Sampson napping on his favorite rug

Sampson napping on  his favorite rug
happy, happy, happy

Saturday, September 26, 2015

One Important Way To Sustain Efforts Of Talented Musicians of Knoxville!

Most of us Knoxville musicians have found, over the years, that this area is challenging and competitive. The names of bands and soloists come, stay, and go after a while. The number of venues with live music declined when the economy sank several years ago. I can remember walking up to the doors of venues I played just weeks before, and finding the outer doors closed and locked with padlocked chains.  At that time, some music venues installed multiple television sets and became sports bars, others went with karaoke. Yet, some new venues opened and most thankfully, live musicians persist (new ones hit the scene and some of older ones are still around). The area also still has several music stores.  

Occasionally I make the rounds of the music stores and put up promo flyers for my adult piano lessons and my favorite professional recording studio. This morning I had time to go to two of those music outlets. One is Open Chord, where a lady behind the counter cheerfully handed me a spool of scotch tape so I could put my flyers in the front entry windows. I did suggest to her that for the open mic at which they have some resident instruments provided, it would be wonderful if they could also include a keyboard so that keyboardists like me wouldn't need to carry in a full keyboard, stand, and mic. OC is a very pleasant venue and all-around music-oriented center ... and I applaud their sincere efforts on behalf of musicians.

My gut feelings are what prompted me to write this post, because of a situation I found at Guitar Center today.  Now, for months -- maybe a year or so -- GC has removed all musicians' posting areas from the front of the store.  Granted, these needed occasional neatening up and culling (not a big deal).  Most posters were neat. The removal of these posting boards was, IMO, not the right thing to do to musicians, who are the very people that spend their money at the store.  To sort of throw us a crumb, GC set up a small bulletin board way, way in the very back of the store next to the two restrooms and the employees-only areas.  So in order to see a posting for musicians or musical services, a person visiting the store would need to use the restroom (and would probably need directions on how to find it).  I felt a sense of abandonment and that the arrangement was insulting to musicians … but I posted there anyway. Today I walked back to that restroom area to find that the musician's small bulletin board was covered up with boxes of inventory that could easily have been stacked elsewhere.  The only two visible postings were partially ripped down; probably the rest were behind the stacked boxes on the floor.  I tidied up the couple of things that were still readable … a bassist looking for a band or maybe it was the other way around … it was a neatly hand-printed posting, so I found a place where I could tack it up and did the same for a small notice put up by a guitar teacher. Then I shifted a portable inventory sign to the side of the stack so there would be a small space for the studio flyer I had brought to post. I left the store in dismay, wondering how a music store that used to have a stage and be very pro-musician could want to prevent musicians from posting their upcoming gigs, need for players, and other important services for musicians and aspiring musicians.

The loss of Broadway Sound has had far-reaching effects; for one thing, their huge, friendly musicians' board was a wonderful place to connect.  And their personnel were knowledgeable and helpful. Yes, we have Craig's List and places for paid notices but they can't take the place of a music posting on a friendly local bulletin board.

Life needs music and musicians.  Musicians need audiences, contacts, and music services which they can access via  BULLETIN BOARDS.  So my request to area music stores and outlets is to please happily provide this courtesy to the musicians who support your businesses and brighten up the world with their talents.