I found a new site today, LivingWorks.com, which offered a choice on its home page:
If you weren’t sure what you wanted to do in life, but you’re choosing to stay with your dead-end job, you click the “Sorry” button. If you did acknowledge that you had a passion that you wanted to pursue, you click the “Welcome” button.
So while I know what I want, I couldn’t resist the temptation to see what was behind the “Sorry” button. Well, lo and behold, it was this awesome, inspiring video by Gary Vaynerchuk of Wine Library fame, known as “Do What You Love (No Excuses!)” I met Gary a couple of years ago, and we also had an email exchange in which he wrote, “Be prepared to do what you love for at least a year before anyone even pays attention, and then you’ll crush it”. I never forgot that.
One of the main reasons I started doing more video blog posts was because of Gary’s now-famous wine tasting video blogs, and I’ll be damned if this video didn’t get me all hot and bothered about doing videos all over again. So, of course, I must share it with you.
Watch it to the end, and listen to what your heart tells you, okay??
Today we have a guest blog post from Andrew Hand, one of the smartest and sweetest musicians I know. His musical journey led him to NYC where we met, and now he’s enjoying life in Bozeman, Montana, teaching guitar lessons, and following the beat of his own drummer. Enjoy!
Teaching guitar lessons on the other side of the US…Indeed I wouldn’t believe it. See, I was living in New York City and trying to make connections there and get my music spread to a larger audience. I didn’t have any plans to leave the Big Apple, but life had some other things in store.
Let me just say that I’m where I am because I made choices, it’s not like life happened to me, I was creating a scenario of events that led me to make other choices…and so here I am in Montana…Long way from NYC.
I think the important point, and the reason that I’m writing this, is to share with my fellow musicians, and perhaps all readers; that there are always more opportunities around us than we recognize.
About six months after landing here in Bozeman, I started thinking that I should see about connecting to the music scene here and perhaps try to teach some of what I’d learned about music, songwriting, recording and such. After a few months of trying a few things, I started teaching guitar at the local music store. The first lesson I gave felt so good.
I’ve been teaching guitar for about four months now and have really enjoyed every student I’ve had. They have all been different and each has had their unique pace and style of learning, which has made me adapt some of my teaching and past notions about what people needed to learn first about guitar and music.
The reason I tell this brief tale is to share my realization that I am learning more from teaching than I am from when I’d just make teaching videos for my guitar teaching website. Seeing how people actually process this information in person has been enlightening. For some the eyes glaze over when we enter music theory land, and for others, an ah-ha moment happens.
I think the takeaway for me is that although I might be doing something other than 100% focussing on my music, I am able to keep involved with music and actually feel less burdened and stressed out about all I have to do to get myself out there. When a student wants to learn “Ring of Fire” or “Speak Now” by Taylor Swift, it gives me a reason to go and really look at these songs and see what’s making them tick.
Since beginning to teach (and for some time before) I’ve been working on a guitar teaching DVD. Because of my student interaction and getting to test things out, I find the product is becoming better and giving me new ideas. I thought I was done with it last week, but on reflecting, I felt that I had put too much information in and not enough ‘practical’ teaching. So I’m re-shooting the whole thing, and so far it’s getting better and better. Yet another bonus!
For me, what I’ve gotten done since starting to teach, was cover “All Apologies” by Nirvana, do cover video lessons for “Come Together” by the Beatles, and “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash. I’ve created chord charts/scale charts, PDF’s, set up websites and even performed with my students in our recital. It was fun to sing with these kids…
I have been trying to find an answer for the last year, and have met lots of internal resistance, stress, and a whole host of up and down swings. I’m not one to look at things as obstacles. I haven’t found an answer, other than what I feel to be right. And that is to continue going with the flow and trying to contribute value to others and pass on whatever I can. It’s the same approach that’s guided me in my songwriting and personal/business connections.
There are opportunities, so many in fact, that I have to try and best choose those to pursue, while still reminding myself that music is a part of my purpose here.
My hope is that this little posting has met those who needed to see it and been of service. My thought to you would be this: Listen to the little voice that nudges at you, saying ‘hey, maybe you should try this.’…and then do it. Especially if it’s something that you tell yourself you don’t want to do the next minute.
I’d love to hear from you, so please reach out and drop me a line.
My Very Best Wishes to You,
About Andrew Hand:
Andrew is a songwriter, guitarist, and singer with a passion for teaching and helping others to discover and bring out their musical voice. Having started his musical journey at 24, with absolutely no previous training or experience in music, Andrew has gone on to write, produce, and record some 300 songs, and continues to make music that speaks to the human condition and the things we face in life. More of Andrew’s music can be checked out on his personal site AndrewHand.com
Here’s my Make Music NY 2011 video. I’m singing Yoko Ono’s “Secret Piece” for the birds at Central Park. Make Music New York is an annual event where people celebrate the Summer Solstice (June 21st, the first day of summer) by singing all over New York City.
Since I showed up for the 5am sunrise singing, I was fortunate to meet Aaron Friedman, the founder of Make Music New York, so of course I had to interview him! I had known that he was one of the organizers, but he’s actually the FOUNDER of Make Music New York. So the early bird really does get the worm! 😉
Learn more about Make Music New York
I read a great blog post today on the Cyber PR Urban blog, “Learning How to Blog”, and was once again reminded of the other powerhouse maven at Ariel Publicity, Christina Duren. Christina is the General Manager of Ariel Publicity and Cyber PR, and somehow she keeps Ariel Hyatt, myself, and the rest of the team running smoothly.
Since joining the Ariel Publicity team in 2006, Christina Duren has risen up the through the ranks very rapidly from Account Executive to Director of Publicity to General Manager. Christina now manages the architecture of Cyber PR® campaigns, as well as the day-to-day dealings with artists, bloggers, podcasters and Internet radio station DJs. During her four years with the company Christina has had a hand in guiding over 1,200 Cyber PR® campaigns.
The St. Johns University graduate began her career in music as an intern at Island Def Jam where she spent a year in the Radio and Promotions/Publicity department. At IDJ she worked with music legends Mariah Carey, Rihanna and Ne-Yo. From there she landed her first real job at Shore Fire Media working on Publicity campaigns for The Roots, Norah Jones, Bruce Springsteen and The Heineken Red Star Soul Tour.
Having paid her dues at Island Def Jam and Shore Fire Media, Christina learned the ins and outs of the music business from the urban perspective, which helped her in co-founding Cyber PR® Urban, her own division of Ariel Publicity. Cyber PR® Urban, which includes full online PR outreach to hundreds of urban outlets including blogs, Internet radio stations, podcasts,video sites, and tastemaker portals and have helped bolster the careers of Outasight, American Idol Finalist Michael Lynche, and Alice Smith to name a few.
In addition to assisting in the strategy and implementation of each Cyber PR® campaign as General Manager, Christina also pens The Urban Plug a bi-monthly newsletter which gives tips, news, plus marketing and promotion advice to urban musicians and music industry professionals. Christina thinks the most rewarding part of her job is helping artists understand the importance of social media and being able to educate them on how to help themselves confidently take the reigns of their music careers and personal brands.
If you’re an urban artist wanting to take your career to the next level, check out Christina’s Cyber PR Urban Blog.
[One of the coolest things about working with Ariel Hyatt is having access to some of the brightest up and comers in the music biz, aka her interns!!! I am quite fortunate to have Miz Marissa Zaenger be my right hand and Community Coordinator this Spring 2011 semester. From the Chicago area, she graduates at the end of this year from Belmont University. She is smart as a whip, and teaching me how to delegate! Today, I proudly share a guest post of Marissa’s, which originally appeared on the Music Success in Nine Weeks blog]
Hey everyone! Guest blogger Marissa here. You may have seen me around on the Mastermind forum if you’re part of that crowd, but if not, I intern with Cyber PR and have Ariel and Carla as two pretty kick-butt bosses. I basically help manage artist campaigns, moderate the forum, and blog :]
Anyway, the Cyber PR office has seen some pretty exciting action this week. Ariel and Carla’s brand spankin’ new book, Musician’s Roadmap to Facebook and Twitter, is now available!! We’ve been processing book orders and shipping out like CRAZY. We had a big order come in for 20 books from Benji over at PledgeMusic, so we decided to have some fun and take pictures of ourselves packing the box. Check our hotness out.
This lovely lady is Chereen, and she’s from Holland. That’s far, yo! She’s super nice and works hard for Cyber PR!
Kyle’s another awesome intern and a native New Yorker. He handles the long train ride from Harlem to Brooklyn pretty well. Probably because he gets to crack jokes with me all day ;]
My sweetheart roomie Tym Moss hosts the fab Artists Exposed podcast, which celebrates its 100th episode!!
Artists Exposed features music and interviews of today’s top and rising stars in the LGBT community.
Tym will be celebrating this wonderful milestone for THREE episodes, and you can check them out on
Tym’s new site (currently under construction) at Artists Exposed
Hey, tonight (March 19, 2011) is the “super moon”. The moon is the closest to the earth as it will be this year, 221,565 miles (356,575 kilometers) away. The full moon tonight will appear 14% larger and 30% brighter than usual. “Arrrrrooooooooo”
Guest post and painting by artist Shelagh Duffett:
Still can’t believe that this book is here! The Musician’s Roadmap to Facebook and Twitter by me and Ariel Hyatt is chock-full on info on social media strategies that you can apply TODAY!
Here’s one of our promo videos from Ariel’s Sound Advice TV:
Learn more about the book at The Musician’s Roadmap to Facebook & Twitter
Wow! Can’t believe it’s here! The first printing of The Musician’s Roadmap to Facebook and Twitter: Your Complete Guide to Getting Liked, Followed and Heard by me and Ariel Hyatt is here! It’s really here!
Our first batch of printed books has arrived, and we’re getting it out to the early adopter musicians who bought the first available copies our book at TAXI Road Rally last November.
We’re keeping our eyes peeled for Facebook’s updates, and we’ll revise as needed. The book will soon be available for online purchase, as well as at lectures that Ariel and I will be giving, and we’re so excited!!!
Congratulations to Marble Collegiate Community Choir for winning Best Large Choir and Best Overall Winner AGAIN of the region during Verizon’s How Sweet the Sound competition! Led by Director, Djore Nance, Marble took home the regional medals (and $20,000!) for their version of “It is Well (with My Soul)”
Held last night in Newark, NJ’s Prudential Center, How Sweet the Sound travels to 14 cities to seek this year’s Best Church Choir in America. The hosts were CeCe Winans and Donald Lawrence. The esteemed judges were Marvin Sapp, Kurt Carr, and Fred Hammond.
I was a guest of my friend Geno who’s in the choir, and fortunate to spend the whole day with them as they rehearsed and sang. And sang. And SAAANG! It was an awesome experience to share their special day with them. I even got pulled into warming up with them, and it was lovely to be surrounded by all these strong gospel voices. When they won, it was like I won too!
The next day, I spent all day on YouTube, searching out songs that I had heard the night before, as well as seeking new songs. I’ve since loaded my iPod with tons of new gospel songs, and I’m enjoying immersing myself in a musical form that I didn’t grow up with. But hey, it’s never too late!
Marble Collegiate Community Gospel Choir singing “It is Well (with My Soul)” and winning Regional Awards at Verizon’s How Sweet the Sound event on Sept 22, 2010