The Summerglen Files

Music, Creativity, and Everyday Life at Summerglen Music in Raleigh, NC

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A musician discovers marketing

June 17th, 2008 · No Comments

The blog has been a bit of a ghost town lately, because I’ve been out in the heat of the North Carolina summer, learning.

When you get a music degree, or even when you get -two- music degrees, there’s actually not much class time devoted to daily life as a musician. In my studies, there were hours upon hours of class debate over whether birdsong qualified as music or not, discussions of why music is beautiful but not magical, and forays into the intimate details of composers’ personal lives. Fascinating topics! But in all our discussion, there was little mention of how to get these interesting ideas out into the world, how to tell people that you and your music are here, how to bring music into people’s lives in a meaningful way.

But the one thing you -do- learn in getting a music degree is how to learn. When it all comes down to it, YOU must teach yourself to play. A large part of playing an instrument is physical, understanding how your lips need to feel to move across partials flexibly, knowing how to move your diaphragm, chest, and belly to make room for your lungs to have enough air to power several measures of music. It’s amazing, because nearly every sound that a brass player makes is inextricably tied to a physical movement or feeling, and when we sit and practice, we’re slowly teaching our bodies to work in a certain way. We teach our minds, as well, to be present at practice even when we don’t want to be. To solve problems. To think in sound.

So now I’m using what I learned to learn what I didn’t. On the streets of Raleigh, I’m taking Marketing 101, finding out who I’m trying to reach and which ways are best to reach them. When I find a marketing tool that works, I write it down and try to do it consistently. It feels awkward, like juggling. But then again, playing trombone was awkward once as well. Back then I liked the idea of being a trombonist, so I worked through the clumsy feelings until playing felt natural. Now, I like the idea of being an independent trombonist–no boss, no principal, no agent, just me. So it’s time to get used to juggling again, until my new role as “Summerglen Music Marketing Department” feels easy!

Tags: music business

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