Happy Easter

Happy Easter

There’s a New Page on Christian Band Help!

Gig Opportunities for Christian BandsGig Opportunities is the newest page added to ChristianBandHelp.com. You can find it next to the State and County Fairs, Christian Fests, and Christian Venues tabs across the top of this site.

This page is where we will post requests that we get for Christian musicians to play specific shows. Check it out and check back often.

We get requests every week for us to be the booking agent for Christian bands. Unfortunately, we simply cannot devote our time exclusively to one band. But we can help you do your own booking with our lists of Christian Venues, Christian Fests, State and County Fairs, and now Gig Opportunities.

Have a gig you cannot play? Ask the bookers to post their gig on our new page of Gig Opportunities. Let’s fill every show with Christian musicians!

Christian Band Help Mission Statement

The Christian Band Help Logo

The Christian Band Help Logo

Yes, it’s true… after 2 1/2 years of ministry we have finally come up with a mission statement for Christian Band Help. Here it is:

Christian Band Help is an innovative ministry devoted to supporting Christian musicians. Our mission is to help musicians create and maintain extraordinary music ministries that bring people closer to Jesus. Our goal is to provide the information, wise counsel, and support Christian musicians need to achieve their full ministry potential.

What do you think? Did we create a good statement?

Master Social Media – New FREE guide from Diskmakers

Social-Media-DMAre you spending too much time on social media and not getting the results you want?

Here’s a new guide you can download from Diskmakers to help with your Christian bands social media.

CLICK HERE to get your copy today!

Define Your Christian Bands Mission

By Bcc cindy and Casito (Wikimedia Commons) [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia CommonsPart 5: Your Story

Years ago Christians would ask other Christians to give their testimonies, meaning “tell us the story of how you got saved”. Of course, the more dramatic the conversion, the more often we were asked to tell people about it. Somehow a person who had done more evil things than the average person before coming to the Lord was viewed as more spiritual. In reality, their stories were simply more memorable and therefore more appealing and marketable.

That terminology has fallen by the wayside as we have realized that the story of how we “got saved” is only the first of many stories that we can tell about how God has worked in our lives. We seem to have shifted the focus from stories about a person who experienced a dramatic conversion to stories about how God changed people’s lives—and that is a good thing. Now people want to hear stories about real people with a genuine faith and what God is doing for them. We no longer want to hear fantastic, dramatic, newsworthy stories because they seem like fairy-tales to us.

We want to be able to connect with people just like us and relate to their stories. We hope that if God has done something for them, He will do something for us as well.

This is why your story is so important.

What is Your Story?

I do not know how many times I have heard Christian musicians say that they do not have a story. It is simply not true. When Christians say that, what they really mean is that they did not have dramatic conversion nor have they experienced a major trauma in their lives. So, they do not have a dramatic, exciting story. But think about it, how many people do you know personally that can relate to either of those types of stories? The vast majority of people in this world are just normal everyday average people with normal everyday average issues in life. So, wouldn’t it be great if they could hear stories about how God has helped other people with those same kinds of issues?

We will probably never see a headline saying something like “Average Guy Overcomes Average Problem” But maybe we should… think of all the ministry opportunities found in that headline. How do you think people would respond to a headline of “God uses Average Guy to Help another Average Guy”? Hmmm… I think they just might realize that since they are kind of an average guy, may be God could use them too. Or, what about a headline that reads “God Did Not Magically Change My Circumstances and I’m So Glad He Didn’t”—WOW, I think people would want to hear about that.

The point is, We All Have A Story. Some stories may be more dramatic, but the more simple stories from real people with common problems often have the greatest ministry potential.

So, what has God done in your life?
What is He doing now?
That is your story.

Your story will change over time and that is OK. In fact, it’s better than OK—it’s great because it shows that God did not do only one thing for you and then leave. You can change and update your story as you go along. From a marketing standpoint, this is incredible—you have an unlimited source of new material. From a faith standpoint, this proves God is alive and working in people’s lives today.

How does your story help you define your bands mission?

Remember that people like to hear stories from real people just like them. People want to hear about how these real people have dealt with issues similar to theirs. So, look at your story and try to determine who would best relate to it. Then, look at your band mates stories and do the same. Every band member’s story is going to be different. But you will probably start to recognize overlapping groups of people who would want to hear the different stories. These overlapping groups are probably going to be your bands target audience.

Often, bands will find a common thread interweaving their stories. For example, someone in the band may have overcome drug addiction. Another band member may have had to watch a family member struggle through rehab. While a third band member may have had to be a caregiver to someone who had lost a close friend to a drug overdose. The common thread would be how drugs affect many people’s lives. Obviously, this example is probably more dramatic and easy to spot than what most bands will experience. But, look closely, God often calls people together who have different stories that make up one primary message.

Just as every person’s story is different, every bands message and ministry will be different.

When we match up our stories and our message to people who want to hear them we have taken one step closer to creating an extraordinary music ministry!

This is the last in a series of 5 articles about defining your bands mission. Click on the links to read each article:
Part One – Target Audience
Part Two – Music Styles and Venues
Part three – How does your age affect your bands mission?
Part Four – Our Appearance Affects Our Ministry

The Christian Band Guidebook

The Christian Band Guidebook

The Christian Band Guidebook will help your Christian band develop an extraordinary music ministry. CLICK HERE to get your copy today.

Define Your Christian Bands Mission

By Bcc cindy and Casito (Wikimedia Commons) [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia CommonsPart Four: Our Appearance Affects Our Ministry

There are very few people in the world who like how they look. Many of us (including me) struggle with our opinion of our appearance affecting our self esteem. We believe we would be better if we could change our insert the particular flaw you hate here. I understand what you are going through… I always struggle with accepting my weight, no matter how much or little I weigh. What can I say – I love chocolate and despise the gym. One of my sisters was a beauty pageant queen and another is a physical trainer who owns several gyms – it’s hard not to compare myself. It always seems odd to me that my greatest struggles often occur when I weigh the least. The inability to accept how we look is not rational or logical, but it is real. It can definitely affect our ministry.

While I do not want to be insensitive to our struggles, today we are not talking about how fat, bald, short, skinny or generally ugly we are except in how our appearance relates to discovering the mission God has assigned you and your band to do. So, let’s try to set aside our struggles with our appearance for the moment and look as objectively as possible at some of the basics.

Two Premises

We must start by believing that for the most part God created to look like we do now. Obviously, there are things we can or could do to slightly change how we look (for example: I could lose weight and keep it off) but unless we get into very extensive plastic surgery our appearance is not going to radically change. So, we can take the basic characteristics of our appearance as clues to our mission.

It is also true that we most easily connect with and relate to people who are most like us. Missionaries have known for a long time that people coming in from another culture will always be less effective than indigenous people. That is why the most effective mission organizations usually send leaders from another culture to start the movement and then train indigenous people to do the primary missions work.

The Past

In the past Christian musicians targeted specific demographics. Most often we chose either the people who purchased the most music or a specific missions group. We changed our appearance and our music to reach those people. This was not a wrong method to use. Even Paul said that he became all things to all people. (1 Corinthians 9:19-23) Most of the time, the musicians who changed their appearance were doing it with really good motives: either to target a smaller group of people who were not being reached by church or to reach as may people as possible. The artists who wanted to reach as many people as possible attempted to support themselves primarily through music sales and labels. The artists attempting to connect with a smaller, largely unreached group attempted to fund their work primarily through self sacrifice and donations, much like missionaries.

In the late 80’s and early 90’s some of these musicians came more to the forefront of Christian music as more radical music styles became accepted in the secular music industry and Christian labels followed their lead. Many people were brought closer to Jesus as a result of this cultural shift in the availability of Christian music styles. But at the same time, many Christian musicians were viewed as less than genuine in either their faith or their culture – hence the consistent use of the word ‘poser’ (or ‘poseur’ for those of us with more sophisticated vocabularies) in reference to Christian musicians. Artists who tried to reach as many people as possible were accused of being all about the money. Artists who tried to reach smaller peoples groups were accused of copying a culture and even mimicking specific secular bands because they were not good enough make it on their own. Whether the accusations were true, partially true or not true at all the effect was the same; although there was a great impact, the full potential impact of Christian music ministry was diminished.

Today

Today things are very different. Both technology and culture has changed. Mass market strategies are becoming less effective by the minute as people embrace words like local, connected, genuine, and original. We see the shift in everything from the kinds of food we want to purchase to the more minimal and sustainable lifestyles we want to live. People no longer buy music because a label sinks money into marketing an artist as the latest greatest cool phenomenon. We buy music because the songs and the artists’ story touch us somehow. So, today it is important that Christian musicians are honest, open and genuine in both their faith and their culture.

…and so, today, more than ever, we need to be who we truly are… with all our flaws and imperfections available for the world to see…

 

So let’s look at some of the ways our appearance can help us define our mission:

Race
Yes, our race can help us define our mission but not in the way it did in the past. For the most part, we no longer live in a 1930’s white folk stay with white folk society. Now your race must be culturally relevant to, but not necessarily the same as, your target audience. Say for example that you want to minister to middle class Caucasian young professionals. Do you need to be Caucasian? Not necessarily. This particular group of people is receptive to many races and often is more intrigued by other cultures than their own. But now say your target audience is elderly Caucasians who live in the south. If you are any race that is not Caucasian, you probably are not going to be effective and should consider changing your target audience. We cannot change our ethnicity, but we can use our race to guide us to an appropriate target audience.

Height and Weight
Again, we’re not judging here. We are simply looking at how our height and weight relates to our target audience (which is a large part of defining our mission). If we are female and we do not have the body of a movie star or fashion model it’s OK. Recognize that your target audience is probably not Junior High girls. But, there are plenty of women who can identify with how you look and relate to how you feel about how you look – minister to them. If you are male and not built like a football player, don’t try to build a ministry around football players. If you are 110 pounds and 5’3” tall you might not have a ministry with bikers but horse jockeys might love you! Figure out which audience can best identify with you and minister to them.

Fashion and Style
This is one characteristic of how we look that can most easily be changed. But remember that we are no longer trying to fit into a certain culture by changing what we wear. We are using who we truly are to connect with and relate to other people. So, if you are going to change what you wear, change it to more accurately reflect who you are. In other words, use your outside appearance to help people see your heart. If anything we may want to exaggerate our style. Are you a geek? Go full on geek with your apparel and hair style. Are you a hippie at heart? Let’s see those bell bottoms and long hair. Your sense of fashion and style, when it reflects who you truly are, will enhance your story and help you connect with your target audience. If it does not, you need to change your target audience, not who you are.

Today’s fans expect musicians to be genuine, real people with interesting stories that relate to their lives and touch their hearts.

So, now there is no such thing as music ministers not having the “correct” appearance or look because there are millions of people who can no longer relate to or connect with what the music and fashion industries present. We no longer have to change ourselves to fit the music market. Now we have the freedom to be ourselves and identify the people who will most benefit from knowing us.

This is the fourth part of Defining Your Christian Bands Mission.
CLICK HERE to read Part One: Target Audience
CLICK HERE to read Part Two: Music Styles and Venues
CLICK HERE to read Part Three: Your Age

Next week we will look at how your story can help define your mission. Stay tuned – it’s going to be an encouraging post!

The Christian Band Guidebook

The Christian Band Guidebook

The Christian Band Guidebook will help your band develop an extraordinary music ministry. CLICK HERE to get your copy today.

Marketing Your Music 101 – FREE Guide from CD Baby

marketing-your-music-largeHere’s another FREE Guide to download from CD Baby – Marketing Your Music 101

Essential tips for getting your music out there.

Here’s what CD Baby says:
In the music industry, marketing is the art of telling your band’s story to the right people at the right time — and telling it well. For today’s independent artist, a good musical story (and how well it’s told) can mean the difference between obscurity and stardom. As a musician, every action you take is a chance to further your story and make meaningful connections with new fans.

Inside, you will learn about:

  • What’s at the heart of your band’s story
  • How to succinctly communicate that story
  • Why your #1 marketing goal should be to build your email list
  • Why your website is more important than any social media platform
  • How music marketing starts long before and extends well beyond an album release
  • The importance of YouTube for today’s musicians
  • Keeping your social media marketing under control
  • PR basics for contacting the media
  • And more”

CLICK HERE to get your FREE copy today!

Christian Band Help also has many posts about marketing your music. CLICK HERE to get started reading what we have to say about publicizing and promoting your band.

Tips for Booking House Parties – FREE Guide from Oasis

house-concert-guideThe Musicians Guide to House Concerts – a new FREE Guide from Oasis.

Many artists will tell you they simply could not tour without the added financial support of house concerts along the way. This FREE guide gives you tons of valuable info on how to set up for such a show, how to handle the money, how to pitch the idea to your fans, how to make the most of your house concert(s) and more.

CLICK HERE to get your copy today!

Christian Band Help has also done a series of posts on booking house parties for your Christian band. CLICK HERE to get started.

Define Your Christian Bands Mission

By Bcc cindy and Casito (Wikimedia Commons) [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia CommonsPart Three: How does your age affect your bands mission?

Today we are continuing our discussion about how to define your Christian bands mission, the specific thing that God has called your band to do. We have already talked about your Christian bands target audience in Part One and venues and music style in Part Two. You will definitely want to read these previous posts before continuing with this one. CLICK HERE to read Part One and CLICK HERE to read Part Two.

Why do we need to define our bands mission?

The definition of our mission makes our ministry easier to explain to other people and helps keep our band focused on doing exactly what we should be, which makes us extremely effective ministers. All our decisions become much easier to make, simply by comparing the options in light of which one best suits the bands mission.

Today’s discussion is probably going to sting a little.

Many of us would prefer to ignore our age. Those of us who are older would like to think we are younger and those of us who are young like to do more mature things. So, let us start the discussion by saying that this post is NOT about being younger or older. Our age is what it is. Accept it and work with what you have been given. We are, however, going to take a realistic look at how our age affects our bands mission.

The Past

Traditionally in the music industry artists started their careers as young as possible, hopefully being signed in their late teens or early twenties. With the exception of only the very top tier of artists, most musicians stage careers ended in their forties, quite a few did not last that long. Some artists were able to make the shift to other areas of music such as studio musician or teacher but many left the industry altogether.

The Good News

Today the former music industry scenario does not have to be true. Remember that in the past the music industry could only afford to work with whichever artists sold the most music. The demographic who historically bought the most music was teens and young adults. So, when an artist aged out of that market, the industry could no longer afford to support them (again, with the exception of only the very top tier of musicians). Technology has changed everything.

Read this post for a better insight into how our opportunities have changed.

The cost of making music has decreased so dramatically that we can now afford to reach fans from every age group, even though they buy far less music than teens. That means that musicians no longer age out of the market. That also means our ability to minister to every age group is greatly expanded and targeted.

The Way Things are Now

Now we can focus on ministry rather than mass music sales. It has long been accepted by Pastors that the easiest and most effective people to minister to are their same age or slightly younger. Typically older people feel that younger people do not have the life experiences and wisdom to effectively minister to them. Younger people often question if older people understand the current culture and how it affects their particular situation. This same mindset is true for Christian music ministers.

Most of the time, our most effective ministry
and therefore our mission will be centered toward
people our own age or slightly younger.

 

Here’s the part that is going to sting:

That means if you are 40 years old and still trying to market your band to youth groups, you probably are not going to be very effective. Most of us do this because we still believe the music industry model we discussed earlier. If we can believe that we do not need labels to “make it” as a Christian music ministers we can move on from that model to more effective ministry.

In the same light, if you are 18 and performing music for 50 year olds, do not expect them to respect what you have to say or to seek you out for advice. For the most part, they will tell you how cute you are and how much you encouraged them by demonstrating that the younger generation is not lost (meaning you are like them). Those of us who are doing this are generally playing music that we feel is safe and what we have been brought up with. This does not necessarily mean we are doing the most effective ministry God has for us to do.

The Challenge

Look in the mirror. Admit to your age. Then, choose a target audience that is slightly younger (less than 10 years) or your same age. Adjust your music accordingly. This does not mean playing only the most popular genre within your bands age demographic – see Part Two: Music Styles and Venues.

The Exceptions

Of course, there are always exceptions.


 Family ministry is one of them. If your band is made up of several family members of varying ages and you have targeted family or children’s ministry, then your age may become less relevant.

 Classical music is another exception. Classical musicians are typically hired much more on musical skill than on marketability, so your age is not as much of a consideration.

The problem with exceptions is that we like to feel special, so we like to be the exception. Those of us who are older like to think we look far younger than we are. Many of us who are younger like to believe we look older than we do. The truth is that most of us relate best to our peers. So, be realistic, you and your band might truly be an exception. But do not use being ‘the exception’ to excuse a poorly targeted ministry.

In the end, it all comes down to this:

Be effective in bringing people closer to Jesus.
If your band is not as effective as you think you could be,
change what you are doing.

The Christian Band Guidebook

The Christian Band Guidebook

 

The Christian Band Guidebook has more information to help your Christian band develop and extraordinary music ministry. CLICK HERE to get your copy today!

Writing The Christian Musicians Devotional

Christian Musicians Devotional CoverThere is a celebration going on in  the Wise household today -
I finished writing
The Christian Musicians Devotional!

This was huge project – 392 pages, 127,000 words, 2 years.

Thank You so much to everyone who has been praying for me throughout this process. Thank You also for your patience, especially the last couple months as I cut back on most of my other work and activities to get this book completed.

Next up: final editing and formatting for paperback and Kindle. The book will be ready for you in April!

Want a taste of what all the fuss is about? CLICK HERE to read a few excerpts.

So, how are we celebrating? 
Cheesecake

Mark did not go to the store and buy this – he actually made it by hand!

My awesome (and incredibly handsome) husband, Mark made my very favorite dessert – a white chocolate raspberry cheesecake. He’s also cooking one of my favorite dinners. Yup – he is making the evening all about me! I just have to love this man… for 2 years he has put up with my obsession over writing this book and now he spoils me with a wonderful celebration.

HM Magazine March Issue – FREE

HM MagThe March issue of HM Magazine is ready for you now and it’s FREE! This issue has Demon Hunter, Comeback Kid, Memphis May Fire and more…

CLICK HERE to get your copy now.

Define Your Christian Bands Mission

By Bcc cindy and Casito (Wikimedia Commons) [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia CommonsPart Two: Music Style and Venues

In this series we are attempting to identify your Christian bands mission, in other words, the specific job that God has for your band to do. Defining the mission of your band will help you describe your band to other people and guide you when making ministry decisions. To start to define this mission we are looking at the kind of training God has already given us as well as what is on our hearts to do, both individually and as a band. We talked about identifying your Christian bands target audience in Part One. CLICK HERE to read Part One. In Part Two we are looking at Music Style and Venues.

Music Genre and Style

Many bands cite the reason for breaking up as musical differences. Most often, this is a politically correct way of saying the band members did not get along with each other. But sometimes it is true that one member simply wants to play a completely different genre of music than what the band is currently playing. One member wanting to play a different genre of music does not mean that member should be pressured to leave the band. Perhaps their genre can be incorporated into the genre that the rest of the band wants to play to come up with a completely new and unusual sound (which in some cases is exactly what the music market is looking for). Occasionally, God is asking the member with different tastes in music to stay in the band and to play the bands genre of music as part of their personal faith journey. This teaches us how to submit to our brothers in love as well as expands our music expertise. Find out what each member wants to play by going over this list. Be sure to differentiate between music that you have been influenced by and the music genre that you desire to play.

LIST OF TYPE OF MUSIC | MUSIC GENRES

This list is from MusicGenreList.com. (Thanks for compiling the list for us!)

• Alternative

 Alternative Rock
 College Rock
 Experimental Rock
 Goth Rock
 Grunge
 Hardcore Punk
 Hard Rock
 Indie Rock
 New Wave
 Progressive Rock
 Punk
 Shoegaze
 Steampunk

• Anime

• Blues

 Acoustic Blues
 Chicago Blues
 Classic Blues
 Contemporary Blues
 Country Blues
 Delta Blues
 Electric Blues

• Children’s Music

 Lullabies
 Sing-Along
 Stories

• Classical

 Avant-Garde
 Baroque
 Chamber Music
 Chant
 Choral
 Classical Crossover
 Early Music
 High Classical
 Impressionist
 Medieval
 Minimalism
 Modern Composition
 Opera
 Orchestral
 Renaissance
 Romantic
 Wedding Music

• Comedy

 Novelty
 Standup Comedy

• Country

 Alternative Country
 Americana
 Bluegrass
 Contemporary Bluegrass
 Contemporary Country
 Country Gospel
 Honky Tonk
 Outlaw Country
 Traditional Bluegrass
 Traditional Country
 Urban Cowboy

• Dance

 Breakbeat
 Dubstep
 Exercise
 Garage
 Hardcore
 Hard Dance
 Hi-NRG / Eurodance
 House
 Jackin House
 Jungle/Drum’n’bass
 Techno
 Trance

• Disney

• Easy Listening

 Bop
 Lounge
 Swing

• Electronic

 Ambient
 Crunk
 Downtempo
 Electro
 Electronica
 Electronic Rock
 IDM/Experimental
 Industrial

• Enka

• French Pop

• German Folk

• German Pop

• Fitness & Workout

• Hip-Hop/Rap

 Alternative Rap
 Bounce
 Dirty South
 East Coast Rap
 Gangsta Rap
 Hardcore Rap
 Hip-Hop
 Latin Rap
 Old School Rap
 Rap
 Underground Rap
 West Coast Rap

• Holiday

 Chanukah
 Christmas
 Christmas: Children’s
 Christmas: Classic
 Christmas: Classical
 Christmas: Jazz
 Christmas: Modern
 Christmas: Pop
 Christmas: R&B
 Christmas: Religious
 Christmas: Rock
 Easter
 Halloween
 Holiday: Other
 Thanksgiving

• Indie Pop

• Industrial

• Inspirational – Christian & Gospel

 CCM
 Christian Metal
 Christian Pop
 Christian Rap
 Christian Rock
 Classic Christian
 Contemporary Gospel
 Gospel
 Christian & Gospel
 Praise & Worship
 Qawwali
 Southern Gospel
 Traditional Gospel

• Instrumental

 March (Marching Band)

• J-Pop

 J-Rock
 J-Synth
 J-Ska
 J-Punk

• Jazz

 Acid Jazz
 Avant-Garde Jazz
 Big Band
 Blue Note
 Contemporary Jazz
 Cool
 Crossover Jazz
 Dixieland
 Ethio-jazz
 Fusion
 Hard Bop
 Latin Jazz
 Mainstream Jazz
 Ragtime
 Smooth Jazz
 Trad Jazz

• K-Pop

• Karaoke

• Kayokyoku

• Latino

 Alternativo & Rock Latino
 Baladas y Boleros
 Brazilian
 Contemporary Latin
 Latin Jazz
 Pop Latino
 Raíces
 Reggaeton y Hip-Hop
 Regional Mexicano
 Salsa y Tropical

• New Age

 Environmental
 Healing
 Meditation
 Nature
 Relaxation
 Travel

• Opera

• Pop

 Adult Contemporary
 Britpop
 Pop/Rock
 Soft Rock
 Teen Pop

• R&B/Soul

 Contemporary R&B
 Disco
 Doo Wop
 Funk
 Motown
 Neo-Soul
 Quiet Storm
 Soul

• Reggae

 Dancehall
 Dub
 Roots Reggae
 Ska

• Rock

 Adult Alternative
 American Trad Rock
 Arena Rock
 Blues-Rock
 British Invasion
 Death Metal/Black Metal
 Glam Rock
 Hair Metal
 Hard Rock
 Metal
 Jam Bands
 Prog-Rock/Art Rock
 Psychedelic
 Rock & Roll
 Rockabilly
 Roots Rock
 Singer/Songwriter
 Southern Rock
 Surf
 Tex-Mex

• Singer/Songwriter

 Alternative Folk
 Contemporary Folk
 Contemporary Singer/Songwriter
 Folk-Rock
 New Acoustic
 Traditional Folk

• Soundtrack

 Foreign Cinema
 Musicals
 Original Score
 Soundtrack
 TV Soundtrack
• Spoken Word
• Tex-Mex / Tejano
 Chicano
 Classic
 Conjunto
 Conjunto Progressive
 New Mex
 Tex-Mex

• Vocal

 Barbershop
 Doo-wop
 Standards
 Traditional Pop
 Vocal Jazz
 Vocal Pop

• World

 Africa
 Afro-Beat
 Afro-Pop
 Asia
 Australia
 Bossa Nova
 Cajun
 Caribbean
 Celtic
 Celtic Folk
 Contemporary Celtic
 Drinking Songs
 Drone
 Europe
 France
 Hawaii
 Indian Pop
 Japan
 Japanese Pop
 Klezmer
 Middle East
 North America
 Polka
 South Africa
 South America
 Traditional Celtic
 Worldbeat
 Zydeco

Hopefully, the genre of music most of your bands members want to play is very similar, even if the music you are influenced by is diverse. At this point the band will want to check back with their defined target audience to make sure the audience matches the genre. For example, if your target audience is people over 60 the band will not want to play alternative rap. If the bands chosen genre does not match the target audience, you will need to start over and redefine one or the other. If they do match, congratulations – you have gotten one step closer to defining your bands mission! From here you need to go on to talk about the bands style within the genre.

Style is much more difficult to define than genre because it is somewhat nebulous. When defining style you are looking for that one thing that makes you stand out from every other band in your genre. For example: I was in a band that played Goth Rock. While that genre described our music, it was not very specific. Many other bands played Goth Rock and we were nothing like them. At first we added the word Melodic with Goth Rock and that helped. But eventually we settled on Medieval Melodic Goth Rock – that clearly defined what we did. Music style will probably take much longer for your band to define than genre; it will probably become more refined and may even change as time goes on. Nevertheless, work towards coming up with 3-4 words that accurately sum up what you play. Ideally, these words will be unusual enough to peak the curiosity of potential fans. From time to time check to be sure that your target audience is correctly lined up with your music style and genre and make adjustments as needed.

Venues

The venues that the members of your band desire to play can be a big help when trying to define your Christian Bands mission. Obviously, most of us have to play venues other than what would be our first choice in order to find enough places to play. But, defining what our first choice is as well as places we are unwilling to play will help us in targeting booking as well as defining our mission. Knowing where individual band members are not willing to play and are willing to play but are uncomfortable is critical to maintaining band unity.

Here is a list of some of the most common venues.

 

Obviously, this list is not exhaustive. So, talk about as many possible venues as might be relevant to your band. One last question to include in the venues conversation: “Does the band desire to put on (promote) your own concerts and events?”

Hopefully, the venues your Christian band desires to play lines up with your target audience and music style. If not, you need to go back and start redefining. If so – Congratulations! You should be starting to get a much clearer idea of your bands mission from God! Knowing this mission will help you with almost every band decision you have to make. When decisions are unclear, hold up the possible choices and see which one best fits your Christian bands mission.

Some of you are really not going to like the next post, but that’s OK – I’m up for a little controversy. We are going to talk about your age and how you look as it relates to defining your bands mission. It’s going to sting a little (maybe a lot) but stay tuned anyway. Remember, iron sharpens iron.

The Christian Band Guidebook

The Christian Band Guidebook

The Christian Band Guidebook will help your Christian develop and extraordinary music ministry. CLICK HERE to get your copy today.

Define Your Christian Bands Mission

Part One: Target Audience

By Bcc cindy and Casito (Wikimedia Commons) [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia CommonsWhat has God called your Christian band to do?
If you can answer that one question, you can define your Christian bands mission.

We are not talking about the generic answer, “We are called to play Christian music for people.” Or even “We want to evangelize the world.” We need to be able to define exactly what God has called our specific band to accomplish. This definition will help us describe our band to other people. More importantly, it will guide us in making almost every decision the band needs to make. For example, the answers to “Should we play this specific gig?”, “Which cover tunes should we add to our set?”, and “Should we order 1,000 CD’s or 50?” could all be influenced by a clear definition of our ministry. When we know exactly what God has called our band to do we can hold up every decision to see if it lines up with our mission. The decisions become much easier to make.

Every bands mission is different. Defining that mission does not occur in a day. Getting the entire band to clearly understand and agree with the mission is one of the most important keys to maintaining a long term ministry. After the mission is initially defined, from time to time it will be refined. So, conversations between band members about the bands mission must be held consistently. Some bands use travel time to talk about mission, others plan to use band practice time. The ‘how’ or ‘when’ your band holds the conversations are not as important as making sure that they happen and that every band member participates.

How do we figure out what our Christian bands mission is?

God often leads us by training us to do something before He has us do it. While there are always exceptions to this principle, they are usually a one time or short term task used in order to grow our faith. Most of us experience being given specific personalities and life experiences that prepare us for ministry. When we take all of that training and combine it with the other band members training, we can often get a very clear idea of what God has equipped us to do.

In the next few posts we will break down several components. By figuring out the answers to smaller, easier questions we can see more clearly what we are already equipped to do. Today we will start with…

Target Audience

Defining this one component will help your band decide it’s mission more than any other. The target audience is simply the group of people your band is most often (not necessarily exclusively) called to work with. Remember that you can decide who the band is probably called to work with now by looking at who the individual members have worked with in the past as well as being guided by what your heart has a desire to do. To make it easy, start with some simple demographics.

Try to check only one circle in each of the following groups. In some cases more than one box will apply. So, check as many as you really need to define the audience but not to show indecision or disagreement between band members.

Religion:
Ο Christian
Ο Non-Christian
Ο Specific Religion (Specify): _______________________

Gender:
Ο Female
Ο Male
Ο Female and Male

Age:
Ο 0-12
Ο 13-18
Ο 18-24
Ο 25-34
Ο 35-49
Ο 50-64
Ο 65 and older

Marital Status:
Ο Single
Ο Married
Ο Divorced
Ο Widowed

Race:
Ο Caucasian
Ο Hispanic
Ο African American
Ο Other (specify): ________________________

Economic Status:
Ο Lower income
Ο Middle Income
Ο Upper Income

Geographic Location:
Ο International
Ο National (the country you reside in)
Ο The State or Province your reside in
Ο Neighboring States or Provinces

After the band has agreed on the targeted demographics, you should be able to get a picture of what most of your fans will be like. For example: Christian, Female and Male, 13-18 years old, single, Caucasian, middle income, in the three states surrounding your home state. Can you see how these particular demographics would help you define that this band should be booking youth groups in Midwestern churches? You can also tell that the band does not need to order thousands of CD’s because these kids usually download their music. Specific cover tunes can be chosen based on local Christian radio stations play lists that cater to the bands targeted age group.

All the bands decisions get much easier by defining these simple demographics.

After the simple demographics, the band should discuss even more specific targets such as inner city youth groups, men in jail, elderly in nursing homes, or people in recovery. Get as specific as you can (these are the areas that will most likely be refined with prayer and conversations over time). Recognize that the band will not always exclusively play to these demographics but will attempt to ‘target’ or play to this group of people most often.

Do not assume that everyone in your band is on the same page about the bands target audience simply because your band is currently playing to one demographic. Talking it out and agreeing as a band will make the bands vision clear to each band member. This clarity will help reduce friction as the band makes decisions for future ministry. Have the conversation about target audience with your Christian band this week and stay tuned next week as we discuss how music style and venues can help define your Christian bands mission.

The Christian Band Guidebook

The Christian Band Guidebook

Was this post helpful? The Christian Band Guidebook has more information to help your band accomplish the mission that God has called your band to do. CLICK HERE to get your copy today.

Guitar Pick Punch

Have you seen these guitar pick punches?

They use scrap plastic such as store rewards cards and cut them into the shape of guitar picks. Here is the brand that is most highly rated and most often purchased on Amazon:

Pick Punch

As with all equipment, guitar pick punch reviews are mixed. Some people love them as an inexpensive alternative to buying picks at the local music store. Other people complain because the edges are rough (you can sand them slightly with a nail file or sandpaper). The gauge of the scrap plastic may not always be consistent either. On the plus side, you never run out of picks. One credit card sized piece of plastic makes as many as 6 picks. Once you buy the punch, you have free picks for life.

This one has the second best rating and is the second most purchased on Amazon:


Guitar Pick-a-PaloozaTM – Custom Guitar Pick Puncher- Make Your Own Guitar Picks – Guitar Pick Jewelry – Guitar Pick Necklace – Guitar Pick Key Chain – Guitar Pick Bracelets and More – Create Cool – Customized – Unique Guitar Picks – DIY Guitar – Smooth Edges – Ready To Use – Guaranteed to be 100% Fun!

Whether or not you like to use the picks to play, guitar picks have some definite value for making merchandise to sell at your bands table. The options are only as limited as your creativity!


Guitar Pick Maker – Guitar Puncher Tool That Makes Custom Picks – This DIY Pick Hole Puncher Is Fun and Easy to Use – Use Any Plastic to Make As Many Quality Unique Picks As You Like – This Guitar Pick Tool Gives 100% Fun Every Time – Cut Guitar Plectrum Picks Fast With Smooth Edges – Best Guitar Gift 100% Awesome and Never Pay for Picks Again


Signswise Portable Porfessional Flanger Pick Punch Guitar Pick Plectrum Maker Pick Cutter*Grey*

All of the standard 351 pick size punches on Amazon sell for about $20 to $25. The top 4 highest rated puches are shown here, but there are others to pick from (Haha – punny!)

Colored plastic strips are also available if you are doing projects that require specific colors or patterns.


Pick-A-Palooza Guitar Pick Pack Plastic Strips For Custom Guitar Pick Maker Make Your Own Guitar Picks Punch Custom Guitar Picks From Plastic Guitar Pick Sheets Use With Any Guitar Pick Cutter or Pick Puncher Guaranteed To Be 100% Fun!

You can buy guitar pick punches in a variety of shapes and sizes. They are usually more expensive than the standard size pick punch.


Pick Punch Jazz Shape Guitar Pick Making Tool


Pick Punch Large 346 Pick Making Tool


Pick Punch LLC Dorito Chip 355 Shape Pick Making Tool

It is possible to stamp a logo or band name on the picks. But, to keep the ink from rubbing off on your hand you must use Stazon ink  which comes in a variety of colors. StazOn is created to bond to plastic. Beware: StazOn will stain anything you accidentally spill it on. These pads sell for $7 to $8.50 on Amazon depending on the color. (Hint: you may be able to get them cheaper at a local craft store if you use their coupon. Look in the rubber stamp or scrap booking sections.)


Tsukineko Full-Size StazOn Multi-Surface Inkpad, Jet Black

StazOn is a very strong ink, so it requires a specific cleaner to get the rubber stamp clean after use. Do not make the mistake of thinking you can put away a dirty rubber stamp and use it again later. It sells for just under $7 on Amazon. (But you should check your local craft stores and their coupons for a better price.)
Tsukineko 2 Fluid Ounce Bottle StazOn All-Purpose Stamp Cleaner with Dauber-Top, Lightly Lemon Scented

To make sure the ink does not rub off on your hands it should be sealed with a product called Glazon sealer. It is a clear glaze formulated specifically for StazOn inks. DO NOT skip this step if you are selling picks as part of a band merchandise product – you could potentially ruin some of your fans clothing. It is available in gloss, satin and matte finished which sell for under $9 each.


Imagine Crafts GlazOn Layerant and Sealant for StazOn Inks, 0.5 Fluid Ounce, Original

 

A kit is available which includes a 351 style pick punch, small and large sanding blocks, a stazon ink pad, ink cleaner, brush set, and ink sealer plus and assortment of plastic strips. It sells for $69.40.


Pick Punch LLC Guitar Pick Making Craft Kit

In the end, a guitar pick punch is a fun little novelty item. A pick punch may save your band some money over time if you like to play with the picks. You will definitely have no excuse to ever run out of picks. The pick punch might make your band some money if you use them to make band merchandise. If there is someone creative in your band (or a band family member) who wants to give it a try, this certainly will not break the bank.  

Songswriters on Songwriting – New FREE Guide from Diskmakers

Songwriters on Songwriting

Diskmakers has a new FREE Guide available called Songwriters on Songwriting.

We can all improve the quality of our songwriting – this is a must have guide!

CLICK HERE to get your FREE copy today.