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You Can Learn Charisma

Dez Dickerson and Prince

It’s 1979 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Newly signed Warner artist Prince had just finished a showcase. Warner had a problem. Prince wasn’t good enough to take out on tour. So what’s a label to do? They sent him into the studio to record a second album. (And that’s a whole-nuther subject which I won’t get into […]

Should I Be Spontaneous – or Plan My Show?

Will McFarlane of Blues Counsel

It’s a question we get a lot. And the answer is yes. “Don’t confuse me, Tom!” Sorry! But the real answer depends on multiple things. I can count on one hand (maybe two) the artists I’ve worked with over 20 years who don’t think they are great with spontaneity. I admit, I really don’t understand […]

Don’t Stop Before You’re Done: Reshaping Your Songs

Tom at Canadian Music Week 2010

Songwriters use creativity to write songs. They get ideas, they start throwing those ideas down on paper, they write and rewrite until they’ve got the basic form. But what if they stopped there? Those songs need to be edited and reformed. Even in the recording studio, they continue to be edited and worked on. Songwriters […]

Share a Bit of Yourself Next Time You Perform

People come to see people

We listen to music through ear buds and stereo systems, on our laptops and iPhones, and in restaurants and elevators. We buy downloads, CDs, and albums. The majority of music we experience on a day-to-day basis comes through recorded music. But there is nothing that compares to seeing your favorite artist live! Being in the […]

A 12-Letter Word: 1 Secret to a Great Live Show

Demonstrating a trade off

It was years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday. My experience that night gave me the best illustration of how a simple 12-letter word can be one of the secrets to a great live show! CeCe Winans, best selling Gospel artist of all time and friend of Whitney Houston, was singing at […]

Your Appeal When You Aren’t Playing Music

Tom Jackson teaching workshop

As an artist associated with a charity, you are typically going out to play a concert when you do your appeals. Whether it’s a full concert set, or even just a short 15-20 minute show, most of you wrap a song around your appeal. However, there are times when you have the opportunity to speak […]

5 Ways to Make More Money as a Musician

5 Streams of Revenue

In the traditional music industry, you toured to sell your recording. In the new music industry, you record and distribute a CD so you can get out in front of the public and play. In either model, 90% or more of an artist’s revenue comes from their live show. But for most bands, CD sales […]

A Strong Ending: Graphing the Perfect Set List Video Part 8

Graphing video part 8

This entry is part 8 of 8 in the series Graphing the Perfect Set List

Whether it was P.T. Barnum or Walt Disney who said it, they were right: “Always leave them wanting more!” The last moment in every set you do will be your Closing Moment, or your Closer. In this video, I share a great way to do a “build” in your last song, plus some other “must […]

Misdirection and Upstaging: Mistakes you can avoid

Magician pulling rabbit out of hat

Avoidable mistakes are usually done out of ignorance. Or they come from not being prepared correctly. These are 2 that are definitely avoidable: Misdirection — drawing the attention of the audience away from what they should be paying attention to; and Upstaging — diverting attention from someone else to yourself. Misdirection is actually one of […]

I Could Have Sold Guitars

Pile of guitars

Years ago I had to make a decision. I’d been playing in a band for quite a while. I’d helped build a studio and done some producing, engineering, and mixing. But I was on the verge of getting married, was a little tired of life on the road… I had to make a career decision. […]