The Berkleemusic Blog Network brings together music industry professionals, music educators, and Berklee College of Music faculty to discuss topics and current events relating to the music business, music production, songwriting, music theory, performance, and online education.
I wanted to take a quick minute with this Blog/Vlog to discuss a very simple idea… choosing the Guitar Pick right for you. It’s an amazing way to help with your practice routine (correcting bad habits etc…) while also enabling you to experiment with your Guitar tone at the most fundamental , and inexpensive, level.
A lot of folks may not realize that by simply approaching your string attack with a different pick or even pick angle can drastically change your tone. I find that I alternate a lot during live shows between my pick and fingers. The pick is for more attack and the flesh is for the warmth. If you have never experimented with these ideas I definitely suggest you give it a whirl this week.
Here’s a video I did explaining my journey to find the perfect pick. Obviously things change constantly but this is what works really well for me at the present moment:
Picks are relatively inexpensive so buy a slew and see what works for you. I wish you all the best of luck in your pick of destiny quest.
There may be times when you want to capture a screen of notation or something else and paste it into another program or save in a graphic file format. I do a lot of screen capture for my posts on this blog and in my work and teaching. I’ve found that using a 3rd party screen capture application provides advantages. It can make the screen capture process faster and offer you more options for saving and sharing. Another advantage to using 3rd party screen capture is some programs lock out the built-in screen capture (such as SmartMusic www.smartmusic.com). With 3rd party programs, you can override and take screen captures as needed.
Both Mac and Windows have built-in screen capture options.
tr.v.re·mixed, re·mix·ing, re·mix·es: To recombine audio tracks from a recording to produce a new or modified audio recording.
To this definition I would add, and so much more!
Remixing has been around for quite awhile, having got its start before even the disco years and the hip-hop pioneers (such as Grandmaster Flash and Jam Master Jay). Seminal remixing truly began in the late 1960s, with the sound of Jamaican dub (an offshoot of ska and dancehall raggae). Jamaican DJs (such as Rudolph “Ruddy” Redwood) discovered that people enjoyed dancing to instrumental versions of ska hits. To spice up and personalize these instrumentals, artists like King Tubby and Lee “Scratch” Perry began adding their own parts (such as horn stabs and percussive fills) using a 4-track cassette recorder and echo effects. These permutations of the original instrumental where called “dubs’ (for “doubles”) and their low-fidelity, bass heavy, effected tracks (partly a byproduct of repeatedly bouncing tracks down on 4-track tape) became an integral part of the dub sound. This sound and style of the original dub pioneers has transcended time and geography to become part of today’s remixes.
Fortunately, we no longer need to struggle with 4-track cassette machines and splicing analog tape. Now we have amazing music production software tools (such as Live, Reason, and Pro Tools) in which we can remix, quite literally, anything. You could turn a country song into a dubstep tune, or a jazz ballad into an electro house banger. There’s really no limit to the possibilities.
As a result of these amazing tools, and so many wonderfully talented and creative people that have pushed forward the art of remixing, remix production has become a critical skill for many working producers and hip-hop and EDM (electronic dance music) artists. Business savvy music industry entrepreneurs recognize that remixing songs is a great way to generate income, publicity, attract new fans, and keep their catalog relevant. Remixing is also a whole lot of fun and gives you the opportunity to join a thriving online community of remixers who share their music on the Web and enter remix competitions (on sites such as indabamusic.com and play.beatport.com) with substantial prizes (from cash, to gear, and label deals)
With this current swirl of activity around remixing, it feels to me like a remixing renaissance. Not that remixing ever disappeared, it’s just enjoying a surge of popularity thanks to all the cool software tools and community support. Remixing is a wonderful form of self-expression for both novices and pros alike, and Web sites like play.beatport.com make it super easy to jump right into the mix (or, remix) with both feet and start exchanging feedback and ideas with fellow music producers from all over the globe. It’s on this crest of remixing exuberance that I am pleased to announce a series of remixing tutorials for beginners, in partnership with Berkleemusicand Beatport. Check out the videos on play.beatport.com, and feel free to let me know on my YouTube channel (Erik Hawk’s Music Education Channel at youtube.com/muzicali) if you have any suggestions for a remixing topic.
The Marathon bombs were just a few doors away from our office on Boylston Street. I was fortunate that nobody I know personally was injured. But there was blood and glass on sidewalks that I have walked a thousand times. The “second blast” devastated the Forum restaurant, which I’m fond of. Today marks a full week that our building has been closed, while it is inspected for safety issues and evidence. So, these events hit close to home, and I am sharing the complex range of emotional responses that so many of us have been experiencing, over the past harrowing days.
Outwardly, matters are settling. The suspects are no longer at large. Some Berklee buildings are open. My friends in Watertown and Cambridge have mostly stopped circulating photos of SWAT teams in their backyards. My children have been reassured of their safety, and I’ve stopped obsessively checking the news for developments.
It’s business as usual, sort of. Except, that it’s not. Because there are materials I’ve needed for a week that remain under FBI lockdown, so I can’t move certain tasks forward. People I need to make decisions or provide information are similarly constrained, and many of them are facing a host of new, complex, urgent, and stressful issues in their work, due to the major inconveniences that the tragedy brought with them.
While those of us who are so indirectly affected might no longer be terrified, or in mourning, or in a logistical nightmare, there remains a pervasive wave of general stress that seems to be permeating throughout the community, now.
That’s the trickle-down crabenomics. A system was traumatized, the major aftershocks have dissipated, but the networks of work and life remain under pressure caused by that great disruption, due to the backlog of obligations that accumulated as a result of not being able to attend them efficiently for so long.
It’s hard to peg this current phase as tragic, compared to where we’ve been. But it remains new territory.
I’ve made quite a few mistakes in the past week. I’ve delegated some tasks that I should have resolved myself, which I do sometimes when I’m feeling stressed and frantically trying to clear my desk and my head. My OCD is in full swing, and I’ve likely made a pest out of myself regarding some details that really could have been let go, which is driving people crazy. I’ve let a detail or two slip. I’ve answered some emails tersely, particularly when others are delegating things to me that I don’t have the psychic space to address. And I’ve watched a lot of others doing the same.
While the intensity of emotion is reduced this week, there is a level of residual crabbiness that I’m witnessing, and crabbiness is so contagious—even in the best of times.
Here’s how I’m personally trying to staunch this trickle, and I welcome other suggestions. First, before I click “Send,” I’m reviewing my emails with a crabometer, to reduce any unintentional acid in my pen. Second, I’m trying to leave the public swearing to Big Papi Ortiz, so as not to raise the general anxiety level of those around me. Third, I’m trying to minimize the work/stress/over-communication barrage that I generate for others, for a bit, while they join me in digging out of their ruts. Fourth, I’m avoiding checking the news more than once a day, or so. And fifth, I’m reminding myself of the good that will come from my personal work. As a colleague wrote to me recently, “We’re all on the same team, here.” And forgive me for putting this in overly grand terms, but I truly believe that the work we are doing here at Berklee is ultimately beneficial to the whole world.
It’s time to cool down and focus on making everything better. I hope you join me.
Here’s a post to highlight a wah I recently added to my arsenal of tone generators. I love wah pedals. It is a big part of the retro-funky-R&B sound of the songs I write and sing. In my on-line course Funk-Rock/R&B Soloing, and in my book, R&B/Funk Guitar: Creative Grooves and Solos, I get into the usefulness of wah sounds and even dig into exercises using a wah.
In these days of roadie-less gigs, taking a big pedalboard to every gig simply is not practical. One of the biggest pedals on a board is always the wah. You can cut down your pedalboard size, but it can never get smaller than your wah, unless you take it off and set it up separately (which defeats the purpose of convenience). So when I heard about the AMT Japanese Girl Wah I went on line to check out a couple of demos. Quite impressive I would say. A week later, I had one of these little beauties in the palm of my hand (literally speaking)
After you get used to the smaller size underfoot, the Japanese Girl Wah pedal feels and plays like a full-sized wah. A typical full size wah is sturdy enough for you to put a lot of your body weight into the operation of the pedal. This is something many of the old school cats (like myself) are reluctant to give up. Some mini wahs I have tried don’t take this into consideration. I felt comfortable leaning my full weight into this mini wah. And ,quite frankly, the tones were absolutely as funky as I ever dreamed of.
The wah is so small that there is no room inside for a battery; that is no problem with standard 9v input center negative power input that you can use with your average pedal power connection. It uses optical control instead of the traditional potentiometer for the effect, so there will be no maintenance issues with scratchiness at any point in the future!
Two bright blue led’s on both sides of the pedal cast a bright glow when the true bypass switch is activated under toe as with traditional full size wahs. Those lights can easily be seen in the dim lights of a club, so there is none of the insecurity that comes with wondering if your wah actually made it to the “off” position.
One the the big plus features of the wah is a 3 position toggle switch on the left side of the pedal that allows you to switch from three very useful modes: 0.2-1kH, 0.3-1,5 kH, 0.4-2kH. To describe it in layman’s terms, it goes from vintage to modern or almost synth like. I did a couple of gigs with the pedal and experimented with all 3 modes with great satisfaction.
The adjustable axial screw allows you to tighten the feel of the treadle and also allows you to keep it in a fixed place for some of the usual wah notch-effects.
Thanks to AMT for a great new and very practical product!! AAAAA++!! (my second one is already on the way!!)
FEATURES: - Switchable bandpass: 0.2-1kH, 0.3-1,5 kH, 0.4-2kH;
- True bypass
- Removable support feet (the option is useful when you install the AMT WH-1 on the pedal board)
- Effect on/off indicator LEDs on both pedal sides (visible when engaged)
- Adjustable pedal movement by means of an axial screw
- 9-12v DC power negative center (-), adapter or battery
- Low power consumption
- Small size: 110 x 62 x 58 mm
- Weight (without battery) 0.45 kg
Howdy folks, I am back at you again with another Guitar Woodshed installment! This time I’d like to discuss fun ways in which we can enhance our practice routines. I have been lucky enough to meet some of my guitar hero’s in person one way or another; which has helped me dig into their brains about rehearsal tips and other fancy schmancy guitar lore. One of the things all of my faves preach is practicing with a metronome or some sort of rhythmic device. That being said, they all said to stay musical in my rehearsal time. Make sure you do the same. Don’t just sit for hours and practice bebop scales… make music! Explore ideas with both hands and make sure you know where the 1 is in every bar.
Let’s take a look at some ideas I have about practicing and see if it might be something you can identify with as well:
Practicing with the drum machine really works well for me. Give it a shot and see if you feel the same way. I have noticed a big difference practicing in different grooves and time signatures; plus it has lead to me writing two new songs which I am in the process of recording for my band’s new album. The sky is the limit! Be creative, be fearless, work hard and results will happen.
This post deals with setting an initial tempo marking in a Finale or Sibelius file and then changing it as the piece progresses.
The fisrt step is to indicate the tempo above the first bar of the piece. Then, enter tempo changes where you want them to occur later in the piece.
Sibelius: Setting and Changing Tempos
When you start a new score, in the Quick Start menu, there is an option to include an inital tempo marking or metronome mark. Doing this will set the tempo to the specific metronome marking or beats per minute.
If you forget to do this when you are creating your Sibelius score, you can add one after the fact:
Select the first bar of the piece
Sibelius 6: Choose Create > Text > Metronome Mark
Sibelius 7: Choose Text > Styles > Metronome Mark
To enter another metronome mark, you can follow the above steps – select the bar and choose Text > Metronome mark. Another way to go is to copy and paste the metronome mark and then edit it. This saves going to the menu.
Select the Metronome mark in bar 1.
Paste it into the bar where you want to change the tempo
Double-click on the copied metronome mark and edit the number to the desired tempo.
Finale: Setting and Changing Tempos
When you start a new score, using the Setup Wizard, there is an option to include an initial tempo marking or metronome mark. Doing this will set the tempo to the specific metronome marking or beats per minute.
If you forget to do this when you are creating your Sibelius score, you can add one after the fact:
Choose the Expression Tool.
Double-click in the first measure.
Select Tempo Marks and then click “Create Tempo Mark.”
Choose the note value from the pull down menu
Enter = [the desired tempo marking]
Select the marking you created and click assign.
You can enter additional tempo markings as needed.
I have been using an iPad for about a year now and I have found it to be helpful with my notation score creation, sharing and for practice and demonstration. This posts covers how to play back Finale and Sibelius files on the iPad and the app I use to create music notation: Notion. With the fast-changing landscape in the app world, it is hard to keep up with developments. Please post your comments, questions and suggestions about what you are using with regard to notation and the iPad.
PART ONE: Playing back your Sibelius or Finale files
As of this date, there are apps for both Finale and Sibelius so you can play back all of your files. You can’t edit the notation in these apps, but they are handy for playing back music for practice or demonstration.
With Finale Songbook for iPad you can open your Finale files and play them back. You can view the score or the part. The Songbook can also open and display PDF files so you can put lots of music into the app even if it is not a Finale file. The PDF files don’t play back, so use them only for display purposes. Check out the company promo for the latest version of the App as of early 2013:
PART TWO: Creating notation on the iPad and sending it to Finale or Sibelius via Music XML
If you want to create notation on your iPad, you will need to purchase a stand-alone app. The one app I have used successfully is Notion.
To get files out of Notion into your computer to use with Finale or Sibelius, export the file on the iPad to Music XML. Then import the Music XML into Finale or Sibelius. To go the other way, export the Finale or Sibelius file to XML and then import it into Notion on the iPad. Sibelius 7 is the first version of Sibelius to be able to export music XML directly from the app.
Moving files back and forth via the Cloud
I find the simplest way to move files from my computer to the iPad is using a cloud app such as DropBox.
Publishers often display a cautionary or courtesy accidental in scores and parts. This occurs when an accidental is in one bar but not in the next. The rule in music is an accidental is cancelled by the barline. However, it is common to include cautionary accidentals.
There are two ways to apply these accidentals in Finale and Sibelius:
manually or one note at a time or using a global setting to apply cautionary accidentals to the entire document.
Process: Global and Manual
The fastest option is for Finale and Sibelius to automatically apply cautionary accidentals. Then, if needed, I will add the cautionary accidental manually one at a time. Both options are described below.
Sibelius Cautionary Accidentals
(Finale steps below)
Global Settings (Sibelius)
In Sibelius, the global settings are located in the House Styles > Engraving Rules > Accidentals. Currently, the Sibelius 7 default setting is to have the cautionary accidentals appear without parentheses.
So, I change the settings so the courtesy accidentals are placed automatically in parentheses.
There are times when the global settings will not apply a cautionary accidental. For example, if the same note appears a measure or bar later. In these cases, you will need to apply the cautionary accidental manually:
Select the note
From the last Keypad, choose the “Bracket Accidental” option.
Finale Cautionary Accidentals
Global Settings (Finale)
Finale uses a plug-in to apply the cautionary accidentals to some or all of the score. I usually apply the plug-in when the score is complete and ready for page layout adjustments and/or printing.
Make the adjustments to the plug-in window. These are the settings that I use.
Apply the Note Spacing options.
Entering Cautionary Accidentals Manually (Finale)
There are times when the global settings will not apply a cautionary accidental. For example, if the same note appears a measure or bar later. In these cases, you will need to apply the cautionary accidental manually.
Below are the steps to enter a cautionary accidental from the Finale manual.
This post I would like to share a new product worthy of attention. Many of you have already read my earlier post about the Allston Amp Dumbalina made by Rob Lohr in the basement of Mr Music, in nearby Allston Massachusetts (Boston). This latest achievement is one for the books of Tonal History. Rob keeps finding ways to pack modestly priced (under $2500.00) hi-quality handmade amps into the space of a Fender Princeton sized cab. All this with features and tone associated with the highest end of the boutique amp world. The Allston Tremulator MKII sounds great, is so much fun to play and cosmetically looks as perfect on the outside as the work inside the chassis.
Rob builds with the best components, and each amp is custom detailed to your cosmetic specs. He handles all aspects of the build and refuses to farm out any of the operation to anyone. From start to finish, the actual building of the cabinet, to the multiple layers of tough paint and clear coat that covers the hand-fixed vinyl knob lettering and the logo that you may have chosen for your custom order, Rob does it all.
Inside the Princeton-sized chassis, the neatly wired components sit nestled in an intricate work of art. With this latest build, Rob has somehow figured out how to give you a vintage sounding, foot-switchable tremolo circuit that you cannot hear until you play! The amp is “whisper” quiet and has no annoying beating sound that indicates that you have activated the tremolo. It is one of those “How come no-one has ever thought of this before?” kind of features.
The Front face plate of the Allston Tremulator MKII has Input, Volume, Treble, Mid, and Bass controls along with Reverb level and a Master Volume Control. The first 4 knobs are all pull-pots which allow you to get just about any combination of ”face” or “tweed” in a couple of seconds. The Back plate has a +4 effects loop (all of you dumble-ator fans will love this!!).
The +4 loop allows you to connect studio-grade effects directly into the circuit of the amp (Try out some of the Eventide delays for a good time). Noise, hum, and buzz free effects are stitched seamlessly directly into your signal path.
Miniature Tremolo controls (Depth and Speed) are also located on the back plate along with a 4, 8, 16 ohm tap.
The extension speaker output allows you to simultaneously (along with the onboard speaker) connect a specially designed closed-back mini-112 16 ohm cab that gives your 45w Princeton sized amp all the 2 x 12 punch that bigger amps dream about.
The foot-switch is the size of a Phase 90 pedal and controls (in my custom-ordered case), Tremolo and Tone Bypass.
Tone Bypass amounts to an increase or boost in volume. This allows you to cut through or overdrive the amp, depending on your settings and volume. Tone Bypass is often used as crunch or overdrive. To top this feature off and make it even more practical, Rob gives you an additional independent volume control under the chassis for the volume level of your Tone Bypass. You may opt to have your foot-switch control the reverb. In my case, I never usually need to turn off the Reverb. Having Tone Bypass as an option is a plus, since it is often only found in the D-Style amps where I got used to having and using it in a practical way.
On my amp, Rob installed the optional Tilt Back legs, which, of course, in situation where you put the combo on the floor level, allow you to angle the amp toward you to hear the great tones. I will say that before my first tilt back Allston Amp, I used to opt out of having any amp tilted toward me, because they often sounded too harsh or loud for my ears. We as guitarist, get used to the sound of an amp moving air through our legs out into the audience. When I started using these amps, simply put, I love the sound, so now I play with the amp tilted upward. It makes for a more room filling sound and for situations where you are not using the 112 extension cab, I have found that a tilted- back amp on a wood floor makes for greater bass response.
The amp loves pedals and responds really well to clean boosts. If it sounds like I am in love with this amp, I will have to say yes, I am! My age pushes me into the category of traditionalist when it comes to tones. However, I like being able to use many of the technical options that we have available to us today. Rob is a builder that is able to incorporate these options into a traditional sounding quality product. And yes, packing this much amp into the small space of a Princeton is a shout out to the working musician who has 30 years of back strain under his belt from taking the necessary 40w for the average weekend gig! Thanks Rob…(who has roadies any more?)
Here is some info and website below on the Allston Tremulator MKII from Rob Lohr: AAAAA+
Allston Tremulator MKII specs:
Dimesions: 20″W x 16″H x 9 1/4″D
Tube compliment: 2x 6L6, 3x 12AX-7, 2x 12AT-7
Power output: 45 watts
Effects Loop: Half normalled line level
Speaker: 12″ Celestion G12T-75
Front panel controls:
Volume- pull bright
Treble- pull hi mid boost
Mid- pull lo mid boost
Bass- pull tone bypass
Rear panel controls:
impedance select (4,8,16 ohms)
Tone bypass independent master volume (under chassis between 1st and
Check out an interview I recently did with DeliRadio about the current and future landscape of the music industry.
“If you look at the history of the music business, there have been many radical periods where technology has come in and shaken things up and everyone was very concerned about that. And they had to endure the change and music kept evolving. I believe that’s just continuing to happen, and that the decline of the record business is part of that process.”
LAUNCHedu organized a competition for ed tech startups during this year’s SXSWedu. On March 6th, two companies won cash and consulting services from the LAUNCHedu advisory board. BloomBoard won in the K-12 category while LearningJar took home the prize in higher education.
“The LAUNCHedu competition highlighted a wealth of exceptional ideas and products that have the power to transform education as we know it today,” said Ron Reed, pxecutive producer of SXSWedu. “The field of contestants was extremely strong, and we congratulate BloomBoard and LearningJar for pushing the boundaries of creativity and innovation in education.”
Bloomboard, the K-12 winner, is based in Palo Alto, Calif., and “provides free observation and evaluation tools for school districts, and then uses the data collected from those tools to build individualized learning plans for teachers.” Additionally, the company provides an open marketplace of workshops and resources.
LearningJar, the higher education champion, is based in San Francisco and has developed an online life tool that “allows learners to gather and organize information about what they are learning, to validate their progress, and to share their success.”
Venture capital firm LearnCapital sponsored the competition, while supporting sponsors included EdNET 2012; the McCombs School of Business, The University of Texas; myEdu; Top Hat Monocle and Trinity Education Group.
Everybody wants to shred right? Well maybe not everybody, but a lot of guitarists want to learn the art of playing faster…at some point. When I was young I dreamed about playing as fast as Jimmy Page and Eddie Van Halen! Little did I know these guys are polar opposites when it comes to technique, feel, timing etc… but that is a larger conversation so we’ll save that for another day.
Every level of guitar player hits his or her own personal brick wall at some point. That is the best time to take a step back and open up the door to the “Woodshed”. When I was younger I really wanted to learn how to play more efficiently, and thusly with more speed and mojo (like all of you). How do we accomplish this? There are millions of ways to improve your speed and dexterity! Let’s talk about a few things I have discovered (and continue to use) which have enabled me to play with more finesse and speed.
I hope you enjoyed the ideas from the video lesson! Keep practicing and you will notice a huge difference in your hands within weeks.
Remember, you can’t accomplish anything in the “Woodshed” unless you bring your tools. When you sit down in the shed, don’t practice things you already know for hours at a time; bring those tools and challenge yourself every day!
There is a lot of speculation surrounding online education and how it will disrupt traditional teaching and learning systems. Many people are looking to other industries to predict what will happen next and in this case it’s the music industry. While some parallels can be drawn between markets, it is important to note the differences between them.
In a blog post titled, “Napster, Udacity, and the Academy,” Clay Shirky likens MOOCs to MP3s. Mr. Shirky, a writer and professor at NYU who studies the effects of the Internet on society, makes many good points but his basic premise is flawed. He predicts that MOOCs will disrupt the education industry in the same way that MP3s disrupted the music business.
“Higher education is now being disrupted,” he writes, “our MP3 is the massive open online course (or MOOC) and our Napster is Udacity, the education startup.”
Disruption is inevitable and coming. However, Mr. Shirky’s arguments break down in a variety of ways.
The reason that the MP3 caused the chaos that it did is because, to a normal listener, it is a perfect copy of what we used to buy in tangible forms. For most people, there isn’t a noticeable difference between listening to the audio files that are on a CD or even on the radio and the MP3 files that we play from our iPods.
Shirky claims that traditional record labels didn’t think the MP3 would catch on because of its “poor audio quality”. He goes on to imply that the labels were wrong because consumers don’t care about quality. He goes a step further by predicting that the same fundamental collapse will happen with traditional colleges and universities because MOOCs are free and convenient.
But his statements about the disregard for quality don’t hold up because people can’t tell the difference between an MP3 and a WAV – especially now that we are listening to songs via crappy laptop speakers and ear buds. From the point of view of the consumer, we are getting the equivalent of a physical CD for free. So price is an issue, but not quality.
I would argue, however, that there is a very noticeable difference between a college education and learning from a MOOC. One can’t replace the other.
In some cases, it may be true that MOOCs replicate the experience of a large lecture class, which everybody hates anyway, and perhaps those courses deserve to die. But a massive, impersonal online course is not a substitute for an intimate learning experience. The courses that I remember fondly are the ones in which I engaged with others, built relationships, was challenged by the professor and grew outside of my comfort zone.
MOOCs represent one extreme in the educational landscape. A twelve-person class led by a good professor in a solid university sits on the opposite end of the spectrum. Somewhere in between, there is an online learning niche to be filled.
I believe that the market for online classes that are actively led by teachers will be very strong in the coming years. These classes will be interactive, personal, and made up of about thirty students (not tens of thousands). There will be group projects so that students get to know each other and learn to solve problems together. There will be a mentoring component and the instructor will provide lots of personalized feedback. The course will not be free but it will be relatively affordable. It will also require a low time-commitment and be as convenient as possible.
Jeff Borden, who is VP of Instruction & Academic Strategy at Pearson, reports that the majority of the discussions around MOOCs are characterized by fear, not innovation. He noticed an overarching sense of “being left behind” coming from educators. I agree with Mr. Borden, that the second generation of MOOCs needs to be based on better teaching models.
“Unless you are auto-didactic learner (think Abe Lincoln) who can take a piece of content, internalize it, and not only retain it but apply it, MOOCs are likely problematic for you. That likely leads to another problem – 5-8% retention rates… In MOOCs today there is almost zero student choice, no curriculum integration, no sense of brain-learning interjected into the curricula, a lack of modeling or showcasing creativity and/or critical thinking, and the top-down model promotes a sterile, impersonal experience.”
Rather than panic about what effect the Internet will have on our education system, I am more inclined to side with Mr. Borden and focus on creative ways to move forward. The next wave of online schools will be designed “with purpose, solid learning design, and good pedagogical models.” They will help more people learn and provide a substitute for the college experience for a huge market of people who simply can’t affort a traditional college education.
I agree with some of what Mr. Shirky says – but disagree that a MOOC is the equivalent of well structured teacher-led course. A learn-on-your own experience in a MOOC is not the same as an engaging class with an instructor who provides feedback and the interaction with fellow students who work together. I think that is where the argument breaks down. A MOOC might be a fine replacement for a 500-student lecture course, but so might be a book, DVD or YouTube video. I think the future of higher education is in instructor-led online classes that are offered at an affordable price and with a reasonable time commitment.
This tutorial teaches how to create tables in MS Word. There are infinite uses for tables, besides simply displaying information: making checklists, charts, and tools such as this lyric chart, aka lyric take sheet, useful in recording sessions. The version used here is MS Word 2011 for Mac, but tables have been around in Word for a really long time, so some of this info should be helpful no matter what version you are using.
(Note: You can view this larger at the YouTube site.)
Finale and Sibelius, as well as other notation and DAW software, can export files in audio format. There are two common uncompressed audio formats: AIFF and WAV. These are the file types used on CD recordings. AIFF is a Mac format and WAV is Windows. However, both formats are interchangeable and can be read on each computer platform.
What is MP3?
MP3 is a compressed file format. The objective with compressing files is to make them smaller in size so they are easier to download without losing too much of the audio quality. MP3 is approximately a 10-1 compression. So, an AIFF or WAV file that is 10MB (10 megabytes) will be approximately 1MB (1 megabyte) when converted to the MP3 file format. For more information on MP3 go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MP3.
Audio file size from Get Info of the uncompressed file:
Same file converted to MP3:
Audio and DAW software such as Pro Tools, Logic, Cubase and others can save in uncompressed audio and they typically can convert to MP3 as well. If you own DAW or Audio software including the free program Audacity check the documentation to find out how to do the MP3 conversion.
Sibelius 7 and earlier versions, can export files in uncompressed audio format, however, the conversion to MP3 is not built in to the software. So, you will have to take two steps: save the file in Audio format and then use another program to make the MP3 conversion. See below for converting files using Apple’s iTunes.
The current version, Finale 2012, has two options for saving audio files. If you set the MIDI/Audio playback engine to “Play Though MIDI” then when you export audio, there will be an option of saving in AIFF/WAV or MP3.
This uses the computer’s build-in sounds so the quality of the audio is not as good as using the samples that come with the program. However, if you use Audio Units to playback the file, then when you export the Audio file you will only have the option of saving in full audio format and using an external program to make the MP3 conversion.
Converting WAV or AIFF files to MP3
There are lots of ways to convert audio files to the compressed 10-1 conversion of MP3. If you own audio or DAW software, you could save the audio from Finale or Sibelius and then open it in this software and make the conversion. If you don’t own DAW software, then you can make the conversion using Apple’s iTunes, a free download for Mac and Windows.
After you have made the settings in iTunes, you can convert a file or files to MP3.
From the iTunes File menu, choose Add to Library or drag the file into the Library window.
Select the file you want to convert to MP3.
Choose File > Create New Version > MP3.
This will create a copy of the file in MP3 format.
Select the converted file and choose: File > Show in Finder (Mac) or Show in Windows Explorer (on Windows). You can also right-click on the file to get this window.
This is the location in the iTunes folder where the converted file resides. You can upload it from here or drag it to an email message. Or, if you want to move the file, you can drag it to a document folder or the desktop.
Every so often, a piece of music comes along that changes musical tastes (or at least forecasts them) for years to come. Arguably, this was the case in 1824 with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 and again in 1913 with Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring.
With one such piece coming along every 90 years or so, could the next revolutionary piece be right around the corner? Or could it already exist? While predicting future musical tastes is a dangerous game, in this blog I will point out an existing piece that I hope becomes a musical revolution for the 21st century…
…and that piece is Christopher Rouse’s Flute Concerto.
Why? Because in the piece, Rouse had the simple audacity to use whatever techniques were most effective at eliciting each moment in the emotional contour. So there are moments that are extremely simple, incorporating tonal harmonies and clear melodies. And there are moments that are extremely complex, using dense counterpoint and extreme dissonance. All of these musical ideas are placed into a logical long-term form that creates forward momentum throughout the piece and a clear sense of completion at the end. The resulting music is extremely effective at communicating emotion.
Arguably, this is a departure from previous trends in new concert music. Serialism and related genres are built, at least in part, on the premise of rejecting tonality. Minimalism is built on the premise of rejecting complexity. Rouse seemingly rejects nothing in his concerto, instead being willing to use any technique that would maximize the emotional impact of the music.
What might one call this compositional approach?1 It is not modern era music, romantic era music, or classical era music. It is not minimalism nor serialism. It is some conglomeration that incorporates great ideas from all of the above.
One might call it the aggregation of best practices. It seems the music begins with an emotional storyline, then uses whatever techniques are most effective for communicating that emotional storyline. So if the music is about love, then triadic harmonies and diatonic melodies are appropriate. If the music is about heartbreaking grief, then extreme dissonance is appropriate. If the music is building tension, then dense and complex counterpoint is appropriate. And so on…
Notably, this seems a logical approach for the 21st century. One could make the argument that the 20th century was about experimentation—at times experimentation for the sake of experimentation. What does one do after experimenting? Well, it would be logical to pause, evaluate what worked and what did not work, and then aggregate the best ideas.
It is my hope that the 21st century becomes a century of aggregating best practices. Such an ideological movement would cherry-pick the best techniques developed over the centuries, without feeling an obligation to include or exclude any one particular technique, harmony or structure, and combine them all to create something inherently new. Such a century could produce some intensely emotional music, and if such a century came to pass, the Rouse Flute Concerto could be viewed as the opening salvo.
Now… I suspect you may want to hear it. If you are currently in southern California, Saint Louis, or Connecticut, then you are in luck. The Saint Louis Symphony is currently touring southern California with the piece on their program. They have March performances scheduled in Orange County and Santa Barbara, followed by two performances in St. Louis (Friday, Saturday). The Eastern Connecticut Symphony is also performing the piece in March.
Christopher Rouse wrote his Flute Concerto in 1993. The piece is cast across five movements that are roughly symmetrical. Movements 1 and 5 are simple and pristine, using beautiful triads in strings and a wandering flute melody hovering on top. Movements 2 and 4 are larger in instrumentation, fast in tempo, and more complex in counterpoint. Movement 3 is again slow. It combines both tonal and atonal techniques. Movement 3 is incredibly sad, memorializing James Bulger (the two-year-old English boy who was abducted and murdered by two ten-year-olds). The original program note is available online here.
A project is running late, and I’ve had to put myself in hyper-focus lockdown mode in order to rein it back in. So, I’m keeping the Internet more or less off, only letting myself use Dictionary.com, and hiding from the social media sites that call to me like sirens, from their treacherous rocks. I monitor email only every couple hours, just to make sure nothing urgent has come up, and that I’m keeping everyone busy that I can. Chat is mostly off. I’m not checking in with anyone to get their status reports, and am temporarily not giving some languishing authors any productivity pep talks. I haven’t started my tomato seedlings, I’m not peeking at my new book’s activity analytics, and I’m only writing this blog post because it’s nighttime and I’m taking stock of my strategies for keeping focused, in hopes that it will help me keep the momentum going after tomorrow, which is shaping up to be a brief reprieve from this charrette. I’ve been soaking in coffee, and avoiding sugar, red meat, and certainly alcohol, until after I’ve moved enough of the day’s ink. Okay, enough pixels. And not checking the news during my coffee breaks. Just editing. Because by nature, I would rather do any of these things than maintain this intensity. But that’s what needs to happen, for a few days, if this book is to be in print by an important deadline this fall, in seven months. It seems a little far out, but I see the potential cascade of falling dominoes that must be circumvented, so here I am.
Ideally, project managers should focus on strictly PM tasks, rather than having their hands in content. But in many environments, that purity of specialization isn’t possible. Particularly in relatively small shops, where everyone wears multiple hats. And particularly in the arts. There are many reasons why being a generalist, like this, is a bad idea. First, there are benefits for project managers to be emotionally detached from the content, so that we can focus on making cool-headed logistical decisions, regarding a project’s rate of progress and ultimate destiny. Sentimentality towards details can sabotage the over-arching project vision. (Yes, it can also save it, but for now, let’s acknowledge that it can sabotage it too.) Second, fragmented attention leads to mistakes. Multitasking generally results in loss of quality control, and when experts practice their highest trade, we get the best results, if it’s all managed well. Again, though, while that kind of division of labors is an ideal, it is not always the most cost effective. I’ve got my own hands deep into the content. It works out okay most of the time, but there are periods like this when I’ve got to stake out some territory and focus, on one side of the work or the other.
This week, I’ve had to pull my personal nuclear option for maintaining focus: keeping incense burning most of the time. The perpetual jasmine scent and slight stinging in my eyes reminds me that I don’t have the luxury to mess around. I’m not answering the phone, and only checking for messages every two hours. Strangely, the world hasn’t come crashing down around me, yet. And in the past week or so, I’ve reviewed 600 pages of galley proofs and edited about 90,000 words. Too much. And not enough.
I imagine the incense smoke rising from my writer’s garret in central Massachusetts, reaching out a gossamer strand towards the Vatican, where the College of Cardinals’ black smoke will be soon similarly wafting upwards, as they burn their papal ballots. Hopefully, it will turn white for all of us before too long.
While the recorded music business continues to suffer, the live music business is holding up rather well, propelled in the short term by legacy acts, but moving forward with smaller bands and festivals well poised to fill the shoes of the legendary bands as they retire. Here are some excerpts from a great piece by Dean Budnick with the Hollywood Reporter.
We’re at a fascinating crossroads. The modern touring rock industry emerged in the late ’60s, during the heyday of such venues as Bill Graham’s Fillmore East and West in New York and San Francisco, respectively, Jack Boyle’s The Cellar Door in Washington, D.C., and Don Law’s Tea Party in Boston. Rock music didn’t move into arenas until the early ’70s, a development that prompted Graham to close his clubs, announcing his decision via a letter to the Village Voice that decried “the unreasonable and totally destructive inflation of the live concert scene.”
So how are the smartest people in the industry preparing for the next big shift?
“We need fresh acts to appeal to new generations,” says Michael Rapino, president and CEO of Live Nation, the world’s dominant tour promoter. “The Rolling Stones was an epic tour, but it’s not a long-term business.” Rapino suggests that this process already is in motion, as six of the top 10 Live Nation tours of 2012 were by artists whose first hit was in the 2000s, including Lady Gaga, Coldplay, Jason Aldean, Drake, Rascal Flatts and Nickelback. “The beauty of this industry is there are always new acts to win our hearts.”
Chip Hooper, worldwide head of music at Paradigm, echoes this sentiment: “Today you’re talking about one group of bands, but what is contemporary and what is heritage just keeps changing as time goes marching on. If you took a snapshot of today, yeah, there’ll be some older artists who won’t be touring in a couple years, but then there’ll be new older artists because younger artists are getting older.”
Still, it remains an open question as to whether today’s concertgoers will continue to follow a singles artist like Rihanna into her dotage and whether they will pony up for the ever-escalating price for a live-concert experience. “As concertgoers age and inflation increases the price of nearly everything, ticket prices will rise in conjunction,” says industry analyst Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG. “When Coldplay play Madison Square Garden with a crowd averaging 50 years old rather than 30 years old, the higher-income-earning crowd will part with more money. The transition from The Eagles and CSN to Bon Jovi and U2 to Coldplay and Foo Fighters might be difficult for some interested parties — but the transition will occur.”
The answer might be to think smaller, says Tom Windish of The Windish Agency, which reps more than 500 acts including Foster the People, Gotye and 20 of the performers at the 2012 Coachella festival. “If I was a promoter, I would be analyzing which markets could use a 2,000- to 5,000-capacity venue and what obstacles are in the way to creating one,” Windish says. “As an agent, there are many cities where there is just not a suitable venue for a band who can sell this number of tickets. It takes time to open a venue of this size for many cities, and it can’t happen soon enough.”
So will all this work? Perhaps a more pointed question is: Can the live music industry survive the coming generational shift? Will young people show the same passion for live music as their elders — and do they have the income to support their habit? Tentative signs point to yes, based on festival attendance as well as the rising popularity of such performers as Mumford and Sons, Zac Brown Band, Bassnectar, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals and Vampire Weekend. At its core, the live entertainment industry is built on a certain ineffable, unquantifiable connection between fan and band, which is also why those legacy acts might not be leaving the stage anytime soon.
Previously, I did a post on how to create chord symbols from notation that is already entered in Finale. In this post, I address manually typing Chords into Finale and getting the correct chord suffix and playback.
There are two parts to a chord symbol:
The root and/or the root and altered bass. This is represented by the capital letter. For example a C major triad would be entered as: C
A C major triad with G in the bass would be entered as C/G where the slash indicates an altered bass note.
The second part of the chord symbol is the chord suffix or extension of the chord. For example, if you want to indicate a C dominant 7th chord, it would be entered C7. There are many, many types of chord suffixes and different ways they are notated in popular music. It is not uncommon to see a chord such as C7(#9#11) or Cmin7(b5). To make it more confusing, there are a variety of ways composers and arrangers notate the same chord. For example a minor triad could be entered Fm, Fmin, or F-.
There are two reasons to be sure that you enter the chord root and suffix using the right syntax in Finale. Namely, it will look correct and Finale will play back the correct chord. There is a basic playback option that Finale has built in when chord symbols are entered. This can be turned on or off by selecting the Chord tool and checking or unchecking Chord Playback in the Chord menu. This basic chord playback is designed to be used as a reference when composing with chord symbols. I often turn this off when I add a piano and/or guitar part to an arrangement.
Typing Chords into Finale
Next, let’s go through the process that I use the majority of the time to enter chords: typing them into the score.
Choose the Chord Tool by clicking the icon in the Main Tool Palette or choose it from the Tools menu.
From the Chord menu, check to be sure Manual Input is selected. In earlier versions of Finale, there is a “Type into the Score” option. In 2012, the only option is Manual input.
Go to the staff where you want to enter the chord symbols and click on a note or rest in the bar. THE ARROWS or POSITIONING TRIANGLES: When entering lyrics or chords, Finale displays 4 arrows on the left of the staff. These are for aligning the chords. The left most arrow controls the base line for all staves in the piece, The arrow second from the left controls the baseline for this staff only for the entire piece. The third arrow from the left controls the baseline for this system only and the 4th from the left controls the position of the next chord to be entered. So, drag these arrows with care!
Type the root – a capital letter. In this example, I want to enter a D major 7 chord, so I enter a D.
Finale has a library of chord suffixes that are loaded each time you create a file. In order to get the correct look and playback, you must be aware of these suffixes. To see the chord suffix library, enter the root and then type colon (:) zero (0), so it looks like: D:0 and press return/enter. This brings up the chord suffix library. You can click on the suffix and enter it into the score. However, what I would do is get familiar with the syntax of the chord suffixes so you can just type them in to save time. The syntax has to be exact!
What will happen if you type in the suffix that does not exist? For example, if you type F- (F followed by a dash) instead of Fm or Fmin for an F minor triad, since these are the only two suffixes in the standard Finale chord suffix library and minus has not been included, Finale will give you an error message:
Type No and go back and review step 5, above to see what suffix is in the library. The reason is if you click Yes to the above dialog box, you will be asked to enter the playback for the chord. It is a bit confusing and I had to review the Finale Documentation to get this to work. If you do nothing, the minus suffix will play back as a major triad, not minor. So, my recommendation is to click no and go back and review what suffixes are already in the library for that particular chord.
Chord Font Libraries
Finale comes with several custom chord libraries. These are chosen when you start a new score using the Setup Wizard in the Ensemble and Document Style window. If you click Hand Written, the chord font will be unique and include more popular and jazz type of chord suffixes.
If you select Handwritten in Finale 2012, you will get an entirely different chord suffix font set. Enter a root of a chord and then colon and zero to see the library.
TIP: You can use the metatool numbers to enter chords that you use frequently. For example, if you want to use the diminished 7 marking with the 0. You can enter the root followed by colon (:) 150 and press return. This will also enter the suffix.
TIP: Want to enter chords with something other than letter names? You can, by choosing the Chord Tool and from the Chord menu choose Chord Style and one of the options. Refer to the Finale manual for more information on fonts.
For more information on chord entry, consult the Finale User Manual.
We are beginning to see the disruption of traditional higher education. This seems to be the path that many institutions are on, as their businesses are in the process of being re-engineered by – you guessed it – the Internet.
Just as instant access and peer to peer communication and worldwide communication systems disrupted the music industry, and just as blogs and services like Craig’s List have disrupted the newspaper industry – we are now seeing MOOCs, distance learning, new services like the Kahn Academy and the rise of the rock-star professor disrupt the business models of our beloved colleges and universities. It is inevitable that they will change if they are to survive.
Mark Cuban, the Dallas Mavericks owner who sold his Broadcast.com company to Yahoo for $1 Billion before anyone even knew what digital videos were – recently wrote a great piece entitled Is your college going out of business? Here is an excerpt:
“College is where you find out about yourself. It’s where you learn how to learn. It’s where you get exposure to new ideas. For those into business, it’s where you learn the languages of business, accounting, finance, marketing and sales.
The question is not whether or not you should go to school, the question for the class of 2014 is what is your college plan and what is the likelihood that the college or university you attend will still be in business by the time you want to graduate.
Still in business? Yep. When I look at the university and college systems around the country I see the newspaper industry.
The newspaper industry was once deemed indestructable. Then this thing called the internet came along and took away their classified business. The problem wasn’t really that their classifieds disappeared. It was more that they had accumulated a ton of debt and had over invested in physical plant and assets that could not adapt to the new digital world.
When revenue fell, the debt was still there — as were all the big buildings they had purchased, all those presses they had bought and the declining-in-value acquisitions. But the debt accumulated to pay for them never went away.
They were stuck with no easy way out.
The exact same thing is happening to our 4 year schools. You can’t go to a big state university and not see construction. Why?”
That is a great question. Who in there right mind would be investing heavily in brick and mortar facilities to house and teach students when world class education is available online and a few keystrokes away? As a college president, would you mortgage your institution’s future to build an edifice to the past – or would you embrace the realities of the marketplace and design a new future model that lets you survive? For many the definition of denial is “a river in Egypt”.
Cuban writes “Why in the world are schools building new buildings? What is required in a business school classroom that is any different than the classroom for psychology or sociology or english or any other number of classes? A new library, seriously? What is worse is that schools are taking on debt to pay for this new construction. A fools game. Uninformed.
Think about this from the public’s perspective. Schools are seeing state and federal funding decline, as they should. Why should taxpayers be paying for another building?
Schools are seeing their primary revenue source — tuition, once a number that was never really questioned — becoming a value decision by prospective students. As they should.
Unless your parents are wealthy or you quality for a full ride or something close, the days of picking a school because that is the school you always wanted to go to are gone.
The class of 2014 and beyond now has to prepare a college value plan. What classes are you going to take online that enable you to get the most credits for the least cost. What classes are you going to take at a local, low-cost school so you can get additional credits at the lowest cost.
For the smart student who cares about getting their money’s worth from college, the days of one school for four years are over. The days of taking on big debt (to the tune of $1 TRILLION as I write this) are gone. Going to a four-year school is supposed to be the foundation from which you create a future, not the transaction that crushes everything you had hoped to do because you have more debt than you could possibly pay off in 10 years. It makes no sense.
Which in turn means that four-year schools that refuse to LOWER their tuition are going to see their enrollment numbers decline. It just doesn’t make sense to pay top dollar for Introduction to Accounting , Pyschology 101, etc.
Of course, the big schools are going to argue this all day long. They want and need your money. They want to tell you how beautiful their campus is. The social aspects of going away to college. The amazing professors they have. The opportunities they create. The access to alumni and sports. All were great arguments in 2001 when tuitions were still somewhat reasonable. They no longer hold water.”
New ways of Thinking and Acting
The saving grace may come in the form of creative partnerships between for-profit entities and traditional universities. Apple was a pioneer in this area (like music) with its iTunes U a decade ago. Now we see companies like Coursera and Udemy rising up to pick off the best-in-class professors and make an entirely new experience and opportunity for students across the globe.
Linda Lorimer writes that these partnerships… “will erode the seeming chasm in recent decades between for-profit educational enterprises and traditional universities to create “win-win-win” scenarios: a win for the university’s promulgation of its educational programs, a win for the business objectives of the corporation—but most importantly, a win for new student populations that will access outstanding courses and educational content for the first time.
We will inevitably see more porous geographic “boundaries” for a university. As just one example, a noted faculty member at Yale (USA) taught his course for credit last year from Beijing while conducting research. His “class” included students on the home Yale campus, but also students in Varanasi, India and Shanghai. Also, many countries eager to develop further their system of tertiary education may be able to avoid some of the capital intensive investments of building new “bricks and mortar” facilities by leap-frogging to online instruction that can be widely deployed across a country—or farther. Those of us who have had first-hand experiences with the magical opportunities of residential collegiate communities where education extends far outside the classroom should not be anxious about the continuing calling of our type of university, even as we can welcome new online “entrants”.”
Having witnessed first hand the devastation wrought on the music industry by the transformative nature of the global internet and the shift in power to the consumer and in this case student, I can tell you that a huge change is afoot and parents and students will be carefully weighing their options in the coming years. Online schools are already delivering outcomes as good or in some case better than their brick and mortar counterparts. And we are just now seeing new creative partnerships that blend online instruction with on-campus experiences that very well could hold the key to the successful business models of the future.
How do businesses go bankrupt? Slowly then all of a sudden. Colleges and Universities – take the time you have now to disrupt your own business before someone else does it for you.
Sibelius has a host of text styles. It is important to understand the various categories of text and how they function. For example, some text is designed to be printed on one staff or instrument and others on all of the parts and the score. And, all of the text styles are “smart” in that they have built-in characteristics such as size, font, play back and more.
Staff Text includes text that is added to one staff or instrument, not necessarily all of the instruments in the score. This includes Lyrics, Chords, Technique Text and Expressions as well as other staff items such as fingerings.
Staff Text Above the Staff
Chords are entered by selecting the note or rest and using the shortcut CTRL+K (Command+K on Mac). Enter the chords and the suffix such as C7, Dmaj7 and so forth. Sibelius will convert the text you type into the closest chord and suffix. If the chord turns red, Sibelius does not recognize the suffix.
TIP: You can respell chord text that has been entered via Text > Chord Symbols.
Technique Text is used for placing text above an individual staff. For example, if you want to indicate specific mutes in brass or add text such as solo or tutti. Select the note or bar and choose the shortcut CTRL+T (Command+T on Mac).
Special Staff Text is also preset up in Sibelius. For example, if you are labeling the cymbals on a drum set staff, or indicating fingerings, choose
Text > Styles > Techniques. The drum set markings are a smaller text size as are the fingerings and drum sticking.
Staff Text Below the Staff
Lyrics are entered by select the note or rest. Use the shortcut CTRL+L (Command+L on Mac). Then enter the lyrics. Type a dash (-) at a syllable break and press the space bar at the end of a word.
Expressions such as dynamics and other indications such as legato are entered as an expression. Select the note or bar and use the shortcut CTRL+E (Command+E on Mac). Right-click and choose the expression or type it with the mouse. Dynamics appear in a special bold font and should be selected from the contextual menu.
System Text is text that appears over one staff in the score but in all of the parts when they are printed separately. System text can also have a specific playback built in to it.
Tempo and Metronome Marks actually do set the tempo. If you choose Largo or Presto Tempo Text, Sibelius will set an appropriate tempo. For setting a specific metronome marking, use Metronome Mark. So, if you want to change the tempo in a piece, copy the metronome marking from the first bar and change the number accordingly.
Other System Text includes title, composer, DS and DC al Coda and copyright. The DS/DC al Coda must be entered from this text style in order for it to play back properly.
Rehearsal Marks are entered in their own special manner so they will automatically number and renumber if one or more is deleted or added to the score. Select the bar where you want to place a rehearsal mark and use the shortcut CTRL+R (Command+R on Mac).
TIP: Do use the Symbols menu when entering markings the Segno and Coda signs. They will play back. However, most of the symbols in the menu do not play back and should be used for graphic display only – not playback.
TIP: Once you enter a specific type of text in Sibelius, you don’t have to go hunting for it in the tabs and menus. Rather, select the first entry and copy and paste it to the next location and then double-click and edit what has been copied.
This post is meant to be an overview of text styles in Sibelius. For more information on the various text styles consult the Sibelius documentation.
A few folks asked that I post the funding presentation that I gave at NAMM this year. There’s three parts to this presentation: what you need to have in place before you start your campaign, traditional funding options, and some forward thinking newer options.
Three often-confused roles at any project’s core: the project’s sponsor, manager, and visionary. Here’s a diagram showing them all connected, like a molecule (borrowed from my new book, Project Management for Musicians).
The actual titles for the people performing these roles varies. The sponsor might be called a record label executive, publisher, or client. The project manager might be called a producer, tour manager, recording engineer, or agent. The visionary could be an artist, company founder, teacher, or author. And these roles might be fulfilled by three different people, by just one or two, or even a lot more people involved—most commonly, in the case of a board serving as sponsor or a band serving as the visionary.
However the roles are staffed, the three roles are present. Understanding how they relate can help alleviate some tensions and make sure that the essential functions are covered.
Let’s take a look at what each role’s responsibilities.
The project sponsor is the person who decides whether or not the project should exist. He or she is its chief advocate and controls its funding. This person might be on staff or might be a client. Say, for example, that you are a producer, and for your current project, the parents of a teen-aged singer/songwriter hire you to produce their daughter’s album. The parents are the project’s sponsors; they can turn the money faucet on and off. The producer is the project manager, who coordinates all the logistics involved in making the vision real, given the resources that the sponsor’s funding makes available. The singer/songwriter daughter is the visionary—the person who imagines the project’s content (guided by the producer, to one degree or another).
This means that ultimately, the parents are in control, in this case. The project belongs to them, and they are ultimately the “deciders.” If the daughter starts failing math, they could decide to halt work on her recording until her grades improve. If the daughter tells you, the project manager, that what her parents say doesn’t matter and that you must proceed with booking the studio, you have to clarify that it’s her parents’ call, not hers, and certainly not yours. Remember the golden rule: Whoever has the gold makes the rules!
Let’s look at a more corporate model. Imagine a television studio. The board of directors meet with the CEO and together, they decide to send down a mandate to a senior executive vice president that they need a hit show. The VP sets a market research team in motion, and they determine that a viable concept could be a reality show about the adventures of a guitar technician. (It could happen….) So, the vice president tells an A&R/producer guy on his team to find a suitable guitar technician for this role, who will serve as both the on-screen talent and the show’s creative director. Auditions are held, and a charismatic and visionary surfer-dude guitar tech gets hired.
Here, the vice president is in the role of project sponsor, though the project’s funding is ultimately at the mercy of the board of directors. But it’s easier for one person to serve in this role, so he’s nominally and effectively the sponsor. The A&R/producer guy is the project manager, and the guitar tech/surfer dude is the visionary. The show will get funded only for as long as the “people upstairs” want it to continue. The guitar tech might now be the star of the show, and his specific pixie dust may make or break the show’s viability, but there’s a limit to his actual decision-making authority. If it turns out that he likes to tune guitars in the nude, that will only fly onscreen if the sponsor ultimately agrees to try it. Similarly, if the guitar tech tries to insist that live concert footage must be included with every show no matter what the cost, it’s not his call to make. It might be a captivating idea, but it’s not necessarily possible, given the available resources; figuring that out is the project manager/A&R/producer guy’s role. So, there’s a limit to how much of the vision is possible to implement, and deciding how the money gets spent is not the surfer dude’s gig. Temper tantrum off, please. If the dude wants more control, he can fund a project himself, rather than collaborating with a studio. These days, many artists are opting to do just that, and so they need to replace what’s missing in the triangle: the project’s sponsorship and its management. Which are each, a whole lot of work.
Again, for the TV show, the A&R guy/producer is in the role of project manager, taking care of logistics, managing resources (i.e., people’s time, gear, and budget), and keeping the trains running on time. Sure, he might be a seasoned pro, and perhaps even the person best able to determine what will actually make for good television, market research be damned. He could well consider this show his personal masterpiece. But in the end, he is an advisor, rather than the ultimate decision maker, at least for the most significant issues. For in the big picture perspective, the purpose in this case is to get a hit show for the studio, rather than to depict the actual world of this guitar tech.
In the end, the sponsor decides. It is human nature to feel a sense of ownership of the work that we get hired to do, but the project only actually belongs to whoever is funding it. (Muddying the waters is who owns the copyright, but that’s kind of a separate issue. I’m glad you thought of it, though.) So, clarifying this chain of decision-making authority is really important to a project’s success.
Success is not necessarily determined by how great a project is artistically or even how financially viable it is. It is determined by the project sponsor’s opinion regarding whether or not they got what they paid for. Likely, artistic quality and financial viability will be among the sponsor’s criteria for success, but you never know. In the singer/songwriter example, the project’s ultimate purpose could well be to motivate the daughter to do better in math. For the TV studio, it might simply be whether it gets an Emmy or not. The sponsor’s metrics are the only ones that truly matter, from a purely project-management perspective. Hopefully, these metrics get articulated and communicated to everyone who needs to know, so that they can all be working towards the same result.
In any case, ideally, the people who are brought aboard to create the project are aligned philosophically with the sponsor’s over-arching goals, beyond the objectives of the single project. This is why hiring for values alignment is so important. It makes some of the necessary decisions—such as changing a project’s artistic direction, extending the timeline, or even terminating the project entirely—a lot easier for everyone to take, if they understand why the project is being funded.
In my courses and workshops, one of the most common mistakes that I see is entering slurs and ties incorrectly in Finale and Sibelius. The reason to get them right is that playback will be off especially if you are entering ties where there should be slurs. And, the look of the items will not be accurate. See below for the steps to entering slurs and ties in Finale or Sibelius.
Entering Ties in Finale
Ties are entered in Finale using either the Speedy or Simple entry tool. I usually add ties as I am entering the notation. If you are using Finale’s real-time entry HyperScribe or importing MIDI files, you will have to use Speedy or Simple entry to edit the entries that are incorrect.
Enter the left note of the tie
Press the letter T all by itself or choose Simple or Speedy menu > Edit Commands > Modify Entry > Tie to next note.
To remove a tie, select the left note of the tie and press the letter T.
TIP: The old Speedy note shortcut was the equals (=) sign. This still works to enter a tie but you can also press the letter T. The equals sign does not work as a shortcut in Simple entry.
Entering Slurs in Finale
Choose the SmartShape Tool.
In the SmartShape palette, click the Slur Tool.
To enter a 2-note slur, double-click on the left note.
To enter a slur over 3 or more notes, double-click on the first note and hold down the second mouse click.
Drag the mouse though the notes to the end of the slur.
If the Slur Tool handles are displayed, you can flip the slur by pressing the letter F or choosing it from the SmartShape menu.
TIP: When adding slurs to an existing tie, the slur should encompass both notes.
Entering Ties in Sibelius
Ties should be entered from the first Keypad layout. I usually input ties as I am entering the notation.
enter the left note of the tie
click the Enter Key on the first Keypad layout. Do not select the tie before you enter the note as it will be assigned to the last note entered.
Entering Slurs in Sibelius
Slurs in Sibelius come from the lines menu. The shortcut to enter a 2-note slur is the letter S.
press Esc so nothing is selected.
select the left note of the slur to highlight it.
press the letter S. You can also select it from the Lines menu.
You can tell is it is a slur or tie by clicking on it. Slurs have handles so you can manually adjust the height and length of the slur. Ties do not.
To enter a 3 or more note slur in Sibelius. You have two options:
select the first note of the slur, and press the letter S
Then press the space bar to expand the slur
The second option:
press Esc to clear the cursor
click on the first note of the slur to select it
hold down shift and click on the last note of the slur
press the letter S to enter the slur.
When the slur is highlighted you can flip it by pressing the letter X.
In this post, I interviewed my co-author, friend, and mentor, Vince Leonard. The topic of this post is how to determine the page size for scores and parts in Finale and Sibelius.
TR: Do you have a set size in Finale and/or Sibelius for individual parts?
VL: Yes. When I first started with Finale 1.0 back in the late 1980s, I measured the manuscript paper I’d been using when copying parts by hand and reproduced those dimensions in Finale. At the time I could only print on letter size paper so I had to shrink the dimensions from my 9.5 by 12.5 manuscript paper. Thanks to zoom reduction copiers, I knew the letter size page size was 88% smaller than my manuscript paper. So, I made my computer part page 88% when printing on letter size paper. I also reduce the staves a little as well. At 100% it looks a little large, so I reduce the staff 90%. That’s enough to make a crowed system look a little less cluttered. I now have a printer that allows me to print on 9.5 by 12.5 paper, but I still use the individual Staff reduction.
In Finale, to reduce the staff size, choose the Page Layout Tool and from the Page Window, choose Resize Page (Page Reduction).
In Sibelius, to reduce the staff size, choose Layout > Document Setup and reduce the staff size.
TR: When do you start to reduce the size of the page? How many parts in a score?
VL: Everything I create in Finale and Sibelius is reduced to some degree. My first job was working for Bill Holcombe at his music publishing and engraving business, Musicians Publications back in the 1970s. They used music typewriters for engraving, which had a fixed staff size so everything had some degree of reduction to it. So when I started using computers, I copied the engraving model I knew from my past experience.
Even in small scores, as you can see from the quartet and quintet examples in our Finale and Sibelius books, involve reduction. One of the things I learned from Bill was to maximize the available space on each page. With scores, the music is smaller compared to an individual part even though both pages may be letter sized. I want to fit as many systems as I can on that score page so I’m not constantly turning pages.
In Finale, to put a specific number of systems per page, choose the Page Layout Tool and from the Page Layout menu, select Space Systems Evenly. Enter the desired number of systems per page.
In Sibelius, in the Layout tab, you can reduce the space between systems to fit more systems on the page.
TR: When do you use Landscape for Scores? How many staves? What staff/page reduction?
VL: I use landscape orientation for smaller instrumentation where the system looks to spread out vertically in portrait orientation but there is insufficient space for two systems to fit on a page. Traditionally landscape orientation is used in Jazz Ensemble and Marching Band scores, but since neither Finale or Sibelius default to landscape when creating a new score, a lot of writers not accustomed to the traditional layout just use portrait orientation as set up by the software.
I would start looking at Landscape somewhere between 6 to 10 staves per system and up to standard jazz ensemble size, between 20 and 25 staves. With landscape orientation scores, there is less vertical space so reduction is more important to allow for sufficient space between the staves. Scores always involve a tradeoff on space and at times there is not enough so you have to make due and just adjust things so they do not collide.
Both Finale and Sibelius will set up a newly created score in such a way that the staves fit on whatever page you select, so you don’t have to worry about that at all, unless you want to refine it a bit.
Before dealing with numbers it is worth noting that in Finale there are three elements that all be reduced, either using one or in combination to achieve the final look. There is the overall size of the page, the size of the staff system (each group of staves in a multi stave piece) and the size of the staff itself. Page reduction will reduce the size of everything on the page including the music and all page text. Staff System reduction effects only the music on the page (leaving the page text unchanged), and Staff Reduction effect only a specific staff. Anyone who has attempted the art of juggling knows that keeping three things going at one time is very hard, so I usually use only one or two of these options at a time to get a score where I’m happy with it. My first choice is the Staff System Reduction. This dialog box has two settings, the first is Staff Height, which is a unit of measurement, and the Resize System percentage. The Resize System number will be the one most adjusted, but don’t ignore the Staff Height setting, if you get complaints about scores being hard to read, this number may be the biggest part of the problem. I ry to keep it in the 80’s, using EVPU’s as my unit of measure. If I can keep it at 88 in a large score that’s a good thing. The Resize System number will be in the upper 50’s to low 60s for most scores, with some additional staves added it may get into the low 50’s.
In Sibelius, these settings can be found in the Layout tab in the Document Setup section, the Staff Size setting performs a function similar to the Staff Height in Finale. I usually prefer it just a setting or two smaller than the Sibelius default for most scores.
Both programs have the ability to make adjustments in between staff distances on a page by page basis once notes are entered and specific problems present themselves, but my focus here is the template, or default document that begins the process.
TR: How about large scores such as band and orchestral scores? Do you use larger size paper and if so, what sizes?
VL: I’m a big fan of 11″ by 17″ paper for large ensemble scores. After spending many years limited to letter and legal size paper it was very liberating to have that much space available. I used to print large orchestra scores on legal size paper and use a photo copier with zoom enlargement to copy each page onto 11” by 17” paper. Now that I’m working with some orchestra and chorus pieces, once again the page is getting tight. One answer to combine instruments on a single staff to save some space, but only instruments with the same transposition. This is something the neither Finale, in Setup Wizard, or Sibelius, in Quick Start, do automatically. Set the number of staves manually, then rename the staves to reflect the instruments on them.
TR: Are the templates that are supplied with Finale and Sibelius good places to go for reduction?
VL: They are a start, but I also look at samples of print music and take the best of both. I print out a sheet of a blank template and compare it to print examples to check staff size, distance between staves and margins. One of the first things you may notice is the distance between staves, especially with Finale documents. Finale places an equal amount of distance between each staff of a score in the Setup Wizard. (There is a way of adding additional distance when creating a score, it’s the Add Vertical Space button in the second pane of the Setup Wizard) If you look at published non computer scores, you will find different distances between the staves. This has to do with parts that can go high above or below the staff and to put a little extra distance between instrument groups for easier visual recognition. Sibelius automatically places some extra distance between instrument families and grand staff instruments but not within an instrument family.
TR: Any other recommendations?
VL: When creating large band and orchestra scores, take the time to add readable measure numbers to the score and number every measure. It saves a lot of time in rehearsal. The number one thing I have to do to computer generated scores in the Philly Pops Library is to manually write in numbers on scores where the default size and placement has not been changed.
For developing, unsigned artists, there can certainly be a bit of a “Catch 22″ when it comes to funding the activities they need to find their core fanbase, engage with this fanbase, and ultimately monetize this fanbase. How does a developing artist fund the marketing initiatives necessary to generate a core fanbase, without having a fanbase to tap into? It’s something we talk a lot about in the courses I teach at Berklee.
For developing musicians, it’s important to consider the fact that without the ability to speak with fans in a direct way online, your opportunities for monetization are limited. The collection of permission-based fan contact info, through an email address, a Twitter follower, a YouTube subscriber, a Pinterest follower, a Facebook fan, and other existing and not-yet-existing services is a necessity before starting any extensive funding initiatives.
For established or legacy artists who have a dedicated, engaged, and growing fan base – and are communicating with that fan base regularly – generating funding can be a bit smoother. Continued awareness, acquisition, and engagement is still necessary, of course, but the opportunities to engage in creative forms of funding increase exponentially if you have a base to communicate with.
Frank Zappa and the Zappa Family Trust have pushed the boundaries, creatively and entrepreneurially, for years. Little known fact: Frank Zappa introduced a proposal for a subscription-based digital distribution service in 1983! Recently, the Zappa Family Trust launched a new fan-focused initiative to coincide with the release of a new Vault live recording: All Roxy, No Elsewhere – 76 minutes of never-before-released Frank Zappa master recordings from the Roxy Performances of December 9th and 10th, 1973.
The ZFT is providing 1000 licenses (Roxy by Proxy) to Zappa fans for the purpose of manufacturing and distributing All Roxy, No Elsewhere on their own. This license, in Gail Zappa’s words, provides fan with the ability to:
“…make as many copies of the record as you can possibly distribute – AND except for reporting to us your sales & customers (just like any other record distributor) and paying us the publishing, YOU keep the money. AND you get to collect royalties from what is sold at Barfko-Swill AND you will also be entitled to a special wholesale price available to the OLAZRBPDs (Officially Licensed Authorized Zappa ROXY BY PROXY Distributor) exclusively.”
The revenue generated from these licenses (available at $1000 a piece) will go towards raising funds to cover the expenses related to releasing The Roxy Performances – The Movie in time for the 40th anniversary of the shows.
I think the Roxy by Proxy idea is interesting for a couple of reasons:
This is a great example and a creative implementation of Clay Shirky’s “Pool of Participators” idea, outlined in his book Cognitive Surplus. Engaged fans want to use some of their free time to help artists that they love – they just need a platform to do so. More from Clay on that idea, here.
It has the potential to build trust within the Zappa fan community. The ZFT will be working directly with fans on marketing collateral, distribution minutia, royalty payments, and more. While this could become a complete nightmare scenario for fans as well as the ZFT, it could also open the doors for a more transparent and mutually beneficial relationship. Guster, for example, build huge trust within their community in the early days with their “rep program,” where the band would send their fans CDs to sell on spec, with the fans sending the band checks for any sales after the fact.