2019 kicks in strong & this time I’m reviewing a unique website from the folks at PickUp Music. According to their website:
PickUp Music is a community of musicians, creators and music-lovers. We’re a group of musicians who are building a stronger community than what’s possible on Instagram. It’s early days but together we’re going to create a place where a new generation of musicians can connect and learn from each other.
PickUp was founded by Sam Blakelock, a professional jazz guitarist from New Zealand who now lives in New York. The community started as an Instagram page and has since expanded to over 400k followers across three pages: @PickUp @pickupjazz @PickUpBeats.
The site is an interesting extension of the pickupjazz Instagram page as it provides education and community to a new generation of musicians. After exploring (and being active on the site) for the past month, I will share some highlights of the site for anyone who is considering of joining the site.
There are 3 main parts in terms of the core content: Lessons, Artist Toolkit and the Forum section. In addition to that, there is also a shows page (as they organise PickUp shows in New York City and Los Angeles) & a shop page with related merchandise.
The Lessons section is divided into 4 parts:
- Master Classes
- Song Squad
- 5 Minute Lessons
- Jam Tracks
The Master Classes feature specific lessons from folks like TJ Whitelaw, Emily Browning, Ben Eunson, Nicholas Veinoglou, Shane Barnes, Rotem Sivan and Sam Blakelock. Currently there are 8 master classes available with more slated to be added. My favorite ones that I have checked out are An Introduction to Neo-Soul, Jazz, and R&B Guitar by Nicholas Veinoglou and Modern Jazz Guitar by Ben Eunson. With Ben’s master class, he even included more advanced tips for experienced players to try beyond the core material. All of the Master Classes are in bite sized Instagram friendly video lengths so you can definitely log in, learn a lick or concept and apply it immediately to your next practice session.
Song Squad contains songs for beginner, intermediate and advanced guitarists to cover and tag on Instagram for a possible feature using the hashtag #songsquad. You get a performance video, TAB in PDF, GPX and XML file formats as well as backing tracks when available.
The 5 Minute Lessons are exactly what they are with bite sized lessons for a quick level up.
The Jam Tracks are really cool with a growing selection of tracks including Jam Tracks Vol 1. produced by Chris Mazuera which has backing tracks versions with separate no bass, keys and drums versions. This is really cool as it let’s bassists, keyboardists and drummers use the respective tracks for their own takes on these jams.
The Artist Toolkit and Forum are the two sections of the site that really gives it a personality. In the Artist Toolkit, members get to discover Instagram growth centric topics like:
- Instagram checklist (tips to get a feature)
- Instagram best practices for musicians
- How to film a good Instagram video
- How to grow your Instagram
This part of the site is what differentiates pickupmusic to other existing guitar lesson membership sites. This is kind of a hybrid of websites teaching social media best practices, music business/career membership sites. The tips are very direct to the point and very actionable. Since the tips are coming from people who have achieved success on Instagram, I quickly realised that these tips work because they are tested (I tried some of the tips immediately and they really helped!).
The forum section is still new but has a positive vibe to the community. Musicians from different background (and places worldwide) ask questions and share their experiences, with a slant to the Instagram/online music presence element.
Pros: Unique website coming from an angle that is unlike any other music education website. This site is for anyone interested in developing a career that maximises social media and the internet, embracing what is currently available. If you are looking to build an audience on Instagram and like the musicians who have built their community & fanbase there, this site is definitely worth exploring. The lesson material is more targeted for beginners and intermediate guitarists (with some additional suggestions for more advanced players)
Cons: The videos tend to be shorter (like Instagram I guess) so if you’re looking for hour long videos teaching geeky jazz guitar stuff, this may not be the best fit for you.
TLDR: Are you a musician who wants to develop an online presence (that works), would like to learn from musicians who have done so (practitioners) and join an active supportive and positive community, check out this site. At USD$6 a month, it is at an accessible price point that gives a lot of value.
I received a 1-month complimentary access to the website from founder Sam Blakelock. Thank you Sam!
Click here to check out the PickupMusic website (affiliate link)
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