This is something I briefly touched on in a previous newsletter – . . . over and over I get asked “will I write better songs if I’m a musician”?

What’s the answer?

Yes AND no.


Let me explain. For the sake of simplicity, here I’ll talk about the ‘music’ aspect of songwriting.

First up, I’ll tell you that I’m a musician, songwriter and a vocal coach. And I have worked with both songwriters who play instruments and songwriters who don’t. Which group are a better bunch to work with?

It goes like this. Those who play an instrument (to a certain degree) are more prone to understand timing, tempo and perhaps some syncopation. Sometimes, musicians will also understand the creation of melody a little more than non-musicians. They’ll understand the structure of harmony and some music theory that goes along with it.

Because of the various ‘pieces’ or ‘songs’ they have played with their instruments, these musical and rhythmic elements are more or less naturally embedded in their brain – in practice and in theory.

Of course, this is GOOD thing. It’s an advantage. Now yes – there are non-musicians who are gifted with these elements also, but I’m just talking in general terms here. For the most of it, more musicians will have these elements than non-musicians.

Now here’s the twist. It’s because of this very same reason that many musicians find it hard to write great songs. How? Well, because there are musicians that are pre-programmed into believing that perhaps a melody should flow a certain way, or maybe a chord sequence should not fall in that pattern, etc, BECAUSE they get caught up in the theory that indirectly tells them “this is not right”.

You see, songwriters who don’t know anything about music theory or playing an instrument will write freely. Meaning they will not think about whether something is ‘musically right’ or not. Of course, you cannot write a song of pure non-musicality and expect to get a welcoming reception. You’d be mad to.

But it’s nice when you don’t think too much about something ‘sitting right’ musically in the song. Why care? It’s a song. If the second verse has 10 bars and the first verse has 8 – so what? No big deal.

On the flip side, there are non-musical songwriters who just need that little push to learn some very basic chords on a piano or guitar. . . . just to give them that edge and sometimes to even super-charge their creativity. So. . . .

. . . . here’s my conclusion. If you play an instrument and you wish to be a songwriter, then don’t think too much about what’s musically correct. Let the chords and melody take you away. Don’t think about it too much. Yes, stick in the rules of music, but don’t get caught up in it.

If you are a non-musician and you write songs, then a great idea would be to learn some very basic chords on the keyboard. This is not completely mandatory, but it will definitely give your songwriting a boast. Just the basic chords will do. You’ll be amazed the kind of music you can make with learning the basic stuff.

And why did I say the keyboard and not the guitar? Well, I believe the keyboard to be fundamentally easier to learn than the guitar, as you can blatantly see the notes for the intervals you are playing face-front.

But please, don’t let me deter you from learning the guitar if that’s in you to do so. It’s a wonderful, natural songwriting accompanying instrument.

If and when you do decide to learn an instrument, I would not get too caught up in the theory, unless it’s your desire to really learn about it. . . .

. . . . . . and if you wish to do so, then try to draw a firm line between your musical ego and your songwriting craft. This is the key here. As much as they may fight against each other, they *can* work together, if you consciously try to find a balance.

Los Angeles might be the big budget capital of cinema, but that is not to say that the Hollywood haute and haughty permeate the city’s cultural mood on its many other levels. Los Angeles is a multilayered and multiethnic urban and suburban sprawl from the waves crashing beneath Santa Monica Pier to the snow capped mountains of San Gabriel. State of the art entertainment and arts facilities are entangled among the high rises of Downtown, the remaining bohemian hippie culture of Venice Beach and the multitude of 5 a.m. joggers, housekeepers, writers and musicians whoever call this City of Angels home.

Once you have booked your flight to Los Angeles, remember to reserve a rental car! Los Angeles is fairly easy to navigate but is a spread out conglomeration of many smaller cities and enclaves. Buses and taxis run regularly but your wallet and your schedule will be happy to have regular transportation in this auto-powered metropolis.

SoCal Contemporary: Beyond the Beach

Los Angeles has long been a bastion of cultural growth and exploration, even longer than it has had the beach-bum reputation. Downtown is once again creating the trendy and elegant buzz of L.A.’s arts and dining atmosphere, far from it’s strictly business and crhyme lapse of the 1980s. The new Walt Disney Concert Hall designed by Frank Gehry is now the home of the L.A. Philharmonic Orchestra and considered to be one of the most acoustically sophisticated concert halls on the planet. If you can’t get tickets to a show, visit for the stunning architecture against Downtown’s skyscrapers. The Music Center is just down the street where you can attend the Los Angeles Opera at the beautiful Dorothy Chandler Pavilion or perhaps catch Al Pacino in a one man play at the Mark Taper Forum.

J. Paul Getty made his mark on the other side of town with the stately Getty Museum presiding over West L.A. from its perch atop the Sepulveda Pass. The fine modern and European collection combined with the crisp marbled lines of the gallery rooms makes for a complete visual arts experience. Getty’s historic Villa, a collection of Etruscan and Roman antiquities, opened in 2006 and is just a beautiful drive up the coast to Malibu. Make sure to visit the Los Angeles County Museum of Art for its adjacent tar pits (yes, real tar pits!) where bones of mammoths and other prehistoric creatures have been excavated. For car lovers, the Peterson Automotive Museum is just across the street, boasting a rare and exotic collection of everything from mint condition muscle cars to the latest Lamborghini Diablo.

Get Out of Town When You Travel to Los Angeles

Los Angeles is not only a prhyme destination for all yr weather, but for regional access to all season activities. Ski and snow resorts like Big Bear are only hours away while fantastic surf locations are scattered up and down the local coast. In the heart of Los Angeles, the Santa Monica Mountain National Recreation Area is the world’s largest urban national park with miles of hiking and cycling trails, climbing areas and horse ranches. It is also home of the Griffith Park Observatory, a romantic mountaintop science center where you can notice the real stars of Los Angeles up close!

Whatever draws you to travel to Los Angeles, it will be the incredible eclectic charm of the many different neighborhoods and cultures that keeps you inspired over again, not to mention the serenity of a big city with a visible skyline. A stop at a Mexican taqueria or a day at the Farmers’ Market is essential to capturing the flavor of Los Angeles.

For more information, visit

A Memphis musician is a very unique musician. He dwells in the heart of the Blues, probably on Beale Street in Memphis. He taps out the Blues rhythms everywhere he goes, and spends hours performing for Memphis tourists, whether it be on the streets of Memphis or in the clubs. The life of a Memphis musician is one of tradition, culture, and longevity of the Blues. A Memphis musician holds a special place in the hearts of Blues fans, and the Memphis musician John Sleepy Estes is no exception.

Born in 1904, Sleepy John Estes rose to become a Memphis musician that would help pave the way for all other musicians. His father was a sharecropper who played guitar, which was what most people were who moved to Tennessee looking for a better life. When Sleepy John was 19, he began playing and singing in public when he was not working. He joined forces with two other aspiring musicians, and the rest is history. In 1929 he debuted as a recording artist in Memphis, recording for Victor Records. He would record until 1952, after which he was largely out of the public eye for almost twenty years.

The nickname Sleepy is said to have stemmed from either a blood pressure disorder or narcolepsy that he may have suffered from. Others claim that he earned the name by simply sleeping or ignoring things when things got bad or too much to handle. John Estes voice has been described as a distinctive, unique voice with a crying tone to it. He was a moderate guitar player, often teaming up with other advanced guitarists for his recordings.

In the 1970s it was thought for a time that Estes had died, because he had seemed to vanish without a trace, and his voice sounded so old twenty years earlier, people assumed that he must have been dead by then. However, two men looking to revive the Blues did in fact find Sleepy John, living in poverty as a homeless man on the streets. He had also by this time become completely blind. Nonetheless, he resumed touring and recording, making appearances in Japan and across Europe. Although this was a significant comeback for Sleepy John Estes, many fans agreed that his pre war recordings were sharper, deeper, and simply better than during his comeback tours.

Most of this Memphis musicians music was based on his own life. His lyrical abilities focused on simplicity, the ability to turn clever phrases, and a keen observation about the simplicity of life. He wrote songs about the local banker, going to start a music career, a teenage girl, the local mechanic, and of course, working and the value of good agricultural sense. Sleepy John Estes died in Tennessee in 1977, the victim of a stroke in June of that year. He was posthumously inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.

I should nowadays ask all the musicians of the world to unite. Our planet is sinking deeper into despair, detest, and then even far more detest. I need you to appear at what you see and compose, publish the tunes that will aid us all get via this. Not the processed garbage, but the honest writing. I know you know the variation. It is time for a calling of the fact that we all feel. Some artists are performing it, nevertheless not almost adequate. So, I inquire you as a musician myself, currently being a drummer, I need to listen to the melodies and the lyrics that will make a difference! You marketing the music, seem and seem again, if you don’t know what I am declaring ask an more mature more skilled individual, they know!

I just can not sit by any more without having pleading to the youthful, to show me some hope, vision, serious imagined, concepts, what you see aside from just complaining(that is effortless, not art), I need accurate eyesight. This country is on the verge of failing with out powerful, truthful eyesight. It really is time to search for it! We must begin to be sincere with ourselves. There is a world that needs to eliminate us all, and they don’t even know us. I’m not acquiring into politics, as a musician starting up in the 60’s and 70’s, we stood in the streets to change what essential to modify. We did not have a entire world devoted to killing us then or we would have carried out far more…! And I mean a great deal Far more…! We need to see the poets, the artists, and specially the musicians to rise to the situation, and give us the blessings of your talents!

This has been dropped with game titles, telephones, mics. things that have practically nothing to do with spirit or true daily life. Laugh at me if you must, just listen to what I am stating, you will know one particular day what it means! it’s time to just take our audio back for our survival, and as a individuals hear again, we will develop and discuss and argue and comprehend we can disagree, but I will not have men and women get rid of me for their loathe, I will struggle that and constantly will. You can say what you need listed here, you can not get rid of people below since you don’t concur! Publish the audio that makes our position! You the younger require to genuinely do this for you have been actively playing to many game titles and not conversing to each other, your buddies, household, and many others. What do you feel? It is time to tell the globe from anywhere you are…!

Musicians of the world unite, let’s talk, sing, take pleasure in our journey, it really is all we have!

Teddy Mueller 2007

Happen to be looking for any awesome musician resources on the internet? Chances are you are going find them in minutes, if not seconds. There are so many musician resources available on the net these days, it is unbelievable. Whether you want to be the next big thing, learn how to promote your CD, study famous musicians or search for music promotional ideas, you can find the resources to help you.

Unless you are a stellar singer, you may need any type of instrument to make music. Valuable musician resources on the web can help musicians find inexpensive instruments and parts in all shapes and sizes. There are tons of sites online that sell used instruments or you can search the online classifieds. E-bay is a great place to find used instruments as well.

If you are searching for how to promote your CD online or not, then there is an immense amount of articles, sites, forums, eBooks and mentors that can help you do just this. Other resources are web sites that offer free sheet music and lyrics. This way you can play and enjoy sheet music from all your most prized musicians. This is a great way for cover bands to find music by their most prized artists as well.

Happen to be looking for someone to join your band or group? Web forums and online classifieds can be an excellent place to find future band members. In fact, these forums can also be a great place to get the word out about your opening, find music promotional ideas and advertise your band.

Talk with other musicians on the web, it is named networking. You may even be able to book gigs and set up shows through networking on the web. Learn how to create a website where you can advertise and learn how to promote your CD from it. You may even meet any simmering cool people. The possibilities are endless.

No matter what you are looking for on the web, musician resources are there for anyone and many things out there. It does not matter what you are looking for. You no longer have to go to that one music shop in town to search for the things you are looking for. Every thing you need is at your fingertips so take full advantage of all of the musician resources the Internet has to offer. Happy surfing!

Ankaka adds USB Studio Microphone to their Wholesale Music Gear Category, a wholesaler of Chinese new electronics, introduced the USB Studio Microphone as their latest in their line of innovative Wholesale-priced Music Gear.

“Our new USB-equipped microphone will extend Ankaka’s well-known Music Gear line. With the widespread USB standard and its ease of use, this new model allows users without any recording experience to make professional-quality recordings from their home,” said Lisa Zhou, Ankaka’s Marketing Representative.

As of 2008, there are about two billion USB devices sold per year, and about six billion sold to date. The USB is a widely known interface for audio equipment like sound cards, active monitors, and outboard equipment, which makes Ankaka’s USB Studio Microphone one of the most versatile microphones available.

Installation is simple with no special drivers required. Simply connect the mic directly to the USB port on a Mac or PC and you’re ready to record with your favorite software. Make sure that you select it from the Sound section of System Preferences. It includes a professional shock-proof mount, a leather carrying case, a stand, and a USB cable.

Ankaka has many innovative and useful tools for the practical musician. For instance, if you wanted to capture audio onto your computer from a source other than through a microphone, then check out Ankaka’s USB Audio Capture Device. It lets you use your existing turntable, cassette deck, CD player and more, to capture high quality audio to your PC or Mac computer! This is the most simple and affordable way to get your analog music into the digital realm.

Or if you like to play guitar as well as sing, then the Guitar to USB Interface Link Cable is just for you! Plug in your favorite guitar and turn your PC or Mac computer into a guitar amp and recording system without the need for any other hardware.

Ankaka also carries a Guitar Tuner Clip- it also functions as a tuner, metronome, and tone generator! You can drop it in your pocket or inside any guitar case, and carry it to your studio, rehearsal, concert or anywhere you like. Perfect for any stringed instrument player.

For any MIDI aficionados out there, be sure to check out Ankaka’s USB to MIDI Interface Cable. Once you connect your electronic musical instrument to your computer, in minutes you’ll be recording songs onto your computer as you are playing them in real-time!

Rounding out the Music Gear section is the Roll-up Synthesizer Piano. For the piano musician on the go, this is just what you need to keep your skills limber. For piano musicians on the go, brand new piano students, or people just wanting the latest and greatest in musical tech, this completely flexible synthesizer piano which can roll into a super compact design for storage and for moving.

You may want to check out for more interesting music gear products.

Owning your recording studio at your home is an added advantage when you are a composer. But it is a challenge for getting the right kind of unit to sustain for a longer period of time and save money in the long run. Getting yourself an outdated system can not be worthwhile and reasonable. You can’t work for long with such system. This can cause you to spend more again and again. You should know what you want and get the compatible devices. Here you can find any of the basic tips on buying music gear that can guide you to assure the best results and save you from unnecessary expenditure.

First of all you need to decide what kind of studio you want. There is a pro studio excellent for recording full bands. This kind of studio can deliver CD master recordings. The other is a project studio, which mainly supports recording electronic synths, samplers and maybe a few live players when needed. The quality level meets TV and film standards.

Another form of studio is the home MIDI electronica mainly software studio with at least one or two mics. It could also be a demo or a song writing studio with mics or even just a little hobby studio, or just want to make music studio. Most the above mentioned options can be accomplished but there are certain things you also need to look into really carefully before buying music gear.

Avoid buying the same feature over and over again on different pieces of music gear. You may only end up otherwise having a number of preamps, samplers and recorders that you can’t use and they are just an additional expenditure.

Do not buy Cubase and Sonar and try to get them to work together. Or get Sound Forge and Sonar, as these applications won’t work at all on a Mac. Therefore, it is advisable to be well versed with the music gear before purchasing them.

The recorder you choose be it a multi track, computer sequencer, or MPC 4000 and MV8800 are the most far reaching decision you can make. But, you have to consider that choice carefully. It is advisable to learn one form and master it, and then you can resort considering buying them.

There are stores that offer 30 days return policy on music gear. This can also be a good idea that makes it real simple for you. Get it for trial and when you find it is perfect for you then only you can opt to buy.

Several people face a lot of difficulties with the software they buy because they don’t understand or misread the recommended requirements to run the software. Never buy software if you can’t meet the stated requirements.

When buying a music gear try to stick to the companies that are supremely focused on your computer platform, your operating system and in any cases your motherboard and your CPU. Some soundcard drivers may refuse to work well with any chipsets on any motherboards.

Do a thorough research before buying music gear. Ask questions from your dealer or you will end up spending extra for your digital mixer. Therefore, the price of a piece of gear, which is at a lower price, may mean spending another extra dollars to make it work.

Always buy the latest music gear to avoid future expenditure. Buy the cheaper or a secondary music gear now, and then it will be outdated in any years and you will have to buy the new one and this will cause unnecessary expenditure. It is best to wait a yr or two after the release and then buy the finished, mature, stable products. Features may look good on paper but may not sound good in music. If you buy affordable music gear you may just end up buying again.

Besides the above mentioned tips of buying music gear, there are other variables you need to look into, like the cost of service, the upgrades, software and many more. Above all, the bottom line is the sound that should be your prhyme concern. Focus on the sound coming out of the speakers. Great sound never goes out of style.

The success of most of the musical performances you will ever get to watch involves not only the biggest recording artist’s talent and charisma, but also the skills and hard work of the professionals who work behind the scenes. These are the audio engineers that make sure that the digital music and sound effects complement the whole program, so that the audience will have the best experience listening and watching their most prized music superstars. If you are set on pursuing a career in the audio engineering field, you have to make sure that you get all of the education and training you need to be able to deal with the requirements of this immensely exciting job.

The best audio engineering programs will provide you with the most comprehensive lessons in mixing music, editing voices and working on sound effects for both pre-recorded and live performances. These programs will also introduce you to all of the audio engineering equipment that you will use in the music industry, and these comprehensive programs will also make sure that you are kept up to date with the most advanced breakthroughs in the industry. Your future success will depend on your hard work and determination, coupled with the technical and practical know-how that you will get from the learning institution that offers the programs that suit your future goals.

Once you have chosen the best audio engineering programs that will suit your future career goals, you are now that much closer to the dream music industry job you have always wanted. Going to top audio engineering schools will get you ready, in the best way possible, so you can go into the industry in the soonest possible time. This might seem like a small step, The road to success will depend on how determined you are in realizing your goal as a future audio engineer, although the audio engineering skills you will pick up from the best learning institutions will make sure that you are as ready as possible to deal with all of the challenges you will face in the exciting and richly rewarding music industry.

The quality of the professional audio recordings at your home studio will depend on how well you block out unwanted sound. All of the audio needs to be captured inside the recording room with no outside interference.

To do this, you need to make sure that you select the right acoustic materials. For most people, this means installation of noise insulation to prevent sound loss, keeping music at its highest integrity.

How to Choose Home Studio Insulation

There are two numbers you need to look for in terms of acoustics. The first is the “Rw.” This number represents the amount of noise reduction the material provides. The higher the number the better. The other number to look for is “Lw.” This represents how well the material reduces shock noise and knocks.

You should also pay attention to the acoustic correction number, expressed as a number from 0 to 1. Ideally, your number should be as close to 1 as possible. Examples of acoustic sound absorption materials include Studio Foam, Acoustic Panels, and more. Different companies have developed their own soundproofing materials, so it’s important to check what fits in your budget.

Installing Acoustic Insulation

The best time to install acoustic materials is when the home is being constructed. Unfortunately, this is a luxury that recording artists have. As usual, the type of insulation you choose is going to affect how you install the material, based on the manufacturer’s recommendations. But you can expect the following steps:

Block Leaks – Before installation, make sure any sound leaks you have in your home studio are addressed. There are often cracks, holes, windows, and other areas where sound escapes which can affect the quality of your professional audio. You can mostly stop these leaks by installing some type of rubber device on the cracks. Make sure you also install the right material around your door frame.

Add Panels – Once you’ve blocked leaks, it’s time to add the insulation panels. There are several types of sound insulation panels available. Most look like typical drywall paneling, so you will not need to worry about matching your soundproofing to your home’s d├ęcor.

Consider Additional Foam – You may also need to consider installing additional acoustic insulation foam. These foams can amplify your sound, but they require layering and other construction work to make sure that they are installed correctly.

You may also consider hiring a construction company to install the panels. You don’t necessarily need a complete redesign of the room, or expensive construction costs, but a good construction company will ensure that every crack is covered and your recordings are of the utmost quality.

Getting the Right Insulation

Professional audio requires high quality sound, and the only way to get high quality sound is to make sure that your home studio is retrofitted with the right materials to reduce noise leaks. The right insulation, installation professionals and upgrades to your studio space are all important to make sure this is done properly.

Living memorials are becoming popular across the country. A living memorial is when the deceased is presented at the viewing with a slideshow of their life viewed above the body. Friends and family members can state their last goodbyes and at the same time rejoice and remember the good things of the deceased’s life. If you really need to honor your passed love one, you might need to think about buying A/V equipment to host the event. It is a solemn gathering, but with proper lighting, video, and audio equipment you can give the passed love one the honor and respect they deserve and at the same time give the guests a memory that they will cherish for a lifetime.

If you don’t need to buy audio and visual equipment, you can rent it. Most funeral homes will have a reference to an audio and visual equipment dealer whoever will be able to setup, service, and take down the equipment before, during, and after the service. They will be able to put up one of the many sizes of optical front projection screens where the happier times of the deceased and family can view in either video or slideshow format. As the grief stricken pass by the body to give respects, they can look into the screen and remember the love and life of the one whoever has gone on. A visual memorial can invoke memories of the person that mere words and conversation never would.

The audio and visual professional will also install the proper audio equipment for the occasion. You don’t need over bearing audio drowning the effects of the memorial, but you need a respectful volume that’ll fill the room with the sounds of love and admiration of those whoever would talk about those whoever the crowd came to honor. The eulogy will be heard in reverent tones and the sound will be just loud enough for the person in the back row to hear the words and to feel the emotion. Additional audio equipment may be added if there’s to be a choir or singer at the memorial. Feedback and other electronic noises would be an embarrassment to the occasion and to the memory of the deceased. A professionally installed audio system would eliminate that chance of occurrence.

If your funeral home does not have a recommendation, you can find a live production event coordinator in most areas. They mostly can set up anything from a business conference to a live stage performance, but most have had some experience with live memorials and can help you pick out the right equipment and right package to fit your live memorial event. They can install the video and audio equipment for you and stay with you during the memorial to make sure the equipment runs properly. They can run the soundboard and fix any distractions in the volume or tone of the audio quality. The sound person can also block out background noise that might be picked up on the microphone. They also can video tape the memorial so that you can take home the memory of your last good bye with your loved one.