The Perfect Music for a Wedding Ceremony

Skills And Experience That Can Help You Work In Music Tour Road Management

If you love music and travel — but aren’t much of a musician yourself — you might wish to explore the career of working as a music tour road manager. Whether you’re just doing this job for some friends who have started a band or you’ve decided to find an educational course that will teach you the ropes, it’s useful to think about the skills and experience that you possess before you go down this road. Working as a tour road manager can be challenging and the long hours, time away from home and frequent need for managing crises mean that this job isn’t for everyone. If these factors don’t daunt you, however, you might be perfectly suited for this role. Here are some skills and experience to think about. Dealing With Varied Personalities It’s ideal if you have some experience in a managerial role, as you’ll need to be able to handle a group of people — many of whom have varied personalities. A tour manager is responsible for getting the band to the gig on time, above all else, which means that you’ll need to occasionally be forceful to make sure timelines are kept. Some of the artists won’t give you trouble, but others might need to be pushed along the way; you’ll want to be ready to do so. Thinking Of A “Plan B” Many different things can go wrong on a music tour, whether it’s a flat tire on the van carrying you to the gig or gear that is stolen from the venue after soundcheck. To be a tour manager, you’ll need to think of a “Plan B” quickly. People will turn to you to know what to do when an unexpected crisis occurs, and you’ll be counted upon to provide the answer. Although you’ll refine this ability through experience, it’s helpful to be a quick thinker and not afraid to try something new. Working In Less-Than-Optimal Surroundings You should be the type of person who can get things done regardless of your surroundings. For example, you might need to be having multiple conversations via text message at the same time, or having a phone call while you’re stopped briefly at a rest stop on the interstate. Successful music tour managers are those who can work in any type of environment; if you need a desk and a quiet space, this likely isn’t a career […]

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2 Innovative Short Film Music Videos by Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson is responsible for creating some of the worlds most influential short film music videos. Unlike other artists who cut together short music videos that were used to play on MTV, Jackson would spend time to create long pieces that qualify more as short films. While many of these were truncated and then aired on MTV, and later VH1, the originals were sometimes shown in their full length on special occasions. These served as inspiration for future recording artists and music video directors. Here are two important short films by Michael Jackson. One is almost never shown in it’s entirety while the other was crafted to be short enough so it could always be shown whole. Bad For his song “Bad,” Michael Jackson hired film director Martin Scorsese to shoot it and novelist Richard Price to write the scenario. He envisioned a story of a young man who had gone off to prep school and escaped the ghetto. However, when he returns home he finds himself caught up in the old turf wars and gang violence. The full-length short film begins with Michael Jackson on a bus with a bunch of other prep school kids. It’s shot in monochromatic colors. He then arrives home and is confronted by the gang and is taunted for not being “bad.” The scene then switches to the subway (this is the section where the main part of the song kicks in) and the film changes to full color and Michael dances around the subway defending himself in song against the charges that he’s not “bad” because he won’t rob people. Scorsese made great use of the subway station, creating dynamic tension between Jackson’s group and the opposing gang. It was also a visually diverse film style, ranging from the soft focus and muted colors of the opening to the harsh full color and frenzied movement of the second half. Beat It While “Beat It” didn’t have the same long length as many Jackson short films, it had a tremendous impact on the music video landscape. The song was much more “rock” than his previous efforts, thanks in parts to Quincy Jones discussing the band The Knack with Michael and the success of their smash hit My Sharonna. It solidified Jackson’s love of group choreography and the importance of narrative to music videos. Instead of simply showing a band performing, artists saw how important […]

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Five Things That Cause A Piano To Go Out Of Tune

To keep a piano in tune and in optimal condition, it is typically recommended that tunings be scheduled twice per year. This will help counteract the numerous factors that put pressure on a piano’s strings and tuning pins and cause the piano to go out of tune over time. The following are five of the major factors involved in making a piano go out of tune between tunings: Changes in temperature Temperature changes naturally cause any material to expand and contract. Temperature changes cause slight movement and adjustments in the metal and wooden materials that make up a piano, which impacts a piano’s tuning and slowly makes a piano go out of tune.  Regulating the temperature of the room in which a piano is kept is therefore important in maximizing the effectiveness of a tuning.  Humidity Humidity is another climate factor that impacts a piano’s tuning. Humidity in the air can cause the wood of a piano to absorb moisture. This can cause it to expand and contract or move slightly over time. Humidity also impacts the tension of the strings of the piano. Changes in piano string tension can slightly change the sound the strings make when they are struck by the hammer. Some piano owners purchase a humidifier/dehumidifier unit that regulates humidity levels in the piano and minimizes the impact humidity has on the piano’s tuning.  Pushing down with excessive force on the keys If a piano player pushes down with excessive force, the hammer in the piano could slightly alter the positioning of the strings and cause tuning issues. As a result, pianos that are being played by especially young or inexperienced pianists may go out of tune faster than pianos that are being played by experts.  Moving the piano Tunings are generally necessary after a piano is moved. Any time a piano is moved, parts within the piano become jostled, and the tuning of the piano is compromised. In particular, the positioning of tuning pins within the pin block is likely to adjust slightly and cause tuning issues when a piano is moved to a new location. Natural degrading of wooden and metal parts over time Over the long term, a piano will go out of tune as its hardware weakens and as the wood and metal that make it up begin to degrade. As time goes on, the tuning pins in a piano are likely […]

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How Do You Make Money As A Musician? (Really.)

Whether you started out years ago picking tunes out on an old guitar or you honed your skills rapping on the streets, you have to transition from musician to business person at some point—if you want to start making money on your craft. It’s never too early to start thinking about publishing your work professionally. This is what you need to know. Who owns your music? If you’re a songwriter, the good news is that you’re richer than you think, because you already own your own music and publishing rights. The bad news is that you probably don’t have the slightest idea how to leverage that ownership into cash, which is what can take you from playing Friday nights at the local bar and struggling to make ends meet during the week to living solely off your creative efforts. How do you start getting paid for your music? Right now, you own 100% of your material, so it seems strange, but in order to start making money from the music, the best way to do it may be to assign 50% of what you own to a music publishing company. A music publishing company does several things for you: They will help you determine what exactly you have that’s ready to publish for money. A full-service music publishing company may also be able to set you up with a professional manager, who can help promote your music and network for you among various recording executives. They may help you produce a finished, professional recording to use as a demo. They can try to get you slots opening for other, more-well-known artists in order to expand your listening audience and marketability. And that’s just on the practical side of “getting your music out there” where more people can hear it and appreciate it. They also take care of another vital part of the music industry: protecting your copyright. While you own your music, protecting your rights to it is another story. If you have any doubt about how easy it can be for someone else to borrow your music for their own purposes, talk to the representatives of the estate of late guitarist Randy Wolfe, who fought a losing battle against Led Zeppelin for years over musical plagiarism. In order to earn money from your songs, there’s a lot of detail work that has to be done to protect the use […]

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Adding A Pickup To An Acoustic Guitar

The pure tone produced by an acoustic guitar is its most endearing quality, but a louder sound is sometimes needed for it to be heard amidst other musical instruments. Owners of acoustic guitars can choose to attach a pickup to ensure that their guitar is heard when necessary. A pickup is a small electrical device attached to the body of a guitar to pick up and transmit sound to an amplifier. An electrical wire is typically added to connect the pickup. Some owners are concerned about the appearance of electrical components added to an acoustic guitar. Fortunately, there are a few different installation methods from which to choose. In the sound hole A conspicuous method of attaching a pickup to an acoustic guitar is to install the pickup across the sound hole. The sound hole is the large opening on the face of the guitar body. There are potential drawbacks to a sound-hole pickup. Depending on your personal playing style, a sound-hole pickup might partially obstruct the full range of motion needed by your fingers. Another drawback of a sound-hole pickup is that installation may slightly scratch the surface of the guitar. If you only need amplification on a temporary basis, a less permanent installation is possible. On the soundboard A contact pickup can be placed anywhere along the wooden soundboard surrounding the sound hole. The small pickup can be attached to either the outside or the inside of the guitar body. A pickup mounted inside an acoustic guitar is relatively inconspicuous, but you may prefer an even smaller pickup. Under the saddle The saddle sits atop the bridge on the face of your guitar, supporting the tensioned strings. A saddle pickup consists of a thin strip of conductive material underneath the saddle. It is necessary to drill a small hole through the bridge to connect a saddle pickup. As with the other pickup designs, a method is needed to hide the connected wire. Acoustic guitars are typically built with a protruding pin at the end of the hollow body. The pin is designed to attach to a neck strap, allowing you to stand while performing. The end pin can be modified to also serve as a cable connection, allowing the pickup wire to remain hidden inside the guitar. If you are only recording a single acoustic guitar, a pickup is not necessary. With no other competing sounds, a regular […]

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Three Costs To Plan For When Your Child Takes Piano Lessons

Taking piano lessons not only teaches children how to read and play music; new research is showing that piano lessons actually raise a child’s IQ. If you’re considering enrolling your child in piano lessons, you have probably considered the cost of the lessons and perhaps the cost of a piano for your home. However, it’s important to also be aware of the following costs that parents with piano-playing children generally incur: Piano Tuning Costs Experts recommend having a piano tuned about one to three times per year. If you live in an area where the humidity levels change frequently, you will have to have your piano tuned more often than someone who lives in an area with constant humidity. Tuning involves adjusting the tension in the strings that are responsible for making the sounds within the piano in order to ensure the correct notes are emitted when they’re struck. The cost of tuning a piano varies by region, but you can expect to pay between $100 and $200 for a tuning session. If you are not sure how to find a tuner in your area, ask your child’s piano instructor if he or she can recommend someone. Piano Recital Fees As your child becomes more advanced, his or her instructor will likely recommend attending recitals. Recitals not only give your child a chance to show off his or her skills, but they also give your child something to work towards and keep him or her motivated to keep working hard in lessons. Some small recitals that take place just within your child’s piano school or among the teacher’s pupils may charge a fee, but larger recitals do typically charge a fee. These fees vary widely from a few dollars to a few hundred dollar, depending on their prestige. Of course, you can pick and choose which recitals your child attends based on your budget. Recital Outfit Costs Typical piano recital attire includes a knee-length skirt or dress with dress shoes for girls, and formal pants with a dress shirt, and sometimes a jacket, for boys. Your child may already have these items in their wardrobe, but if not, they will be an additional expense you’ll need to plan for once your child starts performing in recitals. You can spend as much or as little as you like on recital clothing. Unless your child is playing in highly prestigious recitals, middle-of-the-road […]

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A Guide To Buying Used Musical Instruments

When you’re first getting started with learning a musical instrument, you may not want to invest in a brand new, professional instrument. Thankfully, it’s often easy to buy a used student instrument without spending an arm and a leg. Here are some tips on how to buy a used musical instrument.  Choose a Good Source There are a few sources where you can find used musical instruments without paying the high prices of a dedicated music store. For instance, you may check your local paper and regional ads to locate deals nearby. Online bidding sites will often be a good source for buying musical instruments if you’re patient about tracking your bids.  If you want a compromise between cost and quality, professional pawn shops, like Oppleman L Music, are a great option for finding musical instruments. Pawn shops can offer you a good deal on instruments, since they acquire them at a low price. A pawn shop may also be more trustworthy than an anonymous seller, since their reputation depends on the quality of their products.  Bring Along an Expert Eye  If you are buying an instrument that you can inspect before you make the purchase, it’s a good idea to bring along someone who has expertise in the instrument. A local music teacher would be able to inspect the instrument and advise you on whether it’s good quality or not.  Get a Demo Hearing what the instrument actually sounds like can also help you make the right decision. Having a music teacher or a salesperson play the instrument can give you an idea of the sound quality. Even if you don’t have this option, you should still blow into the instrument or test each key to make sure it works.  Factor Repairs Into Your Bid Sometimes, when you’re blindly buying a used instrument, you can expect that certain repairs will be needed. Old woodwind instruments may have worn out pads that need to be replaced. A used piano may need to be retuned. When you’re deciding what price to offer for an instrument, consider the added cost of getting these repairs done first.  Buying a used musical instrument from a third party other than a music shop can be a great way to save money, as long as you’re willing to spend the time to thoroughly investigate each instrument. These tips should help you successfully navigate the used instrument market. 

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6 Benefits Of Piano Lessons For Children

If you are a parent, you may be considering piano lessons for your child. There is usually a cost associated with the lessons, but good musical training is priceless. Here are a few benefits of piano lessons for children: Strong Musical Foundation If your child learns piano, he or she can easily learn additional instruments. Basic knowledge of sheet music and rhythm are foundational to musical training and are both taught during piano lessons. Your young student may start out with the piano and go on to learn the guitar, flute, or saxophone. Stress Relief Even though your child is young, he or she still encounters stress. Expectations at school coupled with peer pressure can all add to a child’s anxiety level. Music is soothing and is known to have beneficial effects on blood pressure. In fact, one study suggests that soft music played in a clinical setting helps to ease patient anxiety. When your child listens to soft piano music as he or she practices, he or she may experience a similar reduction in blood pressure and stress. Helps Child Overcome Stage Fright Piano recitals help your child practice performing in public. If your child has suffered from stage fright in the past, the recitals can help him or her become confident enough to stand before crowds without being overcome by fear.  Improves Coordination As children grow, their coordination improves. However, good coordination sometimes takes practice. Piano playing requires a child to use both hands while looking at sheet music. Hands and fingers must move in tandem to play the music that the eyes are seeing. The resulting improvement in coordination can also help your child with other activities, such as sports. Increases Confidence Learning to do something well can make a child feel confident and special. As your child becomes a better pianist, he or she will be rewarded by compliments. The praise of others can help boost your youngster’s confidence. Support of Musical Talent If your child has already displayed signs of musical talent, allowing him or her to take piano lessons can provide the tools your child needs to progress musically. Alicia Keys began piano lessons when she was seven, and her debut album won five Grammy awards. Piano lessons can provide your child with confidence and skills that can be used in other areas of life. It’s best to start your child early so that he […]

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3 Reasons You Should Start Playing The Guitar

Many people go through phases in life where they want to be in a rock band. So, they buy a guitar and intend to take guitar lessons so they can learn how to play it. While rock stardom may not necessarily happen from learning to play the guitar, it can still be an enriching experience. Here are three reasons you should start playing the guitar. 1. Entertainment value. Imagine you are at a party, or even a wedding, and the entertainment has failed to show up. The hosts need someone to entertain their guests for a small period of time while they arrange for other entertainment for the rest of the party or event. If you learn how to play the guitar, you can be the one to save the day and provide some entertainment to appease the people while they wait. Of course, that means you will need to have your guitar with you in your car, but you likely will since many guitarists look for any opportunity to play their latest riffs for someone. 2. Additional income potential. A lot of people who take guitar lessons and learn how to play well end up playing in a band — even if it’s just a small band that plays local clubs and venues on weekends. While you are not necessarily going to make a lot of money doing this, it can still provide a small amount of additional income for you.  That’s not to say that you can’t make substantial income being a guitarist. If you are able to master your guitar-playing skills, you can even begin teaching others how to play. You could turn your passion for playing the guitar into a lucrative career if you combine playing small, paying gigs with getting paid to teach others how to play. 3. Good outlet for stress. Everyone needs to have a hobby of some sort to help them deal with stress from everyday life. Some people like to paint or sculpt, some people take up martial arts or play a sport — and some people find that playing the guitar helps them unwind from a stressful day. If you have a passion for playing the guitar, and genuinely love it, then it will likely give you the outlet you need to clear your mind of stressful events. Sure, there may be some songs that frustrate you a little because […]

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