Continued: Published Articles

Do this One Thing to Improve Your Gigs!

“Video killed the radio star” if you remember this song then you will understand how MTV and other such shows changed the way people “see” and listen to music. It has evolved into a visual art as much as something for auditory pleasure.

Being a member of a number of professional music groups online I receive a lot of personal messages from singers wanting to know how I sustained a successful 20 year career.

They usually ask me how they can improve their own music careers and increase the number of gigs that they’re playing and other such career questions.

I will go and check out their videos and/or pictures of them performing to see what they are currently doing and what can be improved. The first thing that usually stands out is the lack of “image” or attention put into the way they look while on stage. I know right away that their audience is not drawn in visually right from the start.

You will not see other successful artists performing on stage with no thought put into what they are wearing and or how they look to their audience. Every part of their image is planned and crafted from hair to makeup to the way they dress. It is an entire package. It is part of the music business.

When you think about certain bands, an image is usually evoked even before the music. Examples include the artists: KISS, Judas Priest, Alice Cooper, Pink, and Madonna too name a few. 

Start by asking “What do you want to tell your audience about your music when they first “see” you?”   Your job as a performer is to grab your audiences attention. Then, once you’ve got their attention back it up with awesome music. You will soon be gaining a lot of respect because your “look” will tell them what they can expect from your music. 

A quote from Pat Pattison – Writing Better Lyrics

“Show before you tell. Showing makes the telling more powerful because your senses and your mind are both engaged.”

Yes, we are musicians and can overlook image and get straight to the quality of the musicianship. If it’s great music then we don’t care what the musicians are wearing. I am telling you that most people sitting in your audience are not going to be musicians and judgments are made right away about how they “see” you and your level of success.

Show them how amazing you truly are and then give them a performance they won’t forget!  Most importantly keep on making awesome music!

Lisa Leitl

Overcoming Resistance

by, Lisa Leitl

Everyday, I look into my room – the  one where I have my guitars, amplifiers, and my songwriting notebook serving as furniture.

Here is where it all begins . . . the writing, the practice, the playing and of course, Resistance.  I can come up with a million reasons why I shouldn’t step in there right now and begin.

This is the moment of truth. How badly do I want to improve? Can I face another day in front of a blank sheet of paper? I have no idea what I’m doing and or if I can even get one word out and through my pen. This isn’t just once in a while, it is a daily war. It’s the fight against the two parts of me. There is one who is wanting to put off practice and writing for another hour or maybe even another day. Then there is the other side of me, the one that knows the true battle is in the starting.  Just a simple act of getting in the room and sitting in the chair. That’s the hard part. That is the difference maker between the Lisa who will be average and the Lisa who will excel.

I wish that I could tell you that I jump up out of bed ready and raring to hit the music!  I would love to proclaim that I am excited about what will come out today or how well my practice will go.  These, however, are the rare moments.  For me most of the time it is a tug of war between Avoidance and Getting Started.

Here’s the great part of all of this.  There is something that keeps me coming back day after day.

It is the knowing.

Yes, it’s the knowing I have overcome this before. I have experience on my side. Through constant repetition and ritual, I know that if I just sit and pick up my guitar, things will start to flow. Before I know it, the all-too-familiar feelings of an aching wrist and sore back are my cues that I am putting in my work. I have no idea how much time has gone by or if what I wrote today will turn into a song or stay in the “idea” file.  It matters not.  I do know however that I did the work.  I worked on my craft for another day.  I can walk out of the room knowing that I overcame, at least for today, the resistance battle.

I won’t think about the future. I am fully present, guitar in hand.  Tomorrow will come soon enough.

Remember to enjoy journey!

I am fortunate to be able to spend a lot of my day creating music, new business ideas and ways to help others. I also belong to a number of professional music groups which I thoroughly enjoy participating in.

One thing I have noticed which permeates the groups is this frantic energy that revolves around social media and business strategy. Everyone is so preoccupied with Twitter followers, YouTube videos and a seemingly endless list of others. It feels many individuals may have forgotten, or maybe it just doesn’t come up in those online groups often enough, the primary drive for participating in the business part of the music industry. Why are you doing this to begin with? What is the driving force? Is it to gain more followers? Is it to have more likes? Gain just the right connection? There seems to be a lot of frustration and anxiety mixed in with some deep disappointment.

I want to create an opening and a conversation that is all about that “little kid”. The one that first sang in the choir, picked up a guitar or played the drums. You know that little version of you that got lost for hours in playing your instrument and singing along with the radio.

I believe that if we go to that place everyday we will rediscover our true heart and soul. We will come to realize that chasing an end goal isn’t what is most important. The process is what really keeps us truly engaged. It is the daily challenge of getting up and practicing, improving and moving forward with our music. It’s the sitting and staring at a blank sheet of paper before we commit to writing down the first word of a new song that motivates us. This is at the heart of who we are as artists.

I encourage all of us to take a moment everyday just to remind ourselves of this incredible musical journey we are living. For that is the fuel necessary to keep the plan moving forward.

What are your thoughts? I would love to hear from you!

Lisa Leitl