Brad Carlin: Four Tips to Make Your Band’s Next Show a Success

Establishing a local band in your hometown or city can be a surprisingly daunting task. This is especially true if you’re in a new city where you don’t have an established family, friend, or musician network. Regardless of where your band’s looking to get started, having the right approach combined with a little (OK, maybe a lot of) persistence can help you start booking more venues and playing more shows.

Here are a few simple tips to help you get started:

Don’t Play Too Often

The instinct for many bands just starting out is to play any show that they can get. While building your experience and exposure is a good thing, too much exposure can actually hinder your band’s growth. You want your audience to feel a sense of urgency when you put on a show, as if missing that night’s show means not being able to see your band for several more weeks. If you’re playing the same venue too often, you may end up making your band too accessible, which could actually hurt your attendance.

Start Small

Playing in an over-sized, half empty room isn’t fun for either the audience or the band. When targeting venues to play, aim for those you are confident you can fill with friends, family, and fans. As your audience grows, you can begin booking larger venues.

Think Diversity

This applies to all aspects of the experience:  the type of music, the type of venue, and perhaps most crucially, the composition of the band itself.  Bands that feature multiple lead vocalists and multiple featured soloists are inherently more interesting.  On the venue side, while the lure of downtown venues and hip nightspots is strong, don’t summarily reject fundraiser and other private gigs; while their exposure they offer may be more limited, it’s still good for networking and an opportunity to see what material works best where.  

Collaborate with Other Local Musicians and Bands

Networking is a huge part of the music industry at every level. Networking with venues, musicians, and other local residents is crucial to your band’s success. Try to attend other musicians’ shows and get to know the local players in your town or city. Once you’ve identified a few bands or musicians that you think might be a good fight, ask them if they’d like to collaborate or do a guest performance. This is a great way to give your own fans something different, as well as expose your band to a different following.

Brad Carlin and Homeward Bound perform “Shame on the Moon” by Bob Seger

“Shame on the Moon”, by Bob Seger, performed by Homeward Bound during the Hearts and Hammers “Spring RAG” fundraiser at Surly Brewing Company in Minneapolis, MN on Friday, Apr 26, 2019.

Homeward Bound is Brad Carlin (guitar, piano and vocals), Josh Carlin (drums), Heather Succio (piano, mandolin and vocals), Susan Thompson (guitar and vocals), and Jim VerBout (bass guitar).

band’s website:  homewardboundband.com

New Trend: Utilizing Music Therapy in the Workplace

For many decades Music Therapy has been widely practiced within the medical community as a method of addressing numerous health concerns and ailments. More recently, the practice of utilizing music therapy for other applications has become more widespread.1 One particular field that has been rapidly growing within recent years is the application of Music Therapy in the workplace.

Many employers have recognized the benefits of offering Music Therapy as a way to help promote health and wellness among their employees. When facilitated by a qualified Music Therapist, both passive (listening and enjoying) and active (playing and creating) Music Therapy has been shown to boost employee morale, promote collaboration, and improve overall productivity within the workplace.

Here’s a quick look at some of the most common benefits of Music Therapy in the workplace:

Improves Productivity

Trained Music Therapists can help teach your employees how to intentionally use music throughout their workday to help improve their mood, focus, and productivity at work.2

Promotes Health and Wellness

Recent research has specifically detailed the health and wellness benefits of Music Therapy when used within a medical setting. In the workplace, Music Therapy can help to reduce stress, improve moods, and boost employee’s immune systems.3

Increases Collaboration

Playing, listening, and creating music in a team environment can help your employees to connect more deeply and promotes better communication among your employees.4
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1. [https://www.musictherapy.org/about/history/

2. [https://content.iospress.com/articles/work/wor01410]

3. [https://search.informit.com.au/documentSummary;dn=566436047272311;res=IELHEA]

4. [https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08098130609478159]

3 Common Benefits of Music Therapy

Lately I’ve been becoming more and more interested in music therapy, which involves creating, playing, singing, or listening to music to help address various physical or mental ailments in patients. While anyone can experience the healing and therapeutic benefits of music on their own, music therapy sessions are generally conducted or overseen by a licensed therapist or specialist. Administering music therapy under the care of a trained music therapist can greatly increase the benefits of this time-tested and popular practice.

There are many different applications and benefits of music therapy, and I hope to dig deeper into each of them on this blog at a later date. In the meantime, here are three of the more common benefits and uses:

Helps with Pain and Recovery

Music therapy can help change our perception of pain. Surgery patients, people with chronic pain, and cancer patients have reported a reduction in pain levels when undergoing music therapy.

Helps with Symptoms of Depression

Music can have a tremendous effect on our moods. Many therapists use music therapy to help those suffering with depression because of its ability to help regulate emotions and promote general well-being.

Helps Improve Memory Functions

Because of its melodic and repetitive nature, music has the ability to improve our memory and general cognitive functions. Studies on patients with Alzheimer’s have also shown that music therapy can help recover previously lost memories.  The effects here can be particularly dramatic; see for example this remarkable video of a memory care patient named Henry:

Henry not only remembers his love for music, but even the name of his favorite singer (Cab Calloway) before then crooning a familar Christmas tune.  I’ve served as a pianist/songleader at memory care facilities, and while I’ve never seen anything quite this dramatic, I have seen previously unresponsive people open their eyes wide (like Henry does) and literally dance in their chairs.  It’s amazing and truly a joy to behold.

Brad Carlin: Three Tips for Filling Out a Winning March Madness Bracket

Brad Carlin March Madness

With March just around the corner, there’s a good chance that someday soon one of your coworkers will be making the rounds, trying to get participants for your office’s March Madness pool. Even if you haven’t watched a NCAA game all season, there are a few tips that can help you fill out your bracket like a pro.

Use the free online Poologic calculator

Poologic.com offers a free online program that helps you construct a bracket with a higher probability of winning. It uses point spreads, team rankings, and other metrics to determine your bracket’s best inputs.  The program handles a fairly wide range of office pool designs, including those with fairly complex upset bonuses and other incentives.

Know your competition

It’s important to know any local biases of the competition in your particular pool. If you’re playing in an office pool in Kentucky, chances are many of your colleagues will be picking Kentucky to go all the way. Staying away from the local favorite will help increase your odds of ending up in the money.

It’s also important to know how many people are participating in your pool. For smaller pools of, say, 20 to 30 entries, you can feel more confident in sticking with the higher seeded teams knowing that they have the highest likelihood of winning and tied entries are unlikely. Yet, if you were to employ this strategy in a large office or national pool, you’re likely going to come up against a significant number of entries that have nearly the same picks you do.  This would mean lower average payoff since, even if you win, your earnings are more likely to be shared across the multiple winners.

Being overly conservative is not necessarily your friend

Choosing the number one seeds across the board in the Final Four may seem like a safe strategy.  However, it’s also a strategy that a lot of other people are likely to use, particularly casual players who don’t typically follow college basketball.  And in any case, it’s unlikely the Final Four will be comprised of only number one seeds: it has only happened once in the history of the tournament.

Optimal selection in NCAA bracket pools requires tools from both probability and game theory, making them a fun and challenging pastime for the sports nerd.  If you want to know more, I heartily recommend the brand new CRC book by my good friend Tom Adams, Improving Your NCAA Bracket With Statistics.  Tom is a systems analyst, mathematician, and long-time March Madness guru who created and maintains the poologic.com page.  His book is an easy and engaging read about both the history and optimal solution of bracket pools. It includes plenty of pragmatic strategies, including the “contrarian” approach of being somewhat skeptical of the very top teams since they tend to be overbet by other players.  Good luck and enjoy the 2019 NCAA mens’ and womens’ tournaments!