I had the honor of interviewing Modern Musician owner Colin Thomson, please look forward to his upcoming stuff-
Me: Tell us about the modern musician show
CT: The Modern Musicians Show is a podcast where I interview the best of the best – both musicians and outsiders to the music industry, to find out what musicians everywhere can and should be doing to lead fulfilling and financially successful careers in music today.
On each episode, I try to dig into different and unusual ways that musicians may not have already thought about to get the word out about there music, online and offline. I also try to dig into the mental mindsets that are required of musicians, or anyone in the music industry.
Then, each Saturday, I do “Solo Saturday,” which is a short form version of the show, where I simply talk through one subject, that is directly applicable to musicians, that has been on my mind lately.
My goal with the show is to equip musicians to be far more ready for what a career in music really takes.
Me: You mentioned “different and unusual ways”, what are some examples?
CT: A lot of it has to do with aspects of “content marketing” that work well in the music industry. This refers to giving away content that your fans, and anyone interested in the kind of music you do, would find interesting. This is how musicians can build up a following, through putting out content on social channels, such as youtube and instagram, on a regular basis so that people start to tune in regularly to see what new stuff you’re up to.
Me: “Outsiders to the music industry” talking about the music industry?, but they don’t have working knowledge?
CT: Yes, people who do not specifically work in the industry, but who have expertise in other areas that would apply directly to musicians.
Me: What’s your background in music?
CT: I started taking piano lessons at 9, and started composing at 15. I attended the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music in Chicago, and graduated with a degree in music composition. After that, I immediately moved to Los Angeles to pursue a degree in music. Since that time, I have also started the website SightReadingAcademy.com, which provides consistent sight-reading practice to music students, as well as innovative exercises to help students read ahead in the music.
Me: Do you consider sight reading important for all musicians to do?
CT: I think sight-reading is one of the most important skills any musician can develop. Whether you want to be a studio musician, play in an ensemble, be a solo performer, of even if you’re just playing for fun, it’s widely understood that learning to sight-read is going to make all of the difference for your overall experience with music. Just being able to enjoy playing a piece without needing to put weeks into learning it makes all the difference in how much you enjoy your music.
Me: What all have you composed?
I’ve done some indie films, some shorts, some YouTube videos, as well as concert works, such as a bass trombone sonata, as well as a sextet for trumpet, trombone, bass trombone, timpani, cello and piano. The best place to hear some of my music is youtube.com/colinpthomson. I put a lot of easy arrangements of popular songs for piano teachers to use, but there are some of my own pieces there as well.
Me: I saw you also do interviews, what have been your favorite interviews and why?
CT: My favorite interviews are the ones that get practical. I love it when I feel like I am able to actually uncover some secrets of what has made people so successful. I love finding ways to pull out these little practical nuggets of wisdom and knowledge, that I know will be so useful to the Modern Musician audience. This is what excites me the most: finding ways to help the Modern Musician audience be smarter and more business and marketing savvy in their music career.
Me: You mentioned finding “practical nuggets of wisdom and knowledge”, what are some of the most practical things you’ve learned from your guests?
CT: There’s so much, it’s hard to pull out just a few. I’ve had guests talk about the process of approaching local press, with an understanding of what the publication usually prints, and making your music industry. I had a guest talk about specific tips for keyword research before choosing your subject and title for your youtube videos (I’ve definitely put that into practice). One of the most useful things is what Shawn Okpebholo said: You have to know when your most productive time of the day is, and then don’t let anything stand in the way of you and getting work done during that time. So simple, but implementing it makes all the difference when it comes to being productive.
Me: You keep mentioning business and marketing and said it’s one of the things that excites you most, why is so important for a musician to be a businessman?
CT: I think musicians would like to believe that if they just create good music, they will be discovered by people, but this is unfortunately this is not the case. If you, as a musician, make good music, but you are not taking practical steps to market your music, and treating it like a business, you’re not only letting yourself down, but you’re letting down everyone that would benefit from and enjoy your music. The lucky thing is that now more than ever, it really is possible to do your own marketing as a musician, to put out content on a regular basis, and build up a following that will make it possible for you to really make a good living making the music that you love.
Me: What can we look forward from you in the future?
CT: I will continue to release 4 shows every week on the Modern Musician Show podcast. Definitely subscribe to that podcast in iTunes, so that each new episode will be automatically downloaded to your mobile device so that you don’t miss any. What I’m super excited about right now is the courses that are being developed for the Modern Musician website. I am working through the process of creating a suite of courses for musicians on social media. In fact, right now I am pre-selling access to all courses as soon as each are created for each social media platform. This means that you are guaranteed access to every course I ever put together on social media on the Modern Musician Website. You can find out more about that at modernmusician.co/social
Me: Is there ever anything that keeps you from doing a show?
CT: Nope. I put out interviews on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, as well as a short-form, solo episode on Saturday. So far, I haven’t missed any of those, and I don’t plan to
Me: How many courses are you developing?, and are you getting to collaborate with anyone on any if these?
CT: I am creating courses right now on all major social media platforms for musicians, and each on really is a collaboration. I understand that I do not have all of the answers for each platform, and I certainly am not the expert in all of them. I have the platforms and aspects that I understand the best, and others that I know less about. So I am definitely bringing in the experts to shore up anything I might know less about. For instance, in the Instagram for Musicians course, I interview a professional photographer and a professional cinematographer, specifically with Instagram for Musicians in mind, and I present those interviews in the course. All of the courses will include a lot of these.