A blog about songwriting and about the songwriter Luigi Cappel

Posts tagged ‘music education’

Pitching your songs

As per my previous blog, I have signed up with the Berklee College of Music and start my first paper on Monday. Looking through their website, a DIY orientation visit, I found an excellent blog by Eric Beall about music publishing and marketing, which I found inspiring. I consequently ordered a copy of his book Making Music Make Money from Amazon.

I looked through several papers and decided to take Eric’s paper Music Publishing 101 first. My reasoning was two-fold. First, an area I struggle with the most is getting my music to a publisher or A&R person, which is compounded by being in New Zealand, which is a country where most of the successful industry names still have secondary jobs because the local market is so small.

Second, I am writing songs already and honing them isn’t going to help me get them out there any faster. I felt that constantly working on my songwriting craft was almost a form of procrastination in itself. I need to keep learning, absolutely and I am looking forward to doing papers that will help me with that later in the year.

If you are serious about becoming a professional songwriter, I recommend Eric’s latest series of blogs to you, and especially the latest which struck a chord with me, entitled Thanks for your submission. We regret to inform….

Below is a comment I left to his blog that is waiting for moderation by Eric, but I recommend you read his blog first for the context.

“Selling and writing music are, as you pointed out, very different aspects of the business. Many successful musicians and songwriters I have met absolutely hate the concept of having to pitch their songs or sell themselves off stage.

An interesting thing I have found in my business career is that sales people themselves are often scared of making the cold call. Sales courses are full of material about call reluctance. So if fear of cold calling is a problem for people in the sales profession, it may even more so be a problem for songwriters, who are often shy and introspective people. Sales people are very good at procrastinating and finding good reasons for not picking up the phone or banging on a prospects door.

I belong to a local songwriters group and in the beginning found it difficult to perform my new material for critique from my peers, even though in public, I was always confident performing the same songs to strangers. I overcame the fear and learned to appreciate the positives, accept the critique, whether I was open to it or not and welcome suggestions on how to improve it.

I wonder if the same call reluctance could be more of an issue for songwriters, than allocating the time. We want people to love what we write. Almost everytime we write a new song, we love it, it becomes our favorite. We don’t want someone rejecting it and perhaps it is easier not to submit it.

I found the support and genuine critique of my peers to be empowering, particularly because it was genuine. That would be one of the biggest failings imho of sites like MySpace, where we tell people who have songs that are like listening to someone scraping their fingernails down a blackboard, but we want to build them up, so we tell them they are great. But I digress.


Thanks for another illuminating blog. Persistence is totally important, but first of all you need to take that first step and act. Each step becomes easier. We also need to have a thick skin and sales people have great techniques to deal with that.

For example, if we know that on average it takes 10 calls to make a sale. Instead of being dissapointed with the rejection, we can tell ourselves that we only have 9 calls left to success.”

If you find this interesting, why not bookmark my blog and join me on my continued journey?

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Music Education on the Net

This morning there was a feature in the Business Herald about Gordon Dryden, which I haven’t finished reading. Gordon is one of New Zealand’s prominent experts on education and I have a few of his excellent books in my library. The story was obviously related to the launch of his new book, The Learning Web, which I  will have to add to my collection.

A major concept of the story is that in the future , no later than 2014, 25% of high school courses will be available on the net. The timing was interesting because I already learn a lot about the music industry on the net, from blogs, web sites and especially through 2 of my favourite podcasts, being The Musicians Cooler and Music Business Radio.

I actually made a personal commitment yesterday while listening to an interview with Chuck Wills and Monty Powell on the Music Business Radio podcast Episode 79, which I strongly recommend anyone interested in breaking into the country music industry as a performer or songwriter should listen to. You can find it here. Monty was full of great information and about his experiences, songwriting and the importance of Nashville as one of the last big music cities that is still thriving and full of professionals today.

Monty’s work appears on over 50 million records and listening to him critiqueing people’s work, there is no doubt that he knows his craft intimately. For the up and coming songwriters he had lots of encouragement, stating that songwriting is a craft which can be taught and honed.

I live in Auckland, New Zealand and have a family and a day job and my commitment to them means that if I ever get to Nashville it will be for a week or 2, not to stay, which I should have done years ago, but now I want to go back to the net and education.

A year or so ago I had the good fortune to attend a weekend course with Pat Pattison, of the Berklee School of Music and I learned lots and got huge value from the course as well as the networking with other local musicians. Networking is something that Monty also emphasised as crucial to your success as many if not most careers have been forged through who you know.

From an educational perspective, I know people who went to Berklee, like Taura Eruera. But he and many others do offer excellent training on the Internet for those who can’t take a few years out to go and learn in the university or head to Nashville to soak information and experience from those who are willing to share.

The web is full of online courses for songwriting, so all I have to do now is decide where to start at a level that my budget can afford.

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