Monday, November 21, 2011

My Thanksgiving Gifts to You!

Here in the U.S., Thanksgiving Day is this coming Thursday. It's a day when we all pause to be grateful for the blessings in our lives.

You can express your gratitude to your loved ones by sending a wonderful e-card. My gift of thanks to you, my readers, is a free, 6-month subscription to Rubber Chicken E-Cards. Click here for your gift subscription.

Or, you can send a card expressing your gratitude to those special people in your life using a unique Banjo Bunny E-Card. To send a beautiful e-card filled with my Celtic Harp Music click here.

Don't know how to express yourself in words to show your gratitude? Try using a bit of Shakespeare--Visit my newest blog for a hand in how to wax elegant like the Bard.

And finally, here's a way to save some money. And you don't need to wait until Black Friday or Cyber Monday for shopping deals...I have a big sale at my website. Huge discounts on everything--CDs and books! But this sale ends at midnight, Thursday night, Thanksgiving. This sale is for the early shopper. So go there now and save, before the sale ends Friday.

Many blessings to you for a wonderful Thanksgiving!






Sunday, November 6, 2011

How to be Frugal Without Being Cheap--Plus A Special Gift!

November is here, the stores are stocking holiday gift items, and most of us start looking at our bank accounts to determine what we can afford. It's trendy to save money, and everyone understands this. But there is a big difference between saving money and being frugal and pinching pennies to be cheap. Frugal looks good and is trendy. Cheap looks like you really didn't want to bother in the first place. You can always purchase an inexpensive gift that looks like you put some thought into it.

Find out what your friends and loved ones really want, then start shopping for bargains now. And if that item is completely outside of your pocketbook, get creative. I don't mean resorting to "junk", the stuff that you wouldn't want to receive yourself. Give gifts that would last. Music, movies, and events that create a memory. Here are some creative ideas from thinksimplenow.com. My favorite fun gift sites include Liam Hughes Shard Jewelry and On Purpose, but that's just my style of gift-giving. Really, just Googling the kind of gift someone wants to receive will take you to sites that may contain some inexpensive choices.

Rule of thumb: Don't give anyone something you wouldn't want to receive yourself. Ask yourself before you buy, "Does this gift look cheap?", or "Will this gift make me look like a cheapskate?"

An inexpensive, but in no way "cheap" way out of buying a gift is to send a card. Wonderful e-card sites enable you to send the perfect gift cards to your friends without paying postage and getting hand cramps from writing. If you love harp music, go to Sylvia Woods' website and send wonderful harp e-postcards. Send a uniquely magical e-card from Banjo Bunny, including a wonderful Thanksgiving e-card containing my music! Many thanks to Susan, the head Bunny (and gifted animator) at Banjo Bunny!

Since you've read along this far, I have a special thank-you for you, my wonderful blog readers. It's something you can use today, and you can consider it my early holiday gift to you! My good friend Steve, the "head chicken" of RubberChickenCards.com, has included my music in a couple of his cards, a lovely encouragement card and one featuring Louise the Angel.

Louise the Angel

Now, as an expression of thanks, he has gifted me with something that I am passing along to you:


Way cool, huh? I love these e-cards, and you will too. Send as many Rubber Chicken e-cards as you want over the next six months for f*ree!

Next post will contain more frugal (not cheap) tips for your holiday parties and upcoming weddings! Have some ideas you'd like me to share? Post them here or contact me!

Cheers,
Anne :-)

P.S.--Of course, the folks at Rubber Chicken Cards hope you'll love their cards and continue using them even after six months. But this is a f*ree subscription with no strings attached (bad harp pun). Just go there and enjoy sending those cards!

(For early shoppers, all of my products are discounted on my website (for a limited time), including my book that contains money-saving hints for your wedding day in my book, The Bride's Guide to Musicians, published by Hal Leonard Books. It's also available as a Kindle Edition. Go to the facebook page to view some ideas now)








Saturday, October 15, 2011

8 Simple Ways to Take Back Control of Your Life

Having a tough time getting things done these days? Juggling tasks as a musician, balancing the day between work and play as an entrepreneur, getting through your "to-do" list for your upcoming wedding--These things all require willpower and stick-to-it-ness.

Here is an abbreviated version of some great tips supplied to me from my friend and guest blogger Eliseo Mauas Pinto from a fantastic article by Tony Schwartz. Any one of these tips might help you to reflect happily at the end of the day that you accomplished what you needed to accomplished.

Tony says:

"Here's the problem we face, every day of our lives. Nearly everything that generates enduring value requires effort, focus, and even some discomfort along the way.  At the same time, we're deeply wired to avoid pain, which the body reads as mortally dangerous, and to move toward pleasure, the more immediate the better. We're also exposed to more temptation than ever....The sirens sing to us, too: Have the dessert. Skip the workout. Put off the hard work. Surf the web. Check your email. Indulge your whims. Settle for the easy way out."


My own suggestions for owning willpower:


1. Make your behaviors automatic--Willpower is hard. But if you make something that's hard to do a habit, it won't be so hard to do anymore. Take exercise. If you go to the gym the same time everyday, it will simply get easier to exercise.


2. Take yourself out of harms way--Would you eat that entire box of cookies at one time if they were in your kitchen pantry? Avoid the problem altogether and don't buy the cookies in the first place. Have problems dealing with certain people? Simply limit your contact with them.


3. Reflect before you react--Do you need to buy that box of cookies? Do you need tell someone how angry you are with their behaviors? Stop and think. "Do I want to do that, or do I need to do that?" If you need to buy a new tie for an interview, do it, but if you have 15 other ties that would serve the same purpose, do you really need to buy another one?


4. Sleep enough to feel fully rested--This is a tough one for me, as I'm always a light sleeper. But it's true that when you are rested, you can tackle the day and make the right decisions for yourself.


5. Do the most important thing in the morning--Get the hard-to-do stuff out of the way. And also keep in mind that what you do in the morning sets the tone for the rest of the day.


6. Eat well--Obviously, if you haven't eaten, your mind is on satiating your hunger, not tackling the day ahead. And if you are trying to have willpower to stay on a particular diet, it is much more difficult to watch your portions when you are hungry. On the other hand, if you are too full or eat foods that do not give you the fuel to tackle the day, you'll tucker out. Eating small meals every three hours that always contain a lean protein balanced with fresh, unprocessed foods will keep you powered up.


7. Focus on one thing at a time--Multitasking means that you are dividing your time between each thing that must be done. Wouldn't tasks be better completed when you aren't interrupted with other things? Willpower is the will to get things done, and it happens when we concentrate on the task at hand.


8. Take a break--Have you heard that saying, "Can't see the forest through the trees." When we take frequent breaks, especially during difficult tasks, we can get a birds-eye view of whether we are on the right track an what needs to be done to complete the task. Taking a break helps to reduce mistakes, because you can see where you are going and can review as you progress.


So, go and finish up what you are doing and get things done today!!!


Please post more suggestions as they come to you...


Anne :-)


(For Musicians: You'll find more suggestions for taking care of what needs to be taken care of in my book, The Musician's Guide to Brides. Purchase a discounted copy at my website and visit the facebook page for updated articles. For Brides: You'll find great suggestions for your wedding day to-do list in my book, The Bride's Guide to Musicians, also discounted at my website and located on facebook.)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Happy Autumn!

From my friend, harper, and guest blogger, Eliseo Mauas Pinto, some Celtic Autumn joy for you. You'll find this lovely image and more like it from Kristen Fox at deviantART.com.


"May this fall season reconnect us
to the ever-changing aspects of our lives:
color, complexity, beauty and mortality."


Bliss and blessings ♥ 



Please add your own thoughts for the season below, and link to music of the season, too (check out my A Light in the Forest Album on amazon.com and iTunes for beautiful seasonal Celtic harp and instrumental music).

Sunday, August 28, 2011

How Do You Keep Yourself Sane?

Times are tough. As a working musician, they are even tougher. Sure, I can bite my nails and reduce the prices on all of my CDs and books on my website. But how do I keep myself sane? Hobbies and other interests. As much as I love playing the harp and performing, I need to do something else to keep my mind happy.

One thing I do is delve into spiritual practices. A self-hypnosis subliminal tape by Barry Konikov might do the job. Then there's meditation, chanting, journaling. I've been following the Siddha Yoga Path for almost 30 years, and I feel blessed to have a meditation teacher, my guru. To have a guru is to have a life coach for all things in life. And indeed, I need to remember this, because I get really scared when the phone doesn't ring with business.

And then exercise is so important. I sit on my butt playing the harp, and I sit on my butt typing away at the computer keyboard. Gotta get up and work out. My passion is martial arts, specifically karate. And in this realm, I am also blessed to have a wonderful teacher, my sensei Grandmaster Glenn Ristine. To me, the practice of karate is like physical chess--It's not just punching and kicking aimlessly. Grandmaster Ristine has taken me to the Shodan level (blackbelt level). Ha! And I'm a girl who does not have a flexible kid's body. And now, he has shepherded me into teaching "Self Defense Rescripted", a curriculum developed by Sensei Ristine and his sensei, Grandmaster Chris Thomas. (If you'd like to take my workshop in "Self Defense Rescripted", contact me through my website we can schedule a date that works for you and your friends).

So, you now have learned about some of my secret passions. Well, they aren't a secret anymore. What are yours? Certainly, you don't do your job 24/7. I'd love to hear about your emotional and physical releases...




Tuesday, August 23, 2011

What Happens When You Smile?

A smile can be infectious, especially spreading to the audience when musicians perform. Watch this video and see how the musicians' enthusiasm makes you feel. If you're a musician or performer, whether you're on a concert stage or at a wedding, what happens when you play with this attitude? How does it affect you? How does it affect everyone else around you? Even if you aren't a musician or performer, what would happen if you brought this attitude to everyone you are in contact?

I'd love to hear your stories!

Special thanks to my friend @DaveJackson and his wonderful podcast "The Musician's Cooler" for sharing this video and his thoughts about smiling and having fun when we play. Listen to his podcast on iTunes. Read his article "Smiles Everyone Smiles!" for more great info. There's more info on his website about the power of a positive attitude. And more for musicians: catch Dave's interview with me for more specifics about playing at weddings.

For wedding musicians, you can read more stories about infectious enthusiasm in my book, The Musician's Guide to Brides. Purchase a signed copy of the book at my website, where a portion of your purchase is donated to charity, and visit the Musician's Guide to Brides facebook page for info tailor-made for wedding musicians.





Tuesday, August 16, 2011

When Your Co-Workers are Your Friends

Lake Tahoe Golf Course
Last Friday, I played at Holly and David's wedding at the beautiful Lake Tahoe Golf Course, with the Sierra mountain range as a backdrop. Jackie and Rachel, who handle weddings, are always a breeze to work with. They bend over backwards to make sure I have what I need when I'm preparing to perform.

I was greeted by Mario from Class Act Entertainment, who was happy to plug the microphone for my harp into his sound system. I didn't need to unload my amp from my car and fuss with sound! Thank you, Mario!

Photo by CiprianPhotography.com
And then, Ciprian, the fabulous photographer who has graciously taken photos for my portfolio was the official photographer for this wedding. He took a moment out to take some photos of me. Most photographers will only concentrate on the bride and groom and not take photos of the wedding environment--Ciprian takes in the entire scene. I can't wait to see the new photos!

When everyone works as a team, the wedding goes flawlessly. So if you are getting ready to tie the knot, it's a good idea to hire wedding vendors who have worked together before.

But from a wider view, everyone I worked with wanted to make sure things went perfectly for Holly and David. It is so nice to work with people who are generous with their talents and willing to help each other out to ensure a wonderful day for the wedding couple. This generosity of spirit makes work fun and something to look forward to. My hope is that you and your coworkers share this generosity of spirit in your own work environment, too. Try being generous with your time and your abilities at your workplace--What happens?

(For wedding musicians, you can find out more ideas for fostering good recommendations from other wedding vendors in my book, The Musician's Guide to Brides. Purchase a signed copy of the book at my website, where a portion of your purchase is donated to charity, and visit the Musician's Guide to Brides facebook page for info tailor-made for wedding musicians.

Monday, August 1, 2011

How Do You Know?

Admittedly, this week's post is a rambling. I just want to get the conversation going...

For months and years, there's been a lot of talk in world and national news about how bad everything is monetarily. And this, of course, begins to color the consumer's minds--They're naturally worried about their own income, job stability, and paying rent or mortgage. They respond by holding back on paying for the arts--including music. They dive in for anything that is free or deeply discounted, but for concerts, wedding and corporate entertainment, music purchases, and more, they seem to be holding back (unless they are the rare exception where money is no object).

If you are a musician, are you at a crossroads where you don't know if you'll continue performing or creating your art? Are you thinking of getting out of the music biz altogether to pursue a career that will keep food on the table? And if you have already made this decision, how did you come to this conclusion? How do you know it's time to "throw in the towel"? How did you make the transition? What career did you turn to? How are you doing?

Yes, these are tough questions, but I'm often asked how to make it as a musician in this recession. Here, I'd like to see whether any of you have decided, or are in the process of deciding, to leave the music profession altogether. What's your experience?

Please share your thoughts, because you could help others who are now wrestling with this decision.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

For Musicians: The Power of Gratitude

I had a very busy wedding weekend, performing at weddings at like Tahoe's beautiful Lakeside Beach and the gorgeous Edgewood. I also performed at St. Francis of Assisi at Incline Village, a beautiful church overlooking Lake Tahoe on a picture-perfect summer day. I always look forward to Father Bill's wedding sermon. He always knows how to make the congregation laugh and relax, and at Saturday's wedding, he pointed out the bride's neon high-top converse shoes beneath her gown.

 I once commented to Father Bill about how much I enjoy his services and how he gets everyone to laugh during the ceremony. His response was something like, "The couple can't pray when they are nervous. So laughter relaxes them so that they can pray. A wedding is, after all, a prayer."

And I remembered this response during Saturday's wedding and thought, "I'm so grateful to be here to play at this wedding. At all weddings. At all my gigs."

Then, I read the Musician's Cooler Blog today. My friend David Jackson wrote about Staying Professional at a Gig. He mentions some great info....

1. Stay calm--give your client what they want with a smile
2. Keep the big picture in view--understand how your attitude will affect others
3. Wait till the next band practice to discuss the situation and how to handle it in the future--Don't air your complaints in front of your client and their guests. Wait till you have all cooled off and can discuss things rationally.

My suggestion: Come to the gig with an attitude of gratitude.

Want to add your suggestions? Please comment below.

I look forward to seeing you at my next gig at Synapse Wines this coming Saturday!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Congratulations!

Congratulations to Amelia Gerlach of Winston-Salem, NC, the winner of the "Get Ready for your Wedding" Contest! She has won a bunch of great prizes, all worth more than $350! She'll be sharing the winnings with her daughter, a bride-to-be.

Check back to this blog for future contest, prizes, and all kinds of great info. And if you have ideas of what kinds of info and contests you'd like to see posted here in the future, please comment below. Also, invite your friends to follow my blog. They may never find out about about future contests without following...

Cheers,
Anne :-)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Your Chance to Win $350 In Wedding Prizes Ends This Friday!

The subject line says it all. See the last post for directions for entry into the "Get Ready for Your Wedding" Contest. Simply "follow" this blog by scrolling down and clicking "follow" in the right hand margin of this blog. Then add your comment. Enter a second time and increase your chances of winning by reading the directions in the last post.

Good luck!!!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The "Get Ready for Your Wedding" Contest!--Contest Extended to July 15th!

Is your wedding around the corner and would you like to win over $350 in wonderful prizes

Here's a contest geared just for you or for your friend or loved one who is preparing to "tie the knot"!

Here's all you need to do to enter the contest: 

1. Subscribe to my blog at http://celticharpmusic.blogspot.com
2. Post a comment on any one of the articles that live there

Do this before July 15th, and you'll automatically be entered into my raffle. In addition, when you post the following on Twitter and/or Facebook (you need to friend me on Facebook so that I see your comment in the newsfeed), your name will be entered into the drawing twice, increasing your chances to win. 


Wondering how to follow to this blog? Simply scroll down and click "follow" on the right hand column of this blog.


RT: Brides, win over $350 in prizes by subscribing to http://j.mp/66I0Rs and leaving a comment there. Good luck, @anneroos


Here are the prizes:

10 lucky subscribers will be awarded:
- A free copy of my latest book, "The Bride's Guide to Musicians: Live Wedding Music Made Easy and Affordable” , published by Hal Leonard Books ($20 value)

5 very lucky subscribers will be awarded:
- A free copy of my latest book, "The Bride's Guide to Musicians: Live Wedding Music Made Easy and Affordable” , published by Hal Leonard Books ($20 value)
- My Celtic wedding music CD, "Haste to the Wedding" ($18 value)

1 exceptionally lucky subscriber will receive the Grand Prize:
- A free copy of my latest book, "The Bride's Guide to Musicians: Live Wedding Music Made Easy and Affordable” , published by Hal Leonard Books ($20 value)
- My Celtic wedding music CD, "Haste to the Wedding" ($18 value)
- Hand-made Celtic-style earrings ($24 value)
- Relaxing Heart Rock herbal bath gift set ($20 value)
- My soothing "Through the Mist" CD, filled with environmental sounds ($16 value)
- A Beachbody workout kit, including DVDs and a diet and exercise book containing simple guidelines to get you in shape for your wedding day and keep you in shape long thereafter ($129 value)
- A one-months supply of Xocai Healthy Chocolate High-Antioxidant Protein Meal Replacement Shake to enjoy while you are shaping up for your big day ($165 value)

Winners will be chosen at random from among followers to this blog who add a comment to any article on this blog between June 7th and July 14th. People who subscribe and tweet the above message will be entered into the drawing twice. Winners will be announced July 15th right here at http://celticharpmusic.blogspot.com. If you already happen to follow my blog,  no worries… simply post a comment on the blog and you can take part in the raffle as well.


The Contest is open only to men and women who: (a) are legal residents of the fifty (50) United States, Washington, DC, and at least eighteen (18) years of age) at the time of entry; and (b) possess a valid e-mail address.  Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

Entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. P.D.T., July 14, 2011. 

One entry per blog follow who adds a comment on the blog. A bonus entry is added for that follower who also posts the specified verbiage above on the Facebook newsfeed, and/or Twitter newsfeed. 


Thursday, June 2, 2011

My Magical House Concert Experience

Last Saturday, I performed at a private house concert with 8th generation bagpiper Seán Cummings, and it was an amazing experience. Sure, it was my first house concert performance, but we had a full house, guests were treated to luscious home-baked chocolate cheesecake, and they watched the snow fall in the windows behind us as we performed. Magical!

What's a house concert? You can find out all about house concerts and how to host them. They are really no difficult to host than a well-planned party. And it costs you very little money...Check out concertsinyourhome.com. And you only have a very small space you can host a mini-house concert--visit dinnerandsong.com for more about that. I actually performed at a "Dessert and Song". And there will be many more...Can't wait to play at my next house concert!

Here is just one video clip from my latest house concert:



Feel free to contact me if you'd like me to play the harp for your own concert! If you've had any personal experiences attending or hosting a concert, please share them below....

Wedding Traditions--Their Origins and Meanings, Part 3

Here it is, June, the big wedding month. And finally, three more wedding traditions and their origins:

• At one time, weddings were week-long celebrations. In today's harried times, the rehearsal dinner creates perhaps the only chance for the couple's families to socialize.

• The word "bridal" comes from an old English custom. The bride brewed a strong "bride-ale" which was sold to friends after the wedding to help start the couple off.

• June became the month for weddings, because it was considered good luck to marry during the month named after Juno, the goddess of marriage and family.

Coming soon: Be sure to check back here for the chance to win valuable wedding prizes!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Wedding Traditions--Their Origins and Meanings, Part 2

Here are a few more traditions to add to last week's list:

• The term "Honeymoon" comes from a very old tradition. At one time, German and French couples drank a honey-sweetened wine each day for a month to celebrate the sweetness of their love. Another legend says that the honeymoon was a time to hide from the family and friends of the captured bride until tempers had cooled.

• The groom's cake tradition arose from the time when all weddings had two cakes--one to eat at the wedding and another for the guests to take home. Pieces of the groom's cake were saved to be eaten by the couple on their first anniversary.

• In many towns, the finest stores kept a list of gifts already purchased so that wedding guests could avoid duplication. Sometime between World War I and II, the practice was formalized as a service offered to department stores and called the "Bridal Registry".

More traditions in the next post...
Coming soon: Be sure to check back here for the chance to win valuable wedding prizes!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Wedding Traditions--Their Origins and Meanings, Part 1

Here at Lake Tahoe, summer wedding season is upon us. Have you ever wondered about the meanings behind the most common of wedding traditions? Here are some:

• We wear our wedding rings on the fourth finger of the left hand because it is believed that this finger is linked to the heart.

• In ancient times, a man was expected to acquire a wife by capturing her. She surrounded herself with female friends for protection and he enlisted his male friends to steal her away. The maids, playfully dressed alike to confuse the men.

• The French began the tradition of icing wedding cakes and topping them with small toys in the 17th century. As weddings became more elaborate, confectioners made their reputations on wedding cakes and tried to outdo one another with lavishness. Queen Victoria's daughter had a cake topped with small portraits of the bride and groom which led to today's tradition of small figures of the bride and groom on the cake.

More traditions in the next post...
Be sure to check back here for the chance to win valuable wedding prizes!

Monday, May 9, 2011

How Do You Run a Successful Giveaway?

Years ago, I had a monthly giveaway of one of my CDs to all those who signed in to my free download, the Celtic Club, on my website. Here's what I discovered: Many many of those people who signed up were not interested in the music,  they just wanted to win something, anything. They would post my giveaway at sweepstakes websites, but these folks just wanted to win win win. My email list was overwhelmed by people who used several different email addresses to stuff the ballot box, so to speak, even after I'd announce a winner. I guess you could call them sweepstakes junkies.

Since then, I've been rather shy of having another giveaway, but the wonderful folks at Hal Leonard Books  are willing to offer one of my books as a prize, starting with my newest book, The Bride's Guide to Musicians. My thought is to post a trivia question once a week, here on my blog, and the first person who answers it will receive my book. And you'll have to answer it here, at my blog. Nowhere else.

But before I get started, I'd like to receive your input....What do you think? Have you run successful online giveaways? Where did you post it? What made you think it was successful? I appreciate your thoughts...

More Music for the Season...Time to Choose Your Wedding Music

Whether you're opting to use a disc jockey service or live musicians, some serious thought must go into the selection of music for both the wedding service and reception. How can a you decide what kind of music to choose for your big day?

Keep in mind two important thoughts as you select your music: 
1. Let the music reflect your own unique personality-This is your wedding. You don't need to follow the current wedding trends or old wedding traditions. You don't need to cave in to the wishes of other, either.

2. Select the music that you love-What kind of music do you and your fiancé enjoy the most? What type of instrumentation do you like? What do you dance to? What music is on your iPod or mp3 player? What does your favorite radio station play on your commute to and from work? What music do you never tire of hearing?

Have you selected a wedding theme? Here are eight thematic ideas and examples of ways that music can match them: 

1. Music to reflect the things you enjoy-Use the music to paint a picture of you and your fiancé's personalities. For instance, if you are a fan of Disney movies, include Disney music within each event at your wedding.

2. Music to match your wedding location-Compliment your wedding scene with your music choices. Getting married on the beach? You could choose 60s surfer tunes. If you are planning a destination wedding, select music that is popular in the location or use music that describes the scenery.

3. Music to honor your religious background-The music that you grew up hearing in synagogue, singing in church, chanting in temple may have specific importance to you. If you're exchanging vows inside a house of worship, you could weave sacred melodies throughout your ceremony.

4. Music to celebrate your ethnicity-Let the music highlight your heritage. For instance, if you are planning a traditional Scottish wedding, where the gentlemen will be wearing kilts, let a bagpiper lead you down the aisle. Of course, the musicians can also dress according to your ethnic theme-think of the color that a mariachi band adds to a Hispanic wedding.

5. Period music for a period wedding-Choose a time in history and design your entire wedding around that period. You and your guests can wear costumes of that era, dine on food that may have been eaten at that time, and listen to music that was fashionable then. Your musicians can visually fit into the theme as well-they can wear vintage costumes as they perform. Popular themes include Victorian weddings, medieval Romeo and Juliet weddings, and Renaissance weddings.

6. Music for a holiday celebration-If you are getting married on or around a holiday-Christmas, Valentine's Day, Fourth of July, Saint Patrick's Day, or even Halloween-make your wedding music part of the festivities. For instance, you could add lively jigs and popular songs like “My Wild Irish Rose” if your wedding falls on or near St. Pat's Day.

7. Music to reflect the season-There are many songs written about spring, summer, fall, and winter. For example, “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow” can tie in with a winter wonderland themed wedding.

8. Song titles that mirror your wedding themes-What if blue is your main wedding color? Use tunes with that color in the title (“Blue Moon,” for example). If your theme revolves around roses, use tunes that include the word “rose” in the title (like “La Vie en Rose”).

Whatever your wedding theme, it's almost a sure bet you can find song title to match it.

By the way, there is no rule that says that you can't mix and match thee themes. Who says you can't have a backyard barbecue and bluegrass music following a formal Catholic wedding Mass complete with sacred hymns? Have fund and come up with some ideas that will make you say, “I can't wait to hear the music at my wedding!”

Read more from my book The Bride's Guide to Musicians: Live Wedding Music Made Easy and Affordable (c) 2010 by Anne Roos, published by Hal Leonard Books. It's available at my website with free shipping for a limited time only. It's also availble in a Kindle edition on amazon.com.

What Kinds of Music Goes With...Graduation?

From OnlineUniversities.com, here is a fabulous article shared by guest blogger Kaitlyn Cole:

As cool as high school seniors think they are, graduation season is the perfect excuse for waxing nostalgia on days that haven’t even ended yet. From the pop kids to the hipsters to the band geeks, stereotypical songs aren’t just allowed, they’re celebrated and played on repeat all month long. Here are ten that’ll make you burst with pride and make you weep as you hang up your cap and gown in anticipation of graduation day:

1. Pomp and Circumstance

2. “It’s the End of the World as We Know It”

3. “Time of Your Life”

4. “Here’s to the Night”

5. “I’ll Be There For You”

6. “We Are The Champions”

7. “The Graduation Song”

8. “School’s Out”

9. “Graduation Day”

10. “Time of My Life”

Why these ten? Check out the complete article. And add your favorites below...

Monday, April 25, 2011

You Don’t Need to Spend as Much as Kate and Will

Kate and Will's royal wedding is fast approaching, and it is sure to be an extravagant affair. But most of us are on a budget when we're planning a wedding. You can still afford all kinds of frills, including live wedding music, for your dream wedding.

Timing is everything! Choose a date, time or season that is less popular for tying the knot. Here are a few ways to time your wedding to save money:

• Choose any day except Saturday, the most popular day to tie the knot. You might even qualify for a midweek discount!

• Be a “morning person”--If you are getting married in a public location (such as a park), you'll get more privacy. Plus, you'll save money on the bar tab, because people won't drink as much in the morning hours.  

• Avoid holidays--Most wedding service providers charge extra to work on holidays, or they may not be available at all.

• Gravitate to the off-season--Check which months are the most popular at your chosen wedding site and then select a different month to get married. You might qualify for discounts, plus your favorite wedding services are more apt to be available for you.

• Decide early, then relax--Book your wedding services as early as you can. You'll get everything you want, plus you may avoid yearly cost-of-living increases that they may pass on to you closer to your wedding date.

• Stick to your wedding day agenda--Don't allow your wedding day events to run late, because overtime costs from each wedding service provider can add up to an astronomical sum.

And

• Shave off some time--Trimming your guest list, reducing the size of your bridal party, reducing the number of courses served at your reception, serving a buffet or fixed menu at your reception, and holding the ceremony and reception in the same location can reduce the length of your wedding festivities and reduce your overall costs.

You'll find many more useful tips in my book, "The Bride's Guide to Musicians: Live Wedding Music Made Easy and Affordable", published by Hal Leonard books and available at my website with free shipping for a limited time only. It is also available in a kindle edition on amazon.com.

Visiting Thin Places with a Video of Ireland's Mystical Sites

Mindie Burgoyne writes about travel and places that have a mystical quality. They may be haunted places or places that seem to touch the eternal world in some way--"thin places". She hosts tours to Ireland and other haunted, mystical places. You can read more at her wonderful Thin Places blog.

In this beautiful video Mindie posted on Easter Sunday, you get to do some armchair traveling to Ireland's mystical sacred sites, while listening to my version of "Craigieburn Wood", a Scottish Air by Robert Burns, from my A Light in the Forest CD.



Visit Mindie's Blog to see the list of these lovely locations.

And for more about Celtic traditions and Celtic traditional music, check out the newest post by my talented harpist friend, Eliseo Mauas Pinto. Find out about the "Queen Mary" harp in the latest post of his Celtic Sprite blog.
The Queen Mary Harp


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Is Live Music Too Much Trouble?

Posted on the Event Planner's Guide Book Blog, here is Part I of my suggestions for Event Planners (and Brides, too!)...

Sometimes your clients want live music and entertainment at their wedding or event, but do you prefer to book a DJ or have them go with the iPod stereo? Are musicians too much trouble to hire? Is it difficult to find just the right musician? Are you concerned about their professionalism?

Don't give up! Here are some great reasons to consider live music and entertainment for your clients' weddings, parties, and corporate events...


Go to the Event Planner's Guide Book Blog for the rest of the article....Thank you, Kim Sullivan, for posting this article.

Also, those of you who are a members of the Event Planner's Association can receive a 25% discount on my book, "The Bride's Guide to Musicians: Live Wedding Music Made Easy and Affordable", published by Hal Leonard Books. Simply go to the blog for details.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

How to Get Your Music Played on NPR

I'll start this post by stating that I have absolutely no idea how to get your music played on NPR, or for that matter, on any national or syndicated radio services. It's a mystery to me.



So a few weeks ago, I was listening to the new podcast, "How to Do Everything", where they answer questions from listeners on their very entertaining show. They've answered everything from "How do you keep your macaroons from sticking to the pan?" to "How do you cure the hiccups?" (the latter involving a method I'm sure you haven't heard about). The hosts ask folks to email them with questions so that they have fodder for their future episodes.

Since this show is hosted by the producers of the fabulously funny NPR radio show and podcast, "Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!", out of a bit of desperation, I wrote the following email to them:

"I'm stumped. How do I get my music played on NPR? I've tried, sent it to all the links on NPR sites, and to no avail. Do you know anyone else who can play 'Stairway to Heaven' on the Celtic harp

Amazingly, I heard back from Ian Chillag, one of the hosts, who asked me to send along an mp3 of my song. He liked it enough to include it in Episode 7: OMG, Cobra, Pandora. Ian was kind enough to send this glowing testimonial along to me:

"Anne plays what is without a doubt the finest Celtic harp version of 'Stairway to Heaven' ever made." 

Not that he's heard any other versions on the Celtic harp, but then I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth, especially from a host from a "sort-of-NPR" podcast, which is what he called his show.

But the hosts never did answer my question, "How do I get my music on NPR?"


So, here are my theories:

1. You have to be newsworthy. Really really newsworthy. If Willie Nelson released a CD collaboration with Justin Bieber, that would be really really newsworthy, even if it might not be something you want to listen to. And I'd bet that NPR would want to interview either or both artists, just because they are already famous and doing something newfangled.

2. You have to be selling a bazillion CDs, have a bazillion downloads on YouTube, have a bazillion ratings from the latest TV reality show you've been on, have a bazillion fantastic reviews in popular magazines like "The Rolling Stone", suddenly made a bazillian dollars selling your song on iTunes. In other words, somehow, you are rich in fame by some quantitive factor.

3. The host fell in love with you and your music. Some the musicians receive very in-depth interviews and are featured performing live on NPR. They tend to be touring musicians, but other than that, I can discern no other common denominator. So, maybe the host of the show, or the producers, simply fell in love with them. Okay. I can buy that. Maybe this is how I got lucky with the hosts of "How to Do Everything" (or perhaps Ian is just a kind person and wanted to help me out. Thank you again, Ian!)

4. Maybe some hosts don't take unsolicited music. In other words, they don't want to hear from the artist, just their representative (publicist, manager, etc.). I often wonder about this.

5. Some shows only consider playing certain genres of music. Usually, you can tell that this is what they do...Like Marc Gunn's great Irish and Celtic Music Podcast--It's pretty obvious what kinds of music he'll be interested in playing. But for the general NPR shows, do they really consider all types of music all the time?

There is such a thing as payola, an illegal practice. Of course, NPR sticks by the letter of the law. However, there are many Internet radio stations that call it "paid advertising" to play music that people pay to have played. But do the announcers reveal to the listeners that the musicians have paid to have their music played? Where is the line? What is the rule for podcasts?

I'm just curious and really don't want to open up a can of worms about all of this. I'd just like to know if NPR, or other radio shows for that matter, publish how they go about deciding which musicians to interview and what music to play (yes, some do this, but many many do not). Then, I'd know how and where to submit my music.

What I learned is that you just need to ask. And don't stop asking! Some host or producer may just say, "Yes," for reasons totally unbeknownst to you :-)

I'm interested in your feedback and thoughts....

A Bit of Irish Harp History

From Guest Blogger and wonderful Celtic harpist, Eliseo Mauas Pinto, here is a brief history of the Celtic harp. This is an excerpt from his article, "Why the "Trinity Harp" is also known as the "Brian Boru's Harp?":



The "Brian Boru" harp, now at Trinity College, Dublin, bears the coat of arms of the O'Neills but although there are many theories about its ownership through the centuries, none can be substantiated, with no verifiable evidence remaining to indicate the harp's original owner, or subsequent owners over the next two to three hundred years until it passed to Henry McMahon, of Co. Clare, and finally to The Rt. Hon. William Conyngham, who presented it to Trinity College in Dublin in 1760.

Throughout its history the harp was in the possession of of many people some of which were kings.







Related Harps

The Trinity College harp is currently displayed in the long room at Trinity College Dublin. It is an early Irish harp or wire strung cláirseach. It is dated to the 14th or 15th century and along with the Queen Mary Harp and the Lamont Harp, is one of the only three surviving medieval Gaelic harps.




Related to the Trinity College Harp, there are two greatest medieval harps of Scotland, the "Queen Mary" and the "Lamont" harps. Both kept in the National Museum of Antiquities in Edinburgh.
Both “low headed” Celtic harps date from the 15th Century, and each is from a single piece of wood, possibly hornbeam, hollowed out from the back. The Lamont harp, which is unadorned, is the larger harp at 37 ½ “, with 32 wire strings.The Queen Mary is ornately carved with intricate designs, including griffins, a lion, a dragon and a unicorn, almost 31” high, with 30 wire strings. 

The Trinity College harp is the national symbol of Ireland, being depicted on national heraldry, Euro coins and Irish currency. A left-facing image of this instrument was used as the national symbol of Ireland from 1922, and was specifically granted to the State by the Chief Herald of Ireland in 1945.

A right-facing image was registered as a trade mark for Guinness in 1862, and was first used on their labels in 1876.

All three surviving Gaelic harps (the others are the Lamont Harp and the Queen Mary Harp) are considered to have been made in Argyll in South-West Scotland sometime in the 14th-15th century.



Sunday, March 20, 2011

Anne Roos--Coming to See You?

Recently, I had the wonderful opportunity to perform at my cousin Joel's wedding. I traveled some 700 miles to get there, and I was tickled to perform for a reunion of many relatives whom I haven't seen in years. After I returned home, Joel asked me whether I'd tour up and down the coast of California, playing house concerts in the towns where my relatives reside--A "Highway 101 Tour", so to speak. I'm thrilled with the idea and look forward to seeing it unfold this coming Fall or Winter.


Then, it got me thinking. I'd like to see you, too! It would be so cool to meet you, in person!


One of my favorite things to do is house concerts, where I can really get to know the people I play for (and with!). These events are so much fun, and so memorable, that it's a growing national trend. American Airlines did a story on it last December, and CNN will be doing a story about it. Are you a little bit curious? 


·    Watch the short video that people use to promote these great events to their friends. 


·    If you think your living room is too small, you'll LOVE this.



Some of you may be thinking, "I'll wait until Anne plays another public performance in a bookstore". But currently, bookstores are pulling back on selling CDs due to the popularity of online downloads, so they just aren't as interested in hosting concerts anymore. Because of this trend, I am turning to this new way of touring and performing. It's the best way to share my music, including the cover tunes (tunes you know and love) from my new albums. As a means to reach more people, I'm seeking out House Concerts and Dinner and Song Concerts in addition to playing at weddings and corporate events.

I'd love to play for you and your friends, so please contact me if you are interested. We can compare calendars and decide when I could be in your area.

Just one other thing:
If you add a comment below and tell me what you like (or don't like) about DinnerAndSong and ConcertsinYourHome, I'll send you a link to an album download of one of my past CDs (really!)--This is how much I want you to spread the word about my availability to play a concert just for you and your friends. But this offer expires April 1, 2011, so you need to comment now...