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Going Digital: The New Ways to Earn as a Musician

Last year, it was estimated that a six-month shutdown would cost the music industry more than $10 billion in sponsorships. The pandemic has taken from musicians their very lifeblood: crowds. But in the wake of empty concert halls and vacant bar stools, new avenues of revenue have emerged. If you’re still determined to earn as a musician then it’s time to take some notes.
Building Your Brand
For modern musicians, the digital space is where you live and eat. Learning to navigate social channels and distribute on streaming platforms is key to finding listeners but also for building your brand. With minimal cost and effort, musicians can create a digital presence for themselves that can be used as a first point of contact for agents, publishers, labels and fans. Most artists like to have a central hub to link all their profiles such as LinkTree or a website built through one of the many custom site building tools.
If you’re serious about turning your brand into a business, you should also look into forming a limited liability company (LLC). Forming a registered company is key for musicians who want to save on taxes, cut down on paperwork, and move forward with reduced liability from debt. Depending on where you’re located, the regulations differ. Using a formation service can help you to navigate these and save on hefty lawyer costs - the LLC cost NY is as little as $49 with a site like ZenBusiness.
Endorsement Deals
Once upon a time, endorsement deals were reserved only for the biggest of artists but, since independent music is growing so quickly, companies are more frequently looking to sign young stars early in their careers or to sell their products via micro-influence. That means even for unsigned musicians, there is the possibility of earning through partnerships with companies. To land an endorsement deal, you need to first show that you’re a viable commercial investment for their organization. Yes, your Instagram numbers matter but so does your style, your sound and your potential.
Involving yourself with a company is no small undertaking and getting the attention of companies will require the building of a one-sheet. This online document contains your bio, genre, links and images. Then you’ll have to network via social channels to get the attention of company representatives. If you can get to the deal stage, make sure to do your research or work with a music manager to help iron out administrative processes, promotional material and fair splits.
Publishing Deals
For some artists, the dream is a paid contract songwriting for a major publishing company. A publishing deal refers to the assignment of some ownership of your songs to a company in exchange for a share of the royalties generated. This can represent a great deal for the songwriter because although you may be able to write a true zinger, you may not be so well equipped at marketing, distributing or even performing the track. These deals can provide lucrative income and will help link you to major players in the industry.
The flip side to many publishing deals is that the draw and demo budgets work like loans. This means that the cost of paying for the recording is recouped through royalties by the publisher. Your track will have to find some success in order for you to actually earn from it. Music software company Output notes it’s a good idea to acquaint yourself with the different types of deals commonly practiced in the industry.
The above represents just a few ways to earn without ever stepping foot on a stage. Remember, the digital space has all but eliminated the constraints of physical distance - if you can work the virtual crowd, you’ll always have an audience with influential people working in the field.
Are you in the New York area looking to improve your instrumental abilities? Sign up and receive professional instruction at www.millerschoolofmusic.net.
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Article by Charles Carpenter


Can Music Theory Improve Practical Skill?

Thursday, February 18, 2021 by George Miller | Uncategorized

Let's be honest, most of us picked up an instrument because it seemed fun, and any phrase with the word theory in it was definitely not a part of the plan. 
 
Music theory sounds boring, rather dry, and looks almost mathematical, which makes us question its point altogether—why does music theory even exist? But turns out it's all sort of essential. 
 

The Link Between Theory and Music 

The simplest way to understand the connection between theory and music is by comparing it to language and speech. We can all mimic a word or a sentence from a foreign language, but you can only put in the expressions and enunciate on the right syllables if you understand the words being said. That way, you're not just speaking; you're also communicating. 
 
It’s exactly the same with music. If you play an instrument without understanding how each note works, it’s basically just a well-memorized, mimicked practice. Knowing music theory will help you feel the music from beneath the surface, enhancing your performance's overall tone and delivery. 
 

Can Music Theory Help You Become A Better Musician?

Most people don’t prefer studying music theory because, initially, practicing an instrument is pretty overwhelming. Adding nerdy music theory to the mix doesn't sound like a great idea. But once you’ve mastered the basics, studying music theory can do you good; it’ll help you make sense of the music you’re playing. 
 
But it also does come down to your long-term goals. If you just want to play a few of your favorite songs for fun, you don't really need to understand music theory. But if you want to play like a pro and want to compose your own music, knowing music theory can change your entire experience with an instrument and help you get the best out of it. 
 

Music Theory Allows You to Be Versatile 

If you're hanging out with other players, it's not always easy to just see their hand movements and follow-through. It may be simple if you're using the same instrument, but it won't help you with the vast range of instruments across a band.
 
For instance, if you play the guitar and watch a bassist, you can probably mimic the simple chords by just watching, but you'll get lost pretty quickly if they're a bit more advanced. 
 
Similarly, you could be around a pianist or a harmonica player, and none of them will tell you where to place your fingers on a fretboard; they don't know your instrument, so the only way to communicate is through musical terms, i.e., chords, progression, and so on. 
 
So, knowing music theory will definitely help you be more competent in a band setting. 
 
 
 
 
Want to sound like you really know what you’re doing? Sign up for music lessons at Miller School of Music in Rochester, NY. We offer bass and guitar lessons to teach technique, theory, chords, rhythms, and more. 
 
Check out our instructional videos to learn about our guitar ensemble courseGive us a call today
 
 

Why Learning The Guitar Is Good For Brain Development

Tuesday, February 16, 2021 by George Miller | Uncategorized



Have you ever considered picking up the guitar? Well, now we have scientific evidence to motivate you. Most people start learning the guitar early on, sometimes as a hobby, and sometimes just because it makes you look pretty cool. 
 
But there’s more to it than just adding to your personal appeal. It can help you feel more positive, can be a major stress buster, and boost your confidence. For many, it also becomes an outlet for emotions that could otherwise become overwhelming. 
 
Additionally, in a study, about 85% of parents of children aged between 7-17 years reported that music lessons improved their children's problem solving, time management, and prioritization skills. Here’s how learning the guitar can aid your brain development: 
 

Boost Your Brain’s Grey and White Matter

study conducted at Harvard in 2003 by Dr. Schlaug discovered larger grey matter in professional adult musicians' brains compared to regular people. The study deduced that musical training early on can seriously impact the brain's structure, improving auditory and motor skills. All the extra grey matter is what helps people stay sane in their old age. 
 
Other studies also show an increase in the white matter within the brain. This helps to improve the inner functions of the brain by strengthening and building connections inside. These improved connections then help you adapt to changes throughout your life. 
 

Every Guitar Lesson Is A Party Inside Your Brain

If you've ever picked up the guitar, you know it requires focus and a whole lot of concentration. Even the softest tunes require optimal attention. 
 
This is because when you play the guitar, your entire brain is stimulated; different regions of the brain and various cognitive functions come into action, activating the visual, auditory, and motor regions. 
 
Moreover, the increased activity in the corpus callosum—bridge between the creative right and rational left side of your brain—reboots your brain in such a way over time that you get quick access to the genius area on the left. This leads to improved memory and better problem-solving skills. 
 

Should You Start Taking Guitar Lessons?

Practicing the guitar is cool, fun and it's an easy workout for your brain. And when it comes to brain development, the sooner you start, the better results you’re likely to get. 
 
So, don’t wait! Get in touch with us at Miller School of Music. We offer music lessons in Rochester, NY. You can take live or remote lessons to learn bass or guitar
 
Check out our instructional videos to learn more about our guitar ensemble course
 
 

Buying Your First Guitar: What You Need to Know

Thursday, January 28, 2021 by George Miller | Uncategorized

Are you an aspiring guitarist, just waiting to get started on your musical journey? It’s time to buy your first real six-string and turn your dream into a reality.

Before you buy your first ever guitar, though, here are a few tips to keep in mind. 

Avoid Buying a Used Instrument

As a beginner guitarist, you may have considered buying a secondhand or a used guitar to start off with. However, this isn’t recommended. 

It’s best that you purchase a new instrument, even when you’re buying your first ever guitar. Used instruments may cost less and seem easier to get (for e.g., you buy it off a friend), but using a secondhand guitar can be a bit of a gamble. Since you’re an absolute beginner, you won’t quite know what to look for in a used instrument. The guitar may look perfectly fine, but there may be several finer details you won’t be able to identify or assess at this stage. 

It takes considerable knowledge and experience to be able to tell if a secondhand guitar is good or not. Getting one is okay if you have an experienced guitarist helping you out, but otherwise, stick to a new instrument.

Don’t Blow All Your Budget 

Getting a new instrument doesn’t mean that you end up spending way more than you need to on your first guitar. Chances are, the more expensive an instrument is, the better quality it’ll provide. It can seem tempting to get an expensive guitar over a more affordable one because you want your journey to start with the best equipment.

Remember, you’re still a beginner at this point. You don’t need the most expensive piece of equipment to start playing the guitar. You can also find suitable guitar options from the instruments closer to your budget range that will be perfect for a beginner. Once you continue learning how to play the guitar and get better at it, you’ll also need certain guitar accessories to up your game and achieve a better sound. It’s best to allocate your budget accordingly and stick to guitars within a reasonable range when shopping for your first six-string. 

 

Don’t Buy Online

Another thing you need to remember when buying your first guitar is that you need to buy it in person. Sure, you can browse different options at an online store to get an idea, but when it comes to making the actual purchase, you should visit the store personally.

Even if you aren’t yet experienced in handling or operating guitars, it’s worth checking out the instrument up-close. When you buy it from a (physical) music store, you get to see exactly how it feels in your hands. You can also inspect it closely and get a better look at the instrument before buying it.

Get private guitar lessons from an experienced instructor to kick-start your musical journey. At Miller School of Music in Rochester, NY, we offer both live as well as remote guitar lessons for all age levels and skillsets. Whether you’re a beginner or need a refresher course, we’ve got something for you.

Sign up for our guitar classes today!