First Album is available in CD format!

My first album, Looking For My Direction, is available in CD format! Please follow the link for more details!

https://squareup.com/market/ben-titus-music-services/ben-titus-looking-for-my-direction

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Long Overdue Update

Hello everyone,

It’s been quite sometime since I did one of these updates- too long! It’s been a busy spring semester, with the biggest happening being that I’m moving with my wife to Milwaukee at the end of July. Sadly, this means an end to my 6-year run as Director of Bands, Technical Theater, and Arts Department Chair at Fredericksburg Academy. I’m grateful for the experience, as I got to build and oversee the growth of the arts offerings into some of the strongest courses FA offers.

I’ve definitely been doing some thinking since the end of the school year, and am somewhat considering taking a break from classroom teaching for a while to focus on playing and making music. I’m definitely on the fence at this point- the economy might make the decision for me though, depending on the job market :).

Other than this news- I’m finally going to get the album done that I’ve been working since Christmas. I recently got back from my honeymoon and have been strangely musically charged- not that I’m complaining! Be on the lookout for some new stuff posted soon. In the meantime, scope out my YouTube Channel- http://www.youtube.com/user/btitus1374

Ben

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Weekly Update- Feb. 16

Hello all,

It’s been a nutty week! The gigs are starting to roll in for the spring, and so are the preparatory rehearsals. I’ve got quite a few upcoming events that are going to be awesome!

February 17- Judging the James Bland Memorial Scholarship Contest at Chancellor Baptist Church in Fredericksburg, VA- 2pm

Website- http://www.blandfoundation.org

March 1-3- Gerald Veasley’s Bass Bootcamp in Reading, PA- 3 days of clinics, workshops, master classes, and bassy-ness. THERE’S STILL TIME TO REGISTER! I’m honored to be on the faculty this year as a Night Owl instructor!

Website- http://www.geraldveasley.com/bassbootcamp/

March 8-10 and 15-17- CYT Fredericksburg presents ‘The Wizard of Oz’ at Spotsylvania High School!

-Little Dorothy Gale of Kansas, like so many girls her age, dreams of what lies over the rainbow. One day a twister hits her farm and carries her away over the rainbow to another world. Come join Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tinman, the Cowardly Lion and Toto as they travel the universe of Dorothy’s imagination. 
     
Put a smile on everyone’s face with THE WIZARD OF OZ!

Website- http://www.cytfredericksburg.org/shows/The-Wizard-of-Oz-16

March 22- 909 Saloon in Fredericksburg, VA with the Tyler Reese Project- 9pm-12am

Website- http://www.909-online.com

March 23- Cheeseburger in Paradise in Fredericksburg, VA with the Toby Fairchild Project- 9pm-1am

Website- http://www.cheeseburgerinparadise.com/Cheeseburger-Locations/VA/Fredericksburg/Overview.aspx

March 30- The Ville in Mechanicsville, VA with StumblKrow- 9pm-1am

Website- http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Ville-Mechanicsville/181572221868569?sk=info

That’s all for now. Have a wonderful week!

~Ben

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Weekly Update- Feb 8

Hello all!

I feel like the month is flying by at a breakneck pace! I’m currently sitting at North Stafford High School at the District 15 All District MS Band event, watching one of my flute students lead the section in the top band (1st chair in the district!). The music that they are working on is simply awesome for their age, definitely a challenge, and the kids seems to be really stepping it up. What’s the most interesting thing to watch is the networking that’s happening. No, I’m not talking about the band directors sitting around complaining about how things are going in some way, shape, or form, though as a director, it can be rather cathartic to have a gripe session with like-minded people! The networking that I’m referencing is amongst the kids in the groups. For many of these kids, this is the only time they are around other students that are as passionate about music as they themselves are. Watching them forge connections that could very well follow them through their middle and high school careers and beyond is kinda cool, and brings back memories. As I watch this, I remember that some of my strongest connections with people have come about through music. Definitely makes me thankful!

Speaking of fellowship through music- I still get to do this as an adult!

Tomorrow (Saturday Night)- Cheeseburger in Paradise with Toby Fairchild Project in Fredericksburg, VA; 9-1, great food, drinks, and times!

March 1-3- Gerald Veasley’s Bass Bootcamp- 3 days of clinics, workshops, master classes, and bassy-ness. THERE’S STILL TIME TO REGISTER! I’m honored to be on the faculty this year as a Night Owl instructor!

Website- http://www.geraldveasley.com/bassbootcamp/

That’s all for now. Have a wonderful week!

~Ben

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Weekly Update- Feb. 1

Hello all- 

It’s been a great week since coming back from NAMM in Anaheim on Monday! I found that, despite still being on California time, working with my students at FA was simply more enjoyable and the ideas that are going through my head about ways to improve my teaching, the tech theater program, and the arts program in general are not only more numerous, they are more detailed and succinct. Bottom line- NAMM was a great recharge that I was definitely in need of. Definitely planning to do it again next year!

On the performing side, I’ve got a lot of exciting things happening as well.

1- I am officially on the faculty of Gerald Veasley’s Bass Bootcamp in Reading, PA from March 1-3!! I’ll be teaching yet to be determined ‘Night Owl’ classes for folks that have so much energy and enthusiasm for the bass that sleep becomes the enemy! More info on this as it becomes clearer, but in the meantime, check out http://www.geraldveasley.com/bassbootcamp/index.htm

 

You can still register! Are you ready to go the distance?

2- I’ve got a week off from FA later on this month, meaning that I should be able to complete most of the work on my forthcoming album, working title- ‘Looking for my Direction- A Documentary’. This will include works spanning the last 10 years, ranging from my roots as a rock and metal guitarist who also played bass, to a point in life where both instruments were on an equal footing, thru the present where my main passion is bass in any and all forms and formats. I’m hoping to have it ready to debut at Bass Bootcamp, though don’t hold me to it! Feel free to check out a couple of the tracks on the audio section of http://www.bentitusmusic.com

3- CYT Fredericksburg presents ‘The Wizard of Oz’- This show opens March 8 and runs for two weekends. CYT Fredericksburg is the benchmark for student-based musical theater groups in Central Virginia, and you should most certainly be there! http://www.cytfredericksburg.org for tickets and information!

4- Toby Fairchild Project @ Cheeseburger in Paradise in Fredericksburg, VA on 2/9- awesome funk, rock, and R&B in a relaxed, chill atmosphere! All of us in the group trade off vocals and play pretty mich whatever comes to mind that’s fun. We hit at 9pm, come on out and support local live music!

That’s pretty much it for now. Hope to see you at a show!

Ben

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Teachers and NAMM- My Perspective

Hello all,

So I just wrapped up day 3 of 4 at NAMM here in Anaheim, CA, and I’ve got a lot to contemplate. First- how to make my feet stop hurting (solution, buy new shoes). Second, what I planned to get out of this experience in the first place. Lastly, and the subject of this particular missive, is what value being a teacher and being at NAMM has, for the teacher or the exhibitors.

For those that aren’t aware- NAMM is the National Association of Music Merchants trade show. It’s not open to the public, and you have to have a badge and a darn good reason to get in. Thankfully for me, that good reason is that I am an educator and NAMM seems to be making attempts at getting educators involved. Each attendee gets a badge that is both colorcoded and has letters on it to signify whether you are a retailer, exhibitor, artist, teacher, visitor, etc. Here’s where the fun begins.

On Thursday, I was walking through the seemingly endless exhibits, trying to wrap my brain around everything that was packed into the Anaheim Convention Center, arena, and two local hotels. I eventually noticed that exhibitors were pulling random people out of the throngs around me as we walked past to scan their barcodes and, in most cases, give them free stuff. Had I not been paying attention, I may very well could have been trampled by that person in their hurry to get to those other people. I was intrigued because I enjoy free stuff as well. What I came to find out is that these folks weren’t random, but were part of a dying breed at these types of shows- buyers for companies.

On the one hand, I can understand why a buyer would be the hottest commodity. It pretty obvious really- if the vendor can woo the buyer, the buyer buys into the products, vendor makes money and doesn’t have to pay to ship products home, buyer turns around and (hopefully) sells the product at a modest markup, everyone wins on a more immediate timeframe. But, as I said, the buyers are a dying breed. Many exhibitors that I had the chance to meet, talk with, and sometimes hang out with over the past few days have said that the NAMM event is increasingly filled with ‘tire kickers’, and that real business is harder and harder to get done. There are a number of reasons that this is happening. First, the internet has made it incredibly easy to research everything about a product, so there’s less emphasis on the hands-on and face-to-face way of doing things. Secondly, the cost of traveling has gone up considerably in the last decade alone. Thirdly, the economy is in a really tough spot. I’m sure there are many more reasons for the decline in buyers, but these seem to be biggies.

This is where the other hand comes in- teachers are basically ignored at NAMM. I think that vendors forget that teachers work for schools that could potentially buy many products from them at a time on an annual basis. Band and orchestra dealers could build contacts within school systems and increase their exposure. Pro sound and lighting companies could appeal to technical directors at schools for improvements to theaters, auditoriums, and gyms, sometimes multi-million dollar renovations that happen on a somewhat consistent basis around the country. Guitar programs are becoming more and more popular around the country. When you’re dealing with public schools, one good contact with a teacher could be your foot in the door to county, city, and even entire districts of schools as potential customers. At the high school level where I live, the average budget for a high school band program for a year is about $6000, before donations and band booster contributions. That may not seem like a lot right off the bat, but imagine if you tap into 5 or 6 teachers, or even a whole district. All of a sudden you have a potentially large revenue stream and, since schools update and upgrade on a fairly regular cycle, it’s potentially regular business vs. the hit or miss that is becoming more prevalent today.

Say that you don’t want to sell direct to schools, and you have to go through the retail and dealership system. Are teachers really not useful here? We have students that are looking for instruments and equipment at all levels, from beginning to advanced levels. If we can’t send them directly to your company to buy, we can either highly recommend to our local music store to carry your products (which, believe it or not, a good local music store will try to do), or we send them to the nearest dealer that carries your products. In this regard, we are your first sales people in terms of our students, parents, fellow teachers, and administrators. Perhaps the profit isn’t as potentially huge as if Guitar Center were to buy 300 guitars from you at the NAMM show, but considering the aforementioned decline in buyers, it seems that any profit (or chance of it) would be welcome.

You don’t have to give me free stuff. Just acknowledge that I exist and that perhaps I am a potential advocate for your company, if not a buyer.

Of course, the free stuff would be nice…

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Teachers and NAMM- My Perspective

Hello all, 

So I just wrapped up day 3 of 4 at NAMM here in Anaheim, CA, and I’ve got a lot to contemplate. First- how to make my feet stop hurting (solution, buy new shoes). Second, what I planned to get out of this experience in the first place. Lastly, and the subject of this particular missive, is what value being a teacher and being at NAMM has, for the teacher or the exhibitors. 

For those that aren’t aware- NAMM is the National Association of Music Merchants trade show. It’s not open to the public, and you have to have a badge and a darn good reason to get in. Thankfully for me, that good reason is that I am an educator and NAMM seems to be making attempts at getting educators involved. Each attendee gets a badge that is both colorcoded and has letters on it to signify whether you are a retailer, exhibitor, artist, teacher, visitor, etc. Here’s where the fun begins.

On Thursday, I was walking through the seemingly endless exhibits, trying to wrap my brain around everything that was packed into the Anaheim Convention Center, arena, and two local hotels. I eventually noticed that exhibitors were pulling random people out of the throngs around me as we walked past to scan their barcodes and, in most cases, give them free stuff. Had I not been paying attention, I may very well could have been trampled by that person in their hurry to get to those other people. I was intrigued because I enjoy free stuff as well. What I came to find out is that these folks weren’t random, but were part of a dying breed at these types of shows- buyers for companies.

On the one hand, I can understand why a buyer would be the hottest commodity. It pretty obvious really- if the vendor can woo the buyer, the buyer buys into the products, vendor makes money and doesn’t have to pay to ship products home, buyer turns around and (hopefully) sells the product at a modest markup, everyone wins on a more immediate timeframe. But, as I said, the buyers are a dying breed. Many exhibitors that I had the chance to meet, talk with, and sometimes hang out with over the past few days have said that the NAMM event is increasingly filled with ‘tire kickers’, and that real business is harder and harder to get done. There are a number of reasons that this is happening. First, the internet has made it incredibly easy to research everything about a product, so there’s less emphasis on the hands-on and face-to-face way of doing things. Secondly, the cost of traveling has gone up considerably in the last decade alone. Thirdly, the economy is in a really tough spot. I’m sure there are many more reasons for the decline in buyers, but these seem to be biggies. 

This is where the other hand comes in- teachers are basically ignored at NAMM. I think that vendors forget that teachers work for schools that could potentially buy many products from them at a time on an annual basis. Band and orchestra dealers could build contacts within school systems and increase their exposure. Pro sound and lighting companies could appeal to technical directors at schools for improvements to theaters, auditoriums, and gyms, sometimes multi-million dollar renovations that happen on a somewhat consistent basis around the country. Guitar programs are becoming more and more popular around the country. When you’re dealing with public schools, one good contact with a teacher could be your foot in the door to county, city, and even entire districts of schools as potential customers. At the high school level where I live, the average budget for a high school band program for a year is about $6000, before donations and band booster contributions. That may not seem like a lot right off the bat, but imagine if you tap into 5 or 6 teachers, or even a whole district. All of a sudden you have a potentially large revenue stream and, since schools update and upgrade on a fairly regular cycle, it’s potentially regular business vs. the hit or miss that is becoming more prevalent today. 

Say that you don’t want to sell direct to schools, and you have to go through the retail and dealership system. Are teachers really not useful here? We have students that are looking for instruments and equipment at all levels, from beginning to advanced levels. If we can’t send them directly to your company to buy, we can either highly recommend to our local music store to carry your products (which, believe it or not, a good local music store will try to do), or we send them to the nearest dealer that carries your products. In this regard, we are your first sales people in terms of our students, parents, fellow teachers, and administrators. Perhaps the profit isn’t as potentially huge as if Guitar Center were to buy 300 guitars from you at the NAMM show, but considering the aforementioned decline in buyers, it seems that any profit (or chance of it) would be welcome.

You don’t have to give me free stuff. Just acknowledge that I exist and that perhaps I am a potential advocate for your company, if not a buyer. 

Of course, the free stuff would be nice…

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Photo Test

Photo Test

Trying this out to make sure that it works!

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New update to website- WordPress blog integration!

Hello all!

Sitting here at NAMM in California, I’m realizing that I’d really like to be able to share thoughts at more than 140 characters at a time. Since my website is still powered by iWeb, it used to mean that I needed my laptop at all times to update the news feed. I’ve finally figured out how to integrate WordPress into my homepage without a complete site rebuild, which only means more news from me from wherever I am since WordPress works on iOS as well. 

I’m probably more geeked out about this than I should be, but still… woohoo!

More soon!

Ben

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