Google Tools for the Busy Musician By Deryl Gallant Google employs me as a bassist. What I mean by that is, their free services give the outside world the impression that I’m an organized, punctual, prepared, profes- sional bassist and I keep getting hired. Want in on a secret? Yes, I’ve enjoyed a 20-plus-year career as a performing and recording bassist in Prince Edward Island while working full time in IT, teaching bass at the Holland College School of Performing Arts and UPEI, raising five little kids, and sometimes seeing my lovely wife; however, my life is full of daily challenges that seek to make me fail in my music career. I’m naturally disorganized, forgetful, and a total procrastinator. Enter Google, add my Smartphone, and watch as my chaotic life is turned into beautifully manageable bits. This music career of Google Calendar is my invaluable personal assistant. Its power is highly under- rated. I outlined this in more detail in the Bass Column in the Sept./Oct. 2017 issue of Canadian Musician, but brief- ly, make sure you create all calendar entries with a title having the same searchable keyword. Add the date and time you need to arrive, the address, gig-specific notes, and default reminders of 45 minutes, 24 hours, and one week before the event. Make sure you invite anyone that should know about your gig: band members, significant others, Alain Caron, etc. Google Now will calculate the distance to your gig loca- tion and tell you when you need to leave. Hop in your car, click the location on your calendar entry, and the GPS in Google Maps will guide you to your gig. 42 • C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N mine is not limited to the instrument I play, the notes I choose, the styles I enjoy, or the gigs I get. It has a thousand tiny pieces that make up who I am as a musician, which translates to who I am as a professional, which translates to this: when someone hires me, who are they really getting? I want to share with you some of the habits I’ve developed over the last 10 years since getting my first iPod Touch and subsequent smartphones – habits that I honestly didn’t intend to create. I look back and realize they are habits I wish someone had introduced me to 25 years ago when I first started gigging – habits that I could not function without now. Google makes it incredibly easy to imple- ment and use these techniques on a daily basis so you can worry about what is important: the music. Google Contacts is an often-overlooked feature of any Gmail account. Have you ever seen someone post on Facebook: “Got a new phone... lost all of my contacts. Text me your number so I can add you?” I always simultaneously chuckle and shake my head. Say it with me: Google Contacts. Add that lovely Google account to your phone so that when someone texts you, choose “Add to Contacts” and save to the Google account. When you switch or lose your phone, just add your Google account to your new phone and you have all of your contacts again like nothing changed. Besides the obvious single contact usage, Contact Groups is another overlooked feature. When you add that new contact, make sure you add them to a group. Once, I had an amp I was trying to sell. I put it on Kijiji, I put it on eBay, and I put it on Facebook. No bites. Then I decided to try some direct marketing: Email every bassist I know. Ok, compose new email, write my perfect sales pitch, now who am I sending it to? I’ve got 716 contacts, so go through each entry and remember who is a bassist? No way. I don’t have time to sort through contacts. I use Google Contacts groups that I’ve spent tiny bits of time over the years compiling and maintaining. Then I go to Gmail and compose a new email, and start typing “Bassists” in the “To” field like this: Sure, Facebook is great for this, too, but sometimes an old- fashioned electronic mail in true 1994 style can really do the trick. For the record, I sold that amp because of that email.