Sunday, November 18, 2012

Networking Tips for Christian Artists

“Build your network before you need it” – Keith Ferrazzi, author of Never Eat Alone
  1. Know who you want to meet
    • Know who you’re trying to meet….publishers, record label managers, or music venue, church leadership, promoters?
    • Start to think about where they spend their time (on and off-line), and what opportunities exist for you to be in the right place and time to meet them
    • Never be afraid to Network out of the norm – let people know what you do, who you are, you Doctor, Dentist, circle of influence            
  2.  Make an effort to meet other artist
    • Go to other gigs – meet other bands
    • Other bands can help you meet the right people
    • They may know who you want to work with
    • Build a relationship and ask for an introduction
    • Be open to meeting those that want to meet you. You never know what doors God will open
    • Volunteer to help
    • Give back in return
  3.  Attend music business conferences
    • These events are usually swarming with the people who can help you, managers, publishers, music promotion companies, and other artists
    • Get out and build connections
  4.  Join local niche
    • Meetup.com - find various musician networking opportunities in most major cities
    • If you can’t find anything nearby, consider creating a Meetup group in your area
    • Find other local gathering spots, songwriting clubs, chapters etc
    • If you don’t have any in your area start one
  5.  Use Social Media to break the ice
    • Almost every serious record label, booking agent, and music company will have a presence on Twitter or Facebook - introduce yourself!
    • Linked-In – great place to meet the person you want to work with and start building your relationships. Join a focus group or create one
  6. Show your gratitude
    • Pick you favorite music company, radio station, music blog, or website that you enjoy and send them a quick email or card in snail mail to say thanks for doing what they do, you will build contacts very quickly.
    • “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it” -William Arthur Ward
    • When someone helps you send them a thank you card or a free CD or e-mail them a link to download your music as a thank you.
  7. Set Goals
    • Set yourself a goal of building 1, 2, or even 3 new music business connections a week. If you go with 3 a week in twelve months you’ll know 156 new people!
    • Have a plan for how you are going to meet these people
  8.  Do more listening than Talking
    • Listening is the best way to start a conversation
    • Don’t think about what you are going to say - think about what someone else might have to say to you
    • Ask open ended questions – questions that will build a relationship
    • Show genuine and sincere interest in the other person and their pursuit of the craft
  9.  Find Something in Common
    • This is about people not music and you may find the journey of another artist to be fascinating
    • Find a common ground and don’t worry if is has nothing to do with music
    • People are more likely to want to help and get involved if they feel a personal affiliation with you
  10.  Don’t Fly Solo
    • By yourself and especially if this is uncomfortable territory being alone at events can be exhausting, as every conversation you have to have your “game face on”
    • Bring a fellow Christian Artists with you.
      • 1st - it gives you a “home base” to  rest, relax, and get a pep talk before you start networking
      • 2nd  - It’s easier to settle into more genuine conversations from the onset
      • 3rd – You can double you reach by swapping contacts throughout the event

Monday, September 17, 2012

Ever Wish You Could Just Remain on Vacation?

Ever wish you could just remain on vacation? We had such an amazing vacation this year. It started with a family visit in Indianapolis where our niece ran James into a bookcase and he gave her a bloody nose when he accidentally flipped the hammock. They are now "Battle Buddies" and Brooklyn adores her "Unka James"

Then my 30 year High School Reunion which was so uplifting and fun! I saw friends I had not seen since High School. We listened to each other's stories, sang karaoke, danced, chatted, celebrated that we are still around - alive and kicking at least for now.
Then James and I were off headed to NW Michigan. My sister and her boys joined us for the first 2 days. We climbed this sand dune in Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes National Park, located on Lake Michigan not far from Traverse City. Well this dune was a mega-dune that was 1,024 feet high and about an 80-85% grade it was no joke to say the least. My sister and my youngest nephew Levi who is only 3 years old climbed this with James and I. When we were about halfway up, climbing on our hands and feet, sand blowing in our face, exfoliating some parts of our exposed skin to sheer rawness, this little guy, my nephew says “Mom, next time pick a smaller mountain.” He had the right idea and we laughed out loud :)

On this vacation we learned about shipwrecks on Lake Superior, saw lighthouses, rode bikes around Mackinaw Island, went to a mystery spot where gravity has a mind of it’s own, slid down a zip line, saw waterfalls, beautiful giant Great Lakes, visited historic military sites, saw family, friends and made new friends as I busted a note for Jesus in Two Harbors, MN.
Then we toured two beautiful mansions and tooled around Minneapolis and St Paul taking in the beautiful MN state capitol along with the Cathedral of St Paul and poking our head briefly into the overwhelming Mall of America.

On the leg home we visited the Spam museum and in Eldon, Iowa, we stumbled upon the home that inspired the “American Gothic” Painting. We had to do our own reenactment. Back off we go over the Des Moines river through St. Louis, MO over the Missouri, Mississippi, Ohio, and Tennessee rivers. Then it was over, 2 fun-filled, jam packed, whirlwind weeks gone and we were back home, back to responsibilities, back to life and reality.
After I got home from this amazing trip reality set in and I need to find a job, again. There is always some need, more finances, unexpected expenses, illness to conquer, another friend battling cancer, a husband deployed, a child that is dumped in a relationship….can I just go back on vacation? I found myself thinking just like my nephew and saying can I pick a smaller mountain.
I heard this sermon on the radio which gave me a renewed perspective. Life throws so much at us but what does God really want from us? Three things, obedience, faith and patience. Just like climbing that giant sand dune, if I want to get back to the top I got to climb! No one else is going to do it for me. I had to have the faith in myself that I could physically climb to the top. I had to have the patience to scale the giant dune for over 1 hour to get to the top. When I got to the top the exhilaration of Victory was incredible.

So If I apply this to myself right now, Obedience…be obedient to God that should be pretty obvious but what areas of my life am I still hanging on to that I am not surrendering to His will but...I am trying to fix it my way? Is that really being obedient? What about my obedience beyond the obvious? Can I swallow my pride and walk away from what I want versus what I need? Can I be a servant instead of a leader?
Faith…I know all about faith. That has been a strong area for me. Ah-ha...but faith that believes in God and faith that surrenders to God are two different things. My faith has to expand beyond my basic belief that yes, God is God to - yes, God has my life in His control and I don’t have to keep trying to control every detail.

Patience… for me this is the hardest one. Both of my children would agree with me there. Like Paul, I ask why do I do the things I don’t want to do and why do I neglect to do the things I need to do? Why do some people seem to be where I want to be and why am I not there? But maybe the better question is what did they give up that I am not willing to give up? If their grass is greener is it because they take better care of their lawn?
I have hope when I remember this place is not my home. All God really wants is for me to let Him show me what He can do and I have to be patient in the process. So God grant me patience but hurry up :).
I will trust in Him still to grant me the patience to get me up the mountain and have me come out on top. Just like on that sand dune, if I have to eat the dust, have the sand rub my toes raw and claw my way up the journey on my hands and knees, I will get to the top and stand in victory and when I do I will give Him the glory!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Driving Through the Jet Stream

Earlier in July 2012, I was driving from Nashville up to Michigan for concerts and family time and I literally drove through the jetstream. You know how you watch the weather forecast on the news or the Weather Channel and you can see it in a curvy line streaking from West to East across the United States. I was somewhere between Louisville, KY and Indianapolis, IN and it was 106 degrees in the shade. Up ahead in the distance I could see this ribbon of wind flowing from my left to right and since I was heading north I figured out very quickly it must be the jet stream. It was dusty and looked very much like sand storms I remember from living in the Southwest. I have had the adventure of flying through the Jet stream in an airplane and that was to say at best "unnerving."

Fully aware that I needed to go into “white knuckle mode” I braced for the wind to slam into my van as I entered the unknown and the formidable jet stream. I was out of it as quickly as I entered it and all I could thick was “wow what a rush!” I stopped at a rest area and the temperaturewas 20 degrees cooler. The Jet Stream is normally in the atmosphere so in a weird way I felt like God shared a little secret with me. Jet streams are boundaries that separate adjacent air masses with significant differences in temperature. So they keep hot air in the south and cool air in the north among other things.

When I really started thinking about this it made me think about the boundaries God has around us that we don’t even see. It also made me think of the turbulence we go through to get from one area of life, growth and even trouble into an area of comfort .Now I love hot weather but anything over 100 is even uncomfortable for me. To go through that sand filled, turbulent flow of air made me think of the troubles we face here when things we can’t control are dropped in our lap. It was uncomfortable getting to that point and even more uncomfortable getting through that point. Sometimes we ignore the signs around us that we need to prepare ourselves because the road is about to get a little bumpy ...and just when you wonder can you take one more step,can you stand one more sentence of bad news…if we, if I can just keep moving forward I will get to the other side,- the side that is 20 degrees cooler and much more comfortable!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Pretty as a Peacock Feather

This morning as I was getting the day going I glanced at the Peacock feathers I acquired from the floral arrangement at mom’s home-going. They are so pretty, iridescent, colorful. It got me thinking, one feather alone is pretty yes, with shades of greens and blues but together in a plume they are absolutely breathtaking.  Yet, it takes many tiny hairs that alone are not that impressive to make one feather, and many feathers to make a beautiful plume.

Magnolia Plantation, SC (2004)
The body of Christ is the same way, alone one little person may seem insignificant but then they stand in agreement to encourage a brother or a sister, they become like the Peacock feather. And when they all stand together in Christ, some are bright and shine the light and others are the shaft of the feather supporting the lights. But together the body is beautiful and can more effectively do a work for Christ to change the world like in the Book of Acts; or like World Vision, and Compassionate Ministries.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Remembering the Rest of the World needs us......

Recently - I shared this e-mail from my friend in India:

"With great sorrow in my heart I write this email. India is one of the main victim in Asian continent that has become a regular prey to the terrorist attacks. We have lost many precious innocent lives in different kinds of terrorist attacks. The sad news is that many of these victims are even new born children and kids.

Today, at 10. 30 am a bomb blasted in front of the main gate in Delhi High court where more than 10 people died on the spot. Parts of dead bodies are laying in pool of blood. Around 60 people are critically injured and due to this the death toll may in increase. Terrorism is one of the main threats that India faces these days apart from poverty, illiteracy, natural calamity, communal riots etc. and all these things are keeping India from developments in all aspects. Delhi High court, where the bomb blasted is hardly 8 kilo meters away from our home.

I request your valuable prayer support for the peace of India. Churches and various Christian organizations are in forefront in the activities for promoting the peace and communal harmony through different kinds of activities. Since preaching about Christ " 

Here is how my dear friend Darcy Erb Campbell responded - I had to share this with her permission naturally:

"Thanks, Judith, for sharing this firsthand account of the stuggles of the people of India. We are so lucky as Americans, and we so often forget to be grateful for such basic, fundamental things as our saftey, the saftey of children, babies. We take our freedom for granted. Our eyes land instead on what's wrong with our country, where we disagree politically, what's wrong with our personal lives... in short our eyes spend a lot of time on ourselves. I hope this person's struggles move the hearts of Americans to pray for India, and for many, many people of the world who live in fear, oppression and persecution. Freedom sure as the world ain't free, as you well know. But we, as a country, need to wake up and get serious about that. A Darcyism applies here: "Pray toward heaven, but row toward shore". God expects us to get busy on in defense of mercy for the persecuted. I don't remember anything about geographical or cultural boundaries to that uncomplicated goal. I don't remember Him saying that a military option was the only available option.as well as Christian activities are prohibited in many parts of India by the government and in other parts the persecution on Christians are increasing everyday."

If that doesn't make you think my oh my, or as one of my Facebook friends always says, "mercy!"

Friday, April 29, 2011

What I learned this Easter

We as a small community church made big plans for our Easter program.  Me being the detail-oriented nerd that I am, made this awesome DVD to accompany our Easter Cantata.  Our choir rehearsed with the DVD and our pastor loved it.  For our opening number I found the perfect song but needed to edit the Worship DVD for the song because it lacked a powerful and mysterious intro which oddly is on the recorded version.  I added this amazing video which gave you the feeling of “…In the Beginning……..”  The video I used in my edited intro, God provided royalty and cost free.  Last but of notable mention we finally installed the wiring that enabled us to relocate the projector in the ceiling and move the DVD player and laptop for the PowerPoint into the sound both.  This opened up the platform.  Everything was ready, everybody had played an important part and it was time to give our best for Jesus.

Easter morning, the gentlemen at church prepared an awesome breakfast for us to enjoy.  I found myself surrounded by the giggles of children as we broke bread together.  Watching my church family cut up and enjoy the company of one another was wonderful.  Then I glanced at the clock and realized we need to do a sound check.

To my horror, none of the DVD’s were working.  We could get sound but no video.  To my ultimate perfectionist dismay, here we are with a sanctuary full of people and I am in “Martha” mode trying to help figure out what is wrong.  As we are now 10 minutes late beginning our Easter service, in my brain and for one of the most important services of the year, one which we worked so hard for, we were not going to be able to have any video.

I stepped up to the microphone and mustered a brave face and transparently told our congregation and visitors that we are experiencing “technical difficulties.”  But, it was not going to stop what God has in store for us because we are here to celebrate our Risen savior.  From then on that set the tone and God showed up in a different way for me.  Nothing went as we planned it, but it went how God ordained it as He took over the service.  For the first time ever, when I was done leading worship, done singing in the choir and finally sitting with my husband in the audience preparing for the pastor’s message, I exhaled.  Instead of beating myself up because things didn’t go this way or that way, or I didn’t sing this note loud enough or soft enough I dismissed it from my mind and I worshiped and really listened to the pastors message about our risen Savior.

Closing the service with “We Shall Behold Him” at the request of our Pastor and naturally pre-planned; I couldn’t help but think of my mom who went home to be with Jesus just before Thanksgiving.  That was the last song she heard me sing and the last time I sang it was at her memorial services in TN and MI.  Instead of worrying about do I sound too much like Sandi Patty and what happens if I don’t hit the high not at the end, all I could think about was mom.  It felt like she was right there in the sanctuary giving me her nod of approval with tears in her eyes because she was so proud.  I still felt very defeated and didn’t feel like I did anything to make her proud of me that morning.  At the end of the service her dear friend came up to me and told me that my mom was there with us all watching and that she is proud of me.  Well at that point I lost it and she held me and let me shed a few happy tears. As I am headed home with my sweet family after being showed with love from my church family who all expressed how much the service touched them.  I was starting to re-think some things. 

We invited a friend over to share the Easter meal. She was on her way, I was changing clothes and my hubby ran off to Kroger to pick up our cooked ham and trimmings which we were told all we had to do was heat it up.  My friend shows up and we settle into the kitchen as my hubby came into the house and placed the box with our Easter meal from Kroger on the table.  A few things are only best when homemade so we dove in and cooked chopped, prepared deviled eggs, mac & cheese from scratch, until we were ready to heat up our Easter meal.  I open the box and was horrified to find the spiral sliced –yet pre-cooked ham in the store packaging, this strange so called green bean casserole with almonds and bacon and manufactured packaged prepared mashed potatoes.  Not what I had planned for everybody.  At that point, I chose to see the humor in it all.  What else could go wrong?  So we dove into unpacking everything and cooking more and heating up the Kroger food. Finally at 2:30 in the afternoon we sat down and had the best Easter meal together with our friends and with my family. 

Somewhere in the middle of all that chaos my friend says to me…now understand she and I are very opposite in personality types...she states" it’s good we are friends because I (my friend) need someone to show me discipline and you (the Judith) need someone to show you it’s okay if everything isn’t always perfect." I hear angels sings and for a brief moment the heavens shone a bright ray of “ah-ha” light over my head.

So what did I learn?  Dr. Seuss is right – “Be who you are and say what you mean because those who matter won’t mind and those that mind don’t matter."  Sometimes people are more blessed when they see you are human too instead of the perfect superwoman.  More importantly - God showed me that yes, He appreciates my dedication and commitment but even in the chaos which drives this anal-retentive-obsessive-compulsive “Martha” crazy, God will still come, He will still have His way.  He really doesn’t need me and my task-oriented list to accomplish His will.  If we can step away from ourselves and all our must dos thinking that’s what God wants…if we exhale and just breathe Him in – He can then do a mighty work and for a brief moment this Martha was at peace just like her sister Mary at Jesus feet.

Monday morning I wake up feeling blessed. loved and forgiven and this quote was in my devotion - "I thank you, O God for delivering me from a way of life bound by impossibilities into one that burgeons with opportunities. I will no longer live timidly and cautiously, inhibited by the enemy, but confidently and valiantly, believing in a victorious Jesus Christ. Amen." - Eugene Peterson - that is exactly where I am today.  Now, I am sure Martha Simon Peter will show up again (if you don't get this read about Martha and the Apostle Peter), but wasn't Peter eventually the Rock God build His church on?  I am so glad God is still working on me and will one day will complete the good work He has started in me!!!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Stop Doing Church and Be the Church

Think about this.......
Just last week when I awoke the Lord laid this on my heart...."There is no perfect church of Christian organization. I believe it is because Jesus meets us where we are. So can we allow ourselves to step back and let Jesus work through us? The truth of the matter is if the church were perfect there would be no cross and no20place for sinners to come in reconciliation. The church as an institution will never be perfect but the church as the "Body of Christ" is washed in His blood and cleansed from our sins. Through the Holy Spirit we can shine God's perfect love and be Jesus to a hurting world. Loving and meeting people right where they are into redemption. So the challenge we face is are we going to be the body of Christ or the church as an imperfect institution?" - Judith