Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Sound Of The International Space Station

We always think of being in space as the ultimate in silence. Now wind, no ambient noise, only the absence of sound. Being in the International Space Station is different though, as it's apparently not as quiet as one would think. Take a listen to the clip below.



What you're hearing in the background is the various computer fans, life support systems, and lab experiments polluting their closed environment with the same thing we face on earth.

It looks like you can't get away from our modern noise even 250 miles in space.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

What A NIN Concert Looks Like From On Stage

I thought this was a lot of fun. Most musicians who have gigged a lot know what it's like on stage, but I think we're all curious what it's like to be on stage with other bands. In February of 2009 Rob Sheridan was allowed onstage for a song ("Burn") when Nine Inch Nails played in Melbourne. He gives us a musician's-eye view of what it's like to be in the band that night.



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Don't forget to check out my Music 3.0 blog for tips and tricks on navigating social media and the new music business.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

7 Tips For Keeping Your Voice Healthy

Superior Vocal Health Throat Saver from Bobby Owsinski's Big Picture blog
Since the vocalist is the only musician who can not put their instrument away in a protective case after the gig or rehearsal, it’s important to take very good care of it. Eventually every singer has some vocal trouble, and if you’re not careful, it can really lead to long term damage. That’s why it’s important for a singer to learn to be especially aware of the need to take care of himself. Here's an excerpt from the band improvement book How To Make Your Band Sound Great with 7 tips to help vocalists keep their voices healthy and ready to sing at every gig and recording session.

1 - Aside from being sick, the number one cause of vocal problems is not getting enough sleep. When you’re tired, all the parts of your body needed to support your vocal cords tend to weaken a bit, which leads improper breathing and thus throat problems shortly after you begin to sing. Get as much sleep as you can (preferably seven or eight hours) the night before a gig, or at least take a nap on the day of the gig so you can feel somewhat refreshed.

2 - The next thing is to avoid milk (and any dairy products for that matter) from three to six hours before you sing. Anything with milk in it will cause an excess production of phlegm around your vocal chords, so that’s a definite no-no.  The old remedy of milk and honey for a rough throat is very soothing after the gig, but not before!

3 - If you are hungry before a gig, don’t be afraid to eat, but just eat until you’re satisfied and don't stuff yourself with a seven course meal. Try not to eat in the last hour before your performance in order to avoid that excess phlegm again. If you do feel phlegmy, you’ll have the strongest temptation to clear your throat (which can be harmful) immediately after eating, but waiting an hour is usually enough time for your meal to settle.

4 - And speaking of clearing your throat, there are some that say that you should never try to clear your throat because it can cause some damage, but it’s usually necessary because excess mucous inhibits really inhibits your singing. The trick is to find a way to clear your throat without irritating it and the best way is to do a gentle "whispered cough" and then swallow and repeat. If this doesn't work, you need to deal with the excess mucous production. Squeeze a 1/4 of a lemon into a tall glass of water and sip over a period of about twenty minutes. This should cut through a lot of the excess mucous.

5 - Other things to avoid are alcohol, tea (despite popular belief), coffee, cola and anything else with caffeine, since these actually have a dehydrating effect, which is quite the opposite of what you really need.

6 - One thing you should do is drink lots and lots of water (ideally two to three quarts a day - the more the better) because a dry throat leads to a sore throat. If you live in an arid climate like Arizona, sleep with a humidifier next to your bed and try to warm up your voice in the shower. The moisture can be an incredible help for your voice. Also, learn to breathe in through your nose as much as possible. This will help moisten the air before it reaches your vocal cords.

7 - Finally, some singers swear by Entertainer’s Secret, a spray mixture that lubricates the vocal cords and was developed by an ear, nose and throat specialist. Others really like Superior Vocal Health's Throat Saver, a completely organic vocal lubrication, also developed by a singer.

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You should follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

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Monday, December 24, 2012

"Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" - Bruce Springsteen

Let's celebrate the holiday with one of the best versions of a Christmas standard that you'll ever hear. It's "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" by Bruce Springsteen and his E-Street Band from the famous 1978 concert at the Capitol Theater in Passaic, NJ. This version really smokes!

Merry Christmas everyone, and thanks so much for reading.



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You should follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Don't forget to check out my Music 3.0 blog for tips and tricks on navigating social media and the new music business.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Greatest Selling Record Of All Time

White Christmas cover image from Bobby Owsinski's Big Picture blog What's the best selling record of all time? No, it's not Thriller by Michael Jackson (reported numbers are said to be inflated so it's difficult to even tell how many copies it's sold). It's actually "White Christmas," recorded by Bing Crosby and written by songwriting legend Irving Berlin. The single is said to have sold over 50 million copies alone, with sales of the album putting the total over 100 million.

Recorded in 1942 just after the World War II started for the US and debuted in the movie "Holiday Inn" with Crosby and Fred Astaire, it's widely held that the war actually had a lot to do with the song gaining popularity. Since millions of troops were overseas and longing for family, the song brought a little bit of comfort and the feel of home. From that point, it's become ingrained in our consciousness as a standard that's played constantly (over and over and over again) throughout the holiday season.

There's a lot that's interesting about songwriter Irving Berlin, as well. He was self-taught and could only play using the black keys of F#. Probably because he was self-taught, he also frequently wrote with unusual cadences, and many times never bothered to write a bridge, which was contrary to the times. Still, the song has outlived hundreds of competitors over time with more introduced every year. Despite all the famous songs that Berlin wrote that everyone somehow knows, ("Alexander's Ragtime Band,""Easter Parade," "There's No Business Like Show Business," "God Bless America."), "White Christmas" will be the one he's best remembered for.

So if you really want to make your mark as a songwriter, write a holiday song.
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You should follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Don't forget to check out my Music 3.0 blog for tips and tricks on navigating social media and the new music business.

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