20 June, 2008

Camp Jam In Dallas Brings Love of Music for Kids

I was honored to present a clinic at Camp Jam yesterday. I talked about songwriting, recording, love of music, and music business. What a great bunch of kids with an obvious love for music and life. I have posted below a summary of my presentation below.

“Songs are not released, they escape!” – Dawson

“Ready to bust out” - Dallas Morning News

Thoughts and Observations

Create a calm and professional atmosphere. Remember the impact of personal example.

Be flexible! Collaboration is essential. Often a great idea will be offered if creative input is allowed. You don’t have to accept the advice or idea, but keep an open mind.

Stick to your original convictions and vision. Sometimes people want to bring the monster named EGO into any artistic relationship. Be aware when unproductive input starts to poison the vision.

Join and be a part of professional organizations. NARAS, ASCAP, BMI, and the AFM support songwriters and performance artists. Much of what is offered by these organizations in terms of education, networking events, legal advice, and business support is free of charge.

Learn the basics of recording and music theory. Take classes or create your own education program. Invest in a recording system! Start experimenting! Don’t be intimidated by technology – embrace it! ProTools LE Pro and LOGIC 8 are now under $1,000.00. Cubasis is a PC based program within reach financially.

Take courses to become an effective communicator and listener. The better that you can express your ideas and listen to feedback will allow you to create great songs, outstanding musical performances, and superior recordings.

Books, Magazines, and Internet Resources

• CD Baby
Derek Sivers is the musician/founder of this international on-line record store. His company’s websites have a great deal of valuable information.


• Future Of Music Coalition
This non-profit organization based in Washington DC hosts an annual conference that brings industry professionals and intellectual property experts together to debate and explore the historic realignment of music content distribution and worldwide markets.


All You Need To Know About The Music Business by Donald S. Passman
Published by Simon and Schuster

How To Get Somewhere In The Music Business by Mary Dawson
Published by CQK Books

The Recording Industry Sourcebook
Published by Artist Pro

Creative Music Production: Joe Meek’s Bold Techniques by Barry Cleveland

How To Run A Recording Session by Jayce De Santis

Making The Ultimate Demo by Gino Robair

The Indie Bible by David Wimble
Published by Discmakers

Tori Amos – Piece by Piece by Tori Amos and Ann Powers
Published by Broadway Books

Effortless Mastery by Kenny Werner
Published by Jamey Aebersold Publishing

Electronic Musician
Published by Penton Media

Recording – The Magazine for the Recording Musician
Published by Music Maker Publications

Performing Songwriter
Published by Lydia Hutchinson

Artistpro – Information Resources for Music Professionals


Producers & Engineers Wing of The Recording Academy (NARAS)


This handout is not intended to be comprehensive or complete. I recommend that you dive into the process and make music with love and joy. Don’t limit yourself to a specific style of music or work with the same musicians. Variety is the spice of life and the making of music is a lifelong journey. Take chances even when you are not completely ready or prepared. Work hard to be as prepared as possible, but getting experience working in the studio at any time is priceless.

Good luck!
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