Transforming Musicians into Songwriters

Collaboration Takes You Higher

Musical collaboration will get you to success faster than working on your own. Step outside your comfort zone to create great things...this story proves it!
Collaboration Takes You Higher

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Music is all about cooperating, collaborating… it’s not supposed to be a solitary activity!

Here is a collaboration story that got me thinking bigger!

It’s easy to believe you can make it on your own. You can start your home studio with a laptop and $400, then set up shop on the Internet and the world can hear you.

But collaboration… working with other songwriters and musicians gets you farther than you can go by yourself.

Step outside your comfort zone to do great things

“Don’t ever be afraid to do something you might think is too big!” Carol Coutts

I called Keith Mullins to thank him for the interview for 15 Million Views, where we dissected how a video he published went viral. We talked about his new video Fireflies (if watch it and like it, give Keith a comment or share) and to hear his latest plans and exploits. 

Keith told me about his collaboration with Carol Coutts, the music teacher at Basinview Drive Community School, Bedford Nova Scotia. 

Making music is more fun with friends, flock of seagulls, introverted songwriter

Keith Mullins Rocks Basinview

Keith released the Fireflies video a month ahead of Keith Mullins Rocks Basinview, his November 9th, 2016, CD release for The Heart of Everything (Keith Mullins, Press Release)

The release concert is supporting Kids Help Phone, through community awareness, students at the school, children in the community know a safe way to ask for help; and financially through the concert profits.

620 elementary students, different songs for each grade, will be singing with Keith. 

Tickets for two were sold out in advance (475 tickets for each show)

I love how Keith plans a CD release party… 

With a cast of 600+, 2 sold out shows of 475 tickets each, regional press and media interest, increasing community awareness of and financially contributing to Kids Help Line.

Keith Mullins Rocks Basinview is Keith and Carol’s third co-production… so I spoke with Carol Coutts to find out more.

How Their Musical Collaboration Began…

Carol, an elementary music teacher, uses contemporary local music in her classes, connecting her students to the music of their community and the local culture. Music made by live people. Kids realize that they can do it too! Music doesn’t come from the internet, people like them make it.

She met Keith when he was visiting her school with his drumming workshop. A year later, in a conversation Keith convinced (or dared, depending on who you ask) Carol to invite 10 songwriters to come to her school… 9 said Yes!

Carol was surprised by the interested and excited response. Keith organized and produced the concert. 

Carol emailed each songwriter to ask permission to use their song in her class. Then she requested a sing along track she could use for her students to practice with. Carol included the songs in her lesson plans throughout the term. Students learned the song, about the song, and performed in concert with the songwriter. 

“Don’t ever be afraid to do something you might think is too big!”

Carol Coutts

Carol Coutts with Joel Plaskett
Joel Plaskett posing with Carol Coutts, photo courtesy of Carol Coutts

Basinview Rocks, YouTube Channel

Purpose with Keith Mullins: 

When it Comes my Turn with David Myles 

Harbour Boys with Joel Plaskett

Nothing New Happens in your Comfort Zone, Border Collie sleeping, songwriting meme,songwriting advice that makes sense

How Their Collaboration Worked Out

Carol told me their key was advanced ticket sales. They had the expenses covered before the concert day. Tickets were in high demand, many students ordered 4+ tickets each for parents and grandparents. Sponsor packages ($500) for groups of preferred seats, covered most of the artist fees.

The venue at the school was free but they needed professional help with sound & lights. The production cost for sound & lights was $2000. Ground Sound provided gear, set up, ran the show, packed up. Carol told me “I didn’t worry about anything!”

Artist Fees: Performing musicians are skilled professionals, all songwriters & backing musicians were paid to perform in the concert. Fees were almost entirely covered by sponsor packages.

Publicity was primarily through FaceBook and they got (free) media attention for the unique story behind Keith & Carol’s collaboration and a whole school singing popular songs along with the songwriter. 

Profits from Basinview Rocks Again in 2015 provided $9000 for I.W.K. Mental Health, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

That’s a collaboration story that has me thinking bigger!

Leave a comment for other songwriters…

Where could collaboration take you?

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Trevor Dimoff

Trevor Dimoff

Trevor Dimoff has taught, played and written music professionally for the last 25+ years.

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