A lot of people make New Year's Resolutions, but, as we all know, most of us fail to stick to them. Well, PMT is here to help, by showing how you can stick to your resolutions... musician-style!
Want to quit smoking? Find love? Get fitter? We'll help you to achieve your New Year's Resolutions, PMT-style. Here's a pick of Top 5 popular New Year's Resolutions, and how to stick to them, musician-style!
1) Quit Smoking... Buy a Guitar!
Sorry to break it, kids, but smoking ain't cool anymore. Gone were the days when you could sit in the dark corner of a smoky basement club, puffing on some Gitanes like a Serge Gainsbourg wannabe. It ain't the 50's anymore, and even though some hipsters will tell you that smoking is OK again, it's now a habit more common among your decidedly uncool aunties. And don't get us started on vaping - if you think it's good for you, fine, but there are better ways to spend your money than on Darth Vader's nicotine sabers.
We're not trying to preach here - lots of rockstars and people at the PMT office do smoke, still (they're all uncool aunties!) - but there are better ways to spend your money and health than on cancer sticks. Think about it: for the amount of money a regular smoker probably spends monthly on cigarettes, you could buy a Gibson Les Paul on installments! And a cigarette is fine but for a fleeting moment... whereas a good guitar will last you a lifetime. A no-brainer, really!
2) Find New Love... With The Help of Music!
It's a well-known scientific fact that playing a musical instrument is sexy ,we're not making this up! Women associate musical talent with a genetic advantage and intellectual ability, in other words - a genetically suitable father for their offspring. Troubadours have been seducing women - often well above their league - since medieval times. William IX - Duke of Aquitaine and Count of Poitiers - was the first ever Rock Star, if this 13-century description of him is anything to go by:
"The Count of Poitiers was one of the most courtly men in the world and one of the greatest deceivers of women. He was a fine knight at arms, liberal in his womanizing, and a fine composer and singer of songs. He traveled much through the world, seducing women."
In more recent times, Lyle Lovett, proud owner of a face only a mother could love, was married to Julia Roberts. Case closed - Women like skills!
Of course, different instruments will have different sorts of appeal. Choose one according to what best suits your relationship goals! Unless you're a bassist, in which case only your stellar talent and winning personality will be of any help. Or if you play synths, in which case your dream relationship in 2016 would be a polygamous romance with as many hot synthesizers as you can lay your hands on!*
*PLEASE NOTE: those last statements are not based on scientific research. Feel free to update us with anecdotal evidence!
3) Get Fitter... Play Drums!
As described on our Beginners Guide For Drummers, playing drums is good for your health, and a recent study by Chichester University found that playing drums for one hour could burn up to 600 calories, and is a great exercise for overweight people.
Drumming also helps to reduces stress and boosts the immune system. Studies have shown that drumming lowers both blood pressure and stress hormones. It's also great fun! If you want to de-stress at home, taking up a compact Electronic Drum Kit is a pretty good idea.
Whether drums have anything to do with it or not, can't be a total coincidence that Ringo Starr looks incredibly healthy and sprightly at 75 years of age! But, even more impressive, is to consider the decidedly unhealthy, craggy and arthritic Ginger Baker, aged 76: he still performs and, when he's onstage playing drums, it seems as if all his health problems suddenly dissipate, so enraptured by drumming as he is:
So, yes... playing drums definitely looks like a much more interesting way to get fitter than jogging on a cold day!
4) Travel More... Play More Gigs!
Here's something many people don't realize: you don't have to be a rock star to get paid to play gigs in far-flung towns, or even abroad! It's not necessarily always easy, but still quite doable!
The first, most important thing, is that you should be as professional as possible, of course - have good quality recordings, website, and a great live show - with pics and video to prove. If you really want to travel, just go for it anyway, even if at a loss - but, as a band, you could at least recoup or save some money more than a tourist ever could! Contact as many promoters as you can, always trying to cut a deal, even if it's just a little to cover travelling costs; try to crash in someone's floor; and try to sell some merch to get some beer money at least. At the end of the day, you'll still have a good time, as spend less money than if you had traveled as a mere tourist!
If you organize your own gigs at your hometown, you can invite bands from other towns and do a gig swap!
TRAVELLING WITH YOUR GUITAR
- If you become a touring musician, you are advised to get yourself a good hardcase. Essential if travelling by plane!
- Don't worry about bringing your guitar amp, unless you're driving. Ask promoter to provide one, if possible.
- You can also consider an alternative fx pedal setup, using mini Blaxx or Hotone pedals, for instance, to make travelling easier!
FANCY PLAYING ABROAD?
You can also try to contact promoters (especially of the DIY kind) in European cities, who would be excited to invite - and pay - a British band to play. You won't believe how much kudos you can get for simply being based in Britain! Quite often, promoters and audiences in Europe actually appreciate live music more than in the UK, and with enough research, you could find band nights in major cities such as Paris, Lisbon, Barcelona or Berlin that would be willing to pay you some money. Perhaps not enough to break even - but enough to make it cheaper (and more exciting) than travelling just as a visitor! Think of it this way - instead of going on holiday, you go on a music holiday - playing a gig or two and getting paid some money, as a bonus!
5) Do More Acts Of Kindness... Help A Musician!
Let's be straight here: making music isn't that cheap. Not if you're really serious about it. Music is not a hobby for most musicians - it's a passion. And passions can end up being expensive! Some musicians may struggle to make ends meet, while others may have to just carefully save their money to be able to afford expensive new gear. Either way, they are doing something most people don't - they are creating something, expressing themselves creatively and, often, entertaining strangers. So why don't you show some appreciation for other musicians in 2016? Try one (or all) of these:
- Go to more local gigs, paying the entry fee!
- Give money to a busker!
- Donate to charities such as Nordoff Robbins or Help Musicians UK
- Help financing a PledgeMusic release.
- Give some PMT Vouchers to a Musician you know!
Let's also remember that several of the most popular bands in Britain may not have achieved the same level of success if not for the help of others: from Brian Epstein helping the Beatles to change their look and travel to London for record label auditions, to the late Phillip Hall, who believed in the Manic Street Preachers when no-one else would, lending the band money and a place to crash in London, before they had a deal.
"Philip was the first person who understood us. He was more than a manager and his input into the band was invaluable. Without his help, motivation and generosity, it is doubtful whether we, as a band, would have carried on." MANIC STREET PREACHERS
So, don't underestimate how much an act of kindness could help a musician! You could be helping a struggling musician to put food on the plate... or maybe even be helping the Next Big Thing!