Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Happy Birthday

Musical Hotspot celebrates its first birthday.

Musical Hotspot is 1 year old today! I'm quite pleased that Musical Hotspot has thrived and made it to its first birthday. I think it is much as I imagined it would be; a brain-dump of the stuff I've learned in my travels as an improv musician, stuff that is hopefully useful to other folks out there. It used to be that the challenge was cooking up relevant and interesting information. I think the challenge now is making sure it's out there in a way that the right people can find it.

My year

I've found the site was a catalyst for me to widen my circle of improvisational friends. One of the biggest developments for me was becoming part of Impro Mafia here in Brisbane. The ladies and gents of Impro Mafia are wonderful improvisers, keen to try new things and very focused on creating professional, entertaining productions. I'm having a tremendous time working with them on long-form shows that challenge me and push the boundaries of what I know. I very much appreciate that they've accepted me in to the fold.

My primary performing outlet is with the Impro Gladiators/Theatresports folks, and as a group I think we continue to put on great shows and deliver a high standard of impro in Brisbane. I've been working with some of these people for nearly 20 years, and they really know their craft. It's a pleasure to contribute to the short form shows that can take newbie audiences and train them to love improv in the space of 90 minutes.

Youth Theatresports was an adventure as always this year. It's slightly sad that I can waggle my finger at each and every youth performer and proclaim "Listen, I've been doing this since before you were born..." And yet there's always something to learn from the kids at these shows. I hope some of the kids from this year get addicted to impro and continue on with some of Brisbane's pro troupes.

I'm also pleased to have made friends with other improv musicians locally and around the world, musicians who have taken the time to drop me an email and have a chat about various aspects of improv.

Site analytics

It's interesting to look at the site analytics to see how people get to Musical Hotspot, and what they do once they're here.

Although I get a great many returning visitors from Australia (hey, what are friends for?), the biggest variety of visitors is easily from the USA, and a few from Europe too.

It looks like everyone uses Google when they want to search. Most people land here via (63%), followed by (14%), then lots of other country-specific googles. In the last month, the only non-google search engines were and; they made up fewer than 1% each of visits from search engines.

When it comes to non-search landings, I would have thought impro sites like and would have been the most frequent referrers. I do get lots of traffic coming from those sites, but it turns out that my friend (and fellow Impro Mafia performer) Natalie's excellent blog GirlClumsy is the biggest non-search-engine referrer. (It's a great blog, worth your while.)

Easily the most popular page on the site isn't really related to improv theatre at all. Picking a good piano keyboard gets a lot of hits from folks using google to help them find a keyboard. Although I don't think anything there was rocket science, it appears to have been useful for people, and that's always good.

Alarmingly, it looks like people go to Google when they need medical help after getting soap in their eyes. And google sends them here. Glad to be of service.

Coming soon!

There are a bunch of things coming soon to Musical Hotspot that will hopefully make it a more useful resource for improvising musicians, and improvisers in general.
  • Style Fakebook: One of the challenging aspects of improvised music is copying well-known styles of music, on the fly. One style at a time, the Style Fakebook is going to give you some pointers on how you can fake a wide variety of song styles. I'm enlisting the help of some very talented musicians around the world to put these together, and the results should help you whether you choose to improvise with a piano, a keyboard, or a guitar.
  • Site organisation: There are a great many technique articles on Musical Hotspot, but it can be a bit difficult to navigate through them all to find what you want, especially for a first-time visitor. You'll see some changes soon that will help you find the articles you want, and discover related stuff of interest.
  • Subscriptions: As well as just visiting the site or using your RSS feed, you'll be able to subscribe via email.
  • More recordings: It will be great to get some more audio on the site. Relevant new articles (and some existing articles) will be augmented with recordings to make concepts a lot clearer.
  • Vanity project: Ben's been trying to convince me to make this a site about what I personally am getting up to. I suspect most of you couldn't care less about that. ;) For those that could, in the near future I'll be starting up a sister site that is improv-related, with a lot less writing, and a lot more music. Stay tuned.

Thanks for coming, see you next time

If you're a regular reader, thanks very much for visiting. I hope you find content on here that is interesting and keeps you coming back for more. If there's stuff you'd like to see on the site, I'm all ears; just leave a comment or drop me an email.


Girl Clumsy said...

Hey, hey! Happy Birthday!

I'm glad people come to you from my site - yours is so much more professional and on-topic, as opposed to my oft-insane ramblings. ;)

I look forward to some of your upcoming developments - I'll be asking for tech hints as I'd like to do a bit of a rolling upgrade to

And thanks so much again for being involved with Impro Mafia this year! It's beyond fantastic having you a part of the team.

Dan said...

Natalie told me I had to comment on your blog for your site birthday.

I'm glad she did though, because I went to enter the word verification below and look what it was.

Ben said...

Bring on the vanity project!

Girl Clumsy said...

Dan, you are a COMPLETE nob end.

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