Monday, March 7, 2011

Nowhere To Set My Aim .. So I'm Everywhere

It's time to set some things straight with myself:

I am a performer/creator first! This is what really matters to me in my heart ... I like teaching a lot ... I'd even say I love it, but there is *nothing* like getting up and playing in front of people & writing songs & playing gigs & doing sessions & improvising, etc., etc.

I feel very stuck and frustrated about 2 things right now:
1. I'm poor! Maybe poor is the wrong word ... but I'm damn low-income ...
2. I have a solo cd that is the most important thing of my life. It needs to be recorded and released ... right now, there is a big damn read light in front of it ... it's been put on a shelf in a closet that's blocked by storage bins ... it's long overdue & it hasn't gone anywhere ... I don't have the money or the equipment right now

I need that cd to happen ... I need it in order to build a career as a performer/creator playing original music ... I need that cd to start booking and selling and doing the things I really want to do and believe in.

Right now, I'm just stalling & trying to survive ... my cello playing is barely progressing at all ... I play frequently, but rarely get to practice. I am working on changing this. Along with this change needs to come creation ... I need to write new songs, new pieces, I need to stretch the limits of the cello

I have some really deep important things I want to say and some worlds I want to create & that needs to happen ... but I need to make some very substantial technical progress or I know I have no hope making a career out of this - as a teacher or as a performer ...

I've had the privilege of seeing some great players over the last week or so ... I need to achieve what they've achieved & I used to work damn hard at achieving it ... ever since my dad died though, ever since I've needed to really pay my own bills & now having my own rent, I have been utterly directionless with cello (except in some small, meaningful ways) ... it's time to move past that now.

I put a lot of time into networking and promoting my music/playing, but that's meaningless if I don't have solid music to start with ... and by solid I mean high-level (because everything professional is high-level), well put-together music that blows people away.

That's all for now ... I need to blog about Zoe Keating/Todd Reynolds soon ... that show was *amazing* ...

I've started forming a cello plan ... long overdue.

Also, this means I need to really push myself to network and book as hard as I can ...

I have a demo cd up at ... and it sorta represents me, but I don't feel like it really does ... maybe I'm crazy!

Also, I think from now on, I'm going to call myself a Cellist/Songwriter/Teacher ... I think that covers what I do... I'm not really a composer.


Steve said...

first things first, prioritize. Is cello really the first priority when you have bills to pay? Don't be afraid to take a little break or take it easy for a little to make osme money, because then that money will give you more freedom and make you happier. That being said, I think the most important thing is to formulate a better way of making money. I am a little confused as to why you are trying to make playing/teaching cello your main source of incom when you have no back up. That should be a secondary income in my opinion. I think if you look at it that way it would help greatly. Find part time job if you can and then you can do all the teaching and stuff secondary, atleast until you build up a solid enough foundation to make a living off of it. It's like trying to make a pie without the crust and expect it to all hold together. You need a foundation and then the rest will follor, all the sweet inside goodies and everything. I think that might in effect be holding you back. It may not seem like that by looking at itat the present time only, but think long term. There is nothing wrong with re-focusing your efforts especially if its to help your main goal. It's like anything. You cant just focus on one specific area to make the whole unit grow. You have to focus on every portion of the unit and then it will grow strong.

Mike Lunapiena said...

I will have bills to pay for the rest of my life. So, is cello really the first priority? Yes. It is the most important thing in the world to me.

I have a part time job right now, it's called busking. I reliably/minimally make between $8-10 an hour. Sometimes more. There will be an improvement in this if I get accepted into MUNY. I also do transcription work for a charter school.

The problem with getting a non-performance part-time job is that I don't have the time or energy to practice & I don't have the opportunity to network (unless it's at a music store). The next problem is that I don't have the flexibility to accept gigs. The next problem is that unless I gave up private teaching, there is almost no part-time job that will work with my private teaching schedule and band schedule and still give me nights/weekends free.

The reality is I really haven't done that much to set up solo performances & I really haven't done that much to build up private students yet. I am taking the foundational steps to do these things right now (and the second I get a day with more than 3 hours of free time next to each other, I'm plastering flyers up around NYC)

These initial steps are:
1. Making an all cello Demo CD (cuz the one I made does not represent what I do live to venues)
2. Finding cool venues in NYC that I can book myself at.
3. Finding school teachers I can contact to ask for lesson referrals
4. Networking with the musicians I know (which I have been doing)

So, the structure is:
Private Teaching - main Job
Busking - secondary job
Paying Solo Performances/gigs - tertiary income

I think a key change I need to make is treating busking more like a job/having a firmer schedule about it.