FROM THE BAND ROOM TO THE BOARDROOM…The 9 Common Lessons of Music Education That Translate into Success

Laura Lamere:

Confidence, collaboration, leadership, branding, creativity, risk acceptance, discipline, individuality – music teaches all of these skills. Shouldn’t all kids have the chance to develop them?

Originally posted on Business Musician's Blog:

by Craig M. Cortello

(The following article is an excerpt from Everything We Needed to Know About Business, We Learned Playing Music, printed with permission from the author. The book is a compilation of 32 profiles of CEOs and business professionals who played music as a child or adolescent and view that experience as a defining one in preparing them for success in their business endeavors.)

These are alarming times for the plight of music education funding. Economic downturns are an immediate sign of crisis for those programs that have perennially been at or near the education budgetary chopping block. Non-profit organizations that try to fill that resource gap often rely on the benevolence of those impacted by an ailing economy. Perhaps a new understanding of the transcendent lessons of a music education can lead to a reshuffling of education priorities.

Consider a conversation that I had a couple…

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What I Want for Mother’s Day

On Mother’s Day, there are lots of ways to show your love and appreciation for mom.

You can send flowery cards with hearts and sweet sentiments. You can buy decadent chocolates, make dinner reservations, or vacuum the living room. You can send expensive roses or hand-deliver flowers chosen with care. You can call, text or email – remembering your one and only mom.

I believe the best way to show your love – at any time of year – is to give an all-out, soul-baring, love-you-to-the-moon-and-back, and-I’m-not-letting-go hug! I think your mom will agree!

Kitty hug

My cat wishes he could give me a hug!

Do you know the kind of hug I mean? These are the kinds of hugs that are given when a spouse returns home from a long tour of duty in the military; when families are reunited after years apart, or when a child is rescued from a burning building. Highly emotional moments like this elicit the tightest of hugs.

When I was much younger, I wondered why after months or years apart, reunited lovers would embrace for what seemed like an eternity before they got down to the kissing. However, now that I am an older hugger, I understand why hugs come before kisses. The embrace is connection. It is warmth, it is comfort. It is the way to feel the person’s soul. The kiss is good too, but really secondary.

And, as Mother’s Day 2014 approaches, I realize there is no reason to wait for these rare, emotionally charged moments. The strongest of hugs are meant to be shared in the same way conversation is meant to be shared – freely and often! This year, all I want is to feel that connection with my loved ones.

You see, I lost my mom to pancreatic cancer in February and I’ve given her my last hug. I told her I loved her and I did all I could to help her pass. I don’t have any regrets, but I won’t be able to give her a hug on Mother’s Day this year.

Instead, I’m looking forward to big hugs from my husband and family. It’s not so much about the tightness, but about the utter surrender – the best hugs are from those who say with their embrace that they love you to the moon and back and will never let you go.

So, what do I want for Mother’s Day? Don’t let go until I’m ready – there is no rush. Just hold me awhile.

Time with mom is so short. Perfect your best hug – and hold her awhile.

Mother's Day

Love you Mom!

Five Ways to Market Your Band For FREE!

Here’s how! This article was written by Laura Lamere and originally published on the website for young musicians and their parents –


Market your bandAs you’ve probably heard, the music industry is experiencing massive change. Today’s artists have immense power and control over both the music they make, how they make it and how they market it.

To market your band or your music today, you don’t need a manager or a record company. Marketing your band is still a lot of work – the work part doesn’t go away just because you’ve decided to DIY. But you can go it alone and be successful and do it for free or at minimal cost.

If you are just starting out, make sure your product, your music, is the best it can be. Before you promote your band, you want to make sure you are ready for the world. Play for your friends, your family, your music teachers. Ask them for criticism and work to make changes that will help your music and your performance.

Once you feel your product is ready to be marketed, there are many resources you can tap into for free. Think of yourself as a “brand” and create a strategy to market your brand. Writing it down helps make it real and helps to keep you focused. To get you started, here are five of the best ways to promote your band:

1. Use social media

It may seem obvious, but it’s worth mentioning. Your friends and family are your first fans. Stay connected with them through the social media channels they are using. Set up separate accounts for your band on: Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, tumblr, Vine, Pinterest and Instagram. As you gain momentum, your new fans will also be looking for you on social media.

2. Build a website

In addition to a presence on social media, you’ll need to create a website to market your band. This can become your home base and include your photos, bios, songs, list of gigs, and can even list merchandise you might like to sell. It is your professional face and helps you look serious and credible in the eyes of your fans, venues and other promoters.  The following companies offer band websites for free or at a minimal cost: BroadJam,BandZoogleReverbNation.

3. Create a Press Kit

After establishing your social media presence and website (and continuing to work to make your music and performance the best it can be) you’ll be eager to start booking gigs. But before you can market your band to venues, you need to take one more step. You need to create a press kit. Think of it as a resume you use when interviewing for a job. It’s the same idea, but a press kit presents your band to potential venues in a format they are used to seeing and may require.

ReverbNation and Sonicbids offer press kit services for professional bands for a low cost, but it is easy to create your own. You’ll need to include: Photos, bios, downloadable or playable songs, list of gigs played (even a backyard BBQ counts), stats on your fans (or describe your sound and who it appeals to.)

Get the Free Your Band Press Kit Ebook —> Click here

4. Start Gigging!

Once all of the behind the scenes promotion is underway, you’ve established your presence on social media, and your presskit is complete, you are ready to dive into the ultimate way to market your band for free: start gigging! Are you surprised? Playing your music at every opportunity is a great way to market your band. It is the best way to gain new fans who will like you on Facebook and purchase your songs and merchandise. For bands starting out, most venues don’t pay, but if you look at your gigs as marketing opportunities, you won’t mind at all! Venues to consider include: house parties, school parties, battle of the bands.

5. Say Thank You

Again, you might be surprised, but saying thank you – being respectful and appreciative to every fan, every venue, every person you meet – is the best way to build a solid reputation. And a solid reputation is a critical element in marketing your band. If your band is known as the group that arrived early to help set up, stayed late to help break down the equipment and clean up, and then sent a thank you email to the venue, chances are you’ll be the first band invited back! 

In the end, your band is a brand and it is up to you to steer your brand in the right direction. Technology and social media are great marketing tools, but your music and your reputation are what count most. Using all five of these tips together to market your band is the way you will gain visibility, popularity and credibility. With out them, you’re just another band with high hopes and big dreams.


When you are ready – submit your music to be featured on as an Artist of the Week.

Singers, Know Your Instrument!

Laura Lamere:

I’m happy to share this expert’s musings on shat she would say to her younger self. Also included is a brief review of The Owner’s Manual to The Voice – great for singers!

Originally posted on Alison's Music Blog:

A letter to my younger singer self would tell me to do so many things- Learn your opera languages! Learn to ballroom dance! Audition for everything! Learn more repertoire (even if your voice can’t sing it yet)! Practise every day! … One thing I didn’t really have on my list was read about and truly understand your instrument.

What do I really need to understand? Surely I just open my mouth and sing!*

Oh… I still have so much to learn. And thank goodness I’m broke and on maternity leave, or I wouldn’t have ended up in the library looking for something to feed my mind. Two must have books for classical singers have come into my hands, courtesy of Auckland library, but I wish I’d read them 10 years sooner- Singing in Style by Martha Elliott and The Owner’s Manual to the Voice by Rachael Gates, L. Arick Forrest…

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The Best Blog Posts of 2013

These days, my work for the non-profit I founded for young musicians and their parents is taking more and more of my time. I am blogging less, but still wrestling with the same questions: How do we support our musical children? How do we enhance our children’s musical experiences even as school music programs are being compromised? 

The Pavoh Blog is rich with advice and articles that all music parents would value – so… I’ve included a link here to an Ebook that includes the five best articles from 2013. I hope you enjoy and share with other music parents you know!

Peepin’ the swag and other musings

Rainbow - Peepin' the swagOver the New Year break, I had a great vacation with my family and a much needed mental rest. While away, we encountered everything from beautiful weather to cancelled flights – but through it all, we managed to have fun.

For me, it was a chance to reconnect with my college boys. My middle son finished his first semester at college and I really missed his sense of humor. I’ve also missed his unusual vocabulary – a major source for “things teenagers say!”

Cool mom or uncool mom?

But before we started chatting in secret code, I had to take a little alone time to decompress. On our first sunshiny day of vacation, I took my book (I actually read two!) headed to a comfy beach chair and enjoyed the sun. For the most part, my kids did the same – stretching out, being lazy and reading books. When they got hot, they jumped in the pool and spent the rest of the day playing ball games and jumping games in the pool. Personally, I’d rather take a quick dip to cool off. I’m not known for swimming when we go on vacation, and I’m most assuredly not know for playing games in the pool.

I realize this is boring. Apparently, it is also uncool. My kids threatened me with being an ‘uncool’ mom if I didn’t join them in the pool (what distinction could be worse?). I was formulating my response when I was surrounded by my kids. They sandwiched me with their bodies and walked me down the pool ramp into the deep end – with all of us laughing and screaming (ok, I was doing the screaming). Minutes later, I was a cool mom again – and definitely happier for it!

Secret language

Now that I had passed the cool mom test, I was allowed into my teenagers’ verbal inner circle! Conversation was lighter, funnier. Loud music was playing and we were all singing along and acting silly. (Ah, vacation – where for art thou?)

Here are the two main phrases I caught up on while spending time with my 18 year old – we even used our ‘secret language’ with each other in front of my eldest son, 21, and he didn’t understand what we were talking about! How cool is that?

  • Peepin’ the swag – “Hey mom, are you gonna peep the swag while we swim?” asked my son  when we went to the beach one day. Translation: “Mom, will you watch our stuff while we swim?” Get it? Peep = watch; swag = stuff. (And of course I peeped the swag!)
  • Sleeping – I know, sounds like a regular word but this is what my son said to me: “Hey mom, you know what? Most people are sleeping on the 80s! Not me, I’m not sleeping on the 80s!” Translation: “Lately I’ve really been enjoying music from the 80s. Most people my age don’t listen to this kind of music.” Pretty simple right?

For this article, I double checked with my son on the usage. Here is the comical text exchange:

Me: Hi, how are you? Are people sleeping on the 80s, snoozing on the 80s or both? Let me know!

Son: I’m good and I’m sure they’re still sleeping. Someone’s gotta set an alarm.

Me: Hahaha – I’ll peep your swag until they open their eyes!

Son: Haha ok thanks mom.

The moral of the story

No matter what age your children are, remember to engage with them whenever you can. If your child likes to play with trains, sit on the floor and build a train track. Forget the laundry and the grocery store and keep playing. And when your children are pushing 20, keep engaging with them – your time together is so limited. Put down the book, put your hair in a pony tail – and jump in! The water is fine…and oh so cool!


What do teens want from their parents?

Laura Lamere:

Do you know what your teens really want this holiday season? You guessed it: your love! Enjoy this article from Teen Talk and Merry Christmas to everyone! I’m taking some time with my family to reconnect – I hope you will too!

Originally posted on Teen Talk:

By: Charlotte Villemoes, LMFT
ACS On-Campus Counseling Site Director at Woodside High School

Before I make a call home to a parent, I always ask the teen I have been seeing if they have any messages for mom and dad that they would like me to deliver. They always do. Most of the time the message is all about what they don’t want their parents to do, like “tell my dad to stop bugging me about homework” or “can you pleeeeease tell my mom to stop criticizing my clothes” or, the somewhat vague but really common, “just tell them to stop nagging me all the time”. When I get these responses, I often challenge them by asking what they DO want, explaining that even parents like to be thrown a bone, and that they too like to feel they know what they are doing. After a pause and some…

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