by: Kevin Sinclair

The quality of your practice is much more important than the quantity. The old saying “practice makes perfect” is only true if the practice itself is perfect. Here are 7 tips to help make your practice more effective and efficient.

Practice motions slowly

The muscular memory of our bodies allows us to physically carry out patterns of motion with little or no conscious involvement. Examples of muscular memory include walking, riding a bicycle, typing, and of course playing a musical instrument.

In order to develop this memory, the muscles require training in the form of repeated conscious guidance from the mind. First the mind must learn the pattern. Then the mind must “teach” the pattern to the muscles.

The mind initially must control all the motions of the muscles. The more controlled and precise the motions, the more quickly the muscles will develop muscle memory.

Slow practice also allows the mind to teach “antagonistic muscles” to relax. Antagonistic muscles are those that move in opposite directions. By relaxing antagonistic muscles you can reduce tension and facilitate faster and easier performance and avoid potential injury.

Practice in small cells

A “practice cell” is simply a finite series of motions. Musical cells can correspond to anything from a few notes to an entire work. When practicing, it is important to practice small cells of just a few notes. Practicing small cells limits the amount of information the muscles have to learn at one time. It also facilitates the mind’s focus and concentration.

Link the end of one cell to the beginning of the next

To help the muscles develop a sense of continuum throughout the piece of music, the last motion in a cell should be the first motion of the following cell.

Practice each cell in bursts

Once the muscles have learned a pattern, they will be capable of executing it without conscious control. Initiate the pattern through a conscious command and allow the muscles to execute it in a burst.

Don’t practice mistakes

For every repetition required to learn a pattern of motion, it takes 7 times the number of repetitions to change the pattern. If in the course of your practice you make an error, stop. Review in your mind the pattern. And further reduce the speed of your motions.

Pause between repetitions

When dealing with repetitive activities, the mind is better able to focus when the repetitions are broken up by short pauses. After two or three repetitions, pause for about 30 seconds to regain focus.

Take frequent breaks and don’t “over-practice”

B.F. Skinner and other experts have found that the mind’s ability to learn drops significantly after prolonged intense concentration. Research shows that studying too long (i.e. more than four hours) can deplete chemicals in the brain necessary for learning. Therefore, it is best to take frequent breaks (a 5 minute break about every 20-25 minutes) and practice no more than 4 hours consecutively.

By applying these techniques, you can dramatically improve the quality of your practice. You’ll be able to use your time more efficiently and increase the effectiveness of your practice.

How to Promote Your CD

10 Agustus 2008

by: Rashi Singh

Congratulations! Your debut CD is now recorded, replicated, packaged, and ready for market. It’s an amazing feeling to see the fruit of your labor in front of you, nicely packaged as a CD that’s ready to be sold alongside the big wigs in the industry. One small problem: you don’t have the backing and capital that the big wigs do to promote your CD… and you just know your CD can be a huge success in the market.

Promoting a CD can seem like a daunting task at first, especially if you haven’t done anything like this before. Here are a few tips and ideas on how you can get started promoting, and selling your music CD.

1. First, you should plan a launch party. Tell all your friends and fans when the CD is going to launch, and generate some buzz. Let local papers and shops know as well, and have them help you spread the word.

2. Network – tell everyone you know about your new CD. Ransack that mental rolodex of yours, and hit everyone you know, and tell them to do the same. Believe it or not, this is probably your best resource!

3. Have a website before your CD launches, and use it to promote your CD. Set up a page on myspace and other similar sites that allow navigators to sample your new tracks.

4. Look into setting up an email list for your fans. Before the CD launches, send out an email letting everyone know. It’s cheap, it’s easy and it’s a fast way to get the word out about this and other upcoming events.

5. Write a press release and put it on your website. You can find lots of examples and instructions of how to do this online.

6. Contact the music reporter(s) at your local newspaper(s). Don’t leave out the smaller papers – sometimes they are the heart and soul of the local music scene.

6. Offer a free copy of your CD to local radio stations. Remember the school stations – they frequently tend to favor local artists. If they play it, it could pay off quite well for you.

7. Approach internet radio stations, and offer them the rights to play your CD for free. Every time they play a track, you receive free advertising.

8. Call DJ’s and DJ companies and offer a free copy. If they play your CD, that’s more free advertising.

9. Get a barcode for your CD. This can help encourage retailers to sell your CD.

10. Get your CD sold at online distributers, such as or

11. Sell merchandise with your name or the band’s name on it. This is not only a little extra revenue – it’s great advertising.

12. Find out if there is a music show on your local TV stations, and see if you can be featured.

13. Cross-promotional deals – Talk to another similar band, and work out a cross-promotional deal. ie. They promote your CD at their shows, and you promote their CD at your show. Or even better…

14. Work out cross-promotional deal with several bands. Each band contributes a track or two to a sampler CD. Then each band gives away the sampler CD as a “bonus” with every CD they sell of their own.

15. Naturally, you should promote your CD at every show you play

There are lots of things you can do to realize your dream faster. These are some simple ideas on how you can begin to promote your CD, and get the word out to your future fans. Good luck!

Music Software 101

10 Agustus 2008

by: Mansi Gupta

Which Music Software Programs Fit Your Needs?

Want to find out how to listen to all your favorite songs whenever you want? If so, you’ll want to learn more about music software and how you can install some programs onto your computer. Here are some descriptions of some basic music software programs you will want to learn more about:

CD Ripper

A CD Ripper program allows you to convert tracks from a compact disc to your mp3 player, or onto your computer. You can make your own mp3s from audio CDs, so that you make your own song selections. You can also convert batches of WAV decoded files at a time to mp3 files on the CD Ripper, and if you want to download this program onto your computer, you’ll need to have Microsoft Windows 95, 98, or 2000, and a CD-ROM drive. For most CD Ripper programs, you can try a free download first before purchasing the product.

Audio Editors

If you are into recording and creating your own music, an audio editor program may be a good investment. An audio editor program allows you to save your own studio sessions or songs to modify later. Most include a metronome (to keep music and vocals in rhythm) and an audio mixer. The mixer allows you to adjust different music track settings like tone, pitch or volume. On some programs you can even ‘beat match’ between tracks, thus allowing for a smoother transition between songs. One audio editing program you may want to try is Blaze Media Pro, a program which is also a CD burner and converter. And, if you’re recording a large file, most audio editors will be able to support your files with no problem at all. If you are using a multi-track editor, one thing to keep in mind is whether your sound card and memory capabilities are up to the task of handling large volumes of songs,.

Although most audio editor programs are commercial (and not freeware) and have a standard price tag, you can receive free trials for audio editor programs as well. Be aware of the memory and sound card requirements as designated by the company who produces the software. Depending on who makes the software, it may be available for Windows XP, Windows 98, ME, 2000 and even Mac OSX.

by: chris nelson

LONDON – Michael Jackson is set to make a rare public appearance at the World Music Awards in London next month, organizers recently announced.

Having sold more than 100 million albums, the forlorn king of pop will receive a Diamond Award at the industry ceremony.

WMA founder Melissa Corken said “We are thrilled to be bringing the World Music Awards to London, the music capital of the world,” quickly adding “the presence of Michael Jackson is very exciting for us.”

Jackson went into reclusion after his acquittal from child molestation charges in June of last year. He left the United States soon after and has spent time in Bahrain and Ireland.

The World Music Awards were held in Monaco for 15 years before moving to the United States in 2004 and 2005. This year’s event at London’s Earls Court Arena is to be hosted by Lindsay Lohan, with performances from Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, Katie Melua and Andrea Bocelli.

Previous recipients of the Diamond Award include Rod Stewart, Mariah Carey and Celine Dion.

The World Music Awards was founded in 1989 as an international awards show that annually honors recording artists based on their popularity, and worldwide sales figures, which are provided by the various organizations including record companies and the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI).

The awards show is conducted under the patronage of H.S.H. Prince Albert of Monaco, Monte Carlo. Until 2003 the show was conducted in Monte Carlo.

The 2004 show was held in Las Vegas (USA) on September 15. The 2005 show was held at the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles, California with simultaneous broadcasts to North and South America, Australia, Japan and South East Asia, all of mainland China, New Zealand, all of Africa and the Middle East, and all of Europe, reaching an estimated worldwide audience of one billion viewers, in over 160 countries.

John Martinotti is an executive producer and co-founder of the show.

Proceeds from the show go to the Monaco Aide and Presence Foundation, which assist underdeveloped areas mainly in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Brazil.

The American Broadcasting Company (ABC) televised the show in the US on September 13, 2005 with featured appearances by many American and Latino pp stars such as Destiny’s Child, Mariah Carey, Kelly Clarkson, Fantasia Barrino, Shakira, Ricky Martin, Carlos Santana, Rob Thomas, Michelle Branch, Stevie Wonder, Kid Rock, Eminem, 50 Cent, Jay-Z, and Snoop Dogg.

Last year’s show also featured Patti LaBelle, Kid Rock, and Stevie Wonder performing songs dedicated to honoring the victims of Hurricane Katrina, which ravaged the city of New Orleans, Louisiana.

Based on the WMA website, “The World’s best-selling recording-artists in the various categories are determined after a thorough research conducted by the organization on record certifications and record company sales figures”

The national member associations of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) is the organization that provides the World music organization with the names of their overall best-selling artists and groups.

Each year, the WMS awards the best selling artist from each major country.

Legend Awards are given to artists “in recognition of their global success and outstanding contribution to the music industry”. Past winners include Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Modern Talking, Ace of Base, Diana Ross, Julio Iglesias, Tina Turner, Rod Stewart, Lionel Richie, Ray Charles, Cher, Plácido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, Whitney Houston, Prince, Janet Jackson, Carlos Santana and Rock Bond Scorpions.

The Chopard Diamond World Music Award is a new award, given to artists who have sold over 100 million albums over the course of their careers. Past winners are Rod Stewart, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, and Bon Jovi.

Apart from the world’s best-selling artists in the various categories and the national best-selling artists, special millennium awards for the world’s best selling recording artist of all time were presented in 2000 to Michael Jackson and Mariah Carey in the male and female categories respectively.

To date, Mariah Carey has received 16 World Music Awards, the most WMAs for any recording artist, followed closely by Michael Jackson with 14 awards.

by: Ek Lucktong

Downbeating describes the technique whereby natural harmonics are used in tuning guitars. This is a very effective way to tune guitars that can be more accurate than just tuning by ear. It is also a great way of fine tuning once your have approximated tuning with standard techniques.

A prerequisite technique you must learn before you can use downbeating is hitting natural harmonics. Natural harmonics are produced by picking the string while lightly touching the string over the fret wire. You don’t need to push the string down against the fret wire. Natural harmonics sound like a ringing chimed tone. The easiest place to practice natural harmonics is the 12th fret, but you can produce a natural harmonic at nearly every fret. It is easier to hear them when your guitar is plugged into an amp and even easier when using the overdrive channel.

Once you have mastered hitting natural harmonics downbeating is quite simple. You can use this technique to tune every string except the B string (the 2nd string). The reason for this is because the interval between the G and B string is 4 half steps rather 5 half steps like all of the other strings.

Here’s how to do it. Start at the E and A string and work your way up. Simply hit the natural harmonic on the 5th fret on the lower string followed by the natural harmonic on the 7th fret of the higher string next to it. They should produce the exact same tone. For example, if you are tuning the E and A strings, hit the natural harmonic on the 5th fret of the E string followed by the natural harmonic on the 7th fret of the A string. You need to have both natural harmonic tones sounding together at the same time. If the strings are not in perfect tune together, what you will hear is the tone oscillate back and forth between the two strings. The faster the oscillation the further off tune the strings are. As you adjust the tuning peg you should hear the oscillation slow down until you only hear one non-oscillating tone. This is called downbeating. You may have to resound the harmonics a few times while you are adjusting the tuners. Once you hear only one non-oscillating tone the strings are in perfect tune with one another. Repeat the steps for all of the strings (except the B string) and you’ll find your guitar in perfect tune. This technique will work with any guitar acoustic or electric but is much easier to hear with an electric through the overdriven channel.

Try this proven technique, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy the sound of your guitar in perfect tune. Visit for the best value in new and used guitars, factory 2nds, and refurbished instruments at cheap guitar prices.

E. Lucktong

by: Silky Johnson

I don’t believe there is one end-all way to answer this question and it depends greatly on what aspect of each genre you are measuring.

Mortality rate, for example. Metal is leaps and bounds ahead of hip-hop when it comes to the extermination of its own fans. Not a single week goes by that I don’t hear about some metal club or concert venue where show-goers are trampling each other at the entrance, at the exit, in line for the pisser, blasting each other’s junk in the mosh pit, or burning the building down where the show takes place. The fires usually start after the emergency exits are so choked with dead metal-fan corpses that the women, children and Somali refugees are unable to escape. More buildings have been destroyed by fire as a result of metal concerts than for any other reason in the history of mankind. A lot of people don’t know that.

Rap fans, on the other hand, are the reason that hip-hop artists are about to be added to the endangered species list. Is there another genre of music out there whose fans are more responsible for the deaths of its artists? And just to clarify, I count any talentless hack who can’t get a record contract and blows some artist away in a drive-by as a fan. The one thing you can say about rap violence, though, is at least it is usually intentional and targeted at one individual, or in some cases, one individual and his crew. Sometimes a few bystanders are unlucky enough to stop a few caps with their large intestine, but usually that happens outdoors in a well ventilated area instead of choking off emergency exits with rank, smelly metal bodies.

Talent-wise I think it’s a push. Both have a few really good artists, and a whole lot of really, really, really, really shitty ones. I don’t think I’m exaggerating, but the ratio between good artists and bad is something like 1:48,562,878,214,951. And you know, I’m fine with people making bad music, since it gives them something to do where I don’t have to look at them. All I ask is that they don’t offend my ears with their aborted fetus made audible.

So what makes music good anyway? Drugs, of course. And who does more, rap or metal? Certainly rappers smoke weed by the bail, but I think the fact that they talk so much about it gives the edge to metal. Drugs are so much a part of the metal lifestyle and culture, they’re not even worth mentioning anymore. While marijuana may be a rapper’s best friend, speed, meth, coke, heroine, and basically anything else you can smoke, snort, inject, or take as a suppository are metal’s ambiguously gay uncle.

I think this is where you’re expecting me to give the final edge to one or the other. Well, I can’t really decide. So, I don’t think there is any better way to end this debate than with me getting a hand job. AAAAAAHHHHHHHH… There we go.

Want more?

by: James Kronefield

One of the most difficult parts of being in musical theater, especially for kids, is the auditioning process. What follows are 3 of the most important tips to give your child when it comes to auditioning for musical theatre or Broadway shows:

1) Find Out What’s Needed for the Audition

This might seem like common sense, but it’s very important to know specifically what the people who are conducting the audition are looking for. Keep in mind there are three aspects to musical theatre -dance, singing, and acting. Sometimes an audition calls for you to know 16 bars of a song and to bring their own music. Other times the audition calls for you to have memorized a 1 minute monologue. Often there is a dance call as part of the audition, and you need to be wearing proper dance clothes. Find out ahead of time what specifically will be required.

2) Select the Best Material that Fits Your Talents

Once you know what is required at the audition, you then you need to pick a song and/or a monologue that will suit your talents. It’s very important to pick a song and then practice the song in the key that the sheet music you have is written in. Sometimes people go to auditions and there music is in a different key than they’re used to singing in. This can be a disaster! Go online to buy and print the sheet music if you have to. Online sheet music often allows you to play the song on your computer and change the key to best suit your range. When picking a monologue, pick something that suits your natural personality and acting abilities, and that you can feel comfortable performing.

3) The Three Most Important Things About an Audition – Practice! Practice! Practice!

Once you know what is required for the audition, and once you select your material, you need to start practicing. This doesn’t mean learning the song in the car on the way to the audition! You need to start practicing as easily as possible so when you get to the audition you’ll be relaxed and able to perform at your best. Practice in front of your friends, family, neighbours, and anybody who will listen. Your family and friends will always tell you how great you are. Your friends will be honest! Listen to their suggestions, and just do the best you can!