Jack Melick Gig, Jam Session and TigerMusicStore.com Upgrade

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Tiger Music Upgrade

This has been an extremely busy week and much has been accomplished. The biggest news of the week is that the Tiger Music online music store has been updated. After almost two years of effort we have transformed the site from a static website (a website with unchanging pages – which requires very high maintenance) to a dynamic, database driven website (the pages are created only when you call them – sort of like WordPress).

To be completely honest, the biggest reason it took us two years is because I tried to program the site myself and spent about a year and a half working on the code for that. I program in PHP and I have written the code for some of our other sites using that language. I just figured the music store would be next on the list.

Then I discovered an open source e-commerce package called PrestaShop. When I saw how many features that software had, I realized it would take me decades to write anything that comes close. So we decided to chalk the work I had done writing an original application as a good educational experience and start working on an installation of PrestaShop.

If you are interested in using PrestaShop, let me warn you in advance. It is not plug and play. You can’t just install it and start using it. It doesn’t work like that. We have been investing lots of hours every week for about six months, in an effort to tweek PrestaShop to do everything the way we want to do it.

A lot of people mistakenly assume that, because I am a musician, my life is some sort of joy ride. I think people see musicians as being only one degree better than a beach bum. The truth is, Pearl and I have LOOOOOONNNNNGGGGGG work days. If you looked at the time we invested over these past two weeks just configuring the PrestaShop shipping options… you would never think that we somehow have easy, work free lives!

That is, by the way, one of the best features of the upgrade. Because of the limitations of using Paypal as our “cart”, we were stuck with only flat rate shipping as an option. We couldn’t offer other shipping options because of the way Paypal determines shipping. Now we offer three different shipping rates/speeds. That feature alone will collectively save our customers hundreds of dollars in the next few months.

Another very important reason for the upgrade was that we wanted to be able to offer coupons and vouchers and other special deals without having to make the customers jump through a bunch of hoops. I had written code to offer coupons on the old site, but it was very inconvenient and really didn’t help the customers (or us for that matter) as well as it should have.

Now we have the ability to offer coupon codes and other great deals that we will most certainly be taking advantage of in the near future. Our first sale will be called the “Because We Can Sale”, celebrating this new functionality of the site.

So yes, this is cause for celebration! After so many “man hours” invested into this project, we have finally launched the changes. To see the site for yourself, please feel free to take it for a spin at http://www.tigermusicstore.com.

Jack Melick Gig

Every once in a while I get a call to work with a big band from Dallas lead by a wonderful pianist named Jack Melick. I may have written about this band before, but I think it’s worth saying again. The one thing I enjoy most about working with the Jack Melick Orchestra is that the band has so much fun on the gig. They have so much fun you would think they are playing in a blues band or some sort of top 40 party band. But no, their style leans more towards high society two beat stuff that is more typically used for ballroom dancing than wild parties. That tells you the band really enjoys what they do and their happiness is infectious.

Jam Session

Yesterday I also went to a jam session, which I rarely do anymore. The main reason I went is because I want to start going to the jams with some of my adult students so we can talk about what happens at the sessions in our lessons. This week was supposed to be the week we were going to do that, but the session host changed owners over the weekend and I wanted to make sure it was still the kind of place that would serve the purpose we need it for.

That said, next week will be our first monthly adult student jam night. The jam session is at a nice restaurant in the Heights called Cafe Brussels. Here is the official info that Erin Wright posted on Jazz Houston:

Cafe Brussels
1718 Houston Ave. (corner of Crockett and Houston Ave)
Houston, TX 77007

The kitchen is open! Just spoke to Catherine Duwez this morning and tonight is the night to check out the new menu featuring her specialty Mussels and Fries. Also on the menu… beef stew, soups, chicken, pork etc mmmmmm!

Along with the delicious food we have a delicious band featuring pianist Art Fristoe, bassist David Craig, drummer Joel Fulgham, and vibraphonist Harry Sheppard.

I can’t wait to try the new food!
Please come see us and all the new exciting changes.

No Time for Being Tired

Lot’s of work was completed this week and it feels good to have it done. But I have never been one for resting on my laurels. We are on our way to the next phase in our business plan with just enough time to catch our breath before we dig right back into it all over again. Lot’s of exciting things on the horizon! I’ll write more about those things here on the blog as they come to fruition.

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