and rejection. Luckily, the unknown recording artists does have an edge in getting their name and music into the public eye. That edge is MySpace. To properly make use of the music promotion abilities of MySpace, there are a few simple rules to follow.

Rule 1 – Be social

People love to share their lives. If you are willing to take the time to comment on other peoples profiles and share something besides your music with your network, you will quickly find that people are more willing to follow your climb up the ladder of successful recording. It is great to promote your next performance or offer your CD for sale but don’t make this the only thing you ever talk about. Be human. Let your network become your friends and they will become your fans too.

Rule 2 – Use lots of pictures

A picture is worth a thousand words so make sure yours tell the story of your recording career in the right light. Do you have pictures of your latest recording session or live performance? Make sure to upload them to your profile as soon as possible so your fans see that you are working and haven’t went the way of the dinosaurs.

Rule 3 – Use the music player

MySpace offers a built in music player with customizable play lists. Use this feature to help people find your sound. Upload your songs and create a play list to showcase your bands skill. Make this the default play list and include the media player on your profile page. Everyone who visits your profile page will get the opportunity to listen to your latest song and even add it to their own music player play list. You never know who will happen across your profile and have the connections to create your door into the music world.

Rule 4 – Be unique

MySpace offers a default profile background but why would you want to use that? Your band has a unique sound. Why would you want the same profile background as everyone else? MySpace backgrounds are easily altered and changed so experiment a little. Use tiled pictures of your band in the background or create an artistic background image that is eye catching and conveys a sense of your music.

Rule 5 – Be informative

Have you ever talked to someone who seemed to talk for days without saying anything meaningful? Many MySpace profile read in the same way because people forget that this is their face to the online world. In your MySpace page, don’t fall into this trap. Include information in your profile and status messages about what your band is doing professionally, upcoming concerts and CD releases. Use the blog to keep fans updated on your bands progress and current news about your band. Don’t post status messages about what you had for breakfast, unless, of course, you just had a breakfast meeting with the president of RCA records.

Music News – The Magazines That Shaped the Music Industry

Music news as we know it today developed out of the early magazines that caught onto the growth of the popular music industry early on in the 20th Century. Melody Maker was one of the first, introducing itself in 1926 (around the same time that the first electric guitars and amplifiers began to emerge) and targeting musicians. However, as music became more and more popular the music magazines of the day began to target the general public and the introduction of new, rival magazines hit the shelves.

The 1950s is when the real battle started with Melody Maker going head to head with the new kids in town, the NME, an amalgamation of previous titles Musical Express and Accordion Weekly by new owner and music promoter Maurice Kinn. Previously more interested in jazz, Melody Maker was a late convert to the advent of rock and roll, but as the sixties swung in favour of bands like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, the ground was set for big readership figures for both publications.

The 1960s also saw the coming of more politicised voices to the publication of music news with the launch of the Berkley Barb in 1965 and Rolling Stone in 1967. Criticism of the Vietnamese war, the publication of Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and the counterculture revolution of the 1960s sat next to The Beatles, Jimmy Hendrix and Jim Morrison cover stories.

This political edge to music publication didn’t reach the British music news until the late 1970s with the dawning of the age of punk. However, the early 70s saw the introduction of a new rival, Sounds, which quickly became one of the three music weekly magazines to generate good levels of readership. It’s edge came from its ability to see the credibility of new musical movements like Punk early on.

The 1980s would see a mixed bag of journalism in the music industry, with the hip-hop wars affecting the NME and a more populist standpoint reigning at Melody Maker until its intellectual renaissance in 1986. However, it would be the 90s that would see the story of modern British music journalism come to a head. The rise of Britpop and the introduction & success of monthly magazines Q (1986) and Mojo (1993) left Melody Maker without a clear audience or direction, and so in 2000 is ceased publication, merging with its long time rival NME, while Sounds bit the dust nearly a decade earlier in 1991.

The 2000s were left to NME and despite its ropey start to the decade, it would eventually find its footing again with bands like White Stripes, The Strokes and The Libertines. However, with readership dropping fast to just over a tenth of its hey-day 300,000 circulation, publications like NME have pumped significant investment into their online music news to compensate.