Listening to the Music and Watching Movies from Another Culture

I’m friends with the guy who owns a convenience store down the street form my apartment. I’m a big guy born in the town. He is from India and moved here about 10 years ago. I stepped in and helped him out when a couple of thugs were giving him a hard time. I knew of those guys and didn’t like either one of them. Fortunately, they are afraid of me. That worked in my favor, and my new friend started talking more to me. He has Indian music on all the time. He gets downloads from a website he visits. I asked because I never seen much in the way of Indian music at the neighborhood used record and CD store.

How to Scream in a Hardcore Punk Band

Hardcore Punk has been around for a while, and those who have stuck to it are those we know as “punks”. Now, most hardcore punk bands have a lot of different things in them. But one thing, however, is that a lot of bands use screaming vocals.

Learn how to growl. The first step to a full on scream is a growl, and that can be accomplished by starting out with a heavy sigh, getting heavier until you feel a “rumble” in your throat. That’s what your growl is going to feel like. Now take that feeling, and amplify it. However you manage to make yourself growl, just be sure to always go through your diaphragm (your stomach muscles). If you followed these directions, you should sound a little like a low, scratchy growl.

After you master growling, you can work on your false chords (A scream).This is done by exhaling a LOT harder than you would when you are growling. Do not change what you are doing with your throat, and always remember to use your diaphragm. Eventually, if you listen to enough songs and you practice for long enough, you will get very good at it.

Practice, Practice, Practice. If you’re going to do anything, first you must practice. Just say stuff with your screaming and eventually it will sound better and better. At first, it will sound all throaty, and basically like a dying animal. But if you try enough, it will sound more guttural and scary.

How to Hardcore Dance

Want to get started with Hardcore Dancing in your favorite mosh pit. Lets look at some of the basics!

Make sure you you are committed to doing this. There is always the possibility for injury when dancing this style in a tightly packed space.

Warm up by doing stretches to make sure you don’t pull any muscles or injure yourself.

Start slowly beginning with a simple “throw down” for example: Cross one leg in front of the other and then do the same with the other leg. Do that repeatedly and faster. You should feel as if your hopping or skipping in a deranged fashion. Once you have perfected the movement, punch your fists downward in the air.

Practice more complicated moves such as the windmill: This is when you literally windmill your arms in the air crazily and possibly spin kick simultaneously for added effect.

Lear to spin kick. Once you are fully warmed up and ready to try more a more demanding move; jump into the air, kick out and spin around. To make it more visually appealing, land and start punching the air in front of you while kneeling.

Have fun and be yourself!. No one cares what your dancing looks like everyone is there to have fun.

How to Make Hardcore Techno

This is it. You’ve heard a lot of tracks, seen a lot of DJ and you are interested in the process of making Hardcore Techno. Maybe you’ve been listening to Hardcore (not to be confused with Hardcore Punk or Hardcore metal) for some time, and you finally made your decision. You’re going to be a part of the family.

Make sure you want to do it.

  • You wanted to make just one track ? Well, Hardcore is certainly one of the hardest music genre, and thus, finding people who truly enjoy it, finding tutorials or label interested (this will come much later after you start producing) WILL be hard. Are you sure you want to become a Hardcore producer ?

Choose your DAW.

  • What is a DAW ? It’s a music producing software; if you didn’t know it then you will probably need a lot of time before actually producing tracks. Personally, I use FL Studio, but you can also try one of the various others, like Cubase, Ableton, Pro Tool, Reason, Logic… Keep in mind that some of them only work on PC, while some other only work on Mac. Some also work on both. Tip the name on a search engine, then go to the website and download a demo to get an idea of how it works. But keep in mind that if you illegally download the software, the music you’ll make won’t belong to you.

Master your software.

  • It may contain extremely useful tools that will make producing music easier and funnier, as well as giving more qualities to your tracks. Look for tutorials on YouTube and WikiHow.

Choose your VSTs.

  • These will help you create your sound, may it be the drums, the melody… Don’t buy expensive one at first : If you are a beginner, why would you need hundreds of virtual instruments if you can’t even understand one?

Get some good speakers (monitors) for listening.

  • You’ll want them to sound as “neutral” as possible : what does it mean ? Well, if you used your mobile phone speaker to make your music, you would try to make it sound as good as possible… on your mobile phone. Your track could be heard anywhere : In a club, in a car, in your room… and what sound awesome on your mobile phone speaker will sound like %#?! on your computer speakers.

What is Hardcore ?

  • This is a simple question, with a long list of answers. We’ll go for the technical ones, which are the one that will interest us : Hardcore is a kind of powerful techno, with heavy kick and bass that usually resort to distortion. The tempo is usually between 150 and 200 BPM, although faster genre exist (Speedcore can be at 300 BPM and higher; Flashcore use ultra fast BPM and “kicks barrage”). Use the definition to make your tracks. What is the structure of a track ?

Practice make perfect.

  • Try to make the perfect kick, the perfect melody… At first, don’t try to make a track. I’m sure you won’t follow this advice; but mastering the instruments before trying to play is a good idea.


How to Fit in at a Hardcore Show

The hardcore music scene can be very rough on fans that may be unfamiliar with the way the shows work. Whether you stay local, or go to larger venue hardcore shows, these steps can help you out, and make you seem as if you’ve been to dozens of shows.

Dress appropriately- You don’t want to go into a show wearing your new Tommy Hilfiger collared shirt, and Hollister jeans. That’s a big mistake. You want to wear something that is comfortable, as in something that is loose and allows movement when two-stepping (see step 3), and also shows you fit in. A local band shirt is always a good choice, but wearing the band that you are going to see is usually a “Don’t”. Try to pick a shirt of a band that is similar to the one you are going to see, perhaps one that people attending the show are familiar with, and shows you have good taste. Basketball shorts or cargo shorts are always a good idea if it’s warmer out. If it’s wintertime, or just cold in general, you’ll want to wear some sort of jeans- either tight, or loose fit. Basketball shorts give you the most movement if you do decide to go in a pit. As far as shoes go, skate shoes seem to be the most comfortable. Wearing sandals or work boots will have you regretting it in the morning. It’s near impossible to hardcore dance in either of those styles of shows.

  • Flat Brim Hats- These hats have become a big part in the hardcore scene. Usually any sort of local sports team, skate company, or motocross company will do just fine. The proper way to wear one, is with the hat turned forward, with the brim slightly to the left of the right.
  • Facial Hair- It can help you out a lot (if you’re a male). A little scruff on the face is nothing out of the normal at a hardcore show. Usually not too well kept, sometimes a chin strap, or a goatee with long sideburns. Mostly anything will suffice, as long as it’s not some kind of cop mustache.

Wait for the pit- You don’t have to be the first one dancing, or the one that opens the pit up. It’s alright to look around, and see what people are doing. You’ll know when the breakdown comes, and it’s best to know the songs prior to dancing, so you’re not offbeat, and so you’re not the last one dancing when the breakdown has ended.

Learn How to Two Step- This may be the most fundamental part in proving that you fit in. Trying to throw down in a pit if it’s your first time, can end in disaster. Sit back and watch some techniques and styles that kids have polished over the years. Everyone has their own style and it could take a long time to perfect your very own. Practice every now and then, and don’t be afraid to look ridiculous . If you’ve ever skanked (A more “Punky” version of hardcore dancing), it’s a lot like that, just with more motion in the arms, like you’re fighting ghosts. With your feet you need to hop on the right foot twice, and then swing your left leg around to the front with the knee slightly bent, and hop twice on that foot. Repeat this process until you have it down. You get used to it quickly, and will be able to concentrate on your arms in no time. Now, with your arms, you’re going to swing blindly and hope you don’t hit anyone/anything. As you progress, you’ll learn more moves, and see new moves that you’ll want to try. People get hit and have noses broken all the time in these pits, so try to keep an eye on where people are swinging around you.


How to Be Post Hardcore

Understand what post-hardcore is. Many people confuse melodic metalcore with post-hardcore or think they both are similar. However, this isn’t really that true. Post-hardcore is either a derivative or style from hardcore punk which had more melody and experimental characteristics. It usually was influenced by hardcore, punk, alternative, art punk, noise rock and other genres. It was pioneered by the band Hüsker Dü who were influenced by hardcore and post-punk.

Listen to post-hardcore music! Bands in post-hardcore include: At the Drive In, Fugazi, Sleeping With Sirens, Pierce the Veil, and Glass Jaw.

  • Go find some shows to attend. Many bands play at certain places. Some bands (which was common for 1980s bands) play normal concerts or local gigs. You can also find some post-hardcore bands at Warped Tour.
  • To find some more post-hardcore bands, go talk to fans about it, find some magazines of music and even listen to Faction on Sirius XM. Faction plays all types of rock. Although it is usually punk rock. They will play post-hardcore as well as genres like metal, nu metal, hip-hop (although it isn’t rock) and industrial.
  • Check out some albums. If you want, buy some. Some bands may be found at Target, local stores or others. Others you can find on iTunes.

Understand what is not post-hardcore. Some bands mislabeled as post-hardcore include: Asking Alexandria, Of Mice & Men, I Killed the Prom Queen, Bring Me the Horizon, The Devil Wears Prada, Black Veil Brides, Blessthefall, Memphis May Fire and Attack! Attack. These bands are in different genres.

Listen to some other music, too. Try hardcore punk (Minor Threat, Scream, The Faith, Bad Brains, Dead Kennedys, Black Flag), emo (Rites of Spring, Braid, Embrace), screamo (Pg 99, I Hate Myself, Indian Summer), punk rock (The Ramones, Title Fight, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Rancid), post-punk (Joy Division, Siouxsie & the Banshees, The Clash) or alternative (REM, Nirvana, Sunny Day Real Estate, Blur).


Where did new wave music originate from?

New wave was a drastic movement to progress a new genre of music in the late 70s and early 80s. It is a genre that is very often misdefined and generally associated with punk rock and heavy metal at the time. Although they share similar sounds and band ethos’s they are not the same thing and a lot of music enthusiasts would suggest it to be very unwise to compare them at all, but they are ultimately very different despite these similarities.

The question at hand is where the new wave music genre came from. Generally music goes through several stages of evolution in order to get to where it is today, and clearly despite there being several varieties of rock music and heavy metal around today they are still considered to be very different to the music at the time. For instance, I would personally consider bands such as the Killers and the Kaiser Chiefs to be slightly swayed towards new wave, but others would consider this Indie music which has become a sub genre in itself as of recent years. Obviously there are plenty of brand new genres of music that have developed, but at the time new wave was a movement and an effort to change the way in which we saw rock and metal music by slightly blending the two to make a cutting-edge bridge between mellow and harder rock music.

The origins of new wave is as suggested a blend between a couple of genres, and was first developed and defined by a man called Seymour Stein, who at the time was the head of Sire Records and was looking to sign bands to change music at the time completely. He was trying to avoid the label of punk music when referring to his acts as at the time punk bands and punk music in general was heavily avoided on radio stations because it was viewed as rebellious and not the kind of music that the media wanted to advocate. Although there was obviously a development in new wave later on it was just another name to give punk music to make it more acceptable, and so essentially new wave initially originated from the creation of punk.

The one mistake made after this is that all alternative music that came out at the time started being labelled as new wave, when really new wave was just an interesting sound that was sort of a mix between heavier rock and pop music. Some of the most notable bands of the time that fitted this new wave movement were Duran Duran, High Treason, Iron Maiden and even Blondie. Some of these are controversial and there are a lot of different opinions on what new wave is, and there still is this argument today with bands such as the Kaiser Chiefs and the Killers being at the centre of discussion as to whether they are new wave or not.

5 OTHER Ways to Make Money with Your Music Talents

When you’re starting out as a musician, the traditional routes of making money – selling your music and playing live – aren’t as profitable as they can be when you have built your audience. Things are even trickier now that selling music is hard for even established artists. As an up and coming artist, that means you need to find new ways to make money to fund your music career – and your life – as you work on progressing with your music. There’s nothing wrong with getting – or keeping – your day job, but there can come a point where day jobs get in the way of doing the things necessary to move forward with your music, such as touring. If you’re looking for ways to supplement your income outside of a traditional 9 to 5, give these ideas a try.

1.  Teach Music

The ability to play music is a skill that is always in demand, and teaching other people that skill can be profitable. You can build up a base of private students or teach music through a studio or music shop with lesson space. You can get your first few students by advertising online, in coffee shops, music shops, and other local businesses that allow people to put up flyers. After that, you can attract new customers through word of mouth.

2.  Do Sound

Where there is live music, there is a need for someone to run sound. Take the time to learn to run the soundboard, and you will quickly find yourself in demand. As a musician yourself, you’ll have special insight into how to make the show run as smooth as possible for the bands, which will make your skills eve more sought after. Running sound is a great way to not only make some money but also to build connections at venues that can help you get your own shows.

3.  Do Session Work

Solo musicians often need backing players when they record and play live. Even full bands often need someone to come in and play a specialty instrument on a track or at a show sometimes. Fulfilling these roles can help you earn extra money – in some cases, the money can be significant, depending on the artist. It’s not always easy to break into sessions work, but developing relationships with a few musicians in town and backing them up is a good start. You can also reach out to studios and let them know about your availability, so they can recommend you to musicians who are recording there. Once you get a few jobs under your belt, you may be surprised how quickly you start receiving calls.

4.  Write About Music

If writing is your thing, combine your skills with your knowledge of music. Try doing freelance work for your local paper or any local music publications in your area. When you build up some clips from your work in local publications, you can pitch your work to bigger mags and papers. Online writing is another good way to build up clips, though keep in mind that many music blogs don’t pay or pay very little.

5.  Play Cover Shows

The decision to play cover shows isn’t an easy one. Playing a few here and there to make some extra bucks isn’t such a big deal, but if you begin to rely on them for your main source of income, you run the risk of getting typecast as a cover musician instead of someone trying to build a following with their original music. Although it is certainly a balancing act that you have judge very carefully, some well place, well spaced out cover shows can be extremely helpful when you’re trying to make ends meet playing music. Additionally, the extra time spent on stage and contacts with venue owners don’t hurt, either.

Top Music Schools in the East

Whether you have a cellist, a bassoonist, a jazz drummer or operatic tenor, serious musicians look for undergraduate and grad schools with top-notch music programs. And just as universities are divided into tiers, with the Berkeleys and Yales of the world at the top, and less competitive schools lower down, the stratification of music schools is even more extreme, with the best conservatories in the country nestled at the top of the pyramid.

But for many musicians, the better fit is a conservatory on a college campus, or a university with a top-ranked music department (For more on those differences, check out this article on the college vs. conservatory debate.) Like a conservatory, the best of these music schools requireauditions, concert and recital resumes and a very different application process from the typical college admissions experience.

The key lies in finding a music school that fits the musician’s skills, commitment and passion. Every major university has a music program, but the colleges on the following pages represent some of the best music programs in the East. Turn the page to get started, or use the quick links below.

  • New York universities, including Eastman and NYU
  • New England universities, including Longy and Peabody
  • New York is home to incredible nightlife, a vibrant arts scene and, once you get out of the big city, bucolic vistas too. It’s also home to a number of terrific music schools – conservatories such as Juilliard, Manhattan and Mannes, certainly, but also university-based music programs like these:
    • Eastman School of Music: This prestigious, 80-year-old conservatory at the University of Rochester in New York offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees to its 900 students. Several Pulitzer Prize and Grammy winners have been members of the conservatory’s full-time faculty, and the list of illustrious alumni include soprano Renée Fleming, Boston Symphony managing director Mark Volpe, and a long list of classical and jazz greats. Getting in is the challenge – some 2,100 musicians apply each year for about 280 spots – and kids who apply here also generally apply to the major conservatories. A dual degree requires admission to the University of Rochester as well as Eastman, but if your musician is pursuing a bachelor of music degree, he can apply to Eastman directly, via the Unified Conservatory Application and its attachments.
      • NYU’s Steinhardt and Tisch School of the Arts: Classical and jazz musicians will want to check out NYU – New York University in Manhattan – and its renowned music department, while musicians interested in musical theater, film, television and the recording arts will want to explore the Tisch School of the Arts, which includes the Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music. Admission at this private university is highly competitive and requires stellar GPA and test scores as well as auditions.

Preparing to Perform

There is a wonderful sequence in the film The Red Shoes where the prima ballerina is uncontrollably nervous before the performance begins and says to the director, “I don’t remember the opening steps. I can’t visualize them without the music” And the director replies, “Well since you are undoubtedly going to hear the music when you start to dance, there is nothing to worry about.”

Another story: Myra Hess, the famous classical pianist of the mid twentieth century, told of how each time she performed, her nerves threatened to undo her—right up until the time she sat down at the piano.

But after she launched the piece into the first opening measures, a calm came over her, as the beauty of the music had her in its spell.

So many fine musicians keep their talents hidden because of what they would describe as uncontrollable nerves, which create enormous stress just contemplating performance. But these feelings are normal, and everyone feels them—even artists at the highest levels. You can overcome them too.

Let’s take a look at where these jitters come from, and then explore some ways we can prepare so that these issues do not limit our performances, or our enjoyment generally of making music.

Many of our fears stem from early experiences (e.g., playing at teachers’ end of year recitals where we were embarrassed by how we played). Or from noticing how when someone walks into the room while we are practicing, we tighten up and can no longer connect with the music.

One thing we can be certain about is that nerves are experienced by every performing artist: the Shakespearean actor, the stand-up comic, the public speaker, and every musician.

Wherever there is an audience, make room for a whole panorama of uncontrollable sensations.

Musicians reach for the many books available now, which talk about the inner game of performing (much like a tennis match) or the books that describe how Zen and meditation can put you in the “zone.” Many musicians take beta-blockers or other drugs, if they need even more intervention.

If we could all be sure that this time would be a wonderful performance—everything we hoped for—we would relax. But we don’t know the outcome, we only know that wewant this time to be the best time, the most extraordinary performance of what we are about to do. What pressure, to try living up to that!

Even some people who love to perform can get so nervous that they will throw up before the performance, each and every time, and then go on stage and play beautifully.

Consider the mother of a lovely young flutist who remarked to me how her daughter always asks her serious questions just before she is about to perform, such as, “How did our dog die?” or “What happened to Grandpa?” Then, the inevitable tears flow, and she is ready to go onstage and play her heart out.

We are all a myriad of different personalities. That is why at student recitals, we hear some students play their pieces very nicely, while some play even better than usual because the presence of an audience brought out the excitement rather than the fear in that particular student, while the next student may have to deal with a musical train wreck.

Few musicians seem to actually have been taught how to prepare for performance, so perhaps the following suggestions may be useful.

1. Limiting Surprises

Let’s limit our surprises. The presence of an audience, whether one or two people or a roomful, will bring heightened awareness. This is perfectly understandable because while performing, there is a lot going on in our brains besides the music we want to play.

Your mind suddenly becomes crowded with inner and outer stimuli. You will become aware of physical sensations of nervousness, and also you will find that you have a new set of ears. Now, as you play, you will be listening to yourself as if you are part of the audience too. You become very critical of your performance. Expect to feel this way. It is natural, especially for first performances.

May I speculate that after a few such occasions, you will feel more prepared and not surprised by anything you might hear, see, or feel.

How can you be expected to play when you have all these new distractions? Tell yourself it is not about you but about the music. The audience really wants to listen to the music. They are rooting for you to turn in an enjoyable performance. Nobody except you is asking for perfection.

2. Practicing

However much you have practiced your repertoire, it will never feel as if it was enough. Expect that too. It is probably not true, but then again, is there ever a time musicians feel that they have practiced too much?

Let’s talk about practicing.

Since you will never be sure you really “know” the piece unless you are playing it, you will find yourself at the piano, or your other instrument very often.

At those practice times, play it slowly twice for every time you play it up to tempo. What you are trying to achieve here is “finger memory” or “muscle memory.” It will happen by lots of repetition, and it is something you will need to depend upon.

We are not talking about playing from memory here, because lots of musicians nowadays use their music.But the piece still has to be yours, and so right now, we are focusing on the muscle memory.

The fingers need to know where to go once we put them in motion, with limited input from the brain.

3. Listening to Your Inner Ear

Now, we need to focus on the important aspect of the performance itself—assuming you have practiced the piece to your degree of satisfaction—what is most important now, once you begin, is to focus on what you want the music to sound like. How you want to present each phrase. Listen to your inner ear tell you what to do with the phrase line, the dynamics, the timing.

Never, and I mean never, ask yourself “What’s the next note.” Why? Because you haven’t the time to answer. The hand, being quicker than the eye, will have passed that beat long before your brain has conjured the answer.

Your fingers are in control of the notes. They have gone over them again and again, like the little mouse who has discovered the correct path in a maze and practices that path over and over. Your mind is no longer asking what notes, but how the notes should sing out.

4. Keeping the Beat

And now, we know that the most important thing you as a musician can do is to keep the beat. Never correct a wrong note! While we practiced, we did not allow wrong notes to remain uncorrected, but performance is not the time to practice.

Playing a wrong note and then correcting it, does not erase the note we did not want…and it actually creates a more difficult problem. The correction will add another beat to the measure and that will upset the rhythm. This is much more difficult to recover from. Our goal is never to disturb the beat, which our audience has been figuratively tapping their feet to since we began playing.

Remember, the steady beat will hold the whole piece together, but it is not easy to train yourself to not react, so I am going to suggest that as you practice for performance, you must train yourself not to react to anything extraneous—from the wrong note, to the cough in the audience, to a camera flash going off, or a fire engine whizzing by.

Train yourself not to react if a dog or a cat was to jump in your lap. Imagine that happening, and you force yourself to keeping going. A wrong note may throw you off for a while, but you will get back on track. It may take a measure, but as long as you account for each beat in the measure, the mistake will not disturb the music. It is amazing how quickly a wrong note is forgotten when a musician keeps going and maintains the integrity of the rhythm.

5. A Few More Tricks

And now some actual tricks that are helpful.

Many musicians practice the opening measures of the piece over and over. It helps them feel confident that they can “launch” the piece, which is after all, starting from a point of complete silence.

Along the same lines is memorizing the beginnings of each new section so that if for some reason you do get a little lost by your error, and worry that you will not get back on track, you can always jump ahead to the next section and resume as if nothing happened.

Just as the opening of the piece requires a few strategies for complete confidence, so too is the end of the piece in need of special attention. It just seems to be an unspoken fact that a lovely performance often gets a little “undone” as the musician approaches its final lines. Does the performer relax?  Or, on the contrary, does the performer tighten up?  Whatever the circumstances, a few strategies are in order.

Practice the endings over and over as you did the beginnings…but this time, also practice a little arpeggio and chord in the piece’s key, so that if you have a slip that seems hopeless to continue from, you can always default to the  arpeggio  and  final chord  in the key. Voila! You have come to the end. Without the final beat ending in the “home” key, your piece will never sound finished.

Also using a previous strategy of playing the ending over and over, as you did the beginning measures, so that when you get to the final lines of the piece, you can put your fingers in “automatic pilot” mode, if you feel yourself tightening up.

When you are approaching a passage that is tricky, complicated, and you feel yourself tightening up as you get close to it because it has always given you trouble even though you have practiced it again and again …hands apart and together… say to yourself, “Okay fingers, do your thing” and disengage your mind from the mechanics of those measures. In other words, think of something else or say to yourself, “My fingers know this, I will just let them play.” You will be amazed how your fingers can do it, while you in your distracted state are wondering “How is all this possible?”

A fine violinist when asked what he does when he approaches a formidable passage of devilish finger work, said, “I usually think of bagels and lox.” You get the idea.

There is also a matter of playing on strange instruments (pianists especially) or unexpected settings—more of those surprises we were talking about. Practice playing on a chair that is too high and also one that is too low, so you can somehow make the adjustment and know you can play even in that situation.

Also be sure to have a rehearsal in the clothes that you are going to wear. A performance is not the time to find out that your clothes are too tight, too revealing, or your shoes are pinching or too high.

In the final analysis, performance is about sharing your music with others and not a judgment of you as a human being. You are playing a piece you love, and you want the audience to experience the beauty of it too.

Be proud that you are able to make music and give such extraordinary pleasure to others.

Bravo to you for doing this.

How Can I Get My Children Into World Music?

Question: How Can I Get My Children Into World Music?


The easiest and best way to get children into world music is to start them young. From the very beginning, if the music you play on the stereo and sing and play along with has a global beat, your baby will internalize the music and think of it as familiar, rather than a taste that needs acquiring later.

You might also consider starting your children in a baby or toddler group music class from early on.

These classes tend to have curricula that lean toward the folky and rootsy, and they also usually allow the children to play some simple percussion instruments, including things like claves and maracas, both authentic instruments which are used regularly in global genres. Try Music Together or Kindermusik, both of which are widely franchised and which include global sounds in their program.

Also, it’s important to give kids lots of opportunities to make their own music. That’s not to say that you should start them on violin as soon as they can walk, but keeping some fun musical instruments (here are some particularly toddler-friendly musical instrument ideas) around the house is a good way to help them feel comfortable as both music-makers and music-listeners.

As your kids get older, it still stays as simple as including world music as part of your daily listening. Keep a stack of world music CDs in the car (Putumayo Kids is a label that makes tons of good ones) and play them occasionally while you do things around the house, as well.

Just keep the music happening and make it a normal part of life, and it’ll become second nature.

It’s also worth trying to take your kids to see live music occasionally. True, it’s no fun to take a toddler barhopping (haha), but lots of festivals and concert series offer an enormous variety of music in a family-friendly setting. Check out some of my tips for taking children to music festivals to ensure that it’s a low-stress and entertaining experience for the whole family. Also, check your local calendar listings (and those of nearby towns) — there’s lots of surprisingly wonderful free (or very cheap) stuff that’s targeted to all ages in most mid-to-large-sized cities.

As they get even older, you’ll want to help them really appreciate the music, not just be casual listeners. Ask them questions about what they’re hearing: the instruments, the voices, the mood, the rhythm, the tempo — all possible conversation topics. Here are some more ideas for getting your kids to talk and think about world music.

Regardless of how strong of a grounding you give your kids in international music, they’re still probably going to rebel as teens and listen to something that sets your teeth on edge. Still, you can hope that as they get older, they’ll come back to it and have positive associations with world sounds, and become active adult listeners and concertgoers. But even if they don’t, there’s still so much to be gained by listening to world music as a child. It’s such a wonderful window into other cultures, and it’s such a joy to listen to in its own right.

Encourage Your Children to Attend Music Lessons

Like all good parents, you want your children to have the best life they possibly can and that means through such acts as getting a good education, eating nutritious food, and maintaining healthy savings. On top of the basics, creativity and fun have their place in raising a well-rounded child. And one great way to introduce your children to being open and creative is to get them involved in music. Children who learn and enjoy music from an early age are much more creative and receptive to ideas. However, lessons can sometimes feel like a chore, so it’s useful to find ways to be encouraging about the magic that is music well learned and beautifully played.

Making Music a Daily Feature

  1. Integrate music in your children’s daily activities. If you want your children to be musically talented or interested, involve them in music at all times. Have music on in the car, in the kitchen, when eating dinner, all the time. Constantly having music playing is a very good way to integrate music into their lives.
    • Make music from everyday things. If you are cooking with your kids, use the wooden spoons and upturned bowls to make up a song while you bake. If you’re out playing sport together, use the sporting gear to make musical sounds. Find music in the ordinary so that children can see how easy it is to make music a constant part of their lives.
  2. Make music all about fun. There are many ways to help your children see how enjoyable music is.
    • Take your children to a gig when they are a little older.
    • Go to music concerts especially made for kids. Many top and local artists will throw an occasional show at which they do numbers for kids. Some musicians always play for kids. Look online and in local papers for events.
    • Go to open air and outdoor musical festivals. Children love the freedom of being able to run about freely while music is playing all the time. Take along a rug, a picnic, some toys and make a day of it.
    • Integrate music and craft. Have children make their instruments first, then prepare a tune on them together afterward.
    • Teach your children about some of the most inspiring musicians of all time like Bob Dylan; play music from your top favorite artists of the past through to the present, to help give them a broad grounding in many types of music.
    • Include classical music experiences with fun activities like playing a board game (without lyrics, it won’t interfere with thinking) or when you’re all resting together as a family.
  3. Bring music into your children’s lives very early on. If you leave it late, they may struggle to get involved with music or may be less interested in just enjoying listening to it.
    • Make use of technology such as MP3 players, tablets and the like to play music anywhere, from a picnic to bath time. The portability of music has never been easier––imagine what people from the past would think about our ability to carry entire orchestras around with us whenever we wish!

Getting Serious About Learning Music

  1. Ask your children what they’d like to learn by way of singing or playing an instrument. Enjoying music is one thing, but being able to play or sing the song is a special feeling. Don’t let your child miss out on that, as being musically attuned is one of the most enjoyable things you can do to refresh your mind, reduce stress and just have fun in general. If your children are invested in the music choice, they are more likely to want to keep up the lessons.
  2. Take your children to a reputable and certified music school. Music lessons for children are a great way to get your children involved, as they’ll be around other students of their own age and will have access to quality teaching. Look for a place that employs teachers with specific training in teaching children, as they’ll be receptive to making the experience interesting and enjoyable as well as focused.
    • Music is a potential career in the future for your child; music lessons are a huge part of the future learning environment for your child.
  3. Consider sending your child to music school for children for a day or two, just to see how they take to it. More practical and enjoyable, most children enjoy music school over normal education, as the tutors keep the tasks varied and fun.
    • A summer camp focused on music is another excellent option for children to be completely immersed in all things musical, along with lots of other fun activities.

Using Practice Sessions

  1. Learn with your children. Of course, if your child is going to learn, you have to learn too. It is your role to help them revise what they learn in music school, to make sure that they can do some additional learning with you in the house when they come home. It’s vital that your children feel like you are invested in their hobby too. If your child was to play for a sports team, you would be determined for them to enjoy themselves and succeed––music is just the same.
  2. Avoid turning music practice into a nasty chore. Constant yelling and nagging to do music practice can soon turn both child and parent off the whole music lessons idea. Instead, aim for a calm environment that encourages music practice.
    • Ask gently if your child is doing the music practice needed to learn the next piece, prepare for a music exam, etc. without turning it into a do-or-die situation. Tension associated with practice will only make it seem more like a chore and less desirable to children.
  3. Provide a comfortable learning environment at home. Back up the quality of the lessons with good home space for doing music practice. Some things that can help include:
    • Setting up a comfortable and quiet area away from others for music practice. Siblings and pets can be unhelpful distractions, so a quiet spot is very helpful.
    • Keeping all electronics off and out of sight. The less distractions, the better.
      • Providing appropriate seating or other support. If your children feel comfortable and relaxed, this frees them up to concentrate on the music instead of complain about the hard seating or cold room!
  4. Be prepared to listen if your children complain. There are likely ways that you can alleviate the complaints, such as changing teachers, rearranging a schedule so that things aren’t so rushed or finding more interesting music to play, etc. Even if it means switching from violin to electric guitar, remember that it’s still music.
  5. Finished

How to Become a Music Therapist

Music Therapy is an allied healthcare profession that uses music to help people reach non-musical goals to improve their lives. Music Therapists work with many people of all ages, backgrounds, abilities and in many settings. All types of music, music experiences, and ways of using music are utilized to help patients or clients reach their goals.

  1. Learn about Music Therapy. You can find out more information about music therapy by speaking to a local Music Therapist, searching for a Music Therapy company, or going to the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) website. It is important to have an understanding of what music therapy is before starting. In general music therapists are eager to speak to people about what they do and are excited at the prospect of new music therapy students. If you are having trouble finding someone to talk to, contact the American Music Therapy Association and they can help put you in touch with someone, hopefully someone in your area. Also, do some reading on your own to feel out if this is the right field for you.
  2. Do a school search for Music Therapy. As of 2009, there were 72 schools in the country that offered a baccalaureate degree in music therapy. Degrees are offered on all levels of higher education (bachelor, master, and doctoral). It is important to find the right fit because the programs can be very different from school to school. Talk to the professors, current students, and past students to get a good feel of the focus and quality of the program. It is important to find what works for you as all programs are not created equal.
  3. Go to school. To become a music therapist you first need a bachelor or master’s equivalent in music therapy. This will take anywhere from two to four years. It is a big commitment, however, it is worth it if music therapy is where you belong.
  4. Complete a music therapy internship. A 1040-hour (6 month) internship is the next requirement. There are internships all across the country that are approved by the AMTA you can also do an internship with a site that is associated with your school. Internships are offered in many populations, settings, age groups, and abilities. There are so many options and you get to apply so you have the ability to focus on what is important to you.
  5. Study for and take the Music Therapy Board Certification Examination.Passing the national examination will earn the credentials of MT-BC (Music Therapist- Board Certified). The examination, currently, is multiple choice, four-hours, and you get the results directly after. Depending on your state, there may be a licensing process in addition to the national examination.

4 Things to Consider About Crowdfunding Your Album

With album sales being less and less of a legitimate avenue for making money as a musician, it’s more important than ever to find creative ways to fund your recording. After all, while albums may not sell like they used to and money generated from touring may be the main source of income for musicians these days, actually having recorded music for people to listen to is still part of the game. Now, let’s leave aside debates about giving away music and all of that and focus on one way more and more musicians are trying to fund their careers – crowdsourcing. Should you use Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, or another crowdsourcing platform to raise money for your next album? Here are some things you should consider before you decide to hit up your fans for cash.

1.  How Much Money Do You Need?

The nice thing about deciding to crowdsource an album is that it forces you to really get serious about your recording budget. Before you know how much to ask for, you have to know exactly how much you’ll need to get your album done. Get realistic with your budget. Just because you’re raising the money doesn’t mean that you should just go for as much as possible or get frivolous with your expenses. You’ll be much more success if you try to reign in your spending and set a realistic fundraising goal. For one, people will be suspicious if your price is extremely high, and also, remember that many platforms only pay out if your reach your entire goal. Don’t sabotage yourself by overshooting.

Yes, in other words, if you’re recording your first album, this is not the time to decide you want to go record at Abby Road or hire a big name producer for tens of thousands of dollars. Don’t get greedy

2.  Do You Have the Pull?

To be successful at crowdfunding, you need to have, well, a crowd willing to give you some funds. Now, you may have amazing music and be on the road to becoming one of the greats, put if the people don’t know it yet, then they’re not going to fund your album just on your say-so. For some people, crowdfunding is a clever way of hitting up family for some money, and that’s fine. If you can devise a campaign and all of your parents, aunts, uncles, and close friends are likely to chip in and get you to your goal, nothing wrong with that. However, if that is unlikely and you don’t yet have a following for your music, work on building up your audience with live shows before you launch any kind of funding campaign.

3.  Do You Have Rewards?

Rewards are part of the game with crowdfunding. What incentives can you give people for helping you fund your recording? These incentives don’t necessarily have to cost you a ton of money, but they should be more appealing than the old “and a free digital download of the album..” Get creative and get personal. People respond to personal interactions – like, maybe an invite to the studio or a house show could be incentives for large donations – and they respond to personal recognition, like shout-outs in liner notes, social media and so on. Spend time coming up with some unique ideas to set you campaign apart.

4.  Do You Have a Plan?

The fallacy of the internet age in the music industry is so many people take the “if you build it, they will come” approach. Um, no. Don’t expect to set a crowdfunding campaign and then sit back and watch the money come flooding in. You have to have a plan for promoting what you’re doing. This can include things like social media, of course, put don’t leave it at that. Consider playing shows to promote your campaign, reaching out to the local press, putting up posters, and more. Speaking of social media, before you launch your campaign, make sure your presence is up to snuff. Get active on pages if they have become stale and start interacting with your audience and building up your followers. You will need your community to be engaged if you’re going to be successful at raising money to record your album.

How to Sing Punk

Punk is the truth. Deceptively simple, punk rock music involves an understanding of the history of the genre. If you want to learn to sing punk rock vocals, it’s important to learn how to craft an authentic and unique singing style, and how to perform it to keep people entertained.

Keep it as natural as possible. The most important part of fronting a punk band is to be authentic. If you’re up there posing like you’re something you’re not, people will boo you off the stage faster than Nickelback at a metal fest. People will quickly hear if you’re affecting a “punk voice,” or being fake, so sing in the most natural, but aggressive form of your own voice.

  • Although it has grown into a commodity, and you can buy studded belts and Ramones tees at the mall, punk has roots in anti-establishmentism and class consciousness. The earliest punk bands were fronted by angry working class youths.
  • Anyone can be a punk singer nowadays, but it’s important to understand the historical context of the music you want to perform.

Listen to the greats. The best way to get a primer on great punk vocals is to listen to great punk music. It’s important to explore punk rock from different eras and seek out the vocalists who pioneered the sound, and vocalists who are doing it right today. Check out:

  • Greg Graffin from Bad Religion
  • Keith Morris from Circle Jerks and OFF!
  • Patti Smith
  • Henry Rollins from Black Flag
  • Johnny Rotten from Sex Pistols
  • Joan Jett
  • Joey Ramone from The Ramones
  • David Vanian from The Damned

Yell. A punk voice should sound a lot like your regular singing voice, but amplified into a louder version of itself. When you’re done singing a punk song, your throat should feel raw, which is how you know you’re doing it right.

  • Generally, punk vocals don’t move up and down much, but hang on a single note, or a few notes. Volume is more important than vocal acrobatics.
  • Popularized by some forms of progressive hardcore or “screamo,” a different form of vocalizing is sometimes just called “screaming,” with some bands even designating a particular screamer to the line-up. For more on this style of singing.

Find your head voice. Unlike metal singing or even country singing, which have very specific, established sounds that are associated with the voice, punk songs can be sung by all sorts of different vocalists. Mostly, though, we associate punk singers with a higher pitched “head voice,” that comes from the throat and the nose, more than the diaphragm.

  • If you have a high, nasally voice, you’ll fit in right beside snotty punk bands like Zero Boys or Blink 182, while if you’ve got a lower growl, you’ll be able to pull off a good Joe Strummer impression.

Sing through a sneer. Punk vocalists often look like they’re in on some private joke you don’t get, and you can hear it in the voice. It’s a kind of sneering cool that’s unique to punk and some other kinds of rock signing. Punk, aside from being a serious and emotional political form of music, is also a lot of fun to sing, and it should seem like it.

  • Even though they’re not punk, check out old Elvis Presley videos, and listen to Jerry Lee Lewis sing their classic rock stylings. These are big influences on punk vocals, and they’ve got the same current of cool running through.

Take care of your voice. All that yelling can take a major toll on the vocal cords, so it’s important to take some preventative and restorative steps to care for your instrument to keep yourself singing. You don’t have to become a diva, but doing a few little things will keep you howling.

  • Make sure you stay hydrated when you sing, warming your throat with some hot tea and then hydrating afterwards with sports drink or plain water.
  • While it may seem like a fast-track to a good punk rasp, smoking makes it much more difficult to maintain the breath support necessary for good punk vocals. Avoid cigarettes.


How to Listen to Hardcore Punk

Even if you’re a heavy music fan, extreme hardcore punk might take some getting used to. Learning how to approach this aggressive, loud, and exciting style of music will let you ease into the genre and develop your taste in hardcore with less headache. Discover the classic practitioners of the style, contemporary masters, and how to negotiate the tangled subculture that surrounds hardcore.

Listen to Hardcore Punk Step 1 Version 2.jpg

  1. Work your way into hardcore. If the toughest thing you’ve ever listened to is Radiohead and you turn on Minor Threat record, you might be in for a surprise. Hardcore is harsh, fast, and aggressive punk rock music. While that’s part of the point of listening to hardcore punk, learning how to approach the music correctly will let you enjoy it without accidentally giving yourself a headache.
    • Sometimes called “pop punk” because of the catchy choruses and hooks, bands like Green Day, NOFX and Social Distortion can be good intros to the genre of punk rock if you’re not already familiar with listening to punk.
    • Alternatively, just dive right in the deep end of the genre and see whether or not hardcore is right for you. After all, it’s just music with guitars, drums, and vocals. It can’t hurt you.
  2. Start with classic hardcore. Contemporary hardcore is a diverse umbrella of music, enveloping lots of subcategories: screamo/skramz, post-hardcore, D-Beat, grindcore, powerviolence. It can be hard to tell one thing from the next. If you want to get into hardcore, though, starting with the early practitioners of the sound is the best way to introduce yourself to the music and see whether or not you like it.[1] While any list is incomplete, these albums will give you a solid veteran perspective on the genre:
    • Black Flag – Damaged, My War, Nervous Breakdown
    • Minor Threat – Minor Threat
    • Dead Kennedys – Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables
    • Cro-Mags – The Age of Quarrel
    • The Misfits – Walk Among Us, Static Age, Earth A.D., Legacy of Brutality
    • Bad Brains – Bad Brains
    • The Circle Jerks – Group Sex, Wild In The Streets
    • D.O.A – Something Better Change, War on 45, Hardcore ’81
  3. Keep up with the contemporary scene. Once you’ve listened to the classics, it’s good to check out more contemporary iterations of hardcore music. There are bands staying true to the vibe of the original hardcore masters, bands like OFF!, which is fronted by the former Black Flag and Circle Jerks frontman Keith Morris, while younger bands like Converge and Nails have taken hardcore to brutal new heights. Increasingly, hardcore sounds have mixed with metal and other forms of extreme music to fuel all sorts of other hybrid genres. While the categories aren’t by any means rigid, and many of the bands might disagree with the following categories, here’s a brief breakdown of some distinct and popular genres and some bands that are sometimes associated with them:
    • Grindcore: Napalm Death, Mertzbow, and Terrorizer.
    • Powerviolence: Man Is The Bastard, Spazz, and Charles Bronson.
    • Metalcore: Converge, Dillinger Escape Plan, As I Lay Dying, Trivium, and Pantera.
    • Screamo: Orchid, Pg. 99, Neil Perry, Portraits of Past, City of Caterpillar, In/Humanity, and Joshua Fit For Battle.
    • Post-Hardcore: Fugazi, Thursday, Silverstein, and La Dispute.
    • Melodic Hardcore: Rise Against and Title Fight.
  4. Dig deeper. Take a modern rock band you like and listen to their hardcore influences (most rock bands today were influenced by hardcore). Like My Chemical Romance? Listen to The Misfits, the Cramps, and Gun Club. Do you like Screeching Weasel? Listen to the Descendants. Do you like Rise Against? Listen to Black Flag. Look up the hardcore bands that influenced your favorite musicians today.
  5. Learn about the history of hardcore punk. Like members of any subculture, hardcore punk rockers value authenticity and it’s true that many like to question whether or not fans and bands are “real” hardcore or “real” punk rockers. It’s a silly argument, but it’s something you’ll likely confront. To be prepared, it’s important that you do some homework and know the ropes.
    • Read the book or watch the movie American Hardcore, which details the history of the genre in quick fashion. Both are a very good look into what hardcore was all about, and you can probably find the movie online for free.

How to Play Hardcore Guitar

Buy a Guitar – buy an inexpensive electric guitar (Peavey, First Act, G-400 etc.) with distortion. Distortion can be included in the amp or you can buy a distortion pedal. Guitars can be anywhere from $150 – $500 amps can be anywhere from $90 – $1000 and pedals can be around $50. Secondhand gear works fine, when you can you should upgrade.

Play Hardcore Guitar Step 2.jpg

Learn how to play basic stuff – You can get lessons from an experienced player or family member or even teach yourself, use a couple of sources on the Internet ** or play with a friend. Make sure you know power chords, tabs and maybe some of the most basic chords. Learn as many stage moves as possible (guitar swings, thrashing, headbanging, etc.) because the stuff you’re going to be playing is ridiculously easy. Therefore, you’ll be able to do really crazy stuff because of the lack of effort it will take to play your part. Practice looking like you’re working hard onstage, even though true hardcore guitar is easy to play.

Tune your guitar to drop-d – this will make playing power chords a lot easier.If you know how to tune your guitar to drop-d, skip to the next step. If you have a tuner you can figure it out just make your sixth string (E, the thickest one) sound like a D.

You can also play a normal power chord like this:

E——————————————————————————————————————————– B———————————————————————————————————————————— G———————————————————————————————————————————— D-2———————————————————————————————————————————- A-2———————————————————————————————————————————- E-0———————————————————————————————————————————-

and then tune it down to D and it should sound the same when you play this:

E——————————————————————————————————————————– B———————————————————————————————————————————— G———————————————————————————————————————————— D-2———————————————————————————————————————————- A-2———————————————————————————————————————————- D-2———————————————————————————————————————————-

It’s called Drop-D because you’re dropping the E down 1 whole step to a D E>Eb>D

Now you’re ready to make some riffs. you can easily make your own by just sliding your finger up and down and strumming it hard. here is one to start you off.

E—————————————————————————————————————————– B——————————————————————————————————————————— G——————————————————————————————————————————— D-0–06–05–0-3—————————————————————————————————————— A-0–06–05–0-3—————————————————————————————————————— D-0–06–05–0-3——————————————————————————————————————

Play it again and again, change it up, use power chords on the ADG strings too, mute the whole thing, use hammer-ons and pull-offs, make your own etc.


Learn how to do some squeals or pinch harmonics (there are lessons on doing that on this website, too), and you’ll pretty much be there.



Claves are a deceptively simple percussion instrument (or an idiophone in musicological lingo) that are found in traditional and contemporary musical genres all around the world, from Cuba to Australia. Simply put, the claves are two sticks which are “clacked” together to make a sound. Historically, claves were made out of hardwood, such as rosewood, ebony, and grenadilla. Modern versions are often made out of synthetic materials such as fiberglass or even hard plastics.

The word “clave” comes from the Spanish(via Cuba, in this case) word for “key,” as the claves are used to play what’s called a “key pattern,” a percussion line that essentially acts as a “keystone” for the overall rhythm pattern of the music, linking the whole sound together. This key pattern is an essential ingredient in Cuban son, as well as a number of other genres of Afro-Caribbean and Afro-Brazilian music.

Though the claves are not a complicated instrument in terms of physicality, learning the key patterns requires a percussion master’s touch, and serious musicians study the instrument and its patterns as intently (and for as long) as they’d study any other instrument. That said, the claves are also quite easy to make simple rhythm patterns with, and therefore make a great starter instrument for young children (which is why you’ll see them, or other rhythm stick variants, in nearly every elementary or early childhood music classroom in the Western world) as well as for adults who are interested in participating in a drum circle or other percussive jam session.

To play the claves, you can simply hold one in each hand and strike them together, or you can play them in a more traditional Cuban style, where you cup one flat against the palm of your left hand, which is held still, and strike it with your right hand. Experiment with holding the sticks more or less tightly, “choking up” and holding them higher and lower, and letting them resonate for longer or shorter periods of time. There’s a surprising amount of tonality that can be pulled from these simple instruments; after you’ve experimented a bit, you’ll realize how complicated the job of the claves-player really is!

Pronunciation: CLAH-vays

Careers in Music Education

The information contained in this article about pay rates is general in nature and will vary depending on where you live.

Thinking of a career in music education and want to know your options and how to prepare for it? Here’s a guide to help you map out a career path.

  • Studio Teacher – You have the option of putting up your own studio, franchising or working as one of the studio teachers at an already established school. A knowledge in music and performance is required as well as good teaching skills. A degree is not always required for this position but you must have excellent training in both areas of music and teaching. Earning opportunities will vary based on location and qualifications, with some earning as much as $100 an hour.

  • Early Childhood Music Educator – Aside from possessing knowledge in music and performance, music teachers for young children must also be patient, understanding and creative. A knowledge of the music curriculum standards of your state or country is also essential. Salary varies based on your location and qualifications, with some earning as much as $60 per hour.
  • School Music Educator – A background in music and performance is always a must. You must be personable, motivated and a continuous learner. A teacher’s certificate and a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education is also required. Some earn as much as $70,000 a year depending on your location and qualifications.
  • Music Consultant/Supervisor – You must have extensive knowledge in music, teaching and the current trends in both areas. You must be a good decision maker and adviser. An advanced music degree and a good background in teaching is required. Some music consultants/supervisors earn as much as $70,000 a year, again depending on qualifications and location.
  • Music Professor – Aside from all the other qualifications mentioned above, a doctoral degree or its equivalent is required. Depending on your location and career background, one can earn as much as $150,000 per year.
  • University Music School Administrator – An extensive background in music and teaching is required. You must possess leadership skills and must have a good background as a music professor. Salaries can be as much as $180,000 a year based on qualifications and location.

How to Write a Pop Punk Song

Pop Punk, originally created by bands such as Descendents or Rancid through the use of Punk Rock roots combined with pop lyrics, is one of the most common sub-genres of Punk Rock today. Made famous by bands such as Green Day in the 1990s and blink-182 in the 2000s, Pop Punk is now associated with bands such as My Chemical Romance, All Time Low, or Simple Plan. Though Some songs are more complicated than others, Punk and Pop Punk songs aren’t that hard to write, just follow these simple steps!

Construct an introduction. The easiest way to write any song is to come up with the music, and then add the lyrics last. In the case of Pop Punk, songs usually start out with some type of intro. A good example would blink-182’s “Dammit” or Green Day’s “Welcome To Paradise.” Both start out with a guitar intro, and the other instruments are added later on. The intro can consist of three or four power chords, or something a little more complicated such as the intro in blink-182’s “Dammit.”

Consider your structure. Most Pop Punk songs begin with an intro, and they usually then follow this order: First Verse, Second Verse, Chorus, Third Verse, Chorus, Solo and/or bridge, and then finish with the Chorus. Though some songs will be different, this is the most common structure of a Pop Punk song. Again, blink-182’s “Dammit” is an excellent example. So essentially, all you have to write is a riff for the verse, the chorus, and the bridge if you have one. when it comes to solos in Pop Punk, they are usually very simple. Occasionally it’s just the intro again, and in some cases there just aren’t solos.

Make sure the riffs for the verse and chorus are different. Though they are often the same, this will help to avoid some of the repetition often found in Pop Punk songs. The verse should usually be played slower and muted, where the chorus will then be louder, faster, and usually more melodic. The chorus is the part that will be repeated the most and is the part that your listeners will get stuck in their heads for months..

Create the music. Music is quite simple. With the chords G, C, D, B, E, F, and A, a simple drum beat and a quiet bassline, you can write almost anything in a Pop Punk style..

Create the lyrics. Since Pop Punk is a sub-genre of Punk, lyrics are usually rebellious or angry, but if you have your heart set on writing a song about kittens, then go ahead.

  • The most common Pop Punk Lyrics are usually about Girls; you can’t live with them, and can’t live without them. The lyrics range anywhere from break-ups, to songs about love, to sexual songs, or even to songs about being forever trapped in the infamous Friend-Zone. Make sure they rhyme at least a little.. Once again, blink-182’s “Dammit” is a perfect example of a good Pop Punk song.

Practice. Anyone can write a song, but it takes a real artist to practice it and make it good. So get some buddies, form a band, and complain about girls and popular kids through music! Have fun!

Music Education Grants

One of the main problems most music students face is the lack of money to support their music education. Pursuing a music career can be financially draining, what with the music instruments you have to buy, the books, the tuition and other expenses, it’s no wonder many give up their dream to become a musician. Fortunately, there are organizations that give grants and scholarships to qualified individuals and groups.

Here are several resources to organizations who support music students and music groups through grants and scholarships.

Alfonso Loera Music Scholarship Fund – Support for musicians ages 12 to 24 in the Muskegon County who want to take private music lessons or get formal music instruction. Grants will be equivalent to one year of private lessons or formal schooling in music.

Amateur Chamber Music Players, Inc. – Supports different music-related projects in the United Sates and Canada. Their main objective is to promote the inclusion of chamber music in the community music schools curriculum. Average grant range from $1,000 to $3,000.

American Musicological Society – Provides fellowships, awards, research and travel grants.

Associated Male Choruses of America – Assists college music students and promotes male chorus music. Grants start off at $200 per recipient.

Catherine Herrick Cobb Scholars in Music – Supports music students to further their study in music and to attend the University by providing their needs such as books, tuition and lodging.


Orange Flute

History and Background:

“The Auld Orange Flute” (also spelled “The Old Irish Flute”) is a traditional Irish folksong, with lyrics authored by someone whose name is long forgotten. It tells the story of an Irish Protestant weaver and flute player who marries a Catholic woman and converts to her religion. Try as he might, he can’t get his staunch Protestant flute to play any songs other than “The Protestant Boys.” Though the song was originally probably meant to lampoon Irish Protestants (signified by the color orange, for the Orange Order, which implies loyalty to English royalty), because of its good humor, it has been popular for many years among people on both sides of the issue of Irish independence.


“The Auld Orange Flute” is set to an old Irish air that’s fondly (but not very helpfully) usually called “Toor-al-i-ay,” though there are several old airs that go by either that particular name or one that’s very close to it. It’s a common tune, though, also known as the melody for a popular old music-hall song called “Villikins and his Dinah,” and known in the United States as the melody for the Gold Rush-era old-time ballad “Sweet Betsy from Pike.”


In the County Tyrone near the town of Dungannon
There were many a ruction meself had a hand in
Bob Williamson lived there, a weaver by trade
And all of us thought him a stout Orange blade.

On the twelfth of July as the yearly did come
Bob played on his flute to the sound of the drum
You may talk of your harp, your piano, or lute
But nothing could sound like the Auld Orange Flute.

But this treacherous scoundrel, he took us all in
And married a Papish called Bridget McGinn
Turned Papish himself, and forsook the old cause
That gave us our freedom, religion, and laws.

Now the boys in the townland made noise upon it
And Bob had to fly to the Province of Connacht
He flew with his wife and fixings to boot
And along with the others, the Auld Orange Flute.

At chapel on Sundays, to atone for past deeds
He’d say Paters and Aves and counted hisbeads
‘Til after some time at the Priest’s own desire
He went with that auld flute to play in the choir

He went with that auld flute to play in the loft
But the instrument shivered and sighed and then coughed
When he blew it and fingered it, it made a strange noise
For the flute would play only “The Protestant Boys.”

Bob jumped up and started and got in a flutter
As he put the auld flute in the blessed holy water
He thought that it might now make some other sound
When he blew it again, it played “Croppies, Lie Down!”

And all he did whistle and finger and blow
To play Papish music, he found it no-go
“Kick the Pope,” “The Boyne Water,” and such like would sound
But one Papish squeak in it could not be found.

Tips for Staying Healthy on Tour

It’s a frequently overlooked fact by musicians that going on tour can be bad for your health. The road lends itself to unhealthy habits, from not getting enough sleep to not getting enough non-alcoholic beverages. While a healthy regime might not sound very fun for your first tour, the longer you’re on the road, the more essential it becomes – and if your band plans to go on tour in the future, you’ve got to stay in top shape so you can deliver memorable shows. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be hard to stay healthy on the road, even if you don’t have money for traveling personal trainers and chefs like some musicians do. Don’t let touring take a toll on your health with this advice.

1.  Drink…Water

Water deserves a place of honor on your rider, and it should be your best friend at any tour pit stop. No one is saying you have to ONLY drink water, but do be sure you guzzle plenty of it each day. You need water to deliver your best performances – especially if you’re singing – and you also need water to fight back against dehydration and the nausea, headaches, and general hangover feelings that come along with it.

2.  Get Some Sleep

There is just no substitute for sleep for good health. Your body simply needs it. Sleeping and touring do not easily co-exist for many musicians, but there are some things you can do to tip the scales in your favor. To start, invest in some earplugs. They make everything from sleeping in the van to drowning out a late-night party easier.

Next, invest in some hotel rooms. Bands out on their first tours can’t always afford a hotel room every night, but schedule a quiet room with a bed at least every few nights. It beats sleeping in a van, and it even beats crashing on strangers’ couches. Remember, every time someone gives you a place to stay means that they probably also want to sit up and party with you. That can be fun, but not every night. Getting sleep matters more.

Last but not least, embrace naps. Even a very short nap can refresh you enough to keep going.

3.  Make Smart Food Choices

Fast-food fits with touring, but try to stick with foods that will give you some actual nutrition even when you’re dining at drive-thrus. Skip the fries, get a grilled sandwich, try a salad – mix it up a little. When you hit the convenience store, instead of candy and chips, grab some fresh fruit to snack on between meals. Your digestion will thank you.

It should come as no surprise that most healthy meals aren’t eaten in cars. Like you treat yourself to a hotel room every now and then, treat yourself to a sit-down meal in a place with knives and forks. Your healthy options will increase exponentially.

4.  Get Active

Sure, humping your gear all over land and creation is a workout, but that’s not really enough. Grab a short jog before the show or do some yoga backstage. Try some jumping jacks when you stop for gas and do leg lifts in the van. Working out will improve your physical and emotional health and can be an opportunity to get some precious alone time.

5.  Ditch Unhealthy Habits

Smoking, drinking, and the like always takes a toll, but the mix of these habits with the other generally unhealthy lifestyle of the touring musician can make them even worse for you. Do your best to resist the excesses you encounter on the road. You can’t be your best on stage or off if you’re over-indulging. If you can’t give up completely, set some strict limits and stick with them. Being able to do this is often the thing that separates musicians who have long-term careers and those who crash and burn because they can’t handle the road.

6.  Stay Connected

Being on tour can feel like you’re in a state of suspended animation. Have fun with your bandmates doing things that have nothing to do with your work, and make an extra effort to stay connected to the important people at home. Doing so will help you feel grounded and at peace in an often chaotic situation.

Touring can exacerbate feelings of depression and anxiety, so if you find yourself in trouble, speak up. Don’t isolate yourself from your support system, and make use of that support when you need it.

Become a Music Teacher

A career as a music teacher may be ideal if you love anything to do with music. It is also a good fit if you have training as a musician and want to supplement your income by helping others develop their musical skills and talents. To become a music teacher, you must obtain at the minimum a bachelor’s degree. You should have a musical background, whether it is in singing, playing instruments or both. Most schools will also require certification to teach.

  1. Attend a four-year college or university as a music major. Take courses in music education and instruction, music history, music theory and music production.
    • Most college or university programs require students to have a musical background upon applying for admission, so experience with playing instruments or singing will be a plus.
    • Some schools may also require students to audition for the music program as part of the application process.
  2. Determine your specialty. Most schools offer training in performance if you play the piano or the guitar, for example.
    • Other well-known courses include voice training for singers and song writing. Your specialty may help you apply your specific knowledge in the classroom, depending on the student project.
  3. Take advantage of hands-on learning opportunities. Depending on the school program, you may need to work as a student teacher or observe an experienced music teacher in a classroom.
    • Learn how teachers coordinate activities, such as reading music, rehearsing a song or organizing a marching band or jazz ensemble.
  4. Seek certification if you plan to teach in schools. Follow the guidelines according to the state in which you live to apply for a certified license.
    • State certification boards, as well as national organizations like the Music Teachers National Association, offer training programs for exams that you must pass for certification.
    • General requirements for applying for certification include having a bachelor’s degree in music. The licensing organization may evaluate your knowledge of music, as well as your ability to work with students.
  5. Search for job openings with schools. Most college career centers, online job boards and music education associations post job listings.
    • You may find jobs listed under different titles. Some opportunities exist for teachers who want to focus on general music education or vocal or choral instruction. You may find jobs for a band or orchestra leader.


  • A music teacher’s salary often correlates to the degree of education. A beginning teacher with a master’s degree will usually make more than a beginning teacher with a bachelor’s.
  • To become a music teacher with a post-secondary school, you will need a master’s degree or doctorate in a music-related field.
  • Make sure you know how to play a variety of instruments. Also know how to sing and what music notes stand for.

The Kodaly Method: A Primer

What is the Kodaly Method?:

The Kodaly Method is a way of developing musical skills and teaching musical concepts beginning in very young children. This method usesfolk songs, Curwen hand signs, pictures, movable-do, rhythm symbols and syllables. It was first introduced in Hungary but is now used in many countries, either alone or in combination with other methods.

Who created this method?:

The Kodaly Method is an approach to music education based on the philosophies of Zoltan Kodaly.

Zoltan Kodaly was a Hungarian composer, author, educator and expert on Hungarian folk songs. Although this method wasn’t exactly invented by Kodaly, it was developed by his colleagues and students in the mid-20th century based on his teachings.

What were Zoltan Kodaly’s goals and philosophies?:

  • Elevate the level of teacher training.
  • Improve musical literacy in schools.
  • Everyone is capable and has the right to musical literacy.
  • Singing is the foundation of musical learning.
  • Music education must begin with the very young.
  • The importance of using folk music (native folk songs and folk songs of other countries) and music of high artistic value.
  • Incorporating games, movement, playing instruments, reading and writing music with singing.
  • Sequential process following a child’s natural learning development:Aural – oral – kinesthetic
    Written – pictoral – abstract
    Read – recognized

What types of music and instruments are used in the classroom?:

Songs of high artistic value, both folk and composed, are used in the Kodaly classroom.

Songs that are in the pentatonic scale are emphasized at the beginning level. According to Kodaly, “Nobody wants to stop at pentatony. But, indeed, the beginnings must be made there; on the one hand, in this way the child’s biogenetical development is natural and, on the other, this is what is demanded by a rational pedagogical sequence.” Other songs that may be used include chants, dancing songs, lullabies, nursery rhymes, songs for circle games and story songs.

What are the musical instruments used?:

The voice is the main musical instrument of this method. In his words, “Singing connected with movements and action is a much more ancient, and, at the same time, more complex phenomenon than is a simple song.” Various rhythm and tonal instruments are also used, including xylophones and recorders.

What is a typical lesson like and what are the key concepts learned?:

Although the Kodaly Method follows a set sequence, the materials used in teaching musical concepts varies depending on the age of the student. The sequence followed may be simplified as: listen – sing – understand – read and write – create.

Using this method under the guidance of a certified Kodaly teacher, students can develop listening skills, sight-singing, ear training, learn how to play instruments, compose, improvise, sing, dance, analyze, read and write music.

Zoltan Kodaly Quotes:

Only art of intrinsic value is suitable for children! Everything else is harmful.

“We should read music in the same way that an educated adult will read a book: in silence, but imagining the sound.

To teach a child an instrument without first giving him preparatory training and without developing singing, reading and dictating to the highest level along with the playing is to build upon sand.

Teach music and singing at school in such a way that it is not a torture but a joy for the pupil; instill a thirst for finer music in him, a thirst which will last for a lifetime.

Free Kodaly Lesson Plans:

  • Lesson plan by Christina Lessman
  • Kodaly Beat Lesson
  • Lesson plan by Mathew Doublestein
  • A Musical Reflection on VELS
  • Kodaly Methods for the Christian Classroom

Essential Kodaly Books:

  • Selected Writings of Zoltán Kodály – Compare Prices
  • The Kodály Method I – Compare Prices
  • The Kodaly Method II – Compare Prices
  • Kodaly Today – Compare Prices
  • The Kodály Method: Comprehensive Music Education from Infant to Adult – Compare Prices
  • Kodaly in Kindergarten – Compare Prices

Additional Information:

The following resources will help you learn more about the Kodaly Method, teacher certification and other pertinent information:

  • Organization of American Kodály Educators
  • The British Kodaly Academy
  • Kodaly Music Education Institute of Australia
  • Kodaly Institute
  • International Kodaly Society

Types of Chord Motion

Here are some of the different ways that chords relate to each other. If you are building a chord progression,improvising over one, or developing a part based on a progression, these principles will help you develop a sense of inevitability or “gravity” to make the progression seem natural. Additionally, keeping these principles in mind can make moving between chords easier and more intuitive to play and to remember.

Target Chord

A target chord is the next chord you will play. By anticipating the chord, you can consider how to lead up to in a way that makes the motion seem natural.

Approach Chord

An approach chord is the chord immediately before a target chord. So, when you are considering a pair of chords and how they connect, the approach chord is first and the target chord is second.

Passing Chord

A passing chord connects two more prominent chords in a progression, and it might draw notes from outside the scale, such as chromatics. For example, in a C major progression, you have the IV going to a V chord, F major to G major. You might slip in an F# major passing chord between them to spice things up.

Approach and passing chords are analogous to approach and passing notes in counterpoint.

Parallel Chords

Parallel chords share the same root repeats but a different quality. For example, you could go from a C major chord to a C minor chord, for from a C major triad to a C7 chord. This is the subtlest change between chords, as it maximizes the number of common tones.

Common Tones

A common tone between two chords is a note (or set of notes) that is the same in each. For example, going from C to F, a C major triad is C E G, and an F major triad is F A C. They both have the note C. This means that if you use the C in the same octave for both chords, they will sound more closely related. If you don’t, the target chord will sound like disjunct move.

This brings us to a general principle of chord motion: voice leading. Smooth voice leading means that the chords prioritize the use of common tones and the shortest possible interval motion from the approach chord to the target chord. In some schools of thought, chords are either considered “voice led” or not, meaning whether or not the motion is “smooth.”

Note: Smooth doesn’t necessary mean “good.” Sometimes, you want to have disjointed chords banging around. They won’t sound related or flowing naturally into each other, but that might not be what you are after.


A modulation is a chord progression that changes key. It is like shifting gravity to a different planet. There are various kinds of modulation. You can simply jump in. A subtler, sneakier form of modulation is to use a pivot chord—that is, a chord that is present in both keys. It is a moment of harmonic ambiguity, and its presence will smooth the transition.

Say you are in the key of C major and you want to modulate to the key of D major. Notes of the chord E minor are present in both keys (E G B), so you can use that chord as the pivot. It would sound relatively natural and smooth to go from E minor (which is both iii of C and ii of D) to A major (V of D) to D (I of D). If you just went from a C major to an A major triad, without the pivot chord, it would be a more jarring shift.

Honorable Mention: Picardy Ending

A Picardy ending is when you end a piece that’s in a minor chord instead on a major chord. This was a common early classical convention. Some people feel that they spoil a beautiful minor mood out of a desire to play to the masses, in a desire to have a happy ending, but I see them more as an after dinner mint that lets you walk away refreshed, or a parting smile that reminds us that we’re all here for the joy of it, rather than to wallow in our suffering. In that spirit, I include its mention here in order to end the article similarly on a happy note too. Why not.

You Have to Record Your Practice!

Ever wonder what you really sound like? Many musicians can attest to having practiced countless hours preparing for a performance or recording session, thinking things were sounding great, only to have the recording indicate otherwise. Sometimes, the sounds we have in our heads don’t match what’s coming out of the instrument. The same can be said for watching the video of a performance. All those things are we not aware of—unflattering grimaces, twitching legs, blank stares, and other quirks—are painfully obvious only after the fact.

The good news is that there is a simple and effective solution for matching your internal sense of what you are doing with how you are actually coming across, and it is as easy as the press of a button.

Why Record?

The reason for recording or videotaping yourself is quite simple. It is the most efficient, direct non-biased feedback you can get. Colleagues, producers, teachers, and friends tend to color their feedback with all sorts of non-productive messages you have to sort through. A recording device has no such baggage. It will never lie to you, it will never play mind games with you, or inject its own opinion. It is an exact mirror of what you present to it, and I believe is an essential tool for a musician of any style.

In many ways, a recording is the best teacher and coach you’ll ever have. There are a few techniques I’ve come across over the years and hopefully these tips will be helpful, but really all you have to do is press Record to get started!

Get Over the Loathing

The very first and most difficult part of this process is what I call “getting over the loathing.” Most musicians don’t really care to hear audio recordings their own playing, especially raw audio.

Without the benefits of production, mixing, and editing, raw audio can be an unpleasant experience. I’m not a psychologist so I cannot offer any other words other than, you’ll need to get over it ASAP because the benefits far outweigh the initial discomfort. That polished final product is not for you, the musician. That’s for your public. Sure, listening to a final recording can be useful for future projects, but it’s not the same as listening to raw audio/video used as a preparation tool.


Since there are endless recording devices out there, including mobile phones and tablets, I only recommend that you keep it simple to operate and that the device has reasonably good sound quality. These days, that’s easy to find. You just want something that requires no setup and is easily portable.

What to Record

Here are four common circumstances for which audio or video recording can be used as an incredible tool for honing.

  • routine practice
  • preparing for a recording session
  • preparing for a video shoot
  • preparing for a live performance

Routine Practice

In routine practice, an audio recorder can be a great way to get immediate feedback about any dimension of your playing, from scales, to individual musical phrases, to whole pieces, and programs, to superficial issues such as nail noise, foot tapping, string noise, and heavy breathing. If you’re an arranger or composer, it can be an invaluable tool for getting perspective and flushing out ideas. This sort of recording targets music in the preparation stages and acts as a tool for finding and resolving problem areas. Recording is a tool for refinement of phrasing, dynamics, tempo.

If I’m working on a phrase, I’ll isolate the section, press Record, and repeat the phrase a few times before stopping the recording. I will then listen immediately and evaluate. I’ll immediately notice problem areas.

You want to target chronic problem areas, not random mistakes. For example, if you’re playing a string instrument and you notice that a shift is creating an unnatural pause in the phrasing or that the first note after your shift is consistently out of tune, you’ll want to take note of that and focus on that spot. If you’re a vocalist and notice that your diction is always unclear on a certain word, this will be an area to practice immediately.

So to summarize, you’re really using the recorder in a surgical way to evaluate details of your playing. As the piece of music develops, you can record larger sections.

Preparing for a Recording Session

The difference between recording in routine practice and recording for a recording session is that you’ll actually be practicing putting down takes for the session and evaluating the material you’ve put down. And you’ll also be practicing how you put it down.

Practice recording as you would in the studio in terms of pace and how you plan to lay the tracks down. Everyone has their own method, but here’s an example just for reference.

When recording whole solo pieces or guitar parts in a studio, I like to put down three or four takes, then perhaps a couple of little patches (or punch ins if I need to). In preparation, at home I would practice the way I was going to record. By doing this, you’ll become very familiar with areas that might give you a problem in the session, and you’ll also get an idea of what your stamina is like. As you may already know, recording sessions can be a lot of work and require lots of concentration and sometimes stamina as well.

I make the distinction of recording in a studio because these days, so many of us have home studios. Since you’re not paying for studio time at home, one doesn’t have to think too much about efficiency or budgets, but I will tell you this. The problem with home studios is that because of the freedom it allows, we often get caught up combining practice and recording. I’m sure there are those who would argue with me, but I don’t consider the two the same. Every time I’ve been caught up in that trap, I’ve always gotten less that the best results because my recording sounded lacked polish, confidence, and consistency. So even for those who have home studios, consider separating your practice and the “official” recording. Use the portable recorder for your practice room, and once you get the mics set up, turn off your mental practice switch and get into performance mode.

Some prefer many, many takes, and others limit whole takes and then do sections. Personally, I like to do no more than three full takes, assess, then do sections if needed, so this is how I practice recording myself at home. If you detect that over the course of several takes, a section keeps sticking out as a problem spot, you know what to work on. You must be realistic and give these sections your full attention. Believe me, they are not going to magically disappear in the studio. If anything, you’ll be under greater pressure. What you practice is what you’ll get, period.

Preparing for a Video Shoot

Preparing for a video shoot is sort of like preparing for both a recording session and a live performance. You need to pay attention to both the audio and the visual aspects. Again, the more you do it, the better. Please don’t be one of those people who says, “I don’t care what I look like, as long as it sounds great.” If you have that attitude, then there’s no point in shooting a video. You may not care what you look like, but I assure you that the people watching on YouTube do.

Watch for habitual ticks or odd facial contortions. Know your good and bad angles! Everyone has them.

Watch your video without the sound and assess just the visual aspects. Record from different angles. You’ll very quickly figure out what looks good and not. Record from various distances. On the formal shoot, your videographer will probably be using more than one camera. If you know what looks good in advance, you can direct him so you don’t waste time in the editing phase.

Use your practice videos to help you decide on what vibe you are looking for in the final product, how you want it to be produced, etc. You are, in fact, preparing to make a film. In terms of the audio, you can work with the recorder as in preparing to record audio. However, for video, your audio editing will not be as detailed, especially if the video is of you playing. Try to imagine larger sections and remember that since it will be video, the viewer will be taking in both audio and visual.

Preparing for Live Performance

In preparation for live performance, video recording can be quite helpful. Again, you want to mimic recording what you’ll be doing, so recording sets or entire programs is helpful. Practice your pacing between pieces.

Are you allow sufficient time before starting new pieces or giving pieces enough time to “settle” when finishing? Are you doing weird things between pieces? Are you taking too long to tune? Are you tapping your foot loudly or grunting or counting out loud as you play.

Turn the sound off, and watch yourself for a few minutes. What does it look like? One of the most talented students I ever had was giving his undergraduate recital and decided he was going to pick his nose between pieces! He was completely oblivious to what he was doing, and frankly, his odd ticks, movement, not to mention the nose picking, detracted greatly from the performance.


First and foremost, you have to get past “the loathing” as I like to say. Most people really don’t like hearing their own playing, especially without the benefit of reverb, mixing, editing, etc., not to mention friends and colleagues telling you how wonderful you sound.

Well, you’ll need to get over “the loathing” ASAP. As a serious player, you have to know what the “raw product” sounds like and get an idea of what needs to be improved, reworked, left alone, etc. etc. You must switch hats from the player to the producer. The more you record yourself, the better you’ll get at laying the emotional reactions aside and the more you’ll want to use this tool to hone down your playing.

Remember that you’re the only one hearing or viewing these work recordings. You are the sausage maker, so only you know what went into the process. The final polished product is for others to enjoy. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how quickly you can improve issues once you get that objective feedback. AND if you have aspirations of recording, you’ll get very good at knowing what sounds good and what doesn’t. When you get into the studio there will be no unpleasant surprises waiting for you upon playback. Decisions about takes and production will come much more quickly.

Become a Music Agent

Music agents represent their clients and manage all the business aspects of the industry including booking concerts and arranging performances, setting up travel plans, working out the details of contracts, as well as marketing and promoting their clients before the public to make them more visible and to increase their popularity. Music agents work behind the scenes but play an important role in developing the talent and promoting the interests of their clients. Entering the field and becoming a music agent requires hard work as well as talent. Competition is keen within the industry and many positions are not posted publicly but are obtained through social networking. Here are some helpful tips and suggestions on how to become a music agent.

  1. Understand that although a college degree is not a requirement to become a music agent, the knowledge and skills that you would acquire by obtaining an education will give you an advantage when competing for available positions.The best prospects will go to those individuals having experience and/or developed aptitudes and abilities that can be acquired by getting a college degree.
    • Consider getting a bachelor’s degree in one of several areas, including, as examples, a Bachelor of Arts in Music Industry Management or a Bachelor of Business Administration in Music Business. A college education in preparation for becoming a music agent should include coursework in not only music but also focus on business, marketing, promotional advertising and public relations in addition to finance.
  2. Realize that successful music agents will have strong interpersonal and communication skills, as the music industry is one that deals directly with the public. Additional qualities that a music agent should develop include business knowledge, organizational and problem solving skills, and administrative abilities to manage the affairs of their clients.
  3. Be aware that music agents must have the ability to negotiate and have developed talents in being able to deal with others in the industry in a diplomatic and tactful manner. The music industry itself is a very competitive field so music agents need to be aware of ongoing trends and network with their contacts on a regular basis.
  4. Conduct some research on the music industry with a focus on becoming a music agent. Learn more about the business in preparation for entering the field. Browse the Internet and read music industry publications and news to become more informed.
  5. Consider contacting several talent agencies that work with musicians.Although talent agencies work with several types of clients, they often specialize in musicians. A talent agency that manages musicians will have music agents on staff.
    • Make arrangements to meet with a music agent to discuss the possibility of an internship. This will provide you with the opportunity to learn more about the job duties of a music agent in addition to getting first hand exposure to the lifestyle associated with working in the music industry.
  6. Contact several colleges that offer degree programs in preparation for becoming a music agent. Make sure that you do some research on the various schools so that you ultimately choose a good training program.
  7. Explore the options available to you through a combination of volunteer work to learn more about the music industry in addition to enrolling in a degree program. With advanced preparation and training you will greatly enhance your chances of becoming a music agent.

Which Musical Instruments are Used in a Cajun Band?

Question: Which Musical Instruments are Used in a Cajun Band?


Cajun Music, that punchy, dancer-friendly genre from South Louisiana (which is not the same as zydeco, though the two are related), has a pretty well-established instrumental lineup, though there are certainly plenty of bands who vary this structure slightly. Here are the key components to a Cajun band, plus a few optional elements:

Though lots of people associate Cajun music with the accordion, the truth is that the fiddle is probably more emblematic of the genre — that is to say, it’s possible to play traditional Cajun music without an accordion in the band, but it’s not really possible without a fiddle. The fiddle has been a part of Cajun music for hundreds of years, and Canadian Acadian music before that, and French country folk music before that (not to mention an important element of Irish and English music, both of which influenced Cajun music to some degree). The fiddler in a Cajun band provides melody, harmony, and rhythm.

Accordion – While the fiddle may be the historical leader of the Cajun band, the accordion has been king for at least one hundred years. Brought to South Louisiana by German merchants in the late 1800s, the diatonic ten-button accordion changed the style of the music, with accordion-friendly two-steps and waltzes coming to dominate the older fiddle-led reels and gigues. Nowadays, it’s rare to find a Cajun band that isn’t led by an accordion player, and it therefore has largely become synonymous with contemporary Cajun music.

The accordion plays both melody and rhythm (using the chordal notes that are played with the left hand), though because the right-hand keys offer a limited set of notes, it will sometimes play a simplified melody that the fiddle will fill out.

Tee-fer – The “tee-fer” (from “petit fer,” meaning “little piece of iron”) is known in English as the Cajun triangle. Made from the iron tines of a retired hayrake, this hefty cousin to the lighter-weight version you’d see in a concert band is the traditional percussion instrument used in Cajun music. Though it’s not necessarily always part of a modern Cajun band, you can rest assured that any Cajun drummer worth their salt can play it well, and most other musicians can, too. In fact, it’s commonplace for special guests to sit in on triangle, as there’s always one floating around somewhere and everyone knows how to play it (some better than others, of course).

Guitar – Both acoustic and electric guitars are found in contemporary Cajun music, typically providing rhythm and occasionally playing some sort of melodic break. The guitar entered the genre in a limited fashion around the turn of the 20th century, but became a standard fixture in Cajun bands by the 1930s (approximately the same timeline that would’ve occurred in old-time country music).

Bass – The majority of today’s Cajun bands feature an electric bass player, though there are a few who stick with the traditional upright bass. Bass came in with the advent of the Cajun Swing era of the late 1930s, though would certainly not have been present in every band until the 1960s or so (and particularly would have been left off of early recordings, as upright bass was hard to record until more advanced technology became available). There are very few bands today who perform without a bass, and it’s a fixture at jam sessions as well.

Drums – Drums and bass largely entered Cajun music around the same time, first making appearances in the late 1930s and becoming standard-issue by the 1960s, when the influences of rock-and-roll and country music brought modern elements into the genre. Some acoustic or mostly-acoustic Cajun bands perform with a drumset that is much more limited than those you’d see in a standard rock band (for example, a bass drum, a snare, and a hi-hat), but many use full sets as well. A Cajun drummer will often also keep a tee-fer in with his or her gear, ready to pull it out to accompany an acoustic breakdown or to offer to the aforementioned special guests.

Steel Guitar – Though pedal steel and lap steel are not standard instruments in a Cajun band, they certainly were during what’s known as the “dancehall era” of Cajun music, from the 1940s to the 1960s (as well as the “Cajun swing” era that preceded it, to a lesser extent), and it’s still a fixture in bands who play in the dancehall style (you’ll find these bands, unsurprisingly, at dancehalls on Friday and Saturday nights throughout South Louisiana, and less commonly on tour). Taking their cue from country music, they provide both rhythm and swooping, twangy melody lines.

Top 10 Obscure & Underground Artists of the ’80s

While it’s impossible to do a list like this justice, it’s as vital to make the attempt as it was for alternatives to the mainstream to exist and thrive during the glitzy, image-obsessed ’80s. Luckily for all of us, the pool from which to draw the cream of the underground was always overflowing with possibilities during the decade, even if many music fans couldn’t detect any activity whatsoever. Here’s a look at 10 of the most interesting under-the-radar contributors to ’80s popular music, many of whom have ultimately attracted the attention they deserved but didn’t receive the first time around.
Mike Watt, bassist for Minutemen - Stacia Timonere/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
1.  Minutemen

This Southern California trio may have been inspired by punk and hardcore, but the band’s music may stand as the most unique, organic and unclassifiable of any artist active during the ’80s. The late, great D. Boon played guitar, sang and wrote politically charged, thoughtfullyindependent songs in ways not seen before or since. And along with his childhood friend Mike Watt on bass and George Hurley on drums, Boon worked confidently without the aid of comforting boundaries to create a band that, for me, endures as one of the very best of the rock era. It’s just too bad more people don’t know that.

 - Album Cover Image Courtesy of Rhino/Warner Bros.
2.  Marshall Crenshaw

While a band like the Minutemen embraced its underground status and in many ways made a conscious choice to work in the shadows of pop culture, the fact that an accessible, melodic singer-songwriter like Crenshaw toiled in obscurity was far more accidental. Early on the artist’s tuneful pop/rock found a significant if short-lived mainstream outlet, but Crenshaw probably should have been one of the biggest-selling artists of the ’80s. Instead, his fiercely independent determination to make music his way forced the singer rather quickly away from a vague association with the new wave scene.

 - Album Cover Image Courtesy of SST
3.  Descendents

For better and for worse, the punk popexplosion of the last decade or so can be traced back to one common earliest ancestor, and it’s not Green Day. The Descendents first arose during the very early ’80s, sporting a definite link to SoCal hardcore through their speed and aggression but also a pop sensibility not shared or matched by any acts in that scene. Vocalist Milo Auckerman raised the bar not only for punk energy and anger but injected a cerebral, self-deprecating and even geeky edge to the band’s music. The Descendents never wanted to be Green Day, but the latter would have never happened without them.

 - Album Cover Image Courtesy of Rhino/Slash
4.  BoDeans

Perhaps no band from the Milwaukee area is cosmically allowed to achieve much in the way of mainstream success, as the only other ’80s group I can think of from that upper Midwest town, Violent Femmes, certainly resisted normalcy in every way. But the BoDeans took a very different path from other college rockbrethren, drawing deeply from ’50s and ’60s styles to forge a unique roots rocksound. Kurt Neumann and Sam Llanas were a blue-collar, underground Lennon & McCartney for music fans who had little use for MTV. As such, these guys were around for a whole decade before “Closer to Free,” their theme song to ’90s TV drama Party of Five brought a flash of fame.

 - Album Cover Image Courtesy of SST
5.  Black Flag

One of the originators of Southern California hardcore punk, this legendary band with a constantly revolving lineup was always primarily the brainchild of founder Greg Ginn. Although lead singer Henry Rollins became arguably the most visible member after he joined Black Flagin 1981, it was Ginn’s independent spirit and record label SST that fueled an entire movement of like-minded underground artists and fans across America. Like the Minutemen, Black Flag explored many different styles of music throughout its decade-long existence, even if they ultimately leaned toward plodding heavy metal, of all genres.

 - Album Cover Image Courtesy of Dischord
6.  Fugazi

Led by Ian MacKaye, a childhood friend of Rollins from the Washington, DC suburbs where both grew up, Fugazi took the DIY aesthetic of punk and hardcore to its far reaches of possibility. With his legendary straight-edge hardcore outfit Minor Threat, MacKaye had always demonstrated an unwillingness to allow corporate influences to impact his music, and he had always insisted upon all-ages access to his band’s shows as a sign of solidarity. But beyond this fiercely underground aesthetic, Fugazi created an entirely new form of post-punk that led to the wildly popular emo style of the ’90s.

 - Album Cover Image Courtesy of WEA/Warner Bros.
7.  The Smiths
So as to avoid seeming too ethnocentric or provincial, let me include a seminal British band known as much for its underground aesthetic as its odd collaborative team of guitarist Johnny Marr and singer Morrissey. Whereas Marr’s meticulous, layered and ringing guitars created an almost traditional rock sound, Morrissey’s dreamy crooning contrasted intriguingly with Marr’s playing. This give-and-take may have led to a relatively early demise for the Smiths after only five productive years, but the volatile partnership of the two musicians also kept the music fresh.
 - Album Cover Image Courtesy of SST
8.  Husker Du

Though this Minneapolis-based trio got its start also as a hardcore punk outfit, the band ultimately took an indie rock path that laid down the template for much of the alternative rock to follow in the ’90s. As is often the case with successful bands, a songwriting partnership between wildly different personalities in Bob Mould and Grant Hart fueled the group creatively. While Mould employed an aggressive presentation both vocally and in his guitar playing, Hart often took a softer, clear-voiced approach, sometimes even adding piano parts. The band was also one of the first indie bands to sign a major label contract.

 - Album Cover Image Courtesy of Geffen
9.  Sonic Youth

This New York City group was informed by punk rock but rarely sounded like it, choosing instead to explore dissonant sonic landscapes at the expense of traditional song structures and melody. The band’s early-’80s noise rock seemed to deliberately embrace the avant-garde side of things, but by the mid-’80s Sonic Youth began to make a larger impact oncollege rock and early alternative. By 1988’s double album, Daydream Nation, any music fans put off by the mainstream’s hair metal fixation found a hip and certain alternative in Sonic Youth.

 - Album Cover Image Courtesy of Halcyon
10.  G.G. Allin
Those looking for a truly underground alternative found an extremist jackpot if they knew of Allin during the ’80s. Known for defecating on stage and consuming his own waste, Allin took his confrontational performance art beyond all boundaries during controversial and dangerous gigs at small clubs throughout the U.S. Musically, Allin got his start as a fairly straightforward if unexceptional punk rocker, but after years of substance abuse and all manner of hard living his voice deteriorated to the point that his music often took a backseat to his onstage antics. Still, Allin’s shock rock was often the real deal.

Ways to Find New World Music to Listen To

Whether your intent is to broaden your horizons, learn more about your cultural background, get out of your boring radio rut, or any number of other things, I promise that listening to more world music in your daily life will bring you quite a bit of happiness. But how exactly do you find new world music to listen to? Here are just a few of my own favorite ways.

Play Around on YouTube

YouTube is a fantastic resource for discovering new music from around the globe. Thousands of artists from around the world have uploaded professionally-shot videos, and even more fans have uploaded amateur clips from live shows. Plug in the names of some artists who you might already like or know (if you need some ideas, scroll through someclassic and contemporary world music artists) and check out what they have to offer, and then let yourself get lost in the rabbit-hole of suggestions that pop up on the right-hand side of the screen. You can also find good video playlists if you search for more general terms (“African Music”) — lots of your fellow users have done the work for you, so take advantage!

Let Pandora Help You Out

The internet radio station Pandora exists for the very specific purpose of helping people find new music that they like. Plug in an artist, and they’ll start playing you songs that share some element with that artist. It’s a fantastic tool for discovering music of any kind, and their world music catalogue has gotten quite enormous lately. Still not sure where to start, though? Try this: What world music should I put into my Pandora station?

Pick Up Some Podcasts

If you have any kind of iThingamajig or other personal portable podcast-playing device, you should definitely be looking up some of the better world music podcasts that are out there. The Songlines podcast, put together by the venerable British world music magazine, is a favorite of mine. The Afropop Worldwide podcast, from the producers of Afropop Worldwide (’s 2012 Readers’ Choice Award Winners for Best World Music Radio Show), and the Thistlepod, from the Thistle and Shamrock archives, are also good bets, but spend some time digging around your favorite podcast sites, because there are dozens of others.

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Check Out Your Local Radio Station

If you have a local public or college radio station, odds are good that you’ve got a world music radio show available to you — they tend to be staples of public and University radio programming. Sometimes it’ll be a national syndicate (the aforementioned Afropop Worldwide and Thistle and Shamrock are likely candidates), but if you dig around on your local station’s website, sometimes you’ll discover that you’ve got a local DJ spinning tunes from their collections, and if that’s the case, that’s great news! Set your alarm clock and tune in, because you’ll not only hear world music, but odds are good that you’ll pick up some local concert listings and recital announcements, too.

Follow Some Blogs

It’s not hard to find good world music blogs on the web — just type “world music blog” (or “reggae music blog” or “World Music Central, SoundRoots, The Afrobeat Blog, Awesome Tapes from Africa, and Hearth Music, but don’t stop there — there are so many good bloggers writing passionately about international and roots music, you just have to seek them out.

Let Amazon Get Your Collection Started With Free MP3s regularly offers free promotional MP3s from an enormous variety of artists from every genre you can think of. Their world music offerings usually include over 100 different songs. Caribbean music is usually particularly well-represented, so if that’s what you like, definitely have a look. The selection changes up pretty regularly, so visit oftenand dig around!

Check Out Some Free Live Recordings on is a massive archival project that, among their many branches, keeps a massive library of free-for-download audio files of live shows from artists around the world. These files are largely comprised of music by jambands, who often have open audio taping policies and encourage their fans to record and trade tapes of their shows (with a no-money-changes-hands caveat), but there are also lots of live recordings from non-jamband artists, including Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, The Horse Flies, Jake Shimabukuro, Matisyahu, and all sorts of other diverse acts. Be ready to spend quite a bit of time digging around, because this site is a real rabbit hole. It’s the best kind of fun for a world music fan, though.

Go See It Live!

Put a little bit of trust in your local concert promoter and assume that they’re not going to book totally off-the-wall terrible stuff. When it comes to world music in particular, a lot of the filtering has already been done: if a band from a far-off country has managed to get an agent, a record label, a tour manager, and all of the rest of the personnel and paperwork in line to do a U.S. tour, there’s a high likelihood that they’re excellent, and have a certain broad appeal. So if you read in your newspaper that there’s an artist coming to a nice local venue from some far-flung locale? Go see them! This is a great area in your life in which to be bold and take chances, because odds are very good that you’ll be glad you did. There’s nothing quite like a great live show.

How Many Children Did Bob Marley Have?

Question: How Many Children Did Bob Marley Have?

Answer: Bob Marley had 11 acknowledged children (10 biological, 1 adopted) with seven different mothers. His adopted daughter was his wife Rita Marley’s child from a previous marriage. Many of them have grown up to become talented musicians and artists in their own right. In order of birth, Bob’s children are:

Sharon: Born in 1964, Sharon (now Sharon Marley Prendergast) was Rita’s daughter from a previous marriage.

She was a long-time member of The Melody Makers, along with several other siblings, and is now a performer, a community organizer and activist, and the curator of theBob Marley Museum in Kingston, Jamaica.

Cedella: Born in 1967, Cedella Marley was the first-born daughter of Bob and Rita Marley. She was a member of the Melody Makers and a film actress, and now works primarily as a children’s book author and a clothing designer (she designed the Olympic uniforms for the Jamaican team, including running champion Usain Bolt, for the 2012 Olympic Games).

David “Ziggy”: Bob and Rita’s oldest son, Ziggy, was born in 1968, and is a successful reggae musician who was the leader of the Melody Makers, and continues to perform and record albums for both adults and children, and has won four Grammy Awards. He also recently released his first comic book, Marijuanaman.

Stephen: Stephen Marley was born in Wilmington, Delaware to Bob and Rita Marley in 1972. He is a Grammy-nominated musician and record producer who has worked with his siblings (both with the Melody Makers and on some of their solo projects) as well as artists like The Fugees, Michael Franti, and Nelly.

Robert “Robbie”: The son of Pat Williams, Robbie was born in 1972, but has spent his life out of the spotlight.

Rohan: Born in 1972 to Bob Marley and Janet Hunt, Rohan Marley is a musician, a former collegiate and professional football player (for the University of Miami and later the Canadian Football League’s Ottawa Rough Riders), and an entrepreneur who co-founded both the Tuff Gong clothing line and the Marley Coffee business. He has five children with singer and actress Lauryn Hill, though they are no longer a couple.

Karen: Born in England in 1973 to Bob Marley and Janet Bowen, Karen grew up in Jamaica and has kept her life largely private.

Stephanie: Rita’s daughter Stephanie was born in 1974, and whether or not Bob was her biological father is disputed, though he raised her as his own regardless. Stephanie is a businesswoman, and is currently the director of the Marley Resort and Spa, a former Marley family vacation home in Nassau, the Bahamas, which has been converted into a luxury vacation resort.

Julian: The son of Lucy Pounder, Julian was born in London in 1975 and grew up to become a Grammy-nominated musician who tours regularly and has performed with his brothers Ziggy, Stephen, and Damian.

Ky-Mani: Born in 1976 to table tennis champion Anita Belnavis, Ky-Mani is a popular reggae and dancehall musician and a film actor who starred in the 2003 Jamaican filmOne Love.

Damian: Bob’s youngest son Damian was born in 1978 to Cindy Breakspeare, a former Miss World and a respected jazz musician. Damian, nicknamed “Junior Gong,” is a reggae musician and has won three Grammy Awards and has worked with an impressive and diverse array of artists, from Nas to Mick Jagger to Skrillex.

It is sometimes speculated that Bob had two other daughters, Imani Carole (born in 1963 to Cheryl Murray) and Makeda (born in 1981 to Yvette Crichton), but they are not officially acknowledged on the Marley family website.

What Kinds of Music Come From the Caribbean?

Question: What Kinds of Music Come From the Caribbean?

The melting pot of cultures in the islands and coastal areas surrounding the Caribbean sea have made this region one of the most fertile breeding grounds for music anywhere in the world. Every island and every stretch of coastline boasts at least one signature style of music, and often more, each different from the rest, but all bearing an irresistible, dance-friendly rhythm.

Dig deeper and learn more about some of this fantastic Caribbean genres:


Reggae: Reggae is the best-known ofJamaica’s many styles of music, and finds its roots in traditional mento music, ska, androcksteady. With its characteristic one-drop rhythm and largely conscious and spiritual lyrics, reggae has widespread appeal among listeners all over the world, and has had a major influence on hip-hop music, as well as rock and soul. The best=known reggae artist of all time was undoubtedly Bob Marley, who gained worldwide fame in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Other artists worth exploring arePeter Tosh, Lee “Scratch” Perry, Jimmy Cliff, and Burning Spear.

  • 10 Essential Reggae Classics
  • Essential Bob Marley CDs
  • Beyond Bob: More Crucial Early Reggae Artists
  • Great Reggae CDs for Kids (and their parents, too!)

Calypso: Calypso comes from the islands of Trinidad and Tobago, and gained quite a bit of popularity (in an albeit somewhat sanitized form) during the folk revival, when Harry Belafonte and some others brought some of the greatest old calypso songs to the international stage.

The genre is very much alive, and there are a number of popular genres that are based in calypso, as well, including soca, chutney, and rapso.

  • 5 Great Calypso Compilations

Compas: Haiti is an incredibly rich island, musically, and compas is the island’s most popular genres. Like basically all other Caribbean music, compas is a blend of African rhythms with the music of the Native Caribbean people and European musical elements. Some of the more popular current artists include Tabou Combo, Les Freres Dejean, and Sweet Micky, who ran for and won the Haitian presidency in 2011. Other styles you’ll find in Haiti include rara, mizik rasin, kadans, and meringue (which is related to the merengue music of the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti.

Salsa: Salsa rivals cigars as Cuba’s most popular export. This genre is inextricable from its accompanying high-drama dance, which certainly explains its popularity among international audiences. Salsa is not only popular among Cubans in Cuba; there are vibrant and active salsa music communities in all major cities with large Cuban-American populations, particularly New York City and Miami.

  • Best 10 Salsa Albums of All Time
  • The Greatest Salsa Songs
  • Soneros: The Best Salsa Singers

Bachata: Bachata has grown to rival Merengue as the Dominican Republic’s most popular genre of music. It’s a sad music, often equated with the blues, and with deep roots in Iberian guitar music (think flamenco and fado) but, in modern form, has a broadly appealing pop sensibility that is an easy sell to a wide audience. Like salsa, you find bachata both in the Dominican Republic and in American cities with large Dominican populations.

  • The Best Bachata Songs of 2012
  • Classic Bachata Songs
  • Top Bachata Artists

This list is obviously not comprehensive, but it should give you a good starting point for discovering new Caribbean music. There are lots of great artists from all sorts of tiny little islands, just waiting for you to find their music and get you dancing, so don’t be afraid to dig in further!

Major Methods of Teaching Music to Kids

There are various approaches used by educators when it comes to teaching music. Here are four of the most popular music education methods.
orff - Public Domain Image from Wikimedia Commons
1.  The Orff Approach

The Orff Method is a way of teaching children about music that engages their mind and body through a mixture of singing, dancing, acting and the use of percussion instruments (i.e. xylophones, metallophones, glockenspiels). Lessons are presented with an element of “play” helping the children learn at their own level of understanding.

kodaly - Getty Images
2.  The Kodaly Method

The Kodaly Method’s philosophy is that music education is most effective when started early and that everyone is capable of musical literacy. Singing is stressed as the foundation for musicianship and the use of folk and composed music of high artistic value.

suzuki - Public Domain Image from Wikimedia Commons
3.  The Suzuki Method

The Suzuki Method is an approach to music education that was introduced in Japan and later reached the United States during the 1960s. Although this method was originally developed for the violin, it is now applicable to other instruments including the piano, flute and guitar.

Dalcroze - Copyright 2008 Steve West (Digital Vision Collection)
4.  The Dalcroze Method
The Dalcroze method, also known as Dalcroze Eurhythmics, is another approach used by educators to teach musical concepts. This method, which connects music, movement, mind, and body, was developed by Emile Jaques-Dalcroze. Learn more about the Dalcroze method through this primer.

How to Start a Pop Punk Band (for Kids in Primary School.)

Are you a kid that’s really into bands like, Paramore, Blink 182, All Time Low, or Fall Out Boy? Here is the perfect article for you! It will tell you how to make your own band like them!

Think to yourself, are you really determined to do this? Always remember the band might break up because of moving schools.

Try to find a few people for your band. Most pop punk bands consist of 3-7 people. This may be hard if you go to certain music lessons, guitar etc. then ask people there if they are interested. Ask all of your friends if they play an instrument or own one! If they do not know how to play that instrument then who cares, just make sure they can read the tabs and write music! Or if you are clever enough, teach them! Good pop punk bands have a lead guitarist a lead singer (or the singer might play lead guitar as well!) Rhythm Guitar, Bass and drums. A backing vocalist is additional but that could be the bassist or rhythm guitar or so… Hold auditions for band members, put up posters saying you need a band member who can play (an instrument!)Don’t give up this task is VERY hard!

Find a place to practise, this could be anywhere... The school music room, your classroom at break time, a garage, your home or you could even ask your parents if you can rent a small place somewhere for a cheap amount! Even ask a local pub if when the pub is closed you could practise there! Stretch your limits!

Practise! Most good bands start out playing covers to songs. For a warm-up at every practise pick one song you all know and play it once! You could do that for a warm up for every practise. Practise daily at the LEAST once a week is fine but i would say twice a week but practise as much as you can!

Experiment! If you can’t play a certain song then make your own version of it! See what you can come up with!

Once your band is ready start writing your own songs. Normally a band would have one or two people writing the songs! Pop punk song topics are lots of things. Sad things, good things, being excited, feeling lonely! Most pop punk songs are about bad things though.

Make a band name! You could look in the dictionary and find random words that sound cool!

This is a good time to let people know about your band now. Make posters, hand made or made on the computer anyway would do, and in addition to this make a band logo too! Put posters up every where, in school, on the streets, on buildings’ walls, around your neighbour hood! Anywhere popular and visible would do!

Raise some band fund. Get a simple small job that is suitable for kids like walking dogs, giving out newspapers, help some people cut their grass, or even help old people across the road! This will earn you simple reasonable amounts of money! If this doesn’t work then make a deal with the band that every body has to give a tiny amount of pocket money every week for the band. Make it fair for every one like if somebody gets £1 a week then they should try to give in 20p or so…

By now, your band should be going on well... With your band fund try to get a cheap video camera and make simple music videos. These do not have to be your first music videos these are just getting ready! Show these music videos to your friends maybe ask a few people on the street to watch it.

Now your band should probably have a fair amount of fans. Now try to get gigs! Maybe ask shopping malls if you can do small performances their for a fair price, maybe do a few songs on the street. Or even do a small gig in your neighbourhood! etc!

Now you must buy a camcorder or some sort of equipment to record yourself on. Try to get the best sound quality as possible. Get blank CD’s and put your recorded songs on their, next sell them to the public for fair cheap amounts of money, do NOT make albums yet. Just put 2 or 3 songs on the c-d at the most. Good prices to sell at is £1.00 but at the most £1.30!

Try to get onto a record label. If they don’t take you yet then who cares? You have a long time ahead of you and don’t worry! It doesn’t mean you can’t sell cheap CD’s, go to band practise, do gigs or make posters! But yet do NOT give up!

You should be fairly popular now... If not then don’t give up! If you are popular then start making songs, recording them, making music videos and making albums!

Hardcore Punk

What is Hardcore?:

Fast, loud and furious – these are the elements of hardcore. From its inception in the late ‘70s, hardcore began to pick up the attitudes and messages employed by the first punk bands, setting them to driving guitar and drum lines that were more frenzied than those played by earlier bands that fell under the punk description. Faster and heavier than other contemporary punk bands, hardcore songs were often very short and very frenzied.

The Early Days of Hardcore:

At the beginning, hardcore punk was primarily a phenomenon in the states. Hardcore punk’s rise to popularity in the late ’70s and early ’80s happened in multiple cities throughout the U.S. almost simultaneously. Musicians that had been raised on heavy metal but were being influenced by punk were taking these two influences, combining them, and speeding them up into something exciting and unheard of.

At the same time, on opposite coasts, three bands help usher in the era of hardcore. LA’s Black Flag and Washington DC’s Minor Threat and Bad Brains were the primary pioneers of the hardcore sound, which also ushered in the era of slamdancing at punk rock shows. While it had been around for a while at punk rock shows, the intensity of hardcore music really brought it into prominence.

Hardcore Breaks Out:

With the birth of these early scenes came a DIY ethic that allowed hardcore scenes to pop up all over. The Midwest was especially dense; In Detroit, Negative iApproach ruled the roost, in Lansing, Michigan, the Meatmen started a scene, and Minneapolis-St.

Paul spawned the amazingly complexHusker Du, who mixed jazz, psychedelia, acoustic folk and pop in with their hardcore riffs.

It was true everywhere, though. Nevada had 7Seconds. New Jesey had the Misfits. Gang Green was raging in Boston. And New York was putting hardcore shows on by the Beastie Boys, a hardcore band that would later be better known as a rap outfit.

Once the sound began, it was impossible to put a lid on it. Essentially, any city or town large enough to have a scene seemed to have a hardcore scene, with its own chunk of local hardcore bands and local hardcore followers. This continues to be the case, and while it was (and continues to be) primarily popular in the U.S., hardcore scenes are evident all over the world.

Hardcore Shows:

While hardcore records are obviously an essential part of hardcore music, and without them we’d have no recorded history of the music, hardcore music and its encompassing scene was and is really about the hardcore show, where all of the DIY ethic comes together. Even now, hardcore house and club shows happen everywhere, with bands getting together to play out of basements and garages, selling self-recorded music and handmade t-shirts, and advertised by self-produced fliers.

Hardcore In The Mainstream Media:

From the early days, hardcore shows were misunderstood as violent affairs by the mainstream media. TV talk shows grabbed onto these shows as violent affairs, and TV dramas depicted them as dark violent events. The most famous is arguably the punk episode of Quincy M.E., which has spawned its own pop references in the punk scene, including a song and band name.

A Message?:

Hardcore music’s only unifying factor is its sound. The lyrics and messages vary from band to band. While some hardcore bands preach drug- and alcohol-free living (known asstraightedge), other bands write songs that are all about partying. There are even Christian hardcore bands with a strong religious message.

What’s Next?:

Hardcore continues to be a subgenre of music with a strong following. While it paved the way for thrash metal and other heavy sounds, many of the early hardcore bands are still together and new bands rise up constantly. Along with the continuing tide of hardcore is a wave of bands known as post-hardcore bands, but that’s another story entirely.

3 Ways to Make Barring Guitar Chords Easier

Ah, unforgiving bar chord. I remember when practicing bar chords was one of the less pleasant aspects of practicing. The harder I worked, the more tired I got and the worse the chord sounded! Well, it took some experience and many a sore hand to finally learn how to bar properly and efficiently.

Here are a few helpful tips on making bars easier, hopefully saving you some pain!

Weight/Squeeze Ratio

The tendency when barring is to squeeze the thumb and the index finger together like a vice. As a result you’ve probably noticed that after not too long your left hand begins to feel a tad sore. In order to help alleviate the burden to that small muscle between your index finger and thumb, I recommend employing arm weight to help.

Try this: Get in playing position, put your left hand up to the neck as if preparing to play, and just grab the neck of the guitar. Now relax the muscles in your shoulder and arm. Hang your arm on the guitar using only your hand to grip the neck. You should feel the full weight of your arm wanting to pull the neck down towards the floor. That’s the weight that’s to help with the bar.

Okay, now form a bar with your index finger (try the 5th fret). Disengage the thumb, and apply pressure to the bar using your arm weight only. It probably feels a little uncomfortable, but this is simply an awareness exercise.

The weight of the arm is going to help the hand, not take over completely. Try to feel weight, but resist pulling your arm back. You might have to fiddle with the angle of the guitar a little to get used to this. Once you’ve got a good idea of what your arm weight feels like, add the thumb again and try a few different bar chords. Most likely, you’ll notice that you can use more arm weight with some more than with others. Weight and pressure ratio is an important concept not only for bar chords but in general playing.

Bar Efficiency

Form a full bar G-Major chord at the third fret. Are you pressing all six strings equally with your bar finger, then adding the other three fingers? If the answer is “yes,” then you are using more pressure and energy than you need to.

Let’s take a moment to analyze this chord. How many strings require the first finger bar? Three, right: the 6th, 2nd, and 1st strings? The 5th, 4th, and 3rd strings are covered by the other three fingers and don’t require the bar. So why apply pressure to those strings when you only need to put pressure on the outer strings?

Try this out. Bar only your first finger across all six strings. At first, apply NO pressure. Now, slowly engaging the bar, can you tweak it such that you only apply pressure to the 6th and 1st strings such that they sound clearly while muting the other four? Now, try doing the same thing adding the 2nd string to sound along with 1st and 6th. That’s a little more difficult. Right now, you’re working on bar efficiency. Your figuring out which parts of the bar need the real pressure and which parts don’t. Play the G chord again and see if this exercise changed your perspective. Does the chord feel any different? This works for a lot of bar chords but not for some. For some chords you need even pressure across all strings involved. Using this technique, you’ll find efficient ways of playing particular bars where pressure is only needed on certain parts of the bar, saving a lot of energy.

Approaches Fingers/Guide and Pivot Fingers

One of the primary challenges of bar chords is getting into and out of them quickly and smoothly. Surely, we’ve all experienced the grand pause in rhythm as we struggled to form a bar chord on time. Here are a couple of ideas for making that transition smoother and faster.

1. Order of fingers in forming bars.

Most players who are first learning to form bar chords put the bar finger down first followed by other fingers. This is simply because the index finger and the thumb are the most independent fingers. The natural instinct is to use these as a “foundation,” followed by the rest of the fingers down as needed. I would encourage you to practice forming a bar chord (or any chord for that matter) taking turns with each finger as the lead finger.

Let’s look at the full bar G major chord again. Instead of starting with the bar, place your middle finger down first on the 4th fret of the 3rd string (B) as if you’re playing a single note. Keep the second finger in place, put the bar down followed by the 3rd and fourth fingers. Don’t worry about pressure. We’re just dealing with coordination of the fingers.

Now let’s try starting with the middle finger again. This time put your 3rd and fourth fingers down with the bar coming last. When you can do this smoothly, it’s time to start the chord with another finger. Let’s try starting with the third finger first. Relax your hand, now place your third finger on the 5th string, 5th fret (D). Keeping that finger down, now add the bar followed by the second finger and finally the fourth finger. How did that feel? Weird right? Practice it until it feels more natural then try third finger first, followed by fourth finger, then bar, then second finger.

Get the idea? We’re practicing all combinations. You could probably spend 20 or 30 minutes working on this. Don’t press or try to play notes; you’re focusing on coordination of fingers, not on sound.

Once you’ve done this even for one session, I guarantee you that your chords are going to starting forming a lot quicker. Now your ready for the next tip: guide fingers.

2. Guide/pivot fingers

Now that you can form your bar chord from any finger, you are ready to start looking for guide or pivot fingers. First definitions:

  • Guide Finger: A finger that glides horizontally along a string to become part of a new chord or position.
  • Pivot Finger: A finger(s) that stays on a note(s) while other fingers move to new notes to for a new shape.

When switching from chord to chord, guide and pivot fingers can be of great help in making the change smooth and seamless. This can be particularly true of bar chords since they can be tricky to get to. Let’s start with a full C Major chord in first position. Now switch to a full bar F Major chord in first position. You have one pivot finger. It’s the third finger, which is already on the 5th string, third fret (C). Try keeping that finger down while moving all the others into position to form the F chord. Now let’s try a guide finger. Starting with the same C chord, try going to a full bar G Major chord at the third fret. That same third finger on the C is going to glide up to the fifth fret of the 5th string (D). Start by releasing all the fingers of the C chord EXCEPT the third finger, then glide the third finger to the fifth fret. Now form your G chord without moving the third finger. I know it seems tricky at first, but once you master finger independence, it will be much easer and of course faster.

In conclusion, the aforementioned bar chord techniques should be practiced separately at first, with great patience and attention to detail. Eventually your perspective and subsequent approach to bar chords will be greatly enhanced and become a natural part of your general technique.

The weight of the arm is going to help the hand, not take over completely. Try to feel weight, but resist pulling your arm back. You might have to fiddle with the angle of the guitar a little to get used to this. Once you’ve got a good idea of what your arm weight feels like, add the thumb again and try a few different bar chords. Most likely, you’ll notice that you can use more arm weight with some more than with others. Weight and pressure ratio is an important concept not only for bar chords but in general playing.

Bar Efficiency

Form a full bar G-Major chord at the third fret. Are you pressing all six strings equally with your bar finger, then adding the other three fingers? If the answer is “yes,” then you are using more pressure and energy than you need to.

Let’s take a moment to analyze this chord. How many strings require the first finger bar? Three, right: the 6th, 2nd, and 1st strings? The 5th, 4th, and 3rd strings are covered by the other three fingers and don’t require the bar. So why apply pressure to those strings when you only need to put pressure on the outer strings?

Try this out. Bar only your first finger across all six strings. At first, apply NO pressure. Now, slowly engaging the bar, can you tweak it such that you only apply pressure to the 6th and 1st strings such that they sound clearly while muting the other four? Now, try doing the same thing adding the 2nd string to sound along with 1st and 6th. That’s a little more difficult. Right now, you’re working on bar efficiency. Your figuring out which parts of the bar need the real pressure and which parts don’t. Play the G chord again and see if this exercise changed your perspective. Does the chord feel any different? This works for a lot of bar chords but not for some. For some chords you need even pressure across all strings involved. Using this technique, you’ll find efficient ways of playing particular bars where pressure is only needed on certain parts of the bar, saving a lot of energy.

Approaches Fingers/Guide and Pivot Fingers

One of the primary challenges of bar chords is getting into and out of them quickly and smoothly. Surely, we’ve all experienced the grand pause in rhythm as we struggled to form a bar chord on time. Here are a couple of ideas for making that transition smoother and faster.

1. Order of fingers in forming bars.

Most players who are first learning to form bar chords put the bar finger down first followed by other fingers. This is simply because the index finger and the thumb are the most independent fingers. The natural instinct is to use these as a “foundation,” followed by the rest of the fingers down as needed. I would encourage you to practice forming a bar chord (or any chord for that matter) taking turns with each finger as the lead finger.

Let’s look at the full bar G major chord again. Instead of starting with the bar, place your middle finger down first on the 4th fret of the 3rd string (B) as if you’re playing a single note. Keep the second finger in place, put the bar down followed by the 3rd and fourth fingers. Don’t worry about pressure. We’re just dealing with coordination of the fingers.

Now let’s try starting with the middle finger again. This time put your 3rd and fourth fingers down with the bar coming last. When you can do this smoothly, it’s time to start the chord with another finger. Let’s try starting with the third finger first. Relax your hand, now place your third finger on the 5th string, 5th fret (D). Keeping that finger down, now add the bar followed by the second finger and finally the fourth finger. How did that feel? Weird right? Practice it until it feels more natural then try third finger first, followed by fourth finger, then bar, then second finger.

Get the idea? We’re practicing all combinations. You could probably spend 20 or 30 minutes working on this. Don’t press or try to play notes; you’re focusing on coordination of fingers, not on sound.

Once you’ve done this even for one session, I guarantee you that your chords are going to starting forming a lot quicker. Now your ready for the next tip: guide fingers.

2. Guide/pivot fingers

Now that you can form your bar chord from any finger, you are ready to start looking for guide or pivot fingers. First definitions:

  • Guide Finger: A finger that glides horizontally along a string to become part of a new chord or position.
  • Pivot Finger: A finger(s) that stays on a note(s) while other fingers move to new notes to for a new shape.

When switching from chord to chord, guide and pivot fingers can be of great help in making the change smooth and seamless. This can be particularly true of bar chords since they can be tricky to get to. Let’s start with a full C Major chord in first position. Now switch to a full bar F Major chord in first position. You have one pivot finger. It’s the third finger, which is already on the 5th string, third fret (C). Try keeping that finger down while moving all the others into position to form the F chord. Now let’s try a guide finger. Starting with the same C chord, try going to a full bar G Major chord at the third fret. That same third finger on the C is going to glide up to the fifth fret of the 5th string (D). Start by releasing all the fingers of the C chord EXCEPT the third finger, then glide the third finger to the fifth fret. Now form your G chord without moving the third finger. I know it seems tricky at first, but once you master finger independence, it will be much easer and of course faster.

In conclusion, the aforementioned bar chord techniques should be practiced separately at first, with great patience and attention to detail. Eventually your perspective and subsequent approach to bar chords will be greatly enhanced and become a natural part of your general technique.

How to Build a Celtic Music Collection

So you wanna build up your Celtic music collection, do ya? Well, we’re here to help. Whether you’re looking to start a collection from scratch or build up a burgeoning section of your CD shelf, we have some ideas for places to start and places to go from there. Celtic music, or the traditional and contemporary music of the Celtic Nations (Ireland, Scotland, Wales, The Isle of Man, Cornwall, and Brittany, and occasionally including Galicia, Asturias, and Cantabria), is widely varied, and with so much to choose from, can be pretty intimidating. But you have to start somewhere, so here are some ideas to get you going.

1.  Start With Traditional Irish Music

You may as well start with the largest and best-known exporter of Celtic music, Ireland. Populated with well-known classic names like The Chieftains and newer traditionalists like Teada, this list is a solid and familiar place to start:

2.  … and Add Some Traditional Scottish Music

There’s a burgeoning contemporary trad scene happening right now throughout Scotland, but especially in thehighlands and islands, where young musicians are taking the music of their ancestors and adding just a touch of modern flair (not to mention modern recording and production methods) to create something vibrant and new. The added bonus is that Scottish music is great fun to talk about: you get to say “Shooglenifty” and “Capercaillie” and any number of other fun names with astounding regularity. Have a listen to some of the best that this scene has to offer:

3.  Don’t Forget the Cousins Across the Sea

Cape Breton Island, in Nova Scotia, was populated by Scottish settlers who never let their music die. It evolved slightly differently over the years than the music of their cousins back home, but it remains gloriously and unmistakably Celtic, through and through. Get your hands on some:

4.  Get a Little Punky

If starkly traditional stuff isn’t your bag, or if you’re seeking breadth in developing your Celtic collection, try a little bit of Celtic Punk. You’ll probably recognize some of the names on this list (if you don’t recognize at least the Pogues, I’m not sure that you and I can be friends any longer, actually), but some might be new finds:

5.  … and Perhaps a Bit Ethereal

A lot of people associate Celtic music with modern new age blending artists like Enya and Loreena McKennitt, and there are many more artists working in that milieu. Here are some CDs to get you started down that path:

6.  Keep the Ladies in Mind

The Irish-ish supergroup/television phenomenon Celtic Woman have brought new awareness of Celtic music to millions of fans, despite heavy eye-rolls from many Celtic traditionalists. Still, they represent the ladies, who are too often forgotten in many genres of music, but who hold their ground steadfastly in the Celtic lands. Make sure you’ve got some of these gals in your collection:

7.  Have Some Seasonal Goodness at the Ready

If you celebrate Christmas, don’t hesitate to seek out some Celtic Christmas music. Though standard Christmas music can be pretty campy and corny, you’d never know it if you’d only heard the artists on this list. Great stuff, this:

8.  … and Go See Live Music!

The live music promoter in me can’t let you get away without me telling you to go see a live band or three. If you live in or near any sort of reasonably-sized metropolis in North America, Australia, or Europe (and throughout the rest of the world, in many cases), I can almost guarantee that there’s an Irish band or session who plays near you occasionally, and probably often for free. Go hear them, have a pint, and pick up their CD at the end of the night. Starting locally is a fantastic way to build your collection from the grass roots.

How to Start a Pop Punk Band

This is a guide on how to start a pop punk band in high school. Remember, pop punk does not have to be on important things, it’s more often just whining about ex girlfriends or about having fun. Political and significant lyrics are in actual Punk music.

Do research about Pop Punk and make sure that this is the genre that you are going for with your band. You may want to check out these bands via samples on programs such as iTunes and websites such as Myspace, Facebook, or by buying their CDs. Good bands to listen to include With Blink-182, The Descendants, Plow United, Spraynard, Iron Chic (in subject not sound), Candy Hearts, Dead Ringer, Good Luck, Lemuria, Failure’s Union, Timeshares, The Max Levine Ensemble, and of course THE ERGS! Look at Bandcamp and If You Make It to find some more inspiration.

Learn how to play an instrument with some fast rhythm, such as bass or guitar, as those will be complicated to learn.

Start with musical patterns that are best for you and your feel with the influence of the bands mentioned earlier. Otherwise, you are not on the topic of pop punk.

Spread the word about your band. Word of mouth can get a long way. Just make sure you play to a few friends and family first and have them give their opinion of you before you spread the word. Try to make some friends in the scene and talk to some local bands, see if you can get a supporting show, you’ll get a larger audience supporting a famous band then headlining yourself. The reaction at shows will determine whether you suck or not, more than likely.

Write some songs. Do what you can to write. If you can’t come up with anything, you might as well give up. If you can’t come up with anything, try just playing an instrument in the band.

Get some cool t-shirts and don’t follow fashion trends. Do your own thing. Little high school kids love to wear your shirts the moment they get them and talk about how awesome it was to see your band to the point where it can be annoying.

Make sure you have a guitar and vocals (i.e. Mikey Erg) at the very least. Ideally, you’ll want a guitar, vocals, bass, and drums, but these aren’t a set list, play around with what instruments you bring to the table.

Make sure people at the local school know of your band. Once they get their hands on your music, they spread it like a new trend to where all the cool kids listen to your band, but that is not your concern, screw the cool kids, the cool kids are the ones thrashing around to the sound and having fun, if you’re in pop punk, the only reason you’re doing it is to jump around and have some fun.


Concert Review: Ballake Sissoko and Vincent Segal

In a world as dynamic as ours, where fluid communication and flexible travel allow global cultures to engage in previously inconceivable ways, the notion of an Afro-European string duet is not so surprising. After all, the French have long embraced the music of their continental neighbors to the south, with Paris serving as a vital port for exporting the rich variations in African sound to western audiences.

But of all the cross-cultural collaborations that have emerged from this relationship, few can match the gentle grace of the mesmerizing conversations shared by Malian kora master Ballake Sissoko and French producer and cellist Vincent Segal. The two initially started playing together for fun while performing on the European festival circuit, but soon realized a rare musical bond that led to the 2009 recording of the critically-acclaimed Chamber Music atSalif Keita’s world-class Moffou Studio inBamako, Mali.

This was the prodigious pair’s second trip to DC, the first being a brief layover at NPR Studios to record a Tiny Desk Concert in 2011. Their return visit brought them to Lang Theater at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, a state-of-the-art, multi-use facility in Northeast Washington’s increasingly vibrantH Street corridor. Seated side-by-side at center stage, the two friends appeared at ease and occasionally amused as they cast a musical spell that hypnotized the crowd for the duration of their one-hour performance.

Drawing largely from the Chamber Music sessions, whose griot-meets-classical title track opened the show, the two moved effortlessly from the mystical melodies of the North African desert on “Balazando” to the more thoughtful, drifting sound of Segal’s pastoral “Histoire de Molly.” Sissoko often seemed completely entranced in his solos, occasionally singing and grunting along to the melodies he laid over Segal’s pulsing rhythm. This was especially memorable during their performance of “Ma-Ma FC,” a playful song written by Segal for the pair’s two teenage sons, who share the same age and a passion for soccer. Starting slowly with the Sissoko carrying the tune, the cello soon took over with a rich pizzicato, then handed it back to the kora for an impressive flurry of bubbling notes, finally culminating in a friendly embrace of interwoven notes that brought the tune to a close.

But the highlight for this reviewer came during the final selection of the regular set, “Handarezo,” which appears on Sissoko’s 2005 release Tomora. About a minute into the song, a puff of rosin appeared in the bright stage lights, launched by a bow hair that Segal had swiftly snapped clean. He reached down and tied the strand to his A string, then grabbed it firmly at the base between the thumb and forefinger of his right hand. Pulling his fingers along the hair, away from the cello, the tension resonated with a raspy howl, punctuated by his left hand sliding down the fretboard in unison. Had I not witnessed it live, I’d have been convinced the sound was coming from an electric guitar, its bluesy, electric quiver sounding almost Hendrix-like. It was one of many moments during this live performance where I felt that bearing witness had further unlocked secrets in their music that could have only been partially revealed through my ears.

The duo returned for two well-deserved encores. The first was “Wo Yé N’gnougobine,” a playful West African melody with an ageless quality that featured Segal emulating the njarka gourd fiddle, yet another unexpected transformation of his cello into something completely unexpected. In closing, they shared the gorgeous “Kalata Diata” from Sissoko’s most recent release, At Peace. The gentle stroll of the song hearkened images of two friends walking together, exchanging smiles and conversation, much as we had watched Sissoko and Segal do throughout the evening, albeit with their instruments, not words.

Post-Hardcore – A Definition


When it comes to defining a subgenre of punk, post-hardcore is really not much more than a vague catchall, set up to encompass any band that has taken their musical roots from hardcore, but expanded their sound.

Post-hardcore really began in the ‘80s, with the actual hardcore bands themselves. As bands like Black Flag began to bore with the formulaic constraints of hardcore, more experimental sounds began to appear in their music.

Just as when the Clash broke away from traditional punk rock by adding elements of reggae to their music, hardcore bands were adding elements of jazz, noise rock, prog rock and math rock to their sounds.

Additionally, this era saw Rites of Spring, often considered the earliest incarnation of emo, another subgenre that gets lumped in with post-hardcore.

The ‘90s saw emo begin to rise to prominence, with experimental bands like Hot Water Music and At The Drive-In. At the same time, the waters of post-hardcore were getting even muddier as a sound description, as bands like Fugazi, who added funk and dub beats and glam rock riffs, and Glassjaw, who added whatever they liked, were also drawing from hardcore influences and doing things that were even more withdrawn from traditional hardcore punk.

In the new millennium, post-hardcore is even more vague. Denoting a band a post-hardcore does little to describe their sound at all. Post-hardcore can now refer to bands that are emo, screamo, experimental or even pop punk, as long as elements of the heavier roots of hardcore are present in their music.

(For example, all emo is post-hardcore, but not all post-hardcore is emo.)

Many of punk’s most popular bands today can be called post-hardcore, but while they share many of the same influences, and often the same penchant for screaming, the definition of post-hardcore as a sound is getting less and less definitive by the day.

Also Known As: emo, screamo, math rock

Common Misspellings: posthardcore, post-hardocre, posthardocre

The Music Industry Gets a New Release Date

Release dates aren’t what they used to be. Thanks to the digital music explosion, being the first through the record store door on the day a long-awaited new release from your favorite artist hits the racks is a thing of the past. However, even though this tradition may have waned, one important facet of the tradition has always remained in place – just when release dates are. New release days have long been tied to regions.

In the US, new music is always released on Tuesdays. In the UK and France, Monday means new music. Germany and Australia are used to Fridays.

Times will be a-changin’ in Summer 2015. In February, the International Federation of the Phonographic Institute, or IFPI to its friends, confirmed a long-standing rumor that a global music release day would be established, and that that day would be Friday. Beginning in Summer 2015, all new music will be released around the world on a Friday. This big changes hasn’t been welcomed by everyone. Why did the IFPI make this change, and what does it mean to you? Here are the facts.

Why Set a Global Release Date?

The biggest reason the IFPI and many labels want a global release date is piracy. When music wasn’t available online, having an album come out in the UK on Monday and Germany later that week wasn’t such a huge deal. Now, however, that person in Germany has little incentive to wait around for an album they want when they can find the music online – and for free, to boot.

By streamlining all release days, the hope is that this kind of piracy will be discouraged since everyone has access to the music at the same time.

Why Choose Friday?

In many ways, Friday was selected because music fans said that they like the idea of getting new music as they head into the weekend. Beyonce released her surprised album on a Friday, which was a major success – something that the music industry couldn’t ignore. The IFPI polled consumers on their preferences, and Fridays and Saturdays were the winners.

Why Are Some People Against Friday Releases?

Some people – independent labels and musicians in particular – are fearful of Friday release dates. A lot has to do with the Billboard charts. Billboard counts music sales from Tuesday to Tuesday. There’s no indication – yet – that they plan to change this practice. That means that now, if a new album is released on a Friday, there are only sales from that day to Tuesday to count for the charts, instead of a full week of sales. Some people are arguing that a system like this unfairly skews the charts to a small group of major-selling artists. For instance, if you’re Beyonce, sales figures from Friday – Tuesday are going to be more than enough to get you on the charts, because, well, you’re Beyonce. But, if you’re a slower-burner – a band who is flirting with the charts – having that reduced period of sales could mean that you don’t make the cut. That could have major implications for mid-level bands who are on the bubble, because hitting the charts or not can have a big impact on how much your label continues to invest – or not invest – in you.

There is also no more opportunity for correction for labels. Now, if a release suddenly hits bigger than expected on a Tuesday, the label can hurry to restock before the second weekend sales surge. With a Friday release, that isn’t possible – another fact that hurts indies since stores will almost always order less initial stock from indies than majors. Of course, this only impacts the physical market, but it’s still a concern.

Lastly, some artists and labels are worried about the impact on of a global release date on an artist’s ability to make major promotional appearances to support their releases, since they can’t be everywhere at once.

How Music Will Friday Sales Really Matter?

The impact remains to be seen. One of the biggest factors will be whether music charts are adjusted to accommodate the changes. Changes to promo strategies will also be needed. The impact these changes have on piracy will be an interesting lesson for the music industry about what exactly is driving it – frustration at waiting for new music, or frustration for paying for it.

The Croppy Boy

History and Background:

“The Croppy Boy” is a tragic old Irish folksong that was written by an Irish poet named William B. McBurney, who used the pseudonym Carroll Malone, in 1845. The song, a memorial of the Uprising of 1798, tells the story of a young man (a “croppy,” as the young 1798 uprisers were called, due to their short-cropped hair) who, on his way to battle, stops in at a church to make a confession.

He tells his story to the shrouded priest who is sitting in a chair. After he’s confessed his sins (and outed himself as a Rebel), the “priest” reveals himself to be an English soldier and arrests the young man and takes him away to be executed as a traitor. A quick language point: “buachaill” is Irish for “boy” or “lad.”


“The Croppy Boy” is set to an old Irish air called “Cailin Og a Stor,” which is at least 500 years old. This air also provides the music for the folksong “Lady Franklin’s Lament” (also known as “Lord Franklin” or “Sailor’s Dream”), upon which Bob Dylanbased his song “Bob Dylan’s Dream.”


Good men and true in this house who dwell
To a stranger buachaill I pray you tell
Is the Priest at home or may he be seen
I would speak a word with Father Green.

The youth has entered an empty hall
Where a lonely sound has his light footfall
And the gloomy chamber’s cold and bare
With a vested Priest in a lonely chair.

The youth has knelt to tell his sins
“Nomine Dei,” the youth begins
At “mea culpa,” he beats his breast
Then in broken murmurs he speaks the rest.

“At the siege of Ross did my father fall
And at Gorey my loving brothers all
I alone am left to my name and race
I will go to Wexford to take their place.”

“I cursed three times since last Easter day
And at Mass-time once I went to play
I passed the churchyard one day in haste
And forgot to pray for my Mother’s rest.”

“I bear no hate against living thing
But I love my country above my King
Now Father, bless me and let me go
To die, if God has ordained it so.”

The Priest said naught, but a rustling noise
Made the youth look up in a wild surprise
The robes were off, and in scarlet there
Sat a yeoman captain with fiery glare.

With fiery glare and with fury hoarse
Instead of a blessing he breathed a curse
‘Twas a good thought, boy, to come here and shrive
For one short hour is your time to live.

Upon yon river three tenders float
The Priest’s on one, if he isn’t shot
We hold this house for our Lord and King
And amen, I say, may all traitors swing.

At Geneva Barracks that young man died
And at Passage they have his body laid
Good people who live in peace and joy
Breathe a prayer, shed a tear for the Croppy Boy.

Colleges vs. Conservatories

When it comes to higher education, prospective music and theater arts majors have three choices. They can attend a conservatory, try a university or small, private liberal arts college with a strong performing arts department – or opt for that happy medium, universities with conservatories. There are so many decisions and schedules to ponder when applying to college as a music or theater major, but this one’s crucial.

Here are the differences:

  • Some large universities, including UCLA and the University of Michigan, boast strong music departments and all the benefits and lifestyle choices a large university offers – football games, Greek life, dorms and a wide variety of academic courses. But music majors who dreamed of a math-free existence may be in for a rude surprise. Double check the general ed (or GE) requirements before holding that no-calculus celebration.
  • By contrast, small college-level conservatories such as the Manhattan School of Music, Juilliard and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music focus exclusively on the arts. Everyone is a music or theater arts major, and competition, even after admission, tends to run high. In addition to music, theory and music history courses, students take humanities and writing classes. Some conservatories offer foreign languageand/or music business courses, but you won’t find Anthro 101 here or sports (although some conservatories have arrangements with nearby universities – Manhattan School of Music students, for example, can take English at Barnard College across the street, and they can use the athletic facilities at Columbia). You won’t get the prototypical “college experience” here – no frats, no “Big Game.” And watch out for housing issues. Manhattan and Juilliard have dormitories, but Mannes’ housing is spread out over New York City, and the SF Conservatory has no dorms at all. Check out this list of the top 10 conservatories in the U.S.
  • And finally, there is the conservatory within a major university option. The Thornton Schoolat USC and the University of the Pacific, for example, have conservatories on campus, which give students both the intensity of the conservatory experience and that sense of “college life.” For some, it becomes a balancing act. Some students have trouble balancing their GE requirements with the considerable conservatory commitment, but it depends on the school and the individual. Check out this list of top music programs in the west – including Thornton and Pacific – and the east to get you started.

Visiting the schools and taking a look around are essential steps in making a decision. But start by doing some preliminary research online or at one of the performing arts college fairs hosted by the National Association of College Admissions Counselors at venues across the country. Check out the College Fair 101 survival tips before you go. (P.S. If you need help deciphering the bachelor of music, bachelor of arts in music, and bachelor of science in music conundrum, you’ll find the explanation here.)

Music Schools

Looking for an excellent music school for your child? Do you want to further your music education? Here are 8 of the most reputable music schools in the United States.

1.  Berklee College of Music

Boston’s Berklee College of Music was founded by Lawrence Berk in 1945. It’s one of the leading music schools in the United States with a student body said to be over 3,000. Berklee offers interesting majors including Contemporary Writing and Production, Music Business/Management, Music Therapy and Songwriting.

2.  Curtis Institute of Music

Founded in 1924, the Curtis Institute of Music based in Philadelphia is one of the leading music conservatories that offers merit-based full-tuition scholarships. The number of students is kept very small compared to other music schools in the United States. Teachers guide their students under the philosophy that they “learn most by doing,” that’s why students are given ample opportunities to showcase what they’ve learned.

3.  Eastman School of Music

In September 1921, the Eastman School of Music welcomed 104 students to its campus. Today, this music school has an enrollment of around 500 undergraduates and 400 graduate students. Each year, the school reportedly receives more than 2,000 applications.

4.  Jacobs School of Music

Jacobs School of Music is one of the finest music schools in the United States with a student population said to be around 1,600. One of its notable facilities is the William & Gayle Cook Music Library which has over 600,000 items. The school was formerly known as Indiana University School of Music but was later renamed in 2005 as Indiana University Jacobs School of Music after David H. Jacobs and Barbara B. Jacobs.

5.  Juilliard School

The Juilliard School is probably one of the most recognizable school of performing arts in the United States. It started in 1905 as the the Institute of Musical Art but its name was changed in 1946 to Julliard School of Music. Now it is known as Julliard School, a school where students can study music, dance and drama.

6.  Manhattan School of Music

Established by Janet D. Schenck in 1917 (-1918), the Manhattan School of Music offers a Bachelor, Masters and Doctor of Musical Arts degree as well as other special programs that will whet the creative and intellectual appetite of music students. This music school also conducts distance learning programs such as the Masters at Manhattan Online.

7.  New England Conservatory

The New England Conservatory of Music was founded in 1867 by Eben Tourjée; it is one of the oldest and prestigious independent music schools in the United States. NEC’s alumni and faculty, which includes opera conductor Sarah Caldwell and composer George Russell, are some of the well-respected individuals in their field.

8.  Peabody Institute

The Peabody Institute was founded by George Peabody in 1857; it became affiliated with the Johns Hopkins University in 1977. The Institute has a Preparatory; a community school for the performing arts that is open for children and adults alike, and a Conservatory which offers various degree programs.

Before You Apply to Music School

Music industry related degrees are on the rise at colleges and universities, but finding a good one remains challenging. Many music degrees are little more than glorified business school degrees with the word “music” in the title. Like all creative industries, the music world doesn’t function in exactly the same way as a Fortune 500 company, so these kinds of degrees do little to prepare you for what it will actually be like to work in music.

Before you apply to a music school, ask yourself these questions, so you can be sure to find a music degree that will serve you well in the future.


What Do You Want to Do?


Just like you wouldn’t go to medical school to become a lawyer, you shouldn’t go to a music school that doesn’t offer some kind of course work that relates to the part of the music industry in which you hope to work. Keep your career goals in mind when checking out music degree programs to make sure the school is going to give you the tools you need. Not sure what you want to do? These articles can help:

  • Manager
  • Agent
  • Promoter
  • Q&A with Sound Engineer Simon Kasprowicz
  • Q&A with Ed Pybus of SL Records
  • Q&A with Francis Macdonald of Shoeshine Records


What are the Core Courses in the Degree Program?


The answer to this question will help you determine whether or not the school is offering a music industry degree in name only, or if you will be learning things that are music business specific. Look for a degree in which the bulk of the courses are music related – in other words, look for courses on legal issues in the music industry rather than a general course about business legal issues.

While picking up some basic business fundamentals may be useful, you want to get into the nitty gritty of what makes the music world tick.


Who is Teaching the Course?


The best people to teach you about the music industry are the people who have been a part of it. Check out the profiles of the faculty members and find out their involvement in the music industry. If most of your potential professors seem to have business experience but no actual MUSIC business experience, you’re not going to get the knowledge you need.

Besides having the “been there, done that” experience to teach you about the music industry, professors who have been in the business will be in a position to help you locate a job after graduation.


Are There Internship Opportunities?


Even with a music related degree, when you start hunting for a job, almost every music business is going to want to see that you have some experience under your belt before hiring you. Getting good internships is maybe the best selling point for getting a music related degree, so a school that can’t deliver some work experience is not worth your time. Pay especially close attention to this if the school you are considering is not located in a city with a music industry presence. Find out what they do to make sure their students get hands-on work.


Do They Offer Job Placement Assistance?


A music industry related degree is no guarantee that you’ll be a shoe-in for a job in music when you graduate. Many jobs in the music industry still get filled by word of mouth, and the best way to get a job in music is to know someone who knows someone. In that case, you want to make sure the school you are choosing knows a lot of someones who will be interested in employing graduates of the program. Check and see if the school has a good record of placing students in music related employment after graduation.


What are the Alumni Doing Now?


A good way to judge a music industry degree program is to find out how things turned out for previous graduates. Are they working in music? Are there are any big name success stories? Are the alumni active in helping graduating students find their first job? If there are no tales of glory to tell, the schools may play their cards a little close to their chest on this one, so do your homework. If the school has an alumni association, go through them to track down some past grads and get the dirt on how their education has helped them in their careers.


Which School is Right for You?


Do you need some help coming up with a short list of schools to consider for your music industry degree? Check out these music school profile and see if any might be the right fit for you:

  • Berklee College of Music
  • Columbia College Chicago
  • NYU Steinhardt Department of Music
  • Ferris State University Music Management Degree
  • University of Hertforshire Music Management Degree


Why Does Flea Keep Bees ?

The bassist Flea, of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, has come out recently as a beekeeper, and he’s not alone among musicians and other celebrities revealing a penchant for beekeeping. Tori Amos has an album out called “The Beekeeper,” so even if she doesn’t actually keep bees, she’s almost certainly thinking about it. Morgan Freeman (who started out in musical theater and owns a blues club, and is thus an honorary musician) has been beekeeping for several years.

Livingston Taylor was a beekeeper for a long time, though after a rough New England winter last year, he’s taking a bit of time off. And even I, your humble music education expert, keep bees.

So, what is it with musicians and other creatives keeping bees?

I can only speculate about Flea’s specific motivations, but here are some general reasons why many of us keep bees, and why you might too.

  1. Artists care about the world. First, many of us care a lot about the natural beauty of the world and take inspiration from it. And that doesn’t just mean looking out the window at the sunshine and being cheery. It means looking at the interactions of life, beyond humanity, and feeling connected to something greater than ourselves as a result. We are inspired by the natural world, and then also profoundly disturbed by its destruction. Bees play an essential role in how life on Earth works. So, in being close to them and supporting them, we make the world better, and see first hand how our efforts make a difference. In keeping bees, we are helping an underdog and saving the planet.
  2. Beekeeping is very sensual. From the smell of the wax and smoke to the sounds of the buzzing to the taste of honey, the bright colors of pollen, the geometric shapes of the comb, the occasional sting, keeping bees is stimulating to all the senses. And the sound the bees make actually varies depending on how they are doing. For example, if they are without a queen, their collective buzzing is more intense. So, a musician’s ear is helpful, to a beekeeper.
  3. Beekeeping involves a lot of gear. Musicians do tend to like gear: instruments, audio equipment, and so on. Beekeeping is the same way. You have the woodenware, the extractor, hot knives, the smoker, various hive tools, and such. So many gadgets to help us transcend.
  4. It is scientific and complex. Like music. There is theory and art to keeping bees, and many factors affect the ultimate goals: whether they survive the winter, and whether they produce enough honey to share with you, their landlord. There is always something to learn, and it is endlessly fascinating.
  5. It requires creativity and is fraught with danger and adventure. You put together the hives and stands. You might invent various mechanisms. And you might do daring procedures, like load a hive into your car in the dead of night and take them for a ride to a distant bee yard. And if you mess up, well, you could have hundreds of thousands of creatures trying with all their might to take you out. So, it is creative, in the way that creating music is creative, and it gives us life experiences that can inspire our art.
  6. The smoker. When you are working your hives, you blow a bit of smoke at the bees to chill them out. They get the munchies for honey, become mellow and perhaps philosophical, and certainly less inclined towards violence. Many music lovers will understand and appreciate all this. But beyond the effects of the smoke, there is a joy in the process and paraphernalia of the smoking process. Whether this is an additional dimension to other smoking we do, or a substitute to the smoking we did in the past, well, smoke and its trappings are a delight. Control of fire was one of mankind’s greatest achievements in history, and having our own private fire and smoke is a singular joy, combining order and chaos, creating warmth, some sparks, and enticing primal smells. The smoker is a big attraction to beekeeping.
  7. Honey. It’s hard to find a more delicious natural thing in the world than pure honey, and to share it is to spread delight and liquid sunshine. It is a bit like sharing music, on a good day; fresh honey is so delicious, it expands people’s worldviews. If you’ve never had pure, unprocessed honey from a local beekeeper, go get some, right now. However much it costs, it’s not expensive enough, given how much work is required to get the good stuff.
  8. Bees are good company. They buzz around, and walk, and fly. They may perch on your shoulder or your hat. Bees are fuzzy, and drones have big eyes. They communicate with dances and pheromones. They are creative and collaborative, and they’ve always got a project going on, building new comb, caring for baby bees, mummifying a mouse, sealing a crack. They are always managing their way out of a crisis, always scheming about short-term delights and long-term survival. They are always up to something, those bees. Much like any artist.
  9. Beekeeping is solitary and meditative. It’s just you and the bees, outside on a sunny day, figuring out how to survive in this crazy world. The experience of being surrounded by thousands of stinging insects, their hum and their smells, is unlike any other. It requires complete focus, and thus serves a rare relief from pretty much all other activities. So, while it is completely unlike the process of performing music, it is also parallel in many ways, satisfying many of the same penchants.
  10. Everyone thinks you are crazy for it. And many of us are quite comfortable being perceived like that.Beekeeping is thus a metaphor and a parallel universe. It serves as a diversion, an obsession, an inspiration, and a mechanism for sharing. And it makes the world a better place. Very much like music itself.

Nail Care for Guitarists

For any classical guitarist, finger style guitarist, or other string musician who uses similar techniques, nails are a crucial part of achieving tone, color, and volume. If you use nails as an integral part of your playing, you’ll mostly likely need to shape, polish, and care for your nails. Inevitably, you’ll discover an endless array of products, files, sandpaper, polishing cloths, nail hardeners, and strengtheners available to you, and just as many endorsees of said products.

One can spend countless hours reading forums about shaping nails, length of nails, etc.

This article is meant as a simple, straightforward starting point, discussing the basic tools you’ll need when starting to play finger style using your nails. Tone production is a lifetime pursuit, and as youdevelop and hone your sound, your ideas of nail shape and care will evolve.

My perspective is as a classical guitarist. While the article may lean in that direction, steel string players and even electric players who wish to incorporate nails into their sound can benefit from this info.

Nail Types

There are as many nail types as there are people who have nails. Some guitarists are lucky enough to have hard, consistently shaped nails, and others are not. Most of us have some sort of issue or weak point: thin nails, wavy shaped nails, dry/cracked/ pealing nails, slow growing nails, fast growing nails, you name it. All of these problems can be addressed with a little patience.

Basic Tools

There are two basic tools you need for shaping your nails.

  1. A good, high quality file with a relatively fine face
  2. Fine grain sandpaper

You’ll probably experiment with various types of files and paper over the course of your playing career, but these are very solid recommendations for starting out. I


I have used and experimented with many types of files over the years and finally settled on one that works great for me: the glass file. There are several advantages to glass files. They are very rigid, so when you file in a straight line and apply pressure, the file won’t give and compromise your straight line. I absolutely stay clear of cardboard emory boards for this reason. They not only wear out quickly, but they are soft and lose their shape when pressure is applied during filing. Steel files with the plastic handles (commonly found in drug stores) also give. At the point where the handle meets the file, the file will bend a little, when applying pressure. Glass files are one piece of solid glass and don’t bend or give. They cut evenly, straight, and precisely. The downside is that if you drop them, they will shatter, so get a few at a time. An added benefit to these is that you’ll never have a problem with the TSA when flying. They don’t show up as metal on the X-ray machine!


Similarly to files, I have been through many different types of sandpaper. I even used a graded system at one point, involving something like ten different levels of polishing from course to super fine. What a pain that was! And in the end, the result wasn’t really any better than what I got with a single piece of good fine grain paper. I eventually reverted back to what I started with which is perfectly adequate and does a great job. Let me be specific. I use 3M Company 500 grain paper. I love this paper because it has a very fine, soft powdery grain. Some of the fine grain papers are very tight and stiff. They don’t cover as much area and don’t polish as nicely on the edge of the nail. The 3M paper really allows you to polish at all angles comfortably and effectively.

Later on, you can decide how far you want to go with products, but personally, I don’t think you need much more than these two items to get great tone.

Common Questions:

My nails are very thin. Should I put polish on them?

Some of us need to supplement weak or thin nails. I for one do as I have pretty thin and flexible nails. In cold, dry climates nail maintenance can be a challenge. If you enjoy out door activities, sports, or working with your hands, you may need to take additional measures to protect your nails. There are many brands of nail supplements, hardeners, and strengtheners. I prefer to go the route of a nail protein product that not only provides a bit of extra hardness, but also nourishes and helps to strengthen the nail. Some products don’t allow the nail to breathe and while they provide hardness, they end up weakening the natural nail by suffocating it in a thick coat of polish. Again, I gain no special benefit from this but I like Nailtiques formula 2. Most of my students have been satisfied with this. There have been a couple who did not care for it and switched to other brands, and some that couldn’t get past the idea of putting nail polish on and decided to deal with the weak nails instead. If you play steel string, flamenco, or just have a really heavy right hand technique you may have to apply many layers or heavy polish and put some serious thought into supplementing your nails.

What shape should I file my nails?

I’m purposely not going to address nail shape in this article because it’s too extensive a topic. There are plenty of forums, books, and articles on nail shape. I will only say that shape is a very personal thing and is dependent on your technique, style, and your desired effect. You’ll need to experiment with shapes, and yes, you will make mistakes. Don’t worry nails grow back and you can start fresh! Tone takes time to develop. Knowing your hands and your touch takes time. Experience is everything so be prepared to take the journey. I might suggest checking out a few articles specifically about shaping nails or a technique book like “Pumping Nylon” by Scott Tennant, which has a chapter on nail shape.

How often should I file my nails?

This depends on several things: how much you practice, what kind of strings you use (nylon or steel), how fast your nails grow, how hard you pluck the string. In short, if you play every day, you’ll probably want to have a quick look before picking up the guitar, maybe hone a corner or take out a nick, maybe hit the edge with the sand paper just to smooth it out. Perhaps twice a week or even once a week you’ll probably want to remove the polish completely (USE ONLY NON-ACETONE REMOVER), apply a new coat, work the nail shape a little and smooth it out. Obviously, you can’t do this so often that you whittle your nails down to a nub! Speaking of that, you’ll find if you practice heavily, you will definitely experience greater nail wear. In some cases, you’ll really tear up your nails, especially if you‘re a steel string player. You will have to compromise in this case. Your choices are: Apply layers and layers of polish, lay off working your nails in order to let them grow out, hence you may have to deal with your sound being rough for a few days.

Should I use fake nails?

This topic is a can of worms. Personally I don’t advocate for fake nails. Avoid them if you can. There are players who use them exclusively and never use their real nails. There are cases where the natural nail is so problematic that fake nails are the only viable option.

There have been about half a dozen cases over my thirty-five years as a guitarist where I have put on a single fake nail or had one constructed at a salon. These were emergency situations where a nail completely broke just prior to an important performance or recording session.

The downside to affixing a fake nail is that the glue and nail compound and/or fake nail will severely weaken the natural nail. If you have to put on a fake nail for some reason, remove it as soon as you don’t need it any more. What will happen if you leave it on is that when the natural nail grows out, it will be significantly weaker than before and most likely break again, hence starting a vicious cycle.

Basic Filing

When preparing to file your nails, wash your hands and dry them well. Clean underneath your nails as well. If you are going to use polish, prepare the nail surface a bit by clearing it of any over extended cuticles, dry skin or debris. Sometimes, I like to give the whole nail a light polishing with the sandpaper, then wipe it clean. After that apply a coat of polish/hardener to the nail bed. You’re going to file your nails AFTER you apply the polish, NOT before. Polish first, file, then sandpaper. Allow the polish to dry completely, then begin to file to your desired nail shape. If you don’t use polish go straight to filing after washing and cleaning. Remember that in addition to shaping the nail, you want to create an edge on the nail. You’ll need to angle your file and work that edge a little. You don’t want a blunt end. When you finish filing, proceed to the sandpaper. I like to press the paper against the thumb of my polishing hand and use it to support the paper and apply pressure to the nail I’m polishing. Be sure to polish from all angles; top edge, under the edge, on the sides. The nail should feel very smooth and pass through the string easily. Test the nail by striking a string or two. If the sound is edgy or the nail hangs up on the string analyze the problem, and return to the file again, then sandpaper again. It’s a bit of a process at first.

Lifestyle Choices and Nail Care

When you decide that you are going to make a serious effort to use and maintain your nails for playing, you’ll need to adopt a new awareness in every day life. Certain activities don’t go well with keeping nails intact. Sport like basketball, football, rock climbing, martial arts, and a host of other activities don’t do well for nails. If you are a hobbyist, enjoy woodworking, building, or anything that involves paint removers, solvents, or strong chemicals, I recommend using surgical gloves so you don’t weaken your natural nail. When you scrub dishes, wear rubber gloves. If you enjoy breaking concrete slaps with your hands or noodling for catfish, there’s not much I can suggest, as you’ll have no nails (or fingers!) for plucking.

If you are a finger style player and use your nails, while you can have proficient technique, superior musicianship, and an amazing instrument, all these things will suffer if your tone, projection, and consistency of sound are not at their best. Nails therefore should be considered part of your instrument and given their due. Experiment, work on your sound, develop your nail shape, and keep your nails in good condition. The payoff is well worth the effort!


How to Be a Punk

If you’re a fierce individualist who has a bone to pick with the profit-driven world, you might be a punk. Here’s a quick primer on punk fashion, lifestyle and music.

Have the state of mind. Punk means resisting tyranny in any form and making your own decisions and own ways without what others say. It’s associated with rebellion and anti-establishment.

  • Read up on classic punk topics like resisting tyranny, DIY, rebellion, anti-authoritarianism and anarchy. The more you know, the more easily you’ll be able to express yourself.
  • Find interesting ways to express what you know and why you think it’s important. There is a difference between complaining about authority figures and being against the structure that allows for authority in the first place.
  • Talk to like-minded people and different-minded people. You need to talk to both to really get comfortable with your own perspective. Also, if you’re only talking to like-minded people, how will you deliver your radical message to those that need it most?

Find your scene. Get to know other people who have the same beliefs. This way you’ll feel comfortable exploring your punk side without judgement or conflict from squares.

  • Go to some punk concerts. Some venues put up posters – check your local telephone poles.
  • Figure out where punks in your area meet, be it a specific corner or landmark. Punks usually don’t meet at establishments unless it’s for the sake of music – they try to use public space as much as possible.
  • If all else fails, ask another punk on the street when the next gig is.
  • Don’t be afraid to admit that you’re new to all of this. Everyone was new once, and they will probably understand. If you are friendly, people will like you whether or not you know every punk band on earth and have all the typical clothes.
  • Join a punk online community. Here, you can meet other punks world wide, trade MP3s, find shows or discover new bands.

Avoid consumerism. Punks are very resourceful. Find new ways to enjoy yourself without giving your money to big corporations.

  • Enjoy the outdoors, be it hiking a mountain or enjoying the park with your friends.
  • Learn to cook. Not only is it an enjoyable way to spend your time but it also saves money – more for you, less for the establishment.
  • Find free events through friends, the websites of venues you like or using local event forums.
  • Get crafty. For each item you craft, you haven’t supported a store that sells a similar manufactured version.
  • Visit the mall or a big-box store only when necessity demands it. Even things like furniture can be found for free with sites like and If you must buy something, try to find it used first. It’ll be cheaper for you and a little more anti-establishment.

Express your attitude through your clothing. Punk clothing is iconic because it captures a a unique sense of rebellion and individualism. Let that anti-establishment attitude show in your outfits.

  • Punks are known for being unique – don’t let yourself worry that you don’t look like punk. Wear what you want, make sure its relatively alternative, and you’ll fit in with any punk crowd.
  • Make your own clothes if possible. Invest in a sewing machine. This way you can create truly unique looks without supporting the establishment.
  • DIY (do it yourself). A lot of punk clothing has a DIY look to it. For a punk, it’s always better to remake something old than support consumerism and buy something new.

tart out with some punk staples. If you’re at a loss on how to build a punk wardrobe, here are some items to consider:

  • Skinny jeans or cargo jeans
  • Black leather jackets or denim vests
  • Studded or spiked clothing and bracelets
  • Mostly black clothes
  • Tartan, camouflage, animal print and blood stains.
  • Ripped clothing held together with safety pins
  • Band T-shirts
  • Punk band patches
  • Black shirts
  • Spiky hair, Mohawks or dyed hair
  • Leather (or pleather) jackets with band patches, safety pins, or painted-on details such as an anarchy symbol.
  • Bondage pants, or pants with added embellishments such as zippers going up the back of the legs, chains, metal rings, or other add-ons.
  • Bullet belts
  • Fishnets
  • Classic accessories can include arm warmers, studded belts, bullet belts, and wristbands with pyramid studs, stars or spikes.