INTRODUCTION TO MUSIC
AND THE COUNTRY MUSIC INDUSTRY
A DEVELOPMENTAL WORKSHOP PRESENTED BY
IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE
JUNIOR COUNTRY CROSSOVER
24 FEBRUARY 2007
It can be hard when you first start out in the Country Music industry to know all the ‘ins and
outs’ of what you need to be prepared for… this workshop will give you an insight and
information on what you could expect.
Where to find information…
Generally you can find most information regarding festivals and talent quests on the SA
Council for Country Music (SACCM) site at www.saccm.com
You can contact Festivals direct for talent quest entry forms and Conditions of entry, but
on some instances Festivals give SACCM all details so it can be easier to find.
If you have troubles you can contact SACCM direct – we are more than happy to help you
Country Music Gig Guide
The SACCM Country Music Gig Guide is the biggest Country Music calendar in South
Australia and all festivals and major events advertise through SACCM. You can advertise
your performances in the Gig Guide for free and also keep up to date with festivals, events
and performances in South Australia.
Country Music Prelude
The Country Music Prelude is a monthly magazine presented by the SA Council for
Country Music. This provides information to Country Music performers, readers and fans,
has Country Music News and reviews, updates, information, Gig Guide and summaries of
festivals, events, and talent quests.
It’s a good idea to become a member of the Prelude so you can keep up to date in the
Country Music Industry. By becoming a Professional member you will also be displayed on
our website where you can update your bio, photos and information.
South Australian Council for Country Music
The South Australian Council for Country Music is a non-profit, professional industry
association, established to encourage and develop all areas of Country Music in this
SACCM is a representative organisation for all aspects of the industry including
performers, songwriters, musicians, technicians, producers and clubs.
The main objectives of this association are to encourage the pursuit of excellence and
professionalism in country music, actively seek and help develop new talent and focus
Government and community attention on country music as an integral part of the
To help develop performers in Country Music SACCM incorporates a Professional
Development Program in Country Music, incorporating Champion of Champions, Junior
Country Crossover, APRA South Australian Song of the Year Awards, South Australian
Showcase and the provision of the Rocky Page Memorial Scholarship to the Australian
College of Country Music in Tamworth.
To promote Australian Country Music and develop audiences, the SA Council for Country
Music has also established a State-wide information service called 'Friends of Country
Music', publishes a monthly events calendar and newsletter (Prelude) and presents a
variety of events and concerts throughout the year.
What to know for Talent Quests…
As it is Talent Quest season, today we are focussing a bit more on how to prepare for and
what to expect in a talent quest. If you have any questions that aren’t covered in today’s
workshop please let me know.
Rules and Regulations
It is important to read the Rules and Regulations of talent quests and some can differ from
each other. Some ways they could differ include:
• Definition of Traditional Country Section
• Age Group entry guidelines
• Amount of times you can sing in a particular section
• Genre of ‘accepted’ songs eg. Riverland Country Music Festival vs Murraylands
• Entry Fees and Deadlines – some (not all) festivals can be fairly lenient
Judging and Judging Sheets
Although Judges (adjudicator) are at the talent quest to ultimately pick the ‘best’ (in their
opinion) what they are really there for is to provide their professional opinion on the day.
The comments that an adjudicator writes on your score sheet are probably the most
important thing for you to pay attention to. If you don’t understand or would like clarification
or assistance, approach them (outside of judging) and ask. They are really nice people –
just remember, they love Country Music too!
You can find more information about Judging and Judging sheets at www.saccm.com
Where to Find Chord Charts
If you have someone in your family who is good at transposing songs that can play an
instrument and write chord charts from scratch, it is a great bonus. I have included a pro-
forma chord chart to help get you on your way, but if you don’t have someone that can do
that, you can find charts on the internet at www.tabrobot.com You will still need to make
sure they are written out to band standards, but it gives you somewhere to start from.
You can ask someone from the Country Music Industry to help you
check if the chord charts are correct.
What to Wear
As a parent, it can be costly to find stage wear that doesn’t break the bank, but this doesn’t
have to be the case.
Judges are asked to take into consideration the changing times and the price of clothes,
accessories, guitars, boots, hats etc. and also the fact that parents may have two, three or
even four children that participate in talent quests.
The basic guidelines of ‘What to Wear‘ is basically NEAT AND PRESENTABLE.
Hats and boots are great and a bonus for a traditional Country section or Country rock
number, but they aren’t generally worn all the time anymore.
What I would suggest is to look at the different songs you are singing – (of which you
should have ready before the festival) and find an outfit that suits that style of singing.
E.g. If you are singing Boot Scootin Boogie – Costume suggestion would be Boots, Neat
Black jeans or pants, a country shirt and a hat.
If you are singing This Little Light of Mine – Costume suggestion would be neat black
pants and a nice presentable top.
The boys generally have it easy – you can get yourself some black pants and simple
coloured or white shirts (maybe a hat) and you’re done…
Girls – it isn’t as hard as it seems. If you get yourself three or four nice stage tops and put
them with black pants you’ll always look great on stage. The stage lights can sometimes
drown out faces, so it can be useful to put on a small amount of make up to define your
facial features, but don’t go overboard.
Another note - Country shirts can be expensive – you can make your own though. Buy
some ‘country tassels’ from Spotlight and sew a V on the front and back of your shirt – it
Appropriateness of Songs
This can vary from talent quest to talent quest, but the basic rule is make sure it’s
appropriate to your age group. E.g. a five year old singing Hey Good Looking is not a good
option, but ‘This little light of mine’ and even ‘How much is that doggy in the window’ are
The junior Sections can be hard as some people mature earlier than others. If you are not
sure, ask an experienced person in the Country Music industry to give their opinion.
Know Your Song
One of the best ways you can feel comfortable on stage is if you know (not memorise)
your song off by heart. Practice at home to get verses in the right spots and hit those hard
notes. If you memorise your song you could sound a bit like a robot… if you Know it, it will
come from the heart.
Working With the Band
It is important that you know how to count in your song. It’s good to put the ‘feel’ of your
song on your Chord Chart and ALWAYS put it in the correct key – Bands have a lot of
songs to play in one day and if your chord charts aren’t right they may not be able to play it
to their best ability.
As soon as you step up to the microphone you are being judged, so approach the
drummer or musical director and sing them the chorus of your song so they know how fast
you want it and what feel the song is.
You can find more information on Chord Charts and timing on the Website.
Introducing Your Song
How many times do you hear someone on stage say ‘The song I’m going to sing for you
today is…’ Be original with your introduction – Really THINK about your song and the
story it is telling. If it is a happy song, walk out there happy, Talk to the audience, not just
the judges, and most of all, SMILE!
If you are confident counting in your song and can show the judges you are capable, do it!
If you aren’t comfortable doing it yet, let the band do it until you are. (You should have
spoken to them about your song first.)
Be Prompt and Ready
Be ready to sing your song long before you need to be on stage. If you are playing an
instrument make sure it is tuned with a good tuner (worth $30-40) and is clean!
Make sure your clothes/boots/shoes/ hair are clean and presentable. You don’t want to be
rushing around at the last minute as it will make you unprepared for singing.
Have your chord charts in a folder with your name written on it and have the folder open
ready to the right song to hand to the band. (Hint – Make chord charts one or two pages
only and put them in your folder in a way that the band doesn’t need to flip pages whilst
playing your song.)
When you’re nervous your feet tend to stick to the ground, but try to use the stage… not so
much that you look like a ping pong ball on a table tennis table, but enough so all audience
members believe you are actually singing the song to ‘Them’. Use eye contact and again –
If you don’t play an instrument it is probably best to take out long lead breaks in songs and
replace them with short ‘turn arounds’ (one or two bars break before leading into the next
verse) as it places pressure on the band to play an instrumental of a song that they may
have never heard before… and it also puts much attention on your need to ‘entertain’ for
eight or twelve bars of the song where you’re not singing.
If you feel ‘gumby’ moving or dancing on stage, stand in front of your bedroom mirror, or
grab the home video recorder and sing like you would to the audience. The best way you
can improve your stage presentation is by practicing it and learning what works and what
Find a buddy
Both parents and their children need assistance when starting out in the industry. It’s
always ok to ask for help, and having someone who has done talent quests before can
help you know where to go and what to do on the day, as well as giving you a good friend
at the end of the festival. Stay in touch with these friends as you’ll see them around and
will make the Talent Quest experience a more enjoyable one!
If you are new to Country Music, it is great to get involved to learn everything you can and
to develop yourself as a performer. You can do this by
attending developmental workshops, going to (and performing at) Country
Music Clubs and events and by becoming a member of SACCM to support Country Music
and receive the Prelude and discounted tickets to shows etc. (You can also win some
A Note for New Parents
Audiences are a valuable part of young people learning to perform on stage, and the
support from family and friends encourages them and makes a big difference. You are
very valuable as an encouraging body.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help or assistance – We’ve all been though it and know that it
can be difficult, but it can be Great Fun too!
By showing your children you have an interest and enjoyment in their hobby – perhaps
even long-term career, they will truly benefit from the encouragement and involvement you
give them now and in the future.
USEFUL CONTACT INFORMATION
South Australian Council for Country Music Inc.
Web: www.saccm.com Email: email@example.com
(Also Including Club, Festival, Radio, and Artist information)
The following information gives you an overview of music theory. It is not used a lot in
Country Music as we improvise a lot and use ‘bar charts’ or ‘chord charts’ for music.
It does however give you basic information if you need to transpose or understand a song
that you would like to sing.
STAFF Five parallel, equidistant lines with spaces in between.
BAR LINES A vertical line placed in a STAFF to mark off MEASURES
MEASURE Part of a STAFF set off by BAR LINES
Musical symbol that names lines and spaces.
CLEF There are two :
Treble Clef Bass Clef
TREBLE Clef and BASS Clef
The Lines designate the following notes, in order from the
bottom, up : E,G, B, D, F. - This is easily remembered by
TREBLE CLEF saying "Every Good Boy Deserves Fruit"
The spaces are for the notes F, A, C, E, in order from the
BASS CLEF The lines are labelled G, B, D, F, A or "Good Boys
Deserve Fruit Always"
The spaces are called A, C, E G or "All Cows Eat Grass"
Lines added above or below the staff. In the picture (left)
both notes with ledger lines indicate middle C.