Thursday, November 30, 2006

Exciting Improvising How to Make Up Music Out Of Your Head As You Play

Improvisation (also known as improvising) is the act of making something up as you go along -- an act with which we all have a little experience.

Remember playing House or Doctor as a child, letting the game go wherever your mind would take you? That was improvisation. No rules, no boundaries, just the limitless potential of your imagination.

Similarly, musical improvisation is the act of "writing" (creating it as you play) a song while performing it, a technique found most often in jazz and bluegrass (but can be traced back to renowned classical improvisers like Handel and Bach). Of course, it's a little more complicated than an imaginative children's game. Though improvisation is a highly creative and flexible technique, it requires great skill on the part of the musician. A musician involved in an improvisation must have a detailed knowledge of chord structure and complicated scales and modes. The musician must also have an intuitive ability to structure a song on the fly; great improvisation thrives on its ability to sound not improvised but rather wholly composed. That illusion, the ability of a song to seem anything but spontaneously made up, is part of improvisation's allure.

There are two basic forms of improvisation: structured improvisation and free improvisation. Structured improvisation, though a contradiction in terms, is the most common of the two. In this form, musicians will use a pre-determined series of chord changes, usually held down by the rhythm section, as the song's base. The lead instrument in the improvisation (sometimes also pre-determined) then have the freedom to create new melodies and harmonies from these pre-determined chords. The flexibility of this improvisation form is dependent on the flexibility of the chord changes, and the musicians involved must be able to play exactly what they hear in their heads, as some complicated changes may not allow for large deviations.

If we were to improvise on a song such as "Billy Boy", for example, we would follow the chord progressions of the song, but make up a different melody for it. Some musicians choose to stay fairly close to the melody by using neighboring tones and half-step slides and so on; other musicians feel free to completely abandon the traditional melody and make up a new melody entirely.

In addition to songs, many musicians in the jazz and rhythm & blues tradition improvise endlessly on the 12-bar blues, which has a chord progression using only the I, IV and V chords (also known as the "primary chords" of a given key) of whatever key the musicians are playing in. For example, if a jazz group was playing in the key of Bb, the improvisations would be based on the I, IV and V chords in the key of Bb: namely Bb, Eb, and F.

Of course musicians also add extra notes to chords such as the 7th -- especially in the blues -- and sometimes also change the harmony somewhat from time to time. But the recurring theme always reverts to the I - IV - V formula.

Free improvisation, on the other hand, is far more like a game of House or Doctor -- it has no rules. Instead of focusing on harmony or melody, free improvisation focuses on the feeling and texture of the music and the way the instruments complement each other. This form tends to be far more experimental and rarely adheres to one style or genre or music -- it is, quite simply, what it is.

A Mix CD A Very Personal Gift

In this age of CDRW drives and digital music, it's easier than ever to create a CD of various songs for your friends. This is a lot of fun, because not only can you bring a smile to your friends' faces with a thoughtful gift, but you also expose each other to bands and songs the other may have never heard before.

However, there is a certain "art" to creating a good mix CD, and here are some tips to help you:


You may find you didn't choose your song list or order as well as you could have. If you've built a playlist before burning the CD, you can listen to it a few times to make sure the flow is what you were aiming for. You'll also save money and the environment by not having to throw away a bunch of CDs if you change your mind.


Unless you're making a "best of" compilation for a specific group, it's best to only have one song per unique band per CD. Unless all of your chosen songs are particularly short, you'll only get 15-20 songs per CD anyway, so there's really no need for repeats.


Think of a movie soundtrack. It usually starts out with either a fast-paced or upbeat song, slows down, and then picks back up again. Your mix should do the same. This allows the listener to ride the "wave" of emotions and will increase its chances of being listened to repeatedly.


If you've ever made a mix CD before, you may have noticed that newer songs always seem louder than older songs, even if you extracted them from their CDs with the same program, computer, and settings. It can be somewhat annoying to the listener if he or she has to keep adjusting the volume while the CD is playing. Various CD burning and MP3 extraction software have a setting to keep the volume the same between different tracks. You can also use a separate utility, such as MP3 Gain to adjust the music files themselves.


Using a recorded piece of dialog from a movie or television show can really set the mood for the entire disc. For added effect, you can add samples throughout the CD or as the final track.


Don't shift genres or pacing too quickly between songs. You can almost disorient your listener by going from a slow country ballad, to a fast-paced speed metal song, then following that with a classical piano piece. With some well-chosen songs in between, you can pull off having all three of these types of songs on the same CD, but it takes a lot of thought in order to do this successfully.

You'll find that making mix CDs gets easier each time you do it, so don't fret if you think you're spending too much time getting it together. If your friends love and appreciate it, it'll be worth every minute you spent.

Using a MP3 Player to Learn Songs on Guitar

How can you use an Ipod or MP3 Player to learn a song on guitar faster? I asked myself that question a few weeks back, and started to learn ways I can implement my two favorite toys, my guitar and my MP3 player.

Here is what I did:

1. I recorded rhythm tracks on a drum machine and converted the files to MP3s and upload them to my MP3 Player.
2. I used these tracks to jam along with and improve my rhythm playing.
3. After finding guitar TAB for a song I wanted to learn, I ripped the song from my CD collection and upload it to my player
4. I used my amp with head phones only.
5. I put in the ear buds for the MP3 Player, and then put the amplifiers head phones over top.
6. Adjust the volume of the MP3 player and amplifier so the balance between the two is correct when playing. Be careful not to turn the volume too high, ear damage can happened if you are not careful.

Now play the song you want to learn on the MP3 player and use the guitar TAB to play along with the song. This method helps you learn timing and phrasing similar to the actual recording. It also forces better rhythm playing, since you will be trying to match the rhythm of the original recording.

It is important that you work with the TAB for a little while before you start using the MP3 player to jam along with. Learn the basic rhythm patterns, chords, scales and the key of the song. Make sure you listen to the song on the MP3 player as a clue to how the riffs work in the song. Then sit down and study the TAB until you have the basic riff worked out. After you have accomplished the basics it is time to start jamming along to the song with your MP3 player.

It may be difficult at first to keep up with the original recording, but you can set up most players to auto repeat a song, allowing you the chance to repeat the song until you start to improve. Repetition and perseverance are the secret to learning how to play any song or musical instrument.

With this method you will be surprised how fast you can learn your favorite song. By using this system I have been able to reduce the amount of time it takes to learn a song by more than 50%.

Relax With Your Favorite Music Style

All of us like listening to music and each one of us has our individualistic preferences. We have at times listened to the Go-Gos in a car or sang the Melody; ourselves at our graduation. We may have listened to Ode to Joy at a wedding and heard Bruce Springsteen or Madonna while in college. Even though tastes differ, each one of us listens to music and has a favorite type of music and a favorite singer or band.

Music is not only fun but also gratifying. It has a soothing effect on the listener and calms the nerves. Music touches our lives in various ways that are sometimes conspicuous and sometimes subtle. And that is the reason why it is uncommon to find someone who does not listen to any kind of music.

Dentists play music in their waiting rooms and clinics. Many operation theatres have channel music running. Drivers prefer to drive through a maze of unending traffic while listening to music and even baseball players have been known to hum along during warm-up. These days most corporate houses have unobtrusive instrumental music playing in their offices all the time. This reduces job stress.

It seems that the reason why music has a comforting effect on us is because it reminds us of the first time we heard it in our mother's womb. Thus it provides us with a sense of security and well being. Many researches have been done on the physiological aspect of music and it has been discovered that Celtic or Native American music wherein the flute dominates is most relaxing. The serotonin in the body increases with the effect of music and this provides us with a feeling of elevation. Music also is known to reduce the heart rate and increase body temperature. In fact it has also been found out that any kind of music performed in person helps to put the left and the right brain in sync. Those performing also go through a cathartic effect and get a sense of accomplishment.

There are ways in which one can enhance this effect of music. The best way to de-stress yourself is to lie back with a pair of headphones and become a part of the music. Select music that has a pace slower than 72 minutes per minute. This will ease your heartbeat and relax you. Combine music with your morning walk and you will feel doubly rejuvenated by combining the goodness of exercise and music.

Sounds of nature are music to the ears and they can have a similar effect. Sit back on the garden bench and hear the music of the birds, the cricket, the wind and the rustling leaves. You can also find the sounds of the woods or the ocean captured in a CD these days.

Choose any kind of music that you like for relaxation. It is important that you enjoy the general hum and beat of the chosen music to be able to extract the maximum benefit. In our normal lives, we tend to get too busy in our past paced lives to take enough advantage of this cathartic effect of euphony.

Buying a Bass Guitar Package for the New Guitarist for Christmas 2006

A bass guitar package is a great gift for the budding guitarist. The bass works closely with the drums to form a songs structure and beat. This makes it an appealing instrument for people, especially with rock music fans and those desiring to be in a band.

There are plenty of bass guitar package choices out there for the electric bass. These packages are designed to include everything your recipient needs to get started playing the base. This includes the electric bass guitar, the amplifier, and other accessories.

Here is some more information on buying a bass guitar package for the new guitarist for Christmas in 2006.

The Choices

In terms of brands, there are several packages to choose from. Check out the packs by Squier, Silvertone, Yamaha, and Ibanez to start out with. Ask your budding new guitarist which guitar makers they like the best. If they do not know, there are several ways you can make a choice. These include having the guitarist test out the different bass guitars in a music shop, purchasing one based on a factor such as cost or the accessories that come with it, or you can simply choose one randomly and hope for the best.

Where to Shop

There are also several places you can purchase a bass guitar package. You can go to a music store or you can shop online. Online is a really great choice because you can often find the best deals. If you are determined to have the new bass guitarist test out the different instruments, they can visit a music store to try them out and then you can purchase them online.

What is in the Pack?

There are two things that are consistent no matter which electric bass guitar package you buy. These are the bass guitar and the amplifier. The amplifier helps generate the sound. There are also other accessories that can be found. For example, in the Ibanez IJSB90 Jumpstart Bassics bass guitar package you will find an Ibanez GSR4 bass guitar, Ibanez 10 Watt amplifier, guitar strap, electronic tuner, a gig bag, picks, a cable, and a pouch for the accessories. The Squier Bass Pak includes a Squier® Affinity Series™ P Bass®, a Fender® Rumble 15 Amp, a strap, gig bag, cable, headphones, and a video.

Bass Guitar Pack

Based on the two examples with the Squier and the Ibanez bass packages, you can see that the two come with slightly different accessories. This is just one thing to consider when looking at all your options. Remember that the best way to purchase one of these as a gift is to simply ask the aspiring bassist which ones they truly prefer. Of course, if you want it to be a surprise you can just make a decision but include the receipt, just in case!

Buying a Drum Kit for the Aspiring Drummer in Your Family

When it comes to the beginning drummer, there are a few things to keep in mind when selecting a drum kit. Yes, drums are noisy and can take up a lot of space in a room. But they are also a rewarding instrument to learn how to play.

There are so many choices when considering which drum kit to purchase for the aspiring drummer in your family. This includes cost, versatility, quality, and whether or not you want an electric kit or acoustic kit.

Here is some advice that will help you purchase a drum kit for the aspiring drummer in your family.

Price Considerations

On the one hand, you can purchase a drum kit solely because of its cost. There are some pretty decent and really inexpensive drum kits out there that will definitely serve the purposes of a beginning drummer. The low cost is nice because if they do not stick it out, you did not lose as much money as you would have if you purchased a more expensive drum it.

Quality Considerations

On the other hand, if you purchase an inexpensive drum kit and they become serious about the instrument, then they will need a new drum kit. For an intermediate or advanced player, the beginners kits just wont cut it.

For one thing, quality kits sound better, they are more durable, and many come with a lot more accessories that are tailored to the genre of music you play. For example, if you are primarily a drummer for Latin music then your kit will look a lot different than a rock drummer.

This is a great thing to consider if your aspiring drummer has already taken a few lessons, is a drummer in the school band, or you can sense they will stick with it. If none of these are true, consider purchasing a less expensive kit.

Meeting Half Way

Of course, there are plenty of drum kits out there that serve a good compromise between the two. If you want something that is not too expensive and still sounds good, there is plenty of middle of the road drum kits that will serve the purpose. This is a good idea because it wont dent the pocket too badly if they do not stick with it and it will last a lot longer than an inexpensive kit because they are not just for beginners. Overall, when purchasing the drum kit for the aspiring drummer, there a lot of factors to consider and if you do not make the right choice, you can always return it.

Buying a Guitar for Christmas for the Experienced Guitarist

Sure, getting a guitar pack for a beginner is certainly more than acceptable. The goal in the beginning is to just get started. But for experienced guitar players, purchasing a new guitar is a delicate process. They know what sound they like. They know how they like the strings and neck to feel. They will want a guitar that they feel bonded to.

So, what do you do if you want to purchase a guitar for Christmas for the experienced guitar player? It may seem like a daunting task, but if you keep in mind that there are certain brands and styles that experienced guitar players desire, this could make things a lot easier for you.

Here is some more information about purchasing a guitar as a Christmas gift for the experienced guitar player.

Custom Guitars

Several guitar companies offer custom guitars. In fact, a custom guitar is a great way to personalize the guitar. However, if you choose to go the custom guitar route, you may want to consult with the guitarist. With all the different types of woods and body styles out there, it will be almost impossible to guess which guitar will make them happy. Brands to check out for custom guitars include Fender and Parker.

Exclusive Brands

Certain brands, such as Fender, Gibson, and Parker have multiple styles that appeal to the experienced guitar player. So what does a guitar player with a lot of experience desire in a guitar? That completely depends on personal preferences, the style of music they play, etc. One that that remains consistent is that these players require an instrument that is well made and sounds good. These brands deliver.

How to Choose

The best way to choose the right guitar is to involve the guitar player as much as possible. If they favor Parker guitars and you get them a Gibson, then they would not be happy with the purchase no matter how good the Gibson is supposed to be. You will also do your own research. Read product reviews, talk to other guitar players, and test some of the guitars. Or if you do not play, go with the guitar player you are buying the gift for and watch them test the guitars out. The only way to really tell if a guitar will work is by testing it. Every guitar made play differently even when they are the exact same model and brand. To know which guitar is exceptional requires a experienced touch.

Buying a Digital Piano for the Aspiring Pianist in Your Family

The piano is a great instrument to learn and an excellent one for the beginning musician. A variety of musical styles can be played on the piano including rock, jazz, show tunes, blues, and classical music. This is a great way to expose your aspiring pianist to a variety of musical styles and also enhance their creativity and musical know-how.

Instead of purchasing a bulky traditional piano, why not opt for its space saving counterpart- the digital piano? A digital piano can be purchased to have the feel of a regular piano key but not all of them come this way. You can find full piano size digital pianos or smaller varieties if your aspiring pianist is just a beginner. Here is some additional information that will help you make a digital piano purchase.

Why Purchase a Digital Piano?

While you can find digital pianos that are quite expensive, most are quite affordable. However, a new acoustic piano can cost thousands of dollars depending on the style. Digital pianos cost much less in general than acoustic pianos.

There are other reasons why digital pianos are a great purchase. They save space because they take up less room. This make sit ideal for smaller homes or to put in your childs room. Also, they inspire creativity and enhance the learning experience because a lot also come with drum beats and different settings to mimic different instruments and styles.

Both the space saving aspect and the money saving aspect are huge considerations especially if your aspiring pianist is a complete beginner. It would be really upsetting if you purchased an acoustic piano only to realize that your child actually did not like it. If you purchase a digital piano, then you did not waste a lot of money.

Making Decisions

The first thing you should do when purchasing a digital piano is to do some research. Find out what is out there. Visit a few music stores to try some of them out. Read reviews. Talk to other musicians. Once you narrow down your choices, you can do some price matching and comparing.

Before you are ready to make your purchase, make sure you test it again. Testing an instrument a few times on different days is a good idea because you could have different impressions of it. And, if you decide to purchase it online, it is also a good idea to go to a store before you make the purchase.

When it comes time to buy the digital piano, you will know that you prepared for it as best as possible.

Karaoke Machines, Features And Fun

There are many different types of karaoke machines on the market today. Whether you are planning a party, or simply want to entertain a few friends, there is a karaoke machine out there to fit your needs. While many people are using computers for this purpose, there are still many advantages to owning an actual karaoke machine. Portability is, perhaps, one of the biggest advantages, as it allows you to transport the machine from one location to another both quickly and easily. It also allows you to set it up in different rooms of the house in order to accommodate the varying number of participating guests.

There are several features to look for when deciding to purchase a karaoke machine, many of which are now standard and, are therefore, found on many machines. Still, you should be aware of the features you want, and check to see that the machine you purchase has them.

A basic karaoke machine consists of audio input for connecting external electronic audio devices such as tape decks, CD players, and now, MP3 players, a means of altering the pitch of the actual music, (not the pitch of the singer's voice), and an audio output so that others can hear the music and singer.

Some lower end machines include a feature which allows you to play a standard song on the machine and suppress the singer's voice so that it isn't heard. This, however, is generally ineffective as it often decreases the quality of the music, and often times distorts the overall sound. This can be especially problematic if the singer is being recorded.

At least one microphone input is also included, and many machines come with a mic. Higher end karaoke machines also come equipped with a method for connecting it to another type of machine that will allow video encoding. This will enable the lyrics to be displayed on a screen so that the performer may read them while singing. This feature is typically found in bars and clubs that offer karaoke, but is now commonly done at home as well.

While many karaoke machines were equipped with two tape decks, thus allowing singers to record their performances while using karaoke backups already pre-recorded on another cassette, the machines of today typically include one tape deck and a CD player. Recording your performance still isn't a problem, since most backups are now available on CD, which has become standard.

We Want To Learn To Play The Harmonica

The humble harmonica has to be one of the easiest musical instruments to master in the world. Okay, so there are some great Folk and Blues musicians out there that can make this little mouth piece talk their language, but what I'm talking about here is for Joe Average, without a musical bone in his body, being able to knock out a melody in no time at all. What other instrument allows you to do that? You really can learn how to play the harmonica in a matter of days or weeks, depending on your commitment.

Most instruments require you get a beginners book, or if you're really enthusiastic, a private tutor or perhaps joining a local class so that you can get a head start with your strumming, blowing, picking, or beating, depending what it is you're trying to master. But with the pocked sized mouth organ, there's no such learning curve. Just pick one up from your local music store and learn to play the harmonica your way.

I remember the time I purchased my first ever harmonica. It was back in the 1980's when I was bumming my way around the world, that I struck a fascination with the sounds and notes that could be plucked from this musical mouthpiece. It all began when I came across this Danish couple who were journeying through Western Asia.

Tucked away in their backpacks were an Irish tin whistle and a tuppeny ha'penny harmonica. After dinner one evening, on the outskirts of the Chitwan jungle of Nepal, they began to entertain a small group of us happy hippies with their music. It was at this exact moment in time that I fell in love with, and made a decision to, learn to play the harmonica.

It was some weeks later before I found a place to purchase one. Funnily enough, there's not a lot of call for music stores in the foot hills of the Himalayas or along the swamps of India, so it wasn't until I'd landed in Georgetown, on the Malaysian island of Penang, that I found a rickety little shop that had harmonicas on sale for a mere two dollars a piece. I could hardly wait to get started, and so rushed off excitedly to my grimy guest house where I began to lean to play my new toy.

It proved to be a great companion on my travels. The first tune I knocked out was the Christmas carol 'Silent Night'. Well it was December! But soon afterwards I was doing impressive little instrumentals and jamming sessions with fellow travelers who were trudging the circuit with bulky guitars strapped to their backs.

Whether you're planning a long trip, or just looking for something to do outside the virtual world of a computer, then why not learn to play the harmonica? It'll give you heaps of fun without the frustration that comes with more serious musical instruments. Hey, who knows where it could lead you Mr. Dylan!

If you really get a knack for the hand harp, you could then progress onto to say Chicago Blues, Country, Bluegrass, Folk, or even some unique style of your own. Good luck!

Succeeding in the Music Industry

Many people have the talent, some have more than others do, but being successful in the music industry is based on more than just talent. To be successful in the music business, sometimes it feels as though the stars have to align. That's partially true; it's difficult to sell that record if you're not in the right place at the right time.

However, being truly successful in the industry isn't just about getting that deal. Now more than ever, the industry has had a turn in bands that know how to market themselves or have some prior knowledge of the marketing industry. Bands can become a success in a fairly reasonable period-some more than others can-if they have a solid knowledge base of viral marketing.

Viral Marketing is where you can use existing networks to build branding awareness and through a self-replicating viral processes. This process mimics a computer virus in the way it's supposed to spread. Some online marketing campaigns for bands will tease the music fan with a sample of the music and it's replicable in the fact that many people can upload them to their page and their friends see it and email and share with their friends and so on and so forth.

This method of campaign is at a relatively low cost your band and can have a huge impact on the status of your record before it hits the stands. Viral marketing has never been so easy and to become a success in today's competitive music industry it's vital to get have any advantage you possibly can. It can make the difference in a flop of a record and a hit record. It makes sense that your record will sell the more people have heard it and want to buy it.

Viral marketing can even contribute to you having more airtime on the radio. Don't discount the fact that many Disc Jockeys are music fans and are looking for new talent to play on their show. So, you're interesting in becoming a success, is viral marketing for you? Yes, it is.

Record companies are like any other company in the fact that they have a simple advertising budget, and it will depend on what they want to invest in you as an artist to your advertising budget. You can't rely on them solely for your marketing. To become a success in the music industry, you really ought to try viral marketing.

If you're an artist, undiscovered, it can even help you be discovered and get that record deal. What are you waiting for? With so many tools available at your fingertips, get started on that marketing campaign today!

History Of Rock Music

Rock music, where did it all begin? Believe it or not a black
man who played black music, originally founded rock music in
the mid 50s, this man was Chuck Berry. Rock music became popular
almost over night, and was accepted with open arms by the younger
generations. This was largely due to younger generations who
were excited by the thought of having music that expressed their
rebellious streak and their desires to promote anti-conformism.

This style of music is a far cry from the modern rock music
of today that has evolved over the decades and branched out
into a multitude of different genres and sub-genres to create
music that is more a way of life than entertainment. However,
the still prominent fact that rock music is a form of self-
expression and non-conformist desire still remains strong
even after all this time.

Rock music grew stronger and stronger with idols such as Elvis
Presley, around this time many of the black rock and roll
artists left the rock music scene and in their place were
a host of other white rockers with a style and look all of
their own.

After Elvis Presley's famous entrance, other well known rock
idols and bands started popping up from everywhere, but something
was lost along the way, rockers started losing sight the whole
reason that rock and roll had become popular in the first place,
which was non conformist and rebellious attitudes.

During this time rock music, took a huge nosedive with the
younger generations, who were uninterested in a mixture of
country music, folk songs, and rock music. This was in the
late fifties and musicians such as Buddy Holly and the Everly
Brothers were foremost rockers in the rock music scene.

Just as things were looking bleak, Bob Dylan entered the
scene during the Vietnam War and held the heart and attention
of many youth of the era with his songs of the Vietnam War
and civil rights. Around this time, the Beach Boys changed
the rock music scene with their new style of rock music.

California had its own unique spin on rock and roll, which
contained very sophisticated and vocal harmonies; this style
of rock music was a change from the empathetic shouting that
had first been introduced by the black musicians in the mid

In the early sixties, Britain took on a whole new aspect of
rock music and created a rage with bands such as the Rolling
Stones and the Animals. During this era, the Yard birds also
debuted and although they were in the shadows of the Rolling
Stones, they were in fact the beginnings of something great,
the musicians from this band were later on to revolutionize
rock music all over again.

Nevertheless, it was the birth of the Beatles that created a
worldwide mania and the beginning of rock music as a business
was really born. Following the Beatles, the second generation
of rockers were the Kinks and the Who, the Who had changed
rock music forever with their mechanically amplified guitars
and songs dedicated to the angry frustrated youth of the 60s

The seventies saw the death of Jimmy Hendrix, and the Doors
Jim Morrison, and rock music cooled down. New bands, such as
Nirvana and the Eagles, began a more peaceful revival of country
music mixed with soft rock. The seventies were characterized by
a quieter time in rock music.

The nineties saw the age of electronic music, and this new rage
spread all over the world, and saw an era of many different genres
of rock music, blended music and dance music mixed together. The
90s were also the decade of heavy metal and bands such as Guns and
Roses and Metallica. This style of music split into a myriad of
other sub-genres such as the funk-metal of Red-Hot-Chilli-Peppers,
Rage Against the Machine and Faith No More.

It is hard to believe that today's rock music began with a single
black man, singing a hybrid type of the blues, and flourished over
the last five decades to become not only a choice, but also a way
of life.

Rock music has evolved to become an array of different styles and
sub categories, which provide enjoyment for a multitude of different
tastes in music. What the future holds for rock music may not be
known, although it is safe to say the rock music will still be
around for the next five decades.

The Cheetah Girls Ticketnest

Once you have a band organized and have rehearsed adequately, or you are proficient in accompanying yourself with a guitar or a piano and already have a wide repertoire of song under your belt, you can now start looking for work as a singer. This is the day you have been looking forward to isn't it?

Finding work as a singer is not difficult because there will be restaurants, clubs, pubs, private and public functions looking for competent well trained singers like you. You can either engage agents or approach the venue yourself after finding out who is responsible for conducting auditions, hiring bands and singers. After talking to them, you can send them your demo CD's prior to a live audition. If you are selected, they will call you and your band for a live audition.

If you are applying for a singing job at bars and pubs, your booker will not want to listen to your original songs. What they want will be what the venue's audience wants to listen to. For example, if you sing with a jazz band, then obviously you cannot send your rock CDs to a rock club. Therefore it is imperative that you understand the nature of the venue before sending your demo CDs.

Choose about 6-8 songs for your demo CDs and audition. This is because bookers usually will want to know that you have a sufficient repertoire. Don't attempt to do slow ballads unless you are very good and soulful or otherwise, you will bore your bookers.

If you are auditioning just for a singing job and do not have a band, don't clutter your songs with some amateurish accompaniment. Sing with a karaoke minus one accompaniment instead. That will make you sound more like an accomplished singer instead of a fumbling amateur.

Singing Gigs
Your first singing gig is probably one of the most important miles stone of your singing career. Do learn quickly. If you are singing pub and no one is listening to you then you need to quickly know why. Maybe, you are not on stage so the audience cannot see you, or you may be performing too softly or too loudly. There will be a lot of tweaking until you get your performance right.

If you are a solo singer and are accompanying yourself, make sure the guitar or piano accompaniment arrangements are not too complex. Your voice must come through, not the musical instrument. Your audience are there to hear you sing and do not want to listen to the clang clang of your guitar.

Look at Barry Manilow when he accompanies himself on the piano. When singing, he just plays the chords so that his voice and lyrics come across with clarity and powerful emotions. It is during the instrumental part of the songs that his piano playing is more fanciful and more crescendo applied.

Music Software for Today s Generation

Music is the world recognized language. There are many components which add to the overall sound and feel of a piece of music. As you start learning the music, chords, enharmonic, time signatures, tempo’s, pitches, time duration, major and minor keys are some of the things we come across while composing the music.

Does only Musician can compose songs? Those days have gone. Now any one, even a layman in music can compose songs of his own. With no guide‘s help but just only with the aid of a music composing software, personal computer and creativity any one can compose music. With uniquely designed composing software’s like cake walk, FlexiMusic Composer, music genesis, any one can compose music of their own.

The cake walk software is suitable for people who are much familiar in music composing. It suits best for professionals to create music professionally .There are Cakewalk products available at varying costs. Cakewalk sells many third-party extras to help you make the most of your Cakewalk product, including audio effects, virtual instruments, audio loops, more.

On the other hand the software like FlexiMusic and music genesis is best suited for beginners in composing music.The FlexiMusic Composer is a multi-track program for composing, editing and mixing of music using sampled instrumental sounds. With this comprehend list of musical instruments and their corresponding files you can select any number of instruments to compose a song. Just with one sample of sound, various sounds can be created. Using this software, songs can be edited in three different cycles namely Step cycle, Bar cycle, Single/file voice. The FlexiMusic composer possesses many effects like volume, pan, trim height, echo, equalizer, copy, paste with which a quality song can be composed.

MusicGenesis lets anyone create music on their personal computer. It works by adding randomly-generated notes to a song and letting you decide whether to keep or delete each one. By keeping what you like and deleting what you don't like, you will quickly create a unique piece of music.

If you like music, you'll love the experience of creating songs of your own with ease and creativity. These software’s not only provides fun but also invites to the eternal world of music.

Just For Kids

Music is the essence of life and every one is in touch with this beautiful gift given to mankind. Even children also love to play music and enjoy it when they get a chance to do so. Now is the time to expose kids to the wonders of music. For this, you do not require various expensive musical instruments but children can create their own music at your home just with music software on your PC.

FlexiMusic music Software Company has programmed unique software especially for kids namely FlexiMusic Kids Composer. This unique music software allows kids to listen and play with musical pieces. Children learn to differentiate musical instruments and develop skills in memory, logical thinking, sound differentiation and musical vocabulary. They can play, identify and learn the different sounds generated by the musical instruments. They learn all about melodies, rhythm and more on an exciting adventure through this software. Several activities challenge kids to match sound to instruments.

FlexiMusic Kids Composer has separate panels namely “Beats" and "Stars", one can select the instruments of choice from” Beats” and tunes from” Stars “panel. With features like "Paint" brush, and "Erase" tool kids can create music of their own. It has tracks of two colors (blue and pink). Blue track is for composing music and pink is for singing and recording. A tempo panel is in use to control the speed of the song. As the tempo slider is moved the percentage of speed and the duration of the song are displayed.

Kids can record their own vocals, sing and compose music using the special feature “Audio recording”. A new window for singing and recording pops out with a simple click on the “Sing and Record’’ button in the main window. Once the recording is set on the red bar shows the recording level by moving up and down and the progress of recording duration is indicated by the blue bar. The whole process of recording is indicated by an animated bird which is sucking nectar and flapping its wings. As soon as the recording gets completed click “finish recording” button to stop the recording. An option to edit recording is available which is used to modify the recorded song by either making changes in volume or by deleting unwanted sounds.

As an offer, another program namely Kids Music World comes along with FlexiMusic Kids Composer. This software can be obtained on shareware basis and available for free trial. To put in a nut shell, this musical software gives kids a Jump Start on music.

Musical Instruments Make Better Toys

So many children's toys these days have virtually no value after a very short time. Musical instrument toys however have the potential to last for a lifetime. Not just from a durability perspective, but they are one of the few toys you can buy your children that can have a positive effect on them for the rest of their lives. Apart from the educational value, musical instrument toys can expose your children to the value of art and artistry through music. There are musical instrument toys for kids of all age. From infants to teenagers. Of course, at some point they stop being toys, and become real musical instruments. Apart from the biggest difference being price, the older your kids are when playing with musical instruments, the more likely the positive long term effects will be.

It Starts With A Little Rhythm

The younger the better. All babies love banging pots and pans, which is a pretty reasonably priced solution for a musical instrument, but at some point you may want to move them up to something thatdoesn't have spaghetti stains on it. Possibly even something a little quieter. Some basic little xylophones, or tiny baby sized piano keyboards would be a good choice. I've seen some music books with a piano keyboard attached. The keys were all numbered, and the music book had the numbers superimposed on top of the written notes. Simple enough for any child to pick up, as well as providing a great introduction to reading sheet music. Albiet at a very simplistic level, but still a start.

Some Professional Help

When introducing them to enough different types of musical instrument toys, you will have an opportunity to observe, which musical instruments seem to spark an interest in them. Or if your really lucky, you may notice that they have a naturalaptitude for certain instruments. While true musical prodigies are far and few between, there are varying degrees of talent for those of us below the prodigy level. As they get older, it may be time to seek out the guidance of a qualified musical instructor. While children will likely enjoy their early lessons immensely, there will come a point where it will become boring and tedious for them. It's important to strike a good parental balance at this point. While it's important not to let them quit just because their bored, it's also important not to force them to do something till they despise it.

Musical instrument toys can be a great choice for children of all ages. And with any luck, and a little persistence, it can have a positive effect on a child that will last a lifetime.

New Age Music How It s Made

Different styles of music have different "sounds." We can all pretty much agree on that point. For example, Jazz uses seventh chords almost exclusively. This, and the kind of chord progressions used in Jazz gives it its unique flavor. But what about new age music? Does it have it's own special ingredients? Yes it does.

Now, there are no hard and fast rules here but for the most part, new age music is a consonant music. That is, there is little or noharshness going on in the music. No Saxes wailing and what not. Having said that we can eliminate most of the tense jazz chords and their voicing. So what are we left with? Mostly Major and minor chords based on the regular scales and the modes. The chord progressions are simpler and usually start on the l chord. No ll-V-l progressions here.

What about melody? In jazz, we have a soloist who usually plays a lot of chromatic notes. This is rare in new age music because it would create dissonance. New age melodies tend to be softer and more on the spiritual side. Solos, if there are any, are not so much concerned with the expression of the self than they are with letting the music express itself. A subtle but very important distinction. Jazz players may have some ego invested in their performance. New age musicians learn to let the music play them. They learn to become a channel for the music itself allowing it to speak through them. Of course, I'm not saying that this can't happen in Jazz, but, just watch a Jazz performer and you'll see what I mean.

Last but not least is rhythm. Let's do a comparison/contrast between Jazz and New Age music. Jazz has a definite discernible rhythm. It is what makes Jazz Jazz. New age music can have a pattern or an underlying rhythm to the music. It can be used to create trance like states in the listener. Drums are usually a part of Jazz music. Percussion is mostly absent from the New Age sound simply because it would not add to the atmosphere most New Age musicians create. Timing is very important to the Jazz musician. The soloist has the freedom to play whatever he wants as long as he maintains the meter and stays in time. New Age music is more elastic in that timing is there, but is not a master of the player. The New Age player can disregard time altogether. Just listen to Zen flute music as a good example of this.

Now, what does all this mean for the aspiring New Age musician? A couple of good things. It means that there is a definite new age "sound" out there. That it is here to stay and that people like and need to hear it. And it means that there are some guidelines out there for what defines the meaning of New Age music.

The Heart Effect Startling New Information About How Music Affects Your Healt

Twenty-four young, healthy test subjects lay quietly in a university lab, listening to carefully chosen music through headphones, as doctors and technicians hovered around them meticulously measuring their vital signs. The study concluded quickly and the subjects returned to their normal everyday lives. But as the researchers began sifting through the data, something new and interesting began to emerge.

We've known for some time that music is a powerful relaxation tool. Music can decrease anxiety levels, lower blood pressure and heart rate, and change stress hormone levels. It affects your respiration, reduces muscle tension, increases endorphin levels, and boosts your immune system. The effect of music is so powerful, hospitals around the world use music to reduce stress in patients waiting for surgery.

Now there's fresh evidence on the power of music to affect our health. Researchers at Italy's University of Pavia recently confirmed that music changes your heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure. But as they analyzed their data, they found something new, something no one had expected to find.

Dr. Bernardi and his colleagues were interested in expanding the use of music to reduce stress in medical patients. Here's how their experiment worked: the docs recorded the vital signs of 24 test volunteers (12 musicians and 12 non-musicians) for five minutes. Then the volunteers listened to six different styles of music in random order. Random two-minute pauses were inserted in each piece of music.

Here's what they found: fast musical tempos increased heart rate, blood pressure and respiration. Slow tempos reduced them. Pretty standard stuff. But then the shocker: the style of music and the volunteers' personal musical preferences made no difference at all. The only thing that mattered was the tempo.

It didn't matter if the music was classical, rap, techno, romantic or an Indian raga. Only one thing made a difference to their cardiovascular systems--whether the music was fast or slow. This means that the music you hear, whether you've chosen it or not, whether you like it or not, is going to affect your health.

There's more: during the silent pauses between musical selections, the test subjects' vital signs returned to normal, in some cases stabilizing at healthier levels than before the music. The researchers say this suggests that listening to any kind of music--fast or slow--could benefit your heart.

Finally, the study found that musicians were more sensitive to the effect than non-musicians. Musicians may have learned to breathe in time to the music, to become more alert during fast passages, and to relax when the music slows down. Whatever the reason, a good prescription for helping maintain your cardiovascular health could be to take music lessons.

Music To Your Sleeping Ears

Trying to fall asleep when the tap is dripping or the wind is whipping outside can be an effort in futility. Regardless of how hard you try, you just cannot get past the noise and fall asleep. A few minutes turns into an hour and it's not just insomnia bothering you but you're becoming angry realizing that the loss of sleep you are feeling tonight will have an impact on how you feel tomorrow.

One of the most natural remedies for insomnia caused by noise is actually more noise. That might seem difficult to believe, but it's important to understand that the noise that you might need to sleep is specially prepared just for that purpose.

Studies have shown that certain sounds enhance the desire to sleep in people. The sounds might differ from person to person but in general they fall into several different categories. These sounds are then transferred onto a recording device and a consumer who is suffering from insomnia can purchase it. They are often referred to as sound machines or even noise machines.

The premise is that if a person hears particular sounds that are soothing to the body, it will help them drift off to sleep. Common sounds that are available are sounds of nature which many include birds chirping or water running. Another category of sounds that helps many people beat their insomnia are certain types of music. The music is designed to be relaxing and it's often repetitive, so the sleeper falls into a deep state of relaxation which ultimately leads to sleep.

For someone who has trouble sleeping, a sound machine can be the ideal solution. It's natural and it has no side-effects at all. The person using it will become accustomed to the sounds and they will eventually act as a trigger to help them fall asleep.

Purchasing a sound machine isn't a difficult process. If you are comfortable shopping over the internet, you need just type in the words "sound machine for insomnia" in a search engine and you'll find yourself perusing a wide and varied selection. There are also many retail outlets that now offer the machines.

If investing in a complete sound machine isn't within your budget, you can still reap the benefits of the sounds of sleep without having to pay as much. Many companies have developed CD's that you can purchase that help treat insomnia through music or recorded sounds. These offer many of the same sounds as a sound or noise machine and with these type of CD's you can use a standard CD player.

This is also another way of experimenting with sounds and it also offers the convenience of being any to take your sleeping aid with you if you travel. Insomnia can occur whether you are at home, away on a business trip or enjoying a vacation. Always having the sounds that you sleep by with you will enable you to fight that insomnia night after night.

Music a soothing balm for tired brain and soul

Music is a form of human expression relayed using various pattern of sound or tones and sil -ence in terms of pitch,rythm and is created by playing instrument or using vocals to manipulate and transform the emotion of listeners.there was several controversy regarding the definition of music but by all accounts there is no single and intercultural concept defining music.

The history of music begins much earlier than the written documents and is still stringed with the development of each human culture.although the earliest records of musical expressi -on are to be found in the Sama Veda of India and in 4000 years
old cuneiform from Ur.most of our written records and studies deal with the history of music in Western Civilisation that includes different stages of musical period from medieval to 20th century era music.the history of music has been recorded in few.

Popular style of music changes from time to time. it also varies from culture to different time different culture emphasised different instruments or techniques to make their
music more mesmerising.New trends of music are coming up in the market which is sure to drag anyone to dance of different countries or culture are being fuse succesfully giving rise to a different melodious of such kind is US 'bluegrass' style which contains elements from Anglo-Irish, Scottish,Irish,German and some African-American instrument and vocal traditions.Music is composed and performed for many purposes by the musician .it may be used for
entertainment, ceremonial,aesthetic and extensively for propaganda.Based on the musical proffession musicians are of two types,Amateur musicians and Proffessional musicians.Amateur
musicans compose and perform music for their own pleasure.for the proffessionals it is an income derived motivation seeking contracts and engagements.

Performing music is an enjoyable activity both for the musician and the listener rejuvinating their mind and,it could be said that music brings soothing effects to tired brain and aching soul.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The 5 Hottest Items In Promotional Products In 2006

Promotional Products have grown into a 17 Billion Dollar Industry. Find out what's hot and how to benefit this year. Gone are the days when people think of Promotional products as gadgets or toys. Today people use these items for incentives, branding, product launches and public relations.

After attending the largest Promotional Product Show of the year in Las Vegas recently, I compiled a list of the 5 hottest items in my opinion that will do well this year.

1) Gift Cards, Ringtone Cards, Game Cards, Music Download Cards:

These can be inexpensive ways to show your customers you appreciate them. With IPOD's and MP3 players flying off the shelves, content becomes king. These people need to fill their product and giving them 3 or 5 free songs will certainly be appreciated. These cards can be used as well to sooth an unhappy customer. It's always easier to try to sooth an unhappy customer as opposed to finding a new one.

Gift Cards were the rage in 2005 and the trend will definitely continue in 2006. Today stores just advertise gift cards, they no longer advertise product. They let the customer decide what product they want. With 25% of all balance amounts never being claimed these cards have become a cash cow to those selling them. With quantities available at 1000, these cards are now available to every size business, no longer just the Walmarts and Costco's of the world. One of the most important benefits of gift cards is guaranteeing future sales in your store or business.


When people in promotional products used to think about apparel it was usually associated with cheap t-shirts. Today every manufacturer wants a piece of the pie. Corporate Apparel is a big business. Companies like Liz Claiborne, The Gap, Old Navy, Nike, Reebok, Ping, Ashworth, American Apparel and others are all involved. Todays products include t-shirts, pants, sweat pants, jackets, oxford shirts, hats, golf apparel, socks, and shoes.


These things are everywhere. Once the domain of the trade show, lanyards have branched out into hundreds of industries. The quality of the material and printing has greatly improved over the years. Minimum quantities for special plastic designs from China have been reduced. Lanyards are found in Hospitals, Customer Service, Store Sales People to ordinary people who use them to hold their water bottle when they walk. With tens of different attachments available these items are become a necessity in many businesses.

4)USB Drives:

A few years ago these were seen as a novelty. Now they've become an essential as busy executives carry their files with them everywhere. Branding on these items is sure to be seen and appreciated hundred of times. A useful item that can also automatically send people to your web site. With different storage amounts available your sure to find ones in every price range.

5)Dog Tags:

These items have taken over from the awareness bracelet craze of the last few years. These items can be co-branded and even personalized with bar codes or consecutive numbers. This gives you the option to use them as raffle tickets, admission tickets or as incentives to drive people to your web site.

If I have one piece of advice to those thinking of using promotional products, it would be "IT DOESN'T COST MORE TO DO IT RIGHT!". One sloppy product can tarnish your image and reputation more than the pennies you've saved on an inferior item. The goal should be not to spend the least but to get the most for the money you've spent. If you have any questions or need any advice you can drop me an email. For ideas you can visit my site with over 600,000 different items or just google promotional products. Good luck with your next project.

Online Shopping 10 Tips For Safe Online Shopping

Have you ever bought a product or service from the internet?

Yes? Me too. You’re not alone…

Some of the reasons why most people are shopping online are: they can buy anything at anytime because Internet shopping is available 24 hours, all the time.

You can shop from the convenience of your home. You can avoid traffic and crowding at the malls.

Online shopping is one of the best ways to locate hard-to-find items not available in your local stores.

Whatever you buy can be delivered by mail to your house.

Most online stores and companies provide excellent values and discount prices because they do not have to pay the overhead of owning a physical business that will cost them insurance, employee pay, taxes and more.

VeriSign, Inc. says that online sales recorded during the prime holidays shopping season was about $2.2 billion dollars.

According to a study by Forrester Research Company, by 2010, online sales will reach $331 billion dollars.

More consumers are shopping online today than a year ago. The range of products they buy are many: software, hardware, electronics, digital products, music, toys, e-books, books, programs, DVD, flowers, pets, jewelry, clothes, air tickets, insurance, cars, prescription drugs, comic books, games, gifts and more.

They are flocking to buy from online bookstores, software stores, online computer stores, target stores, pet stores, liquor stores, drug stores, music stores, furniture stores, fabric stores, the Disney store, outlet stores, surplus stores, discount stores, thrift stores, gift stores, candy stores, lingerie stores, sports stores, video stores, sex stores, department stores, game stores, clothing stores and others.

Be a smart and savvy online shopper. Shop wisely and safely.

Here are a few tips to help you do your online shopping safely.

(1) Shop at the websites of companies that you know and are popular offline.

If you’re not sure of the company, request their catalog or brochure first.

Be sure they have a physical address and phone, as well as an e-mail address. Call them and speak to a human being first.

Check with the yellow pages and the Better Business Bureaus to be sure the company is legitimate.

Read all the fine print and the refund policy before you place an order.

You may read about product reviews and what other shoppers have to say about a company at:,,,

Here are some internet shopping agents’ sites:,,

To read about reviews on shopping stores, regarding ease of use, pricing, selection and service go to:, ,

To read about web business frauds and get help to avoid being a victim, go to: , ,

(2) Keep a record of all your purchases.

Most people are by nature disorganized and unable to keep records. Learn to keep records of all your online purchases. This will help you keep track of your spending and shopping.

Print all receipts or save them on your computer in a folder named “receipts”.

This will help you locate orders that you placed but were never delivered.

The more organized you are the less negative online shopping experience you’ll have.

(3) Keep all your important personal information safe.

Don’t give them to strangers who may call you over the phone or request them by e-mail.

Personal information includes: your address, e-mail address, phone number, social security number, drivers license, age, information about your family.

Don’t give them to any stranger and, also, teach your children not to do so.

(4) Keep your passwords private.

When creating a password, avoid using phone numbers, birth dates or social security numbers.

Be creative. Use a password that is not easy for others to guess, and yet not easy for you to forget.

Change your passwords often. Use phrases to help you remember them.

Don’t disclose passwords to anyone.

(5) Use a credit (but never debit) card to make your payment.

Be sure to keep all credit card payment receipts. Check your credit card account statements to be able to spot any unauthorized charges.

When you buy certain goods and services from some companies, sometimes they will keep billing you thereafter. So scrutinize your statements. If you see a charge you’re not sure of, call the billing merchant and check it out.

Keep your credit cards secure.

Avoid making a payment using your credit card on a public computer.

Report any lost credit cards immediately and have them cancelled. Don’t give anyone that you don’t know your credit card number.

(6) Read the return policy before placing an order.

Be sure that you read and understand the return policy and warranty.

(7) Read and understand the company’s privacy statement (or policy).

A privacy statement tells you how and why a business is collecting your information, and how that information may be used. You may find the company’s privacy statement (or policy) at the very bottom of the home page or inside their "Terms & Conditions" or "Terms of Service" (TOS).

(8) Use a secure browser and server.

Be sure whatever browser you’re using complies with the industry’s security standards, such as secure sockets layer (SSL).

This security protocol scrambles or encrypts the personal information you send over the Internet to ensure your transaction is secured.

How do you know if the server is secure where you’re making a payment?

If a Web site is using secure technology, its Web address begins with https and a tiny locked padlock appears at the bottom right corner of the screen.

(9) Check out a few stores and compare prices before buying. Look for hidden costs such as shipping and handling.

(10) Use Yahoo Search Engine for all your searches.

Yahoo continues to be, not only the largest online company, but also, the best Search Engine.

Unlike the other popular Search engine, which keeps companies in a sandbox for many months and refuses to give them rankings for many months, Yahoo is pro business and gives immediate rankings to companies and business.

Six Steps Towards Successful Buying at eBay Auctions

Buying on eBay can be very rewarding, either in terms of being able to pick up items cheaply or for hunting for hard to find items. Although generally the experience is good, there are instances where things can go badly wrong. These tips, based on experience over the last seven years, should help to avoid some of the potential pitfalls.

1. Make use of the various tools provided on eBay to ascertain the target price of items you are interested in. A simple way to do this is to 'search' for completed items.

2. Always check that there are no hidden costs associated with your potential bargain. These may may include unspecified unspecified postage costs, or paypal fees chargeable to the buyers. If in doubt e-mail the buyer and if you don't get a response then don't bid. Remember that when buying from overseas postage costs can be significant compared to the price of the item and also for more expensive items you may be liable to customs fees.

3. Check out the seller's feedback. You should be aiming to buy from sellers with feedback of at least 98 per cent - if it is less and you are interested in an item read the feedback comments to satisfy yourself that the buyer provides a good service. In particular, read the neutral and negative feedback posts to try to work out what may have gone wrong with previous transactions.

4. Don't get carried away and end up bidding more than need or want to. Some items appear very frequently on eBay and it may be worth setting yourself a limit and waiting for the next one to come along.

5. If you find you are often being outbid at the last moment, consider using a sniping software which you can use to automatically submit a bid in the last few seconds of the auctions.

6. Where possible, use Paypal to pay for items on eBay. The sellers get their payment quickly, and there is a degree of protection for buyers if things go wrong. eBay (via My eBay) provides a number of tools for monitoring progress on your transaction.

Making Shopping Lists

Most people these days are in a position to comfortably pay for the necessities of life. Bills like rent and electricity as well as food and clothing expenses, while not cheap, are at least affordable for most people who are in employment. What cause most people the financial hardships that they experience are the discretionary expenditures that they make.

This is the money spend on things that they do not really need, and sometimes do not even want, but are enticed into buying while shopping. There is a field of science that retailers spend millions of pounds on every year that studies what is most likely to make people spend money in stores.

Therefore, everything about a modern store, from the lighting, the music, the layout, the colours, everything, is carefully calculated to give you a sense well being. This well-being will then make you far more likely to spend money on items that you had no intention of buying when you entered the store.

It may be surprising, but for many people who overspend, the problem is not that they want to many things, but that they succumb too easily to the devices in stores that are designed to persuade you to make a purchase. Therefore, the most important thing to help you reduce spending on unnecessary items is to discipline yourself when you are shopping and not be tempted into making the purchases.

One of the best ways to avoid succumbing to unnecessary purchases is preparation. What this comes down to in practice is making a shopping list. Then when you are in the store, stick to the list. Even before going into town or doing your Christmas shopping, or shopping for clothes, make a list of what it is you want to buy, how much you are expecting to pay and then stick to the list. Obviously you will not be able to know exactly how much everything will cost but at the very least you can limit yourself to only buying the items on your list.

Another thing you can do is set a maximum amount to spend. You can set the limit at an amount you know you can afford and are comfortable with before hand and then you can keep yourself within this limit. You can even consider taking out the cash you are prepared to spend before hand and then leaving your credit and store cards at home. Whatever your limit, keeping to it, and deciding before hand what you want to buy and what you want to spend is the secret to keeping your spending under control.

Alternative Sales Sources for Your Music

Following, is a list of alternative sources that may be interested in carrying your music for sale for their particular clients and customers, if only they were aware of your music.

Most of the clients and customers are already "captive" audiences who are waiting on a product or service, so why not promote (and sell) to them as they wait?

Additionally, if these sources have their own in-house music system (which many do), you should also speak with them regarding adding your music to their own in-house "playlist."

I have also suggested genres that I feel will lend themselves best to the particular businesses below, however, it will also depend on the businesses' own personal tastes as well.

1. Music retail stores (Any)
2. Bookstores (Mostly soft, Jazz, New Age, but depends on store)
3. Flower shops (soft Folk, New Age, Jazz)
4. Boot stores (Country, Americana)
5. Western wear (Country, Americana)
6. Restaurants (Any, but depends on restaurant)
7. Church stores (Gospel, Christian)
8. Christian bookstores (Gospel, Christian)
9. Doctors' offices (Soft Rock, Pop Rock, New Age, Jazz)
10. Convenience stores (Any)
11. Airport gift shops (Any)
12. Bus station gift shops (Any)
13. Train station gift shops (Any)
14. Electronics stores (Any)
15. Office supplies (Any)
16. Corporate/company cafeterias (Jazz, New Age, Soft Rock)
17. Jewelry stores (Soft Rock, Jazz, New Age)
18. Barber shops (Any)
19. Beauty shops (Any)
20. Nail salons (Any)
21. Sports shops (Any)
22. Health clubs (Rock, Dance, Electronica)
23. Apartment management offices (Any)
24. Variety stores (Any)
25. Game arcades (Rock, Dance, Electronica)
26. Bed & Breakfast Inns (Jazz, New Age, Soft Rock)
27. Bridal consultants (Jazz, New Age, Soft Rock)
28. Bridal stores (Jazz, New Age, Soft Rock)
29. Tuxedo shops (Jazz, New Age, Soft Rock)
30. Bridal services (Jazz, New Age, Soft Rock)
31. Clothes cleaners (Any)
32. Mainstream clothing stores (Any)
33. Shoe stores (Any)
34. Coffee houses (Jazz, New Age, Soft Rock)
35. Computer stores (Any)
36. Eyeglass stores (Any)
37. Consignment shops (Any)
38. Farm supply stores (Country)
39. Flea markets (Any)
40. Swap shops (Any)
41. Formal wear stores (Any)
42. College bookstores (Any)
43. College music stores (Any)
44. Gift shops (Any)
45. Hardware stores (Any)
46. Hospital gift shops (Any)
47. Hotel gift shops (Any)
48. Insurance companies (Any)
49. Massage therapists (Jazz, New Age, Soft Rock)
50. Cellular telephone services (Any)
51. Motorcycle shops (Any)
52. Night clubs (Depends on the genre)
53. Party supply stores (Any)
54. Pawn shops (Any)
55. Cosmetic stores (Any)
56. Satellite dish stores (Any)
57. Thrift shops (Any)

Setting Up In House Retail Sales

Now, that you are familiar and likely connected with online music sales sites, such as CD Baby, or combination online/offline retail sites, such as The Orchard, you are probably comfortable in having your music distribution and sales fairly covered.

But, what if you could get even more music sales, and even more profitable income?

I'm speaking of consigning your product to retail stores, but, with one exception...consigning your product nationally, or even internationally.

For all concerned, "consignment" means placing your music in retail stores on a trial basis, then collecting payments when it sells, with the retailer keeping a portion of your sale.

You see, as consignment goes, most musicians who consign their music to retailers, usually limit their consignment territory to only local retailers, or on a regional level at most. Their reasoning is that any larger area will be too difficult to manage.

But, that is simply not so, and they are losing a fantastic amount of money by limiting themselves to their local regions.

So, I am going to show you how you can easily consign your music to retailers and be able to collect payments for sales every thirty days (or so) via a "step-by-step" process.

It is important to note that the consignment process will be most successful if you are already receiving some degree of promotion and publicity results, such as radio airplay, press coverage, video airplay or through your music being played in nightclubs via record pools, of which I have addressed in a previous article.

Otherwise, you may find your ability to move your product from retailers' shelves almost as difficult as if you did not have product on them. And, if you do not have some degree of promotion or publicity, whether you have hired such a service, or you choose to conduct it yourself, practically, the only way that you will experience sales is purely by retail customers' accidental discoveries of your music.

So, ready?

1. Concentrating on retailers (both major chains and independents) in areas where you are getting radio airplay, video airplay, press coverage or any other form of promotion or publicity, contact retailers in these areas who your distributors may not service. One of the best up-to-date online sources to use, particularly, for the U. S. is

This is the online version of the Yellow Pages, and you should look in such categories as "Compact Discs," "Compact Disc Retailers," "Music Retailers" or similar categories.

2. You may prefer to visit local retailers in person, introduce yourself and make them a consignment offer, such as the amount that you will need from each unit sale, etc., and how often you will need to collect payment for any sales (usually every thirty days is the normal time frame). Retailers will also expect you to make a written agreement available to them that spells out the terms of the consignment.

3. As for retailers outside of your local area where you are already getting promotion or publicity, you can simply contact them via telephone and relay the same information that you do with local retailers in person.

In both cases, you should direct them to your website, whereby hopefully, you have your music streaming for them to listen, as well as have a bio and other important information regarding you and your project.

You are also free to utilize the retail consignment form that I have already created, and which you can download, customize with your own information, then upload to your own website, that is freely available at

4. Once you have uploaded your customized version to your website, your retail accounts can then simply download it from your site, or you can fax a copy to them if they prefer.

You will also note that I have included discounts for retailers within this 1-page form that are designed to dramatically reduce the number of returns that are a commonality with retail consignment and distribution. The less returns, the more money you make (and keep).

Additionally, you will see where I have limited the number of units to five (5) at any given time. This is to ensure that there are just enough copies that should sell with no problem within a 30-day period, especially, if you already have promotion and publicity occurring in the retailer's area. This limit also ensures that you have enough product to reasonably service enough retailers.

Also, with this limit, re-orders are more likely to occur before the end of your 30-day periods. This type of retail activity looks really great to traditional distributors who, after seeing your product's retail track record, may contact you to inquire about carrying your product. This will give you stronger bargaining power with them, as well as wider distribution, than if you did not have retail product available and moving.

And, even if distributors do not call, this will allow you to approach them with an attractive sales history and track record.

Also, be sure to provide local retailers with two copies of the consignment form to sign (carbon paper between two original copies still works) so that both you and the retailer have copies.

5. As for retailers outside your area, or local retailers that prefer to use the online consignment form, be sure that they download, sign and either fax or mail the form to you *BEFORE* you send them product. This creates an initial record and verification of a purchase request. You then, in turn, sign the form then return a copy to the retailer along with his order.

6. When sending retailers product, be sure to *ALWAYS* send your product via some shipping/tracking method. I would, personally, use the Certified/Return receipt service with the U. S. postal service, and I believe that the U. S. postal service also now has tracking for 2nd Day Air/Priority mailings as well.

These particular services are probably the least expensive services on the market, but they will ensure that your product doesn't get lost or stolen en route to the retailer. They also ensure a record of the retailer having received your product for those few unscrupulous retailers that may not wish to pay for your product if they received it by first class mail, but would sell it and keep its profits.

7. At 30-day intervals, contact your retailers, whether in person or via telephone, to inquire of any sales that have occurred. While you can pick up payments locally, you should have distant retailers forward you a check for payment that corresponds with the number of unit sales.

You could also have them pay you online via a credit card through PayPal, or another such online service. This would eliminate lost/stolen checks through the mail, while guaranteeing your payment quicker.

8. If, for example, within a 30-day period, you have three sales, with two unsold units with a retailer, you have the choice of either waiting for the remaining two units to sell prior to forwarding more product to the retailer, or you can offer to forward three more units to the retailer. However, it is probably best to wait until the two remaining units sell.

9. In either above case, once all five units have sold at any given retailer, begin the complete process over, starting with the retailer signing or faxing another copy of the consignment form in order to ensure accurate sales records and sales continuity for your project.

Note: Should your project begin to experience a large sales volume, you may wish to hire someone, i.e., a student or intern, to work this aspect of your project, and whom you can pay a commission for each sale. This will eliminate your need to pay hourly wages or salaries, and will further save you money.

How to Find Musical Ideas

The Russian Composer Igor Stravinsky once said: " A good composer does not imitate; he steals."

I think what he meant by this is that it's OK to use a technique developed by another and make it your own. To imitate is to steal a technique or style and, somehow, not incorporate your own voice and energy into it.

We all get our ideas from somewhere, whether by accidentally listening to a piece of music and subconsciously storing it away, or by a conscious act where we say to ourselves: "This sounds great and I want to use it in my own music."

Some people have the idea that everything created must be original and by that they mean that there must be no outside influences - but this is unrealistic. Haydn taught Beethoven. Italian composers influenced Bach and so on. All past and present composers on this planet have their influences whether they admit them or not.

Now, most of you know that I have two major influences: George Winston and John Herberman. You may or may not know of these people. The point is I admit that they shaped my own style. How? Because I liked listening to them. It's that simple.

When I sit down to play, I inevitably gravitate towards one style or the other. I'm fine with that. It doesn't mean that I'm unoriginal. It just means that I acknowledge reality and don't try to come up with "something original." What sounds new is 99.9 times out of 100, a modification of what came before.

The whole point I'm trying to make is this: Don't try to be original. Instead, focus on what you like and love and your own voice will come through in the end. The music may be modified to an extreme (innovation) or just a little (homage). Just don't imitate.

Downloading MP3s Made Easy

The MP3 movement started out with a huge audience of music enthusiasts on the internet. The MP3 digital music format has had, and will continue to have, a huge impart on how people, gather, listen to and share music.

The MP3 format is a compression system for digital music that helps reduce the size of a digitized song without disturbing the sound quality. Digital music is converted to MP3 format and made available for use, usually via the web. MP3 files can be downloaded onto your computer from the internet and special software, either commercial or freeware. Using your computer and software you can convert digital music from a CD into MP3 format.

MP3 files can be played in three different ways:

1. They can be played directly onto your computer.

2. They can be decompressed and recorded onto a CD.

3. These files can be played on a portable MP3 player.

The advantage of MP3 players is that they are small, lightweight and rugged. They are a great way to carry your MP3 files with you!

With a portable MP3 player, a personal computer, and the appropriate software, you can do the following:

1. Obtain free or low-cost music from the web.

2. Create your own mix of music by downloading MP3 files from the web and converting the tracks from CDs.

3. Listen to near-CD quality music wherever you go.

4. Listen to more music (up to 10 hours' worth).

If you want to convert your songs from your CDs into MP3 files, you can use ripper and encoder software. A ripper copies a song's file from the CD onto your hard disk. The encoder compresses the song into the MP3 format. By encoding songs, you can play them on your computer or take them with you on your MP3 player. The ripper and encoder software may come with your MP3 player.

The specific instructions will vary with the individual software programs, but the following steps will definitely take place:

1. Place the CD from which you want to convert songs into your drive.

2. Select the track(s) that you want to convert to MP3 format.

3. Convert the selected track(s).

4. Copy the new MP3 files on to your computer's hard disk.

Now you are ready to download these MP3 files into your portable MP3 player.

Once you have MP3 files on your computer, you can use the software that came with your MP3 player to download the files into your MP3 player. Again, the specific instructions will vary depending upon your software program and player, but you will:

1. Create a playlist from your MP3 files.

2. Plug the player into your computer's parallel of USB port.

3. Transfer the MP3 files according to the instructions.

Once you have downloaded the MP3 files into your portable MP3 player, you are ready to take your music anywhere. Most MP3 players are small, lightweight, and solid-state. Because most players are solid-state, there are no moving parts to break down or skip, so the sound quality is uninterrupted regardless of your physical activity. MP3 players are equipped with various types of headphones or earpieces.

Portable MP3 players can play music longer than a portable CD player. The length of play for a CD player is about 74 minutes, the length of one CD. However, the length of play for an MP3 player depends upon its memory capacity, which can be upgraded on some models. A standard MP3 player can play for about half an hour (32 MB) to a few weeks (40 GB)! Some models can be upgraded with additional memory devices.

Sheet Music Violin and Other String Instruments

The violin is a bowed stringed instrument and is the highest pitched member of the violin family. It sits along side its cousins – the other members of the violin family - the viola, cello, and double bass. The bow of the violin is a narrow, slightly incurved stick of Pernambuco about 75 cm long, with a band of horsehair stretched from end to end of the bowstick. The violin has four strings tuned a fifth apart, to the notes g, d’, a’, e’’: On early violins the strings were of pure gut. Today they may be of gut, gut wound with aluminum or silver, steel, or perlon.

Sheet music - violin is often provided to students by the conductors of their orchestras or their private teachers who wish to learn to play this fine instrument. For players who aren't officially students anywhere, however, there are a wide variety of sources from which to obtain sheet music. Very recently, the Internet may actually have surpassed music stores as the best place to find new pieces to play.

An enormous variety of violin sheet music is available for free download from the Internet. Violin players of any skill level should be able to locate the sheet music they want online, and in some cases, even for free. Sheet music can be free to share online if two qualifications are met. First, it must be seventy years or more since the piece was composed; after this amount of time, creative works enter the public domain. Specific editions of a work can still be protected by copyright, however, as editors and arrangers maintain their own copyrights over versions they have created.

Digital sheet music is available for a wide variety of genres, so if you're playing on your own, you won't have any restrictions on the type of music you work on. There is certainly a great deal of classical sheet music - violin and other stringed instruments similarly, available online, and you might want to try some of the pieces that are considered great classics. If they are really not your preferred style, however, you can find anything from pop to jazz to bluegrass fiddle parts.

Some of the most popular selections of sheet music - violin are, in fact, for pop and rock songs. Take, for example, the Dave Matthews Band, who gave a global fan base for their unique sound which prominently features the violin. If you want to learn Boyd Tinsley's parts, you can search the Internet for legitimate copies of the sheet music to purchase.

Another time when it can be great to have the option to find sheet music – violin online is if you are listening to a piece and you want to be able to refer to the score. Even someone who can't play the Sibelius violin concerto himself may be able to read or understand a musical score well enough to benefit from looking at the music while listening to the piece. This can enrich the listening experience of anyone with a musical background, as well as helping you build your own reading ability in ways that ultimately benefit your playing.

Review Cybersounds Essays on Virtual Music Culture

Editor: Michael D. Ayers
ISBN: 082047861X

Writer, researcher, freelance music journalist and Visiting Professor at Manhattan College, Michael D. Ayers has assembled several international experts with impressive credentials who explore the recent phenomenon of the Internet music revolution, wherein there has been a convergence between artists, capitalism, fans, media, technology, and music itself. The result is an excellent compilation of essays featured in Cybersounds: Essays on Virtual Music Culture that present an insightful analysis of topics that up to now were lacking in technical sophistication in their discussions.

In bringing together these experts, these contributors have done a remarkable job in breaking down into their basic components such hot- button issues as the legal challenges that surround music and the Internet the birth and evolution of cyber communities how technology is used to frustrate corporate interests questions about transformation and how cyberspace has affected the way we appreciate music from a passive to an active role the question of power and regulation, for as Ayers states, “music in the on-line world has pushed the envelope" the emergence of the Apple’s iPod how bands use their websites is in branding themselves and how fans interact how music and on-line activism have come together how fans challenge the recording industry and trade their own home made recordings of live concerts how artists and DJs work together over large geographical spaces to create new kinds of music, and also how new technology as digital recordings in cyberspace allow for new creativity the effects of bootleg trading and peer to peer file trading, as well as the restructuring of the patterns of music distribution and consumption.

These are only a sampling of the huge territory that this book covers and as Jonathan Sterne, one of the contributors asserts, “Cybersounds offers us an unprecedented opportunity to reflect on music on the Internet and the state of scholarship about music on the Internet."

In an academically grounded but for the most part informal presentations, this is a remarkable collection of essays that break new ground in educating readers on the convergence of cyberculture and musicology. Moreover, thanks to these contributors the door has now been opened where the study of these two disciplines has been greatly advanced.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Sources For Personalized Music CDs For Children

My Very Own Music CD was one of the largest successes in the history of the children's music industry. By crafting CDs specifically aimed at an individual child, the company was able to inspire and make happy an entire generation of children. They did this by grouping together CDs that have between six and ten songs, each grouped according to an interest of the child, and often using the child's name during the songs themselves. And they did it by using a musical score that was vibrant and happy. Children loved the songs and parents loved the delight on their children's faces.

The personalized CDs make gift giving so much easier, and more personal! The difference between giving a CD that has been personalized to include the child's name, and has his or her name sung by his or her heroes, and just giving a gift that came from an impersonal store is huge. Whoever you give the gift to will see the difference, as certainly as you can.

Albums like Awesome Kids Christians Songs, which provided a plethora of tracks all reaffirming traditional Christian values, such as the fact that Jesus is God, and that Jesus and God love each child personally more than words can express, swept the Christian community and helped Christian parents instill the proper values in their children. The eleven songs on the album each treats a different Christian theme, and is intended for children between the ages of nine and twelve. But, as they say, some things are timeless, and the CD is sure to be of enjoyment to all Christians.

Another release from My Very Own Music is Journey to the Land of Imagination, an impressive collection of fanciful tales and ballads that will stretch the limits of a child's ability to create and imagine. If you want to increase the scope of your child's wondering, as well as have them marvel at how the people who sing so beautifully on this CD keep repeating his or her name, then this album is for you.

Always popular among pint-sized superheros, Spiderman and You is an album that will appeal to the more adventurous children on your list. The songs on this CD take the listener through many different episodes in Spiderman's career, and he will battle his nemeses and confront problems in the city and rescue his beloved Mary Jane, all as your child sings along and hears his or her name sung back at them. The songs on this disk are energetic and thrilling, as is fitting to their subject matter, and will lift and thrill your child's spirits.

Whatever your needs in personalized children's CDs, My Very Own Music will be able to meet them. Since they have literally thousands of children's names in the database, and hundreds of interest grouped CDs, they are the world's number one provider of personalized songs for children.