Twitter Tips for Musicians

Do you ever wonder how to market yourself as a musician by using a site like twitter? Because I wondered for a very long time.

So here’s how to use Twitter to your advantage.

Twitter is great for a couple reasons:

1. Everything you tweet (a tweet is basically like a little status update) is searchable. That means that Google will find your tweets if you include keywords in them (see the earlier post about using keywords if you don’t know what they are!).

2. Twitter is a constant gigantic conversation. If you look in the right places, you can meet lots of interesting people who could really help you down the road. (That being said, if you don’t look in the right places, you’ll find a lot of spam and people who really don’t care about what you’re doing.)

Some extra basics for new twitter users:

  • A tweet can be many things.
  • Everyone can see any of your tweets.
  • If you click reply, then you communicate with someone else by mentioning them in your tweet so that they see it. This doesn’t stop anyone else from seeing it.
  • When you click retweet (two overlapping arrows under a tweet), this basically just repeats what someone else tweeted as your own tweet.

The basic point of twitter is to gain followers and interact with them. You have to be constantly sending out tweets and “replying” to other people’s tweets. If you like someone else’s tweet, then you can “retweet” it out to the twitter world form you account.

How do you get followers? Well, there are lots of ways to get followers. Like all social media, what it comes down to is making sure you direct people to and from your twitter account. So, for example, if you have an email newsletter, make sure you have a link to your twitter account in the letter. If you have a website, make sure you have a link to your website on your twitter profile.

The only other sure way of gaining followers is by following people in the first place. There are some tricks to doing this effectively, however. I would highly discourage you from going out on twitter and following tons of random people for no reason.

Here’s a step by step. We’ll use the fictional example of jazz pianist John Sailor, who lives in New York, NY:

1. Make sure your profile description is concise and to the point. John’s will say: “Jazz pianist from New York, NY.”

2. Search for people with whom you have a common interest. John will search for keywords like “jazz pianist,” “new york jazz musician.” When you’re sorting through people, click on people’s names to make sure they use twitter frequently and aren’t spammers. Follow them.

3. Make sure to engage with anyone who tweets to you by replying to them and retweeting their tweets.

4. After a few days, you will need to unfollow the people who didn’t follow him back. Go to tweepi.com and sign in using the free version. You will click “flush.” This will allow you to unfollow people.

5. Follow back any people who follow you, after you make sure they’re not spammers, that is.

5. Repeat steps 1-5 and make sure you continue to tweet regularly!

Important extra tips:

  • If you sign up for a Hootsuite account, you can schedule lots of tweets in advance so that you don’t have to be on twitter quite as much.
  • Try changing your profile description every once in a while. This might help you attract new followers. For example, maybe John grew up in New Haven, Connecticut. He should put this in his description before he goes onto twitter and follows people from New Haven.

If you enjoyed reading this post, please go to the top right of the home page and click “follow.” Much more to come!

What Rachmaninov Can Teach Us About Improvisation

Note that Kissin is not a jazz pianist. Rachmaninov is not a jazz composer. But check out the first piano arpeggio in this movement of the piece. I once asked my room mate, a classical pianist, to try to improvise for me. I noticed something very intriguing. He already sounded better than a lot of jazz pianists I know just because he had such a vast classical vocabulary. He took the riffs and arpegios, etc. that he knew from classical music and applied them over chords. What jazz musicians often don’t realize is that they can do this too! There’s an infinite world out there of beautiful material that can be used. This arpegio is a great example of such an instance. It is very different from the typical jazz arpegio which tends to just arpegiate a chord, but Rachmaninov adds in extra notes for color and effect. Why not do the same jazzers?

Brad Mehldau: Eloquence With Words

Brad Mehldau happens to be one of my favorite musicians. The biggest reason for this is that he is far from just a jazz pianist. This becomes apparent when reading the articles he has posted on his website. His ability to emote with his music is supplemented by his articulate use of words. Brad is a great example of an artist whose music comes from more than just exercises and practice. His music comes from his personality, stories, etc. His latest album, “Highway Rider,” actually features a story that he wrote to go along with the music. Here is a link to a great article he wrote on the wisdom that is often conveyed in music and where it comes from. (you can find links to many of his other articles here as well).

http://bradmehldau.com/writing/papers/september_2011.html

On another note, Brad Mehldau has a new trio album coming out tomorrow!!! —— http://bradmehldau.com/music/ode/index.html

Social Media for Musicians: The Importance of Keywords

Picture this. You’re a jazz saxophone player named Bill Chaplain and you’re wondering just how prominent you are on Google. So you search your name. Turns out, there’s another Bill Chaplain who’s a killer visual artist. He dominates the search results, and all the images in “google images” are of him and his art work. This will not do…

Then you search for “jazz saxophone new york city” just to see if you come up. Instead, you find all of the other crazy good saxophonists in NYC. Once again, looks like you need some work there, Bill.

OK. So how do we solve this problem? One answer. Keywords.

In every single blog post I write, you will notice a wealth of tags that go along with it. For example, I tagged this post with “marketing for musicians,” “social media” “music business tips,” and here’s the best part, “noah kellman.” Give google a couple of weeks, and this post will show up when you search my name.

Let’s get down to business. Here’s what you need to know:

In order to show up in google, you will need to have a lot of content on the internet, and you will have to link it all to yourself with keywords. Here’s a list of steps that will get you started and on your way to being a search results master:

  1. Write a list of keywords with which you would like to be associated. (Don’t just write “Britney Spears” because everyone likes her. There are already millions of people out there who do this, so it won’t work. And besides, remember the old phrase “quality over quantity?”
  2. Go to Flickr.com and create an account. Upload tons of photos of yourself and tag them with your keywords.
  3. Make a blog on wordpress.com. You can start by posting these pictures on the blog. If you like writing, then write on your blog! Otherwise, you can always post videos from shows, interviews, pictures, updates, news, etc. Your fans will love it. The key here is to make sure that:
  • The title of each post includes some keywords.
  • Your first sentence includes keywords.
  • You put your keywords in the post tags.

From now on, anytime you post anything on the internet, make sure that you include your keywords in any of the text describing it and use tags! This will help google find you and everything associated with you.

Good luck!

If you enjoyed reading this post, please go to the top right of the page and click “follow.” There will be much more to come!

Getting Rid of Arm Pain: You Are An Athlete

You are an athlete.

Imagine that you are a professional soccer player. What steps would you take to make sure you played consistently at your prime without injury? You’d make sure your body was in shape. In order to have the right fuel for your body, you would monitor what you ate and make sure to eat healthily. To prevent injury, you would warm up before every single work out or game. You would also stretch before and after you played religiously. Part of your maintaining your health would likely include taking vitamins and supplements to ensure that your body had what it needed to be strong and replenish itself. If you wanted to build muscle and recover from training, you would want to sleep as much as possible. You would take breaks in between exercises and you would take days off so as not to overdo it. If you didn’t take all of these steps? You would get injured. You would be tired. You would not be primed to heal. If you didn’t warm up, you might pull a muscle. If you didn’t stretch after a workout, you would be sore. If you didn’t take time off, you would overdo it and injure yourself.

What do musicians do? We use our arms for hours on end. To be at our prime, we not only need to prepare physically, but mentally. We must have our body primed correctly for this type of muscle use, and we must take certain precautions to avoid injury, just like an athlete.

Get the point? If you are a musician, then YOU ARE AN ATHLETE.