Monday, July 15, 2013

Looking Back

The other day was Cow Appreciation Day at Chick Fil A (our favorite restaurant EVER).

Instead of fixing dinner all afternoon I "made" "cow costumes" Ah, the work we will go to in order to get free chicken. It was worth it.

I took some old t-shirts I had painted for my "music career" and just painted spots over them. You could still kind of see the "Jody McCall Rocks" underneath.

All of this led me to start thinking about my former "music career" ... I keep using quotation marks because this is all just hypothetical. I like to say jokingly that I had a music career, but really, I only made about $50 for the whole year. You can ask Ben. He and his dad did my taxes. Thank goodness I had those other three part time jobs to support me.

I kind of live my life in a make it up as you go along kind of way. I went to UCA because they gave me scholarships and it was free (who doesn't want a free college degree??). I majored in music because I like music, I get music theory, it sounded interesting. I took up Music Education because they told me to. I dropped the Ed part because I didn't want to take the three Praxis and pay tons of money for something I didn't really want to do (teach choir... no thank you). I didn't want to major in performance because then I would have to do Opera. Maybe I could have gone the Musical Theater route, but I wasn't trained in acting. Anyways, all this to say I happened to get my Bachelor of Arts in Music, graduated and just wanted to play, write and sing.

Right now I'd like to reflect on the things I would have done differently. From start to finish.

- I don't think that I would have majored in music. I definitely would have at least minored in writing or in poetry. Maybe I would have gotten a business degree. The music industry is just that, an industry. When I started to get my feet wet I realized I had no idea what I was doing.
**The reason why I say think is because there were things that were beneficial l about the music degree such as voice lessons, ear training, piano lessons, choir and playing in the jazz ensemble. I would not take those things back. The other parts were not applicable to what I actually wanted to do. (But what degree is completely applicable anyways? Or am I way off on that?)

- I probably would have moved to a more music-career-friendly town such as Nashville (although Nashville might be a little too overpopulated with music careers already, I'm not sure) or Austin. Even just a big city like Dallas would have been better to play in than a small city such as Little Rock.

- I would have worked more on branding and design. I made t-shirts with my name in huge letters on them. I think what I didn't realize then was that it's not about having your name on things, it's about producing something that people want or like. I probably would have still made my own t-shirts, I'm just not sure I would have put my name on them. Just not to be so obvious. It was a difficult line to walk, being my own promoter. You want to put yourself out there, but you don't want to look prideful or inflated.

- I would have worked on my myspace more or tried to find someone to create a website.

- I would have played fewer shows and just promote them better. I played WAY too many shows.

- I would have been more choosy about my venues. I would not have played three-hour cover shows at places like Grumpy's. Even though they paid me $150 for three hours of music, it just wasn't worth it. I didn't need to be background music somewhere, I just needed to play real shows at real venues that are for playing music. Not venues that are just for getting drunk and smoking.

Now, to match all those negatives and just to be fair, I will say that there were some things I am glad and proud of doing.

I'm thankful I had the different musical experiences in college, and even relational experiences which led me to write many songs. I'm thankful I had a friend, Justin Adams, who was willing to spend many hours helping me record these songs. I'm thankful he helped me make a CD that I could be proud of, referred me to Disc Makers where not only did I get to print a thousand CD's but also was able to get my music onto iTunes. (This still blows my mind that I'm on iTunes, yes, I just checked, I'm still there, I get about 60 cents on the dollar if you want to buy my music on there.)

I'm thankful I had the support of so many friends and family. I'm still blown away by the fact that friends would pay actual, hard-earned money to come hear me play music. Amazing.

I'm thankful for the random shows that got me connected to certain friends like Colter McCorkindale who showed me cool things to do on the guitar that expanded my songwriting in huge ways. He also got me in to work backstage at Riverfest, an experience I will never forget.

I'm thankful for my many friends who played in my bands and were gracious and willing enough to play my music. Looking back I should have tried to collaborate more with other musicians. I had this idea that being a one-man show would be easiest, no one to fight with at least, but I think it would have helped creativity blossom and flourish a little better had I had someone else to bounce ideas off of. I don't know.

Wow, so many things to think about. I feel like I could write a book of the mistakes I've made. I guess I could live in regret, but I don't think we were created to live that way. I'm thankful that I at least tried. Even if I failed in some ways, overall, I am proud of what I have done.

Thank You Lord that we can learn from our mistakes. Help me to always have a willing heart. Thank You for the gift of music.

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