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5 Do’s to Optimize Your Success

Don't play without knowing the rules

If you are a songwriter, you know… there are basic rules to follow when writing for radio. The normal structure goes intro/ verse/ chorus/ verse/ chorus/ bridge/ chorus. It’s important to have it the right length (about 3 1/2 minutes long), and be sure and get to the chorus within the first minute (sooner, if possible). And so […]

Tips and Tricks on How to Become a Better Performer

Rick Barker gives artist feedback at Tom Jackson Bootcamp

Imagine you could talk to any person in the music industry about your career. Anyone! Who would you choose? An artist who’s been successful? A great songwriter you’d like to learn from? Maybe you’d like to hear from a great manager and someone who knows how to propel an artist’s career forward — someone like my friend Rick […]

3 Parts of Communication: Are You Using them All?

DVDs

As an artist, you know your songs are all different. They have different themes, different rhythms, different tones. They really don’t sound the same at all! I’m guessing they probably have different lyrics, too. Some of them are about a love you lost. Some of them are about something that makes you happy. Some of […]

4 Requirements for a Great Lead Player

Lead Guitar Player in band_courtesy of Studio 34

You play lead… lead guitar, lead saxophone, lead mandolin… whatever instrument it is, you play most of the solos in the band. You’re not the main focal point throughout the performance (like the lead singer), but when it comes time for a solo, you’re the main dude! Being a musician, you know that solos are […]

Practical Steps to Take Before Your Rehearsals

Rehearsal Room

If you want to build a house, what’s the first step to getting it done? “Lay the foundation!” Ehhhhnnnn… (the best spelling I can come up with for a buzzer sound)  — wrong answer. I ask this question every time I teach my Live Music Method class. And inevitably the artists in the crowd get […]

5 Good Reasons to Plan Your Show

5 Good Reasons to Plan Your Show

I’ve talked about vision and planning for the live show so much that some of you don’t even pay any attention to it anymore.  “Besides,” most of you are thinking, “I don’t want to plan — I want to be spontaneous.” Creative people often fight the idea of planning. But let’s look at what I’m […]

What Does Tom Jackson Know and Why Do I Need His Help?

Tom Jackson teaching at CMW

I got an email from a friend the other day. She sent me a link to an online review of country star Sam Hunt’s live show. She said, “I kept thinking ‘he needs to meet Tom’ the whole time I was reading this article!” At the risk of sounding arrogant, my friend knows that what I […]

Your Music, Your Business

7 Deadly Sins Disc

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series 7 Deadly Sins

Music is emotional. It’s creative. What you write, what you perform — you do it with passion and sensitivity. You have the desire and drive to share your music with others. And the minute you decide that’s what you want to do for a career (what you need to do), that’s when your music must […]

How to Play Like a Team

Football

If you watched last Sunday’s Super Bowl, you may be a football fan, a Katy Perry fan, or a “particularly-expensive-commercial” fan. I’m a football fan. My team didn’t get to the championships this year — (it’ll happen again soon, Chargers!) — but I still enjoy a good game, no matter who is playing. This football […]

2 More Mistakes Most Musicians Make

Band performing live

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series 7 Deadly Sins

I’m not trying to be alliterative… just a habit, I guess… but it is true that many musicians make major mistakes. Not the “messed up the words” “played the wrong chord” “forgot who was taking the solo in this song” kinds of mistakes. The mistakes I’m talking about are foundational ones that can make your […]