The “Sampler” Demo

How do you create a demo that you are happy with, that showcases your talent and is something someone will listen to in the first place?

One night while talking with a friend and fellow musician we got on the subject of demos. The question came up: How do you create a demo that you are happy with, that showcases your talent and is something someone will listen to in the first place?  Luckily there is a solution and with a little work in GarageBand and iTunes, you will be in business.

Let’s use this scenario: Sebastian is a Jazz Drummer and wants to make a demo he can give to people he meets at gigs, festivals-pretty much anywhere. Because of the nature of his genre, he has lots of recordings, mix of live and studio and feels that they are great but not perfect. Some tunes he’s on, some  he’s not or, some performances he’s on but a fellow member isn’t. What does he do? Record more and wait for the perfect take?

First thing to do is really take a look at what’s going on when people are listening to a demo:

1. What role does a demo really play in getting a gig? Not as much as one would think. Of course proficiency on your instrument does matter but there are other equally important questions the Band leader is thinking: Do I like this Person? Is he or she arrogant? Will they show up to rehearsals and gigs onetime? Are they willing learn the music and do what I ask? So really, a demo is just one small part of a bigger picture in getting the opportunity to audition, rehearse or get that first gig. The real showcase of talent takes place then.

2. Does someone really want to listen to 3 or 4 songs in their entirety let alone 1? No. With so much media available to watch and listen to, would you sit down and listen to 4 x 3:30 tracks in their entirety? Probably not.  Maybe we should consider less.

Now what can we do to with this? How about making a 1:30, or shorter, sample of 3 x 30 sec. clips of your best work! It’s short and sweet, you don’t have to wonder if the listener was able to hear that one part that sums up your talent.  One track with time code that says 1:30 makes a statement! It says, “I am not wasting your time and this is all you need to hear.”  Watch the video and let’s take a look at how to do this with iTunes and GarageBand.

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