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  • An In-Depth Introduction to Breton Music with Jean-Michel Veillon Pt. 4

    Read Part 1: An Introduction to Breton music and the history of the region
    Read Part 2: Read Part 2: the instrumentation of Breton music and how Jean-Michel Veillon became involved in the genre
    Read Part 3: includes of discussion with Larry Rone about Breton music in the US

    SK: Well those are all the questions I have for everyone, thank you both so much for being a part of this conversation. Unless anyone has something else to add?

    JM: The problem with the Breton language is still really important here. You know, it’s a political problem for a simple reason. It’s a political and I was going to say mechanical problem. France, like your country [the US] has a strong constitution and the constitution of France stipulates very clearly that only one language can be official in France which is French. It’s not like in the States, I remembering touring in the States once and there was a friend, was it in Florida or California? To know people would accept that Spanish would be used. Well, in France, the problem you see is that people, the Basques, the Corsicans, the Bretons, the Alsatians, try to keep their languages alive. The problem is that, take a simple example, you’ll understand exactly what I mean. Someone who is rather Leftist here in Brittany, which means he is in a way, he wants more equal society and all that, more guaranty of the defense of the workers. No expectations of the workers by huge enterprises and all that. Let’s say he is from a sort of Left feeling. But when it comes to the defense of the Breton language, it means that we should change the constitution and there people would say if we open Pandora’s Box, if we start to change the constitution, it could change not only for languages but also for the basic rights of the citizen. So it’s a mechanical problem. So even people who would support the Breton language would think it’s not fair, “We should have the right to use it more in schools, in offices everywhere.” The problem is the barrier is the constitution but at the same time the constitution guarantees equality between citizens. Do you see what I mean? It’s complicated. It’s quite complicated, so I don’t know what the future will be for that language, I have no idea, but one thing is for sure. If the language goes, the music will lose enormously. Because it’s so much attached, the rhythm of the Breton language has it’s responsibility in the way the music is shaped. Especially in the West of Brittany, of course. So the way the language goes, our music will be very weakened I’m afraid.

    PR: Well I was born in Brittany in [?]. I stayed with my Breton mother, she wasn’t my mother but she was my nurse mother. I stayed with her until I was eight years old and I remember when we would come down as children, I was one of several children, she and Maman Marie was talking to Jean-Louis in Breton, they would immediately stop speaking Breton to speak French because in those days it was illegal. I think you’ll agree that you could speak Breton, but now, I think it’s different. Things have changed in that, I live in Brittany, I live in the south part which is, I’m about one hour and 15 minutes from Rennes. And I’m about three hours from where Jean-Michel lives on the coast in the Cotes-d’Armor, and one of the things that has changed is you can now, Breton has certain [?] that, in schools, it’s amazing, they do have to teach Breton. The kids have to learn it. It’s not everybody, but when I was born that was absolutely out of the question. So this is encouraging, I think.

    JM: Yes, yes. You’re right. Well it was never really illegal, the language. It was not really illegal… Well…

    PR: It was frowned upon.

    JM: Well horrible things happened the second World War. Some Breton soldiers who had lost their regiment in the battle, were shot because in Breton you say Ya to say Oui, yes like Germans.

    PR: And they thought they were Germans?

    JM: Yeah. They thought they were German spies. And it happened a few times that Bretons were shot and they tried to say “we are Breton,” they didn’t speak French at all. And by the way, I have seen and old woman, one of the last. She died in my arms by the way, 1979, 1980 in central Brittany, she could hardly speak French. But you see, the problem is, it was not illegal, the problem is what has happened with the French government, all these last 40 years, that the more the Breton language is dying, the more they give a little bit of help. Not much. It’s like they want it to end up in a museum or something. They didn’t help it when it was time, you see what I mean?

    PR: Yeah

    JM: It’s still time, maybe, but it’s… Something needs to be done rapidly. Yeah we could go on with this for hours because I would have a lot to say about it. It’s hard to consider this music without trying to understand the background. Yeah, I wouldn’t say that most musicians are so political, but…

    LR: Of course, of course…

    JM: But the thing is whether they are not, what happens is they are often asked, especially professionals to play for political causes.

    LR: Right.

    JM: Or environmental… We are thrown into, we are not outside of the arena. We have to help. And we are asked to play and very often by the way, can you refuse your fee? Because we need to…

    PR: That does sound familiar, doesn’t it?

    JM: It happens all the time. And by the way, oh this is for Shannon, I forgot to say something. Apart from the fest noz, which is where you dance, but everybody will come to it. I know rock musicians will come to fest noz because they meet friends even though they don’t play that music or sometimes don’t even like it that much. But they know it and they often who have friends that play. And also, many musicians will play in a traditional band will play rock or jazz in another band. So there is a sort of melting pot of musicians if you like, but..

    PR: There is… There is Jean-Michel, it’s true. I’ve been to two fest noz or three since I’ve been here and one relatives came over from their living in Japan and Korea now and I said look, these people they’re going to dance these very traditional dances that go back hundreds of years and you’re going to see young people, old people dancing together in circles and they’re holding your hands and doing these gavottes and plinn, and they said “no dad, you’re wrong” and they went the fest noz and they were absolutely blown away. They had no idea. People dance and their music could go off in a jazz direction, in an African direction, all within, you know it’s Breton. It could be sung a cappella or with a full rock band or with a traditional band. No difference. And there’s a strength there and I find it very energetic and invigorating just talking about it.

    JM: And by the way, what I wanted to tell to Shannon is that, in fact, apart from the fest noz and the traditional music concerts. Traditional is a word that, by the way, is a little difficult for me. I don’t find it very adapted, but anyway, we have also festivals. Like there’s a huge festival in central Brittany called the [?] which means the Old Ploughs.

    PR: Ah, oui oui oui

    JM: And Bruch Springsteen, Peter Gabriel, Sting, Bob Dylan, blah blah blah, and you have always Breton music there as well. So all these big stars know about it, they see the big flags and we have lesser festivals where a traditional band will play just after a jazz band or just before a rock band. So the musicians get to listen to each other a lot which I was say was not necessarily the case 40 years ago. Is that good or bad? I think it’s good in a way. I don’t know what, well, what you can fear is always all music will eventually sound alike, but I don’t think so. I don’t think so.

    LR: I would love to go to a concert where Pennou-Skoulm played next to Bruce Springsteen. That would be really great. I would love that. That would be the greatest concert in the history of the world.

    JM: Well, I played with Barzaz last summer a few hours before Carlos Santana.

    SK: Wow. Well, thank you so much again.

    JM: Take care!

    SK: Merci.

    Everyone: Take care.

    Once again, another huge thank you to Jean-Michel Veillon, Patrick Ramsey, and Larry Rone for taking the time to talk to us. If you’d like to learn more about Jean-Michel and his music, you can visit jmveillon.net for more information. For more information about Larry Rone and his group Poor Man’s Fortune, you can visit poormansfortune.com/music

    Before I close out the show, I’d like to invite you all to check out Teen Jazz if you’re interested in learning more about what we do or read some of our articles, please visit TeenJazz.com.

    Or if you just would like to say hello, come and say hi at our Facebook page – that’s facebook.com/teenjazz. I promise to say hello back!

    All the links that I’ve mentioned as part of the show will be up on Teen Jazz Radio, so if you’re interested in learning more about these talented artists, please stop on by – I know they’ll appreciate the love! You can leave comments on any of our posts at TeenJazzRadio.com.

    And last but not least, we appreciate your iTunes reviews! If you’ve enjoyed our podcast, please help us get noticed on iTunes by writing us a review. Let us know if you’ve found our podcast valuable or if you’ve enjoyed some of the music we’ve featured as part of the show. We’re so very thankful for those of you who have gone in and taken the time to write us reviews for Teen Jazz Radio.

    Thank you again for tuning in the Teen Jazz Radio podcast from TeenJazzRadio.com.

    February 18, 2015 • Podcasts • Views: 1464

  • An In-Depth Introduction to Breton Music with Jean-Michel Veillon Pt. 3

    Read Part 1: An Introduction to Breton music and the history of the region
    Read Part 2: Read Part 2: the instrumentation of Breton music and how Jean-Michel Veillon became involved in the genre

    If you come to Brittany now, one couple you will see play, one couple of instruments you’ll hear almost in every fest noz is saxophone-accordion. Or else the big accordion, the chromatic, the big one. Quite rare with a very special style, by the way, in a distinct part of Brittany, but mostly the button accordion. The button accordion and saxophone is a big thing and that started in between the two World Wars, but now it’s bigger. Much bigger. And some virtuosos, some excellent musicians play and also you will notice if you come to Brittany, a very strong interest of most young musicians for jazz and maybe especially this type of jazz that you would call manouche.

    Because as I said, to put harmony, to put chords on Breton music, is not that easy. You can easily destroy it by putting the wrong harmony. But the fact that many jazz musicians got interested in this music… every time I’ve played with jazz musicians they understood what type harmony you should put or not.

    I don’t know maybe it’s a reason why many of them were always, had always an open ear for music. I guess. I think of people like there’s an Italian…

    LR: Jacques Pellen.

    JM: Yeah, Jacques Pellen is Breton but I’m thinking more about people… Jacques Pellen knew about Breton music because he is Breton, but yeah he plays jazz.

    LR: Oh that’s right. Of course.

    JM: But more and more thinking of people who came from abroad and who got interested. Jacques Pellen invited several, Jacques Pellen would be the man who invited several international jazz men to play like the violinist (?) is from France, but he’s not Breton. But Paolo Fresu for example, a trumpet player from Sardinia. I played with him several times and he’s fantastic. Riccardo Del Fra who played with Chet Baker for 12 years.

    LR: Really?

    JM: Riccardo Del Fra. Italian. He’s the head of the department of jazz in the Conservatoire of Paris now. He was, he loved Brittany. He stayed here and played a lot. I’ve played with him several times. And other musicians who came very punctually once or twice who were very surprised by Breton music like the Canadian trumpet player Kenny Wheeler. I’ve played with him and he was very surprised with this music. Karim Ziad is an Algerian drummer who played with Joe Zawinul who was with Weather Report on his last world tour. Joe Zawinul died but Karim Ziad played with him a lot and he also played in the band with us, and he was very surprised, he was very interested in the music because sometimes some rhythms for dance, they apparently simple, but then you get into the details they are not as simple as they seem.

    So this interest from jazz musicians is obvious to us but the interest of young Breton musicians for jazz is stronger.

    SK: And umm, just because I’m curious, who are some of those musicians who are playing saxophone or gypsy jazz in the Breton idiom?

    JM: Jacky Molard. He has a quartet where the double bass player where the double bass player is very well known in France and beyond. They played in the states several times in the jazz festival in Minneapolis. She’s called Hélène Labarrière and the saxophone in the band is called Yannick Jory. He has played a lot of easter European music but he has played bombarde also and he knows very well the Breton music.

    And there is a young saxophone player, also excellent, near to where I live in the North of Brittany called Timothy Le Bour. He has a duet called Le Bour and the accordion player with him is called Bodros, Le Bour Bodros. Those would be two of the saxophone players that are, that have really great style and approach of Breton music or music inspired from the Breton tradition.

    Jazz manouche well, you’ll hear it with button accordion players. The way they put harmony in the Breton dances. Any little group you’ll hear in a fest noz many of them try these types of harmonies. They try at least. Fiddlers too. Jacky Molard and there’s a fiddler player. He’s back into playing now. He stopped for a while called (?) who plays that style too. But you’ll hear also a fantastic young fiddle player.

    LR: I’m sorry. He stopped what happened?

    JM: Well we haven’t seen him any more much. He was drinking to much. There’s a great fiddle player called Gregoire Hennebelle. Well if you go and try a trio called Zon, trio. It’s a young woman singing, (Faustine Audebert), who by the way, she plays jazz piano I think. And then there’s a button accordion player with brilliant called Youen Paranthoen and this fiddler called Gregoire Hennebelle. This is really great. Really, it goes, it’s still very rooted in the tradition but they go much further. And there are many bands like that.

    You can also listen this fantastic accordion player called Janick Martin. He has a duo and a quintet called Hamon Martin. You’ll find that, you’ll find videos.

    LR: They’re very good.

    JM: Yes they are very good and there is Ronan Pellen who plays cittern. A string instrument and it’s really excellent band. Really good.

    SK: And then, outside of the saxophonists and some of the gypsy jazz/Breton groups, who are some of the key players in the genre?

    JM: A very good, a man who has a very deep knowledge of the Breton music and we did interesting things. And he plays saxophone, by the way, as well. Oh yes, he plays saxophone very well. He plays bombarde and saxophone. He does his arrangements. He is Roland Becker. Becker. Actually his grandfather was German.

    Not Brecker! Becker! Not like Michael Brecker. Oh, by the way, I have a friend who plays uilleann pipes, but he plays Breton music and Jacques Pellen. They recorded with Michael Brecker. If you are in jazz, if you try to find a band called Celtic Tales there is a man there playing the vibes. I know them because they are from native from my area in Brittany. Called Jean-Baptiste Boclé, he played with Gary Burton and Pat Metheny. He lives in the states but he comes to Brittany often. Jean-Baptiste Boclé on vibes and his brother Gildas on double bass. Gildas lives in the states too. And they have a band called Celtic Tales and they invited Michael Brecker. And their drummer was from New York, I think, called Marco (?), something like that. Celtic Tales, you’ll find that on the net no problem. And they are, more or less, they’re, I wouldn’t say they are rooted in the Breton tradition, they know about it.

    Who else? Of course you have heard about, maybe, Alan Stivell. Alan Stivell is now in his seventies. He’s the man who back in the revival in the folk movement from the sixties, he knew well the tradition. He would play the Celtic harp, that was his sort of emblem. He plays the bagpipes, he plays the bombarde, he would play all sorts of instruments and he had a huge success in the seventies. His main success was because he played in one of the most prestigious halls at the time in Paris called L’Olympia. And he played in 1971 I think or 1970 and they said “okay, well it’s funny to have a sort of Breton bard coming to play there but we don’t think you’ll fill.” And actually he filled the room. He stayed two weeks. There were trains and buses coming from Brittany and it was filled every night. It was a sort of a very strong I couldn’t say nationalist, but identity movement. Very, very strong. And Alan Stivell can’t be forgotten. He has done a lot.

    Well there are so many musicians. If you go to this, check the names I’ve given to you, you’ll see others. You know, the Internet now, it’s mad. I don’t spend too much time on it myself because you get lost rapidly.

    SK: And, just to kind of go back to it, what are some of the key characteristics that define Breton music.

    JM: One of the main characteristics as I said is local styles for some reason have survived which means that dance is from that area and if you want to hear it well-danced and well-played it will be generally in that area. For some reason. People are quite still proud of the fact that, I mean by this, one century ago if you wanted to see that dance you had to go to the area where it is danced. But now, all those little limits have been blown up in smithereens. You could think it’s a boring monoculture everywhere, but still, the areas where the dance came from will dance other dances from all over Brittany, but still they are attached to the local dance. So the style, the rhythmic style will be very protected. If you don’t play it right, there will always be someone to tell you the rhythm wasn’t right. You didn’t play where you should.

    The other thing is, a very important thing with the Breton music that almost disappeared was as I said the non-tempered scale. There are several different scales and some people say it makes them think of Arabic [music], some people say “it makes me think of Eastern Europe.” Those scales are very, very old and they were once all over Europe. You still hear them in other traditions like if you listen to the fiddle tradition from Sweden, also you will hear micro intervals as we say. So in Brittany, when you hear Breton music, let’s say, let’s take wind instruments, clarinet. The clarinets as we say in French are preparé, prepared. And the people will put things under the pads so that the scale is what they want. The scale will not be the piano scale. The scale will be other micro intervals. So that’s very typical of our music. And the singers, some singers, I know at least one… He will sing always with a strange, do you say temperament? He will sing with a strange temperament, strange micro intervals in his singing and he can’t sing any other way. Because this is how we hear the music. So this would be the rhythm thing and the micro interval thing would be the two main characteristics apart from the fact as I said earlier on that the [?] of the tunes is generally smaller than what you would hear in Gaelic music. Hence the fact that many people would say, if the languages are from the same family, the music is very different. Also due, probably, to the fact that the Irish and Scottish had English neighbors when we had French neighbors. So it has probably shaped a little bit of the evolution of our music, I suppose.

    To explain more, it’s very hard for me but as soon as you will listen a few things on the internet you will see what I mean and you will see immediately depending on what you listen, you’ll see, I’m sure you’ll feel like most people listening to it for the first time, you’ll feel there’s some unity in it. Something in common, but also you’ll feel immediately the different styles. Depending on what band you hear and what area of Brittany.

    SK: Well, to make a bit of a transition, you talked about the different styles in Brittany, but now I ‘d like to talk about Breton music in other places around the world and Larry is a Breton musician in the US. Okay, so, Larry, I’m really curious as to how you got involved in Breton music.

    LR: Well, it’s umm… Probably like most people who get into Breton music. They came at it through Irish and sometimes Scottish music. There’s probably, I don’t know anybody in the states that didn’t do that, as few as there are. I’m an Irish musician first and foremost I guess. But, I first heard Kornog for the first time in Dallas. I was doing concert promotion, stuff with Irish music promotion. Getting Irish bands to play in Dallas. I was working with the Southwest Celtic Music Association. And we would basically, they run the North Texas Irish Festival now and did then and we booked, we’d been booking a lot of Irish bands and we booked this band called Kornog which is, the founder of which was Jamie Mc Menemy who was the founding member of a very famous Scottish band called the Battlefield Band, maybe you’ve heard of them. And Jamie had moved to Brittany after he quit the battlefield band and got into that music. And formed a band out of which sort of eventually became Kornog.

    They became pretty popular in the 80s and they toured Dallas three years in a row. One year two of them stayed at my house including Jean-Michel. Became good friends then, but I was, I listened to their albums and learned some of their tunes and played a little bit in the Irish bands I was playing in, but not very well. Breton music, this is another unknown fact about Breton music among Irish musicians, non-Breton, anyone outside of Brittany, they usually go through it from Irish and they try to play Breton music like an Irish tune and it doesn’t work that way which I found out years later. So anyway, I was playing some Kornog stuff in Irish bands in the 80s. Moved to Japan for three years in the early nineties. Came back and moved to Austin, Texas, where I am now. And looked up a guy I knew from Austin called Serge Laine, who is French. Who is also well-versed in Irish music. So he was the second person to get me into Breton music and it was obviously hands on experience. While he wasn’t Breton, he had been to Brittany a lot and studied it a lot. So we formed a band called Poor Man’s Fortune, still do that now. And it really started like the other bands I was in playing mostly Irish. But over the years, Poor Man’s Fortune has morphed into pretty much straight ahead Breton. And with Serge especially, starting in 1995 when we first got together, he taught me a lot of Breton. He actually knew the rhythms and much more melodies. All I really knew at the time was a few Kornog recordings and a couple of other records. Really I didn’t have much Breton music. Serge Laine, my band mate now, he’s the one that really got me ramped up big time on Breton music because before it was just me and other people trying to play Breton tunes as well as we could and the recordings from those days are pretty awful as far as stylistically.

    And so that’s pretty much how I got into it. And I’m a flute player, got in with a natural thing to pick up the standard Breton instrument, the bombarde, being a wind player. I picked up that. Serge had one and then I bought one and then I bought two and three and four and five. And then we had Richard Kean join the band in around 2000. He’s a very, very good Scottish piper and he got really enamored with what we were doing and he bought the Breton bagpipes, the binioù koz.

    SK: And what has your experience been with Breton music in the US as far as reception and audiences and performing it because it is a lot different from Irish music even though it does share some characteristics?

    LR: It does. Generally speaking, the way I see our band is that if we play good, we get a good reception and we’ve always had a very good reception. You know, we don’t play a lot because we’re quite loud and you can’t really do real Breton music without the bombarde and binoù.

    SK: And that’s a real different sound for people who are unfamiliar with it.

    LR: Yeah it’s a very interesting sound.

    There’s two sorts of situations. We’ll do smaller clubs and stuff and you know, really to tell you the truth, with respect to American audiences, they don’t know Breton music. They know good music, I guess… That’s what I like to think. None of us are under any preconceptions that people understand what we’re doing as far as the technicalities of it, “oh this is a gavotte, from the mountains and it goes a certain way.” I mean, we care about that, but the audience really, to tell you the truth, the audience here doesn’t really know Irish music either, so… And as a matter of fact we can, as long as the binioù and bombarde have been playing, I’m not sure that people really know if it’s Irish or Breton unless they really know Irish music. So really, and not to belittle an audience at all in any way, there’s just isn’t a lot of interest in it in particular, I think, but we do play a lot. Not so much any more because it’s kind of hard to get together, everybody’s in different cities but I think for us it’s, we want to play it right and we do, for the most part, having just worked with Jean-Michel last month, we realized we didn’t do everything right. But really, I mean, yeah, that’s basically it. The audience isn’t really versed enough to know it’s, to really appreciate, “oh this is a gavotte from the mountains and this is a plinn.” But if it’s played well they like it, and you know, we do use drums and bass on some tunes to really push it and make it sort of, you know… And that’s exciting to anybody. It doesn’t matter. I think music, now we’re getting to general music. Good music is good music. People like it.

    SK: Well I think another thing to is it’s a little bit difficult to understand here because we’re missing one of the most important elements of Breton music because it’s a participatory music, so…

    LR: It is very much.

    SK: In the natural setting, everyone is dancing and there are certain dances that go to each type of song and it’s something where even if you’re not performing, you’re involved, you know? And we don’t have that here because no one knows the dances. So I think maybe as far as reception goes it’s a little bit harder to understand because you’re missing that element.

    LR: We try and do it right but we don’t expect anybody to get up and dance. And really, in Brittany if you went to big fest noz, little fest noz, I went to house parties which is small house concerts and when someone starts playing, people get up and dance. Just automatic. It doesn’t matter where they play, you know? It’s just the way it is. It is absolutely, the first thing I was told by Jean-Michel was if you want to learn Breton music, learn Breton dancing. The dances are all for the most part quite easy to do and that’s why it’s so participatory because they don’t exclude people who have two left feet for the most part. Some of the dances are pretty hard as you’ve probably seen, the laridae gavotte, is pretty tough. But a plinn and certainly an an dro, the grandmothers and some of the women are “when do you dance the an dro?” because it’s a real easy step and they can do it, so there’s something for everybody. Young kids love the fast ones and the older people like the slower ones. Right. But yeah, I don’t know of any other tradition in Europe, or at least one of these revived traditions where dancing is such a critical part of it. But… which is why it’s hard to do. Which is why it’s hard to get right. Breton music, the melodies are, I always compare it all to Irish and Scottish music, much simpler melodies, much easier to actually play but much harder to get right. And Jean-Michel will talk a lot tomorrow about the variations, you know. He, like, on certain kinds of tunes, you have the first part is straight and the second part is not so much a variation in the melody but a variation in the time. It will go, two over three, what was he saying, I wish I could remember which dance he was talking about. The B part will always be a slightly different rhythm on certain tunes. I wish I could remember which ones he was talking about. This shows my limitation in how it really, and the dancers don’t know this kind of thing but he does and he’s a very integral part of that. The people who have kept it alive and sort of re-infused it, you know?

    Read Part 4: a discussion of the current music and political landscape of Brittany with Jean-Michel Veillon, Larry Rone and Patrick Ramsey

    February 11, 2015 • Podcasts • Views: 870

  • An In-Depth Introduction to Breton Music with Jean-Michel Veillon Pt. 1

    Hey everyone! I hope you all are doing well!

    Welcome to the latest session of Teen Jazz Radio. Thank you for tuning in!

    For those of you who are unfamiliar with what we do, Teen Jazz and Teen Jazz Radio are websites and a podcast dedicated to educating and featuring emerging young performers. We have a ton of advice articles on everything from the music business to performance and practice advice, and we feature the profiles and music of many talented musicians. If you’re interested in finding out more about Teen Jazz, please visit TeenJazz.com.

    My name is Shannon Kennedy. I am the host of Teen Jazz and I myself am a performer. If you want to find out more about me, my website is shannon-kennedy.com.

    So today, I’m actually going to start a new series. I’ve considered introducing the various genres of jazz and music to our readers and listeners for some time, but this latest interview has given me the opportunity to make that a reality. The first few styles are already lined up and so it is with great pleasure that I get to introduce a genre of music very near to my heart.

    During this episode, we’ll be discussing Breton music, a style of Celtic music that comes from North Western France. The music is deeply tied into that regions culture and its language, politics and history have all greatly affected it development.

    Now, I’m sure you’re all wondering how this ties into jazz and so first, I’d like to say that although we’re called “Teen Jazz,” the site isn’t just about jazz. It’s about all styles of music and we do our best to feature musicians from a variety of genres. Second, Breton music does feature a few aspects of improvisation and many recent artists have fused the style with jazz and fusion making it a close relative.

    So, to help me discuss Breton music, it’s history and it’s style, I have two very special guests with me. The interviews were recorded separately, but I’ve put them together in a way that will present a clear discussion of the music. Jean-Michel Veillon is a Breton flute player who has been a very important figure in the genre for the past few decades. One could argue, in fact, that he is one of the musicians who really brought the flute (now one of the most popular instruments) to the genre. I also have with me Larry Rone an American musician immersed in the Breton and Irish music genres who will discuss the style from an American perspective. At the end you’ll also hear a little bit from Patrick Ramsey who was sitting in on the call. So without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to Mr. Jean-Michel Veillon.

    JM: Bonjour Shannon.

    SK: Bonjour, ça va? (Hello, how are you?)

    JM: Good.

    LR: Good.

    JM: (laughs) Okay, so, Shannon…

    SK: Yes?

    JM: How can I help you?

    SK: Because a lot of listeners are going to be unfamiliar with the style of Breton music, can you tell us a little bit about it in general and what some of the important characteristics of the music are?

    JM: Yes. So the Breton music is a music, is what they call modal music. It’s like what they call a drone music, you know. You have special modes. I don’t have much theory, especially not in English, but it’s a music based on – to the big difference of Irish music or Scottish music – let’s say Gaelic music, even though it’s not quite exactly Gaelic music. Gaelic music would refer more to really the music of the Highlands in Scotland and the Highlands north of Scotland and some parts of Northern Ireland, but, okay, let’s go to Gaelic music anyway.

    First thing, Irish and Scottish would write the music earlier and much more than the Bretons ever did. The oral tradition is very strong in Brittany still. I can’t read or write music myself. I’ve been involved in musical things with jazz musicians and all, but still, I don’t read music.

    The other thing is, one of the forms, Gaelic tunes have a [range], the stretch between the lowest note of a tune and the highest in a scale. It has a wider range of notes than Breton music. Wider. Breton music is often compared, some of the Breton tunes, some of the slow airs, are often compared to the Gregorian chant. Some of it sounds like it. And a lot of the things the Bretons, in their music and songs, would relate, would sing long stories about historical facts or crime or things that happened sometimes a very, very long time ago. Songs can be really, really long, but really the music, the melody, just the purpose for development of poetry, of diction. So a singer, he was considered, he was good because he knew many songs but also because he had fantastic diction. He would have good articulation in the language. And the best musician as long as he could keep the tune or make variations with it, he was considered to be good. And by the way, I’ll come back to it, but the art of variation, as we still call it l’art de la variation is very important in Breton music.

    And also, another thing that is maybe that used to be different with the Bretons… The Bretons like, they have been compared often to people in Western Africa or in some parts in Asia. We’re completely crazy for the dance, even more than the Irish. Of course, with show business now, the Irish River Dance and all that is much more famous and much more adapted to show business. Breton dance is different. Most of the dance is community dance in the west. Rond, la rond – round dances. And still today we have this thing called fest noz which almost disappeared during the Wars. The fest noz is a strange event. Originally we know and we have witnesses who explained that it was something used to bring the people of little farms, because the farms were small, before the 19th century, the farms were small in Brittany. The landscape was such that the farms were small but the people would help each other. They would get together for the main things they had to do like take care of the potatoes. They would get several farms together and in the evening they would dance, but sometimes they would also dance to level out the ground in farm yards. If a young couple, a young man marries a young woman, they settle in a farm, they would start with inviting many people to dance and level out the ground in front of the farm. And people would dance with wooden clogs and so the dance was in a way work. It’s very important. The dance was like, it had, it was used. There was a use for the dance. It was used for something.

    As I said, with the agricultural revolution, what happened is this function of the dance was going to disappear and then there was the Wars. Especially the First World War. Just after the Second World War, the man called Loeiz Roparz decided to bring some old people in a community hall, salle de fetes, of a little parish, or should I say commun because after the revolution, we don’t talk about parishes any more but commun because in France the church is separated from the state which is a very good thing.

    This man took a group of all Breton people in a hall and made them sing and dance. And they really started that day the fest noz, they reshaped it. It was not any more something necessarily outdoors to level out the ground and it was just a sort of social event which explains why now when you come to Brittany, you see fest noz every Saturday, sometimes Sunday afternoon, sometimes Friday and during holidays it could be any day during the week. You will see a fest noz and every time it’s an association who organizes it to get some funds. It could be a school to get some extra money to pay for a trip for the kids somewhere, it could be a protest, an ecological thing. It could be lots of things. It could be the local hunter society, it could be just a fest noz for fun. Then the people will keep the money and organize another one and the musicians are paid. Some bands sometimes professional are booked with a contract to play at the fest noz. And people take turn on stage. And everybody comes to it. Everybody has the right to come to it and dance. Kids. Babies even. You see old people, old people of the village. Everybody can dance, as long as the kid can stand, as long as the old person can stand, you will see those people without distinction of age or social class. Everybody dances.

    And then it’s also a place to meet. Many, many people meet in fest noz, you know. You meet friends, you see sometimes people you haven’t seen in a long time. You know, it’s a very, very typical thing and a very social event. So fest noz is a little bit central now. It’s central and it has just been, by the way, admitted into the universal patrimony of UNESCO which means in a way that the fest noz is a sort of emblem of Brittany.

    Probably I explain a little about Brittany geographically and historically what it is and all that.

    SK: Okay.

    JM: Briefly. So Brittany, Bretagne, in French and Breiz in the Breton language is the Western Peninsula of France, it’s in the Northwest of France. It’s just below Normandy, you know, D-Day and all that. And across the channel, North of Brittany is England, British Cornwell England and Wales, Scotland, etc. And to the Northwest, is Ireland. So we are not very far actually from neither England nor Ireland.

    Brittany is a place where it’s known, one of the last, so-called Celtic areas in the West of Europe. For the simple reason that the Celts were pushed, moved west, you know after the time they were all over Europe and mainly in central Europe, the Bronze Age and all that. They moved west more and more. And the region where they are, more or less, they stayed was Brittany and in the British Isles, mainly in the North, Scotland, Wales, the Southwest, Cornwall, the Island of Manx, and Ireland. So the main thing in common from all those families of different tribes of Celts is language. But two branches are very distinct, well quite distinct, let’s say. The Gaelic branch, the Gaels, having their, the Gaelic language which is the Irish and the Scottish, Gaelic. And Manx. There’s another branch called the Brittonic branch. And the Brittonic branch has had three languages, Welsh, Cornish in British Cornwell, just southwest across the channel from us and Brittany, Western Brittany. So that’s about it.

    The Cornish language is now extinct, but the Breton language until not so long ago was the first Celtic language for the number of people speaking it. There are more people speaking fluent Breton than Irish, Scottish-Gaelic, or even Welsh, but it has changed recently.

    So, all the languages are not, have no relation with Latin. Unlike French, Italian… They have no, not real relationships with Germanic or Saxon languages like English, German. They are a distinct branch called Celtic.

    Now, historically, this is about Brittany now… Brittany was attached to France, got attached to France in 1532 by a treaty and a wedding. The Queen of Brittany called Anne, got married at the time. So this is really, this is really the moment when Brittany got attached to France. So, which explains, in a way why some particular traditions and let’s say ways of life remained different from other parts of France. Now, this explains… was that clear enough?

    SK: Yes.

    JM: But I have to say something though, just before going on. It’s hard to make an opposition between Brittany and France because France is really just a puzzle of, a patchwork of very different cultures. The south of France with Corsica is really close to Italy, and even the language. Even Corsican is different than Italian but it’s related. The dialects from South[east] France were very close to Italian.

    The Southwest, north of Spain is as a Basque. You’ve heard of the Basque, I’m sure?

    SK: Yes.

    JM: And the Basque was really mysterious, very, very old language. Probably one of the oldest of all Europe. And the North of France was Flanders, linked to what they speak in the Netherlands, in Belgium, in the Flemish part. The Flemish language. The east is Alsace. And then you have a whole lot of dialects all over France. To the point, if you go back to the 1800s and even late 1800s, probably 80% of the French population couldn’t speak, actually, proper French. Or else dialects, related to French, or languages not at all related to French like Basque or Breton or Flemish. So this is a situation, this is the landscape in which Brittany grew up in a way. Brittany used to be powerful in the 1300s and then attached to France, when it got attached to France it started to decline. And then there were several things and especially after the French Revolution, the big change was that for the first time the Breton men could be taken into the French wars, Napoleon I. And a lot, by the way, of the Breton repertoire of music, the traditional repertoire talks about it, reports things about those wars.

    And then Brittany gradually got, in a way, more and more involved in the French problems. The first was probably the First World War where there was a huge gap in the male Breton population. The trenches. Many, many people were killed. Many, many. The Second World War was not much better. It was about the same. And then there was the Algerian War in North Africa and then started an enormous emigration. Bretons went massively to Paris and to wherever they could, but mainly to Paris and New York. That’s what I can say, it’s very brief and incomplete, but that’s what I can say about Brittany.

    SK: You know, you talked a little bit about how the wars played a big influence on the musical repertoire but what about some of the other things as far as the language and the instrumentation and things like that?

    JM: Well, the same. The instrumentation, like in any other part of the world, changed through history. But there was a big change after the industrial revolution, and what we call the agricultural revolution which means in that, the wars of course, changed a lot, not only Brittany but all regions of France. The wars were, helped France to become what it is. Meaning everybody had to learn French all of the sudden and everybody had to understand it. And new fashions, new ways, new influences, and of course, in the music came from abroad. The very typical thing would be the button accordion which came to France from Italy in a way and developed a lot in central France and then in Paris. Taken to Paris by Italian immigrants and people from central France and then being carried to Brittany as an instrument with chords and everything. It can do its own accompaniment. So in a way, it was suddenly very, it had a big success rapidly. And it replaced some of the instruments we had.

    So to talk about the instruments in Brittany, I won’t go into detail too much. Let’s say that in the very early period, like if you refer to year 500 and things like that. There were string instruments. {—?} sort of a little harp, not exactly. The rebec, which is actually the Arabic word for violin. There were strings instruments and the Celtic harp called tailin (sp?), in Breton language. But then gradually wind instruments started to take over. Sorts of shawms, and oboes, rustic oboes, old oboes with double reeds. Flutes, probably. There is a lot of questioning about flutes. We are not too sure. We are not too sure because they appear on early Christian settlements on the structures we have images of flutes. We don’t know exactly what it was the coming of flute in Western Europe is a long story with the fifes. The fifes and drums and all that battlefields and all that later. Of course, the singing and then much later other instruments like accordion and then much closer from us now, from our period, guitar, you know. Or electric keyboards or this today in bands and all that. But singing and wind instruments like bombarde which is a very loud double reed oboe. Binioù which is a sort of pipes, very shrill. Clarinet. Early clarinets, very simple clarinets with five keys or seven keys made out of boxwood. All those instruments were very common in many parts of Brittany.

    The language, you asked about influences. Of course, the language declined rapidly with the wars and also with the French Revolution. The main reason for that, one of the main reasons is that Brittany was divided into what we call pays in French. Little areas where the people had their own ways and all those little countries were separated like everywhere in the planet by rivers or any sort of, and often bishoprics. Brittany, by the way is mainly Catholic. It was Christianized early enough but after Ireland and all that. It was, it actually, well, there’s an important thing about Brittany which could explain things even about the music. Brittany was not evangelized by people coming from inland. Brittany was evangelized by people coming from Ireland and the British Isles. Early Celts.

    So since Brittany was Catholic, the division inside Brittany, there was an amazing variety of music style, dances and even costumes. And still now people define themselves with those names. Like some people play this style of music and they say, “Ah I am [? thistle] or I am [? plinn] which is a little area. All that of course, all those limits and little countries changed with the Revolution. The Revolution drew new administrative divisions called departements in France. So Brittany has had five departements, now only four, they say. But historically it had five. So you see, the division of the French administration didn’t necessarily fit with the way that people looked at themselves and the way they would trade together inside Brittany. So it’s, this, I try to simplify because it could be more complicated, but basically you see the problem. It’s a little mosaic of different people, but there is some constant thing you find everywhere in Brittany.

    Oh, one last thing that you said about the influences, the French language pushed, like in Ireland, the English with the Irish Gaelic. The language with the “winner” in the way, the strongest which was the French in that case, pushed the Breton language west. So to give you an example, where I grew up in the Northeast of Brittany, most of the names are Breton, but the Breton language hasn’t been spoken where I grew up since the 11th century. It was before, but it was pushed so the limit where you find where you find the Breton language is further west now.
    Read Part 2: Read Part 2: the instrumentation of Breton music and how Jean-Michel Veillon became involved in the genre
    Read Part 3: a discussion of Breton music in the US with Larry Rone
    Read Part 4: a discussion of the current music and political landscape of Brittany with Jean-Michel Veillon, Larry Rone and Patrick Ramsey

    December 1, 2014 • Podcasts • Views: 1334

  • How to Sell More Music

    Hey everyone! Welcome to the latest emission of Teen Jazz Radio, a part of TeenJazz.com, an online community of up and coming musicians. I’m Shannon Kennedy, your host and I’d like to thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to listen to our show and to the fantastic young artists we feature as part of each episode.

    Today on Teen Jazz Radio I’m going to talk about how to boost your music sales. If you enjoy today’s episode, we have more information available on the production and marketing of your music available at Teen Jazz. I’ll mention it again later in this episode, but if you’re interested, you can get The Album Checklist at adviceformusicians.com.

    Also in this episode, I’m also going to feature the music of Ryan Saranich, Adam Larson, Bastian Weinhold, Dan Higgins, Evan Stone, and Reggie Padilla.

    As I mention at the beginning of each show, I know that many of you are listening to this podcast for different reasons – some of you may be here for the advice offered as part of this episode and some of you may be listening to check out the music we feature as part of the show. So, as I mentioned in the last episode, I’m going to try and space the music and the advice out evenly throughout the podcast so that there’s a little something for everyone.

    So, before we dive into today’s tips on how to sell more music, let’s check out our first music set. This week I’d like to introduce you to saxophonist Ryan Saranich and Adam Larson. The first song you’ll hear is Snow (Settle Now, Our Woes) by Ryan Saranich from Story and second I’m going to feature Too Much, Too Soon by Adam Larson from Overdue Ovation.

    Once again, the first track was Snow by Ryan Saranich. You can learn more about Ryan at ryansaranich.com. And second was Too Much, Too Soon by Adam Larson. You can learn more about Adam at adamlarsonjazz.com.

    Let’s get started.

    Musicians have a few different ways to maintain viable careers. For example, two of the most obvious ways to make money at music are to perform live and to sell recordings.

    Live performances require a lot of work and you’re only paid for each performance. Once the gig is done and you’re paid, you have to find more shows and continue to perform in order to keep making money.

    Recordings, on the other hand, continue to make money even after their initial launch. This is called “passive income” and it’s a really great way to support your music career so that during the slow months gig-wise, you don’t have to worry too much about how much money you’re making because you have a consistent stream of income outside of your performances.

    So how do you boost your cd sales?

    Role Play (Sort of)

    First, it’s important to think about it from the consumer perspective for a moment. Yes, you may produce your own cds, but don’t forget that you are also (or should be) an avid music consumer as well. Especially as a musician, you’ve been shopping for and curating your music collection for years.

    The next time you’re browsing iTunes or Amazon or wherever it is you search for music, pay attention to what your process is for selecting new music. Did an album cover call out to you, motivating you to click the “listen” button? Maybe it was because you saw the artist in the “recommended” section for someone you already listen to. Pay attention to what steps you take immediately leading up to a purchase of new music because chances are, the people who might buy your music are doing the same thing.

    Make Sure Your Music is Available

    If you want to draw in a new audience, your music needs to be available through whichever venues are the “go-to” for your genre. There are three primary formats to consider: physical copies (cds, usb drives of your music, or vinyl which has recently seen a comeback) for live shows or through a store on your site, digital copies (i.e. iTunes or Amazon), or streaming (Spotify). Think about where you’re most likely to sell music and make sure it’s available in that form.

    If you do a lot of live shows, having physical copies is a really good idea. Audiences often like to have something to take home if they’ve enjoyed your live performance so having product available immediately is a must. Telling them to look you up on Bandcamp when they get home to download your music isn’t an effective selling strategy. If they aren’t super enthusiastic about your music, it’s unlikely they’ll do it because it requires extra work, that is, if they don’t forget by the time they have the time to do it.

    And of course, that being said, in order to sell music, it needs to be recorded (obviously) and you then need to find a way to distribute it online. Bandcamp is a great standalone option that you can embed on your site and CDBaby or Tunecore are a couple more online distributors that you should definitely check out. You can also always sell direct through your website as well using gum road (if selling digital copies) or even something as simple as a paypal button (for digital or physical copies).

    If you’re looking for more information on putting an album together, we have a book available at Teen Jazz called “The Album Checklist.” It’s a guide and workbook that helps you with the planning, songwriting, recording, and release stages of creating an album and it’s incredibly affordable – it’s currently $2.99 for the ebook or $4.99 for the audiobook and ebook bundle. You can get it at adviceformusicians.com as well as our free ebook with tons of music advice.

    Have Professional Quality Artwork

    If you want your album to stand out, the artwork needs to be outstanding. If you don’t have the design skills necessary to do this yourself, it is worth every cent to have it professionally done (don’t use a friend who’s so-so in Photoshop or Illustrator). Make the investment in your music and have the art done professionally.

    Even though your music is meant for the buyer’s ears, they still shop with their eyes. If your album cover is a hideous mess, they won’t even consider it.

    If you don’t have the money for a professional designer, wait to release your album until you do. Seriously, it’s worth it.

    Have Your Music Professionally Mixed and Mastered

    Professional mixing and mastering can make a huge difference in the overall quality of your record. If you can’t afford to have your album professionally produced, this is the next best thing.

    It gives your music a fresh set of trained ears and can take your record from “okay” to “good.”

    Fresh ears are critical through all stages of the music recording process. When writing, arranging, recording and finally mixing, it’s critical to have others listen to the music to tell you where the problems are and even if the songs are truly awful. And that’s okay if they are because you can always write more!

    That being said, if the music is poorly written, recorded or arranged, mixing and mastering won’t be life changing. They may improve the overall sound quality of the album but it won’t make the music good. Don’t expect miracles and put in the necessary work prior to this step.

    You need to listen to and critique your songwriting and recorded performances, redoing them if necessary. You aren’t done with this “editing” stage until you can’t stand listening to them any more.

    Our second set of music for today’s show is going to feature Bastian Weinhold and Dan Higgins. The first song you’ll hear is Mole Hunt by Bastian Weinhold from Cityscape and second I’m going to feature Black Nile by Dan Higgins from Voicing a Standard.

    Once again, that was Black Nile by Dan Higgins and before that was Bastian Weinhold with Mole Hunt. You can find more information about Bastian Weinhold at bastianweinhold.com and Dan Higgins is at danhiggins.net.

    Make Sure You Submit Your Music to the Correct Genres with Online Retailers

    You may think that your music is so original that it defies being put into any box. Labels and genres are for non-creative types!

    Not. True.

    Even if you think your music is unique, it fits somewhere. Pick the closest sounding genres because that’s how listeners are going to find it and if your music doesn’t fit their expectations, they’re going to be disappointed. So don’t list your music as “jazz” if it’s really more “ambient” and don’t list your music as “pop” if it’s really more along the lines of “country” or vice versa.

    There aren’t any specific rules for what defines a genre, but there are certain characteristics of music that tend to make it sound more one thing than another. You know what they are.

    Listeners need to know what your music promises to deliver so don’t try to be deceptive or clever. There are other ways to let them know how clever you are (choosing some obscure or incorrect genre isn’t one of them).

    You also need to make sure that the album art matches the genre your music fits into. If you are an RnB singer, it might not make sense for your cover photo to be of you standing in a field in cowboy boots. If you’re a jazz musician, it also wouldn’t make sense if you sported a mohawk and leather pants. Don’t confuse your audience.

    As much as you might dislike it, people are going to have preconceptions of what your music is going to sound like based on the album art and the genres under which it is filed. Accept that and don’t try to change it because, as much as you might hate it, you very likely won’t succeed if you try (congrats if you do).

    Optimize Your Landing Pages with a Catchy Description, Quotes from Music Press or Fans, and Soundclips

    If you’re selling your music through an online vendor like Bandcamp, Amazon or CDBaby, they walk you through a lot of this. But if you’re (also) selling your music directly on your website, you need to make sure that your landing pages are clear and that they draw potential buyers in.

    What is your landing page? It’s a page upon which your listeners “land” on your site. This is often your homepage, but it can also be the pages for your music. If it’s the homepage, what is it you want your audience to do upon arriving? Do you want them to check out your tour dates or your merch? Whatever your goal is, make it clear that it’s the next step for someone to take (maybe a banner or an obvious button link will help lead the way).

    If the landing page is your album page:

    First and foremost, the “buy” option needs to be incredibly clear and everything on the page should point to it, not obstruct or confuse it.

    You need to draw potential listeners in, make the action you want them to take clear, and provide reason or incentive to take the action.

    Experiment with Pricing

    The standard for a single on iTunes and most other online vendors is about $0.99 (although more and more are being released at $1.29). If you really want to play around with pricing, why not try listing it at $0.69 just to see what happens? A lower price with a higher sales yield could potentially generate more income than a higher price with a low sales yield.

    Release More Music

    The more music you have available, the greater your chances of sales because you increase the odds that people will discover you. Not to mention the fact that if someone enjoys one of your releases, they very well might purchase other songs or albums that you have available, and so, you have the potential to make more per customer.

    Releasing music using the single-release model gives you a way to create more music more quickly. Rather than waiting until you have an entire album ready, release your music in smaller, more immediate chunks as singles or EPs.

    Do Promotion and/or Marketing

    There are so many different ways to invest in the promotion or marketing of your music and there is no right or wrong. Different methods are going to work differently for every musician and every genre.

    If you print physical cds, consider an insert or a section where you invite listeners to visit your website or join your mailing list.

    You can also consider advertising, but if you do this, make sure you do research and implement a highly targeted plan so you aren’t just throwing money into the wind. Put your dollars where they’ll count.

    Another tactic to boost your promotion is to ask for reviews and/or submit your music to review sites. It’s worth giving away free copies of your albums to people who enjoy your genre of music in exchange for reviews.

    If you employ this method, remember not to expect that everyone you give a copy to will leave a review and they aren’t required to do so either.

    So there you have it, our tips for increasing your album sales. Now, to you! I’d love to know your thoughts on boosting your music sales. What are some methods you’ve implemented and have seen success with? Please share them in the comments over at TeenJazz.com!

    Our last set of music for today’s show is going to feature Evan Stone and Reggie Padilla. The first song you’ll hear is Grapes from drummer Evan Stone’s Sticks & Stone, Vol. 1 and second I’m going to feature The Second Round by Reggie Padilla from They Come and They Go.

    Once again, that was Reggie Padilla with The Second Round and before that Evan Stone with Grapes. You can find more information about Evan Stone in our interview with him on Teen Jazz and Reggie Padilla is at reggiepadilla.com.

    Before I close out the show, I’d like to invite you all to check out Teen Jazz if you’re interested in learning more about me, Shannon Kennedy or the community. As I just mentioned it’s TeenJazz.com.

    We’re currently celebrating our 10 year anniversary and as a part of that celebration, we’re giving away a ton of great prizes from our sponsors including BG France, Rico or D’Addario Woodwinds, Rheuben Allen Education Foundation, Kenkase Reed Cases and more. You can find out how to earn entries at teenjazz.com/anniversary. You can also earn entries by participating in our scavenger hunt. The clues are posted on our Facebook page – that’s facebook.com/teenjazz. I hope you’ll join in on the fun! The giveaway closes September 9, 2014 so make sure you head over and check it out before then!

    All the links that I’ve mentioned as part of the show will be up on Teen Jazz and Teen Jazz Radio, so if you’re interested in learning more about these talented artists, please stop on by – I know they’ll appreciate the love! You can leave comments on any of our posts at TeenJazzRadio.com.

    If you’re interested in sponsoring Teen Jazz or our radio show, we have several affordable options available. Please visit teenjazz.com/advertise to learn more.

    A very special thanks to Jazz and Bossa Radio for featuring Teen Jazz Radio on their web radio station. We recently partnered with them back in May to share our artists with a wider audience and we are excited to have joined the Jazz and Bossa Radio family. You can visit them at jazzandbossaradio.com. All of our Teen Jazz Radio podcasts are featured over at Jazz and Bossa Radio on Sundays at 3pm EST and on Wednesdays at 5pm EST.

    And last but not least, we appreciate your iTunes reviews! If you’ve enjoyed our podcast, please help us get noticed on iTunes by writing us a review. Let us know if you’ve found our podcast valuable or if you’ve enjoyed some of the music we’ve featured as part of the show. We’re so very thankful for those of you who have gone in and taken the time to write us reviews for Teen Jazz Radio.

    Thank you again for tuning in the Teen Jazz Radio podcast from TeenJazzRadio.com.

    In this week’s episode, you heard the music of:

    September 7, 2014 • Music and Career Advice, Podcasts • Views: 1046

  • But I Thought It Was a Hit!

    Hey everyone! Welcome to the latest emission of Teen Jazz Radio, a part of TeenJazz.com, an online community of up and coming musicians. I’m Shannon Kennedy, your host and I’d like to thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to listen to our show and to the fantastic young artists we feature as part of each episode.

    Today on Teen Jazz Radio I’m going to talk about how to deal with frustration. In music, or any career for that matter, things won’t always go the way you hoped. You’ll work hard and pour your heart and soul into your projects only to find they don’t quite get the response that you expected. And that’s okay, everyone goes through this in some way or another and you just need to find a way to move past your frustration so that you can keep going and pursuing your passion for music. So in today’s show, I’m going to talk about how to avoid losing focus and keep at it even when you’re feeling down.

    Also in this episode, I’m also going to feature the music of Patrick Bradley, Gail Jhonson, Kim Waters, Rick Braun, and U-Nam.

    As I mention at the beginning of each show, I know that many of you are listening to this podcast for different reasons – some of you may be here for the advice offered as part of this episode and some of you may be listening to check out the music we feature as part of the show. So, as I mentioned in the last episode, I’m going to try and space the music and the advice out evenly throughout the podcast so that there’s a little something for everyone.

    So, before we dive into today’s tips on dealing with frustration, let’s check out our first music set. This week I’d like to introduce you to pianists Patrick Bradley and Gail Jhonson. The first song you’ll hear is Catalan by Patrick Bradley from his newly released album Can You Hear Me and second I’m going to feature Pacific Breeze by Gail Jhonson on Pearls.

    Once again, the first track was Catalan by Patrick Bradley. You can learn more about Patrick at his website patrickbradleymusic.com. And the second track was Pacific Breeze from Gail Jhonson. You can find Gail at gailjhonson.com.

    It’s the day after you release your new single and you’ve just started to get ready for the day, expecting your email inbox to be filled with orders, press inquiries, and offers for gigs. That last single was really good. It’s the one that’s going to change everything and launch you into stardom. You’re finally going to find out what it’s like to be an overnight success even though you’ve been working behind the scenes on your music for years.

    Your new single is going to be life changing.

    But when you start up your email, it’s mostly empty. In fact, your computer’s fan even makes chirping noises similar to the sound of the crickets one hears in an empty room.

    All that’s there in your inbox are a handful of orders, maybe a few likes on Facebook and a “Congrats, I’m so proud of you” from your grandma. The traffic on your landing page for the single is just embarrassingly lacking and the majority of it was from your friends or family.

    After the initial shock and disappointment wear off you being to question what you’re doing. Maybe you’re not any good. Or maybe it’s just that “your” audience has overlooked you. Maybe doing music isn’t worth it and no one cares what you’re doing.

    The frustration is enough that you decide you want to quit. Stop doing music. Stop writing and recording. Give up on your dreams.

    You see other musicians succeeding around you and wonder “why not me?”

    But I’m going to let you in on a little secret. This experience and those feelings are totally normal. In fact, if you read through some of the interviews with professional and established musicians on Teen Jazz you’ll see that quite a few of them admitting to feeling like quitting at some point or another. But lucky for us, they didn’t. They made the choice to keep going when it came down to whether or not they should give up. And you should too.

    Oddly enough, frustration is one of the best ways we can get motivated to keep moving forward. Keep trying and adapting our strategies, our performance, our music. I think that getting frustrated puts us in a place where decide how passionately we want to pursue music and then find the fuel to push us back into it with a renewed drive.

    Most musicians will never attain the fame or fortune that many desire, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make a decent living doing what you love. But in order to continue loving it, we need to learn how to avoid becoming too frustrated too often.

    Stop blaming others for your failures.

    There may be exceptions, but I’m pretty sure that no one is out there deliberately trying to thwart your career. If you’ve failed, take responsibility for it. You may not have been prepared, maybe the marketing didn’t work or maybe your music doesn’t appeal to the audience you’re aiming for.

    Whatever it might be, it’s a direct result of the choices you’ve made and the preparation you’ve put in, so stop blaming others when you fail. Work harder, practice more, collaborate with others to eliminate any gaps in your abilities and try again.

    Stop complaining.

    We wrote an episode a few weeks back about why a career in music isn’t such a bad thing – unlike many of those who spend eight hours a day in a cubicle, we actually get to do what we love and what we’re passionate about (no offense to anyone who works in a cubicle and loves what they do). So stop feeling sorry for yourself and be appreciative of the opportunity you have to do what you love.

    Stop wasting time checking stats.

    Yes, your sales stats and website visitor stats are fascinating and it’s easy to pop over and check each several times a day, but it’s just a distraction and a way to procrastinate.

    It’s good to check stats to see where people are buying your music or what’s bringing people to your website, but this isn’t something you need to do every hour let alone everyday. In fact, it’s probably better to check each once a week or so to get a broader overview. Staring at your stats won’t improve them. Creating good music and updating your website content will. Spend your time doing the latter and not the former.

    Our second set of music for today’s show is going to feature saxophonist Kim Waters and trumpeter Rick Braun. The first song you’ll hear is Go-Go Smooth by Kim Waters from Silver Soul and second I’m going to feature Get Up and Dance from Rick Braun’s new album Can You Feel It.

    Once again, that was Rick Braun with Get Up and Dance and before that was Kim Waters with Go-Go Smooth. You can find more information about Kim Waters at kimwaters.net and Rick Braun is at rickbraun.com.

    Stop pretending you work harder than you do

    You get what you work for. You are not entitled to anything you do not deserve and do not assume you deserve anything. If you honestly aren’t working hard enough, pushing yourself, and stepping out of your comfort zone for opportunities, then stop pretending that you’re working hard because you’re not.

    If you wait around and just take on the roles that are easy for you and don’t challenge you, then you’re never going to get anywhere. You have to challenge yourself, do things that make you uncomfortable (like getting on the phone and calling people) to succeed. You have to work hard.

    Stop thinking of music as a get rich quick scheme.

    Yes, there are artists who have “hit the big time” and are highly successful thanks to their music, but that doesn’t guarantee that you’ll do the same. Music is something that you HAVE to love and it’s something that you’ll struggle with at times. You have to work your butt off and constantly put yourself out there.

    You have to work on your music EVERY DAY.

    And even if you do make it, you have to continue to work hard to stay there. It’s an uphill climb.

    That’s not to say that you can’t make a great career out of music nor that you can’t support yourself with it. Quite the contrary. You can be a great musician and make a decent income from your music. I’m not saying that you have to live on the edge to be a true “Artist,” you can have a comfortable career, but you still have to work at it.

    If you have questions, don’t be afraid to ask them and look for answers. There are tons of places online where musicians making a living at music share what they’re doing and what works for them. Some of them are even willing to answer your questions if you reach out to them.

    But don’t reach out to them unless you’ve done your homework and research first.

    Renew your faith and purpose in your craft

    When we get frustrated it’s easy to lose site of why we decided to do music in the first place. Music is a tough job and so you have to truly be passionate about it to push through the daily obstacles to make it work. Some days are harder than others and some days it’s easy to get frustrated over things like your performance or where you should focus your attention.

    When you start out doing music, it’s easy to find the energy to take every gig that came your way, working hard to earn every single penny. After a while, you start to wonder when things start to get “easier” and when you’ll “arrive.” The music and joy of doing what you love begin to take a back seat to how much a gig pays or how many cds your selling. You begin to think less about the music itself and more about the money required to keep doing it.

    It’s an easy thing to do, but it just requires a small change in focus to get back to where you want to be.

    Don’t get obsessed with numbers – when focused on numbers it’s easy to get caught up in them and make poor decisions. It affects the quality of your work and your enjoyment of the work you do. Others will notice it.

    If you really need to focus on numbers, focus on the frequency with which you perform or release new music. This doesn’t mean you need to ignore the other numbers (this is important too), but rather than focusing the business aspects 100% of the time, try to dedicate some time rediscovering your joy in music.

    You need to feel strongly about what you’re doing – doing music to get by and make a living is going to show in your work, and your audience isn’t interested in that. It comes across in your performance. You need to go above and beyond and you need to care about what you do beyond just paying the bills.

    Be realistic with and committed to your goals

    We all have goals, things we’d like to accomplish with our music. Some of them are big and we’ll get there one day, but we also need to make sure we set realistic short term goals. It’s unlikely that you’ll be a “superstar” six months from now (of course there are exceptions), but I wouldn’t count on it. So don’t make that your goal. Create smaller goals that get you closer to that big goal because if your goals are to unreasonable, you’ll only get frustrated with the fact you’re never reaching them.

    When you decide you want to pursue something, you need to say committed to it. Don’t lose site of what you’re trying to do and try to do your best each time you step out the door (or into the studio). Don’t settle for good enough.

    If you’re asking an audience to commit to you as an artist or a performer, then you need to make that same commitment to them. A commitment to doing your best, not missing an opportunity to record, perform or release music (within reason), and when it gets tough, push through it and serve as an inspiration to your peers.

    So there you have it, what are some things you do when you’re feeling frustrated or burnt out?

    Our last set of music for today’s show is going to feature U-Nam with his new single Smoovin’ (Radio Edit) from his upcoming album C’est Le Funk.

    Once again, that was U-Nam with Smoovin’. You can find more information about U-Nam at unammusic.com and we also did an interview with him on Teen Jazz.

    Before I close out the show, I’d like to invite you all to check out Teen Jazz if you’re interested in learning more about me, Shannon Kennedy or the community. As I just mentioned it’s TeenJazz.com.

    We’re currently celebrating our 10 year anniversary and as a part of that celebration, we’re giving away a ton of great prizes from our sponsors including BG France, Rico or D’Addario Woodwinds, Rheuben Allen Education Foundation, Kenkase Reed Cases and more. You can find out how to earn entries at teenjazz.com/anniversary. You can also earn entries by participating in our scavenger hunt. The clues are posted on our Facebook page – that’s facebook.com/teenjazz. I hope you’ll join in on the fun! The giveaway closes September 9, 2014 so make sure you head over and check it out before then!

    All the links that I’ve mentioned as part of the show will be up on Teen Jazz and Teen Jazz Radio, so if you’re interested in learning more about these talented artists, please stop on by – I know they’ll appreciate the love! You can leave comments on any of our posts at TeenJazzRadio.com.

    If you’re interested in sponsoring Teen Jazz or our radio show, we have several affordable options available. Please visit teenjazz.com/advertise to learn more.

    A very special thanks to Jazz and Bossa Radio for featuring Teen Jazz Radio on their web radio station. We recently partnered with them back in May to share our artists with a wider audience and we are excited to have joined the Jazz and Bossa Radio family. You can visit them at jazzandbossaradio.com. All of our Teen Jazz Radio podcasts are featured over at Jazz and Bossa Radio on Sundays at 3pm EST and on Wednesdays at 5pm EST.

    And last but not least, we appreciate your iTunes reviews! If you’ve enjoyed our podcast, please help us get noticed on iTunes by writing us a review. Let us know if you’ve found our podcast valuable or if you’ve enjoyed some of the music we’ve featured as part of the show. We’re so very thankful for those of you who have gone in and taken the time to write us reviews for Teen Jazz Radio.

    Thank you again for tuning in the Teen Jazz Radio podcast from TeenJazzRadio.com.

    In this week’s episode, you heard the music of:

    August 31, 2014 • Music and Career Advice, Podcasts • Views: 1004

  • Want to know how to Increase your online presence?

    Hey everyone! Welcome to the latest emission of Teen Jazz Radio, a part of TeenJazz.com, an online community of up and coming musicians. I’m Shannon Kennedy, your host and I’d like to thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to listen to our show and to the fantastic young artists we feature as part of each episode.

    Today on Teen Jazz Radio I’m going to talk about how you can increase your online presence, sharing a few different methods I myself have implemented. I’ll talk about what has worked for me and what hasn’t and give you a few ideas as to how to try them out yourself.

    Also in this episode, I’m also going to feature the music of the Braxton Brothers, Chieli Minucci, David Sparkman, Jonathan Butler, and U-Nam.

    As I mention at the beginning of each show, I know that many of you are listening to this podcast for different reasons – some of you may be here for the advice offered as part of this episode and some of you may be listening to check out the music we feature as part of the show. So, as I mentioned in the last episode, I’m going to try and space the music and the advice out evenly throughout the podcast so that there’s a little something for everyone.

    So, before we dive into today’s tips on how to increase your online presence, let’s check out our first music set. Guitarist U-Nam is going to release his new album C’est le Funk next month and as a bit of an early celebration, I’d like to feature a song from his last album, Weekend In L.A ( A Tribute To George Benson ). This is “I Just Wanna Hang Around You” featuring Tim TiO Owens.

    Once again, that was “I Just Wanna Hang Around You” from guitarist U-Nam. You can find more information about him at unammusic.com or in our interview with him on Teen Jazz.

    As you know from listening to this podcast, I run Teen Jazz, a community for up and coming musicians as well as the fact that I am a musician in my own right. What you might not know is that I also love learning languages, so I run a blog with language learning tips and travel advice as well. Through these three sites and channels, I’ve had a lot of opportunity to play around with strategies and methods to boost my online presence and I’d like to share some of what has worked for me and some of what hasn’t.

    That being said, a little disclaimer… Just because some things may not have worked for me does not mean they will not work for you. Everyone is different and so different strategies may work, well, differently for you than they did for me. Even if something didn’t work for me, it may work for you, so don’t be afraid to try it on your own if you think it may be good for you.

    Before you delve into any of the strategies that I’m going to suggest, I would advise trying several of them out on a smaller scale and employing a combination of the below. Experimenting and implementing a variety of strategies, while still focusing on those that seem to work best, is a great way to keep your online presence “fresh” and give your visitors a reason to keep coming back.

    So let’s get into a few ideas to boost your online presence.

    Giving stuff away

    Free stuff! Most people love free stuff!

    I’ve tried this in more than one way.

    The first is that I give away a free song or ebook to those who sign up for my mailing list. This works and it doesn’t work. I’ve had people sign up with fake emails to get the free material (yup, I see those because I get a “bounce” email in my inbox each time this happens). At the same time, however, I have also seen increased “real” signups since I added this feature to my mailing list.

    I’ve also done giveaways. This helps boost traffic, but only if you’re marketing the giveaway right. If you host a giveaway on your site but don’t do anything to promote it, no one is going to know you’re doing it.

    The bad:

    The hope is that by giving something away for free, you’ll increase your website visitors, your Facebook likes, Twitter followers or email subscribers. That the people who come for the free stuff will decide they like what they see and will stick around. The reality is that most of them don’t. Some people just want the free stuff and that’s it. But that’s okay.

    The good:

    That’s okay because some of them will stick around. If they find value in whatever it is you give away, they may decide that they want more and that they’re willing to pay for it. Giving away a free song can be seen as a “trial.” They get a taste of your music and what you have to offer and if they enjoy it, there’s a good chance that they’ll look for more from you.

    This is why I suggest giving away one of your better songs if you decide to use this method. If you give away a song that you think is just so-so, then your efforts will be wasted. You want to put your best foot forward, so make sure you choose to giveaway something that’s a good representation of your music.

    A few good examples:

    • Authors of book series give away the first book of a series because once the reader is attached to the story and characters, they’ll likely purchase the later book in the series
    • Authors give away free copies of their book in exchange for reviews
    • Musicians give away free copies of their album in exchange for reviews
    • Musicians give away a copy of one of their songs in exchange for an email to add to their mailing list
    • Authors give away the first or best chapter of their book in exchange for an email to add to their mailing list
    • A website gives away a collection of “tips” as an ebook with a section at the end of the book that invites the reader to take action either by purchasing another book, subscribing to a blog, etc.
    • At the end of a book that is part of a series the author includes a chapter or two from the next series to entice the reader to finish reading the rest of the series
    • Musicians host of giveaway on their site to coincide with the release of their upcoming album, giving fans the opportunity to win things like t-shirts, other memorabilia, backstage passes, etc.

    Content Marketing

    Content marketing is a technique that employs the consistent creation of relevant content to attract and acquire an audience. For musicians, this content can be the music itself or other information that is curated and posted to your websites or social media accounts.

    For example, on Teen Jazz and Eurolinguiste the “content” is the articles that we write on a weekly basis. For me as an artist, is is my music as well as any important news about tour dates or collaborations I’m a part of. I regularly update all of my sites with new content and features to give visitors a reason to keep coming back. If you aren’t implementing some sort of content strategy, you aren’t giving your fans any reason to keep up with what you’re doing.

    New content doesn’t necessarily have to be a blog (although I do recommend keeping a tour diary or behind the scenes log). It can be new music, news and press clips that you add as they come up, side projects (I did a Project 365 last year am hoping to write 50 songs this year – I keep track of my progress on my site), or it can even be announcements and images promoting your upcoming shows. Whatever it is, try to find a reason to update your site every few days at least with something new!

    The bad:

    Content marketing can be a lot of work because you’re responsible for releasing new, high quality content on a regular basis. It’s sometimes hard to come up with new ideas.

    The good:

    It’s a pretty natural way to do marketing, and unless you’re posting random things (like photos of what you had for breakfast), it can be pretty effective.

    A few good examples:

    • Madalyn Sklar of GoGirl rocks using Twitter to curate great content
    • Almost every Youtube musician ever…
    • Get started with these 33 content marketing ideas

    Our second set of music for today’s show is going to feature vocalist and pianist David Sparkman and guitarist and vocalist Jonathan Butler. The first song you’ll hear is Livin for Love by David Sparkman from Livin’ For Love and second I’m going to feature Jonathan Butler with Living my Dream from Living My Dream.

    Once again, that was Jonathan Butler with Living My Dream and before that was David Sparkman with Livin for Love. You can find more information about David Sparkman at davidsparkman.com and Jonathan Butler at jonathanbutler.com.

    Connect with Your Audience in Several Places

    While it’s certainly a good idea to connect with others through different channels and to be available to people who make their homes in different places online, you still need to be creative with the way you recycle content. You need to be wherever your audience is, but you also can’t spread yourself too thin.

    Personally, I focus on Facebook, Twitter, and my websites. I have accounts other places, but I don’t dedicate the same amount of energy into making use of them.

    I also advise against using the same exact post for each channel. Don’t connect your Facebook and Twitter accounts so that they post the exact same thing. Give your audience a reason to connect with you on both by modifying the posts to be specific to the channel itself.

    At the same time, your profiles need to be somewhat consistent so that your audience knows that they are you. Use the same profile picture on each of your accounts and make sure that your brand identity (overall look) and tone are unique and consistent with you as an artist!

    The bad:

    It’s easy to spread yourself to thin over various social media channels and not give each individual account the attention it deserves. This leaves your profiles “wanting” and I’d advise against it.

    The good:

    Having strong and frequently updated social media profiles or websites gives your audience a great reason to keep coming back and want to be a part of the conversation. Especially if you go beyond just talking about yourself and what you are doing. Be sure to share the accomplishments of your peers, it will go a long way.

    A few good examples:

    • Again, Madalyn Sklar is a pro at managing her various social media profiles
    • Ari Herstrand is also really great at managing his (he also has a great blog)

    Grow over time

    Rather than rushing to get out a mass of content simultaneously, slowly adding it little by little may be a better strategy. Rushing to update a ton of things at the same time can also be overwhelming for your audience, so take it slow!

    The bad:

    If you have a lot of exciting things to share, it can be difficult to keep from posting frequently. Try scheduling posts (Buffer and Hootsuite are two great tools for this) so that you don’t overwhelm your followers.

    The good:

    By releasing news and content at regular intervals rather than all at once is a great way to get started with content marketing and it is a natural way to grow your site and social media accounts.

    An example:

    Teen Jazz. I write articles in batches because it’s easier and more efficient for me. Once I’m in the writing mindset, I find it more effective to write three or four articles at once rather than writing one, editing, and then moving on to a different task only to return to write more and have to switch modes again. Teen Jazz started as a small site with a few artists and reviews. It now has close to 300 articles and 100 artists. It took several years to get to that point!

    Alright, I have a couple more tips for you real quick before we close out the show.

    Create Conversation About Things Beyond Your Music

    Do you have any hobbies? Do you support any charities or causes? Have you listened to a great record from another artist that you think is worth sharing? Then do just that.

    Get Inspired by Your Peers

    You’re not the first to employ methods to build your online presence, struggling to find an audience. Everyone goes through this as they work to establish themselves on the web as well as while they work towards maintaining that presence. You are not alone.

    Check out what some of your peers are doing and use that to inspire you in what you do. Collaborating with your peers is also a great way to build your presence. In essence you “share” your audiences in a collaboration, so it’s a great way to not only boost your own online presence but that of your friends too.

    In Conclusion

    Overall, the goal is to keep people who visit your website or profiles online engaged. You want to evoke a response. There is no right or wrong way to do this. It’s just a matter of figuring out what is going to work for you.

    So now, I’ll turn it over to you. What are some of the things that you’ve done that have helped you grow your online presence? We’d love to hear about them in the comments of today’s emissions transcription on Teen Jazz, so we invite you to teenjazz.com to be a part of the conversation!

    This week, to close out our show, I’d like to re-introduce you to the saxophone and bass player brothers that make up the Braxton Brothers and guitarist Chieli Minucci. The first song you’ll hear is On and On by the Braxton Brothers from True Love and second I’m going to feature Wonderboy by Chieli Minucci (which features his son on bass) from Without You.

    Once again, the first track was On and On by the Braxton Brothers. You can learn more about Wayne and Nelson Braxton at braxtonbrothers.com. And Chieli can be found at chielimusic.com.

    Before I close out the show, I’d like to invite you all to check out Teen Jazz if you’re interested in learning more about me, Shannon Kennedy or the community. As I just mentioned it’s TeenJazz.com.

    We’re currently celebrating our 10 year anniversary and as a part of that celebration, we’re giving away a ton of great prizes from our sponsors including BG France, Rico or D’Addario Woodwinds, Rheuben Allen Education Foundation, Kenkase Reed Cases and more. You can find out how to earn entries at teenjazz.com/anniversary. You can also earn entries by participating in our scavenger hunt. The clues are posted on our Facebook page – that’s facebook.com/teenjazz. I hope you’ll join in on the fun! The giveaway closes September 9, 2014 so make sure you head over and check it out before then!

    All the links that I’ve mentioned as part of the show will be up on Teen Jazz and Teen Jazz Radio, so if you’re interested in learning more about these talented artists, please stop on by – I know they’ll appreciate the love! You can leave comments on any of our posts at TeenJazzRadio.com.

    If you’re interested in sponsoring Teen Jazz or our radio show, we have several affordable options available. Please visit teenjazz.com/advertise to learn more.

    A very special thanks to Jazz and Bossa Radio for featuring Teen Jazz Radio on their web radio station. We recently partnered with them back in May to share our artists with a wider audience and we are excited to have joined the Jazz and Bossa Radio family. You can visit them at jazzandbossaradio.com. All of our Teen Jazz Radio podcasts are featured over at Jazz and Bossa Radio on Sundays at 3pm EST and on Wednesdays at 5pm EST.

    And last but not least, we appreciate your iTunes reviews! If you’ve enjoyed our podcast, please help us get noticed on iTunes by writing us a review. Let us know if you’ve found our podcast valuable or if you’ve enjoyed some of the music we’ve featured as part of the show. We’re so very thankful for those of you who have gone in and taken the time to write us reviews for Teen Jazz Radio.

    Thank you again for tuning in the Teen Jazz Radio podcast from TeenJazzRadio.com.

    In this week’s episode, you heard the music of:

    August 24, 2014 • Music and Career Advice, Podcasts • Views: 931

  • Celebrating 10 Years of Teen Jazz + An Announcement

    Hello, hello. Welcome to the latest episode of Teen Jazz Radio and a very special one indeed. This month we’re celebrating 10 years of Teen Jazz and 2 years since it’s relaunch.

    I started Teen Jazz back in December of 2004 and although the site has seen many redesigns and repurposing, it’s officially ten years since it first came to be.

    So today as part of our celebration, I’d like to share some of the site’s history, a few fun facts and we’ll end with something special!

    Before I share a little of Teen Jazz’s history, I just want to quickly run through our basic introductions and then we’ll get started.

    In addition to the history of Teen Jazz, in this episode, I’m also going to feature the music of several of our very first artists including Joshua Crumbly (& Ronnie Crumbly), Adam Larson, Alex Han, Evan Stone, Vincent Herring, and Greg Adams. Each of these artists was one of the first three we interviewed in our Artists & Influences categories and I’m excited to share their music with you.

    As I mention at the beginning of each episode, I know that many of you are listening to this podcast for different reasons – some of you may be here for the advice offered as part of this episode and some of you may be listening to check out the music we feature as part of the show. So, as I mentioned in the last episode, I’m going to try and space the music and the advice out evenly throughout the podcast so that there’s a little something for everyone.

    So, before we dive into today’s episode and the story behind Teen Jazz, let’s check out our first music set. This week I’d like to introduce you to bassist Joshua Crumbly along with his father Ronnie Crumbly on sax and drummer Evan Stone. The first song you’ll hear is Like Father, Like Son by Ronnie and Joshua Crumbly from Like Father, Like Son and next you’ll hear Cheesecake by Evan Stone from Sticks & Stone, Vol. 1.

    Once again, the first track was Evan Stone with Cheesecake. And after that was Ronnie and Joshua Crumbly with Like Father, Like Son. You can find more information about Joshua Crumbly at joshuacrumbly.com and Evan Stone in our interview with him on Teen Jazz.

    Okay, so as I mentioned, Teen Jazz was started in 2004. After selecting the url, the name, I set up a very basic site on Geocities (if any of you remember that) for my band at the time which was called Night_Vision. It was a group of my friends and I from school. We never had any gigs, but we spent a lot of time rehearsing in my parents garage and occasionally performing for our neighbors. They used to come and set up lawn chairs in my parents’ driveway!

    It wasn’t until February 3, 2005 that I wrote the first article on Teen Jazz – it was filed under what I called “cool lessons” and it is the post that you now know as “one of the most important things to know as an artist.” The lesson was something that I had learned from a classmate of mine about playing with emotion rather than focusing on technical prowess and I wanted to share it with other musicians because I thought it would help them. It was with this article that Teen Jazz started to shift away from being my artist website (which it had become at that point) to being about teaching other musicians things that I had to learn the hard way.

    In April that same year, I began to feature the profiles of other up and coming musicians – only one per month. I researched other musicians my age, got in touch, wrote a summary of their accomplishments and posted it on Teen Jazz. In June, I began to interview more established musicians as well, picking their brains for things that could help musicians my age. Our first interview was with Drummer Evan Stone.

    In 2005 I also recorded my first album in the basement recording studio at my school in a total of four hours (two hours each day over two days). The other musicians recorded together in one room (Dan Reckard on keyboards, Cindy Gould on drums, and Tyler Hindsley on bass), while I stood in the same room with the engineer recording my sax. We only had two sets of headphones so I wore one while Dan Reckard wore they other so that he could listen to what I was playing and direct the other musicians.

    Once Angel Eyes was completed, I decided to completely separate Teen Jazz and my music as an artist so I created shannon-kennedy.com and removed myself almost completely from Teen Jazz. It was no longer about me, but about the other musicians – a place where they could connect and learn about the industry.

    In 2006 Teen Jazz started to grow and it required it’s first major redesign. In essence, it became more of what one might call a “blog” today. In August 2007 the site reached 100 articles – not including the Teen Jazz Artist profiles. I was writing nearly everything myself while going to school and so I was only posting about one per week. In 2009, I was forced to take a break from writing for Teen Jazz due to my studies at university, and then I later began to focus on recording and songwriting, beginning my neoclassical EP Series (L’Automne, L’Hiver, Le Printemps, and L’Ete). I also released the instrumental version of the song “Falling Slowly” from the movie Once on flute.

    In December 2010, I was approached by a radio station in Lubbock, Texas, about the possibility of putting together a Teen Jazz Radio show and so I began to record a series of videos featuring the music of up and coming musicians as well as assembling playlists with the music of some of our artists. The partnership unfortunately fell through about six months later, so I began recording the Teen Jazz Radio podcast which I eventually transferred over to iTunes in 2013.

    I was still not writing regularly for Teen Jazz during this time due to school, but in August of 2012, I decided that my break was over and began editing the articles I had written earlier (now that I was a bit older and more experienced in music) and I also started to write new articles for the site (the first of which was a review of U-Nam’s George Benson tribute project).

    Today, in addition to Teen Jazz Radio now hosted on iTunes and over at Jazz and Bossa Radio, Teen Jazz boasts 300 published articles including:

    • instrument repair tips
    • album, concert, and music equipment reviews
    • interviews with up and coming musicians, established musicians, and music companies,
    • tons of music business advice and music marketing advice
    • performance advice on things like stage presence, college auditions, and improvisation
    • jazz lessons
    • and more

    Our second set of music for today’s show is going to feature Adam Larson and Vincent Herring. The first song you’ll hear is The Song is Ended by Vincent Herring from the album Ends & Means and second I’m going to feature Loophole by Adam Larson from Simple Beauty.

    Once again, that was and before that was Adam Larson with Loophole and Vincent Herring with The Song is Ended. You can find more information about Vincent Herring at vincentherring.com (our interview with him is here) and Adam Larson is at adamlarsonjazz.com (our interview with him is here).

    And now for something special. To celebrate our two anniversaries, we’re going to host a scavenger hunt. Each day we’ll post a hint on Facebook about where we’ve posted a secret saxophone – so make sure you head over there to like our page and select “get notifications” so you can take part, it’s Facebook.com/teenjazz.

    The saxophone is going to move each day and when you find it, you’ll be given a special code that you can enter on our entry page to earn entries towards prizes from our sponsors. So the hints will only be good for 24 hours before the saxophone moves again!

    Some of the prizes include a handcrafted, wood reed case from Kenkase Reed Cases, saxophone stand accessories and method books from the Rheuben Allen Education Foundation, ligatures, neckstraps and more from BG France, and several other fun items. You can earn a free entry and check out the prizes over at teenjazz.com/anniversary. And of course, there will be a link to the giveaway with the transcription of today’s podcast. We’re starting the contest THIS week – tomorrow (Monday) to be precise – and it’ll run until September 9, 2014. So don’t miss out – make sure you like our page!

    A few things you should know about the contest:

    We’re going to post a specific image of a saxophone (which you can see over at TeenJazz.com/anniversary) and you’ll have 24 hours to find it. The clues for the location of the saxophone will be posted on our Facebook page at 10 am PST – that’s 1pm EST. We’ll have all of the rest of the rules and information available on the contest page.

    Our last set of music for today’s show is going to feature Alex Han and Greg Adams. The first song you’ll hear is Sugar by Alex Han from the album Fourteen and second I’m going to feature 5 North by Greg Adams from Firefly.

    Once again, that was Greg Adams with 5 North and before that was Alex Han with Sugar. You can find more information about Alex Han at alexhan.com and Greg Adams at gregadamsmusic.com or in our interview with him on Teen Jazz.

    Before I close out the show, I’d like to invite you all to check out Teen Jazz if you’re interested in learning more about me, Shannon Kennedy or the community. As I just mentioned it’s TeenJazz.com.

    Or if you just would like to say hello, come and say hi at our Facebook page – that’s facebook.com/teenjazz. I promise to say hello back!

    All the links that I’ve mentioned as part of the show will be up on Teen Jazz and Teen Jazz Radio, so if you’re interested in learning more about these talented artists, please stop on by – I know they’ll appreciate the love! You can leave comments on any of our posts at TeenJazzRadio.com.

    If you’re interested in sponsoring Teen Jazz or our radio show, we have several affordable options available. Please visit teenjazz.com/advertise to learn more.

    A very special thanks to Jazz and Bossa Radio for featuring Teen Jazz Radio on their web radio station. We recently partnered with them back in May to share our artists with a wider audience and we are excited to have joined the Jazz and Bossa Radio family. You can visit them at jazzandbossaradio.com. All of our Teen Jazz Radio podcasts are featured over at Jazz and Bossa Radio on Sundays at 3pm EST and on Wednesdays at 5pm EST.

    And last but not least, we appreciate your iTunes reviews! If you’ve enjoyed our podcast, please help us get noticed on iTunes by writing us a review. Let us know if you’ve found our podcast valuable or if you’ve enjoyed some of the music we’ve featured as part of the show. We’re so very thankful for those of you who have gone in and taken the time to write us reviews for Teen Jazz Radio.

    Thank you again for tuning in the Teen Jazz Radio podcast from TeenJazzRadio.com.

    In this week’s episode, you heard the music of:

    August 17, 2014 • Music and Career Advice, Podcasts • Views: 939

  • We’ve Started a Podcast | Teen Jazz Radio

    Okay, well maybe we didn’t just start it, but the last two months it’s grown immensely!

    What is Teen Jazz Radio?

    A few years ago we were approached by a radio station in Texas about partnering with them to produce a Teen Jazz segment and Teen Jazz Radio was the result. Although the relationship with the station didn’t work out, we continued to develop Teen Jazz Radio. In May this past year (2014), we partnered with Jazz and Bossa Radio to broadcast our show online.

    Since 2010 (with a break for school), we’ve been producing segments to feature the music of our various artists and now we’ve expanded Teen Jazz Radio to include our very own podcast.

    The podcasts not only feature the music of the talented artists we’ve had the opportunity to meet and feature on Teen Jazz, but they also include music industry advice. As part of each episode, we answer a question submitted by our readers. So if you have a music-related question that you’d like answered, please feel free to leave them in the comments!

    You can also submit your music for consideration on our show here.

    Our first podcast features the music of Tim Price, Jack Prybylski and Liza Carbe. We’re really excited to introduce our readers to these talented performers. Because this was our first episode, we don’t include music advice, but you can check out any of more recent podcasts for advice on things like how to improve on your instrument, how to overcome criticism and more.

    We are also now accepting sponsors for our radio show, so if you would like to be mentioned in one of our upcoming episodes, please inquire here or send us quick email.

    Check out Teen Jazz Radio.

    August 14, 2014 • Podcasts • Views: 716

  • Two Productivity Tips I Actually Use

    Hey everyone! Welcome to the latest emission of Teen Jazz Radio, a part of TeenJazz.com, an online community of up and coming musicians. I’m Shannon Kennedy, your host and I’d like to thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to listen to our show and to the fantastic young artists we feature as part of each episode.

    Today on Teen Jazz Radio I’m going to talk about two very specific productivity hacks that I use on a regular basis. I’m always for finding new ways to be productive and make the best use of my time and I’ve found a few things that help keep my work schedule and chores efficient so I have more time for practice, songwriting and Teen Jazz.

    Also in this episode, I’m also going to feature the music of Kim Waters, Rick Braun, Sam Rucker, Sean Winter, Curtis Brooks, and Incendio.

    As I mention at the beginning of each show, I know that many of you are listening to this podcast for different reasons – some of you may be here for the advice offered as part of this episode and some of you may be listening to check out the music we feature as part of the show. So, as I mentioned in the last episode, I’m going to try and space the music and the advice out evenly throughout the podcast so that there’s a little something for everyone.

    So, before we dive into today’s tips on time management and productivity, let’s check out our first music set. This week I’d like to introduce you to saxophonist Kim Waters and trumpeter Rick Braun. The first song you’ll hear is Take Me to the River by Rick Braun from Can You Feel It and second I’m going to feature Dreaming of You by Kim Waters from Silver Soul.

    Once again, the first track was Take Me to the River by Rick Braun. You can learn more about Rick Braun at his website rickbraun.com. And after that was Kim Waters with Dreaming of You. Kim can be found at kimwaters.net.

    Productivity. Getting stuff done. Maximizing our time. It’s all about getting the most back for the time we put in.

    I’m all for being productive, I like accomplishing as much as I can. Crossing things off my to do list always makes me feel good.

    But it isn’t just being busy for the sake of being busy that I like to get a lot done.

    Each time I publish an article on Teen Jazz, write a song, finish up a practice session, or record, I know I’m working towards my goals. Being productive in a way that benefits my career.

    But that’s easy. Productivity isn’t just about those obvious tasks, though. It’s also about the little things and where you spend your time. It’s about those moments when time just disappears because you fall into the blackhole that is social media or email. You begin watching television only to realize you just lost three hours. You go out to lunch with a friend and come back in time for dinner.

    “I don’t have time to practice.”

    That’s just not true. You aren’t being creative enough with your time. The fact is, there will always be people and things and chores and tasks and work that demand our time. You can’t escape it. At some point you have to learn to be more selective, cut back a few hobbies or altogether eliminate the excess, but if you aren’t ready for that yet, there are a few things you can do to find more time for your music.

    For one, you don’t have to sit down and find an entire hour dedicated to nothing but practice. It’s likely that you don’t have an entire hour free some days, but that’s okay. You can break it into four smaller chunks. Fifteen minutes before breakfast, fifteen minutes after school or work. Fifteen minutes before dinner or before bed. There are ways to get the time in.

    Today, however, rather than talk about practice (which I’ll do soon and have done in the past), I’d like to talk about two habits I’ve developed to save time elsewhere so that I have more time for practice.

    Ready?

    Okay, so my first habit is:

    Touch Everything Once

    I apply this to nearly everything I do. It’s easy to put things you don’t really want to do on the back burner, but they end up just sitting there, hanging over your head before you finally get them done. That’s why I only touch everything once.

    A very literal example is when I do laundry and it’s time to fold, if I pick up an item, I fold it. I don’t put it back down and pick something else to fold (which I used to do). Instead of digging through the clothes to fold the biggest items first, making one pile that slowly rises up based on size, I make several piles so that the folding gets done faster. I also do things like save socks for last because I can more easily see their mates when the pile is gone around them. I almost make it a game not to touch the socks before I fold everything else (because if I pick one up, I have to fold it).

    Same with email. If I open an email, I respond to it right away. I don’t read them and save them for later. If I do, they get lost and I forget about them as they disappear into the email archives. I also have to read them twice when I do that. If I deal with them right away, they get done and I don’t have to worry about them later. It really helps me feel accomplished, eliminates some of the overwhelming feeling email sometimes can bring and keeps me on top of things.

    This technique can be applied in even more ways than those I listed above and it helps keep you organized and on the ball. It’s been one of the best productivity hacks I’ve made a part of my schedule.

    Our second set of music for today’s show is going to feature saxophonists Sean Winter and Sam Rucker. The first song you’ll hear is In a Sentimental Mood from Sean Winter and second I’m going to feature Footsteps in the Dark by Sam Rucker from Tell You Something.

    Once again, that was Sam Rucker with Footsteps in the Dark and Sean Winter with In a Sentimental Mood. You can find more information about Sean Winter on Teen Jazz and Sam Rucker is at samrucker.com.

    My second productivity tip is:

    Batching

    Batching is where you arrange things or try to do different tasks in groups.

    I try to batch everything that I do because it saves time. A lot of things – like practice, songwriting, recording, writing blog posts for Teen Jazz – require setup time or getting into the right mindset. In fact, that often takes more time than doing the task itself. By batching things, I skip that transition step by spreading similar tasks out.

    If I sit down to write articles for Teen Jazz, for example, it’s easier for me to finish three to five at a time and takes me far less time than if I were to write one a day over five days. That time I’d spend getting into writing mode each day and thinking of ideas, or getting the flow of my writing going is saved by working on more than one article at a time.

    If I’m sending out radio singles, I’ll fold all of the one-sheets, then apply all of the shipping labels, and then stuff each envelope. If I folded a sheet, added a label, stuffed an envelope, and then did that process again, it would actually take longer than the method I mentioned above. If you don’t believe me, split your next task in half. Do one half my way and the other half the latter way timing each. The one fold, one label, one envelope process will very likely have taken much longer to complete.

    Another example is email. I try to check my email only two or three times a day when I have other things to do because logging in, sorting through them, responding, etc. takes time. I get through it all much faster doing it in batches rather than the time I waste sitting on my email all day, allowing it to become a distraction, answering each one as they come in.

    So there you have, a couple techniques I use to save time. Batching and Touching Everything Once are just two small ways I try to maximize my tasks and chores so that I have more time for music and the things I really want to do. What do you do to find more time for music? What works for you? What hasn’t worked for you? We’d love to hear from you. Please visit us at TeenJazz.com and join the conversation in the comments for the transcription of today’s podcast.

    Our last set of music for today’s show is going to feature Curtis Brooks and Incendio. The first song you’ll hear is Is it a Crime from saxophonist Curtis Brooks and second I’m going to feature Cartagena by Incendio from Seduction.

    Once again, that was Incendio with Cartagena and Curtis Brooks with Is It a Crime. You can find more information about Curtis Brooks in our interview with him on Teen Jazz and Incendio is at incendioband.com.

    Before I close out the show, I’d like to invite you all to check out Teen Jazz if you’re interested in learning more about me, Shannon Kennedy or the community. As I just mentioned it’s TeenJazz.com.

    Or if you just would like to say hello, come and say hi at our Facebook page – that’s facebook.com/teenjazz. I promise to say hello back!

    All the links that I’ve mentioned as part of the show will be up on Teen Jazz and Teen Jazz Radio, so if you’re interested in learning more about these talented artists, please stop on by – I know they’ll appreciate the love! You can leave comments on any of our posts at TeenJazzRadio.com.

    If you’re interested in sponsoring Teen Jazz or our radio show, we have several affordable options available. Please visit teenjazz.com/advertise to learn more.

    A very special thanks to Jazz and Bossa Radio for featuring Teen Jazz Radio on their web radio station. We recently partnered with them back in May to share our artists with a wider audience and we are excited to have joined the Jazz and Bossa Radio family. You can visit them at jazzandbossaradio.com. All of our Teen Jazz Radio podcasts are featured over at Jazz and Bossa Radio on Sundays at 3pm EST and on Wednesdays at 5pm EST.

    And last but not least, we appreciate your iTunes reviews! If you’ve enjoyed our podcast, please help us get noticed on iTunes by writing us a review. Let us know if you’ve found our podcast valuable or if you’ve enjoyed some of the music we’ve featured as part of the show. We’re so very thankful for those of you who have gone in and taken the time to write us reviews for Teen Jazz Radio.

    Thank you again for tuning in the Teen Jazz Radio podcast from TeenJazzRadio.com.

    In this week’s episode, you heard the music of:

    • Rick Braun – “Take Me to the River” from Can You Feel It
    • Kim Waters – “Dreaming of You” from Silver Soul
    • Sean Winter – “In a Sentimental Mood”
    • Sam Rucker – “Footsteps in the Dark” from Tell You Something
    • Curtis Brooks – “Is It a Crime”
    • Incendio – “Cartagena” from Seduction

    August 3, 2014 • Music and Career Advice, Podcasts • Views: 938

  • When to Say ‘No’ to A Gig | TJR

    Hey everyone! Welcome to the latest emission of Teen Jazz Radio, a part of TeenJazz.com, an online community of up and coming musicians. I’m Shannon Kennedy, your host and I’d like to thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to listen to our show and to the fantastic young artists we feature as part of each episode.

    Today on Teen Jazz Radio I’m going to talk about when to say no to an opportunity that comes knocking at your door. It may be a gig, a recording session, a teaching opportunity, etc., but when you don’t have the time or if you aren’t the right fit (or even if it isn’t the right fit for you), it’s important to learn how and why to say “no” the right way.

    Also in this episode, I’m also going to feature the music of Yvonnick Prené, Vaclav Kozel, Reggie Padilla, Michael Paulo, Adam Larson, and Scott Martin.

    As I mention at the beginning of each show, I know that many of you are listening to this podcast for different reasons – some of you may be here for the advice offered as part of this episode and some of you may be listening to check out the music we feature as part of the show. So, as I mentioned in the last episode, I’m going to try and space the music and the advice out evenly throughout the podcast so that there’s a little something for everyone.

    So, before we dive into today’s tips on how and why to say no, let’s check out our first music set. This week I’d like to introduce you to harmonica player Yvonnick Prené and Vaclav Kozel. The first song you’ll hear is Desafinado by Yvonnick Prené from Wonderful World and second I’m going to feature Jambo Live by Vaclav Kozel from Ja Vam dam Jazz.

    Once again, the first track was Yvonnick Prené with Desfinado. You can learn more about Yvonnick in our interview with him on Teen Jazz or at his website, yvonnickprene.com. And after that was Vaclav Kozel with Jambo Live.

    Ideally, we do music because we love it, we can’t always be selective with our gigs. When work is slow, we often have to take gigs we normally wouldn’t like to do to pay the bills and make ends meet. Sometimes we have to do gigs because we’re still paying our dues and need the experience.

    Even though this may be the case, there are instances where saying “no” to a gig might be the right thing to do (even if you need the money).

    What are some reasons for turning down a gig or a project?

    When the quality of the project or gig does not fit your “brand” as a musician. I’ve talked about branding in the past, but I’m going to just briefly summarize what I’m referring to in today’s podcast so that there isn’t any confusion and to save you some time looking it up later.

    Your “brand” as a musician is your total package – your image (how you dress, how you present yourself, the colors and images you use on your website), your music (the genre, your particular style, the instrument you play), your personality (are you funny? outgoing? controversial?), and so on. It is who you are as an artist. Your music, your look, and your packaging all need to fit this brand. It’s super important to be consistent.

    So when a gig comes along that may be outside of your branding, it’s probably best to say no.

    How might it be outside your brand?

    Quality. Now, there are two aspects to this point. One is whether or not the quality of the opportunity is a good fit for you. If you don’t have enough time to prepare because you’re already swamped with other projects or gigs, the quality of YOUR performance may not be as good as it needs to be. This affects your reputation and thus your brand as an artist. Don’t put out poor work because you don’t have time. In this instance, it’s probably best to say no.

    The same goes if you’re not at the level you need to be to do the opportunity. If it’s not too far of a reach, you can probably successfully meet the requirements of the opportunity, but if you’re normally a rock guitar player and you’ve been asked to do a fusion gig two weeks from now, you probably won’t have time to get to the level you need to in that genre to do the gig well. Say no.

    The same is true in reverse. If you’re playing or ability is of a much higher caliber than the opportunity, it might be a good decision to say no. Of course, take this with a grain of salt and be careful not to inflate your abilities or where you are a musician. It’s almost always good to be humble, but try not to put yourself in situations where you won’t sound good, it could come back to haunt you later.

    The wrong type of gig or project. I kind of mentioned this is the last point, but I’m going to further reiterate it. As a musician, even if we are versatile, we tend to have a focus and a style in which we are stronger. If an opportunity comes that is too far outside of your comfort zone or that doesn’t fall into your strengths as a musician, you might not want to accept the project. For example, if you’re a drummer who usually plays in the pop/country genres, you might not want to take an RNB or jazz gig. Or maybe you’re a soul-jazz singer, auditioning for a part in an opera or a musical might not be a wise choice.

    Our second set of music for today’s show is going to feature Reggie Padilla and Michael Paulo. The first song you’ll hear is Another Day by Reggie Padilla from They Come and They Go and second I’m going to feature Renaissance by Michael Paulo from My Heart & Soul.

    Once again, that was and before that was Reggie Padilla with Another Day and Michael Paulo with Renaissance. You can find more information about Reggie Padilla at reggiepadilla.com and Michael Paulo is at michaelpaulo.net.

    You don’t have the required skill set. This is kind of the same as above, but a little more specific. Perhaps you can’t read music and an opportunity comes up where you’re required to do just that. There’s likely no way you can learn to read music and in this case “faking it until you make it” is not something I’d suggest doing. The same goes for gigs that require you to double on instruments you can’t play, sing or perform in a completely different genre, sing background vocals if you’ve never done it before, or even do things like choreography if you’ve don’t have any past experience.

    Of course, there’s always a time to add skills to your arsenal, but if you don’t have time to develop them before you need them, if it’s something you’d eventually like to do, say no this time but work on it so you can say yes the next time. If there is too steep of a learning curve, you’re only setting yourself up for failure, so it’s best to turn down the opportunity.

    Ethics. Music is in the entertainment industry, so there may be opportunities that you aren’t comfortable with ethically that may come up. If an opportunity goes against what you believe, don’t be afraid to draw the line. If you allow yourself to get pressured into a gig or performance that you aren’t comfortable with, your feelings may subconsciously affect your work, so don’t be afraid to say no. It’s hard to do a good job if you’re miserable or uncomfortable and this may be something that could affect you for longer than the duration of the opportunity.

    The last reason to say no is the most obvious. If you’re already booked, and you’ve promised your time elsewhere, you should say no. Even if the new opportunity is better paying or a more interesting gig/session, it’s going to look worse to cancel your original commitment to do the new one than it will to say no. If you explain your situation to the second person, you may be able to reschedule, but they’ll understand you’re committed and won’t be worried about you flaking out on them the next time around (and the same goes for the person with whom you made the original commitment too).

    But You Might Not Have to Say No

    If an opportunity comes up that’s within one of the first three reasons to say no – quality (on your part), wrong type of project, or lack of skill set – there may be a a way of getting around having to say no.

    For example, let’s say the opportunity is a recording session and not a live performance with a scheduled date. See if you can negotiate more time before the recording takes place so you can work on the style or double required of you. Projects often have deadlines, so this may not be feasible, but if their schedule isn’t too strict, you may be able to get a little more time.

    If the reason you have to say no is because you’re already booked, see if they’re willing to let you subcontract one of your friends (who will do a good job – referring someone who can’t do a good job looks bad for both you and your friend) so that they know that when they can come to you in the future, if you can’t do something, you can help them find someone who can (and this alone may encourage them to check with you first).

    Another option may be to collaborate with other musicians. An example where this might work is a bit complicated, so I’ll try to sketch this out. Let’s say you love working in the studio – writing, arranging, and recording but you’re still unfamiliar with the mixing and mastering process. You have another musician who has heard your stuff and they ask if you’ll write and produce a track for them assuming that they’ll get a completed track by the end of the session. In this case, it makes sense to use some of the money that you’ve made (or will make) doing the project to have someone else come in and mix/master rather than try to buy the equipment and learn to do it yourself. Not only will it be better, but it will likely also be more affordable. On the other hand, if you begin getting more and more opportunities like this, it may make sense to invest in the needed equipment and learn that skill set (but after the initial project, there’s not enough time to do it in this particular case).

    Unfortunately, however, there’s not always a way to get around having to say no. When these cases come up, be as professional as you can when you refuse the opportunity.

    How to Professionally turn down an opportunity

    Honesty is the best policy. No not honest as in negative “Sorry, I can’t do your gig because you aren’t very good and I don’t want to play with you.” Be honest as in “I’m sorry, but I don’t think I would be the best fit for this gig.” If it’s sincerely something that isn’t the right choice for your brand, be sure to let them know otherwise they may come back and ask you again thinking you were just too busy for the original opportunity. If you know someone who may be right for the opportunity, pass it on.

    Which leads me to my second point. Build up a network of fellow musicians so that you can refer a trusted colleague to those with opportunities you aren’t available for or that you aren’t interested in doing.

    If you honestly aren’t available due to other gigs or time restraints, let them know, they may come back to you with the same opportunity or new opportunities when your schedule frees up. For example, if you’re traveling on tour, let them know when you expect to be back. They may call you for something during that time. If you don’t share your schedule with them, they may not call you for another opportunity because they aren’t sure where you are or what you’re doing.

    Last, be polite yet firm. Don’t be overly apologetic once you’ve made up your mind, but don’t be rude if the other person is persistent. If you don’t stick to your decision, it’ll make it sound like you’re uncertain and the other person could get pushy. This sets you up for feeling guilty – which you shouldn’t. If you don’t feel the opportunity is a good fit for you or you aren’t comfortable with it, there’s no reason to feel guilty because you’ve made the right choice saying no. It’s perfectly acceptable to set boundaries regarding what you can and can’t do, you’re availability, how much work you can handle and what kind of work you’re willing to do.

    There you have it.

    Have you ever had to turn down an opportunity? How did you do it? If you didn’t turn down an opportunity that you should have, how did you feel afterwards? We’d love to hear from you. Please visit us at TeenJazz.com and join the conversation in the comments for the transcription of today’s podcast.

    Our last set of music for today’s show is going to feature Adam Larson and Scott Martin. The first song you’ll hear is This as Well by Adam Larson from the album Overdue Ovation and second I’m going to feature Quarter Moon by Scott Martin from Menudo & Gritz.

    Once again, that was Scott Martin with Quarter Moon and before that was Adam Larson with This as Well. You can find more information about Scott Martin at scottmartinjazz.com and Adam Larson is at adamlarsonjazz.com.

    Before I close out the show, I’d like to invite you all to check out Teen Jazz if you’re interested in learning more about me, Shannon Kennedy or the community. As I just mentioned it’s TeenJazz.com.

    Or if you just would like to say hello, come and say hi at our Facebook page – that’s facebook.com/teenjazz. I promise to say hello back!

    All the links that I’ve mentioned as part of the show will be up on Teen Jazz and Teen Jazz Radio, so if you’re interested in learning more about these talented artists, please stop on by – I know they’ll appreciate the love! You can leave comments on any of our posts at TeenJazzRadio.com.

    A very special thanks to Jazz and Bossa Radio for featuring Teen Jazz Radio on their web radio station. We recently partnered with them back in May to share our artists with a wider audience and we are excited to have joined the Jazz and Bossa Radio family. You can visit them at jazzandbossaradio.com. All of our Teen Jazz Radio podcasts are featured over at Jazz and Bossa Radio on Sundays at 3pm EST and on Wednesdays at 5pm EST.

    And last but not least, we appreciate your iTunes reviews! If you’ve enjoyed our podcast, please help us get noticed on iTunes by writing us a review. Let us know if you’ve found our podcast valuable or if you’ve enjoyed some of the music we’ve featured as part of the show. We’re so very thankful for those of you who have gone in and taken the time to write us reviews for Teen Jazz Radio.

    Thank you again for tuning in the Teen Jazz Radio podcast from TeenJazzRadio.com.

    In this week’s episode, you heard the music of:

    July 27, 2014 • Music and Career Advice, Podcasts • Views: 960