Over the past month, I’ve been working on overhauling my personal “brand” with a major assist from my mom – who has proved to be quite the branding guru (by which I mean she has almost reduced me to tears several times…) Here are the major shifts made during this time:
Blog: For about 6 months, I built up a pretty reliable blogging schedule which, naturally, I had to quickly tear down. While I plan to keep writing my monthly Newsletter and LP Stitch post, I’m going to be more spontaneous in my postings. In addition to the triumphant return of my web comics, I’m going to write posts related Gentle Steps (see below) and start a series tentatively titled, “The Broke Musician’s Guide to Life.” The latter will combine my interests in business, productivity, and wellness, but will written specifically for working musicians (and other creative professionals) who don’t fit the mold of typical personal development methods.
“Gentle Steps“: For about 6 months, I’ve been working on writing a series of practice guides for jazz bass. I decided to broaden my focus a bit and named the future series “Gentle Steps” (a play on Coltrane’s “Giant Steps”). It will include guides for jazz bass, other instruments, and general improvisation. I want these guides to be relaxed and feasible (step-by-step activities that can be done in a short period of time), yet still goal-oriented. Each individual guide will be built around a specific performance goal. My first publication will be for jazz bass and will focus on getting started constructing walking basslines. I’m hoping that these publications will help build my professional reputation with my Classes, Lessons, and Performance.
Portfolios: One of the biggest decisions I had to make in the re-branding process was whether or not I wanted to focus exclusively on music. I have strong interests in various forms of design (comics, Instructional Design, cross-stitch), as well as business, productivity, yoga, and other areas. Eventually, I decided my “Broke Musician’s” series will allow me to use my business and productivity chops, and I can continue to incorporate yoga into my teaching. I also decided I needed to stay focused on performance-based instruction and instructional design. That said, I want to still keep up my regular projects – the aforementioned Comics and LP Stitch. Creating these portfolios motivates me to keep working on these projects – just not at the expense of my core professional ones. (I also decided to shift focus away from my PhD work, but still wanted to showcase the Teaching that I did at that time)
Takeaways: It is possible for me to cultivate my interests in business, comedy, comics, cross-stitch, pop music, productivity, and wellness while still staying focused on jazz bass, musicianship, and practicing. Projects like “Gentle Steps,” “Broke Musician’s…,” and being a freelance bassist/instructor (will) allow me to combine multiple strengths and passions. I can be a Renaissance Person with a focused brand/career, I just had to take my mom’s advice (and hold back the tears).