I was invited to a Creative Scotland celebratory event tonight the The Scottish Parliament in my role as Director of the Scots Music Group. Lau were entertaining us and there was also dance. I enjoyed it.
Pllayed hungarian fiddle last night, down at Out of Blue.
Fitted in a rehearsal for Thursday as I am performing on Thursday afternoon.
I m off to the Scottish Parliament next week as part of Creative Scotland's celebrations. I will be attending the event in my role as voluntary Director of the Scots Music Group - an inspirational organisation - and our related Inspire project. Lau will be performing. It will be odd to be there as a visitor rather than in my past life as civil servant. Looking forward to it.
Just back from the Durham gathering. Had a really great time there with great musicians.
Performed on Friday and Saturday. It was warm and sunny and there was a great programme of all the Folkworks groups.
Here I am playing with band mates and Catriona MacDonald (photo taken by Jane Harrison).
Late night sessions, dancing, singing, and playing. What could be better? A wonderful week.
Went to Stonehaven Folk Festival last weekend. I was camping - which was WET. Flood warnings out and where were we? Camping right by the river.
Anyway, I found myself on stage on Saturday playing a strathspey with Brian McNeil (one of the original members of the Battlefield Band). That was interesting.
Great performances from a range of bands and singers. First time I had seen Old Blind Dogs. Also, good late night sessions too.
The Canon's Gait session has been going from strength to strength. I have had some great evenings there recently. Ed Miller has joined us for two weeks - fantastic folk singer.
Also visited the Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh on Friday for a lovely afternoon's singing with another fantastic folk singer - Steve Byrne from Malinky.
He reminded me of the Kist o Riches site (which Steve worked on for three years). AMAZING resource for Scots song. music and storytelling. I have been delving into this from time to time.
Had a great night performing at the Queen's Hall on Wednesday. Rehearsals from 2 pm and then performances in the choir, Strings Group and Folk Band. It sounded great.
Music Theory exam tomorrow.
Good gig on Friday night. We played six sets at the Fused Edinburgh festival.
Then off down to the Borders gathering'. Spent the weekend there playing guitar and fiddle. Late night sessions, ceilidh, and a performance on Sunday. Hundreds of borders kids all playing brilliantly. Lovely to see.
Great event. Loved camping - cold in the tent though. Think it was -3 C overnight. Brrrrrr.
I blogged about playing with Innes Watson, John Somerville and Scots Music group friends. Tonight we recorded a couple of tunes. We didn't have much time, and these were strictly one shot only. Great tunes. Innes and John are fantastic musicians.
Both Innes and John Somerville play in The Treacherous Orchestra amongst other things. Check them out - they're brilliant.Can't thank them enough - had a great time. In due course there should be some video of this too which I'll put up sometime.
Here's a sound file of our arrangement of No More Cages. Its a great tune.
No More Cages by Adam Sutherland
And here is a sound clip of a really beautiful tune composed by the wonderful accordianist, John Somerville and played with him and Innes Watson by myself and SMG friends.
Mckechnie's Farewell by John Somerville
Twa Fields O Dreams
You might already know, from my previous blogs, that I am involved with the Scots Music Group (as I non Executive Director). We have just released a SMG Cup Final song (although to be fair we didn;t know that's hw it would turn out!).
Twa Fields O Dreams was written by Bobby from the Bethany Men's Group during the SMG Inspire project with help from Scott Murray. SMG's Inspire Project offered opportunities for those affected by homelessness and mental health issues to get involved in Scots music and song and the Bethany Christian Trust runs a group for men who are socially isolated to explore.
The song is about both of Edinburgh's football teams, and it was composed after sectarian chanting Bobby heard at a Hearts/Hibs game.
You can find all the info at www.twafields.com .
What is the best way to get up the rankings for a musicians website?
There are lots of things to consider. First, an attractive website is essential. What image do you want to create and what money do you have to try to achieve that image? Getting reasonable photos is a priority. Of course they are expensive but you can do quite a lot yourself with editing software.
There are lots of great hosts and templates out there now so you can set a website up cheaply and easily. Weebly is great!
I have chosen the image at the top of site to reflect, my passion for the fiddle, trad music and performing. I have combined this with a personal image so people know who I am!
What pages should you have? That will depend on what you want to do. My pages are designed with performance in mind (e.g. the News Page which gives details of upcoming gigs etc). I also have a hardanger page and links to my external website. A music teacher would have different pages.
I have loaded some sound files to give a flavour of the type of music I have been playing. You could do the same , or link to My Space, SoundCloud or similar.
Once you have your website, there are all sort of things that can make you site go up or down the rankings. You need to identify key words, you should write each page in a way that has quite a few of these (but not too many) or the search engines don't like it. Images should have Alt tags, Blogging frequently can help as can some links (but not all). Inward links to your site is a good thing.
You can also use things like Google ads. These can work really well, but it depends how niche your site is. I run a google ad for hardangers.com. You can set your search conditions and because hardanger violins is a very specific search works really well.
I wouldn't recommend a google ad for a search like "classical musician" though. Its note specific enough. But its great when it works.
Once you have merchandise to sell directly, a shopping cart would be great. But you can still sell through your site, through affiliate type arrangements (eg have an account with CafePress). I've tried this for another site I've run - its slow but with work it can provide a small additional income - especially once you've built a fan base.
Links to Twitter, Facebook are also useful and Weebly is about to introduce this into its new templates - great news! Can't wait.