Monthly Archives: March 2019

What You Should Know Before You Download Music Online

What You Should Know Before You Download Music Online

AMAUK19 - Showcases Day 1 - Empire Bar - 01 - Harrow Fair  -4151
Source: Flickr

Throughout the past several years, nearly everyone has become familiar with the music industry closing in on music-sharing websites that permit visitors to download music at no cost. Both company executives and artists believe that this practice is damaging the financial prospect of the industry as a whole. Why is that? Because individuals were gaining access to music files for free instead of purchasing the compact disc release, which resulted in a loss of revenue. The outcome was various lawsuits being filed against individuals, themselves, and the companies who provided the free access.

Since that time, however, new businesses have emerged that are designed to provide customers with a paid service to download music tunes. This advance appears to be working as the music industry’s revenue is continuing to stream in, as fans are enjoying quality music at a low monthly subscription rate. This option works especially well for anyone who has a favorite song, but doesn’t wish to purchase the entire CD for just that one song. Even with fee-based services, there are some restrictions that do apply and consumers must be cautious as to not violate existing copyright laws.

Not many websites continue to offer free file-sharing services in light of the recent lawsuits brought against their competitors, but they do still exist. Along with concerns surrounding their legality, these companies often lack in the premium sound quality that professional recordings offer. One interesting way to download music, freely and legally, is to visit a specific artist’s official website. During their earliest release, some musicians allow fans the opportunity to download music featuring the entire track of a new song. The purpose of this is to entice them into purchasing the entire CD by gaining their interest with one track. Because this usually relates to a new song promotion, these offers are usually limited and may expire fairly quickly.

The most common ways to download music is onto a computer or an MP3 player. Most computers feature software that will allow them to easily record a song for storage or playback. Once downloaded, consumers are not permitted to make additional copies and/or profit from this activity in any way. The download is for personal use only and cannot be redistributed or sold.

When you download music onto an MP3 player, a USB connection is generally required between your computer and the player. Before transferring music files, it is best to make sure that your MP3 player has the capability to support the song’s file format. All MP3 players can playback an .mp3 format, but many can also read .wma files.



Tips for Selecting a Wedding Band or DJ

Tips for Selecting a Wedding Band or DJ

ML_Soldaat_van Norden-4514
Source: Flickr

You’ve got the ring, your ceremony and reception sites are booked, and now your attention turns to the selection of entertainment for your wedding reception. Your decision will have a great impact on the outcome of your party. You know that music is a key ingredient in setting the mood for the affair.
Many factors will influence your choice of music for your reception. How large a group will you be entertaining? What size band will suit your room size and your budget? Most wedding audiences will include guests whose ages span from teenagers to grandparents. How can you be sure that your friends and your relatives will all rave to you about your band or DJ?
When to begin shopping for a wedding band or DJ
Begin shopping for bands 9 to 18 months in advance of your party, especially if your reception will be held on a Saturday night. Popular bands will often have their prime dates taken up to a year or more in advance, so get started early to ensure that you will have a good selection to choose from.
What to look for in a wedding band or DJ
Look for a band or DJ that has substantial experience performing at weddings. Most seasoned professionals can provide you with a list of country clubs and caterers that recommend their services. When interviewing a band or a DJ, ask for a list of the songs that they can play. Versatility is a key ingredient to your party’s success! You should be able to create a list of the songs that you want to hear or to provide a list of “please do not play’s!” Make sure that you feel comfortable and can communicate easily with your bandleader. He or she should be willing to learn your wedding song and to spend time helping to coordinate all the special touches at your celebration. You should be encouraged to express your preferences on all of the party’s details, including the control of the band’s volume.
Questions to ask before hiring a wedding band or DJ
Some questions that should be asked include: How many breaks will be taken? Will live music or taped music be provided during the breaks? How long will the dance sets be? Am I guaranteed to have the same musicians or DJ that I have seen on video or at a live showcase? Does the company have liability insurance? Should I plan to feed the entertainers?
If your budget is tight or if you are looking to create the atmosphere of a nightclub at your party, choosing a DJ might be right for you. DJ companies offer services that range from a single DJ entertainer to an elaborate DJ package that includes a DJ, an MC-entertainer, costumed dancers and laser-like light shows.
Whether you choose an exciting dance band complete with male and female vocalists and a horn section, an elegant smaller band or a DJ package, try to see the entertainers perform live at a showcase or other event. There is nothing like getting the real feel of a performance by previewing the entertainers in action. Most importantly, have fun shopping and planning for the most significant and exciting day of your life!



Grab A Harmonica

Grab A Harmonica

HR 185B 28Mar2019 Moment Photography
Source: Flickr

I love playing music for people to hear. Ever since I was little I had a knack for performance. My parents have endless hours of home videos of me and my sisters performing in all kinds of made-up bands. Rarely did a month go by when we were not practicing for some kind of performance and making posters so that are parents would know to come to the show. My mom always popped popcorn and brought snacks and they enjoyed our live shows just as they would a movie at the local theatre. As a child, I had no idea how much the support of my parents was instilling in me such a deep belief in my own abilities. I loved playing my harmonica most of all.

Looking back, I’m quite sure that I never had a harmonica lesson in all of my years of music playing. My father bought me a harmonica for my seventh birthday after I had been begging for one for nearly a year. When I wasn’t busy with my guitar or piano lessons, you could fin me on our front porch struggling to learn the harmonica on my own. It must have come somewhat naturally to me because I was playing it in a folk band by the time I entered high school.

My sisters and I became known in our town as budding musicians. This was a title we loved and desperately wanted to live up to. We would rush home from school each day and spend hours playing songs in our makeshift garage studio that my parents had so graciously turned over to us. I played my harmonica and sometimes played the guitar. My older sister was the lead singer of our little band and she played the violin sometimes too. The two youngest sisters worked hard to become proficient at the piano and the guitar. We had quite the little set up going on. I loved nothing more than the songs that I didn’t have to do anything other than stand and play my harmonica.

I have loved the harmonica I think because it is so simple and small. I’ve always been a simple person and I have strived to live simply in every way. So I guess my love for the tiny harmonica came to me honestly. I never owned more than one harmonica at once, though, because that would be excessive. So every year or so I’d sell my harmonica and buy an updated one that fit my mouth just right.

Playing the harmonica has been one of the smallest things yet one of the biggest blessings of my life.



Top Artists Join Music Project To Benefit The California Schools

Top Artists Join Music Project To Benefit The California Schools

R34L & Bluetech at the Chop Shop 03/2019
Source: Flickr

Over the past decade, music has been severely declining within the California schools. A recent study showed that within the past five years there has been a 50 percent decline in student participation in music programs. Additionally, it showed that one third of all music teachers have lost their jobs within that same time frame. The study predicts that music education will be eliminated from the California schools within the next ten years, unless dramatic changes occur. Music within the California schools system is at a critical juncture.

Singer Bonnie Raitt said, “It’s a shame we are depriving so many California children of the benefits of music in schools.” She stated that every child deserves the chance to develop their fullest with a well-rounded education, including the arts.

To that end, the California Arts Council spearheaded the California Music Project (CMP), a 401(c)(3) nonprofit, long-term initiative. The California schools, music industry executives, and the council will work together through the CMP to bring much needed revenues and music programs back into the California schools. The goals of the CMP are to:

• Provide grant funding to music teachers, music professionals, and the California schools to bring more music leaning to students;

• Develop joint ventures with universities, businesses, foundations and music-focused organizations to fund, pilot and expand music programs within the California schools; and

• Serve as an advocate to both the public and private sectors to further music as a core discipline, so that every California schools students has equal access.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed and approved a state budget with the California schools slated to receive an estimated $105 million in ongoing funding for arts education. That is an estimated $17-18 per student. Included is a one-time allocation of $500 million for arts, music and physical education equipment. Yet, it will not be enough to reverse the tremendous, almost ten-year decline of music education within the California schools. The California schools remain underfunded and understaffed in music education.

The CMP plans to heighten awareness and raise funds through all-star music CDs with top California performers, special events, and concerts around the state.

The first CD is scheduled for release in late October. Artists, publishers and labels donate all the songs and performances, with proceeds going to the CMP. It features a variety of genres from 18 California singers, musicians and bands. Included are: Los Lobos, Leela James, Beck, Dwight Yoakam, Warrne Zevon, Ben Harper, Jack Johnson, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and others.

The artists are very passionate about their work and want to see California schools students get some of the same attention they received while growing up around music. Working with the CMP, the artists may get their wish.



Songwriting Tips: Un-original Melodies Can Be A Good Thing…

“Songwriting Tips: Un-original Melodies Can Be A Good Thing…”

HR 045 28Mar2019 Moment Photography
Source: Flickr

The moment that people create a melody which they feel is great, many think it already sounds like another song. This is common, and I suffered from this many times. What you’ve got to understand is that ALL SONGS are RECYCLED MELODIES.

Every song has a ‘portion’ of the tune which will be the same as another. So don’t worry if you feel your song sounds like another.

What’s important to know here is that if your melody is a familiar one, then that’s a GOOD THING. I’m not talking about a ‘rip off’ here, I’m talking about a part(s) of your melody that sounds like another song(s).

Why is it a good thing? Because it means PEOPLE can RELATE TO THE MELODY even more. They will want to listen to your song because of the familiarity.

Remember, most people aren’t songwriters. So chances are, most people won’t even realize where it may or may not have been inspired from. And what if they do? Well… ultimately, as a whole, it will be your own words, your own tune and eventually with your own music. So it will be YOUR SONG. So don’t fret.

Here, I’ll share some methods that will jump start the process of creating a melody:

– Pick a song that you like and know *quite* well, and when you are NOT listening to it, hum the tune of the song. DON’T’ SING THE WORDS, just hum the melody. This way, you will think ‘melodically’. Eventually, you should force yourself to sing certain variations of the melody (ie. completely mess around with the tune). When this happens, you’ll end with your own melody.

– If you play an instrument (it doesn’t matter which or what level you are at) try and figure out the melody of another song on the instrument. If you figure it out easily, then mess around and CHANGE certain parts of it. Then SING (hum, la, etc) this CHANGED MELODY out aloud. If you can’t figure it out, then forget about it! CREATE A MELODY YOU FEEL IS CORRECT! Again, don’t prejudge while doing this. Just go where your fingers take you and just ‘la’ the tune simultaneously. Loop this melody once you feel you have something good.

– Grab a song that you DON’T KNOW AT ALL. Listen to the song once, and then listen to it again. The second time around, sing along to it. More than likely, you won’t remember the tune. This is normal! What do you do now? Yup. You guessed it. MAKE UPYOUR OWN MELODY to this obscure song. NOTE: This one may work better if you bought a CD of backing tracks that have no guide vocals on the songs. This way, you HAVE TO make up your own melody to a track that’s already playing. Just make sure you DON’T KNOW the songs….at all.

You have no idea how powerful this is. I’ve written fresh songs on one’s I had no clue about! And believe me, they are original songs – they don’t sound like a copy of anything at all. This is because of what I said earlier – ultimately it will be your own lyrics, your own message and your own music which then translates into your own song.

*Keeping The Melody Simple*

Lastly, there is absolutely no point in making a melody that’s ‘musically clever’. You’re not trying to impress musicians here. What you want is to create a melody that’s SIMPLE yet INTERESTING.

So how do you do this? Well, melodies often re-occur several times in a song. In fact, the verses and choruses alone will often have the tune repeating itself. It’s the basic structure of nearly all songs under the sun. The verses will repeat and so will the choruses.

SO….IF THE MELODY SOUNDS WORTHY ENOUGH TO BE REPEATED, THEN YOU’RE ON TO SOMETHING.



You Can Learn to Play the Guitar by Ear

You Can Learn to Play the Guitar by Ear

The White Buffalo
Source: Flickr

All professional musicians, whether they’re playing jazz, rock, bluegrass and country music, have spent their first years of practicing bent over a half speed record player. You might be wondering what does this have to do with trying to learn to play the guitar by ear. As you will learn from this article, it actually has a lot to do with it.

Slowing Things Down

In order to learn to play the guitar by ear you have to begin with learning the melodies, chords and leads from a recording. To be able to do this, you’ve got to slow them down a bit. Some exceptionally gifted people with really good ears are able to learn to play some slow songs just by listening to them at a normal speed. However, even those folks have problems with learning faster melodies and need to slow things down.

Most of us can’t even figure out slow songs just by listening to them at a normal speed. While most of us can match a note with our guitar or voice if it’s the only thing we’re hearing, we tend to get confused when lots of notes are played together. If you slow the music down, we can separate the notes and play them piece by piece until we learn the whole song.

Slowdown Technology

Years ago, the slowing down process was done using half speed tape recorders. However, as you slowed the music down, the pitch dropped. By the time you got to half speed, the pitch had already dropped a lot. Anyway, for most of us, half speed is still to fast. You will probably need a 1/10 speed in order to figure out certain pieces.

Fortunately, nowadays everything has been made easier with the aid of digital slowdown technology. You can now slow the melody down as much as you want, without having the pitch dropping.

Do You Really Have to Put So Much Work Into It?

You’re probably thinking that spending so much time on figuring out each note yourself must be awfully hard. Why not just buy a book and get over this part?

Of course, you can buy a book, but, as it usually happens with all music theory books, it will probably be gathering dust on your bookshelf forever. If you really want to learn to play the guitar by ear, you will have to get involved in the process and figure out the notes from a melody yourself.

While figuring out note by note on your own is the best way to go, consulting a transcription book from time to time while you’re trying to figure out the music is also good. Some beginner guitar players who want to learn to play the guitar by ear learn from a transcription book first and then play along with the original recording at a slower pace to get the rhythm.

You should learn to play the guitar by ear just because this way you get the most fun. Playing the guitar should be fun and this is why you should have started to learn it in the first place. However, the more you time you invest into the learning process by getting involved in practical activities, the faster the progress.



30. Christmas Plays/Performances

30. Christmas Plays/Performances

EAA_3201r
Source: Flickr

It’s always a good thing when families can enjoy outings together.
Attending Christmas plays, performances and concerts offer wonderful holiday
entertainment for all members of the family. Attending Christmas performances
and concerts offers wonderful entertainment for the entire family and provides
another way to enjoy the festivities of the Christmas season.
Families usually don’t have to venture too far from their home to enjoy a
Christmas play or concert. That’s because amateur actors, singers and budding
musicians in their neighborhood will usually take part in several Christmas
performances for local residents. These amateur but entertaining events can be
found at local schools, churches or at a community theater or performance
center.
It’s very popular for those groups to stage performances of the Nativity
story, or other Christmas related works such as ‘A Christmas Carol.’ churches
and school groups may even have a complete concert series that includes a full-
length production of a play along with choirs, soloists and the band singing
Christmas carols and other Christmas songs.
What makes local Christmas performances special is that members of the
community and maybe even of your own household can be among the entertainers.
It is therefore special to see familiar faces doing something interesting and
different. For those who are budget-conscious, the performances are usually
priced to be very affordable, therefore offering an economic incentive to go out
and have an enjoyable afternoon or evening.
Those people who are lovers of the arts and who are more interested in
seeing a professional performance will likely also have a professional
theatrical company within reasonable proximity of their residence. Professional
groups may also perform Christmas classics such as ‘A Christmas Carol’ or they
may do another dramatic production from the works of other playwrights.
Music lovers also have a variety of performances to enjoy at Christmas
time. While one can always catch various groups singing carols in downtown areas
or at malls, there are other places to hear rich, melodious performances of
Christmas music. These include concerts by acclaimed or recognized
conservatories, orchestras, symphonies and renowned choir groups.
The beauty of hearing Christmas music by these groups is in the accompaniment of
instruments and the harmonious blending of voices, which all happens in a venue
that has acoustic features to optimize the auditory pleasure of the
performances. The different components that together make the whole performance
offers a richer quality to Christmas songs and carols that may be described as
‘sounding heavenly. ‘
Another popular artistic performance that is popular during the Christmas season
is classical dance in the form of ballet, and particularly the performance of
the ‘Nutcracker’ ballet. With music written by Tchaikovsky, the story is about
a young girl who has a dream on Christmas Eve of a Nutcracker Prince and a
fierce battle with a Mouse King that has seven heads. After a fierce battle
between the Nutcracker, who leads an army of toy soldiers, and the Mouse King
who leads an army of mice, the Nutcracker is captured. But the little girl
throws her slipper at the Mouse King, hits him in the head and kills him. In the
end, the Nutcracker turns into a Prince and takes the little girl to the magical
and enchanting Land of Snow with dancing snowflakes and the Land of Sweets with
the Sugar Plum Fairy.
Attending Christmas plays, concerts or musical performances serves the basic
purpose of providing enjoyment, but it can also help young people, and even
adults, to develop an appreciation for the arts. Seeing different variations and
the creativity in performances of Christmas plays, as well as hearing different
renditions of Christmas songs, can be the first exposure that leads to a
lifelong love of the arts and maybe a dream to pursue a career in the arts.



How To Find The Best Slow Downer

How To Find The Best Slow Downer

Marianas Trench - Josh Ramsay
Source: Flickr


Learning how to play guitar can be very difficult for the beginners and for those who don’t have such a great ear.
However, since recently the music industry includes a useful method for helping those people. Using a slow downer music tool is more and more common among the musicians as these products offer lots of advantages. Not only that a slow downer can help you to learn complex songs that were unapproachable for you before but it can also help to significantly improve your skills as a musician. Besides, you will definitely find this kind of software very easy to use as they have a friendly interface and they include many simple options that can do a lot for you.

You should however search for the proper slow downer for you as you will find that not all of them offer you the same options. As you want to use a tool according to your present skills and needs, you have to search for the slow downer that can offer you the best solution. Maybe the first thing you want to know is how fast you can download a slow downer and what kind of options it includes. In general, these tools have a small size so it will be very easy to download it. When it comes to the options included by the slow downers you will get to use many utilities from a slow down MP3 music to a complete control over the way you listen to the music.

The slow downer is also a great tool for teachers as their students will surely increase their interest once they learn their favorite songs faster than before. Besides, it will be much easier for them to play by ear and they will greatly improve their skills without spending so much time for that. Imagine your students will get to hear played note by note any song they want and this way they will have the possibility to play it while they hear the song. Remember “Anyone can play guitar” from Radiohead? Well, the slow downer can surely get more and more talented people to easily learn how to handle with this instrument.

A great thing when it comes to slow downer is that you can easily create the loop points when you want only with some simple clicks. More than that, you can also benefit from using a speed trainer option, which will allow you not only to listen to the music very slow but also to increase the speed when you think it is necessary.

The best thing to do when you search for the proper slow downer is to first try the free trial. This won’t be hard, as many companies that provide such software usually offer this option. By trying more such products you will definitely get to know which one fits your needs best. The only thing that you will have to do is to spend some time near your computer as they are generally distributed on the Internet. Why hesitate to use a slow downer when this can be the fastest way for you to get to greatly play the guitar? Read users reviews and then use a slow downer to understand what they are trying to say.



XM Radio Categories

XM Radio Categories

Marianas Trench - Matt Webb
Source: Flickr

Here are the main music categories that you can find on XM satellite radio broadcasts:
The Decades – songs from the 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s
Country – classic country hits are at home here, but you will also get a good share of new pop country and blue grass country.
Hits – this is for all hit lovers out there. Packed with Top 20 on Channel 20, the hits XM Radio channels also include some FM channels: KISS FM in LA or Houston’s Pop FM station, KMIX. You also get MTV and VH1 stations and if you’re in the mood for some popular love songs you can tune into The Heart and Lite channel. Another interesting channel is Cinemagic, where you will be able to listen to all your favorite movie soundtracks without being bothered by commercials. There are also two Christian rock channels and a classic alternative channel.
Rock – XM Radio features 10 commercial free channels dedicated to rock:
* Deep Tracks: classic and contemporary hits
* Bone Yard and XM Liquid Metal: the first channel goes with classic hard rock while the XM Liquid Metal plays hardcore metal.
* Fred: there is a lot of classic alternative music, some 80s alternative rock and punk music
* Top Tracks: classic rock tracks
* Unsigned: unsigned bands
* XMU, XM Café, the Loft, XM Music Lab: soft rock, eclectic rock and any other rock type that doesn’t fit anywhere else
Urban – rap and hip hop, both modern and from the 80s.
Jazz & Blues – 6 channels altogether out of which four are commercial free
Dance – techno and trance music rules here, but you also get some disco music
Latin – 5 commercial free channels of Latin, Spanish and Mexican hits.
International Music – 5 channels of music from around the world. You might find these five channels a welcomed break from all the music you are used to. Fresh music from around the world is presented daily.
Classical – classical music from both famous and less renown classical musicians. You get the XM Pops, XM Classics, Vox and Fine Tuning. As you would expect, all 4 channels are commercial free.
Kids – Radio Disney and XM for Kids. Excellent programs that will keep your kid busy and happy for a long time.
News – you will get Fox News, CNN Headline News plus other TV related news channels. They feature XM commercials.
Sports – you will get channels like ESPN Radio, ESPN News, Fox Sports Radio, Sporting News, NASCAR Radio. These channels cover most of the important sporting events in the United States but you can also get international sports news here.
Comedy – both family oriented comedy stiles and uncensored comedy bits. These channels are commercial free, which is really enjoyable.
Talk & Variety – there are different talk channels and shows that are really engaging, such as E! Entertainment Radio, ABC News and Talk, Buzz XM, Ask channel, The Power and Family Talk. However, these channels have plenty of commercial time which is a bit of a disappointment from a paid subscription service.
Variation and content

These are the things both XM Radio and Sirius are after. With over 100 channels, each provider is able to identify and target all the important age and social groups in the United States. When it comes to music, there are extremely specialized channels on XM Radio, so the consumer knows exactly what kind of music they will run into on that particular channel. The kids channels are pretty good and the sports channels are also ok. If you like to get your news TV style, XM Radio’s choice of channels is also interesting. The fact that commercials are present is not that bothering, as they are only allowed to play 6 minutes of commercials per hour. However, some of the music channels are kept 100% commercial free, which is good news for music fans who do not want their audition to be interrupted by intrusive commercials.



Learning to Play the Piano: Secrets Revealed

Learning to Play the Piano: Secrets Revealed

TREEFORT 2019
Source: Flickr

Pianos are popular instruments that need no further introduction. Everybody knows that with every tone the piano makes marks the beginning of a beautiful melody. But not all musicians can be the chosen ones. Not all can cross the line between a novice and a competitive musician.

For expert musicians, the traditional way is just the start. They need to discover new methods on how to play the piano no other musician can. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try to keep on practicing, it just doesn’t payoff.

Channeling your energy through the language of music is what a lot of people wanted to learn. But to be an exceptional performer is more than just learning the keys. One basic secret to become more adept is to actually play and not continue with the boring rituals that most beginners do. The money that you paid for those private lessons wouldn’t be worth the while without you having a different view.

There are only 4 secrets to a successful and quick way to play the piano. Yes, it’s not three this time. Just to be different. Those who are interested, carry on…

Secret # 1

Know the notes efficiently. You could do this in 2 ways. First, you have read the sheets. Play every note as it’s supposed to be. Then follow the chords that were made for music. Choose songs that are easy to memorize and imitate. Then, if you think that you’re skillful enough, learn the hard ones.

The second way to effectively know the notes is to play it by ear. Familiarize yourself with the notes just by using your ear. A blind person can do this so why can’t you? Sometimes all it takes is dash of creativeness to be able to play not by eyes or ears but by heart.

Once you have been keen in knowing these, you could try playing without lead sheets.

Secret # 2

Develop a high level of self-esteem and confidence that wouldn’t be shrugged by any problem or difficulty. Learning to play something totally different requires pure patience. It’s all about attitude. Maintaining a positive outlook will definitely help you conquer whatever shortcomings may creep. Playing the piano is a tedious task. It is also quite boring especially if you’re not just getting there; if you’re not crossing the line.

Aside from the latter, you have to invest a lot of self-confidence to play whatever you want. A sprinkle of self-confidence make you shine and look good.

Secret # 3

Practice. Even if it’s not working out the way you wanted it to be, just do it. The best pianists are made through the hands of rigid practice. Without practice there would be no professionals pianists. The best trick to be adept in playing is the long hours spent in front of the piano.

Secret # 4

Get into the rhythm. Jam with it. Play with the music that you hear. Improvise like a professional musician. The unity of music and the power of song if achieved create a beautiful rhythm that entices listeners.

If you achieve in doing these four, you’re good to go. But you have to remember that even in the event of impossible times; all you need to have is faith in yourself and the music that you play. Oh and one more thing, have fun.



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