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
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.