The Working Musician Playbook

Lesson 13 of 19

Q&A with Mike Johnston

 

The Working Musician Playbook

Lesson 13 of 19

Q&A with Mike Johnston

 

Lesson Info

Q&A with Mike Johnston

And I don't I don't work that hard yet I know I should you know and sometimes I need to hear that but you know, sure it can be done you know, it totally can be done and I think like you said it's like you don't work that hard it's like well do you need to do you want to I mean I think that thing is like do you want I can tell you right now you know, one of the reasons and matt matt knows my actual legitimate deep personal financial situations with everything but the reason I drive like a super nice car and have like a nice studio you know for my students to come into is I want them to think that's the norm I don't want them to see drum teachers always broke riding like a bicycle with like a messed up well, you know I'd be like oh that's a drum teacher you know like I want him to be like I want a kid to see me my car, my studio my house would be like no that's a drum teacher like elevate the expectations because that kid will on ly know that as the norm and now that's what he will try o...

r she will try to achieve in their futures so it's up to you like what you want to live with, you know and then just knowing that you can have more it's totally up to you, man, but happiness should be the biggest goal when you're happy. Then there is no dollar amount, you know what I mean? So so I'm I'm really interested in teaching. I've always thought that that would be an incredible, you know, revenue stream. But I'm a vocalist and a cz faras music. I'm more or less self taught my background and education comes from theatre. So, like, what would I do to design curriculum? How could I make myself? How could I make myself useful to students? Okay, we'll sort of from scratch. That's. Awesome. And the first thing you have to understand with teaching is your level means nothing. What matters is the distance between you and who you're teaching. Okay, so you do. You have to be michael jordan teach basketball no. If you're teaching a six year old, the fact that you got that ball to hit the rim, that will freak that kid out, it'll be like, are you thor? You kinda. So the distance between your in your student is what matter? That's all that matters and if you feel that there's enough distance then you can teach them if you feel that there isn't enough distance and it's your responsibility to find someone that can and I have to do that all the time people come to me and say I want to audition for berklee school of music for their jazz program it's okay, I'm not your guy I can play jazz and I did that audition but I'm not passionate about it let me find you the guy that is I'm gonna lose this hundred bucks now but by giving it to another educator in my hometown eventually he's going to give that money back to me when he's got a jazz kid that's just not inspired anymore he's like I'm ascension mike because he's an animal and he's a freak and he's going to do we could do this so as far as coming up with a curriculum, the key is going backwards in time. How did you learn how to sing now you've probably always always had natural talent you're the kid in the car that sings, you know and it's like that's surprisingly on key but they're also had to be things you cultivated, you know? And I think by starting to teach in general you will start to realize oh ok, these are the things that are natural to me that most people don't have and you'll start to recognize your own talents and realize awhile. That's weird, I just thought everyone could do that because I've always been able to do that and you'll have to understand that's not normal, so you're really gonna have to find a way to dissect what you do. And so what I would suggest is go through the process, you know, sing with your brain fully on and think what's happening to my throat what's happening to my diaphragm. What's happened in my stomach so I stand up dough. I'd sing better sitting down dissected like, insanely to the to the biggest, you know, kind of her to the smallest component and they start passing it off to people. And then the next thing, too is dividing things up into two sections. So in this section, you have military perfection exercises. This is either right or wrong. There's only two options. Correct or incorrect, then over here is art and trying to get people to practice something and once they can do it and they got the check mark yes, you can do it. Okay, but does it sound good or does it sound like an exercise? And we do that in drums all day ticket ticket ticket ticket ticket ticket ticket ticket ticket, ticket, ticket, ticket, ticket a good ticket ticket ticket ticket ticket ticket ticket ticket back into good to good to get that ticket ticket ticket ticket okay, but that doesn't sound good but to be going off spahn cat tio tio cattan then it sounds good so I took that boring exercise and brought it over to this world of art and with vocal lessons you'd have to do the same thing you would have to learn do you work on scales like if not maybe it's because your natural what's like okay, well, if you're not natural somebody does have to work on this so start to work on it yourself you know, start to collect books and don't think that there is a book of teaching vocals there's a page out of this book you photocopy that that becomes part of your personal curriculum then there's three pages in this book you photocopy those that's the next thing of your curriculum and you bring this altogether because the thing is in drums bass what do you play? Okay, so in everything there is always like that nothing can be changed as far as the information the information is what it is so mad and I have this thing called the parrot it'll it's just a it's a siri's of notes right left right right left, right left left that can never be changed it is what it is but how I deliver that information and how matt delivers it can always be changed, so the delivery of information can always be changed and that could become uniquely you and that's. What I've obsessed over is how can I make my delivery of information something where you could buy all my cameras, you can buy my studio, you can buy everything, but you'll never have the delivery because that's that's, my that's who I am, and so that's, what would separate any of you guys apart and separates us as educators is the delivery, and nobody is right or wrong and that, you know, it's, just like sometimes it clicks and sometimes the personality that you spoke about, uh, you know, with me doesn't click with people and it's like, cool man, maybe you need something that's a little more serious, a little more, just straight ahead, maybe need somebody, you know, maybe you watch matt speaking it's like, I don't know, man, I don't know what I don't know how to say it, but I just connect with that guy it's like, good, you should, you know, that's, why we're individuals. So I think creating, like, your own individual thing, and then the biggest thing I can tell all of you guys is just focus on the student don't ever think that whatever you taught the last dude you can teach the next chick like it doesn't work that way you have to walk into the lesson and say how is your day just guys even mentioned that he said some about that earlier right? Yes like dude how's it going I mean because really the drums or vocal lessons will be the backdrop for your counseling sessions that's really what it comes down to in private lessons it's the reality of their young kids years old you know absolutely and the thing that people don't realize is as their private instructor you're the only person in their life that is not connected to their social group so they can tell you all of their drama and you can't leak it so they finally get to say I've helped so many people probably gonna get in trouble but it helps so many people come out the closet because they just sat in a room with me and I was like well what do you feel? You know they're like I don't I've never even talked about this and like well let's talk about it you know and let's talk about anything um help people realize dude you're not I don't want to get into because it gets weird but it's like you know but that's that's what a drum lesson is like a private lesson is like let's talk about it I don't know your friends you can tell me anything so those things are really important and the other thing that no one ever does is they never say who's your favorite band you know they just instantly or like this is what we're learning this page you should go practices it's like I started out on drums at jack's house music and roseville actually from some dude I started jax to know amazing but anyway I sort of I had I felt the need to rebel I really I was on the snare for two years and all I wanted I was twelve and all I wanted to do was make some noise right? And I was obsessed on music obsessed with my whole life and all I wanted to do was play along to some smashing pumpkins and they wouldn't let it how didn't you call me? I would likely have some music I was like eight miles down the road I would have been your teacher we've been best friends kills me how to dress everything would have been great but yeah I mean that's what it's about is like my first five minutes with a brand new student is I put them on the drum set and then I lie to them until it shouldn't start with live but it does and I say I'm gonna go outside, make some photocopies real quick this room is totally soundproof just go ahead and hit things as hard as you can because if they've never played drums I just want them to feel the power of it and I just stand outside the door and I listen to him go and they probably scares the crap out of him and then I'm like hit the big one hit the big shiny one hit the pics and they're like all right and then I can walk in and like how's it going man and like I know they've got that just buzz going in their body they felt what a drum set khun dio ora base you know you get a big eight ten fridge turned up to six and go like your stance do you know lowy and it's just like yeah or you know your guitar cabbages jug palm muted and they get to feel that it's like yemen you could do that whenever you want now so anyways I mean that's the keys is treated as an individual thing ask them who their favorite band is we have to learn quarter notes we can't get away from that but why do we have to do it to a metre no slip not record to imagine um periphery recorded to have met you know if I have to teach you corn oats I would ask you who's your favorite band you say the beatles all right put on the beatles and we'll just go strong barry feels on you know what I mean? Like we're going to play cora notes to the beatles and if you love periphery then it's gonna be like general don't don't but don't dunk a dunk junk don't get on that junk don't contact on don't junk I'm gonna jump go on but we're going to quarter notes to it and it's like that way the kids like it was my favorite song and I'm like, hey, that thing your heads doing those air called quarter notes when your head goes backwards those athos want like why can't you make learning fun? I don't understand why it has to be a rubber pad like I go rubber pad once you're hooked when sharon's obsessed with drumming, then we can go to the boring minutia stuff. So any other questions real quick? I just wanted to add something to question about lessons a lot of times to it if you just kind of jump right in and you know usually if someone is you know, just starting out you can, you know, for the first couple lessons it's all good and then they start to get better you're like, oh, I need to go learn something else to teach you and you actually get better too, so it's actually it's actually pretty sweet yeah so much teaching is just I don't know how to relate to different personalities and different people and like mike said, you have to connect with your students, you really do that that's the most important thing, because you have such a responsibility now, as mike said, you're the person outside of their family, and they're looking to for guidance and trust and you know, it's it's a big responsibility, so it's important to not pull a gun out and put it on the floor, tom, and scare your students to death. I mean it's really it's such an important relationship, and I think it's so great that you highlighted that is part of your presentation that teaching is something we should dio we've built our lives around teaching we really have and it's not because it is a great way to make money with which it can be it's, because of the responsibility and the gratification that you can get from watching someone get it and helping someone grow. And in turn, as you just said, it forces you to get better at your craft and to make sure that you can think about ways to make it exciting for different people. Some people are more timid, it's, timid. Some people are more excited. Some people walk up and slap a card in your hand and it has something funny written on it, I mean you you run into all sorts of different people it's just like we talked about working in a restaurant you never know what you're going to get same thing when you have a new student never know what you're going to get so you have tto embrace that and say this is part of it I want to get better at learning about different personalities and different people and communicating you develop that relationship and you're going to continue have more students more work because they're goingto tell their friends were going to tell their parents the parents are going to tell the other parents the other drum teachers like you said I'm going big on busy today but man this guy has such a great reputation I don't know him personally but I think you'd be really happy working with him you know and you need to develop that relationship with your students with other drummers working in a music store is a fantastic place to be around like minded individuals you can get gigs that way you can get students that way it's just it's a great great place to be and education happens there as well you know I think to one thing that you mentioned like you know teaching is a way to make money is a good thing to focus on because one thing that I think people would think immediately is like why I got to make money I'm gonna teach that's just you're going to actually be very bad at teaching, and you'll only have, like two or three students are going to fall for your stick. Well, you have to understand is that education is massively valuable on both ends. When you charge for education, you take it so much more seriously as the teacher because you feel like, dude, I can't leave you're paying one hundred dollars a month for this, I so have to live up to that and that student that's paying one hundred bucks a month, they're going to get their money's worth, you know, there's, nothing better than a nineteen year old student paying for his own lessons the the way they practice compared to a seven year old whose parents pay for it and seven year old has no concept of value or money. A nineteen year old that's like I had to choose between new jeans or this there was one of the other, and I chose this and I all right, man. Well, you need to get your hundred dollars worth by practicing and I can't just wing your lesson. I have to go home and think, all right, you know, tim's lessons coming up tim's been working on the samba for a few months now, he's getting pretty good at the samba. Do I want to take him down further path of brazilian rhythms? Or do I want to use the samba as his gateway into austin autos? I mean, like those all of that is just drum talk, but or music talk about what I'm saying is if somebody's paying money from for my education, I really do take it seriously think about it and if if if you just said, hey, teach me something for free, like I'd be happy to, but neither of us value it, you know, that everything you'll ever want to know is for free right now in youtube and google, why would you go to creative life? Because when you pay for education, both parties value it. These guys put millions of dollars into making sure that the education that's being brought to its quality and then you paid for it so you value it and you watch it over and over and over again and the books you buy, you know, it's, like I'm sure you could find a pdf for free somewhere, but when you buy the book and you touch it and it's really you value it. So yeah, but another way, that purse we have made a lot of money on the side and my music career is like what you're doing working for rhino staging and helping set up concerts, whether you're taking for a band or running sound on dh, then also I've run a recording studio and it's the same thing when people are paying me tio engineer, I've gone in and taken the timeto read the compressor manual from front to back and watch videos and make sure that I know how to get exactly the pop that I need out of something. Sure, so it's it's it's the money money is that it is a good thing, you know? Like I said, matt knows my situation, I've set up a situation at home where my money never ever changes I have amount that gets put into my account from my wife on the first and the fifteenth, so that was the reason we did that was so that my delivery of education would never be based on money. So when mike's lessons dot com makes very little money, I don't stress because I didn't know that it made little money, and when it makes a ton of money, I don't get excited and slack because I didn't know it made a ton of money. I will always get the same amount put in my account on the first in the fifteenth and that's my money that's why when we go out. And I'm like, I got a bro and I swiped my card. I'm kind of nervous, it might not go through even if my corporation makes, like a lot of money, I don't have any of it, I don't want it, it will change how I don't deliver education and so it's very important that when I make a new set of videos, it has nothing to do with whether or not it'll sell it has do with whether or not it will help drummers, because if it sells a ton, I don't get any of it, and if it sells nothing, I don't lose any of it. It's not, you know, it stays separate, and I think that's a good way to go, because that way you're not getting into that world of like, well, I made this, or I do this it's like, uh, if you gave it to me, I'll spend it all like I'm horrible with money, so I don't want any of it. So it's made the education extremely honest because it has nothing to with money, but at the same time, I know that charging the reason I don't do free things on mike's lessons dot com is because it's almost the money is as important for you, too. Send to take this whole thing seriously as it is for me to charge but it just validates us both if somebody said do that new youtube video that you made socks that you like how much did you pay for that nothing so what I don't care like whatever but if somebody said hey that video that I bought for five, ninety nine on your site kind of blows I'd be like dude oh my god I'm so sorry I mean even right now I'm like kind of sweating dude I'll refill me we got cameras so I could do it right now like I would so fix it because it's like dude you you paid for that and I charged for that I put a dollar sign next to that piece of educational content saying this is worth this much money to the world and I failed you like that would kill me if I was on youtube like so I just did a video on youtube about betty crocker and how how betty crocker was invented and how it's a fake name and how that all came to be and it's like what if someone's like dude that's the dumbest video ever like so it's free like a tree you know how betty crocker got her name now you know yeah whatever but you know but on on my site and on you know when you charge for education and private lessons online lessons whatever it's important, that brings up a good point because, um, one of the things that I think a lot of us musicians face is that when we actually get on the stage and we perform music for people, ah lot of times people expect us to play for free or pay them for the oberoi, giving them us, you know, our art. So I feel, you know, personally, I get I get paid to play, and I put a ton of effort into every performance because I know that there's a valium in it, you've you've paid me to perform for your audience says, um, what would you recommend to people that are put in that situation? Because I tell people if if somebody asked you to play for free, they're devaluing what we do? I don't do it. Sure, I don't do gigs for exposure unless there's one hundred thousand people and I can still sew. Merche there's got to be some well, there's a relativity in that too. I mean that's. Why that's? Why I chose the route of education? Because I felt like it was a little more clear cut. I think education will always be valuable for the rest of humanity where art will go in and out of favor. So the thing is the relativity is your exposure to one hundred thousand people that would be valid for who you are is a musician right now that's the same as a brand new musician playing for ten people he'd be stoked to play for ten so that that relativity is always there and that's why we are always watering down the value of art is because somebody's always like do I would just do it if you just listen to me it's a it's a it's a total like and that's the reason why people put their whole album you know upon remember when radiohead first did that, like years ago that was like the first time a major label, baby yeah, and I was like, well, what? And they were like, well, we expose ourselves to ten million people in a day and it's like, but there has to be a business thing in plan in place for that. Like you said, yes, I am doing this for free it's because I'm gonna make twenty grand on merch by being there for free it's like, okay, well then you're not playing for free it's just who signed the check change is not every gig is going to be like that gig is going to be free and a lot of times you know I mean I think back to the bands I started with we were playing in front of salt and pepper shakers mean, literally. We were playing in front of two people, the guy that works at the restaurant we were playing at and, you know, they're like, yeah, good one, you know, but it's that's, my that's, my stage, that's, what I do and that that that should be at the center of this and that's the thing. I mean, at some point, yes, we need teo toe look att what our time is worth and we have to put our time into things that are going to allow us to eat, you know, and make a living. But at the same time, I do agree that teaching is very different than performing because I think the people that I've seen that either are successful as performers or as you know, if they're in a band, you give them a stage. They're going to play no matter what, because there and the business, mind the business view of that should be. If I played, people are going to listen. And if I had people listening and I just kill it I'm going to do my job because those people are going to like what I do and they're gonna want to hear more and they're gonna tell their friends about it and in the time that I do play the show where I'm getting paid or I can sell my merch is still my city they're gonna come and they're gonna support me because they saw my passion and that truly is as a performer the mindset that I think we all should have is it's not about are you going to pay me for the gig holding screw it I'm not going to play if you're not going to pay me it's well wait a minute you're giving me an opportunity go on stage I have a bunch of people I can tell about it hey come come to the show come come hey out let's make music together let's let's do this man that is something that people would kill for like you said I don't know that they would kill for that opportunity so don't look at it from the performance perspective as oh you have to pay to plato be here you know what sometimes that's what you have to do and you need to be willing to do anything for that passion and if you do that it's not gonna last forever if you truly get up there and just nail it then you've succeeded so that day and it's going to translate for the next show and to the next show it's the same thing we talked about with giving away music online okay people are going are going to be able to get to your music no matter what if they want it for free they're going to find it for free and there's nothing you could do about it so why put up a barrier between people that want to support you or that wanna listen to you you have more of a chance that way to win them over and then when you win them over and they appreciate the gift that you just gave them they're going to come out to your show and say thanks for the gift hears it here's my gift I'm gonna pay at the door to come see you play and I'm gonna buy a t shirt and I'm gonna bring three friends that right there is why you put yourself out there and that's that's the point of this it's it's not about the money we talked about this yesterday you want to be a working musician don't do it for the money because you're not going to make much now the reason I wanted mike here is t present opportunities for musicians that are new cities were trying to do this there are other ways to support your goal but the goal if you're a working musician is to perform so you support yourself other ways, but you go out on that stage and you take advantage of that and you play no matter what the situation is and you play like ash said yesterday play like no one's there who cares? It's the biggest show of your life because it's maybe the last show you'll ever play you don't know if you'll be around tomorrow and that's a little bit, you know, kind of morbid in some ways but it's true you never know what's gonna happen from day to day so think of every show you play as the last year you're going to leave it all on the stage, do it that's that's the key and also understand the difference between value in different aspects of music. You know, one of my favorite artists of all time like long term artists would be sting I'm just I just like him he always chooses great drummers. So what would I pay for a sting concert, dvd or download? Maybe somewhere between fourteen and nineteen dollars what would I pay for an hour of him telling me what what he wants out of any cal yuda one hundred fifty bucks, two hundred bucks a thousand dollars I pay anything to know what happens between staying and vinny I've always wanted to know that so there's a huge difference between performance value and educational value and if you can divide those two into those do different segments, you know it'll help your brain, you know, because it's hard to be like man, I'm struggling like crazy just to play these gigs for five dollars then this dude who teaches at the local music store is doing fine and he doesn't even play his instrument. You know what it's like there's a difference between educational value and performance value performance value is definitely mohr self serving its for you you know that's why people play for free that's why that we have busking is people like you, I will play on the street and I just don't want to be in my mom's house anymore playing this guitar and it's like then go do it that's a connection you do from exactly in front of other people and you do get to turn gigs down like you said, you get to say like I mean there's definitely gives that come my way where it's like honestly it's actually not worth it because of what I would have to put into it. But you know what? I have this drummer distance between you and somebody else that's, you know, coming up he would actually be perfect for him you know he'll play this benefit that's free but at least he'll get an hour of playing jazz standards bossa novas samba as you know there's that opportunity to help someone else against holy and then who knows you know you never know what'll turn into yeah I wanna take a couple questions from online bring in the people around the world so I want to ask a big picture question mike and this goes back to like the beginning of when we started talking to you and this is from grey malkin love scarlett I'm ready all right the point are the question is there asking they're saying I'm curious to know if either of you has a specific way or tool to remind yourselves that you don't have to be anyone but yourselves so the question is you know, you talk about the path that you chose and it was awesome and it's incredible to hear like your determination and perseverance like we talked about yesterday and that so I'm wondering what do you say to yourself when you're struggling and you're like I'm going to do this and how do you remind yourself that you're on this path and it's just step by step and you just need to go in the music store and you just need to do this like what do you telling yourself internally internal dialogue that keeps you on this path and to make just a living as a musician well, what I know would definitely both have different answers so I'll try to keep my shorts would get to matt, but I think it it's not a simple is telling yourself something I think it's more about kind of reliving your experiences that you've had you know what I mean? And I just draw on my experience you know, I know for a fact that I am on a six month on two month off evan flow cycle six months of pure inspiration drums with world drums of the world I sokka sokka sokka sokka and I'm the worst on the worst and and I think I'm going to quit and I get through it and then and then I watched this video or I hang out with matt or something clicks and like drums of the greatest thing ever six months is awesome I'm improving and eye socket set and I'm like the ninth one of those I was like, I think this is my life like this is just how it's going to be so I started letting people around me know hey, when I'm into this stuff understand we probably aren't gonna be that close of friends I'm not coming home, you know, sorry wife, I'm not coming home till midnight every night I have to take advantage of this inspiration because it will leave me and then for two months I will be going down and we will I'll be calling all my buddies like to we should go bowling because drum suck you know and and I will be the greatest husband in the history of the world you know and there's flowers every day and then all of a sudden the inspiration kicks in again and I I just ride those waves so I think instead of saying that I'm telling myself something it's more that I'm just going dude this is normal you've been through this before you get through it again you know I think it's some of that and that and it's what we talked about yesterday you have tto first pick a goal commit to it and go down that road and you have to constantly think about the journey that your own I think you know you have to look at the journey and say ok I did this I did this I do this I'm I'm really happy with these things that I've achieved maybe you know I do go through these waves of inspiration and lows but man when I'm when I do start going going down that road I think about oh man like I was like in japan playing music for thousands of people that's awesome or texting me about the green tea they had you know what I mean like it's so that was inspirational to me I was like that's my buddy he's drinking green tea in japan right now yeah and you just have to look a tte you have to really believe in what you're doing and don't be afraid to stop and smell the roses so to speak every now and then and remind yourself this is this is who I am because this is what I want to be doing and I like what I'm doing if you look back and you don't like it if you really really look at the experience and you're like magic pants suck I hated that you're on the wrong path and at that point you should make a change but really I mean I think that's that's what I do personally and I can't stress enough if you're a drummer if your guitar player whatever you're doing find other guitar players, other drummers, other industry professionals and become friends with them because they will inspire you and it's a constant inspiration when we hang out we both just want to play drums that's all we want to do that we all want way want to talk about teaching that's it you know we inspire each other and that is an invaluable relationship I mean you can't even put you couldn't put a price on that and there's so many of us like that I think that when we get in a room it's like this is why I'm here this is why I've worked my ass off to get here I've been wondering what what I'm supposed to doing? Well, ok, thank you for reminding, you know, told us great, you know? So there's gonna ask a two part question because there's a couple questions around, like, how do you actually get students for somebody other than getting a job in a music store in inheriting sixty five states? How do you how do you develop that for somebody that doesn't have any insurance teaching? That's so what? Well, yeah, definitely. I mean, the first thing that I would say is the teachers that fight over your say, two hundred local based students, that is a joke. Why would you deal with that small of high when there's probably twenty thousand kids in your local area that haven't chosen a hobby? It I would never fight over two hundred students when I can have access to twenty thousand. So what I did in san luis obispo, sacramento late was I went to the local elementary schools, not junior highs and definitely not high school high school. They're way too cool for you. You couldn't possibly get even near there near their world of coolness, but elementary school kids, I haven't you know what your competition is as a musician? It's football, it's, basketball, it's, baseball, it's everything they're bombarded with besides art so my job was to go into the elementary schools, I'd talk to the vice principal and I'd say, hey, I will come in, I'll give a clinic, you know, and I'll relate it something scholastic, so I would be like these air rhythms from brazil don't took a bone bam ba tone, and then I would do this is africa, and I do this whole thing, and then at the end, my trade out, I don't want to get paid my trade out was I get to give you this stack of a thousand gift certificates for one free drum lessons, you just have to pass him out, I'll do the whole clinic for free just pass them out to every kid, and I knew that it wouldn't happen right away, but I knew those gift certificates would be on somebody's, refrigerator and christmas would come around, and it was time to get the kid of paris sticks a practice pad and pull that thing down and calm like johnston, and that happened every single time, and within within a couple months I was always full at sixty five I've never drop below sixty five private students when I talk private, so that was how I did it. You have to you have to go to a bigger pool of students instead of dealing. Trying to steal like his ten and his five like I don't wanna deal with that right? Brent he has a question about lesson policy should teachers charge a flat monthly rate to discourage cancellations and income flux or does that hurt a teacher's reputation? I always charge flat just flat yeah, that way they get the fifth lesson every month for free that's the floating lesson that allows them to be sick the only thing that ever changes the prices if I miss a lesson obviously are not required to pay for that, but I always have a sub list so that you you would never ever show up to a private lesson with me when I was doing private lessons where there wasn't a teacher but it needed to be at least ninety five percent of time it was me otherwise that does screw things up, but yeah, it's always a flat rate one hundred bucks a month or one hundred twenty five bucks a month or whatever your local rate is because yeah, you can't deal with like, well, I thought I made four grand a month, but I guess since he was sick and he went on vacation and summer happened now I made twenty seven hundred what happened? It's when I look at my listing okay, I have fifty students five grand there's, no calculations you know what I mean so, yeah, that's that's part of that budgeting thing that's really important, and I agree wholeheartedly there, I mean, set a competitive market rate? Absolutely. That is, you know, very, very practical and realistic for your area, and I don't think there's anything wrong with that, I think that that is a smart way to do it. The key is to explain that in the first lesson, you know, have your flyer that or you think that they sign that just says it is one hundred dollars a month because you can't do it backwards when they go hey, we're not going to be here for two weeks because we've got summer vacation, you go well, just so you know, it is one hundred it'll never work that way. So you let him know it's a hundred bucks a month, I have a waiting list if you ever just need to take off for the summer just know your spot will be taken by someone the way listen, I'll do my best to get you back on. I've had students all the time that say we're actually not going to go for a whole month, but here's the payments, we don't want to lose our slot it's like that's, fine. I'm never going to let that just happen. I would make that kid video lessons. I'd put him up on youtube and get the kid the link it's, like, hey, I know you're in a hotel. I made a video of for what you should do in the hotel just for you, here's, the private link. So you have to go the extra mile, but, yeah, the flat rate is the way to go, yeah.

Class Description


It takes more than raw talent to make a living as a musician – and it doesn’t happen overnight. In this online course, Modern Drummer’s 2013 Best Metal Drummer of the Year and founder of BandHappy Matt Halpern will show you how to break out of the garage and build a lasting career in the music industry.

Drawing on his own successful experience with the award-winning band Periphery, Matt will walk you through the everything you need to know about breaking into the industry, improving your technical skills, and making the right moves to ensure long-term success. You’ll learn how to get your foot in the door, build a sustainable career as a working musician, and keep growing your career from there. From finding the right management, agent, and label to building relationships with sponsors and key industry players, you’ll learn it all from one of this generation’s most respected minds in the business.

Special industry guests include:

  • Ash Avildsen - Sumerian Records Founder/CEO
  • Mike Mowery - Outerloop MGMT Founder/CEO
  • Mark Scribner - Business Manager for Killswitch Engage, Periphery, Animals as Leaders
  • Mike Johnston - Drummer, Clinician and Founder of Mikeslessons.com
  • Chris Brewer - Head of Artist Relations for Meinl Cymbals USA
  • J.P. Bouvet - Drummer, Clinician and winner of Guitar Center Drum Off 2011

By the end of this class, you’ll have a comprehensive, actionable playbook for breaking into the music industry and putting in the right work.

Reviews

a Creativelive Student
 

I absolutely loved this class. There were so many helpful tips to help get me and my band even further on track with both the business and performance aspects of being a group, and it will definitely help me with any future endeavors that I may have whenever or wherever they may appear. I've always held the mindset of just being a cool person when it comes to working with others, but to see that aspect stressed so heavily from everyone, was really eye opening to just how important that one little thing can be when it comes to making progress in the business. Thank you so much for offering people with this fantastic opportunity, and i would whole hardheartedly agree that any musician who is looking to make a statement in the music industry absolutely should have checked this thing out.

Nathan Mason
 

This was all so insightful! It's early in my soon to be career as a working musician and this class is everything I wanted to know. It's great to hear some validation from people who've made it. This isn't some magic trick, this can all be achieved with talent, hard work and a being the best you can be to everyone around you. On top of being insightful I instantly connected with every guest and speaker. We're all going to friends one day and I can't wait. Great class lead by great people. Thanks Matt.

a Creativelive Student
 

Thank you Matt Halpern, creativeLIVE, and all of Matt's guest speakers. This course was very informative, inspiring, just out right awesome. I recommend it to any musician, or anyone in the music industry. Its well worth the money for this priceless information!