Tag Archives: Music

Why You Can’t Get A Pair for Less Than $100

Gizmodo.com has a great article on why you cannot get a good pair of in-ear earbuds/in-ear monitors.

“The difference between $300 set of buds and a $400 pair is nowhere near the jump from $20 to $100. Even smaller is the difference in models between generations. The best value on the market might be a previous-gen version of Shure’s 500 series buds at a cut rate ($290), but if you can find $100 earbuds for 70 bucks, it’s even better.”

I have the first generation of the Shure earbuds, and they still work and sound way better than the ones that come with the iPod/iPhone. I’d love to upgrade at some point to a really nice set, like the Shure 500s.

Saint John Will-I-Am Coltrane Church in Trouble

From the SF Chronicle:
“..earlier this year one of its principal funders, the New College of California, collapsed financially, leaving the church without a vital income source. The school had paid two-thirds of the church’s rent, so now King and his retinue are again asking its members and the community to help the church.”

Background is that the church was founded by saxophonist Franzo Wayne King back in 1971. He and his wife had a “religious experience” at a Coltrane concert in 1965. So, I guess the natural outcome was to found a church for it 6 years later during the whole hippie thing in the Bay Area? Dunno…..but it’s time of existence is getting rather short unless there is some “divine” intervention (or a large influx of money…or both).

Pink Floyd Founder Dies

From the BBC
Pink Floyd keyboard player and founder member Richard Wright has died at the age of 65 from cancer.

I always think of Pink Floyd as sort of a Miles Davis rock group (without Miles). Lots of colors, and mood to their music. Plus, they had saxophone (sometimes).

I can cite two songs that were influential in me wanting to play saxophone. The first was Michael Frank’s “Dr. Sax” which features Michael Brecker (I didn’t know who the saxophone player was at the time. I just knew he had unearthly talent). The second song was “Us and Them” by Pink Floyd. Dunno, love that song.

Favorite Podcasts

iTunes is a great thing….not only for managing music, but for finding and getting Podcasts. Here are some of my picks.

These are the “Jazz” ones I have subscribed to. Anyone have any others they’d recommend?

I subscribe to XXX number of Podcasts

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Spare Room to Studio in 10 Minutes

The SOS Forums had this interesting thread about a bloke who can turn his guest room into a studio in about 10 minutes.

My studio set up consists of a control room/office which is unusual in that it has no parallel surfaces, even a sloping roof. This room is loosely triangular being a maximum of 4.8m long and 4.5m deep. There’s a short 1.2m corridor (which I call the portal) that leads into a guest bedroom which is 3m by 2.7m.
Sometime ago I renovated the guest room so that I can convert it into a studio in around 10 minutes and I thought this might be interesting/useful.
The guest bedroom has a permanently installed double bed in it, but I’ve put it on hinges! It’s really easy to hinge the bed onto the wall

Pictures and other info with the original post.

SmartMusic 10.2

MakeMusic finally released SmartMusic 10.2 today. Highlights of the new features:

  • Support of Mac OS X Leopard
  • Microphone Check Wizard ensures proper microphone levels for recording and assessment
  • Easier-to-Use – many aspects of SmartMusic have been simplified and made more intuitive, including the installer, login process, activation, and update messaging
  • Create assignments with audio-quality accompaniment for any concert selection. Simply upload the audio file and distribute sheet music; then your band, orchestra, and choir students can practice their part with accompaniment in SmartMusic.

There are some other “features”, but these are the ones that are interesting. Especially the last one. The update is about 80 megs for Windows, 97 Megs for Mac. So, how does it work? In a word, the same as before…. Continue reading SmartMusic 10.2

Steinberg – Classroom Resource Pack

Not sure what happened to the Music Education Alliance, but Steinberg announced their Classroom Resource Pack.

“Computer technology is increasingly being used for teaching music in schools world-wide,” comments Mark Porter, Steinberg’s International Sales Manager. “But often the task of providing classroom resources is left to the individual teacher, even if their personal experience using modern music technology products has been somewhat limited. So the huge quantity of structured, high-quality resources provided by the Steinberg Classroom Resource Pack will be invaluable to music teachers everywhere, whether they are experienced Cubase users or are completely new to using computers – because it gives them more time for applying their teaching rather than preparing for it,” he continues.

Blah, blah, blah. Look, kids don’t want stupid worksheets to do. They want to play. The want to learn music, not do some generated worksheet. Technology. CMEA just discovered Band in a Box. Maybe in 10 years they will discover this? Maybe? Perhaps?
UPDATE: 02/16/08 by E: The latest issue of Time Magazine has an article about “How To Make Better Teachers”. Funny thing is that technology is not mentioned in the article. Hmmm….

Wii Nodame Cantabile Game

Nodame Cantabile is a Japanese Manga, a TV show, and Anime about a pianist and violinist of a famous pianist who wants to become a conductor. It is a very entertaining Anime. The TV Show, I didn’t care for. The Manga is good. If you went to music school, you’d like it. Brings back memories. Nodame is the name of this unfocused genius piano girl who is a total slob, but has a crush on Shinichi Chiaki (the pianist/violinist who wants to be a conductor).
Anyhow, there is a Wii game coming out that has some interesting things, and potential applications. It’s a little goofy in the beginning, but in the middle you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Wii controller used as a baton. The other instruments, probably not all that great for. But to use a Wii as a baton, now that is pretty darned cool. Can you imagine using this to practice conducting? Maybe some sort of music game where you have to conduct and if you don’t keep time or mess up, the audience starts heckling you. Or maybe the orchestra starts coming apart. Could be pretty cool thing for music people. Probably WAY beyond the scope of this game, but it is very interesting to see stuff like this coming out.

Yamaha’s Tenori

Yamaha has a new thing out, called the Tenori

Media artist Toshio Iwai and Yamaha have collaborated to design a new digital musical instrument for the 21st century, TENORI-ON. A 16×16 matrix of LED switches allows everyone to play music intuitively, creating a “visible music” interface.

Check out a video of it

Create Digital Music also has an article about it.

iPod “Video”

After nearly 3 years of faithful service, my 3rd generation iPod died. It wasn’t the battery. It was the hard drive. The hard drive finally decided to check out. I was sad.

For the last 2 or 3 weeks, I’ve been going through iPod withdrawal. Shuttling my music files between home and the studio is a pain. I’ve been using a “portable HD” that I usually use to backup my stuff. Plus, those nights when you want to listen to music before going to bed? Or in the car?

So, it was a choice between an iPod Nano or an iPod (with video). The Nano is very nice. A number of my students have them. However, 4 gigs is just too small. My finale files I transfer back and forth take up nearly 500megs, plus if I wanted to put all my Aebersold play-alongs on there, I couldn’t. So, I decided to go with the iPod. Wow…..

(Update: 02/21 21:00 GMT by E :The Aebersold AACs/MP3s take up about 10 gigs. I don’t have all the playalongs, but I have 85-90% of them)

First off, it “looks bigger”. But it is not. In fact, it is the same width, and the depth is almost half that of my 15 gig iPod. It looks bigger due to the screen. And the screen is absolutely incredible. Clear, color, crisp. Man, in 3 years they have done wonders. I haven’t watched any videos on it, but I imagine they look great.

Sound quality is great. I plugged in the standard headphone and it sounds great. I plugged in my Shure headphones, and it sounds “greater”.

Two bad things. First is the case. It’s really flimsy. I am planning on getting a better case ASAP. I don’t want any scratches. Second bad thing, no dock. My previous iPod came with a nice little dock, this one comes with nothing. They will sell you one for like $40. Um. No. Not right now, thanks.

Rating. 8 out of 10. No dock and a poor case are the two points taken off. They could have at least done a clip case like what came with the 3rd generation iPod. And no dock, that’s just cheap Apple.

Update: 02/28 08:50 GMT by E :Found another interesting thing. When you unplug the headphones while playing, the iPod will put what it was playing on Pause for you. That is a very nice little thing to have.

Xmas Guide 2005

Yes, it is only November. But there is no time like the present to start thinking of presents for people (woohoo, good play on words there E).

To start things off, iLounge has a very good, free, Holiday buyers’ guide available. Of course the guide is for people who own an iPod. And if they don’t own an iPod, that would be the #1 thing to get people. An iPod nano is only $199. Amongst the things they recommend are AKG’s new K 701 headphones. I own a pair of AKG 271 headphones, and they rock. The 701s are around $399.

Other things to consider getting a musician are:

This is just a start…..I’m sure there are other potential presents out there.

Podcasting

Two days ago Apple CEO Steve Jobs has announced that iTunes 4.9 will include integrated podcast support. The update will let users browse and download podcasts. This is big news.

What? You haven’t heard of Podcasting? It perhaps is the death of internet “radio”. It perhaps is the latest, greatest way to promote your band or tunes. Whatever it is, it’s going to be big. Podcastingnews is one sight that keeps track of what if going on. Another site, iPodder.org has a list of feeds one can get Podcasts for, including some Jazz ones.

What do you think? Is this going to be something of a hit? On demand content that is organized? Could you imagine subscribing to a Podcast from say KCSM and being able to download what they are playing? There are a lot of possibilities and issues to consider….

Update: 06/05 05:37 GMT by E :Here are some more Podcasting Sites: