10 Thoughtful Gifts for Musicians

This time of year means gift giving, and I always hear from the people I work with that they need to find a thoughtful gift for their friends or colleagues. So, this year, I wanted to put together a list of what I know are considerate to people in the music industry.

Shall we?

pillow10) Pillow – comfy and stylish. I love this pillow, which is great for any music lover. Simple, clean and a great place to rest your head after a long day in the studio ($26)
Buy it now

9) Wifi HotSpot – For a musician, or any friend on the go, a personal wifi hotspot is a huge upgrade. I use KarmaGo personally and cannot recommend it more for a personal hotspot. The best part? You only pay for the data you need. Even better? When people connect to your hotspot, you get free data. ($129)
Get $10 off your purchase: Buy it now

8) Battery Extender – Another techie gift that’s useful for anyone, especially a musician on the go, is a portable battery charger. Great for when you just can’t find an outlet while on the go. This charger has been said to charge your phone to 100% in 90 minutes. ($30)
Buy it now

earbuds7) Ear Skinz – these are colorful covers that slip over most in-ear headphones, offering the next level of comfort, fit and sound. These are definitely on my wishlist – wearing those earbuds all day can give me a headache! Right now, they are offering a deal of buy 3, get one free. ($11)
Buy it now

6) Membership to AAA – this is a hugely helpful gift for any musician going on tour. The van will break down, no question about it. ($66 for classic membership for 2 years – 1st year is free!)
Buy it now

5) Pick Punch – this nifty tool should be with every guitar player in my book. This punch can make picks out of old credit cards, hotel key cards, gym member cards, the list goes on. ($25)
Buy it now

4) SpaFinder Gift Certificate – being a musician takes long hours of practicing, and the physical demands increase even more if they are in the studio working on their next album. Give the gift of wellness with a SpaFinder Gift Certificate – you pick the dollar amount and they can use it at several types of health spas (even chiropractors!) in their area, whenever they want. (Starts at $25)
Buy it now

3) Vocal-eze – This throat spray has been recommended by musicians like Tim McGraw, Joss Stone and always seems to be on the vocal coaches recommendations. If the singer in your life doesn’t have this already, treat them to some soothing support. ($13)
Buy it now

tea2) Tea Variety Pack – Tea has endless health benefits, perfect for the hard working musician and singer. One of my favorite tea companies is David’s Tea, mostly because of their many tea samplers. For just $26, you can give 12 different types of teas. They are bound to find a taste they love! ($26)
Buy it now

1) Support – the best gift to any musician is to give their career support. Buy their albums as gifts for your friends, fund their projects on Kickstarter, Pledgemusic or Indiegogo. Share their music with your friends because the most thoughtful way to give to a musician is to support them.


I hope this helps you in your gift giving search and don’t forget to most of all – enjoy the season!

Solve your biggest struggles as a musician.

This week through a conversation with a previous colleague and good friend, we dived into our current struggles we were having. For me, I was realizing that even though I was really enjoying being a virtual assistant to my clients, I admittedly still had things to work on that could bring me to my highest possible self in my position. I also talked about what my clients struggle with – what musicians struggle with – and what I could possible do outside of the box to assist them, since I do love being able to help. Even if we’re in a position where we are doing what we love, there are still struggles that come with the day-to-day grind. There’s no formula that says when you reach your goal the struggles stop. They just are on a different level or area.

After our conversation, I was inspired to focus in on what are the top struggles for a performing musician, or rather, any musician, and give small steps they can take to help lighten the pervasiveness of these struggles.

I wrote a list of everything I could think of that musicians struggle with. Pain, fatigue, boredom, burnout, stress, anxiety, relationship difficulties, no time, artistic skills…the list goes on. And then I went digging online to compare my list with others, to see if anyone else is talking about this – because it needs to be talked about! We need to know our struggles and address them in order to improve, correct?

Sure enough, I found a woman who created a survey asking exactly what I wanted to know (The internet is great, I’m telling you) and shared her results. What she discovered were the top 3 struggles creative and performing musicians have, and they are:

1. Time Management
2. Worry/Anxiety/Fear
3. Pain issues

Can you relate to these? I’m sure we all can, and I believe it’s on point with what full time musicians struggle with or stress about. So what can you do to alleviate some of the pressure from these common problem areas?

Pain Issues

This issue coming up reminded me of the days when I was part of a summer chamber music festival, and we had intensive rehearsal days. We only a month to learn 4 new pieces with 3 other people you’ve never performed or played with. Your body goes through so much especially when your heart and mind is determined to write that song, perfect that phrase or make it the best performance of your life.

But, you can’t have the best performance of your life if you aren’t taking care of yourself. If you know that you are in for a long day of rehearsals or a marathon of songwriting, schedule some time to relax in a way that works for you. Take a hot bath, get a massage (or ask a friend for one), take a few minutes in the sauna – whatever your options are, choose one and stick to it. Your body and your playing will thank you.


The thing to remember with having worry or anxiety is that you are NOT alone. Even if you are winning Grammys, there will be moments of worry that can take over. It is not forever.

The best thing you can do is release your worry to a friend or support group. Share your struggles, share your fears, and you will find others who will help you through it. Be reassured that you are not the only one and it can lighten the worry for you.

If you are having intense anxiety, you will want to seek a professional to help ease the tension you have. It’s important again, to take care of yourself. You cannot do everything you need to do with anxiety in your mind.

Time Management

Even though we all have the same hours in the day as Beyonce, there’s a second part of that line that we all forget. Beyonce has a TEAM behind her that build all the pillars required to reach her goals. No musician who is successful gets there or stays there alone.

Time management is what I do for my clients as a virtual assistant. If you don’t have an assistant on your team, I wrote a few posts on time management, why it’s important and ways to keep yourself organized with daily tasks. Check out the posts below:

-Don’t Let It Slide (Keep Yourself Organized)
-How Musicians Waste Time (Coordinate a rehearsal faster)
-5 Benefits of a Virtual Assistant

What’s a small step that can help you quickly change that way you manage your time? Take the first 30 minutes of the day to plan your day with a to-do list and by each tasks, specify how much time you will spend on that task. Stick to it and your day will be structured and more productive.

I’m interested, can you relate to these three common struggles musicians face? What do you do to help yourself and keep yourself productive? Come over to my blog and let me know. Maybe you have a special trick that everyone could use!

I really hope that if you are feeling pain, worry or stress about time management that what I’ve shared will help you along your journey. There’s no joy in doing what you love if you are struggling the entire way. Address the struggles and you can find the freedom in doing what you love!

Have a wonderful rest of your weekend and Happy Labor Day.


How I set up a video shoot in less than 24 hours.

I get asked quite a bit what goes on in my day as an assistant to a musician. I find it hard to fully explain, but I CAN tell you, it’s never dull and I learn something new every week. This makes it highly rewarding and exciting with a dash of the good stress. The stress that pushes you to blow your own mind and do something you didn’t think was possible.

Here’s an example.
Last year, one of my clients had a very exciting new CD/DVD release. It was definitely an album that included a concept never done before, so everyone on the team AND the public were excited for it to be released.
During a meeting a few months before the release with our publicist, she suggested that we create a video press release – a visually exciting video that would showcase the release and highlight it’s importance and what makes it so different than any other album anyone has ever done.
The problem was, my client was traveling constantly for other performances months before this needed to be completed. Even when he was back in the office, other activities were already scheduled. I was stuck trying to figure out when this could be created since I knew my client wanted to make this happen, if at all possible.
I saw an opportunity. My client had one day free, and our team member who specialized in videography was also in town. I emailed them both saying, “If we’re going to do this, we should do this tomorrow.” So without delay, they responded with a yes, let’s go for it, and the countdown began.

While we had the manpower and we had the space (an apartment), we didn’t have the proper video equipment available. This had to result in a high quality and professional video to be able to release to the worldwide press, so we needed top-notch video cameras and lighting.
Believe it or not, a company in New York accepted rental inquiries and fulfilled them within 6-8 hours. I struck gold! After quick approval from our videographer, I put in the rental order and gave them all the requirements (scanned IDs, Credit Card Scans, Insurance forms, etc.). I went to bed thinking, “The impossible has been done!”
Once the rental store opening up in the morning, I went straight to the store and easily picked up my video equipment. In a matter of hours, they put together a video camera, memory card, stand, light stands, blubs and reflectors for me to take away to the apartment. It was on!
I hopped in a cab, carrying more bags of equipment than I had hands, but somehow handling it all and headed to the apartment. Once I got there, the videographer and I got to setting up.
While the camera was being tested, my client approached me with a list of questions for me to ask him that he put together the day before so he could easily and comfortably talk about his new release. It was brilliant and effective. He could speak to me, someone he was comfortable with, to be able to say what he wanted to say about them album in the video. It wouldn’t have the effect of him talking AT the screen.
Then, we thought it was all over. We turned the lights on in the room, and not 15 seconds later, half of the place lost power. We blew a fuse! We all looked at each other and literally cursed. My client wasn’t sure where the fuse box even was. We started looking and found it behind a bookcase that was mounted on the wall. (I cannot make this up!). So, we got unscrewing and unloading books from the case so we can access the fuse box. Minutes later, we opened it up and reset the fuse. Success! I also moved the lamps to the other outlets in the apartment so that it wouldn’t happen again. 🙂
With that fiasco out of the way, we set the stage with a nice background, focus and got to the ‘interview’. Not even an hour later, we had some great footage and we all felt great about the look and feel of the video results.

Can you believe it? In less than 24 hours, we had footage for a video press release. Just the day before, I didn’t even know if it would happen.
That is a moment that I feel highly rewarded for staying persistent and making a goal happen. Most people might have given up and said, “Oh, we should have planned this better,” or “It wasn’t meant to be this time around.” But our team knew that for this release, it was important for this video to be created.

The key to take away here was that the team worked together to make it happen. You might have the will yourself, but you are going to need the support to help you see it through.

The result? Well, see for yourself!

Hope you enjoyed my story and that it inspires YOU to build your team so you can keep pushing toward the goals you have. 

Have a great weekend,

Grumpy Cat.

No matter what I do, Grumpy Cat is never amused.

It’s my birthday [Gift for you!]

You guys. I made it.

I made it to my birthday! WOO!

Well, technically it was yesterday, but I think I’m allowed to celebrate all weekend. It’s MY birthday, after all! [Shout out to Johann Sebastian Bach – Happy Birthday to you, too!]

Instead of sharing what’s going on for me or giving you my usual letters, I thought it’d be nice to hear from YOU!

So if you want to give me the perfect present – here it is. I’d love to know more about you, what you are up to and what your goals are!

And for that, I’m giving away a FREE template from my upcoming DIY Five Star Tour Packet to my favorite answer! That’s right, YOU can get a gift too!

So, here’s how this will work. Just comment below and respond with an answer to the following questions:

1. Who are you & where are you?

2. Why did you sign up for MY tips?

3. What have you found most useful from my emails and why?

Don’t be shy, I want hear from you! Plus, you have to do this because I’m the birthday girl!

Send in your answers and I’ll pick the winner next week!

Now excuse me, because….

Cheers to both of us!

Behind the scenes of my Photo-shoot!

Hello readers!

The branding process continues to be exciting – last weekend, I had a photo-shoot to get new photos for the upcoming website! Okay, sure, I’ve arranged and assisted on plenty of photo-shoots for my clients, but have never been on the other side of the camera. So needless to say, I was both excited and nervous.

When I am asked to assist on a photo-shoot for my clients, it usually involves:
– Making sure everyone knows when / where the shoot will be
– Picking out outfits
– Assisting in carrying said outfits or props
– During the shoot, I just make sure my client is comfortable; I suggest angles if I see the opportunity, and basically keep up positivity for my client and make sure they are comfortable!

Never being the one being photographed, I never truly related to my clients or was able to say that I’ve experienced a photo-shoot. But now, I’m proud to say I can give some input and advice if you are going on your first (or 100th) photo-shoot!

Enjoy my story being on the other side for once, as well of some things I learned from the experience!

Surround yourself with positivity!
This was the most crucial thing for me the day of the shoot. I asked my friend, who graciously did my makeup, to stay while the shoot began for not only photo taking, but moral support. She was a close friend, so she was able to make me laugh and ultimately relax!
She gave thumbs up, said encouraging words, saying things I needed to here! Sure, they were subtle and seem silly, but it made a huge difference to have a friend or assistant to lighten the mood and in the end, relax and give you confidence. By the end of the shoot, I was making silly faces at the camera and twirling around!

Play upbeat and FUN music!
Getting ready, I kept it to a nice, chill, relaxed playlist. But, once the shoot began, I switched it up! I wanted powerful and strong pictures, not relaxed and sleepy!
Once we changed the playlist to upbeat, fun and powerful music (think: Beyonce!), the mood instantly changed! I shook out the silly nerves and we all started to have more fun! So put together a playlist of music to play during the shoot that reflects the vibe you want from you pictures. It’ll help more than you know!

Wear your favorites!
For this small shoot, I decided to go with just two outfits. One dress was a color I was using on my website. It was new and I never tried it on before, so when I put it on, I wasn’t absolutely comfortable in it. I was unsure how I looked, which made me stiff and more difficult to relax in front of the camera.

My second outfit wasn’t matching my brand colors exactly, but it was one of my favorite dresses in my wardrobe. It felt great on and also looked great on! Even the photographer reacted with ‘oh yes, I love this dress!’ once I put it on. I shook my hips and twirled around – I was instantly having more fun! Whodathunk! So, lesson learned: pick outfits that you know and love – it will reflect in the photo results!

Quick Pro Tip!
Here’s a ‘pro tip’ I learned on the shoot from my photographer. She said that between each shot, to change my pose slightly so I would end up with a variety of shots to choose from. So for example, in one ‘scene’, between each click, I’d change my head slightly: chin up, chin down, look up, etc. Now I have more to choose from and a better chance at finding the best shot!

Overall, once I truly realized we were really there just to have fun (along with getting that great photo), I could breathe and enjoy myself. So just relax, have fun! It is just photos!

I’ll be looking through photos this week and can’t wait to share them! So excited! 😀


Throwback Thursday to my violin playing days!