Short courses for guitar and ukulele

Music education is one of the most expensive investments in time and resource. It requires a serious commitment to reap the benefits of individual music lessons taken over a long period of time (measured in years  not months or weeks). Is there another way to acquire musical skills and knowledge?

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Review: Ukulele School by Paul Mansell

The ukulele literature for children is entirely different from that for adults. A picture paints a thousand words. Children’s books have color and pictures. Big fonts. Pictures. Fewer words, Shorter words. Shorter sentences. Landscape orientation. Easier on the eye.

Such is the new book by Northampton-based Paul Mansell, whose youtube clips show his versatility on the ukulele and guitar. His latest book demonstrates his insight as a ukulele teacher.

Continue reading “Review: Ukulele School by Paul Mansell”

Ukulele for the non-beginner

Who is a non-beginner? Someone who is comfortable with his instrument. Ukulele players , often self-taught or have taken a few beginner workshops, are non-beginners if they already know how to tune, play the basic chords from memory (C, F, G7, Am, C7) and strum instinctively. They know how to read a chord diagram. They know how to look at a song sheet and finger the chords indicated with the lyrics.

What would a “ukulele for the non-beginner / busy adult” course include?

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Successful networking

Networking skills are essential to opening the right doors. Some years ago, I listed topics I’d like to speak on — perhaps in a course to help people become better networkers. subtitle: How to build contacts and develop beneficial relationships for a lifetime

A phone call to an ex-colleague I hadn’t seen in more than 10 years brought back memories of my life before music. He reminded me what a conference junkie I used to be. I boasted that I had gone to 3 dozen conferences in 2 years. It was only because I had overdone it and my boss told me to sit still for a staff meeting that saved my life on 11th September 2001. Otherwise, I would have gone to the conference on top of the World Trade Centre.

Going to conferences is one way to meet people, connect, and start new relationships. Networking does not need to take place only at conferences, however. We do it all the time in the music world. Networking skills are essential to opening the right doors.

Some years ago, I listed topics I’d like to speak on — perhaps in a course to help people become better networkers. I most definitely need to build a hierarchy out of this linear outline.

How to build contacts and develop beneficial relationships for a lifetime

  • What is networking
  • The importance of networking today
  • Online vs offline networking
  • Making cold calls: overcoming fear of rejection
  • Turning a cold contact to a warm one
  • How to grow your network
  • How to keep your network i.e. how not to lose your contacts
  • How to prevent abuse of your network
  • Social networking strategies and tactics: using linkedin, facebook, twitter, blog, and other online tools to make new contacts and grow your network
  • How to keep your private and professional networks apart (separate)
  • How to remember names and faces
  • Networking etiquette: how to introduce yourself, how to introduce someone to someone else you know, …
  • E-mail etiquette: contact and follow-up
  • Thank you: the importance of acknowledgement and appreciation
  • Online and offline modes of communication
  • Developing relationships that stick
  • Guan Xi: the Chinese term for networking and relationships
  • Yuan fen: serendipity and how to let go when the time is up
  • Ego rubbing exercises
  • The art of reciprocation
  • Collaboration as a way forward
  • Referring and recommending
  • Building a contact management system: mailing list etc
  • Data protection act: bcc in e-mails
  • Developing a rapport (NLP techniques)
  • The elevator pitch
  • Renewing your contacts
  • Staying in touch
  • How to deal with awkward moments and situations
  • Proper and effective use of social media networking tools

How to blog and get found

There is a certain art to writing a blog to get it found. It’s not your everyday writing. You have to pay attention to the words you use and the hyperlinks you make. If you’d ask me to give a course on “blogging to be found,” I’d propose the following outline.

Many people have asked me why I blog. Why did I start blogging in 1999? Why did I continue?

There are many reasons why I started and continued. I will save that for another blog post. The important thing I want to get across is to get your blog found by others. You can do active promoting by telling people “Hey! I just wrote something. Here it is. Please read it” or you can just wait to be discovered by the way you write your blog.

There is a certain art to writing a blog to get it found. It’s not your everyday writing. You have to pay attention to the words you use and the hyperlinks you make.

Anne Ku, editor, Le Bon Journal
Anne Ku, editor, Le Bon Journal

A blog is almost exactly the opposite of an e-mail campaign that can be interpreted as spam. You readers come to you rather than the other way around.

One of the reasons for blogging on the CONCERTBLOG is to find those readers that are interested in the things I’m interested in: music, economics, concertizing or concertising, chamber music, classical music, concert touring, attending concerts, producing concerts, collaborating, writing programme notes, researching composers, performance excellence, and so on.

If you’d ask me to give a course on “blogging to be found,” I’d propose the following outline.

NEW COURSE: Blogging to be found on the Internet

  • Your objective, motive, goals: why you want and need to blog
  • Choice of blog platform: own website, free blog engines, other
  • The topics you want to write about: can we summarise in a single theme
  • The routine and practice of blogging: inspiration, negativity, demotivation, feedback
  • Basic writing rules: against plagiarism, respect reciprocation
  • Building your readership and expanding your community
  • Writing for online reading is different from print; organising your content
  • Choosing your words, tags, categories, and “alt”
  • Social networking tools to promote your blog
  • Optimal image size for fast download

Pre-requisites

  • Access to your own computer
  • Already have a blog or intend to start one
  • The will to learn and the stamina to continue

To subscribe or express interest in this course, LEAVE A REPLY below with your location and time of availability (date or period). It will not be published if you indicate so.

Using music to teach economics

I love music. I love economics.

What better way to teach economics than to use musical examples? [I can’t say I can teach music using economics examples although I am trying to write about it in this very blog: the economics of music.]

While googling for “mathematics and music” today, I came across a useful website called “From ABBA to Led Zeppelin: using music to teach economics.

Now I love ABBA. I love the symmetry of the group’s name. I’ve been to the previews of the musical Mamma Mia when it first came out in London. I’ve seen the movie Mamma Mia in Utrecht, Netherlands. I’ve even staged my birthday party into an ABBA sing-along contest.

I love music. I love economics.

What better way to teach economics than to use musical examples? [I can’t say I can teach music using examples in economics although I am trying to write about it in this very blog: the economics of music.]

I would add Meatloaf’s “Two out of three ain’t bad” to the list of examples on that website. That’s about satisficing, i.e. not optimising. When you can’t get 100%, aim for what’s good enough.

How many of these popular tunes played at my fitness centre have lyrics that I can use for the new generation of university students? Could Black Eye Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling” be about subjective probability?