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Caro C – Tips on creating a magic live music performance guest post

on Feb 6, 2014 in Articles, How to |

BLOG POST 3 – The gig itself Here we are at the point of actually getting on with the gig itself. Maybe surprising, we only got to this point at blog post 3 out of 4 which shows how much other stuff is involved in performing whilst maximising on every opportunity to share your thing with other people. Previous posts 1 & post 2 if you would like to pick up the threads of my mental meanderings Again, disclaimer and caveat that I am mainly writing from the perspective of a solo performer though I have been known to collaborate and share my stage with others. So, how to do your best to deliver a magic live performance? One that is memorable, captivates, enchants, moves (emotionally and/or physically). And that is therefore likely to bring in new supporters and listeners and let’s face it, consumers of your music – always a bonus. Strike a balance I feel I start the gig experience a lot more smoothly when I arrive on the time and allow time for traffic, parking, finding the location and the right door to get in. It may sound obvious but tends to be worth double checking the venue and location as some venues have similar names in a town or other such anomalies. I do try to stick to soundcheck times (with equipment set up time factored in) even though most often I am waiting around, you can guarantee if I get too lax about it then I will piss off the sound engineer who would have preferred to have come in an hour later too. Talking of soundies, cut them some slack to start with (unless they really are being a lazy, incompetent or a sexist git) and respect that it is their sound system and they should know it well. They usually work long hours and are subjected to many bands, artists and varying definitions of music on a daily basis. Be polite but not unassertive. Find a balance, gauge the situation, humour can help..If they seem arsey or uninterested it is not actually your problem, so don’t get involved or too bothered about it. Just do your job – get set up and...

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Tips on creating a magic live music performance

Tips on creating a magic live music performance

on Oct 13, 2013 in How to |

Preparing for a gig guest blog by  Caro C Tips on creating a magic live music performance So here I want to look at rehearsing and preparing yourself mentally for a gig whilst as well as looking at practical/technical and logistical stuff.   Kit checklist   I am a solo experimental electronic music performer using my voice and technology so have to prepare myself technically, musically and creatively. I  therefore have a lot of power adaptors, leads and boxes to set up leaving lots of instances for trouble shooting. But even if you only have you, your voice and a guitar or other accompanying instrument to look after, there will still be a cable or two involved. I would also recommend using your own microphone (and cables) for live performance as I have come across some mics and cables that are really worse for wear, tired and therefore less reliable. I prefer to limit the things that can go wrong on the night and treat myself to a decent few cables, power adaptors and the old work horse microphone the Shure SM58 Beta (under £100). A spare cable is always worth the tenner investment in case you get a demon in your signal flow which can unsettle you when setting up in a venue.   Just show up   For the musical rehearsal itself, I find it useful to set myself a regular time and make sure I turn up. Sometimes Again I am having to disciplne myself as a solo artist, so if you are in a band this might be more straightforward (or not!). I can sometimes find it hard to get going when rehearsing for an upcoming gig. It can take a few sessions to get into the flow so making yourself show up no matter how you feel can be good practice. Also, this means that on the night you are more programmed to know you can pull off the gig even if you are feeling tired or stressed because you got caught in traffic or whatever.   Macro and micro – feeling and sound   So get going on your songs or tracks or piece and plough on from beginning to end of the...

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Recording Drums with Caitlin

on Mar 9, 2013 in Articles, How to |

Drums? They come out of a plugin these days don’t they? Surprisingly even some of the most processed acts find a greater connection with their audiences with real drummers; even playing samples. The visual impact is awesome and the microsecond timing fluctuation of any human is rather like sugar to many people’s ears. Even the Olymipcs featured drumming to great effect. I’ve been a drummer since I was 14, I’ve worked the pub circuit in the Greater Manchester area for several original and party covers bands. I went on to study the drums under Darryn Farrugia at Drum Tech in London, am an Associate of the Trinity College London and most recently played for an all girl Mötley Crüe tribute band, Mötley Künst. I got my first recording experience when my high school drum teacher took a group of us into a studio in an industrial unit with a walk through live room, control room to the rest and a relaxation area in the upper floor of the unit. Happily, I’ve since lost the tape of my shy face worrying about the camera lens and the shock of getting to play a pro drum kit. Since then I’ve done sessions for several indie bands and through Mötley Künst with Felix at her studio in London. (Künst is of course German for “Art”) So, here’s a run down of what I consider to be studio vitals to prep for tracking drums to get the very best in the shortest time. Everyone knows that drums are the easiest instrument to play so that part is fairly trivial. Provided the drummer can be confident and relaxed, the performance is simple. The following are thing that can be planned ahead of time to make sure the drummer *IS* confident and relaxed. Sit at the drums and wiggle some things. Don’t play; just move cymbals and pedals and the seat and toms and listen for any noises. Squeaks and wiggles here will all be audible on your tracks. Oil your pedals and seat components so they’re smooth and quiet. Make sure you have decent felts and tube sleeves for your cymbals and that the stands are all solid. Why risk ruining a great take...

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How to Find Accurate Guitar Tabs Online

on Feb 26, 2013 in Articles, How to |

Learning to play the guitar is a dream of many around the world. Some want to learn to play simply for their own pleasure. Others have dreams of playing in bands or other arenas. Whatever the reason it is really easy to learn all you need to know online. You can find the chords and tabs of your favorite songs right there online. There are lots of ways you can learn your songs and play them quickly. How do you find these tabs? That’s really very easy if you know where to look. Keep these ideas in mind when you are looking for the tabs to your favorite tunes on the radio. Paid Sites   You will find some paid sites online that you can join and get pretty much any cords or song music you are after. While these are great sites you may not want to pay for the service. This works for those who are constantly needing the music for playing gigs or doing concerts. For those who just want to play for themselves, it might not be feasible to pay a fee.   YouTube   Many people post videos teaching you how to play a song on the popular video site YouTube. You can learn to play the guitar online while watching the videos and also learn those hard to figure out chords in your favorite tune. This is a great way to learn it if you are a musician who plays by ear. You can see what they are doing and figure it out easily.   Online Forums   You may find some help in online forums for musicians. This is a great place to bat ideas around and learn from others who have been playing longer than you have. This is a great way to get experience and learn new tunes or techniques. You can chat with others who have been playing and share tips back and forth. You may also meet up with musicians in your area that can share their tips and help you learn the songs.   Free Sites   This is the best place to grab those songs you are after. Doing a simple web search typically brings up...

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Creative Flow – some ideas what to do – when it is all bunged up.

on Feb 6, 2013 in How to |

    I have been thinking about this a lot recently – We all have times when a song or track just appears or words and tunes flow . Then other times dry, dry, dry as a flipping dry thing on a dusty day in a desert.   Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working. ~Pablo Picasso.   So what old Pablo is saying – your “muse” comes and goes but you have to be there cranking away keeping up your practise. So got a song on the go but it isn’t “going anywhere” or you have decided that you are the kind of person that “can never finish a song” 3 things to try 1. Be Nice to Yourself Remember some times you have finished a tune or a poem or even just a boring chore . and know it is jut a fat filthy lie that “ you don’t finish things” If it was someone else talking to like that you would tell them to f!@)*)  right off   2. Set The timer Decide a small amount of time you can put aside for the next 10 days this has to be modest enough to be actually do-able – keep reducing the time til your heart doesn’t sink at the thought. Even if it is 10 or 15 Min’s, its cool as long as you stick to the rules. This is a classic method but it really works !! Rules to the game Each day for the set a timer for the amount of time you decided (no really, this is the most important rule) For that set time you “sit” with your song every day – this can be laying the chords on your guitar /keys – singing it or looking at the lyrics. – this is called showing up. i.e. you don’t need to actually come up with anything All you think about till the timer goes off is that song When the timer goes off you stop You don’t beat yourself up if nothing else happens – as you have done what is required Keep an open mind – you may be surprised at what happens . 3. Check out Oblique Strategy...

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Beauty in the beats article

on Feb 6, 2013 in Articles, How to |

I had a request on the last workshop to demonstrate  Logic’s cool drum machine Ultrabeat- so I have recorded a short video to demonstrate the basic functions. To see it click here now The video is relevant to using most software drum machines as they are all designed in a similar style to mimic the old hardware drum machines. They have a grid representing one or two bars – with the bar split into 16 squares to represent the 16 beats. beats 1- 2- 3-4 of the bar fall on squares 1-5-9-13. for a full demo  – check the video (it is only 4 mins long and easy to understand) and then try programming in ultrabeat. Ableton live or Pro tools 8 have their own drum machines that work in a similar style. If you don’t have music software no problemo – those try these free alternatives monkey machine is an on line drum machine with different kits i.e. its on the web try it out ! monkey machine free on line drum machine click here you can try out building your own beats there – it is easy to download the patterns as midi. (If you want to save your cool rhythms as audio I suggest you check out free recording software audacity along with soundflower that allows you to capture sounds from the web as well as sources on your mac. If that sounds like gobbledy gook I will be doing a simple “how to” description of using audacity and soundflower some time soon.) Idrum can be used as a standalone drum machine but also works as a plug in in most popular software. idrum  for 10 day free trial click here Formats: Standalone, RTAS (Pro Tools 7+), Audio Unit, VST Windows or Mac I can recommend this drum machine as I used to use it – It doesn’t have the best interface or sounds, but its fun and friendly and...

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