The Gigging Musician Podcast

Improving Your Music 1% at a Time

August 31, 2021 Jared Judge Season 1 Episode 45
The Gigging Musician Podcast
Improving Your Music 1% at a Time
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, jared shares how musicians can use the same strategies used by Olympic cyclists and other athletes to achieve their music career goals.

Hey, what's up musicians? It's Jared. And today I wanted to talk about improvement. So I was thinking about this because there I just finished running a festival in Milwaukee called Buskerfest, which we had over 60 musicians playing in different street corners around our city, we raised some money to be able to fund them. 

And then we also let them accept tips. So they were getting a guaranteed payment plus tips, which was great. I was even actually one of the performers on this. And I was thinking about improvement, specifically, as far as saving time because running a festival where you're coordinating over 60 people takes a lot of time. 

And, you know, there are ways that we can cut back on the amount of time we have to spend, but still get the same result. And so I was thinking about a book that I had read a couple of times now called atomic habits, which is written by the author, James clear, first introduced to me by Alison Schweitzer Thanks for the introduction to that Alison, she runs Wisconsin music ventures. 

But in this book, he starts out with James clear, the author starts out with a story of I believe it was like the British Tour de France like bicycling team. And so this miking team, they were never that good. I mean, they were they were good, they were much better than I could ever bike, but they were never in the top three positions. At races, they were always struggling. 

And so then they had a new coach come in, because their goal was to make it into the top. And this new coach had this whole philosophy of if we can make small improvements in every area of our performance, then those improvements would compound each other. 

He called them 1% improvements. If we can improve by 1%, for every different aspect of what goes into being a top racing cyclist, then what would happen? And so he looked at every single aspect of what goes into a race, including the equipment, you know, can I improve my racing equipment? I don't know what that means, specifically, because I don't design bikes, but you know, tweaking the bikes and the wheels and the chains and all that to make them as efficient as possible. 

But then how do we tweak the routines of the athletes themselves? So what do they do when they wake up? How can we improve their morning routine? To make them more efficient cyclists? Then, you know, how can we improve by 1%? 

The different motions that their bodies do when they're competing in a race, then, as a team, how can we improve the way that our team dynamics help us, you know, approach a race at don't know what that means, like maybe clustering the group of bikers together more in using one person to take out wind resistance, and just having a system for that. 

And so this coach took this team through all of these 1% improvements. And by the end of the process, they actually, I don't know the exact results, but they were in the top positions of the Tour de France. And that was just an incredible story of the power of 1% improvements. And so as I was running Buskerfest. 

And just as I book my own group, and help others with their their booking, I was thinking about what are the 1% improvements that we can make, or that we're already making that make our jobs easier, and enable us to perform more music, be more artistically fulfilled, and get paid more. And for me, that's part of the whole reason why book live, the software platform exists, because automation is a gigantic way that you can improve 1% and spend less time. 

So for Buskerfest. This specific example that caused me to think of this was this morning I was paying all 60 some odd musicians. And, you know, the traditional way of getting paid for a musical performance tends to be by cash or cheque, which is slow and inefficient because it relies on you physically being present and carrying around a physical object. 

And then using some sort of other system like a phone app, to deposit that into your account waiting for the cheque to clear and then when you pay out bandmates. Again, you have to figure out a variety of systems that your bandmates want to get paid by which some of them just want cash. Some of them want to check. Some of them want Venmo some of them want cash app or PayPal. 

And when I was handling payment for Buskerfest like first we did a digital direct deposit for the lump sum of all the payments that we had fundraised for. And then we had each of the musicians set up what we call BookLive pay, which is an automated payment platform that uses stripe which is the same payment system that like Airbnb and Uber. 

They used to pay out the hosts and the drivers on their respective platforms. And so we had these musicians set up this one streamlined payment platform. And so this morning when I went on to, to pay all the musicians, I went down the list for all 63 musicians clicked on each gig, and then clicked a button. 

That was the pay with BookLive pay button. And so I clicked that, watch the the circle spin, showing me that it was in progress, and then saw the confirmation, which took five seconds for each performer. So five seconds multiplied by 60 is what 300 seconds, which don't tell me the math on that, I guess that's about five minutes, five minutes to pay 63 musicians, whereas had I not done this 1% improvement had I had multiple systems for paying out these bandmates than I would have literally spent hours doing this. 

And in fact, when I first started my own string quartet, I didn't have this streamlined system. So what I would do is every Monday, after a weekend full of gigs, I would have to be on Venmo for a couple hours just typing in people's handles, figuring out how much they needed to be paid for each gig, and then sending that off, which took way too much time. 

But the cool thing is now that it's all automated and streamlined, I spend less time on that and I can spend more time working on all of the other things that I talked about in this podcast to get more gigs. You know, I spend more time talking to wedding planners and building those relationships, more time working on different marketing avenues like putting up Facebook ads.

And I wouldn't be able to do that if I didn't have the time to do it. And that all comes down to 1% improvements because it's not just about saving time on the paying. It's about saving time in all the aspects that goes into being a bandleader and a gigging musician, like putting together setlist Is there a way that I can save time to do that. 

And yes, there is because you know with BookLive, I just get a client portal for brides and grooms or other people do choose songs from my library. And that puts together the setlist for me. Same thing with scheduling the musicians, another 1% improvement, I see many musicians spending so much time just chasing down musicians getting their availability. 

And then if somebody gets sick, you know, going down a list of 1020 musicians just to find a substitute. That all takes way too much time. And if you can do a 1% improvement on that, plus a 1% improvement everywhere else. Again, you're going to spend less time with all of this administrative stuff that gets in the way of you booking more gigs. 

You think you might have to use, like, do all this stuff, but you don't leverage automation. And leverage a system that was actually built for musicians by musicians to do this. And I know I'm kind of like on a BookLive rant today. And there was an incident this morning where a musician didn't really want to use this system. But unfortunately, that caused more time for me to spend away from doing the things that really improve what I'm trying to accomplish like booking more gigs. 

And so we were able to make it work for sure. But like, go with the system, build yourself a system where you have all these 1% improvements in place, so that you can eliminate all of your roadblocks. eliminate your time wasters. And spend time doing the things that matter that move the needle towards you accomplishing your music goals, meaning booking more gigs, getting paid more and being more artistically fulfilled. So that's all I got for you today. 

Definitely check out that book atomic habits, it is super cool. And very interesting because it'll help you break and build habits in all aspects of your life. Like, you know, say you don't floss after brushing your teeth. That's a habit it will help you build. Or if you pick your nails, do a bad habit like that. it'll it'll show you strategies to to eliminate bad habits. 

And then think about how you could apply that to your musicianship. Like there. There are opportunities everywhere. We just have to see them, we have to spot them. And then we have to have a system and a plan in place to take advantage of those opportunities. 

So that's all I got for you today. If you're interested in automating any of your gigging work and doing 1% improvements in your process, use a system that has been built by musicians for musicians use BookLive Get Your FREE two week trial at I will see you on the next episode. Thanks for listening