Light Bulb

Best Audio Nerd Jokes

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The other day, someone shared a lesson plan with me that involved some jokes.

This inspired me to scour the internet to find some of my favorite audio nerd jokes.  So, without any further ado…..

 

1.  How many producers does it take to change a light bulb?

Two – one to tell the engineer to do it, and one to ask, “I don’t know, what do you think?”

2.  How many audio engineers does it take to change a light bulb?

I don’t do lights, only sound.

3.  There’s this little visual joke….

Audio Man vs Woman Joke Image

4.  Two boom ops and a sound mixer get in a car, who’s driving?

The cop.

5.  How come the sine wave didn’t see the compressor coming?

Because it had a quick attack!

6.  Why did the waveform go to the dentist?

Because he had a sawtooth!

7.  Love Hz

8.  Person 1: I’ve recently released my first album!

Person 2: Awesome!  Have you sold much?

Person 1:  My house and my car :(

9.  Why did the man buy Cubase?

Because he had no Reason or Logic

10.  And then there’s this amazing Craigslist ad, reposted on Gear Slutz.

I saved the best for last here…

 

Music Education is Broken

Music Education is Broken

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Music is amazing for brain development, and should be an essential component of modern education.

Music education helps with language development, increases IQ, and improves test scores, just to name a few of the many benefits.  However, our schools seem to be cutting music education at an alarming rate.  There are a lot of reasons why this is happening, but I’d like to address one specific component.  Music education is a service that we provide, and if we want to increase interest and show others its importance, we need to overhaul how we go about structuring and providing it.

Original Music

1.  Encourage Original Composition

Teach music the way we do visual art, and encourage kids to create!    Kids aren’t going to be thrilled, or even satisfied, to simply replicate “Hot Cross Buns” all day.  I know I wasn’t, and I grew into an adult that works in the music industry.  Teach them music theory and encourage them to improvise.  Why should we deny the fact that this area of study – that improves math and logic skills – also happens to be a rewarding creative outlet?  Does everything have to fit into a stereotype in our educational system?  We can’t simply teach children how to read music if we want to get a level of enthusiasm and interest that allows music education to thrive.  We need to give children the tools required to start experimenting with composition at an early age.

Youth Music

2.  Start Kids Early

We start art in preschool, why not music?  There’s a very good reason why so many companies work to hook youth on their product – it’s effective.  Why not take a page from the commercial world and work harder to generate interest in music education at a young age?

Cuts to elementary school music education cause decreased participation in middle and high schools after time.  

With decreased and belated participation, we see more than just stagnated musical skill level in our society.  Children miss out on the full benefits of this amazing brain development tool at a critical and early age, when brain development is so elastic and has so much potential.  It may cost less in the short run to cut music from elementary schools, but what is the true long term cost of that decision?  How much untapped potential in human capital are we losing down the line?

Inclusive Music

3.  Be Inclusive

There are too many music programs for children that require auditions simply to enroll.  What would the state of things be like if we did that with math?  History?  Sciences?  I can hear it now: of course we don’t do that with those subjects!  That would deter students from enrolling.  It would further widen the class divide in our society by allowing even more advantage to children with wealthy parents and private tutors.  Auditions cause competition, and competition in an economy breeds specialization.  Children will be forced to specialize at early ages – when they should be branching out and exploring different pursuits!

We recognize the reasons not to do this with other subjects, so why are we still doing this with our music programs?

There are numerous motivational factors that must drive an educator to run a selective program.  On a basic level, running a highly skilled youth ensemble can help get funding and boost a career.  But our priorities need to change; childhood development for each and every child enrolled in a school is what education is all about.  So don’t avoid the challenge, be inclusive.

A good educator can teach kids that fall into a wide range of skill levels and skill sets.  An inclusive program is an opportunity to create a positive model of a collaborative environment, and encourages artistically hesitant children to take risks and reap rewards.  The willingness to take risks and the ability to function in a collaborative environment are critical skills for adults today.  Educators should create inclusive environments that foster those skills.

Popular Music

4.  Teach Popular Music

This is the simplest one of them all.  If you want to increase enthusiasm and participation, teach music that kids enjoy!  You don’t have to discount or avoid classic compositions, just make sure you slip in some popular compositions to keep the kids enthusiastic about music.  There are centuries of compositions to share with your students, so don’t disregard a whole group based on how many decades have passed since their composition.  The ability to peak student interest might have more value than you think.

SD Music Thing

5 Horrendous Mistakes Made by San Diego Music Thing (And How To Fix Them)

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I’m going to start this off by saying I think the SD Music Thing is a great idea!  As San Diego’s answer to SXSW, it could really liven up a scene that suffers by being so close to Los Angeles.  I’m honestly glad I went this year!  But as someone that has helped organize and run conference type events, and attends regular conferences in both the web development and music industries, I noticed a lot of shortcomings in the way the event is run.

Here are a few things I noticed that could be improved upon.

Coffee

1.  Scheduling:

They had two main halls for speakers, but there was no overlap between talks.  This seemed unnecessary to me.  Maybe they had to rent the whole wing to get the one hall.  Either way, I would recommend maximizing revenue, not to mention efficiency, and getting some vendors in that second hall, instead of spreading the talks between two halls.

An event is a business, and should be run accordingly.

While we are on the subject of vendors, I’d definitely recommend a coffee vendor in the area of the halls, somewhere that is easily accessible to those attending the talks.  Ideally, they should find a means to offer free coffee if they can, either through a sponsorship, or by budgeting accordingly.  It’s pretty abnormal for a conference not to have free coffee during the daytime events.

Building Bridges 2.  Communication:

There were obviously some huge break downs in communication between volunteers and workers.  For example, when I picked up my wristband, I was told it absolutely had to be on my left arm, but later saw numbers of attendees with wristbands on their right.  Upon picking up my wristband, I wasn’t told about, or given, the schedule.  I later had to return to the registration room to find it.  I could have skipped picking up the schedule, except for the fact that the information on the website wasn’t complete (a whole other issue entirely).

On the opposite wall from the registration was a series of tables with swag bags.  When I asked about them, the girls that gave me my wristband said that they didn’t know what those were for, and that I should go ask if I was curious.  It turns out that they were swag bags for general attendees.

I’m sure the sponsors that filled those bags with their products would not be happy to know that they weren’t being offered to every single attendee upon registration.

What shocked me the most about this, is that I arrived around 11am, which means the registration room was a far cry from busy.  How do you spend an entire morning in a room across from that swag bag table, and not show enough curiosity to ask about them during any of the free moments that you undoubtedly had?

What this all boils down to, is that when workers aren’t communicating properly, it makes the event more confusing for attendees.  For an event that seemed to have a disproportionately high ratio of volunteers/workers to attendees, I would suggest using some of the half dozen or more volunteers that I saw sitting outside, smoking, and chatting at any given time, to disperse information and help things run more smoothly.  After all, that’s what they’re there for…

3.  Take Your Event Seriously:

I was neither carded for my 21+ wristband, nor was my ticket scanned.  This was no sweat off my back, but I do believe that when the people running an event don’t take it seriously, neither will the attendees.  It not only opens their event up to revenue loss through people sneaking in once word spreads about their practices, but it also opens up a serious liability issue.  They could go into some serious legal trouble and debt from not carding for a 21+ wristband, and possibly lose the ability to run their event entirely.

Mic

4.  Audio:

Now, here’s where I might be a bit pickier because of my audio work.  But a lot of the panelists didn’t seem to be aware of the microphones on their tables.  When they were aware, it became blatantly obvious that they hadn’t done much of a sound check, or even a basic EQ job on the mics before the day began.  It was genuinely difficult to hear and understand speakers from the back of the room, and that’s a problem.  You don’t want to lose potential repeat attendees because of something like that.  Normally I forgive sound issues at conferences, but I definitely I set the bar a bit higher because this is a music industry conference, and audio should be a component of which the organizers are aware.

5.  Social Media:

Second only to the audio issue, this might be the most ironic mistake of them all.  On all the panels, including the panels with professional social media and web marketers, I found it next to impossible to find the twitter and other social media handles for the speakers, and almost as difficult to find those of their businesses.  I had the SD Music Thing website open (which had junk characters on my phone, uh oh!), and searched for them there, ran some searches on Twitter, and looked at signs for the talks – all to no avail.

You’re on a panel discussing the importance of engaging your audience through social media, and it’s next to impossible for your current audience to engage you through social media.  That just makes no sense.

I would definitely recommend they make at least the twitter handles of their speakers and associated companies readily available, either through the panelists’ name tags on the table, a projection, or online.  I would also recommend that whoever monitors the SD Music Thing twitter, engages and encourages those that tweet about them by engaging in conversation with those tweets, especially if it’s a negative tweet to do some form of damage control.  I checked out the situation and didn’t see them doing any of these things.  This is something that all big companies with a knowledgable social media department must do nowadays.

Again, if you want your event to be successful, then you have to run it like a business.

twitter

So that’s just a handful of the most glaring issues that I noticed while attending the conference portion of the SD Music Thing.  I think the event has tremendous potential, and that making these changes would drastically improve the event and the event’s reputation.  And on the off chance that there are any organizers out there reading this, I would love to help out and bring in more of my ideas to improve your event (I have a bunch! Contact me, seriously).

I really do think it’s a great idea, with a lot of potential, and it’s off to a great start.  I look forward to seeing what they do in the future.

With that said, it wasn’t all bad, and there was a lot of great information at the conference portion of the SD Music Thing.  The Digital Business panel had some great information for musicians starting out without a lot of social media knowledge, and the Building Your Team panel had a lot of generally very useful tidbits.

There was some great information on general practices and structure in the industry (PRLs, song structure, etc), the importance of co-writing if you’re a songwriter looking to break into the industry, and the importance of having a website (not just a Facebook!) for musicians.  One panelist had some great comments about growth hacking, and looking at other industries for inspiration and tricks.  However, he did recommend a share and get WordPress plugin that hasn’t been maintained by the developers for over two years (something I figured out through a basic Google search), so I wouldn’t take everything the panels suggest as gospel.

Also, even though Moby apparently forgot that cars exist, and wasn’t able to make it, his Facetime talk was hilarious and informative – for as long as it lasted before the call was dropped and we were unable to reach him again.

Thanks, San Diego Music Thing!

Puppy Ear Training

5 Best Ear Training Tools

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Good News!

There are so many ear training options out there, that you no longer have an excuse not to do it!

As someone that considers ear training one of my weaknesses – it’s definitely on my procrastination list – I figured I should scour the internet and share some good ones with you.

(I’m not associated with or paid by any of these companies and they’re not listed in any particular order)

1.  A Keyboard:

Keyboard Ear Training I’ll start with the old fashioned way.  Hit a key and try to sing the note.  You’ll get a lot farther than you might think.  Try different intervals, or use the time to expand on your music theory knowledge.  A great article on ear training, with a lot of detail on how to go about selecting a training path can be found at EasyEarTraining.com.

2. IWasDoingAllRight

I Was Doing Alright Ear Training This site is great!  You might hit some road blocks getting it to work for you on your device, because it’s in Java, but it’s worth checking out.  It’s so customizable, with options for key, interval, chords, instrument, rhythm, and even supplying melodies that help you remember certain intervals.  It’s been a while since ear training in college, so it was definitely nice to have a refresher on some of those melodies.  The best part though, is call and response.  It’s such an organic and fun way to train your ear, that I would definitely recommend this whole site, but especially the call and response section!

3. Ear Beater

EarBeater Ear Training The name sounds painful, but the app isn’t.  It has a great interface, and is simple and easy to use.  It’s customizable, and uses a smooth progression from exercise to exercise, easy to hard, built to help you “beat” your ears into shape.  With a paid app a free “lite” version of the app, and a free “classic” browser version, you can feel free to investigate the basic form of the product a bit online before deciding whether to purchase the paid app.  Simply pick a “discipline” (guess the interval size, the interval, the chord, etc) and a lesson number, and you’re set to start.  With concise descriptions for each discipline and lesson, you can easily select the best starting point for you.  You can also create custom exercises and track your progress through the app, something that would be great for educators.  Unfortunately, if you don’t have Apple iOS, you can’t get the app.  But you can still use the browser version, so go check it out!

4. Ear Training Mastery

Ear Training Mastery Don’t feel like downloading an app?  No problem.  This website has everything you need.  It’s fast and easy to navigate, with the option of creating a user account to track your progress, and different (paid) tiers of service.  You will need Flash to use the site though, and an app is yet to be made available, if that’s what you’re looking for.  I like how they have a music theory page as an added bonus, and a pretty informative blog, for extra hours of fun.  With built in tests, it would be a great tool for educators and musicians alike.  Check it out!

5. Perfect Ear 2

Perfect Ear 2 This is a great app available on the Google Play Store.  It has some limitations in the free version, but has a sleek design with plenty of exercise options, so what’s not to like?  You can customize exercises, and even choose between piano or guitar.  Besides, the first version of the app had a featured review that read: Ear-Training-Review …and who could turn down advertising like that?

So there are a few tools to make ear training a bit easier, and procrastinating a bit harder.  Go out and evolve your ear!  It takes time, but is worth the effort.

microphone tangle

Creative Industry Newbs: Important Things to Remember

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If you want to work in a creative industry, the important thing to remember is this: you might be working for free for a very long time, even after graduating college…even if you manage to get 3 very relevant and prestigious degrees. Anyway, moving on. You’ll still learn, grow and meet new people.  You’ll network, and explore, and hopefully discover the facet of the industry where you’ll really want to settle. But some days, working for free will stink. When you’re poring over tedious tasks that you’ve already known how to do for years, and you’re not learning as much in your internship as you’d wished – when you don’t have time for a lunch break because you’re covering for someone, doing their work that they’re paid to do – it can be really frustrating. But here are some things that I think are important to remember – some things that help me feel sane:

1. Your boss probably wants to pay you.

Creative industries are competitive. Very competitive. And that drives prices down. If all your competition is using unpaid interns to keep costs low, chances are, they’ll have to do the same thing. Unless your boss finds a genius work around that your competition can’t immediately rip off, they’ll probably find they have to employ similar tactics to the competition – just to keep afloat. I like to think the boss doesn’t enjoy the idea of breaking the law via unpaid interns and risking legal action – they’re just not sure what else to do.

2. Working in entertainment is a luxury.

Back in the old days, “starving artist” had a much more literal meaning. The fact that such a huge portion of our population can afford to work in some sort of artistic endeavor is pretty darn amazing. Enjoy being one of the comparatively few individuals throughout the history of the human race that can afford to work in a creative field. There are so many people that can’t (which brings to mind the maddening concept that extended unpaid internships after graduation contribute to a class divide barrier to entry – but more on that some other time).

3. Put your efforts to good use!

Sometimes working in a creative industry can feel hedonistic and pointless. If you’re going to work for free, search for projects that give you a sense of community and accomplishment. Put your efforts behind a cause you believe in. If you’re working for free, making logos for animal shelters won’t wear you down emotionally the same way making logos for hedge funds will. It’s an extreme example, but you get my point. And just because you’re working for free (or close to free), doesn’t mean your work inherently has less value.

4. Maybe you can change the system one day.

Industries change, and human beings are the catalysts. If you somehow come squirming through this hellhole that some days certainly feel like, you just might end up in a position of power. Prepare to pay back into the system: take the time to consider how things can be improved for entry level workers. Like most things in life, those that need the help and change aren’t in a position of power to achieve it.

Well, that’s it for now, keep your chin up and enjoy your path! I’m certainly trying to do so.