Berklee Today, Berklee’s Alumni Magazine, just published a feature story by Julie Pampinella on Children’s Music.

Check it out here.

Berklee Today, Berklee’s Alumni Magazine, just published a feature story by Julie Pampinella on Children’s Music.

Check it out here.

You landed the gig!

In order for your show to be a huge success, there is a lot of work to do be done. Whether you play in a steady band or have a roster of musicians you call upon for different types of shows, the logistics and communication needed to pull it all together can be immense. The band leader in charge of making it all happen has to communicate with the players, the sound/light people, the booking agent, the club manager, the promoter, media contacts, fans, street team, etc.

If you are in charge of organizing your band’s gigs, Basecamp is about to make your job a lot easier. I call it “gig management software” because it works so well in that capacity. But really, Basecamp is a web-based project management application useful for all kinds of projects from shopping lists and vacation planning, to Web development, and the planning of a new business. Personally, I have found Basecamp to be the perfect solution for managing the logistics and communication for my growing list of Debbie and Friends gigs. Basecamp has made my gig management responsibilities so efficient that I wanted to share my experience with other musicians.

Basecamp provides a platform for communication. You can share everything anyone needs to know about an upcoming gig within the program including rehearsals, set up and sound check, directions, parking, load-in, stage plot, set list, dress, promotion, email campaigns, travel arrangements, guest lists, CD and merch sales, and more. Before discovering Basecamp, I used to manage these elements via email and phone. I found myself sending and resending the same information to the various parties involved in the gig right up to the day of the show. It was an unwieldy amount of information that inevitably led to miscommunication and a lot of extra work for everyone involved. As my gig calendar began to grow, and the logistics became more intense, it became clear that I needed a Web-based solution. Basecamp does all that I hoped for and more.

The best way to see all that Basecamp can do is to view their audio/video tour.
While it’s true that you can do the same kind of project management with Wikis, Google Apps shared documents, and other web-based applications, I personally like the turn-key, templated approach in Basecamp. And, my band members are very happy with the adoption of this program. It truly makes gig management, communication, and planning much easier for everyone.

In a word, Basecamp completely rocks! For more information on how to use Basecamp for gigs, click here.

In fact, as a performing musician in today’s self-promoting, DIY world, every one of your shows should be photographed and everyone who is there supporting your music should be included. Take pictures of your fans having a great time at your show, the band performing, the soundman, the club manager… EVERYONE! Then, use your concert pictures as a viral marketing tool!

There are several web-based applications, such as flickr, that will provide storage for your images online, and easy-to-use tools that enable you to share your memories with fans through your email newsletters and Web sites.

Before you know it, your fans will link to the images from within their own blogs and social networking sites, and your gig pictures will quickly become viral marketing vehicles, making more and more people aware of your music!!

Here is an example of a set of pictures from a recent “Debbie and Friends” show. Interesting to note that even though I sent the Flickr link to only a handful of people, the page has been viewed 130 times on flickr as of this post’s writing. The hits came from link-sharing and viral marketing efforts by a few enthusiastic fans.

Sharing pictures after a gig is a great way to help build community with your fans and provide tools that enable them to share their excitement about your music with others.

You really outta be in pictures! More information can be found here.

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John J. Mahlmann, executive director of the National Association for Music Education, was recently quoted in the Washington Post as saying he is tired of having to defend the importance of music education. He often finds it necessary to rattle off statistics about how music improves the lives of people who study it. The sheer joy of playing and understanding music isn’t enough, he said.

So he has an unorthodox response to educators: “Why is math so high on the priority list?”

His answer: “Because we can test for it.”

The thing people forget, he said, is that musicians are assessed every time they play an instrument. “If you went to a concert and they only played 80 percent of the notes correctly, you wouldn’t like it,” he said. “Musicians strive for perfection. Lots of people don’t mind 80 percent on a math quiz.”

Here are some more “reasons” why music education matters, as collected and presented by Valerie Strauss of the Washington Post.

1. Schools with music programs have graduation rates of 90.2 percent, as compared with a 72.9 percent rate for schools without music education, according to a 2006 Harris Interactive poll of high school principals funded by the National Association for Music Education and International Music Products Association (NAMM). The poll also found that schools with music programs have attendance rates of 93.3 percent, compared with 84.9 percent for those that don’t.

2. In 2006, SAT takers with course work or experience in music performance scored 57 points higher on the verbal portion of the college entrance exam and 43 points higher on the math portion than did students with no such experience in the arts. Scores of those with course work in music appreciation were 62 points higher on the verbal and 41 points higher on the math, according to the College Board’s 2006 Profile of College-Bound Seniors National Report.

3. A November 2007 Harris poll found that 86 percent of college graduates had some music education when they were in school, compared with 65 percent for those who had not completed or completed only high school. Eighty-three percent of people earning $150,000 or more had a music education, the poll found.

For more “reasons,” there are many helpful resources such as, and

To me, the sheer joy of music making, for people from 0 to 100+, is reason enough! The rest is gravy!

How do you go from being thousands of miles away from your instructor in an online course, to several feet away from him onstage performing a show? Berkleemusic is the answer! Here’s Berkleemusic student Jeanine Guidry and her instructor, Dave Olsen’s story.

Berkleemusic business faculty, Dave Olsen was teaching Legal Aspects of the Music industry during the Spring 2007 semester. As Jeanine recalls, “During one weekly scheduled course chat, another student asked him if he played any instruments, and he said keyboards and a little bass,” Jeanine said. “I jokingly said he should come to Richmond next weekend because our band has two shows and because of high school graduations, we had no keyboards or bass. Well, turns out that Dave had to be in New York on Friday, and he just changed his plane ticket to stop in Richmond and played with us Saturday afternoon and late Sunday morning! It was an amazing weekend.”

Dave Olsen is also helping the band to reach one of its long-term goals. He was instrumental in signing the band Evanescence’s first sheet music publishing deal, is going to use some of his connections to help Offering publish one of its original songs.

“That brings me to one of the reasons I love Berkleemusic—the connections and contacts. If you invest yourself you can develop work/music relationships and even friendships that will last a long time,” Jeanine said.

There are lots of stories like this amongst the continuing education student body at Berkleemusic. It’s a vibrant learning community where professional connections that make a difference are made.