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Focus on What You Desire ~ Guest Blog by Madalyn Sklar

Posted in Articles, Back to the Woodshed! | 1 Comment »

Madalyn Sklar is the founder of GoGirlsMusic.com (‘Cuz Chicks Rock!), and an all-round cool gal with tons of music biz know-how and resources. Read her bio below to find more places where she shares her knowledge.

Focus On What You Desire
by Madalyn Sklar

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We all have dreams of what we want. Some of us want to be rich and famous rock stars while others would be content just making a decent living doing music. Our desires come in all shapes and sizes. But what typically lacks is taking the action necessary to make your dreams and desires come true.

I found this quote a long time ago and it says a lot…

“Remember, success in anything is all about focus, and if you focus on what’s critical, then you’ll get the results that you need to get right now.”

Focus. It’s one of the hardest things for us to do. We get caught up in every day life. And our families. And our work life. You know I can go on and on. But I won’t because you can focus, you just have to set your mind to it.

It’s September and the end of the year is fast approaching. Now is the time to focus and take action. What are your three most important goals you would like to accomplish by year-end? Jot it down. Every day you should look at your list. Focus on it. Take action on it. Do something every day! It will bring you one step closer to achieving what you want.

Another way to hyper focus on what you want is to remove the things that interrupt you like email, surfing the web, tv, your phone. It’s so easy to get distracted. If you can just remove all distractions for an hour and really focus I promise you will be amazed at your results.

So what are you waiting for? Your dreams and desires await you!

Copyright © 2008 Madalyn Sklar, IndieMusicCoach

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Madalyn Sklar is a music business coach & consultant, blogger, social networks expert and author. She founded IndieMusicCoach and has spent over 12 years working with a wide range of independent musicians all over the world. Her goal is to help indie artists achieve greater success in the music business by working smarter not harder. She is also the founder of GoGirlsMusic.com, the oldest and largest online community of indie women musicians, with a vision of bringing together and empowering musicians from around the world.

Madalyn is available for one-on-one consulting and coaching at affordable prices. Check out Indie Music Coach for more info.

Success Leaves Clues

Posted in A Day in the Life, Back to the Woodshed!, DIY Diva | No Comments »

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Success Leaves Clues
by Carla Lynne Hall

Excerpted from The DIY Guide to the Music Biz

So you want to be a rock star? Or perhaps you want to sell 5,000 copies of your CD? Or maybe you just want to pack the house for your next gig. “How do I do that?” you ask. In this life, there are no guarantees, but one way to become closer to your goals is to study how other successful musicians and performers got where they are. I’m not just talking about Behind the Music, although those shows are an education of their own. I mean studying the techniques that others have used to become successful.

In Anthony Robbins groundbreaking book Unlimited Power, he writes, “Success leaves clues. It means that if I see anyone in this world producing a result I desire, I can produce the same results if I’m willing to pay the price of time and effort. If you want to achieve success, all you need to do is find a way to model those who have already succeeded.”

This is a brilliant concept. Even if you tried, there is no way that you could really be a clone of anyone else. However, you can still learn skills from the best if you’re willing to put in the time. Be original, but you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

We live in a wonderful time where information is as close as our fingertips, thanks to the Internet. A visit to the Google search engine can lead you to new ideas to take you closer to your dreams of success. Reality shows such as American Idol and Making the Band give you a private (although biased) peek into the world of the platinum-plated music industry. If you’ve decided that you want to reach the top, then you have to do your research before you get there.

Musicians – Go Back to the Woodshed!

Posted in A Day in the Life, Back to the Woodshed! | No Comments »

Wood Shed
Let’s Go Back to the Woodshed!

As the summer air is already turning cool and brisk, most kids and parents are thinking “Back to School!”
Here at the Rock Star Life Lessons blog, I’m thinking about going “Back to the Woodshed”!

In the good old days of the frontier, homesteaders had to set aside time at their woodshed. In order to have heat for their homes during the winter, they would chop wood into logs, and stack them in a dry shed. As wood logs burn quickly, and electricity wasn’t available, there would be lots of chopping and stacking going on – surely a tedious job – for months before the cold set in. But when the air turned cold, and the snows came, you knew that your woodshed would be filled with dry logs, and that you’d have heat.

In musician speak, “Going to the woodshed”, also referred to as “shedding” meant that a musician was going into a period of self-imposed retreat to study, practice and learn. One musician’s period of shedding may have focused on one particular song, or set of songs, for an upcoming performance, while another musician’s time in the woodshed would be used to sharpen or refine their style, or improve a particular musical skillset. Regardless of the reason, going to the woodshed, or shedding, enables a musician to bring the heat to their performances.

I realize now that I also went into the woodshed this summer, as I found myself drawn to certain activities that required me to stretch my capabilities as a musician. If you asked what I did for my summer vacation, you might think I went to summer school, as I found myself learning and stretching, via:

* Jazz Piano Lessons
* Private Vocal Coaching
* Performance Workshops and DVDs with Tom Jackson
* Cabaret Performance Debut
* R&B Open Mic Debut
* Songwriting Circles
* Mentoring and hosting an aspiring singer/songwriter

I learned so much from these summer experiences, and I know that these experiences will take my musical and performance skills to the next level.

While the current economy has a lot of people feeling nervous, now is actually the best time to invest in yourself, and your skills. This month’s Rock Star Life Lessons blog will present a collection of blog posts, articles, and interviews that will enhance your woodshed experience. Some articles you may remember from the “Recession-Proof Musician” series, while other posts may be brand new. The common theme will be topics to inspire and motivate, which is the mission of this blog.

Please feel free to share your woodshed stories with me here in the comments section. I look forward to sharing in your musical growth experiences.

Carla

Photo Source: Celebrate Canada Blog [Nova Scotia’s wood-chopping John Brown (pictured) turned 79 this year!]

Overcoming Creative Jealousy

Posted in Articles, Back to the Woodshed! | 4 Comments »

Jealousy!

What’s green and felt all over? It’s Jealousy, that evil monster. Yep, folks, it’s the dark side of being an artist, and not very pretty. I guess we are all susceptible to it, though some times are worse than others. Some may disagree. but I rank jealousy with masturbation. Ninety percent will admit to it, and the other ten percent is lying. What I’m here today to discuss on my soapbox is not that it’s an evil thing, but that it’s normal. Of course, I’m not condoning the shredding of a rival diva’s costume minutes before she goes onstage (which has happened in real life to a friend). I’m only saying that when she gets on stage, looking totally fly, singing fierce, singing her ASS off, it’s normal to want to strangle her. And if she’s a bitch to boot, it’s even more difficult to be happy for her (”Gee, I don’t know why God decided to give me all this money this year. Isn’t it great??” – Yeah, right). Before I go on, I want to make it clear that I admire every musician that I’ve ever mentioned here in my blog, but I’d be lying if I said there hadn’t been moments during any of their performances that I thought, “Damn, that was good. I suck.” To be fair, maybe someone has thought that during one of my shows. Maybe not, but it’s still a fact of life for an artist.

Being an artist of any medium practically is an ongoing challenge. Commercial demands aside, as an artist you are constantly faced with a blank sheet of paper, canvas, or lump of clay. Sometimes you feel inspired. Sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you come up with roses, other times it’s manure. An artist is rarely happy with his/her work At least, not for long. You finish a project, and you can’t believe that you created it. The next day (or sooner), you wonder if you can ever do it again. Creating art, like dying, is something done alone.

The helplessness of an artist probably contributes to various addictions. When you add the demands of the marketplace to the equation, it can get ugly. We ARE our demons…Of course, I can still find the positive spin to all of this. When you see someone else kicking butt, especially someone you know (and usually like), listen to your heart. The jealousy and envy stem from wanting something they have. Deep down in your heart, you always know what you lack as an artist. When you watch someone who has it, it hurts. It’s WAY too easy to get stuck in “Oh, she slept with the producer”. Maybe she did, but I have yet to see ANYONE get ahead just because they knew “who to do”. It takes a lot of work to go forward. Besides, the producer probably made her dress up in a Wonder Woman costume. He may even have incriminating photos of the moment as well that she will forever worry about. Tell me that that’s not hard work!

But I digress. The trick, I think, is using that feeling to energize your own improvement. Personally, I find that watching someone who has something I need to improve upon makes me work for it even more. It can be painful, no doubt, to watch someone on stage have a seemingly flawless performance when you feel that your own stage presence lacks, due to nervousness. Well folks, one thing I learned is that there is NO magic involved to great performances. It’s really true that practice makes perfect. Whatever you want to improve, you can. You think you’re not connected, get out and meet people. You want to write better songs, put in the time. You want to know more about the business, read some books.

You know what I hate? People who go to the same seminars that I do, but ask the same question (or different versions of it) time after time. I just want to say, “You got your answer last month. Get on with it!” There comes a time in each life when you have to own up to what you need to do to make it happen. If you can’t or won’t do it, perhaps something else is meant for you. I say all that to say this: sometimes jealousy tells you what you need to do. Other times, it’s plain old envy. Just don’t let it rule your life. By focusing on others, you’ll lose track of your own growth. This year I challenge you. Work on ONE thing that will bring you closer to your goal. You know what it is. Just do it.

Excerpted from The DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Guide to the Music Biz by Carla Lynne Hall. Available at http://DIYGuide-MusicBiz.com