I'm not so good at self-promotion. Neither are most musicians. The skills needed to create are not the same as the skills needed to sell oneself. Lots of musicians just don't have both skillsets in equal measure. That's also an observation.
Writing music is a lot of fun. It can also be tedious, especially if you're me. I don't own, or know how to use, music-writing software that might save me time and make it easier for me to send manuscript to companies for potential publishing. I still write out all of songs by hand, on manuscript paper. It takes forever (because neatness counts here at Rancho Beth). I own a nine-year-old computer whose functions I still don't know how to use most of (it's true. I still haven't figured out how to use the toolbar in Word). I live a pretty simple and mostly localized life, using my bicycle or public transit to get most places I need to go. On the rare occasions that my music has enabled me to travel, I have had to ask for help -- with airfare, with transportation in the destination city, and with homestay hospitality as cheap and as close to the venue as possible. Because that's how I roll. When I visit Kansas for the second summer this June, I'll have arranged to ship one of my bicycles with me so I have transportation that fits, since I'll be there a whole month. It's not the typical approach for a traveling Jewish musician, but it seems to be what's working for me so far.
I know that by choosing to stick to the niche of contemporary Jewish music -- while living in a not-so-Jewish part of the world -- I am working in relative isolation, even with the magic of the internet. The internet has enabled me to meet others doing the same work, but without closer proximity to a larger Jewish center I am one of the hundreds of Jewish artists whose music gets heard by a relatively small -- okay, miniscule -- audience.
For now I am mostly pretty okay with that. I like my simple life and the flexibility it affords me -- to write and play music, to teach and to enjoy living in the coolest city in America.
Of course, I have dreams of reaching a larger audience -- any musician who says s/he doesn't is probably lying -- but these dreams are tempered by the parameters of the smaller, simpler life I've set up for myself. I do not know how to bridge the gap between the way I'm doing this -- making music by hand in a small Jewish community -- and having some kind of larger "breakout" experience that enables me to get my music out to a much larger audience of people.
And so I keep at it -- writing songs, trying to figure out how to sell the CD I just made without being pathetic or annoying about it, and serving my local Jewish community with my music as much as I can. If you're reading this and you have any good ideas that don't cost an arm and a leg to implement please feel free to let me know.
And -- at the risk of being annoying -- if you've got my new CD "Ten Miles" and would like to leave a review over at CDBaby, I'd greatly appreciate it. Thanks!