Music – professional musicianship – Professional Project





My Role as A Member Of ‘Back Pocket’, The Various Activities I Undertook, And The Successes/Failures Along The Way.


Module: Professional Project PM611



Candidate Number: 1019464



Date: 22nd May, 2017.









This project mainly focuses on the creation of a rhythm section duo which can be booked for gigs and section work. A rhythm section duo (Bass and Drums) known as ‘Back Pocket’ that I created with a fellow student (Derice Lamb) will be extensively discussed in this paper. The paper brings out the main activities carried out by Back Pocketin terms of music, the different artistes that the brand interacted with and some of the events/gigs it performed and my role. Through looking at existing literature, the paper outlines and discusses some of the rhythm sections that have been existent and how they carried out their activities. Also, it looks at the experiences of these rhythm sections and how they can be made into professional music carriers. Also, the paper tries to give guidance on how these rhythm duos are created, managed, and promoted for them to receive recognition from artists and artist managers to get gigs and session works. Through looking my role in the Back Pocketbrand, this paper tries to bring out the experiences of rhythm sections in the music industry through an analysis of data collected from existing literature, one-on-one and online interviews.








Table of Contents

Abstract 2

  1. Introduction. 4
  2. Literature Review.. 6

2.1.       Social Media. 6

2.2.       Marketing. 7

2.2.1.        Levels of Marketing in Music. 7

2.2.2.        Discovery of Music. 7

2.2.3.        Internet-Based Marketing Strategies. 9

2.2.4.        Branding. 9

2.3.       Project management 9

  1. Project activity. 11
  2. Project outcomes. 15
  3. Conclusions and recommendations. 15
  4. References. 17
  5. Appendices. 18

7.1.       Appendix 1: Standard Contract for Working With Back Pocket 18

Standard Contract for Working With Back Pocket 18

Details. 18

Live Performance. 18

Rehearsals. 19







1.      Introduction

In music, a rhythm section refers to a group of musicians within a band who perform instrumental music to provide a beat for the lead vocalist.  In most musical bands, the rhythm section is composed of a guitar, drums, electric bass and a keyboard or piano. The players of these musical instruments play a great role because they are the ones who define and dictate the rhythm and harmonic components of the music being played which on the other hand brings out the style and unique attributes of the composition or song. In the case of the Back Pocket band, there are two musical instruments, drums played by me and the bass played by my fellow student, Derice Lamb.

The formation of this rhythm section duo was mainly inspired by our love for funky basslines and groove with bands such as Tower of Power, Parliament, Earth Wind & Fire among others. Further inspiration for this project also comes from legendary groups for instance The Funk Brother and the Muscle Shoals. Also, we have played for many years together at BIMM and as such we have a better understanding on the working of our main instruments. Rhythm systems have been there over the years with the only variance being in the instruments constituting them which varied depending on the era and style they were being played. For instance, in the 1940s, most jazz rhythm sections were characterised by small drum sets, an upright bass, and a piano. Rhythm sections of recent-day Afro-Cuban jazz mainly have drum sets and hand percussions.

Because of this variance in the instruments used for achieving certain beats and rhythms, there is need for musicians to consider rhythm sections with regards to the role of instruments. In addition, musicians should also realize and appreciate that a single musical instrument can be used to achieve multiple roles in a band. What this means is that a musical band might have just a guitar but it can be used to play lead guitar parts and rhythm guitar parts. Another important factor in playing instruments in a live band is everyone playing a musical instrument to know the sequence of playing them in terms of timing and intonation inter alia. For instance, in the case of Back Pocket, I start playing the drums before my fellow bandmate on the bass starts playing it. However, it is important to note that the drummer in a rhythm sequence can play whatever they feel like but the musician on the bass must follow the drummer. This creates smooth cohesion of the beats and rhythm at the beginning that is maintained throughout a musical performance.















2.      Literature Review

Music just like any other careers involves different aspects which include marketing, management, and the aspect of monetization for it to be sustainable. These go across all divides in the field of music ranging from solo careers to rhythm sequences among others. Through looking at existing literature on rhythm sequences and a case study of Back Pocket, this section discusses the different aspects to be looked at in terms of professional development of one’s career. In Rhythm Sequences the success of the rendition of the music being created or played mainly depends on the musical instruments, the musicians and the connection created between the musicians themselves and the audience. This is so because, the music played by such groups is mainly live and as such a little hitch can cause change in the mood of the audience and the rendition of the music being played. There is need to appreciate that not much empirical research on Rhythm Sequences has been carried out.


2.1. Social Media

Internet-based social media is a very important tool when it comes to communication, publicity, and promotion in the music industry. Some of the social media platforms that are available today include Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp, Viber, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Pinterest, and Google+ among others. According to Helbig, (2012) these tools are very efficient in carrying out the outlined activities because of the large number of subscribers that they have and as such if properly employed by a musician, they can go a long way in the development and growth of a brand. Most research work show that use of social media for promotional purposes has made traditional techniques of promoting products and services


In music, marketing is very critical factor for survival and sustainability of a musician.

2.2.1.      Levels of Marketing in Music

There are very many levels of marketing music, the first one being interpersonal level where a musician and the audience or the listener connect because of music. Therefore, in this case, the musician must be exemplary in terms of self-expression and knowing the audience in terms of groups such as age and sex among others. According to Aiello and Sloboda, (1994), there exists associations and emotions between writers of music, the performers, and consumers. Therefore, musicians must go an extra mile and market their music to the consumer through performing. Another marketing technique in music is the sending out free copies of music to popular performers such as disk jockeys and musicians for them to promote. This is known as song plugging and is a very common promotional strategy that has been successful over the years. In addition, sending out music to radio stations that command a large following of listeners for playing is also another technique of marketing music. Another technique of marketing in music the collaboration with other artistes or musicians to also reach out to their already existing audience.

2.2.2.      Discovery of Music

To understand marketing of music and choose the best marketing techniques in the dynamic music industry today, there is also the need to understand how people or the audience discover music. According to Regner, (2009), discovery of music can be discussed in three phases, pre-consumption, consumption and finally post consumption. The pre-consumption phase is divided into traditional and alternative methods. The traditional methods of music delivery include radio, television, friends, music stores and live performances during concerts and festivals. Alternatively, brand new music can now be discovered on web-podcats, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, iTunes, Spotify and Deezer among other music distribution websites. In a research by Regner in 2009, it was discovered that the subjective value of a song can only be evaluated after listening to it several times. Therefore, findings from the study show that once an individual comes to like a certain song, they are willing to pay for it to acquire them. This is what these new techniques are capitalizing on. That is why an individual can buy a song from iTunes to have it rather than listening to it from YouTube.

Once they have paid for the music, there is the aspect of consumption which entails sharing the music across several devices and friends in an easy manner. Post-consumption entails the process of having a music playlist after using music player software after purchasing several songs. Another post-consumption process is the rating of songs whether one has liked them or not. This is available in platforms such as YouTube which then create a preference profile that can be shared. Highly rated songs are normally recommended to individuals any time they access such websites. These activities contribute towards the discovery of music by the listener leading to new consumption.

Results from a research by Martin Ruiz and Rondan Cataluna in 2012 suggested that artistes are making more money from concerts than the sale of music. This is because the listeners are more fascinated by being near an artiste and having a live feeling of the music as compared to other forms of music listening. In addition, the same report suggests that more concerts are being attended because the revellers display a higher satisfaction rate, quality, price fairness and value as compared to individuals who buy music and listen to it.

2.2.3.      Internet-Based Marketing Strategies

Other marketing strategies musicians can employ today are the internet-based ones. These techniques are more preferred because as compared to the traditional ones that forced information on the consumer, these ones attract the consumers and as such can be referred to as a soft sell. Having a website is the first option a musician should consider in marketing themselves. Another internet based marketing strategy is the use of social media platforms which have been discussed in the first section of this chapter.

2.2.4.      Branding

De Pelsmaecker in a study in 2010 states that branding for musicians mainly entails things like names, designs, terms, and symbols and also their combination that identifies a musician from their competitors. Therefore, this is the creation of an identity that consumers of music can emotionally identify and connect with. This therefore should be adhered to by musical bands when building their brands. The study further suggests that branding also consists of among others, aspects such as names, logos, colours, and photos. For Back Pocket, I chose a unique name and logo that artistically creates a mental picture of a back pocket of a trouser.

2.3. Project management

Technology today has made the world a global village and as such there is very little room to hide anything. Anthonissen, (2002) noticed that consumers of music can follow how a band is being managed and how it carries its procedures. Therefore, the management of a musical band is very crucial because any mistakes made are directly received by these consumers. He also suggests that the growth in popularity of a musical band brings with it risks in terms of reputation. Reputation in music entails gaining of trust from the consumers and as such the more trust they have in a musician, the better his/ her reputation

In the same study, he further states that for rhythm sections to build their reputation and maintain it they should also be aware of the six building blocks of reputation. These are services, emotional appeal, social responsibility. Working environment, financial performances, and vision. Services affect reputation in terms of how they are viewed and valued by the customers. Therefore, if they are poor, the reputation of the band will be tainted. Social responsibility is used as a dipstick of reputation by looking at whether the band cares about matters such as the environment. Emotional appeal looks at and reflects on the trust the band has on its stakeholders and whether they appreciate them. Financial performance on the other hand looks at the financial standing of a brand, if this is good, so is the reputation as it is seen to be more productive. Working environment looks at whether the band can work under any conditions or whether it has very high expectations. Finally, vision as a dipstick of reputation looks at how the band looks at various issues. Therefore, what this communicate is that the reputation of a band is affected by several issues and as such the members should be careful with their utterance sand activities as they will be treated as that of the band. The fanbase of a band can also affect its reputation in the sense that if it has more fans, it is more preferred.

The management of the Back Pocket rhythm will mainly be done by me and my fellow student Derice Lamb who is also a founding member. In most of the band’s activities with other artistes and bands during live performances, I have made sure that we sign contracts with these artistes who include Nat James Band and Dominiki. The sample of the contract is attached as Appendix 1. A report by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in 2010 presented different types of contracts that can be applicable for band musicians. The report further indicates that it is critical for musicians to make sure they sign contracts before carrying out activities with fellow artistes, producers, managers, and organizations. This is because once signed they become legal and as such can be used to seek legal redress in case terms are breached. Therefore, they are essential in the protection of musicians.

3.      Project activity

I pioneered the formation of a rhythm section duo known as Back Pocket with Derice Lamb, a fellow student. I mainly employed the use of social media for purposes of promoting the brand by posting upcoming events and regular updates on my activities in form of videos and photos among others. Also, I created a logo (figure 1 below) that could make Back Pocket stand out as a brand and be easily identified just from the look of it. This I did in a bid to start commanding an audience that I would regularly update on my activities and to also reach out to prospective clients such as producers and other artistes who can book Back Pocket for gigs.

For social media presence, I created a YouTube channel and a Facebook page where I have been uploading videos for most of my works and any upcoming events. The weblink to the Facebook page of the project is For purposes of promoting my work as a drummer, Through the YouTube channel, I uploaded videos of me and the Back Pocket rhythm performing live in gigs and studio sessions with other artistes. The link to my YouTube channel is

Image 1: Logo for My Project.

Image 2: Screenshot of the Back Pocket Facebook page.

In this band, I played the drums while Derice played the bass. However, I carried out several activities outside Back Pocket without Derice, the bass player. One activity I carried out is a gig with Esther in October 2016 at the Ruby Lounge in Manchester. This video is available on my YouTube channel and goes by the title “Family Affair cover”. The same is saved by the same title in the USB stick attached with this assignment. This gig gave me confidence in front of unfamiliar crowds and made me improve on my ability to play with people who are not my band members.

I also carried out another activity which involved working with Dominiki. However, it is important to note that the singer is nervous and makes several mistakes during the performance and for this reason I did not share it on my social media pages. Secondly, I am not in the video footage because it is someone else’s video and as such was solely taken with their own intentions for their own personal use. In this activity, I learnt how to set up a Drum cam for recording purposes during performances. From this session, I made a live recording of my performance using a Drum Cam during a live performance with the Nat James band at the Night & Day café. This gig made me get used to using the Drum camera during performances for purposes of collecting video evidence for sharing in my social media pages, a great step in the development of my career. The video can be accessed from my YouTube channel under the title “You Know Me – Nat James band” The YouTube link to this video can be accessed from Appendix 2. Both videos are in the USB stick attached together with this paper. In addition, playing with the Nat James band horned my skills in playing with different bands apart from my own with different instruments from those used in my Back Pocket band. Furthermore, I have been rehearsing with Dominiki the entire summer in preparation for a gig to be held in venues in Manchester as a trio that will involve vocals, the playing of drums and a guitar with a live lounge style. I have also done a successful gig within BP with the NJ band.

I was to develop two promo videos for my project, Back Pocket but I did not manage owing to other activities. However, two professional videos of my performances with the Nat James band at the Night & Day Café’ can be used for good promos.  These videos are titled “You Know Me” and ‘Concept’. Both videos are available on my YouTube channel and are also saved in the attached USB stick. They are best suited for the promos because they were professional in terms of the setting of the stage and the fact that I played well.

To gather more information with regards to how I can better Black Pocket as a Rhythm section I conducted interviews. Before carrying out the interview, I first sought consent from them and made sure they agreed before proceeding. A sample of the ethical form I used is attached in Appendix 4. These interviews were done via e-mail where I sought clarification, one-on-one where I asked questions and I also used questionnaires where I randomly selected five respondents and administered the questionnaires to them. The sample of the questionnaire I administered is attached in Appendix 3. In my interview with Bryan Hargreaves, he mentioned how Back Pocket needs to have more clear aims and appeal to certain niches of audiences such as for education purposes. He also reiterated that having this appeal of some audiences will enable us to have a more clearer understanding of the future in how Back Pocket can be marketed for realization of maximum returns.

In addition to counter lack of promo vid – link back to 2 pro videos I mention and these can be used as good promo. Another objective is becoming more professional – for example the screenshot I sent you of email tutorial with Andrew Garfoot, I have made a musical CV I am still developing. Infact I don’t think I have sent this CV. please include this in the appendix I will send it shortly. Additionally, include another primary research method like I have previously mentioned. This should be a good bulk of the essay. any questions let me know

The website for my project (Back Pocket) is under construction and a domain has already been purchased. On completion, it will be accessed through The website will be tailored to the needs of every person visiting it. For the fans, it will have news regarding future gigs, a Biography, a shop for purchasing music, videos, and photos among others. For those wanting to make bookings, there will be contact forms and, future gigs and a review section. For journalists and the press the website will have news, music and a Biography. The design of the website will also be consistent with the brand identity of Back Pocket and will include the logo in Figure 1. To ensure that people come back, content such as new photos, activities and news on projects will be updated regularly. The website will also have external links to the Back Pocket Facebook page and YouTube channel. Finally, it will all be optimized for search engines to make it easy to be found using search engines such as Google.




4.      Project outcomes

The outcomes of these project were several. To start with, I successfully created a rhythm section with a fellow classmate, Derice Lamb with whom we played. I successfully set up social media accounts on YouTube and Facebook and uploaded material such as videos successfully and started gaining following. With the band, I did a successful gig with Derice Lamb. Also, I also did successful gigs outside Black Pocket with artistes such as Esther and the Nat James band among others. These interactions outside Black Pocket made me learn the art of adapting to a new musical environment.

The experience also taught me how to work with new members in a band and working with musicians with different instruments from the ones I was used to in Black Pocket. Besides, I was able to interview several individuals on rhythm sequences and I was able to gather relevant data that will be of great use in the growth and development of the Back Pocket rhythm. Also, even though I failed to prepare two promotional videos, I selected two professional videos from my performance with the Nat James band that were equally as good for the same use. The main aim outcome of this project is that through interacting with the different stakeholders in the music industry, I can develop my professional career through adhering to certain principles. The aspect of preparing a contract agreement when making deals with other artistes or producers has also assisted me in knowing how I can protect my rights as a musician and avoid being manipulated.

  1. Conclusions and recommendations

From the above discussion, the Back Pocket rhythm can be said to have been a successful idea borne off two individuals. In addition, through playing in the several gigs, I also learned a lot and as such the entire project has contributed positively towards my professional development as a musician. By looking at the several marketing and promotional techniques that have been discussed in the paper, I can be able to reach a larger fan base and work with more artistes and produces. The paper also brings out the need for proper management of a musical band for it to be sustainable by upholding a positive reputation on the customers and other stakeholders such as fellow musicians, managers and producers among others who might bring out good musical deals that can be of benefit. Also, by looking at the aspect of contracting in musical agreements, this paper has managed to bring out the aspect of how musicians protecting themselves from shoddy deals that might make them not receive their rightful dues.






























6.      References













































7.      Appendices

7.1.  Appendix 1: Standard Contract for Working With Back Pocket

Standard Contract for Working With Back Pocket


This contract covers the services that will be provided by Derice Lamb and/or Callum Shaw (Back Pocket).” Any alterations to this agreement must be made in writing and must be signed by both parties, I.e Back Pocket and the Hirer. (If both playing then both have to sign. If only one is hired, the hired one must sign).


By signing this document, employer agrees to pay {__________} to Back Pocket for services rendered on {________________}. A deposit of {£_______} has been paid, and the remainder of {__________} will be paid on {____________}.


Live Performance


The performance will last for a minimum duration of {___________} or until the event ends. The performance will take place at {_____________}, which is an {indoor/outdoor} venue. Recording the music played during the course of the event will be allowed but may not be used for self – promotion unless we have agreed otherwise.


The following details of the event will be discussed and are amenable to both parties: {list specifics, such as an intermission time, special songs, or other requests}.





Employer also agrees to furnish Musician with the following: E.g Transport, Green Room, Backline, etc{____________________________________________________}.

Setting up instruments and organising music will be the responsibility of Musician, but no other part in setting up the event will be played by Musician.




It is understood that special circumstances may arise in which this agreement may be altered. In cases of a venue change, extended duration, or other difficulties, parties may meet to discuss alterations, which must be amenable to both.


If the event is cancelled for any reason or the musician is not needed, the deposit will be forfeited. If Musician must pull out of the event for reasons of illness or other interferences, the deposit will be returned to Employer and a list of suitable replacements will be provided.


Continue through the document for Rehearsals and Gigs. If not applicable for Rehearsals and Gigs, please skip to the end of this contract.


This contract covers the services that will be provided by Derice Lamb and/or Callum Shaw (Back Pocket).” Any alterations to this agreement must be made in writing and must be signed by both parties, I.e Back Pocket and The Hirer. (If both playing then both have to sign. If only one is hired, the hired one must sign).

Please circle Yes or No for the following:

1) Will Rehearsals be Weekly? Y/N

1a)If Yes, how long will rehearsals be? _________ and where will they take place?_____________

1b)If No, will you be able to tell us where and when we will be practicing at least a week before the rehearsal? Y/N





By signing this document, both parties agree that these terms are acceptable.


Back Pocket ____________________________ and/or _____________________

The Hirer________________________________                                           Date:




















Appendix 4: Ethical Consent Form






8.   Undergraduate Research Proposal

9.   Ethical Consent Form


A1: Key Information
Project Title: Forming the Rhythm section ‘Back Pocket’


Name of Researcher:  
Course: Professional Musicianship
Year: Three
Candidate Number:  
A2: Project Details
Expected start date: 01/12/2016
Expected completion date: 30/04/2017
About the project.

My project is focused on creating a rhythm section duo (Bass and Drums) under the name ‘Back Pocket’ with fellow student Derice Lamb. The inspiration for such an idea came from a common love for funky basslines and grooves with bands such as Tower of Power, Parliament, Earth Wind & Fire etc. After playing together over the last few years at BIMM and understanding how each other works with their instrument, this project feels like a natural evolution in our playing career. We intend to gain a positive reputation for ourselves by establishing social media pages in addition to working with different artists and performing gigs with them over the course of the year. By uploading regular quality content, the aim is to attract higher quality artists as well as the attention of producers, managers and studios. A further inspiration for our project comes from legendary groups such as The Funk Brother and Muscle Shoals. These groups were instrumental for a number of hit records and were built upon channelling a live rhythm section sound. More recently, Vulfpeck are a funk group who met at the University of Michigan and are achieving success from first starting out as a rhythm section.






















A3: Risk Checklist (please tick against yes or no in the boxes to the right) Yes No
1.      Will participants be expected to take part in the study without their consent or knowledge at the time (e.g. covert observation)?* in these circumstances explicit retrospective consent must be sought to include findings in the research.


*As part of our duty of care to students any research that proposes to use any of the following will be automatically declined:

·         Deception

·         Psychological stress or anxiety, or means to produce humiliation or cause harm or negative consequences beyond the risks encountered in the everyday life of the participants

·         Drugs (including legal drugs such as tobacco and alcohol), placebos or other substances be administered or any invasive or potentially harmful procedures

·         Any substances and/ or equipment, which may be considered hazardous


2.      Will financial inducements (other than reasonable expenses) be offered?

(If you pay people to take part in the research it will not be approved, however you can offer minor randomly-awarded prizes to encourage participation in a questionnaire.)



A4: Confidentiality and Anonymity
  Yes No N/A
1.      Will questionnaires be completed anonymously and returned indirectly?     N/A
2.      Will questionnaires and/or interview transcripts only be identifiable by a unique identifier (code or pseudonym)?   No  
3.      Will lists of identifiers linked to names and addresses be stored securely and separately from the research data?   No  
4.      Will all place names and institutions, which could lead to identification of individuals or organisations, be changed? Yes    
5.      Will all personal information gathered be treated in strict confidence and never disclosed to any third parties? Yes    
6.      Can you confirm that your research records will be held in accordance with data protection guidelines? ( Yes    
7.      Can you confirm that you will not use the research data for any purpose other than that for which consent is given? Yes    






A5: Informed Consent and Recruitment of Participants
  Yes No N/A
1.      Will all respondents be given an information sheet and be given adequate time to read it before being asked to agree to participate? Yes    
2.      Will all participants taking part in an interview, focus group, observation or other activity, which is not questionnaire, based, be asked to sign a consent form? Yes    
3.      Will all participants self-completing a questionnaire be informed that returning the completed questionnaire implies consent to participate?     N/A
4.      Will all respondents be told that they can withdraw at any time, ask for their data to be destroyed an/ or removed from the project until it is no longer practical to do so? Yes    


A6: Context
  Yes No N/A
1.      Is Criminal Records Bureau clearance necessary for this project?   No  
2.      Are there any other ethical clearances or permissions required? (If so please attach details and approval documents)   No  
3.      Is the project likely to produce findings that may have a negative effect on the reputation or standing of BIMM group or its partner validating bodies?   No  
4.      Do you intend to share data or research outcomes with any other organisation outside of BIMM?   No  
5.      Are there any further ethical concerns relating to your project that have not been covered above?   No  
If yes please explain:





A7: Declaration

·         The information on this form is accurate to the best of my knowledge and belief, and I take full responsibility for it.

·         I understand that I am responsible for monitoring the research at all times and recording and reporting any unexpected events to BIMM.

·         If any serious adverse events arise in relation top the research, I understand that I am responsible for immediately stopping the research and alerting the Assistant Principal HE & Quality at BIMM within 24 hours of the occurrence.

·         I am aware of my responsibility to be up to date with and comply with the requirements of the law and relevant guidelines relating to the security and confidentiality of personal data.

·         I understand that research records/data may be subject to inspection for audit purposes if required in future.

·         I understand that I may not commence this research until I have been notified that the project has approval.

·         I understand my responsibilities to work within a set of safety and ethical guidelines as an academic researcher and comply with applicable ethical codes.


Signature of researcher:


Print Name:


Date: 04/12/2016



A9: Approval
  Yes No
LOW RISK – Approved by BIMM  Supervisor


Name and Job Title:








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