I’ve seen plenty of books and blogs with marketing advice for musicians. However, until the past few months, I had never thought of asking local high school students for help, and probably never would have, had not Jason Hamann, a teacher I met while substitute teaching, told me about a unique marketing class at Bettendorf High School. The class is taught by Mark Pisel, and rather than putting a marketing textbook in front of his students and testing them on it, Mr. Pisel decided his students might benefit more by working on real-world marketing projects. Recently the students in this class have created a website and developed a branding strategy for a local track club. They also shot, edited, and promoted a music video for a Chicago-based band.
Last month, when I first met with the students, I was surprised to find them well-prepared with detailed questions about my goals for my music, and how they could help me accomplish them. The way the timing worked out, I had just booked the CD release show at the Redstone Room, and we decided the goal of the marketing project would be to get as many people as possible to come out to the show.
The students started by researching music marketing, and coming up with a marketing stragegy, which they uploaded to a blog and gave me access to so I could see the results of their research at a glance.
One of the results of their research was that the target audience for my music are people ages 15-19 and 30+. They found that these 30-somethings are into original music, but also enjoy the nostalgia of hearing and seeing new versions of songs that were popular when they were teenagers. Based on this, they advised me to do some youtube covers of some Matchbox 20 and Third Eye Blind songs, and post them on the facebook event page, which I thought good advice, and have in the works.
One students started a Twitter fan page for my music (#lkmusicfan)
And most recently, the students arranged an in-person interview for me to do with a writer from the Quad City Times about the Redstone Room CD release show.
I was very impressed by the ingenuity and competency of the class, and even though the school year is almost over, some of the students expressed a desire to donate time outside of class to help promote the show! You may see us passing out flyers in Vanderveer park sometime this week.
Kudos to Mr. Pisel for thinking outside the box and giving his students the chance to have real-world educational experiences. And I want to thank all the students for their help. Much appreciated!