Join me in making this your best year yet

As we all bid good riddance to 2020, I look forward to 2021 and the success I can help you and others achieve – in playing or in something else.

It’s been exactly one year since I left corporate life in order to pursue a career building an organization and community that will help musicians reach their dreams. Despite two fires that nearly burned down my home last year and a pandemic that has shut down the music performance industry, I’ve created a lot of cool things and massively increased my friends and connections. Along the way, I’ve learned a hell of a lot.

I’m obsessed with creating tools for helping musicians play better and live better. I’ve created over 100 hours of interviews in the Jazz Master Summit, published several books and ebooks, and released a comprehensive online course on improvisation. Putting all this together has provided me with a pretty intense jazz education. Want to do something better? Teach it to someone!

So what is in store for 2021?

I’m continuing to create new products and conduct new interviews. The great trumpet player and teacher Bobby Shew did an interview with me last week which I am uploading to Vimeo as I write this. Bobby and I spoke for over three hours on two separate occasions. I’ll have lots of excerpts for brass players as well as other musicians who can learn from Bobby’s sage advice on practicing and playing brass and jazz better.

The Lineage of Modern Jazz Piano, the eBook Richie and I wrote last year, was just published as an audiobook. And Dave Liebman and I are recording The Art of Skill for an audiobook edition as well.

I will soon release a course on money that is specifically written for musicians. The course will help you understand better how to think about money, in terms of earning it, saving it, and investing it.

The whole connection between money and music is a fascinating topic. In fact, Richie and I are in the middle of recording and transcribing conversations about jazz and commercial success. Richie and I are aligned on much of the topic, but also disagree on aspects of it which will make for an interesting end result.

A course on business and marketing for musicians is also on the slate for later this year. I have 40 years of sales and marketing communications experience in helping build billion-dollar companies which I want to share with musicians. Skills like effective guilt-free selling, mutually beneficial negotiating, effective use of one’s web site, email marketing, getting more stuff done, and of course, how to make money, are all topics musicians should master in 2021 and beyond.

The friends I’m making through Music Savvy help me understand players’ desires and challenges: from masters who want to better market their knowledge to amateur players who just want to feel good standing up and expressing themselves improvising.

Give me your ideas on how I can help you achieve your musical goals for 2021. If you have ever reached out to me, you know that I am not short of thoughts on a wide variety of topics to which I quickly respond.

Honestly, it also helps me get clear on books, articles, videos, and events I can create that will benefit a worldwide audience. That’s one thing I’ll talk about in my business course: that the sign of a worthwhile activity is that it is a win for more than just you – the more the better.

So while the residue of 2020 hasn’t completely evaporated, this new year gives us all a fresh start and perspective on creating our success in the months to come.

Join me in making this your best year yet.


9 thoughts on “Join me in making this your best year yet”

  1. Wow! You have accomplished an enormous amount in a year! We first connected when Steve Neff promoted your work. I have appreciated all of your recordings and have shared many with my Jazz Band students (trombone and otherwise) as intonation lessons as well as examples of beautiful improvising. (Well, BEFORE March 2020.)

    NOW, (since Spring 2020) thanks for all you have given and continue to give to the community. I think what will continue to help me is to continue hearing from you and your positive forward-moving energy. I did quit playing for a while in the spring because I was so bummed out but your continued emails, communication, playing examples, outreach and Summits helped me get out of my funk and just play. I can’t really say that I have refocused my musical goals. Though I purchased both of your Summits I have only watched small portions of them. Just having them available to me when I am ready to watch though gives me hope that I will get back at it with focus and determination again in the future.

    Teaching music in a school is now less than enjoyable to say the least. At this point, I am working on putting some financial things in place just in case. I have considered developing an online course of some sort but so has everyone else. Not sure what my niche would be….

    Thanks for continuing to be there!

  2. Michael – I have been following and reading many of your books, videos, etc. I find them interesting particularly because a few of your authors are among my oldest and dearest friends – Dave Liebman and Richie Beirach in particular. Also Bobby Shew who I see has recently done something with you.
    I don’t know if my suggestion will interest you as it is a personal matter that I have been effected by since 2014, but I know that some musicians suffer from this condition as well, and there is little or no material available on this subject – heraing loss. Very briefly, I lost all hearing in my right ear in 2014 due to a viral infection in my inner ear. Aside from the obvious matter of not hearing in stereo,- which makes it impossible to identify where sounds are coming from and trouble sorting out the definition among the different instruments – volume issues, as well as resulting tinnitus and other aural side effects created by the damaged inner ear, equlibrium problems, etc. There is also the emotional effects of feeling isolated and detached from the enviornment.
    It is possible to play of course but it necessitates significnt accomodation to this condition.
    I know that this problem effects others who have learned to live with it – Chris Potter, Marcus Miller……
    Hearing aids can help but most all audiologists are totally unequipped to deal with musicians’ particular hearing priorities and needs for performing music.
    Finding any help and information on this subject is almost impossible.
    I know that many musicians encounter this problem eventually (especially of my generation – I’ll turn 75 tomorrow) so perhaps it’s something to look into.
    Don’t know if you want to go there – just a suggestion.
    Keep up your great work – it is unique and valuable in terms of a musician’s reality.
    check out my website

  3. Avatar
    Lorraine Caposole

    Joined, thank you
    Just finishing up the book by you and Dave. Great format and q&a. That’s a great formula you might use with others to impart such wisdom.
    Happy New Year and best wishes,
    Lorraine Caposole

  4. Mike 😊🎷

    Happy New year to you snd your family and congrats because you have accomplish so much real challenges we are facing

    My musical goals for 2021 is so much be much improve on improvisation but basic scale and be be able to practice in melodic rhythms

    I love the network you have created: the interviews and ton great literature that support of us who aspire to improve to do just that even it’s small increments

    I enjoyed your article thank you I’m shedding on long tones and scales

    David Benjamin

  5. Very into this, Mike thanks for all you’ve created here. This is Kelly Fontes, jazz pianist/keyboardist. Richie is one of my biggest heroes and I really enjoyed your very informative interview as well as many of the other ones; Cables, Carter, Lieb and Lovano etc. Very interested in learning about the marketing and financial side of the industry as well. Hope to stay in touch, learn and be involved however I can.

  6. Mike, I always find your enthusiasm and positive outlook refreshing. You always seem to bring a fresh perspective.

  7. Hi Mike. I’ve had a website for years, which was built by someone else, and I’ve never figured out how to make it work for me. The person who built it had his own ideas and I couldn’t make him understand what I wanted – partly my fault because I didn’t know myself, other than in very general terms. We are no longer on speaking terms. So I’m left with a website I find very hard to update or alter so it will do what I want, and I just avoid it.

    I would like to put up band videos where the sound has been recorded separately (I have to do video and sound myself, so they are static camera and recorder positions), and I want to substitute the digital sound for the camera audio (in synch) but I can’t find any simple software that will allow me to do that, plus chop up the video into tunes and put titles on them. They’re all too complicated and I can’t understand them. I have wasted huge amounts of time and got nowhere.

    I’d love some help with this, please.

  8. Avatar
    Robert Campanini

    I am currently going through a low motivation phase – just marking time, concentrating mostly on sound quality on my trumpet, keeping lips and fingers practised. FInding classical pieces more rewarding at present. Keeping jazz on back burner.
    Good wishes to all in 2021.

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Michael Lake

Michael Lake

Trombonist, author, composer, marketer

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This is just a fake book example for the type of website I can build for you. Just trying to use a little humor here!