Lessons and Hope in a Sea of Dreamers: Takeaways From the CD Baby DIY Musician Conference

Blog by GoGirls Elite Member Trumpet Grrrl

Last weekend I attended the CD Baby DIY Musician conference in Chicago. I had a great time and learned a lot from the experience, not just because of the panels but because of the great people. Too many amazing things happened to list, but some highlights include Tom Jackson’s Band Makeover, and Jack Conte, founder of Patreon.

Tom Jackson blew all of our minds as he took a great band and made them EPIC by changing elements we often do not think of as performers. While we know to smile and have high energy, how many of us think about matching our energy with the journey of the song and holding back our biggest move for the biggest moment? Jumping around at peak energy has a bigger impact when done at the peak of the song and not every time the energy of the song picks up at the chorus. He probably coached about 60% of the way through one song in one hour, it was an eye opening experience into what it really means to practice for a live performance.

Jack Conte closed out the conference and was just plain inspiring. I can’t really relay how beautiful his talk was, he took us through all the emotions with a funny slideshow about his journey from a poor musician to CEO of Patreon, sharing his frustrations, triumphs and the important lessons they taught him. He touched a lot of issues I deal with and gave me a new perspective, such as not spending globs of time stressing over making one piece of content the most perfect thing ever and instead focusing on momentum and executing more ideas, as you never know what’s going to become popular! He brought a lot of lessons and hope to the sea of dreamers at the conference.

Being a musician and entrepreneur requires a lot of hard work — by yourself, alone in your room — and it can be easy to forget you’re not the only one doing so. The CD Baby DIY Musician conference was very uplifting and it was energizing to be around so many dreamers and go getters. It kind of felt like when I went to music summer camp as a child; the freedom of being away from a world that tells you what you want to do can’t be done, surrounded by mentors who have proven them wrong and new friends going through the same battle. I highly recommend this conference to indie musicians, it’s going to be in Nashville next year!


Trumpet Grrrl is a composer and triple threat; playing trumpet, keys and singing. She hopes to inspire you to listen to your heart with her third album "Just Listen", released August 2016. For more information please visit trumpetgrrrl.com.

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