Category Archives: Music

How to Help Others with Our Talents

Everyone has their own talent and the talent is such a gift from God. I believe that everyone has their own talent and the talent needs to be used for the kindness of every human being. What is your talent? The talent of everyone can be different. For example, there are some people who have the good ability in music. They will be able to play music easily and they can sing well too. Do you have the talent in musical field?

If you have the talent in music, you can be such a great artist. There are many people who have the talent as a singer and they can sing beautifully. If you have the talent that you can sing well, you should praise to God since not every person can sing well or have the good voice to sing. Then, you need to use your gift to help the others. Of course, there are many kinds of efforts that you can do. One of them is by joining SingForHope.org. Do you know this organization before?

If you want to help the others or you want to join in the social organization, joining in SingForHope can be the great choice to do. You can join the organization and you can hold the charity concert for the fund raising. You can join to sing in the charity concert and you will be able to join in the program of fund raising. It will be such a great idea to choose and you will have the best way to help the others. Don’t you think that it is such a great way to do? You will have the great way and idea to help others by using your own talent. If you are interested, you simply need to visit the site in order to get the further information.

Common Mistakes When Choosing Acoustic Guitars

Common Mistakes When Choosing Acoustic GuitarsPlaying musical instruments is a wonderful activity. In case you do not have anything to do during the night or during the weekend, you can play musical instruments. By playing musical instruments, you can hone your musical skills, which can help open new opportunities. And, playing instruments can also help you unwind and relax.

As of now, there are numerous musical instruments individuals can choose from. However, one of the most popular instruments played by individuals is acoustic guitars. Because of this, finding acoustic guitars in the market is an easy task. Unfortunately choosing the right acoustic guitar is another story. The task of purchasing can get even worse in case individuals make the wrong decisions in choosing guitars. To help individuals avoid these issues, below are some of the most common mistakes in choosing acoustic guitars.

Not knowing the right type of acoustics

One of the most common mistakes individuals make when buying acoustics is opting for the wrong type of acoustics. When it comes to acoustics, there are numerous options you can choose from such as classical guitar, steel-string acoustic guitar, and lap steel guitar. These types of guitars offer unique features. Therefore, it is best that you know the type of acoustic guitar that will suit your needs.

Getting the wrong size

Another mistake individuals make when buying acoustic guitars is opting for the wrong size. Guitars are built in numerous sizes in order to cater to the needs of the user. Thus, it is important that you first know who will use the guitar to help you find the right size.

Opting for the wrong strings

The next mistake individuals make when buying guitars is opting for the wrong strings. Of course, you can purchase guitars with strings installed to it. However, there are some individuals who wish to replace standard strings with better strings. Unfortunately, individuals may choose the wrong strings that can affect the sound of the guitar.

Buying a guitar that offers features you do not need

Individuals may find wonderful strings that offer numerous features. However, it is not ideal to buy a guitar that has features which you do not need since it can only affect your finances. In addition, these features can also disrupt you in case that you are just starting out to play a guitar. So, it is best to opt for simple guitars when practicing and upgrade it if necessary.

An Ideal First Instrument – The Harmonica

Knowing absolutely nothing about the harmonica other than blowing in, sucking out, and sliding it left to right and back again across the lips, I have discovered it to be a versatile, harmonious instrument. While I understand that playing with real skill would require years of practice, in just a few days you will be able to perform some recognizable tunes while have a good time. If you can’t read music, the harmonica is ideal as you read signs instead, with your harmonica already in the particular key. As long as your ears can pick up a melody or your mind can design background music, your home, office, backyard, and wilderness hikes will soon be filled with bends and riffs.

I have played the piano since I was in the third grade. Although the lessons only lasted a little over a year as my teacher moved away, I loved the keys, the challenge, and the fun of coordinating left and right hands while transferring notes on a page to movement across the keys. Although practicing has been sporadic, including dedicated weeks of hitting the keyboard every day to long droughts of nothingness, when I return to my dedicated mode, I just love the relaxation and mind-hand coordination that the piano brings.

My husband is also a great lover of music. Unfortunately, he did not take piano lessons or take any instrument classes in school and so he missed out on this adventure. Desiring to learn to play now, he considered the guitar but felt his fingers were too wide and rigid for quick fingerings over the strings. The piano appeared too complicated and so he finally settled on the harmonica. Our daughter had given him one as a gift a few birthdays ago and so we drug it out of the closet and he began to play. I do mean play because even with a novice, it is difficult to blow a harsh note unless you are really working at huffing and puffing like crazy. Nice music flows on the first blow.

Now maybe this flow is not quite the accustomed pattern of notes, but the sound is still nice. When played along with a recording of a song it can blend very well when right key is in synch. Several songs entered his repertoire, a favorite being the birthday tune, now played at all family celebrations. The grandkids love his harmonica with our little granddaughter using Grandpa’s chest as a pillow as his tunes lull her to sleep. Our grandson wants to become a harmonica player, too, however his blasts blew out the reeds and several notes no longer play on the original harmonica. Searching extensively I found a music store near my sister’s and the chief instructor guided me through everything I needed to know about buying good harmonicas plus many extra tips on the side. One included a slow warm-up on the notes with no food in the mouth a la grandson who created the breakdown of the first harmonica. With new harmonicas in main keys in hand, I exited the music store excited about my purchase and newly gained knowledge to share with my husband, plus I had two children’s harmonicas so that Grandpa’s will remain functional. In addition to giving them a start in music, we now have a trio performing at our house.

If you are thinking about taking up an instrument the harmonica comes highly recommended. They are fairly cheap, although the price rises with quality, portable, and can blend into just about any recording as added background instrumentalization. If you are searching for the ideal gift for spouse, children, or grandkids, a harmonica is perfect. Books with directions for playing are easily accessible plus there are many YouTube videos with instructions and lessons to improve your talent. Happy melodies to you! The gift of music is a great one.

How To Cover Up Mistakes While Playing In a Band Onstage

During a live performance all bands and all performers make mistakes. The good bands find ways to quickly recover from those mistakes without the audience knowing anything has gone wrong. The not so good bands quickly melt down, have a train wreck, and then seriously bum out the rest of the gig. This article about improving your musical performances by covering you mistakes will give you a few ideas on just how to not look bad while doing something, lets say not exactly right, onstage.

First of all the don’ts. No matter how tempted you are, when you make a mistake try not to glare at another member of the band hoping that blame will pass to someone else. This mostly happens when a guitar player goofs something up. He will give a dirty look to the bass player thinking that generally bass players already have a confused look on their faces and the audience will be forgiving of the bass player’s “error” anyway because, well hey he is the bass player. Don’t look at your amp like there is some technical thing that caused the note you wanted to hit sound like the wrong note you actually hit. Don’t slap yourself on the side of the head or scream “Oh blank” as loud as you can – those are dead giveaways to errant play. Bass players; when something goes wrong do not have a convulsion! Drummers do not throw stick, they hurt.

So to cover up mistakes; First of all realize that most people in the audience are not music critics, they are music fans. They are dancing around checking out other concert goers, and generally having a great time. Music fans are trying to find ways of having a good time, not finding fault in the band they want to enjoy. So if you play a wrong note, just keep smiling and plow ahead. It is attitude that people notice onstage so if you look happy and pleased, the audience will think that you are happy and pleased and not seriously bumming that the keyboard player, for instance, just hit an a minor when he should have hit an A Major. Besides in that case three two out of the three notes would still have been correct – which according to Meatloaf, “Ain’t Bad.”

If something has gone terribly wrong eg., the count-in was to fast or a serious equipment malfunction, try to get the bands attention, count a measure then everybody stop together as if a song is over. That way the audience does not have to endure the really bad sound of a band breaking down, and usually if you quickly adjust something and then count in again everything will be as right as rain.

So the best advice to covering up mistakes on stage is to simply have the attitude that at a live performance your primary objective is to have fun because the audience wants to have fun, so look like you are having fun even though things might not be going as well as you want them to. That is what being a professional is all about.

The Right Guitar Tuner For You

There are so many different guitar tuners out there that it can be hard at times to know which one you should choose. We have all been there when you need a new tuner so you start doing some research on the best guitar tuners and you end up with pages upon pages of results. It may all seem intimidating at first but am going to give you a few of my favorite all time best guitar tuners. Hopefully using this list you can find one that you really like.

My all time favorite has to be the Korg GA-40, I have had this tuner since I first started playing guitar almost 13 years ago. I still have the same exact one and it has yet to die on me. I can not think of anything else that is as reliable as the Korg. Not only is it reliable but the quality of the tuning is almost perfect. The Korg GA-20 even allows for drop tuning which I highly appreciate because I enjoy playing the heavier metal and rock songs. If you can not decide on as guitar tuner, the Korg GA-20 is no doubt one of your best options.

The second tuner on my list is the KLIQ UberTuner. The KLIQ UberTuner may not be anything too special but the display is just beautiful. You can see it in all light conditions whether you are in a dimly lit room, a dark stage, or even in the bright outdoors. Nothing fancy, just a simple thing that works.

The last one that I am going to suggest you give a chance is the BOSS TU-3. Unlike the last two tuners, the TU-3 is a pedal which means you can easily leave tuner this plugged in at all times. If you are in the middle of a jam session you can just easily turn it on, and tune up. My only complaint about the TU-3 is its display. It can be a little hard to read at times but it should not be too much of an issue once you get used to it. Over all the TU-3 is a very solid pedal.

When it comes down to your final choice it is purely personal preference though. If you have had a clip on before maybe try out the pedal or the normal electric version. Try things out and find out what you like best.

Writing Melody

Writing MelodyMelody

The melody or tune of a song is what most people hear when listening to music, the chords, drums, bass are very important in supporting the melody but the average person hears the tune. The best melodies are simple, easy to remember and easy to sing along with. However the goal of good melody writing is to make the tune simple but not boring or run of the mill. We will discuss how to write a melody, explain a bit of music theory

(I promise not too much!) behind constructing a tune and how to fit lyrics to melody.

The most common question I receive from ‘non-‘musicians’ is what do you write first, music or words? I like to do both and I would recommend you try both ways. If I’m writing with a collaborator who writes lyrics I would always write the tune to fit the lyrics. Sometimes if you have a chord sequence composing lyrics and melody at the same time is a good way to go. Even a combination of the two will work, remember there’s no hard rules to this. The melody is normally the primary reason a song gets recorded or not so make it the strongest you can.

Writing a Cappella:

A cappella means without musical accompaniment. Writing a cappella means composing melodies in your head and just singing them with the voice. Sometimes writing without an instrument can bring forward the strongest melodies.

As a beginning songwriter you can create songs without playing an instrument. With lyrics and melodies in your head, you can complete a song! How cool is that? Some songwriters who can play guitar or piano make the mistake of strumming some chords and letting the chords lead to the next predictable notes.

People sing the melody not the chords, the number one downfall of new songwriters is first playing chord changes on a keyboard or guitar, and then imposing the melody over the chord progression. Now chords are very important to add harmony which we will talk about a little later but if you don’t play an instrument don’t let that stop you writing great melodies.

Having said that, playing an instrument is very useful and knowing chord changes, scales and simple theory will assist you. Learning popular chord sequences will also be of great benefit.

Keep it Simple and Singable:

The goal of melody writing is to communicate a simple and singable melody that fits a perfect lyric. So how do we write melodies? (here comes the theory part) Say you have a chord sequence C Major-F Major-G Major These chords have the following notes in them;

C Major C-E-G

F Major F-A-C

G Major G-B-D

The scale would be C Major going from C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C when writing the melody for your song, you would select notes from within the chord you were playing at the time. So for example if you were playing a C Chord, the notes you would use would be C, E,or G. You can use notes outside of the chord but as a starting point you would choose the notes in the chord. I like to look at the syllables in the lyrics and decide what notes and rhythm I want to assign to them.

When you begin writing your own melodies try a variety of notes with different rhythms. Have fun with this and learn to rewrite melodies like you would with lyrics

Intervals in melody writing is a useful technique to learn. It will help you pick up new music and give you an understanding of melody. I hear you say what is an Interval? Good question, Intervals are the spaces between notes. So F-C would be a 5th because it’s a 5th in distance. To recognize a perfect fifth is to hum the starting of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star; the pitch of the first “twinkle” is the root note and pitch of the second “twinkle” is a perfect fifth above it.

Professional Tips on Mixing and Mastering Audio

Music mixing is a task that forms an important part of music creating. The procedure of penning down the lyrics, creating a tune, syncing the lyrics to the tune created, recording it and finally mixing and mastering it makes it a complete music track. Music mixing is often the task of professionals who know the technicalities involved in creating a perfect song. They are the ones who use modern software allowing them to have perfectly mixed songs at the end of the entire procedure. These are performed at specialised studios, but several companies specialise in online mastering and mixing where there is no need for you to go to a studio and instead get professional results virtually.

Any professional who is an expert in mastering and mixing audio, know the right ways to have a final mastered sound piece. Mastering too requires a particular procedure which when followed would give the best results. Here are a few steps that you could follow that come direct from the mouths of professionals.

• Choose fresh music – It is always advisable to bring about freshness to the music that you record. While you record music, ensure that you use the best devices to record it as the recorder plays a significant role in the final product. There has to be a freshness in the audio that you record as the mastering would get tougher if the recording is of poor quality.

• Learn not to appreciate your work – You may no doubt have the best-recorded audio but at times you need to be critical of your job. It helps in analysing the minute details and looking out for loopholes. You may appreciate your work as eventually it is your creation any if you do not find any loopholes in it, you can get someone who may critically analyse your work and provide you with some help.

• Match the volume – Imagine listening to a song where the volume of the voice recording is lower than that of the instruments that make up the tune. It would sound annoying to the ear, and therefore, you should ensure the fact that the volumes of the audio and the instruments are equal and not overpowering each other.

• Choose quality equipment – You may own a professional mixing console and the best mastering software that can help you mix your music well. They need not be the most expensive equipment but should be able to bring out the best in your sound recording.

Tips on How to Make Vocals in Music Recordings Sound Professional

First things first

Every voice is different. Settings that help the voice of the top-selling artist to be at the top of the charts, might do nothing to help your voice. In fact, such settings might even harm it. Keep that in mind as you read advices regarding frequency numbers, etc.

Your voice is unique. And what is unique, has to be treated as such. That’s why opinions about microphones vary so much. I will say this though – the better the vocal recordings, the easier it is to mix them properly.

1. Equipment

Let’s say you take a picture of a sunset over Paris with an old, two megapixel camera. It’s going to be a great picture nonetheless. But if you try to make a poster out of it, you’ll end up with a blurry, pixelated mess. What the pixels and camera quality are to your eyes, bits and studio equipment are to your ears.

Expensive, high end studio equipment can indeed give you a sense of what makes it expensive, or to put it correctly, what makes it different. Using it is a good way to train your ears. But never suppose that quality lies in the price, because like I said, every voice is unique and just because something is expensive doesn’t mean it makes your voice sound better. With that said, if you ever have the chance to record with different studio equipment, different mics, different workstations etc., please do so! It will give you the opportunity to consider the best arrangement for your voice.

2. Environment

Keep recording sessions dry. You can add every reverb, and every room ambience you can think of with just a few clicks, but it is almost impossible to remove recorded room ambience from your signal. So, do everything possible to keep your room dry. If you have a booth, you are probably in a good situation. If you don’t have one, try to build one (it’s easier than you think-just Google “vocal booth selfmade” to get some inspiration). If you don’t have time or the money for it (you don’t need a lot), at least try to separate your recording area from the rest of your room in some way.

3. Panning and Track Numbers

Everybody has a different approach to panning and the number of vocal tracks that are necessary. I’ll just tell you my opinion.

The lead vocals for verses are usually placed in the center. If you want to give your listener a certain intimacy, it’s always better to use only one vocal track. It just keeps your mix clear and it makes the listening experience better. I’m not a fan of doubling the entire verse. With all the subtle differences between the two takes – including the consonants that never get matched up perfectly – it just makes your vocals sound messy. If you want a clear lead vocal, only use one track.

The next thing I would do is record two tracks in which you double certain parts of the verse. Pan them both in opposite directions (15 to 40), and reduce their volume. You have to hear a difference between the doubled part and the part without doubles, but don’t make it that obvious. Just so that it gives your vocals and the meaning of what is being said in certain parts more power. Doubling is quite common in all kinds of music, especially in rap music. If you are singing, rather than rapping, be careful when doubling because it can make your vocals sound too artificial and too pop-ish. On the other hand, if you are going for that pop sound, doubling might be a great tool for you!

In the chorus, you can record two vocal tracks and pan them between 30 to 60 – one to the left, one to the right. Another option would be to record a third track, which is placed in the center, but not as loud as the lead vocals in your verses.

Some people record one lead track and double it (copy and paste it) and edit them differently (EQ, compressor, pitch, etc.) This can be another great tool to make your vocals sound different in certain parts of the song, just like the panning advices I mentioned above. Try it out and see how you like it.

4. Equalizing Vocals

At first, add a low cut filter on every vocal track. It’s quite common to raise the frequencies from 2 kHz and up for female vocals, and 3 kHz and up for male vocals. Frequencies between 6 and 8 kHz are very sensitive because this is the place where the S sounds are at home. Be careful here. What sounds good and clear on your studio monitors, might feel like needle-sticks to your ear when listening with earphones. Always double- and triple-check your mix on different playback devices like monitors, headphones, earphones, etc.

If the S is too sharp, reduce it. You can either add a native de-esser in your DAW by applying a dynamic equalizer, or by manually reducing every S in your vocal recording. The latter is the most time-consuming, but gives you the most control. Keep in mind that equalizers and de-essers don’t recognize consonants, they recognize frequencies. And some consonants might share the same frequencies as the S. So only apply native de-essers with caution.

5. Reverb

When adding reverb, keep in mind that the lead vocals should usually be just that – leading. So, adding too much reverb is disadvantageous. Only use small room reverbs. You shouldn’t even recognize the reverb, except when it’s gone. It also depends on the instrumental. If there’s a lot going on in your instrumental already, a big reverb would probably be too much for the song. Yet if your instrumental has much room/space, reverb on vocals can be very effective.

6. Breathing Sounds

Of course, your vocal recordings will include breathing sounds. Whether the presence of such breathing sounds should be strong or weak is a question of personal taste. In my opinion, they are extremely important. That doesn’t mean they should be extremely loud though. It means you should edit them separately and with great care.

If a breath is too loud, then reduce its volume. If it is too long, then replace it with a good breath from the same take or from another one. If a breath makes a certain part feel too hectic, then remove it. If it feels like a breath is missing, add one.

These adjustments can improve the flow of your recordings and make your individual takes feel more cohesive. They can also be used as a kind of glue to stick two consecutive takes together to make them feel like they were recorded at once!

But: Don’t double them, and don’t cut them. Always fade in and fade out.

7. Consonants

If you have recorded one lead vocal track and two doubling tracks for a phrase such as, “I’m looking at the mist,” you mind encounter a rattling noise at the end, because the three T’s of “mist” will not appear at the exact same time. You can either move them closer together, so the rattling sound disappears, or you can remove two of them. Fade out the tracks you removed the consonant from to avoid unwanted cutting sounds.

8. Breaks

Many people avoid breaks because they want to finish their project or they don’t believe breaks are necessary. But human senses get accustomed to both good and bad stimulations. You might not recognize something in a room, if you just came in from the sun, but once your eyes adjust, you will notice all sort of things you had missed. When you enter a restaurant, you might perceive good smells, but after you have been sitting at your table for a while, your perception of those smells vanishes. The same thing happens with your ears. If you have been mixing vocals for a couple of hours, you might think they sound good and clear, but the next day, you might just feel ashamed at how muddy they sound.

Take short breaks, if that is all the time you can afford. Taking longer breaks – in which you change your environment – is better. And before you perform your final mix, set your project aside for a couple of days. It’ll give you fresh ears when you resume. At least try it once. Afterward, I think you’ll be pleased that you didn’t release your music without a two-day break.

Life Situation Songs We All Don’t Like Singing

LIFE is like a game of football. Sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. Winning is exhilarating, but there’s not much learning that comes from winning all the time. Losing is much more of value in a life that’s about growth.

Growth emerges out of regret that we should’ve known better…

1. SHOULD’VE KNOWN BETTER – JIM DIAMOND

Sentiment that hangs long after we’ve said our goodbyes is the regret that surpasses the moment. Times when our emotions lag seriously behind reality, when it takes us months if not years to catch up; times like these are lamentable. But only if we don’t capture the essence of this truth: the hardest lessons are rich with material for learning.

2. IF I COULD TURN BACK TIME – CHER

If only we could turn back time. I find myself saying, “This time last week… if only I knew… ,” but then there wouldn’t be the learning that comes from making such noteworthy mistakes. It’s understandable to wish to turn back time. We cannot help think like that in our regret.

3. THE LIVING YEARS – MIKE AND THE MECHANICS

If only we’d spent the time with a parent or a son or daughter that we could have. But time’s gone. Blessed be that final opportunity of reacquainting in eternity – that’s our hope. We implore God for that. But we also accept that what we feel now we hope is communicated to the other soul in the other realm. Another hope.

4. MAN IN THE MIRROR – MICHAEL JACKSON

A seriously penitent song, Man In the Mirror, helps us know that true joy, hope, and peace emanate from the humble heart alive to his or her own truth. As we look into the mirror that is the reality of our own lives, as God or others perceive us, the truth kisses our perspective, and we have fresh impetus to grow.

5. CRY ME A RIVER – JULIE LONDON

There are times when we feel like we literally cry a river over a lost love. We’re desperately forlorn. That was me; when I lost my first love, my first marriage, and my first infatuation afterwards; three times I’ve felt that way – the middle one the worst by far. And still God journeyed faithfully with me even as I cried me a river.

Singing When You Are Sick – Five Tips to Help You

It happens to many of us. Especially around the cold and flu season. It may be hard to talk when you have a cold or the flu, but can you imagine how difficult it would be to sing in front of a crowd of people when you are sick?

This article will hopefully help you and give you tips on how to preserve your voice when you are sick and you have to sing on stage.

  1. This may sound obvious, but it is by far the most important thing you can do for your throat and vocal chords. And that is to rest. The night before your singing performance, try to get a good night’s sleep. And it might also help to take a nap before your performance. This is because sleep can help to heal your vocal chords. Resting your voice also means to try to limit talking throughout the day and up until your performance. Only talk when you need to.
  1. If you are a singer who has performed regularly on stage, then you most likely would already be in the habit of doing vocal warm up exercises before your performance and vocal warm down exercises after your performance. These exercises are so important as they help you to strengthen your voice and will help you to hit those high notes. However, when you are sick, you will need to spend more time doing your vocal warm ups and warm downs. This will help to avoid any damage to your voice and vocal chords.
  1. Stay hydrated throughout the day. Water can ease the itchiness in your throat. I always find that warm water with a couple of slices of lemon in it can help soothe my throat when I am sick. And this will help you to lessen the amount of coughing during the day. I also find that when you have a coughing fit and you can’t stop coughing, then take a cough lozenge. This will help to coat your throat so that it is not so itchy and will help ease your coughing fit. Another good thing to do when you are on stage is to take a bottle of water with you on the stage so that you can take some sips of water in between songs.
  1. Try not to over extend your voice. I would advise you to change your song choice if you have a challenging song to sing. This is because when you are sick, your voice is not in best condition and so you will not be able to hit those super high notes. So I recommend you choose songs that you are comfortable singing where you know you will definitely hit each note perfectly.
  1. My last tip that I have for you is to not panic. Imagine this, you wake up in the morning of your performance and discover that you have a sore throat. You ears might be hurting and you basically don’t feel well. What would most people do? Panic! But you must try your best to not panic. Don’t worry. The worst thing that can happen is that you miss a few notes. But if you are panicking on stage, then your anxiety will only exacerbate your sore throat and you will sing even worse than you should. If you are extremely sick then maybe you will have to call off your performance. I know that is a disappointing and extreme decision to make. But keep your spirits high because you will always have the chance to sing again when your voice has healed.

I hope that these tips will help to ease your mind about singing when you are sick. Depending on the severity of your cold or flu, you still may be able to make an outstanding performance. So next time you are sick and you have to sing, remember the above tips and you will be able to do your best and hopefully “knock their socks off!”