Razzle Dazzle

This post has been a long time coming.

This past Saturday, Nick and I were in attendance at the Beck Center for the Arts Fundraiser Gala. During the fundraiser, Nick introduced and premiered a documentary entitled Razzle Dazzle. This film, which was shot between January and May of this year in partnership with St. Edward High School and Beck Center for the Arts, is a heartwarming look at the cast and crew of an annual variety show performed at Beck Center for the past 16 years. Mainly, this was a project put together by Nick and his film students, but heypoletti! had a small hand in the planning and producing of the film. 

I'm just proud we can tag along with this video and that we were able to a part of the process.

Shooting Razzle Dazzle gave Nick's students a story to tell that wasn't their own. The documentary project now remains in the curriculum for each year, so that his students can learn to become better and more empathetic artists.

Shooting Razzle Dazzle gave Nick's students a story to tell that wasn't their own. The documentary project now remains in the curriculum for each year, so that his students can learn to become better and more empathetic artists.

Nick gave a speech before the premiere, and in it he talked about the students of his all-male school. In the past, the students wrote a lot of films wherein the starring roles were characters not unlike themselves; they told stories they knew they could tell because they were stories these young men had lived. But Razzle Dazzle gave them an opportunity to step into the shoes of others, look through their perspective, and tell a fantastic story worth sharing because of its poignancy.

The "Razzle Dazzle" cast members are artists in their own right. The theater allows them to share a part of themselves which they might not otherwise get the chance to share.

The "Razzle Dazzle" cast members are artists in their own right. The theater allows them to share a part of themselves which they might not otherwise get the chance to share.

So without further ado, here's Razzle Dazzle:

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Meg Kuhar

An endlessly curious creator, Meg can usually be found making something, whether it’s a website, music, or a crochet project. She is the first Assistant Professor of Music Technology at Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory of Music, and lives in Cleveland Heights with her husband Nick, and their handful of a dog Petunia.

3 Steps to Effectively Grow Your Online Presence

*This post contains affiliate links.*

Ever feel like you're being asked to do too much? As a musician or artist, you may hate social media for taking up time that could be spent creating. It may seem like a necessary evil, but social media doesn't have to take up a huge portion of your free time in order to be effective. The idea is to work smarter, not harder. In this article, I'll share with you 3 easy steps for effectively growing your online presence, without wasting your time. Let's get started!

Fast-forward your social media accounts to a more thriving community!

Fast-forward your social media accounts to a more thriving community!

Step 1: Choose Wisely

You don't need to run 5 social media platforms to have an effective online presence. In fact, you can stick to just one or two. Focusing your energy on Facebook is a great place to start; whichever platform you choose, the key is to make sure it's used really well. If you're sticking with Facebook, check out my 3 Facebook Tips for Bands article, which will help you think about how to effectively craft a post that creates engagement. 

Another important tip for Facebook is to make sure you are inviting your friends to like your Page. Don't be shy--spread awareness for your creative project! Your target audience more than likely overlaps with your friend group, and it just may be that they aren't seeing what you post on your Page. Facebook's algorithms can be tricky to beat, so I always make sure to invite my friends to like my Facebook Page so that they know it exists. Facebook won't let you invite someone more than once, so you don't have to worry about spamming them; a gentle nudge in the direction of your Page might be all they need to click that Like button. The easiest way to invite your friends to like your page is to click on the "Invite Your Friends to Like This Page" link on the right-hand sidebar of your Facebook Page.

You can't spam your friends by inviting them to like your page -- Facebook only allows you to do this once per friend!

You can't spam your friends by inviting them to like your page -- Facebook only allows you to do this once per friend!

Step 2: Remember Your Purpose

It may sound like an existential piece of advice, but what I mean by "Remember Your Purpose" is to realize that your social media account has a point, and it's not just to post about what you're up to. Your social media posts should always lead your audience to your product. In other words, social media isn't just for sharing stories and information; it's for sharing stories and information that hopefully lead to sales of your music/art, or to devoted fans who will attend your shows or share your creative project with their friends

Is your post worth a re-share? If not, there's no point in posting it. Your social media posts should always invoke participation either through liking, commenting, or sharing, and they should always promote your work. What does that mean? It's the difference between these two posts:

What is the point of this post? What would cause someone to want to share this?

In the first example, I just updated a status that was neither informative nor interesting. Letting people know I am working on recording something is like telling them I own a business. Yes. We all know. WHY is this particular project one you'd want to hear about? 

The second example is embedded from my Facebook Page, and it includes a photo and several tags. I called out the group I am working with, and I tagged the products I used. You know what happened? The post reached 328 people, and Behringer even responded with a thank you! And that's without me sharing it on my own personal profile -- this was just a natural response from the heypoletti! Page.

Step 3: Curate and Create

Your social media pages don't need to just be 100% Created-By-You content. That is a lot to ask of anyone! In order to maintain your presence online, you probably need to share some content created by other people. And there's a bonus to that! In Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick's book The Art of Social Media, content curation is summarized as:

..."finding other people's good stuff, summarizing it, and sharing it. Curation is a win-win-win: you need content to share; blogs and websites need more traffic; and people need filters to reduce the flow of information."

Basically, if you're a local band -- then find some other local bands to support! Music isn't a competition. Everyone needs to hold each other up. By sharing content from other musicians or artists in town, you're becoming a resource to your fans on how to support local creators in general, and because of that they will visit your page more often. And if you share articles or posts that are interesting to your target audience, such as "10 Easy Ways to Optimize Your Music Practice" from NPR, you also become a go-to resource for related topics. Sharing content on the regular will keep you in the front of your followers' minds, so the next time they're looking for new music, they think of you first!

By the way, no matter what your platform is, The Art of Social Media is a very helpful resource! It's a book full of tips for using social media to its highest capacity. The tips are easy to follow, and you don't have to jump in to the deep end right away to start improving your work. You don't even have to read the whole book for it to be useful.

Social media doesn't have to be time consuming, difficult, and impossible to track. With a little planning, and with keeping your engagement goals in mind, you can grow your online presence to a community of devoted fans!

What is the most difficult aspect of managing your creative project's social media account?
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Meg Kuhar

An endlessly curious creator, Meg can usually be found making something, whether it’s a website, music, or a crochet project. She is the first Assistant Professor of Music Technology at Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory of Music, and lives in Cleveland Heights with her husband Nick, and their handful of a dog Petunia.

Sounds of Hope Project - Strings of Hope

One of my longest client partnerships is with the Sounds of Hope Project, a nonprofit organization whose goal is to "bring comfort and support through recorded music to those in need of spiritual and/or physical healing." I began working with them in 2011, when I would master and edit previously recorded tracks so that their compilation CDs would be more cohesive.

Recently, I was asked to record two ensembles at Royalton Music Center in North Royalton, Ohio. The recordings would be used for SOHP's upcoming CD, "Strings of Hope". I used the new Zoom H6, which is the latest upgrade from the Zoom H4n that I typically use, and the experience was wonderful. First of all... the H6 is amazing.

The clarity of the recordings straight from the device was astounding, but I'll share those details for another day. Just trust me. The H6 is worth the investment.

The ensemble you hear above was from the second day of recording; on the first day, I was treated to a relaxing musical massage from a lovely harp duo, with members Sarah Schwartz and Melanie L. Brown. Here's one of the pieces they performed:

I have to say, I love doing recordings like these. Who wouldn't?!

The second day of recording was definitely my favorite, though, because I can't help but love folk music. Clash of the Tartans, an all-female group who perform Celtic and American folk music, put on a personal concert for me and Mary Lou as they played through some of their repertoire. Enjoy this beautiful song, "Hope Renewed":

This project was one of those times where I am definitely going to be uploading my mixes onto my iPod so I can listen to them for fun. I absolutely loved working with these talented musicians, and look forward to more collaboration with the Sounds of Hope Project!

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Meg Kuhar

An endlessly curious creator, Meg can usually be found making something, whether it’s a website, music, or a crochet project. She is the first Assistant Professor of Music Technology at Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory of Music, and lives in Cleveland Heights with her husband Nick, and their handful of a dog Petunia.

Baldwin Wallace Community Music School: Participant Testimonials

This July, heypoletti! was asked to create videos highlighting the Summer Music Programs for the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory Community Music School. The school is undergoing a re-branding effort, so it is a crucial time for them to release new marketing material that shines a spotlight on their dynamic music programs. As a former Band Camp counselor, percussion instructor, and director of the Youth Percussion Ensemble for CMS, I was beyond thrilled to help share the stories of such an amazing school.

We spent two long summer days shooting rehearsals, sectionals, recitals, recreation time, and one-on-one interviews to put a comprehensive summary together of the Summer Music Programs. With four camps included--String Camp, Band Camp, Piano Camp, and Music Theatre Camp--we definitely had our hands full with content to capture. Nick (our Director of Videography) brilliantly edited the interviews of the campers, counselors, Leaders in Training, and faculty into several compelling videos, the first of which was just released this week.

We are so proud of this work, and of the continuing partnership we have with the Community Music School. Stay on the lookout for more videos to come. In the meantime, here are the testimonials of some of the campers who love spending part of their summer with CMS:

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Meg Kuhar

An endlessly curious creator, Meg can usually be found making something, whether it’s a website, music, or a crochet project. She is the first Assistant Professor of Music Technology at Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory of Music, and lives in Cleveland Heights with her husband Nick, and their handful of a dog Petunia.

"Ask An Alum" with Rob Kovacs

For my new freshman class of music majors at Baldwin Wallace Conservatory, I wanted to create a video series where I interview music alumni and ask them about what their lives are like. I think it's extremely important to provide examples of what life is like outside of music school, and how you can define that as you go and in your own unique way.

The first music school alumni I interviewed was Rob Kovacs, a pianist and songwriter who graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Music Theory, and works as a pianist, teacher, and accountability coach.

My favorite advice Rob gave to music majors--or even artists of all kinds--was this:

"Music is like a tree. There's so many different branches you can go off of, and a lot of them haven't been created yet. So a lot of times you're creating your own path. [...] Try anything. Where you're at now is not going to be where you end up [...] and if it is, then you've missed a lot."

Watch the video for more from Rob, and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don't miss any future episodes.

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Meg Kuhar

An endlessly curious creator, Meg can usually be found making something, whether it’s a website, music, or a crochet project. She is the first Assistant Professor of Music Technology at Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory of Music, and lives in Cleveland Heights with her husband Nick, and their handful of a dog Petunia.

hey! the podcast | Episode 006: Kristen Klehr of Produced by BEAR Discusses Self-Starter Burnout

Episode 006: Kristen Klehr of Produced by BEAR Discusses Self-Starter Burnout

In this episode, Kristen Klehr of Produced by BEAR discusses a common hurdle amongst creative entrepreneurs: stress, fatigue, burnout, and depression. We talk about how we recognize our triggers that cause stress, how to best prepare for burnout to happen so you can easily avoid it, and more. (You can find Kristen @kristenklehr and producedbybear.com.)

Kristen's Top 10 Tips for avoiding fatigue, burnout, and depression:

  1. Take care of yourself: eat healthy things, exercise regularly, hydrate often, get a good night's sleep.
  2. Take time to breathe, meditate, pay attention to your mental well being.
  3. Talk to others, consider regular therapy sessions.
  4. Know who you can go to within your circle that you can trust.
  5. Journal your thoughts out, allow yourself to create space in your mind for positive thoughts!
  6. Learn what makes you tick, what are triggers for you that send you spiraling?
  7. Work hard, do well, and know when you've done enough for one day. (This note is for those of you fellow ambitious/driven folks who don't know when to turn off the laptop when it's time for bed!)
  8. Create a few rockstar playlists. (You know, the ones that when it is time to go do work, you get totally in the zone and knock it out of the park because of your sweet beats.)
  9. Surround yourself with good hearted people who want to encourage you forward, simple as that.
  10. Be kind to yourself! Take assurance in yourself that you are doing okay!! You really are!! Love yoself.
What are some ways you try to avoid stress in your work life? Share your tips in the comments below.
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Meg Kuhar

An endlessly curious creator, Meg can usually be found making something, whether it’s a website, music, or a crochet project. She is the first Assistant Professor of Music Technology at Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory of Music, and lives in Cleveland Heights with her husband Nick, and their handful of a dog Petunia.

Greater Cleveland Aquarium's 2016 Red, White & Brew Music Festival

This Independence Day, we visited the Greater Cleveland Aquarium's Red, White & Brew Music Festival and caught a performance by one of our favorite local bands, These Knees. It was raining throughout the whole set, but that didn't stop us from capturing some footage to share!

We even made a little poncho contraption to keep our Canon dry.

After the set, we had to check out the Aquarium, and it certainly did not disappoint. We decided that jellyfish are nature's lava lamp.

Photo by Nick Kuhar

Photo by Nick Kuhar

Photo by Nick Kuhar

Photo by Nick Kuhar

Photo by Nick Kuhar

Photo by Nick Kuhar

Cloud Nothings will be performing at the end of the night, so head over to the Flats and check out the rest of the festival if you can. Thanks to Bruce Orendorf and the Greater Cleveland Aquarium for hosting us. We had a blast and can't wait until next year!

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Meg Kuhar

An endlessly curious creator, Meg can usually be found making something, whether it’s a website, music, or a crochet project. She is the first Assistant Professor of Music Technology at Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory of Music, and lives in Cleveland Heights with her husband Nick, and their handful of a dog Petunia.

hey! the podcast | Episode 005: Andy, Nick & Pat of The Commonwealth Discuss Branding

Episode 005: Andy, Nick & Pat of The Commonwealth Discuss Branding

Local Cleveland band The Commonwealth is comprised of brothers Andy and Nick Kuhar and longtime friend Patrick Burke. As a band that's been together for over a decade, The Commonwealth has always taken their brand seriously--but they also aren't afraid to be lighthearted in some ways, too. In this episode, we all discuss band branding, social media, and representing your work online as honestly as possible. http://www.thecommonwealth-music.comhttps://www.facebook.com/thecommonwealthband

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Meg Kuhar

An endlessly curious creator, Meg can usually be found making something, whether it’s a website, music, or a crochet project. She is the first Assistant Professor of Music Technology at Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory of Music, and lives in Cleveland Heights with her husband Nick, and their handful of a dog Petunia.

hey! the podcast | Episode 004: The Rules of Social Media Marketing

Episode 004: The Rules of Social Media Marketing

There are four basic rules to using Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter effectively. Before we dive too deep into social media marketing, I cover these Dos and Don'ts in a straightforward way. Get your game plan together for your social media presence!

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Meg Kuhar

An endlessly curious creator, Meg can usually be found making something, whether it’s a website, music, or a crochet project. She is the first Assistant Professor of Music Technology at Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory of Music, and lives in Cleveland Heights with her husband Nick, and their handful of a dog Petunia.

LIMITED TIME ONLY: $15 discounted t-shirts!

We're holding a limited-time-only sale on our brand new heypoletti! t-shirts!

With the $15 purchase of a t-shirt designed by Cleveland's own John Greiner (Shiner Comics), you're offering us the support we need to create more videos, podcast episodes, e-books, and educational content to help you learn more about being an creative entrepreneur in this digital world.

We must sell 20 of each shirt to print. That means if we don't reach that number, we can't print the shirts at the low price of $15.

Starting July 9th, shirt prices will go up to $20 each.

There are two shirt styles available:

Crew Neck - Unisex S-XXXXL

Crew Neck - Unisex S-XXXXL

Scoop Neck - Ladies XS-XXL

Scoop Neck - Ladies XS-XXL

Purchase your shirt by clicking here.

You only have through July 8th to get your shirts at a discounted price of $15! Buy one today and share with your friends! THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
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Meg Kuhar

An endlessly curious creator, Meg can usually be found making something, whether it’s a website, music, or a crochet project. She is the first Assistant Professor of Music Technology at Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory of Music, and lives in Cleveland Heights with her husband Nick, and their handful of a dog Petunia.