[Dixielandjazz] Re: Dixielandjazz Digest, Vol 8, Issue 17
DWSI at aol.com
DWSI at aol.com
Fri Aug 8 14:51:13 PDT 2003
In a message dated 8/8/2003 1:15:40 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
dixielandjazz-request at ml.islandnet.com writes:
> Subject: Fw: [Dixielandjazz] Re: Future of Dixieland - Redux (long, but
(Dan Spink adds a few thoughts)
I'm not sure I fully understand your specific goals (beyond promote
traditional jazz), your strategy or gameplan, but I would like to offer some
suggestions based upon my day job (managing advertising accounts) work experience.
1. Stop "perserving" and focus all your energy upon "promoting." Change your
mission statement accordingly. As soon as you put "preserve" and "traditional
jazz" in the same paragraph people assume you want to create a Preservation
Hall environment or a museum. Museums are to preserve the dead and gone. Live
performances are to promote and enjoy the present.
2. Above all, stress the fun, the excitement and sheer joy of traditional
Dixie, ragtime and the like. This is a difference even the dullest listener can
understand. Cool jazz, by comparison, is not happy, fun-loving music. Happy and
fun are what truly differentiate our music from the rest of "jazz." Build on
that foundation of difference. How can you make your performances even more
fun, or happier? Ask people to dance? Ask people to sing along? Be creative in
fun making. Attract the little kids by a contest playing Kazoos
maybe--whatever--to get their parents to attend with them.
3. Since your work is truly missionary by nature, identify your core group of
most highly motivated traditional jazz lovers. These are the people most
likely to help you and to donate their time and money to make this kind of music
happen. Make them feel important. Give them recognition with a special ID, or
group name. Let them vote on decisions.
4. People are most interested in other people--not in abstract ideas or
movements. Try to identify other people who are newsworthy in a way that promotes
interest in traditional jazz; invite them to speak, play or just show up, even
if they are over 300 miles away. Pay to bring them to you. Let them be the
subtle force that intriques, based upon who they are, what they have done (in
traditional jazz) or what they can do now. The younger the better. I recall being
knocked out one month ago by meeting a Dixieland trumpet player who was 17.
And he was damned good. There are people like that but you have to find them.
Use these people to stimulate interest in whatever performances you want to
5. Make friends with some editors on a local newspaper, and/or broadcast
announcers on local stations. Let them suggest ways to obtain what we call "added
value" in the ad business; i.e., using their promotions, programs or other
activities to promote your interests at the same time. Remember, they have their
own goals which are not to preserve your jazz interests, per se. But you can
find some common ground if you cultivate them and get to understand what would
appeal to them, and thelp them out.
6. Find an "authority" you can borrow or call upon in traditional jazz. A
name that musicians would recognize and respect, if possible. Get them involved
anyway you can, even if it's only sending a letter that can be printed in a
local newspaper, supporting your efforts. Have this "authority" show up, if
possible to answer questions at a performance. Get him or her an interview on a
local talk show. I was amazed to discover that a salesman in the clothing store I
worked in while in college happened to have been a drummer in the Red Nickols
band. His failing eyesight forced him to quite and get a sales job. Imagine
what he might have talked about if asked.
7. Create a regular event to attract an audience and promote the hell out of
it. Think of the Ragtime Festival in Joplin, as only one example. Make sure
you have quality performers perform, get local press coverage, make it fun,
exciting and have something for everyone. Think Disney, if you will. Your unique
annual event, (e.g., the annual Trad Jazz Challenge), could be held outdoors
with all kinds of food and even beer and sporting your own T-shirts.
To put it together simply, Margaret, stop thinking preserving, and start
promoting it for the fun of it. Profit will come. I hope this is helpful. Good
luck from the bottom of my advertising heart.
Dan (piano fingers) Spink
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