Tag Archive | how to

Video Quick Tip: Stretching Exercise for Guitar


In this new quick tip video, brought to you by LAMA College for Music Professionals, Guitar Department Chair Jody Fisher gives guitarists a great “strength and power” exercise (where you learn very slowly and keep going slower and slower). This exercise will help you increase the span between your first and second finger. What other exercises do you practice on the guitar?

-LAMA Staff

LAMA Video Quick Tip – Triad Inversions


LAMA Guitar Instructor Bill Fowler has released his newest quick tip video, focusing on different triad inversions. Thanks for the great advice Bill!

To our readers — please leave a comment to let us know which video topics you’d like to see Bill and other LAMA instructors tackle in the future.

-LAMA Staff

Video Quick Tip: Altered Dominant Chords


In this new quick tip video, brought to you by LAMA College for Music Professionals, Guitar Department Chair Jody Fisher discusses how to use altered dominant chords, focusing on altered fifths. Any questions? 🙂

-LAMA Staff

How To: Working with a Major Brand

So you convinced Coca-Cola to work with you on your next musical project.  Now what do you do?  Let’s start with a little congratulations; finding a budget to fund any musical project in general is extremely difficult.  So pat yourself on the back.  Now, lets focus on how to keep the brand happy, which will in-turn keep you happy.  It’s a vicious game, but if played correctly, third party brand investing will save the music industry. At least that’s my opinion.

Before you do anything, make sure the brand partnership makes sense.  If you’re a Disney artist, I wouldn’t recommend Coors Light as a sponsor.  But that’s me.  Then understand that brands are like labels, except brands have money and usually let you cut up the budgets. Yes. Money. Budget. Music. Control.  Oh, now you’re listening?

Many artists make the mistake of thinking once the deal is signed, the hardest part is over.  However, in order to make the most of a major branded sponsorship is to ignore the word “sponsorship” and replace it with “partnership”.  This is key.  Once you accept that you and your brand are “partners”, you will both see your musical endeavor grow exponentially.

After speaking at a Billboard seminar last October on brand partnerships from an artist standpoint, I realized that most artists like to remain on the outside of the deal.  This is a huge mistake.  Letting the manager or agent take the brunt of the deal will disconnect the brand from the artist.  Let me say this as clearly as possible so you don’t make a very common mistake: As an artist, stay in direct contact with the brand product manager or agent directing the deal.  Doing something as simple as keeping cc’d on emails between the brand and your manager will increase moral across the board, and will hopefully activate that first option deal in your contract for another year.

Your goal as an artist, assuming you like money, is to turn everyone at the brand into a fan of yours! Invested interest is priceless. Do everything required of your deal with the brand but also do a little extra with every project.  Adding an extra tweet, shout-out, or Facebook post could turn your $10,000 deal into an $80,000 deal because everyone at the brand likes your hustle. Again, invested interest from a major brand can turn into a bigger budget.

Major brands are the only market where musicians can go for guaranteed budget dollars. Once you find a brand willing to invest in you, realize that you need to be ready to invest time back into them.  Do more then expected and the budget will surprisingly open up.

-LAMA Staff

5 Tips: How to Choose the Right Music School

So you’ve decided to attend a music school. Choosing the right one is overwhelming for many, but we hope this post will help you narrow down your choices so you make a smart and informed decision. Don’t forget to ask the right questions and be completely informed before making such an important decision. It’s your future! Here are 5 tips for choosing the RIGHT music school for you!

1) Consider the Location

Choose the school in an area that works best for your lifestyle – consider weather, safety and proximity to housing, public transportation and nightlife:

Weather: Do you want mild temperatures and lots of sunshine year round? Then you might want to look at schools in Southern California. If you aren’t bothered by trudging with your gear in snow and cold weather conditions, than attending a school like Berklee on the East Coast might be for you.

Safety: Often overlooked is campus safety, which is a top concern for parents of teens about to leave the nest; and paranoid musicians with gear that means more to them than any other possession. So be aware of whether the school is right in the heart of a busy, urban city. LA Music Academy is in a Los Angeles suburb called Pasadena—a smaller, friendly and safer community than say Hollywood. And Pasadena is just a few minutes North of downtown Los Angeles, but still close enough to all the nightlife and entertainment that the city has to offer.

Proximity: Do you have/want to drive to get where you need to go? Is there public transportation available? Do you have access to restaurants/markets and nightlife?

2) Factor in all Costs

Cost should be a key factor in your search for the right music school. Some music schools can be double or triple the cost of others and most often don’t mean a better education. Remember…is it the RIGHT education? You should be fully informed of the financial aid options and scholarship awards at each school before you make any decision to enroll (a good indicator is if they have a financial aid director on staff). Besides just looking at the price tag of tuition, make sure you think about other factors such as: Are there rehearsal rooms and labs on the premises? How expensive is it to live in the city where the school is based? Smaller cities like Pasadena will be cheaper to live in than say the heart of Los Angeles or Boston.

3) Class Size

Class size is also overlooked. That’s a surprise…because what’s more important than anything at a music school? Hands-on teaching/interactions and personal attention. It is important to ask about the student-teacher ratio at the school. If class size is important to a school, you will find that emphasized in a mission statement or throughout a school website. Does the school put restrictions on class size? Does the school provide an intimate, friendly atmosphere that ensures personal attention?

4) The Faculty

As a student you are going to be spending a lot of your time with the faculty so it is smart to make sure they are top notch and active players in the industry. Most schools’ websites should list (link to LAMA Faculty page) the different department chairs; you might have reason to be suspicious if they don’t. Make sure to read all the department chairs’ credentials and do some Internet research. You should be able to know right away whether your school has solid faculty. A simple google search for LA Music Academy’s Guitar Department Chair Tariqh Akoni, for instance, shows he has played with everyone from Josh Groban to Aretha Franklin.

Very important: make sure you identify who is a “Visiting Artist” as opposed to someone who teaches regularly at the school.

5) The Alumni

The best test of a school is to see what graduates go on to do after graduation. Most schools will be very proud of their alumni and have them featured prominently on their website. If a school doesn’t brag about their alumni it should probably raise red flags. Look for a special section dedicated to alumni updates and news. Company the school keeps can mean the difference between say landing gigs with Macy Gray, Herbie Hancock or Tegan and Sara; or landing your butt on the couch in your garage.

What other tips would you provide to prospective music school students?

-LAMA Staff

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