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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. […]

Sit Down So I Can Hear: Graphing the Perfect Set List Video Pt 7

Graphing video part 7

This entry is part 7 of 7 in the series Graphing the Perfect Set List

Any of you who have read my book, been to a Bootcamp, or studied my DVDs, can probably recite the 3 reasons an audience comes to your show: to be captured and engaged, to experience moments, to have their lives changed. With this next Moment in your show, you have the potential to change some […]

Making it in the Music Industry: 3 Things that Must Happen

Singer Charity Vance at microphone

Are you trying to “make it” in the music industry? You have the talent, you feel like your songs are good, and you’ve got a passion to do this thing called “music.” You’re special. You are confident that what you have to share with your music is unique. Now you need to get someone to […]

7 Basic Mic Stand Techniques

Tom Jackson's Live Music Method Book

A fig leaf… or a microphone stand. Which one do you use? That may sound like a strange question. But I’ve noticed that most artists prefer hiding their nakedness by standing behind a mic stand (unlike Adam and Eve who chose the fig leaf). You know what I’m talking about: you’re standing on the stage […]

Big Fun: Graphing the Perfect Set List Video Part 6

Graphing video part 6

This entry is part 6 of 7 in the series Graphing the Perfect Set List

Oftentimes when I talk to artists about this next Moment, they look at me like I’m a little crazy, and then say something like, “our whole show is fun!” OK, that’s good. But I’m not always sure what they mean. Do they mean they have a lot of fun onstage? Because that’s definitely not what […]

One Product that Always Sells!

Merch Table at Event

Many artists — whether singer, songwriter, band, instrumentalist — have a product of some kind to sell to fans. Most have a CD. Or (in this day and age) at least some downloads available online. Maybe an EP. Even some of the youngest artists I work with have a few tracks recorded and available for […]

Great Song & Musical: Graphing the Perfect Set List Video Part 5

Graphing video part 5

This entry is part 5 of 7 in the series Graphing the Perfect Set List

You’ve rated your songs by “energy,” you have a vision for the moments in each song, and you’ve worked out those moments in practice. After all that, it’s time to put them in the right order for your audience to really connect emotionally with you. Plus you need to know when and how to talk […]

Persistence… or Foolishness?

Lead Singer Onstage

We’re told to be persistent. Keep trying… don’t give up… it’s the only way you’ll win. Follow that with “perseverance.” Then add the word “patient,” and you’ve got the popular trio, the supposed “true keys to success!” However, Mark Twain said “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again — then give up. There’s […]

I Know Who’ll Win the NBA Championship


I love sports – and the NBA Playoffs are always exciting to watch! What I love about them (besides the obvious talent of people like Lebron James, Tim Duncan, Dwyane Wade, etc.) is the strategy — from the coaches perspective — that goes into winning the game. I even enjoy the interviews after the games. […]