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The Magic of Working in the Music Industry

The Magic of Working in the Music Industry

This article is written by Molly Rahal. She has a sweet story about working at a music production company and her writing makes me smile. I hope it makes you smile, too. 

When I was seventeen years old, I started working part time for a music and arts company called Renegade Productions Inc.

Siobhan, a close childhood friend of mine, had been working there for about half of a year.

“You need to work here,” she told me.

Getting paid to work with my best friend alongside good music and famous bands we had listened to on our iPods years before didn’t seem like a bad idea. So I went for the job.

Renegade has both an office location and studio spaces complete with a theatre, a recording studio, and a dance studio; we would start our day at the office catching up on public relations and doing administrative work, and by one o’clock we would be at the studios for our daily appointments or recording.

But it was so much more than that. I didn’t just love it because of the way there was always guitar, bass, or drums echoing in any given section of the building. It wasn’t just the community of local artists and the creativity that dripped from their paintbrushes every day. It was even more than the pattering of choreographed feet, more than the sounds of actors and actresses passionately rehearsing their lines to the pokerfaced red velvet theatre chairs.

No, the best part of it was the way it felt to be surrounded by creative people. Not only were they creative, but they cared about the art that they make.

People who play music, people who draw, people who take photographs, people who write stories; no matter what kind of art it is, no matter what skill level you are, you always gain a deeper understanding for the world when you immerse yourself in the beauty of it.

 

Last year, my boss Jim suggested that our company put on its very first musical.

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How to Enjoy Training Your Fingers & Other Boring Tasks

How to Enjoy Training Your Fingers & Other Boring TasksOne evening after work, I wander into the new Tom Lee store that I see from my office everyday and slip into the fancy glass room that’s filled with acoustic pianos. No one pays attention to me in my t-shirt and jeans.

I play cadences on pianos that I pass by, until I stop at one to play for a short while.

“Can I help you find something?”

“No, I’m just looking,” I say, gesturing with my chin. “Baby grands.”

“You are obviously pretty good,” he says. “That was, you know, Liszt.”

I nod. I didn’t know that was Liszt. I thought I got lucky pressing the keys.

He gestures to another piano nearby — which happens to be a cheaper Steinway brand. I play it for a little bit and realize the keys are too light.

“Want to play a Steinway?”

He walks over towards one and pulls out the bench, like at a restaurant. How do I get rid of him?

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The fastest way to start a music event

To see people come together for a vision you’ve pieced together in your head is one of the best presents you can give yourself.

Here are some of the highlights to producing my latest event– I had two months to pull this off, in the middle of summer. I didn’t cough blood this time.

Producing a Music Event in 2 Months
Producing a Music Event in 2 Months

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How I Beat Stage Fright

How to Overcome Stage Fright for Pianists

While most people can play piano in their room, the magic of the stage can be too much to handle.

Ten minutes before my design event, my hands were shaking at the thought of people having woken up on a Saturday morning because of me. I’d printed cue cards (which I have never done, and will likely never do again).

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Dealing With a Student Who Hasn’t Paid (But is Training for an Important Performance)

Dealing With a Student Who Hasn't Paid (But is Training for an Important Performance)

Take a look at this scenario…

You are a piano teacher.

There is a student you like a lot, whom you’ve been teaching for two months. You first heard her playing at her performance recital– and you were impressed.

The mother is well-connected, and kind, but tough, a lady who knows what she wants and will ask for her change when it’s due.

You’ve agreed on an exchange of services. In fact, when it comes to her child, the mother’s goal is to proceed through life getting things sponsored and keeping the wallet shut when possible, on account of her volatile investments.

But mainly, you said yes because it’s a new experience. You’ve never been compensated this way before, and you think it’ll bring your career forward.

Feel free to use your imagination on how the mother offered to compensate you.

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How I Re-Started Teaching Piano in One Week

Starting with students is different for everyone, and I’m not about to sugarcoat. I’m going to tell you how I jumpstarted my teaching again.

A former student’s mother convinced me to teach piano to her daughter again. I don’t let people into my piano studio anymore, so I agreed to walk to their house each week.

At home, I flip through my piano teaching binder, from back when businesses couldn’t run paperless and I couldn’t manage people without stressing.

These are a few lessons I’ve learned from my last round of piano teaching.

Lesson 1: Have a Fair Studio Policy

Most people don’t intend to take advantage of you. They don’t know that they’re taking advantage if the rules aren’t clear.

When I taught Design Lab, the main policy was, if you weren’t happy with the online course in 30 days, I’d give you 100% of your money back, no questions asked. Only one person has ever asked for a refund, and ironically, the red flag was that she didn’t sign the policy document. I gave her the money anyways.

What a policy does is set the ground rules and lets people trust you. It says that you know what you’re doing enough to set it in stone.

I printed a piano studio policy and arrived 15 minutes early to the first lesson to go over it with the parent. It took 2 minutes for the deal to be signed, and we got our lesson started early. Parents love the extra value.

This is my piano studio policy.

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How Comfortable Are You With Your Wild Side? Here’s a Quiz.

Being wild isn’t the same as being comfortable in your own skin.

A pianist can be wild in the practice room but uncomfortable displaying this onstage. We have so many names for this– nerves, performance anxiety, butterflies.

I’ve interviewed performance experts around the world, and so many of them suggest that the playing must push aside the mundane thoughts that occupy your mind. In other words, love the moment so much that you cannot possibly care what others think.

Years later, I’ve finally figured out how to hop into that mindset.

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