Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

You Lookin’ At Me?

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

… to paraphrase Travis Bickle.

It’s always fun for me to look at the statistics for this site and see the occasional view of a months- or years- old post. It makes me curious just how someone was led to or decided to look at an old post.

If you’ve done that today or recently, I’d love to have your comment about

  • how you came to the site to begin with
  • what page or post began your visit
  • how or why you chose another page or post to read.

(And if you don’t want your comment to be published, just say so in the comment itself — I am moderating all comments.)

Or send a private message using the contact form.


Thinking of Touring

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

After our successful premiere of Rural Sketches, marimbist Matt Coley and I have been kicking around the idea of taking the piece on tour to some colleges in Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota, at the end of October and early November 2014.

What an exciting idea!

Of course, when I have thought about taking the Chicago Bass Ensemble on tour, I have thought way too big, imagining all sorts of cool, intimate concerts in old chapels throughout the south of France. It’s probably much more realistic to get several of us into a van and drive around the midwest. There is the added challenge of doing this with six basses and marimba (I usually think of no marimba and only four basses), but what the heck, nothing ventured nothing gained.

If it works out, there would be performances at the University of NE Omaha, Iowa State University, Carleton College … and a few more that we have yet to think of. We would also record the piece while we’re out there. (Apologies to those of you who live in Iowa and Nebraska and Minnesota — I am writing from the current center of my world, Chicago, and EVERYwhere else is “out there.”) A kickstarter campaign might help fund the recording.

There’s nothing concrete to report on this, inquiries have just begun. It would be premature to say any more than I have already.

I would love to hear from you that you’re excited about this the way I am!! Leave a comment, or better yet, put me in touch with the music department at your favorite Nebraska-Iowa-Minnesota college or university!

Press Release Time!

Saturday, December 8th, 2012

A very brief post today (first in a while, I concede).

Right now I’m frantically trying to compose a few blurbs for upcoming concerts:

Writing these promotional things is often a bit of a challenge for myself, because I leave them for too long, and then don’t save the ones I’ve written, for re-use. Dumb!

Opening the Kimono

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

Now here’s an interesting (maybe) debate. Or maybe you’ll find the answer completely obvious. I have made a very rough, raw, poorly played cut of about the first three minutes of the ensemble part for Autogenous Mining. The question is this: how public should I make this?


Part of me says: don’t reveal anything. Part of the fun of the creative process is displaying something “brand new” only when it is ready. I’ll be taking away from the excitement of “the premiere” of the piece in February. AND you don’t do yourself any favors by showing yourself to the public when you’re not at your finest.

Show Off

But there is definitely another part of me that is excited by the prospect of sharing what I’ve begun, no matter how incomplete*. This is in the spirit of the creative hive that I wrote about a few weeks ago. What will the hive think of this? Will the feedback say “good, go on” or “bad, maybe you should reconsider” or perhaps offer more subtly creative input than simply good|bad? And there’s a somewhat pragmatic benefit to publishing “as you go” in that it could get people more interested in attending the premiere.

There are potentially other (small) worries… this is of course a piece written by someone else. And even though that someone else is a close friend, he might feel differently about revealing something which is very much incomplete.

But there’s a lot of good to doing the work of previewing the piece in this way. Most notably, I have firmly decided that I will NOT assign myself voice 4. My bass has an unfriendly wolf on the first octave harmonic on the A string. If I were to play the opening note of the piece, it would set an immediately unsophisticated tone for the piece. And I really am interested in the initial comments that might come from the two or three of you who have read this far and bother to comment.


So in case you didn’t guess already, I’m not debating here, I’m rationalizing. I really really want to put the raw recording out into the world and see what people think. So have a listen. Let me know what you think. I hope it intrigues you and that you enjoy it. But I also hope that if you feel differently about my decision, or if you don’t like what you hear, that you’ll say so.

I really do look forward to hearing what you have to say.

Raw tracks of Autogenous Mining on Soundcloud

And of course, if the feedback says so, or the composer requests it, this will come down (and an explanation will be given).

As always, thanks for any comments you care to make! And please +1 or share this post with anyone in your network who might be interested!

Postscript: At the moment, and for the foreseeable future, there is no way that I would post such raw stuff if it included unwilling colleagues. Only my own noodlings would be exposed this way.


* Just how incomplete is this? Some answers:

  • The piece is about 7 minutes long; what I’ve recorded so far is just about 3 minutes.
  • The piece is scored for 4 basses and interactive electronics; this is basses only. There will be some great atmospheric (or something!) electronic sounds running along with this.
  • The piece should be executed by four players, interacting with each other and the “computer operator” (what a sad description–Mike, who is the composer and will be “operating” the computer, is a very talented musician. But perhaps he’s describing the role ironically!); the raw 4-track version is a single player (me) playing to a click track.

It’s Not an Audience, It’s a Beehive

Friday, November 11th, 2011

I mentioned in a previous post that I’ve been reading Jonathan Fields’ book “Uncertainty” and taking some learnings from it. One of the tools he recommends for overcoming the fear that comes from facing uncertainty is the “creation hive,” a group of interested individuals who can give you interim feedback on your projects, goals and methods. (Marty Cagan of Silicon Valley Product Group has a similar concept.)

I realize that this blog, my twitter activity and the occasional e-mail I send to the CBE mailing list are all efforts on my part to build a kind of feedback hive for my musical efforts. It’s why I long for comments on this blog. It’s why I’m excited to see something of mine retweeted, and it’s why I mostly limit my tweets to musical topics.

So I admit that I had hopes, when I sent my last e-mail, of picking up a few new subscribers to the mailing list, a twitter follower or two and getting someone to make a comment on any one of these blog posts.

After sending the e-mail, the first response from the world was the usual couple of unsubscribes. That’s natural, someone realizes they are ON a mailing list and decide they want off. Okay, no problem. Beyond that? Nothing.

No e-mails forwarded. No comments. Maybe one new twitter follower. But not even the usual handful of “hello, great to hear what you’re up to” responses from geographically distant friends. Net-net, I think the result of this “campaign” was negative growth.

It’s somewhat disheartening. But it’s not time to give up. It is time to realize that this isn’t easy, and that’s okay. The reward of building a hive will make he hard work worthwhile.

My next steps:

  • Try buying some ad traffic (Google occasionally offers some credit to try out Adwords. With concerts coming up, I do have something to promote, so why not try it?)
  • Do some more commenting on other blogs, where appropriate, with polite links back to my blog.
  • Reach out on online forums–for instance the professional bass players group on LinkedIn–to solicit hive-like input and feedback.

Stay tuned (and comment, won’t you?) to see how it turns out!

Designing the Concert Experience, part 1

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

I want to craft a good experience for those who come to performances of the Chicago Bass Ensemble. This post will mark the beginning of my discussing the idea of designing a concert. First some random thoughts. (I’m tapping this out on an iPhone, at least initially, so I may be somewhat inelegant.)
Understanding the audience
Let’s agree that this seems obvious. If you want people to enjoy what you do, do what they enjoy.
Is that selling out? Only if you end up doing something that you don’t enjoy. if that’s the case, consider not playing for this audience.
Can a concert maintain the same emotional, physical, dynamic level from beginning to end? If you can, is that desirable?
The Peak-End Effect
I think I’ve got the right name for this psychological effect: that people remember the highest point of an experience and it’s outcome or end. (They may remember the trough, rather than the peak, if the lowest point is lower than the peak is high.) So send ’em home whistling!

There are of course others: timing meaning duration, contrast which is related to pace, direction meaning the overall emotive vector of he program, and I’m sure there are more.

For the moment, understanding the audience provides me with a project: get a fuller understanding of the (likely) audiences for our performances in January and February. Two actions present themselves:

  • speak directly with the presenters
  • look closely at who else is programmed for the series and for the festival.

By taking these two actions, I can help myself settle my programming decisions.

A Post from iOS 5

Saturday, October 15th, 2011

Having just upgraded my iPhone (believe it or not, I got an iPhone 4S on the first day they were available), I’m writing a test post using the WordPress iPhone app. This app had been crashing on my old iPhone. If you’re reading this, then we know that it runs okay under the news OS!

Maintenance: Thank You, Pharma Hack

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

Well, I’ll say this for the WordPress Pharma Hack: it has made me look more closely at my website.

Well over a year ago I began the process of converting this website to use WordPress. As I did so, I created pages in my WordPress install to introduce the Chicago Bass Ensemble to new visitors, to mention the musicians in the Chicago Bass Ensemble, to host our contact form and mailing list. I mostly left the old .html and .php pages in place, figuring that if anyone had bookmarked them, I wanted them to get something better than a 404 error.

Of course, the RIGHT thing to do would have been to put proper redirects in place, but I was focusing first on getting WordPress running, and then on getting the right site design in place (still not done, as of this writing).

I did get WordPress running, and good pages in place, and started writing blog posts about this and that. But I got distracted from the task of finishing up the redirects. The silver lining in getting hacked by the crafty devils who created the Pharma Hack is that I’ve been visiting google and searching every few days in order to see my progress in clearing out the bad page titles and content visible only to bots. In the process, I have noticed how many old pages are actually showing up in search results. The first impression some visitors might have of the website is of the old pages, stripped of all the css and graphics that I had used with the site first went up. (The wayback machine doesn’t capture all the old images, but don’t worry, you’re not missing much.)

So in addition to diligently following instructions for removing the Pharma Hack, I’ve been adding redirects here and there, and fixing links within the pages that–for whatever reason–I’m leaving in place.

I don’t know how quickly I’ll see improvements in search results, or whether traffic will really suddenly zoom (pretty sure it won’t actually), but I know that for those visitors who do make it here, the Pharma Hack has actually improved their experience.

Oh Dear, Hacked!

Saturday, August 20th, 2011

Sigh, I’ve just spent the last two hours working to remove malicious database entries from the WordPress install that runs this site. I came across a Google SERP for my site that suggested that I was a source for a pharmaceutical of some sort:

Of course, this is NOT what the Chicago Bass Ensemble provides. We are a musical group, performing chamber music for double basses. In our repertoire, we have a mix of styles from the renaissance, classical and contemporary (not so much from the late romantic period). But we’re open to anything that works well for us.

We don’t do pharmaceuticals. In removing the malicious stuff from the site, I got a lot of help from Thank you!

I intended to write Chris Pearson a comment on his blog thanking him for sharing his knowledge, but there are so many comments already, I think I would be adding more noise than signal. So I’m thanking him here!

I always appreciate comments on THIS site, so if you happen to have noticed that we’re hacked again, please say so!

Badges? We Got Stinkin’ Badges

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

I just discovered that Chicago Bass Ensemble has the “old school” MySpace badge, for joining MySpace before it was cool. I find that rather funny. Maybe MySpace does as well.

Maybe if Zuckerman stumbles we can ride MySpace back up to the top!