Today was my fourth day on work experience. We started the the day by driving down the the Landmark Theatre. On the lawn outside of the Theatre, I filmed Paul making a short film for an upcoming uke workshop at the landmark in Victorians week. The video summarised the event and the features of the workshop. After that we had lunch and then headed for two ukulele lessons at Phils house, who had an amazing homemade dalek. Once we had got back into Ilfracombe I headed home.
Today was my third day on work experience, we had a jam packed day like yesterday. We started the day by heading into Barnstaple for ukulele lessons at Sticklepath school. At the school we had three different groups to teach, one of which were quite good. After that we went to Soundpad to buy some lighting equipment for Paul's stage lights. Next we had another 2 ukulele lessons which were fun. Finally we drove back to Exmoor for another ukulele workshop with a group of school kids. Ukulele Wednesday was the best day so far!
Today on my second day of work experience with Paul, we started at South Molton school and gave some children guitar lessons. After that we came back to Braunton for my own guitar lesson. Next it was my sisters lesson which I played the cajon (small drum) for, and assisted her along with songs that Paul had shown her recently. Next we headed back to Ilfracombe to collect the equipment for a ukulele workshop that evening, once everything was packed up it was time to go. For this particular workshop, we drove to Simonsbath house on Exmoor. The workshop was full of enthusiastic children, and ran very smoothly. After the workshop we headed back home. A very long tiring second day, and much of the same tomorrow.
Today on my first day of work experience, the day was based around the recording studio as we where trying to start recording a song for Paul'scampfire songs album. Early on in the day, we handed out ukulele workshop posters to shops in Ilfracombe. After that we tested Paul's lighting equipment ready for upcoming gigs, and carried on with the recording. Probably the easiestday this week, as we are heading of tomorrow to Exmoor for a uke workshop.
I saw this picture yesterday, I got me thinking. The person who made this joke, needs to read my blogs. I've made money from playing guitar for some 30 years now, for 15 years, it has been my main income. The problem for most people that can't make money at it, is not lack of musical skills, but lack of management skills. Look around you at other musicians in your area, which musicians make money, which ones don't? It may sound obvious, but I looked at this, worked out what the money making musicians did that the others didn't do and copied the good habits.
Here are a couple of things not to do.
1. Play for free.
Anyone can play for free. You can fill your diary with endless open mics, charity events and such like. I limit my charity events to just one or two a year.
Make sure you are playing for the minimum Musicians Union rates for the job. This minimum rate, is the minimum for a reason, it's the minimum you are worth.
2 Not treat yourself as a business.
Have a business plan. Know what you want and how you are going to achieve it. Also, be flexible. This is just so important. it could be a whole book in itself, not just a little part of a blog post.
As many of you know, I'm not a fan of open mic nights. You don't need to get ripped off to get your first gigs. http://paulclews888.weebly.com/1/post/2013/03/open-mic-nights-why-you-should-not-play-them.htm You could play at family and friends parties for instance. These kind of events will offer you a supportive audience, and introduce you to other party guests who may never have heard of your band, or if they have, may not know what you sound like. This could lead to another gig.
Another simple way to get a gig is to book yourself. Hire a pub or hotel room, or even a village hall or similar and sell tickets. In the old days in Ilfracombe, all the bands used to hire the Vaults Bar. Advertise your gig with posters in local shop windows. Many shop owners are happy to do this for free. These days it is much easier to make your own posters and tickets with computers and printers. They were just not available to me. Advertise your gig on gig web sites and of course on social media. Twitter being the best way to get your word out because of its size and the fact you can reach many people with no followers what so ever, with clever use of hash tags. Always include the name of the town or city where you are going to play, and including the surrounding towns is a good idea too. Facebook is important but difficult, in comparison. You need to actively collect 'likes' on you page, which for an unknown band is not easy. But you can advertise in local and other type specific groups. It is also well worth having a Google+ page to promote your gigs, because it is searchable on Google.
Gigs can also be promoted, often for free in local news papers, and on local radio. Just be creative.
Sell as many tickets as you can, and don't forget you can charge on the door too. It's a good idea to charge a little more on the door to encourage ticket sales. Get all your family and friends to buy tickets too, and you will make a profit from your gig.
What if you don't have enough songs? Well set up the gig as a double or triple bill with other local bands in a similar position to you. Split the overheads, split the profits. More bands promoting, means more advertising, bigger audiences, and more exposure for your band.
A word of warning before you start gigging. It's a little boring, and not very rock 'n' roll, but you need to get public liability insurance to protect yourself, your audience, and the venue you are playing at. The best way to get this in my opinion is to join the Musicians Union.
Good luck and get gigging.
I caught the bus a 8:45 and got picked up on the way to Paul's house by Paul. We had to go to his dads house so he could alter the bridge on his Kala arch top ukulele. Once that was done we got back to Paul's house to check the ukulele and found that Paul's Amp was broken. After that we went to Ilfracombe infants school for a couple of lessons. During which Paul mainly taught some new chords and then used songs to help them get learned. Then we went to Berrynarbor School and Paul taught someone Three Little Birds by Bob Marley. After that we had a lesson in Northam during which Paul was teaching scale modes and fancy chords using music theory that I had no clue about.
By Jake Cole
I arrived Paul's house at about 9:30 and there I learned some songs with him for his birthday party and he helped me plan for the lesson that I would be teaching later at Ilfracombe Infant School. After that we went to the school and I helped Paul with a guitar lesson. During it I helped the student learn the G and C chords. Then Paul taught him a song, using the chords the student had learned..
Once that was over we went back to Paul's house for a bit. After that we had a lesson just outside Barnstaple in which Paul was teaching some songs from the grade 5 rockschool book. After that lesson Paul had one at Arlington during which he taught Picking and sweeping on the guitar, and House of the Rising Sun by The Animals.
By Jake Cole
I caught the bus and got to Paul's house at about 9:30. There I helped Paul test his lighting equipment, before making a start on testing the PA equipment for a gig the weekend. But before we could finish we had to go to Ilfracombe junior school. There he had two lessons. In the first one, teaching scales and the other teaching Teenage kicks by The Undertones.
Then we went back to Paul's house to finish checking his PA. Once that was over me and Paul went round Ilfracombe high street asking shop keepers to put up posters for Paul's ukulele lessons. Then Paul had a lesson in West Down where he was teaching a student major and pentatonic scales.
By Jake Cole
Got picked up by Paul from my house at about 8:15am and we drove to Filleigh school. It took about 45 minuets to get there because of the traffic, which was terrible. There Paul taught some students how to change chords whilst strumming. After that we headed to Chittlehampton school where Paul taught someone how to read tab for the ukulele. Once that was over we went back to Paul's home, I had some lunch and then I helped Paul print & laminate some posters. Then we went back to my house so Paul could teach my brother. Just before the lesson I learned a couple of chords on the ukulele and then watched Paul teach my brother some grade 5 rockschool on guitar. Then we drove back to Paul's house.
Me at Filleigh School trying out one of Paul's Kala ukes.
Paul tuning up for a ukulele lesson at Filleigh School.
After spending a couple of hours at Paul's house, we headed to Larkstone cafe for ukulele club. It lasted for 2 hours during which we played songs by artists like The Clash The Beatles and Buddy Holly.
Me at Ilfracombe Ukulele Club held at Larkstone Cafe.
Outside Lakstone cafe with my ukulele.
Me and Paul with Larkstone Cafe in the Background.
Me and Paul just before Ilfracombe Ukulele Club started inside Larkstone Cafe.
By Jake Cole