Musicians and Writers: Record Your Work!!

writing down your music

Why you should always record your music on paper. That’s a very definitive statement to start off an article. But it is very important for new instrument players to get in the habit of doing. It doesn’t matter whether you played the trombone or the guitar, you should always be recording everything you write. This goes for music score writers as well.

When people first start playing a musical instrument, it is very exciting and new and they just want to keep on playing and playing. Well that’s fine. Once you get better and develop a fuller range of play, you want to start documenting everything you do. Learning basic sheet reading for music is pretty simple. You can look online or even go to your favorite bookstore and teach yourself the skill of reading and writing music. In the beginning, you just need the basics. What the notes are, how to mark them on a sheet, and how to delineate the different time structures. It is very important that you take a day or two to learn this, because it could save you a lot of time and stress in the future. Jon Kois, who used to created heavy metal scores before teaching basic drum lessons, would record every note he played, so that no creative piece would be forgotten. He could always go back and hear what he had written.

Once you get beyond the stage of playing other people’s music while you learn, you will start to explore making your own sounds. Whether this is by conscious play, or just goofing around, you will be playing lots of different notes and combinations that you’ve never played before. This is where you will see the importance of what I’m telling you. You will stumble upon a series of notes that you find striking, and you will want to write them down so as not to forget. So many times I’ve talked to musicians who found an amazing sound, but then days or weeks later, they were unable to remember the exact combination they used.

That led them to a lot of frustration, and having to backtrack in their minds to try to remember how they did it. So when you come upon a new sound or group of notes that you think could end up being a song one day, it is very, very important that you document this carefully and make notes at the top of the page. That way when you go to revisit it later, you will know exactly what you played, and how you played it. Many famous musicians have boxes and boxes of recorded music that they can refer back to at later date when they are ready to write a new song.

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Movie and Music Downloads

downloaded music

Is downloading music really so bad? Yes it does drive record sales down and cause concert prices to rise. On top of that, downloaded movies cause film companies to lose millions. When people are downloading music and movies off the internet for free, or for a very low price, the artist has to make up that revenue in some other fashion. So what is happening is, concert ticket prices are going through the roof. Where you used to be able to go to a concert for $20, now it can cost you $100 plus. Many fans are screaming that this is outrageous, but if they added up all the savings from the music they are downloading, they are actually making a profit. Even if they bought a t-shirt at the show they would still come out ahead. Now while this is a prime concern for record companies and film producers, it can have some advantages. Let’s try to look at this in a more positive way. While in the past if you wanted to check out a new band, you had to go to your local record store; walk through the mall; buy your CD or record then drive all the way home. This took up a lot of time, gas, and energy. Now if it was a music group that you really like; then that’s no problem.


But if it was someone you just heard about, you may not be so quick to make that trip to buy their music. Even as time went on, and online sales increased people were still cautious about spending money on an entire CD, just to hear a new band. Enter the world of downloading. First we’re going to look at the paid services. Itunes and Spotify are two of the top sites to get all your favorite music. While these do cost money, it is relatively cheap to get a song or two and get a feel for the band. Itunes sells songs for $1 a piece which is a real bargain considering you never have to leave your living room. It allows fans of the music to make an easy choice on whether or not to investigate a new sound. This creates more new music sales then traditional CD or record buying would. For the low price people are willing to take a chance on a new group.

small bands

This also gives the new music group more exposure that they normally would not have gotten. In the past, unless there was a big push from the record company, small bands at a show would have to sell their CDs in person which led to a trickling of sales. Online downloading gives smaller bands a bigger exposure, and allows music fans to share their opinion on new songs with the World At Large. Now let’s talk about the ugly world of illegal downloading. File sharing has been around for quite a while and has done some damage to the record and movie business. People can go to file sharing sites and get all the music that they want. While the record companies don’t make anything off of this, once again, the band’s get a lot more exposure than they normally would have gotten. Especially if the music is free, there is no risk to the consumer to investigate a new music group. Not many people look at this as stealing, but it is. But on the other hand, many new famous bands would not be where they are today without the widespread trends of music sharing online.

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Music Soothes the Soul

Music to soothe the soul. We generally listen to music a different times. On our way to work, on our way home, and during festive occasions like going to the movies. Of course there are other times as well, but these are the ones I find myself in the majority of the time. It can help me set my tone for the day depending on what kind of mood I am in. It is almost subconscious. If I really kept track of how I was feeling and what I was listening to, I would probably find that they are pretty synonymous. Dark and gloomy days find myself listening to music that is also dark. On a bright and sunny day, I might find myself listening to something more upbeat. The same goes for the movies I watch. Since darker films have gloomier soundtracks, if I am in that mood that is the direction I go.

natural born killers gloomy

If I actually took the time to chart these findings, they would probably prove pretty interesting. But what about the times we’re not really thinking about it. The company I work for has piped-in music through the ceiling that is surprisingly modern. Even if I am having a bad day when one of the more cheerful songs comes on, I can find myself tapping along, and feeling a little bit better. We even have one game we play at the workplace where we insert lyrics from the song that is playing into our conversations to see if anyone notices. It has been known to bring a smile or two what a stressful day. I’ve also found myself taking a break and listen to something that inspires me to continue through the day, or helps me to relate to something that is going on. It’s amazing how powerful this type of tool is in shaping our experiences.

music in the workplace

We feel like the artist can relate to how we are feeling and shares in our joy and sorrow. I believe when they write for film, they use the same idea. It is kind of a connective piece that comes right through our phone or music player or movie screen. We can share movies with our favorite musicians in a way. And that brings us to the most epic of all experiences, which is seeing our favorite artist live. There’s nothing like seeing them in person and feeling the music as it’s coming out of their mouths. As time goes on, I don’t care how expensive concerts get, it is an experience I will not trade for the world.

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Music is a Fundamental Part of the Movie Experience

Music is a Fundamental Part of the Movie Experience

Music is a fundamental part of the movie experience since way back in the beginning, even during the silent film era.  It fills the silence and helps you to understand and feel a character’s emotions on the big screen.  Music helps you to embrace the drama of the film and movies would be incredibly dull without it.  When films were first brought to the screen and there was no dialogue film goers relied on an organist to help grasp the mood of the scene.

Film and Music

Music is used to convey emotion and introduce a scene, it doesn’t matter if the scene is triumphant, tragic or funny.  The music gives the theater goers a hint that the scene is building.  Music focuses on tension and the music will move between fast and complex to slow and smooth.  You can have a scene showing a panoramic vista and with music you can make it full of hope or indicate that danger is approaching.

Almost every film you see in a theater does this and most of the time they do it without you ever really noticing.  There are some films that are incredibly effective with their choice of accompanying music.  The “Harry Potter” franchise is one such example.  There are hints in the music as to what the upcoming scene will be about, just listen to the music from the “Goblet of Fire” when Harry faces a challenge.

Music and Misdirection

Music is also often used  to misdirect the viewer, in the thriller or horror it is used often.  Imagine two teens making out in a car and then you start to hear the suspenseful music, you’re expecting the killer to show up and instead it is the class clown out to just scare them.  The music is suspenseful setting the tone like there will be an imminent attack but something else entirely happens.  Here is a closer look at how music is used in film.

Not every movie needs a soundtrack to be a successful film but a really well done film score can make the whole experience extraordinary.  Can you imagine the movie Jaws without that iconic soundtrack…neither can we.  That score took that film to a whole other level of scary.  Other soundtracks have proven to be better than the films themselves.  Some of the best movie soundtracks manage to invoke happiness, fear, suspense, drama and a whole range of emotions without you even realizing it.  You experience everything the director of the film wants you to all because of music.

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Incredible Soundtracks from Bad Movies

Incredible Soundtracks from Bad Movies

If movies were judged on their soundtracks alone then Purple Rain or Singles might beat out critically acclaimed films like Citizen Kane on all time lists of the best movies.  No matter how good a soundtrack is, and let’s face it Purple Rain was epic, it still can’t make up for some incredibly bad acting.  Prince’s masterpiece isn’t the only piece of film with a fantastic soundtrack.  Let’s have a look at some incredible soundtracks from bad movies.

  1. Saturday Night Fever

So disco may not be your favorite style of music but this soundtrack put together by the Bee Gees capture the 70’s like nothing else…not even the leisure suit.  With hits like “Stayin Alive” and “Disco Inferno” personify the decade with its dance floor moves as an average guy tries to make it in the big city.  As a movie, the acting and direction were terrible but as a soundtrack it spend more than 20 years holding the title of best-selling soundtrack of all time.

  1. Reality Bites

If were ever an angst ridden member of Generation X in the 90’s then you probably owned a copy of the soundtrack to Reality Bites.  The soundtrack mixes the old with the new featuring tracks from Lisa Loeb, Crowded House and The Knack.

  1. City of Angels

This was hands down one of the cheesiest movies of the 90’s and Nicholas Cage’s acting skills are nothing to write home about, the soundtrack is something else.  Filled with hits like “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls, “Uninvited” by Alannis Morrisette and the gut wrenching “Angel” by Sarah McLachlan, makes the movie almost worth watching…or you could just grab the soundtrack.

  1. I am Sam

This movie wasn’t as bad as the others on the list and Sean Penn and Dakota Fanning are both critically acclaimed thespians, but the soundtrack is SO MUCH better than the film itself.  Penn couldn’t secure the rights to the original Beatles songs for the soundtrack so instead there are some pretty impressive covers, including Rufus Wainwright’s “Across the Universe” and Eddie Vedder’s “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away”.

  1. The Bodyguard

You simply can’t have a list like this one without mentioning “The Bodyguard”.  The Dolly Parton cover made famous by Whitney Houston, “I Will Always Love You” is played at on talent shows and at weddings everywhere.  This was the soundtrack that finally supplanted “Staying Alive” as the best-selling soundtrack of all time, while the movie was less than impressive.

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