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New Video Piano Lesson On Major Piano Chord Variations 

Here's a new video I just shot for the online piano instruction site It features some cool way to decorate major chords using the 9th. The basic idea behind this piano lesson is to give a player some new ideas when they see basic piano chords in a chord chart. 

Instead of just playing triads the whole time there are lots of simple ways of creating variations. This provides some different textures and definitely cooler sounds than the plain old triad approach.

You can add the…Read more

Android Phone for Musicians? 

Yesterday I traded my Blackberry in for a Google Android phone. It’s a little hard to believe, even for me. I loved my Blackberry, and got some pretty extensive use out of it. I was hearing great things about Android, particularly for musicians, and I was ready to make the leap.

To be honest the jury’s still out on whether or not the Android is for me – I plan to give it 30 days, and swap my Android for my Blackberry if I don’t find it useful. I want to make sure that I’m not going to be more distracted…Read more

Cool Technology Tips for the Serious Practicing Musician #1 

In my last post I talked about the dangers of too much technology.  In the spirit of fairness and alternative viewpoints I'd like to talk about some ways technology can help us as musicians as well. Technology can be an amazing gift for practicing musicians if used the right way. It seems like every day, another cool, unique tool is hitting the market for musicians to use. Today, I am talking specifically about tools that help musicians practice. Technology used in connection with disciplined practice…Read more

Turn Off Your Crackberry and Create Something! 

Today we get so caught up in technology that we forget how important creativity is to what we do. For many people the barrage of email, Facebook messages, Twitter, text messages, and other types of electronic communications have taken over their lives. It’s getting harder and harder to find that uninterrupted time to do good creative work like practicing your instrument, writing songs, making art, and even just living a healthy life. Being accessible 24 hours a day and constantly being distracted by…Read more

Guest Post: Increase Your Music Teaching Business 

Today, I published another guest post over at Music Teacher's Helper: "Online Tools to increase Your Music Teaching Business". I discuss some online tools you may not know about that will increase your student base, solidify your rep, and expand your reach as a teacher.

For readers of my blog
, consider the info I presented a great way to extend your branding of yourself as a teacher. Using mentoring advice and some other techniques listed here on my site, you can build a global power house studio…Read more

Musicians - How to Make Your Website More Marketable 

 Musicians are often folks on a low to no-budget plan when it comes to marketing. Plenty of people would rather craft a website themselves or have a  friend do it for free than pay a webmaster a few hundred bucks or more to make one. While I have no argument whatsoever against saving money,  having a website sufficient to meet the needs of your product is absolutely essential to moving forward in your career.

 In 2010, the top two income streams for independent recording artists comes from record sales and…Read more

Musicians Looking to Relocate – Go Where the Money Is! 

Plenty of people are working on starting a music career by moving to bigger music towns – Los Angeles, New York, Nashville, Chicago and Austin, to name a few.

There are also many musicians looking for music career advice, who are living in small towns and getting ready to relocate to a town with a thriving music community – or at least, it seems like the town is a musical metro.

Here’s a thought – maybe moving to a larger town with a “great” music scene isn’t going to help your career. In fact, if you’re…Read more

Who Influences Your Music Career? 

I’ve always been a huge basketball fan and see lots of parallels between professional basketball and professional music. So, it was with great interest that I tuned in to watch Lebron James announce “The Decision” on Wednesday night. I wanted to see how Lebron navigated his basketball career choice. Could I apply anything from the situation to my music career?

For over two years leading up to this night the media had obsessed over which team Lebron would sign with. Thousands of articles and…Read more

Letting Your Audition Etiquette Slip? Maybe That’s Why You’re Not Getting Gigs. (Part One) 

Auditions are a little nerve-wracking for all of us. Not only are you expected to show your talents and abilities, but you’re thrust into a situation where you’re dealing with the egos and attitudes of other musicians. If you can make it through the audition and make it into the band, you might have one of the best musical experiences of your life – or, you might find yourself turned away, or worse , not called back.

There’s also a HUGE difference between your run-of-the-mill band audition, and those…Read more

Steve Nixon's Interview With Jeremy Baum (Keyboardist For Shemekia Copeland) 

I'm excited to share with you my recent interview with keyboard player Jeremy Baum.
Jeremy is currently the full time keyboard player for Grammy Nominated blues singer
Shemekia Copeland.

Jeremy and I first met on a gig in Atlantic City. I heard one solo of his and I knew
immediately he had something special! We developed a friendship backstage after the
gig and we’ve been friends ever since.

Over the years Jeremy has done freelance work for many different artists, touring and/
or recording with…Read more

Blast to the Top Using Your Own Music Distribution 

We’ve been talking about how the way music was once produced and distributed is quickly becoming obsolete. As I mentioned before, you don’t need a record company to distribute your music or help you make a living.

That being said, if you don’t have a record label and you want to do everything yourself, it’s going to be up to you to promote your own music and sell your records. These days, lugging a stack of CDs and other merch to your show just isn’t enough. There are some intuitive, affordable solutions…Read more

How Do I Get A Record Deal? 

I  received an email from a reader a couple days ago asking my advice on how to get a record deal in 2010.  I know that many of you have the same question so I'll post my response.  I have changed the first name just to protect the reader's privacy.

Hi Suzanne,
   I have to be honest with you.  Getting a record deal is getting harder and harder these days. Record deals are no longer what they used to be. As a result of illegal downloading of music the record companies have really lost a large hold of…Read more

A Gig Question That Most People Forget To Ask 

     So, you've been doing a great job of meeting other musicians.  Your reputation as a musician is spreading and your musical "brand" is growing.  Finally, some calls are starting to roll in.  Band Leader X, who has seen your regularly working rock act perform many times, calls you on a Tuesday.  In a real casual voice asks,  "Hey, you free for a duo gig on Saturday night?"  You are free and could definitely use the $225 bucks because rent is due in 4 days.  You reply, "Yeah, I'm free.  Tell me where and…Read more

How To Supercharge Your Band's Bookings 

The following is a guest post by Joe Lilly. Joe is a professional internet marketer and guitar player based in Las Vegas. You can read more of Joe's excellent writing here

Getting More Gigs That Pay More

It's a common problem with local bands - you have a great press kit, a good demo and a great look. You have a decent following. But for some reasons the bar owners and booking guys aren't following up and don't answer your calls. You're stuck playing the same Irish pubs night…Read more

Steve Nixon's Interview With Marty Sammon (Keyboardist For Buddy Guy) 

I'm excited to share with you my recent interview with good friend Marty Sammon. If you don't know of Marty yet you need to!

Marty is truly a phenomenal blues keyboardist. He has toured the world many times over as the current keyboard player for blues superstar Buddy Guy.   He's also worked with a plethora of famous names in both blues and the rock world appearing with such artists as Eric Clapton and Carlos Santana (just to name a few).

It is to be note that you don't get opportunities like this by…Read more

Your Reputation As a Musician 

Musical Utopia minus 1

I just finished hosting a jazz jam session at my place in Chicago. It really was a lot of fun and almost an entirely positive situation. It was the type of jam where everybody was eager to play, learn, and to share their musical knowledge. This truly creates a wonderful environment to create music in. It's a rare experience for me these days. There was just one slight exception though to my "Musical Utopia". The drummer never showed up! He had committed and confirmed but was…Read more

How to Increase Your Band's Bookings (How to Influence Club Owners) 

 Here are some really important and often times overlooked concepts to keep in mind when dealing with club owners.  When applied properly your band bookings will great increase.
Booking Considerations

1. On a scale of 1-10 how would your rate the quality/professionalism of your promotional material? (if it's not a 9 or above then it needs to be)

2.How is your press kit? Are your recordings tight? Do you have nice pictures? Is your bio well constructed?...etc. etc.

3. Do you have really great and…Read more

Facebook for Musicians and Using Your Own Website 

Facebook is a fantastic tool for certain purposes as musician. There are lots of personal and business reasons to use it as a social network. It should by no means though be your only forms of communicating to your fans.  Make sure you're advertising your announcements and shows on your band's website as well. If you don't have one.....get one!

Myspace (which is becoming more and more irrelevent) has taught us that if you invest all you time in building a community of fans on someone else's network,…Read more

Concepts For Creating a Compelling Musician's Bio 

Every professional or aspiring professional musician needs a bio. Your personal bio is your way of introducing yourself to both fans and music industry types in a way that puts your best foot forward.  Here are some very important concepts to keep in mind as you craft your own bio.

Know Your Audience

Before you begin your bio make sure you have a clear idea of who your audience is your writing to. What details will the people who are interested in your music and your business want to know about you?…Read more

Hammond B-3 Drawbar Tips For Piano Players 

Many piano players who start playing Hammond B-3 Organ find themselves intimidated by the concept of drawbars. Piano players are used to creating tone from their hands, wrists, fingers, and the way they use their body to strike the piano. In the beginning, manipulating tone with levers and buttons can just feel strange. Here are a couple approach concepts that can really help you start your own map of the the "B-3"!

1. First, just memorize the general sound/feel of 4 different drawbar settings.…Read more

How To Develop and Use a Presskit  

       So you’re finally getting good at your instrument and you have the equipment and the music to follow. Maybe you have gigs and places to play at. What do you do to get to the next step? How do you now use all of the time that you have put into your art and start climbing up the music industry ladder? What is one of the easiest things you can do to start getting better music business connections today? Enter the 21st century press kit....

What is a Press Kit and Why You Should Have One.

You’ve…Read more

Creating the Perfect Practice Space 

What does your practice space look like?  I'm referring to the space, room, or area that you sit down and practice your instrument. Is it messy or is it clean? Does it have art hanging on the walls and various other furnishments that inspire? Is it bland and detrimental for you to succeed in efficient practicing?

For a practice space to work for you, to allow you to be the most efficient musician when it comes to practicing, it has to be clean and void of all distraction such as clutter and garbage. One…Read more