With another year in the rearview mirror, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on some of the professional milestones and memories that resonated with me personally.
Cook Music School Teacher/Student Expansion
By the end of 2022 my small music school had expanded it’s team to 15 teachers. Now covering most instruments, and bringing in students throughout the year, it was great to see the benefits of the hard work of starting up this business. With the goal of having about 25 teachers in the future, so that all instruments are covered, I’m starting to see that this goal is very much within my grasp.
The teachers that make up our team are the backbone to this business, and so selecting teachers has been a very curated process, and I’m super thankful to have this team assembled as each member has their own area of specialization so that our school can offer the most refined lesson experience possible.
The next step is to find some more string and brass teachers, and work on more marketing initiatives to get more students lined up with our teachers. As one of my next goals, I’d like our school to have over 100 students, and we are currently already over 50, so let’s keep the momentum going!
Not-so-glamorous JTM Bug Fixes
The ‘Josh the Musician’ website was having some issues this year, and I found a great expert on Fiverr that’s been able to help me troubleshoot the issues that are outside my limited area of expertise within web design. From fixing ‘essential grid’ so that my music library could stay tiled and funky-fresh, to fixing the routing of my contact form, JTM is now feeling like it’s back in working order.
Now that the technical issues are out of the way, one of my 2023 goals for JTM is to have my music library fully fleshed out, with all categories (ie. Electronic, Piano, etc.) showing some examples of my work. I also eliminated the categories of ‘Electro Swing’ (it technically fits within electronic), 90’s (I don’t really write that much 90’s inspired music), and happy (I don’t cover other emotions as categories so this one felt out of place), so now my music library is feeling much more concise.
New Course Material
Last August I took the month “off” to work on new course material. Between experiencing the benefits of taking a break from teaching, while also creating 4 new courses, I can safely say that taking this month off every year will be part of my summer routine.
The 4 new courses were all based around harmony and chord progressions. 3 of the courses were on the theory behind chords and chord progressions, and the fourth course included over 50 popular chord progressions.
The aim is to one day have enough courses generating income that my rent/mortgage payment is covered passively through these courses, and already this year I’ve seen 2 months where half of my rent was covered. It’s proving to be fruitful so far, and I’m looking forward to creating more content this summer. Now that I’m up to 6 courses, the goal of having 50 (eventually!) has come to mind, so every August I’d like to do 3-4 new courses. It will take a long while to get to 50 courses…so let’s set 10 as the next goal, for now.
Atlanta ADXM Film Premier
This year I had the pleasure of scoring the short film ADXM, a film written by Brody Wellmaker. Between Brody, Kris Collins, Sean Evans, and Violet Sinclair, these three Tiktok/Instagram celebrities amass a total of over 100 million followers through their social media platforms. After seeing these actors in action, I’m sure they have a big future in the acting industry.
This film challenged me as a composer as the music needed to be delicate enough as to not give too much of the story away, but also set the tone of the film in a way that was relatively transparent but artistically accurate. Forget major, forget minor, this score sat more in the realm of intrigue, mystery, transcendence, while dipping into sorrow, lost love, and panic. Tapping into these emotions was certainly fun to explore. After meeting with Brody and his partner Violet, we had set arrangements for me to score a short film written and directed by Violet in the near future. Again, another movie that taps into a plethora of emotions. I’m excited to hone in on her artistic vision and help bring her film to life.
At this premier there was a second film playing, and right as I arrived at the event I had the pleasure of meeting a friendly couple, and it just so happened that one of them was the composer for the other film. After talking music, and lining up a quick meeting while I was still in the area, I got to see Evan Hodges shipping container studio and chat about film scoring and synthesis. He’s a super talented composer and I’d highly recommend checking out his work on Spotify.
I should mention, I got the ADXM scoring gig from simply reaching out to Brody on social media. The art of cold callin is not dead, and it’s something many new entrepreneurs should continue to work on as it’s a great skill to have. The art of connecting with other professionals is both nuanced and understated, and I’m very thankful I reached out as it created a great professional relationship with this crew of amazing actors/artists.
Arcadia.TV is a VR esports/videogame company based out of Montreal. Their head videographer Mike Onley had hired me on in the past to score his short film Coming Home. When I saw the work that the team was doing in the VR space, I had to reach out to him simply to congratulate him on the work that they were doing. As it turned out, they needed some music for a Pacman spinoff game that they were working on for Halloween, and of course I put my best foot forward creating a fun electronic compoisition for them. The composition helped me get on their radar for future projects, and now I’m actually in the process of helping create music for their Youtube videos, and possibly some in-game music as well.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been told that my electronic and hip hop compositions have a video game influence. When I think I’m writing a club banger, someone will often say to me “I can totally see this in a video game”. Eventually, I had to take the hint and understand that writing music for video games is likely an inate strength of mine that I should choose to nurture. This company will help me further hone that skill, and is one of the more exciting business partnerships that I have lined up for 2023.
The Mistletones Vol. II
To wrap up the year The Misteltones got back together and created our second album. This time, we had guest musicians Scott Bannister (trumpet) as well as The Misteltonettes, Kate and Gail Roberts (vocals). Between introducing these new members, and adding some fun new instrumentation like vibraphone and bells, this album was a great step forward in this bands’ evolution. While we may pair down this project in the future, as this time of year is often quite busy with other side-work, it’s always a pleasure working with these talented musicians. We do these albums to help spread holiday cheer, and this year I’m sure we accomplished that! Also, a big shoutout to Joe Cantin for the awesome cover art, yet again.
While so much more happened this year, I feel like these were some of the best professional highlights. Of course moments like going to Wonderland with my niece, curling with friends, special dates with my wife, purchasing a Russian chess set from Ukraine, and much more also come to mind, I often like to write these blogs as a way of tracking professional milestones, and setting professional goals for the year ahead. Speaking of which…
– 25 CMS teachers, 70+ CMS students
– 2 new short films, work towards a feature film
– In-game music for Arcadia.TV
– Continue to nurture my own business relationships with my private students
– Plan my honeymoon!
– Be there for family and grow closer to my niece
– See my wife finish school and help her adjust to a new career
– Continue to open doors that have otherwise felt shut
While there may be more blogs coming up in 2023, you can at least expect another wrap-up blog next year. You’ll hear from my before too long, until then!