September 2015

Why Every Musician Should be on Periscope

September 23, 2015 13:09

I know what you are thinking right now.

What the heck is Periscope?
and second:
Do I really have time for one more social media platform?

Okay, okay. I’m not psychic. I know those are (probably) what you are thinking, because that is exactly what I thought.

Periscope is a live-streaming video app, owned by Twitter. You can watch on a desktop, but you can only broadcast from a mobile device. It’s quickly becoming a phenomenon. It reached 10 million users on August 12, and it’s probably much more now.

I was extremely reluctant to check out Periscope, but every business guru has been saying that it is the next big thing and that entrepreneurs need to be there. It is so rare that you can be an “early adopter” of any social media platform, so if you can get into a new one fast (one that is going to be big) you should go for it.

Bloggers and online entrepreneurs are using Periscope to teach cooking, drawing, personal development, and more. You can find almost anything there. And most importantly, it’s making it easier for potential clients and fans to find and support these entrepreneurs.

So here’s the thing: Musicians, we gotta get on there. As a music performer or teacher, YOU are your brand. Allowing new fans to connect with you and find you in real time is powerful.

Here’s why you should spend your precious time and energy on Periscope.

1. It’s going to be big. Twitter purchased Periscope (before it even launched!) to the tune of $120 million. Yeah. Apple unveiled their new Apple TV earlier this month and it now includes a Periscope app. You know Apple wouldn’t do that for just anybody.

2. Video is the perfect medium for musicians. Obviously. And with periscope you get instant feedback in the form of hearts and comments from your viewers.

3. It’s so easy to connect and build relationships. Writing a blog is great, but there is something about watching someone live. You know almost instantly if this is a person that you can relate with and trust.

4. It’s easy and cheap to use. No fancy audio-visual equipment, no need to bother with editing (or hiring an editor.) Just film from your iPhone or Android and you are good to go.

5. You can use your content on other platforms as well. If you are recording on Periscope anyway, you might as well use that footage on Youtube, Facebook, Instagram and more! Set up to save your broadcasts so that you can download and edit them later. Ten times the content without a lot more effort.

I wouldn’t have bothered to write this if I didn’t think that you could grow your fan base or client-base by using Periscope. Download the app today and check it out. See what you think. I’m not the only one who thinks Periscope will be huge for musicians. Colin Thompson of The Modern Musician Podcast recently released a podcast on this very topic.

I’m not a Periscope expert by any means, but there are plenty out there who are! Social media greats like Chalene Johnson, Alex Pettit, Kim Garst, and much more have gotten the Periscope bug and are teaching how to use it effectively.

Are you a musician on Periscope? I would love to follow you! Please share your name and handle in the comments!

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One Easy Instant Hack to Become a Better Violin Teacher

September 12, 2015 07:02

How You Look is More Important than What You Say

One easy way to be a better violin teacher
Have you ever played the violin for someone really tough? Someone really scary? As you fumbled through your piece, did you look up to see the scowl of this intimidating person? How did it make you feel? Did your performance improve as you watched this reaction? Or did it get worse?

One of my former teachers was well-known in the community for being scary and making students cry. I auditioned for his studio anyway, because, I don’t know, I’m a masochist. That first lesson was torture. In fact, many of the lessons were. He was highly demanding and very blunt.

But you know what? I soon realized that beneath the gruff exterior was a sweet, cuddly teddy bear. No really! This man loved teaching, and he loved his students. All of the students who could stick it out through the interview lesson grew to love him, and knew that when the chips were down, he would do anything to help them and get them where they needed to go in their careers.

So where did all of the rumors come from? Why didn’t more people realize this?

"When the eyes say one thing, and the tongue another, a practiced man relies on the language of the first.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

What are you telling your students with your face and posture? Our non-verbal communication supposedly accounts for 60% of our message, and the most powerful non-verbal communication is our facial expression. One easy way to appear more trustworthy, kind, and fun is to...

You guessed it...


You may think you look happy while you teach, but a relaxed face generally looks bored and annoyed. Some people call this the “Resting B**** Face." Make the effort to smile a little for the majority of your lesson, and see how much better both your praise and criticism is received!

Smiling helps other people feel relaxed and at ease.

When someone smiles at you, what do you do? You smile back! Or, at least, I hope you do. If you are smiling, it helps your students to be happy and relaxed. It also draws the parents to you, and you need those guys to like you. If your students like and trust you, they are more likely to practice, progress, and succeed with the violin.

Smiling makes you feel good.

My Mom always used to tell me, “Fake it till you make it.” Deliberately putting a smile on your face leads to actually feeling happier. If you are happy, it is easier to be a fun, energetic, and plucky teacher.

Our physical state of being can actually change our brain chemistry.  I know.  It's pretty amazing.  It turns out that my Mom was right.  Faking a smile can actually lead to real happiness.

I know what you're thinking...
"Ok sure, but I feel phony."
That's what I thought too, but that feeling eventually goes away.  If this is tough for you, practice How to Smile When You Talk. Just try it for a while. See if it makes a difference for your students and see if it gets easier.

This is something I have been working on myself, and it definitely is becoming more natural for me. I have noticed my students really are more responsive and engaged if I just…smile. That’s a pretty darn simple and easy change.

Have you tried this quick and easy way to improve your teaching style? What other tips would you give to make yourself a more approachable and engaging violin teacher?

Other resources about smiling and body language:
Knapp, Mark L., & Hall, Judith A. (2007) Nonverbal Communication in Human Interaction. (5th ed.) Wadsworth: Thomas Learning. ISBN 0-15-506372-3
Drewnicky, Alex. “Body Language, and how to use it effectively."

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