I spent the past 9 months investing in myself for the first time in a long time. I took two online classes — a Berklee music production class and a songwriting course focused on music licensing. Throughout the entirety of my adult life I had never prioritized my music. When my twenties were ending I realized that I had a decade’s worth of good songs that had never been properly recorded, released, and loved. I was not interested in feeling sorry for myself about it… I wanted to show up and stop putting my wants and needs last on the list of priorities.
The first class was twelve weeks and focused on basic recording, mixing, and mastering techniques. I took it because the thought of paying someone else to record me and then mix and master my music for me didn’t work for me. I don’t live near a professional studio. The cost of traveling, food, and hotel near a studio scared me, and that’s before considering the actual cost of studio time. And I’m a mother. How could my family survive without me if I was gone for a week recording at a studio? And I don’t have a huge fan base, so recovering that money in sales and royalties after my release would probably take decades. All these thoughts combined made the cost of the class seem well worth it, especially if I gained the skills needed to release high quality music over and over again for the rest of my life.
The second course was six months long. It was hard for me to commit to this one. It required a lot of time and money that I wasn’t sure I’d have enough of. In February I was introduced to the course through a 5 Day Challenge facebook group. Before that I had never even heard the word “sync.” I thought you just had to make good music, and then if you got really lucky or really famous, someone would contact you and ask to use your song in a show or commercial. Turns out, that’s really not how it works. I had started streaming and found it rewarding to be able to perform music from home. This class seemed to teach another method of being a paid musician from home, and that offer was too attractive for me to pass up.
Then COVID hit the states, and honestly, I was so ready for it. I had my PC set up for streaming, with multiple mic options and a decent web cam. I had lots of experience in zoom from both of my classes, and I was already staying home with my baby. So when my kids’ school closed, I didn’t need to quit a day job to stay home and teach them (like so many other people I know).
Last month, the six month songwriting course ended. So, what’s next? I have so many music related goals, and so many ideas! Here are the first few things that I am I’m going to focus on, though.
- Streaming: I want to keep my Twitch stream active, gain more followers, and more importantly, gain actual, real fans who genuinely enjoy my music. It’s such a beautiful way to connect with people, and I’d like to keep up the momentum. I also learned how to monetize streaming on facebook. I don’t think it’ll be nearly as lucrative as Twitch, but I’m willing to at least try it out.
- Indie Rock EP: My husband and I recently made an indie electro-pop EP under our band name, Moon & Sea. He enjoyed the mixing and production process and asked to be involved in the recording and mixing of my next EP. I haven’t chosen a release date, but the recording process has started!
- Disco pop EP: During my songwriting course I experimented with different genres and tried to expose myself to modern influences. I ended up really enjoying funky pop songs and write a couple of them. I don’t know if this EP will be a collaborative effort between myself and my classmate, Jessie Max, or if she will just be featured on a song or two on this EP. I also might hold off for quite a while on releasing this one because I’d like to use this material to submit to briefs that are looking for funky, dancey, pop songs for film, tv, or advertising.
- South Dakota Collaborations: For some reason, I absolutely LOVE local music/musicians. I’ve reached out to a couple South Dakota singer songwriters in hopes that we can write new original material together and release the song(s) online. I love the idea of promoting local artists’ work and sharing our audiences with each other by creating something new. I haven’t actually started any songs yet with these artists, but I have a feeling good things will happen relatively soon. Especially since live gigs are a bit harder to come by, I’m hoping people have more time to write, record, and create.
So, those are my current priorities. Could they change? Yes, absolutely, on any day at any moment, but this is where they stand today. My biggest motivation is getting my indie rock style EP finished. I should probably be focusing on other things since I don’t expect this project to bring in much income. But my heart seems to be pulling me in this direction, and I’m going to listen.