TRANSCRIPTION: "Success Beyond The Score" Podcast, S.3, EP. 8

Here is the transcription of episode 8 of season 3 of the podcast "Success Beyond The Score". Happy reading!

- Watch the video of the episode here: YouTube

- Listen to the audio of the episode here: Kajabi


Hello! I'm so pleased you're here with me again. It's a lovely day. It's cooler than it's been for a couple of days, I've got to admit. I'm still sweating, but hey-ho, that's the life of a gigging musician, menopausal musician, you name it. 

Now, today I've really got a very interesting topic, and it might be one that you're already familiar with, but I think maybe I can put a twist on it. So: this is why you should video record your gigs. 

There are a lot of benefits for video recording gigs, and it's something I have a lot of experience with, but it wasn't something that came easy. Maybe you're the type of musician that's thinking: "What? Video recording my gig? Nooo, wait, I ain't doing that!" You know, because you don't like the way you look, or maybe you're just a bit uncertain about the way you sound. But I'm hoping that in this episode, you change your mind when you see the benefits it can bring to your music. 

Picture this situation. Do you rock up to a gig thinking: "I wonder if my outfit works." While you're performing, do you wonder: "How am I coming across to the audience? Are they getting me? Should I've done something different? Maybe this song isn't right for them." Or do you think: "Man, this audience is a tough crowd. I don't know what's going wrong here. How do I move them?" Or do you think: "I dropped a note. That was a bit sharp, a bit flat. Gosh, I wonder if they noticed."

The thing about us as musicians —you may agree, you may not— but the thing about us musicians is: we are very sensitive. We want to get it right. We want to please our audience. We want to have a good time. Of course, we want to get paid, and I've talked about getting paid already. If you've missed that, check back on that. Of course, we don't want to work for free. I've talked about that already, check back on a couple of episodes on that one. But, there is one area of ourselves that we have to work on, and we don't get right straight away. And that is, our perception of ourselves.

We are ‘skew whiff’, or ‘skew-whiff’. We are out of alignment. We are a little bit upside down when we think about how we come across to our audience and how we play. Most times, we believe we've got it wrong, and we've made loads of mistakes. Now, this is further decimated —maybe not decimated, made worse, I should say— by negative comments that we get, or body language we perceive an audience has of us.


Years ago, when I started out, I went on stage very nervous. I went on stage not certain about my music. And I guarantee I would find someone in the audience who was giving me that funny look. The look that says: "Why are you on stage? What are you doing now?" 

I realised I was projecting myself into those people. Of course, maybe they were right. Maybe that look meant I should get off-stage. Maybe. Just saying. Maybe. But my perception of myself was a little bit skew whiff. You know, when people say you're a bit flat, you're a bit sharp... I used to get, "you play like a man" (what's wrong with that?). "Oh, you play too loud, you play too quiet, you should move on stage, that sax player over there is really good, blah, blah, blah." And you think: "Are they saying I'm bad, are they saying I'm good, are they saying I'm comparative, I really don't know!" It gets you at a place where it can get a little bit dark, to say the least.

I eventually came across this idea of recording myself. I thought: "I better record myself to see if they've got a point or not." I tried it. I remember the days when mobile phones finally had video cameras on, and the lights would go on. You know, the torchlight would go on. And I'd be playing, and I'm like: "Whoa! What's going on here?" You know, and I'd drop a note. I'd miss a step, because it was like getting used to being filmed.

But, it's a good thing, in a way, when you get used to it. I know it feels uncomfortable, but I found it to be quite good nowadays. There are reasons why I do it. It's not just for checking if I'm playing right, but there are other reasons. And I'm going to tell you about those reasons. I'm going to give you one or two sort of tips, and also a couple of things which may be the downside to videoing. 

Before I do that, don't forget to like. If you like what I'm saying so far, don't forget to share the video with people you think may benefit, and of course, subscribe to my channel. I want to hit a thousand subscribers because it will unlock other opportunities with YouTube, which I want to do, and your help would be invaluable. If you're new here, don't forget I've got a couple of free gifts for just turning up: "25 Secrets Of The Successful Gigging Musician, Singer, Rapper and Spoken Word Artiste." Or, "10 Reasons Why They Will Pay You Before Gig Day." You can get those PDFs from my website, 


Okay, so: I'm going to give you some tips. I can't say I don't see a lot of musicians videoing, but maybe after I've given you these tips, it may be you.

Number one, which I've already explained, is this: If you want to change and improve your mindset, not just your music, your mindset... I just mentioned a few minutes ago, I had to kind of change the way I think, and how I was projecting. I use video to help me do that. It's a great way to check on those things. It's a great way to get better. It's a great way to improve yourself. 

Of course, you have to be objective. You've got to accept where it could be better. Let's look at it that way. Not where it's "bad." Let's get rid of that word. Not bad, strike that out of the dictionary. Not rubbish, strike that out of your vocabulary. Where it could be better. Where it could be improved. It's a lot more supportive of yourself. And also, where you've got it right. In fact, you should start with that one first. It's so easy to look at the things that we don't like. Let's look at what you've got right: Your smile. The shirt worked. The hairdo worked. The song went down really well. What went right? Start with that first, and then look at what could be improved. That's a benefit of video, because it does help you to see that and put it into perspective. Build on it, build on it, figure out ways of how you can improve that song, how you can do other things.

Number two. If you don't really enjoy watching yourself on video, do an audio recording. What I used to do is get my phone, [then] I would stick the audio recorder function on. Back in the day, I had a mini-disc player, and I'd put it just on the floor, near my microphone stand or on the music stand. Set it to record as I walk on stage. It records. And then a couple of days later, listen back. I wouldn't advise listening back on the day, because it's still in the sort of fervour and the vibe of the gig. But a couple of days later, when your ears are cleaned out from the music, you're sort of ready to listen or to watch.

So I would definitely go audio if you don't want to watch yourself. However, videoing is really great, just to see how you're interacting and get your body language. Remember that this footage is for you. It's to help you improve. No one else is going to see it, just you, so it doesn't have to be pristine, and it doesn't have to be great. It's just for you. 

Now, let me give you some reasons why video is great. As I've mentioned, you can evaluate yourself, you can get better. Tick! Number one. Brilliant. Number two, you could evaluate the set structure. I did a performance last week. I had to do three sets. [I] structured the songs —I wasn't quite sure how they would work, because I was doing some new stuff. So, I'm looking at BPM, looking at key changes, all that kind of stuff. But in the second set, I decided to do two songs. I decided to do "Beat It," sort of a Latin version of it, really, really nice. And then I also did another number, which was a little bit slower tempo. And I thought: "Oh yeah, great. It'll go down really well." But what I didn't realise is that I put them one after the other. So although it was like a Latin feel going into another sort of slower pop number, it was just a little bit slow because everything else was up-tempo apart from that. What I should have done is just put one of them in one set and one in the other. That would have been perfect. I realised when I was playing that it probably wasn't the best arrangement. But at that moment, I couldn't think about what I should have done. It was later that I could say: "Ah, yes, it did go down well, they did like it, but separation would have been good."

So it does help you to sort out your set arrangement, your set structure, and what works really well. And by doing that as well, there are certain songs I always put together. I always put on a set of three songs. I usually —for me, don't steal this— but I usually kick off with, like, "Summertime," George Gershwin, uptempo jazz. I would probably then go into maybe "Thinking Out Loud," and then maybe into "My Love." If I'm doing a wedding set, and it's a drinks' reception, I've got something I warm up on. It kicks, it brings attention, and I go into something slower, recognisable, and then my own track. And I've found that to work by just watching and listening back to my recording. It's almost like an out of body experience, I guess. You know, standing outside yourself, but that's what it does. It helps. 

Number three, you can check your outfit. Does it work? You know, I have certain outfits I wear and people go: "Wow, that's really, really good." I look at it and I go: "It's really, really good, but I just need that just taken in, or let in out, or something." So I'll get my seamstress to sort that out for me. 

Number four is really critical: Audience reaction. When you're on stage, you get applause, it goes great. They liked it. And like I said, you look at certain people and you think: "Oh, they don't like it, or they do like it, or that person danced and that person didn't dance." But when the video's in the right place and it picks up the audience, you can actually see their engagement, and it's something you miss when you're on stage.

Most musicians, we close our eyes at some point, got to get into the music, you know. Or we're just a bit scared, or just trying to remember the notes. I don't know. We close our eyes at some point. And so, we miss things. But then you're able to see the reaction of the audience when you watch. It's like when I did, um, oh, what's it called? "Bridge Over Troubled Waters." I did this a couple of years ago. It's on my YouTube channel. And I didn't really think the engagement was that brilliant. But when I watched that later, I went: "Oh, so that happened. Okay. Oh, ‘You Raised Me Up.’ Oh, that happened. Okay." And you feel good about yourself. You pat yourself on the back and you keep going.

Stage presence. Sometimes, you think that you're standing still in one place, or maybe you think that you should be moving. At least, by watching the video, you can see how you are responding. I did this gig last week, I told you, and I thought I was moving, but when I watched the video, I thought: "Actually, I should have exaggerated my movement a little bit more." And that wasn't to knock me down, that was just for me to remind myself [that] a little bit more energy and a little bit more would have worked. Track still went really well, don't get me wrong, but just for my personal thing. 

So, your stage presence. You can see your eye contact. Are you engaging with the crowd? Were you speaking quietly? Were you speaking loudly? When singing, were you projecting? Were the audience covering their ears? I don't know, you can just pick up on all these kinds of things. 

Um... Mistakes. I have a student who always says she makes mistakes, and I'm saying: "No, you didn't," and she's saying [that] yes, she did. Now, the thing about mistakes: as a performer, you know when you drop a note. You know it. You know when you play a note that you shouldn't have played. You know when you went for a note and it crashed. What you don't know is how it came across. Because I have listened and watched my videos to see that a note that I dropped worked really well. It's like: "Actually, I should always drop that note, because that shouldn't be there." Or I've played some additional notes and I go: "Ooh, that worked. I didn't think it would. Really good!" or I've crashed on the top note and I go: "I know that Dave Sanborn did that, so at least I'm in good company." Because he did, I heard it on a recording. You really get a good perspective on your mistakes, and you'll probably find [that] what you thought was a disaster is not a disaster. It was absolutely fine. 

Another good reason for videoing your music is if you're trying something new. When I'm doing my performances now, I'll say to whoever's with me: "Look, just video this song, I don't want the whole set. I just want this song because it's something new I've worked on. I just want to see how it's coming across." Of course, yeah, I can rehearse it. Yes, I can record it. But when you're with an audience, you get a different vibe, a different energy. So, assessing that new song, assessing your patter: what you said, did it work? Should you have used less words, more words? Given a bit more of a colourful example? It really helps when you're trying something new.

If you've got any questions, please put them in the chat. I should have said that before. Maybe I did. I have forgotten. Please put them in the chat.

Another reason, I think it's around number eight: website and social media footage. Where are you going to get the recording from? You can go into a studio and get someone to video and pay money and all that. But you know what? You can just grab some real, hardcore, live, real performances. And it's just great for your website. It's great for your fans. It's great for your social media, it's great for your lives, just to put it on there and people instantaneously know where you are and what you're doing, and go: "Ooh, that's really good!" 

And that's really, really great, because then that video goes into —number nine— potential customers, investors, partners [who] will see you in action. Now you're getting extra work. It's not just to make your website look pretty. It's not just for your fans. It's also about getting work and also getting paid work. You know, I talked about getting paid and if people can see you in action, they go: "Okay, worth their salt. I can pay that." So great for potential customers to see you in action. 

Many of my customers, when they ring me and they talk to me, I say: "I don't know if you've heard me," and they go: "Yeah, yeah, yeah, I checked you out." Because they've done that before they see me. And that's really good, because then I know they're coming to the table, they want me. That's great, I can move on the step in the negotiations and for the booking. 

Number 10. If your audience films you, it's excellent. Obviously, all the other 9 I've talked about [are when] you [are] filming yourself. But this is where your audience films you. I think that is excellent, because it's a great indicator that they're enjoying what you're doing. Of course, you can ask them to film you, but I don't, I just let it be spontaneous. Sometimes —a bit of vanity— I count how many cameras are coming out. And if there's quite a few, I'm happy. If there's not many, I thought: "Hmm, what can I do?" That's how I'm feeling. And other times I'm not bothered about the camera. I'm just getting on and doing what I'm doing, but let's be real, musicians: we're a little bit vain. We are. We wouldn't be doing our job if you didn't. You need that kind of vanity just to do what we do. Hey ho! 

But also, when your audience films you, it's good when someone says: "Oh, I see you are playing at such and such." And you go: "Yeah, how did you know?", "I saw a video." "Really? Where did you see that video?" Because then, those videos from your audience become foot soldiers for you and your ambassadors. So it's absolutely fantastic that that is happening. Of course, you might not like the clip they put up, but, you know, as they say, "beggars can't be choosers." Sorry, beggars. 


Now, listen, let me just check if there's any question in the chat. Alright. Hi, Green Pearl. "How can I record myself if I'm on my own?"

Yeah, it's a really, really good question. When I started out, it was really hard, because we didn't have the tech like we do now. I couldn't afford the tech then, to be more to the point. But, if you've got your phone... Obviously, you can splurge on the camera, but you don't have to, because it's for yourself. If you have a tripod, you could put your tripod just a little bit away from you. I have sometimes put it on the side of the stage, and I just press play as I'm coming on and take it off as I'm going. Just make sure it's in a place where it's safe, you know, [where] no one's going to trip or no one's going to take it, just somewhere near enough to you.

Let the audience know: "Hey, I'm recording myself today." You know, it could be like at arm's length, or put it on the side that you don't usually look to, you know, some of us look more to the left, more to the right, more straight on stage. So let's put it at that place and it's just capturing you, isn't it? You can do it that way. Like I said, if it's an audio record, even better. It's just on the floor. Your phone's on the floor, it's on the music stand. That's something you can do. 

Still on the same topic, you could bring a friend to the gig, depending on what kind of gig it is. Depending on your contract, you have whether you can bring people or not, but you could bring a friend to the gig and ask them to record. Sometimes I'm on my own, and I'm doing, say, a funeral, and there's people in the audience I know, and I've said: "Hey, any chance...?" And I trust them with my phone, because I'm unlocking my phone. Well, you don't have to, now, with the phone you can just swipe up and the video just rolls, so you don't have to unlock your phone. But I just get them to video record me. I've done that before. They may not be camera people, so it may not come out really, really good. Might be a bit wonky, but it's done, isn't it?

If the venue is recording, you could ask them for a copy of the footage. I've done that before. It's really good because, if they've got, like, the proper cameras —the bee's knees— and their camera people know what they're doing, now you've got some really good footage if you like it, for your website and for your socials, so that's kind of cool.

But yeah, tripods, or you can get phone holders that you can attach to your microphone stands and record you that way. Just make sure it's not just looking up your nose there. Yeah. So I hope that helps Green Pearl. 


Sun REI: "What if I want to edit my videos? How can I do that? And is it better to film tall or wide? Does it depend on the platform?"

Well, quite a few questions in that one. What if I want to edit my videos? Can I do that? Yes, you can edit your video if you video yourself and you see a great clip. I put one on my Instagram last week. It was a long clip, but I just shortened it. If you go into, like, the App Store, if you've got an Android phone, into the Apple Store, if you've got an iPhone, you'll probably find some video editing software that you can use on your phone. I've used a couple on my phone, but I find them a little bit finicky because I like a bit of space when I'm editing. I like to do that on my computer, but you can find some that will just trim the end, trim the beginning, or whatever you want to do. Some basic editing. 

A really good one that I've used on my iPad is iMovie. There's other software out there for the iPhone, but I found iMovie quite good for just some basic editing, and there are lots of videos on YouTube about how to use it. Generally, I use something like Filmora Wondershare. I like that one, but there are loads of other things. I'm not saying you must grab those, I'm not an ambassador for them and I don't get paid by them, but they're just the ones I use. Ask your friends. Ask people you know who do video editing what they use. Adobe has packages. There's a lot out there.

Um, is it better to film tall or wide? Tall or wide depends on the platform you're putting it on. So if you're putting it into YouTube, wide is better. Putting it on your website, wide is better. If you're going into Instagram, right now tall portraits are all the rage. That's cool. So it just depends on what platform you're on. Check out how they like the videos to be. And that will be your best guide. 


"Have you ever requested people not to film you?" That's Green Pearl. Ha ha ha ha.

No, I've not done the dramatic, "no pictures, no pictures, no videos, please, please, please." I haven't really done that. When I did my Not Just Jazz show at the Crescent Theatre. I think it was... one, two, and three I did at the Crescent Theatre... four. I think I did four at the Crescent Theatre as well, I can't remember now, and then five elsewhere. But, [at] the Crescent Theatre, they did ask that question: "Do you want people to film or not?" I wasn't that fussed about it, so what would happen there is that there would be an announcement at the beginning: "Please, do not film this performance." 

When I did my Not Just Jazz 5, it was at a church. I wasn't too fussed about that, for people to film. It was fine. But I guess what you have to think about with that one is if you're doing a performance where you think: "Okay, I want to film this" —like I did for my Not Just Jazz, I brought in my own camera team and did the footage— and you just want to have sole, exclusive ownership of the videoing, that's fine. If you're doing something new, and you don't want it going out into the internet, then you might say to people: "Please, do not record this." That's fine. 

I'm just trying to think of other reasons why you might want to not have it filmed. I mean, to be honest, whatever reason you have, if you don't want it filmed, you just announce it at the beginning and people generally are respectful of that. I think they are respectful of that. Of course, I tell you what, if you said, "don't film," and they started filming, you could just stop and say: "I'm really sorry, but I did ask for it not to be filmed," and then they'd be embarrassed. Depends on if you've got the guts to do that, though, innit? Because you did ask! But you could say it nicely, because you're not a, ha ha ha. But yeah, I've not done it because I don't mind being filmed, and I want the publicity through those people sending it to their friends and family, and just growing my fan base. It's really down to you, if you request that. 

Yeah, so those are the questions. I hope you're enjoying it and you're liking, subscribing and sharing this out to your friends and people who you think will really enjoy this. 


A couple of things before I wrap up. With videoing, there is a little bit of a downside to it. The downside is that you don't have any control where your videos go if someone else takes a video — [it's] the audience I'm referring to. You don't know where it goes. Hopefully, it goes in the right place. 

Another downside is: once it's on the internet, it's on the internet. Unless it's on your platform where you can delete it, it's just really, really hard to pull it down. Basically, when someone puts that footage up, it gets copied. This is what happens behind the scenes on the internet. It gets copied onto different servers and into different places. So that can be a downside. To solve that one, I would say, just make sure you have got everything right, the way you appear, and you just do your best, you go 100% every time. Chalk it up to experience. 

You can ask people to pull things down if it's actually on their platform. Actually, I think I did that once, years ago. I think somebody put something up I didn't particularly like, and I did ask them to remove it, and they did! Which was really, really nice. Um, but that's the downside of that. 

Nowadays, we're on a mobile phone sort of... I wouldn't say community, just, internationally, mobile phones are a rage, and it's difficult to stop people taking the phones out and just taking a picture. You know, you can be just walking upstairs and click, click: they're sending it off. It just happens. The way to stop that is just to ask for people not to do that.


So there you have it. I hope that the sort of 10 reasons I've given you for videoing your work is really helpful. Basically, use it and see it as an evaluative tool. That's really the angle I'm coming from. If you want something more professional, then of course you've got to spend for that. You've got to get people in to do that. That's not the aim. It's not the tip I'm on today, the professional side and how it can boost what you do for your marketing and for your publicity. 

I mean, on my YouTube channel, the majority of videos there I've shot, or my family have shot for me. The Not Just Jazz ones are professional shoots. And if anything has been done by anybody else that's professional, I've actually acknowledged it. So you'll see the variety of the textures, as I've gone through the ages with the quality of the phone I've used, and so on. But I didn't mind them going up, and I'm happy that they're there. And it's been very useful. It's growing my subscribers, like this one is today. I'm just shooting this from my iPad, using the back camera, and it's going alright, so it's really, really useful.

I'd recommend you just to sit on your emotions about how you feel about yourself, but use it to push you forward. And if you use it to push you forward, then your mindset is going to be changing. Your attitude to yourself is going to be changing. You're going to get more work. You're going to feel more positive about yourself. You're going to be happier on stage. The list goes on. It's a winner. It's a really, really good one. Definitely a great one. 

Great. So listen, again: Free gifts on my, "25 Secrets Of The Successful Gigging Musician, Singer, Rapper, Spoken Word Artiste," and "10 Reasons Why They'll Pay You Before Gig Day." I also have a store there, so there may be some courses that might be useful, like getting paid, getting bookings, stuff like that, that might be really, really useful for you. 

Leave me comments and questions below because I'm about to sign off and I will check back and answer them there. Please share, like, subscribe. I'll be back and I'll be looking at: "Stop! Do not record until you've done this." Now, this is about going into the studio and making music, not video recording, making music. And there are some things I've seen musicians doing that they should not do. I'm going to talk about that tomorrow to help you with your recording of yourself. I'm talking about, you know, selling music and stuff like that. Love to see you joining me again.

I'm Millicent Stephenson and I'll speak to you all soon.