That bedspread covered in musical notes is perfect for your musician girlfriend! Well … no.

bedspread with notes


It’s the season when the buying frenzy can make idiots of some of us. Here is a list of gifts NOT to give to the musician in your life. I’ve thoughtfully included gifts you DO want to get. You’re welcome. Continue reading

Posted in music, music lessons, Playing the guitar, Playing the ukulele | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Find a music teacher who isn’t just casing your house

music teacher 2Are you ready to pull that ukulele out of the closet and learn some chords? Is Junior bugging you for a guitar? I’ve taught music privately and in classrooms since 2000. If you want guitar, mandolin or ukulele lessons via Skype or in my studio in Ottawa, Canada, contact me. If you live elsewhere or if you want flute lessons – you do NOT want to hear me play flute — here’s how to find a music teacher. Continue reading

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The women’s music book that ate my brain

zombieNo, it’s not about zombies. I don’t write horror or science fiction. What I do write is non-fiction, usually about music. I’ve published a memoir and enough articles and blog posts to paper a three-bedroom split-level ranch house. The first draft of my second book, one about women’s music of the seventies and eighties, is currently lurching among publishers, looking for a home.




Continue reading

Posted in Women's Music, Writing | Tagged , | 8 Comments

House concerts rock. And folk.

noisy barMusicians, dump that noisy bar crowd and get a sober audience that listens and buys a lot of product. House concerts are the way to go. I’ve done them for thirty years – before it was fashionable, yes, I’m that hip – and I’ve got some advice for you. Continue reading

Posted in Folk music, music, Music business | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

The Song is More Important Than You: An Homage to Early Influences and Mentors, by Ruth Barrett

Ruth BarrettRuth Barrett is an award-winning dulcimer player, singer, and songwriter. I am so pleased and honored to present her guest post. More about her music here.   Continue reading

Posted in Folk music, music, Women's Music | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Musicians: ten phrases to avoid in your bio

once upon a time

I’ve been a music journalist for years and I’ve read enough lifeless bios to wallpaper Mar-a-Lago. Are potential fans, bookers, and media snoozing through your bio? Rewrite it and avoid these mistakes:

1. Susie Blahblah writes songs from the heart. Where else would they come from? Your right arm? Avoid the cliché and offer something more descriptive. Do you write engaging songs about being a single mom? Offer warm lyrics about the comfort of the road? Continue reading

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Musicians, what to do with those unsold CDs?

CD stacks

Back in the day when CDs were flying off the merch table at concerts, you thought you’d sell all those discs now gathering dust in your basement. Welcome to the modern age where even your grandpa is downloading music. Plastic is passé, right? Not so fast, buster. Read on for tips about what to do with those CDs. Continue reading

Posted in music, Music business | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments