Holiday Software Recommendations

Everyone seems to be doing “lists” and stuff, and I have done ones in previous years. This year, I will list a couple of Mac specific software things that I use for music.

Logic Pro X – If you are a Mac person, this is something you should have. You can use this to record yourself, or your band, generate charts (notation), use it’s huge library of loops to generate practice backgrounds, compose with it, use it as a synth for your EWI. And there is never an upgrade price. Free upgrades. And they add stuff to it all the time.

Band in a Box 2019 for Mac – This is really a no brainer. You need to have this program. The ability to generate chord progressions, in any key, style, tempo, and duration. Amazing. And the program only keeps getting better with interface tweaks and more styles. Well worth the money.

Arq Backup – You should be backing up your stuff. Arq is a great little program that lets you backup to any cloud service of your choosing. I use it to backup to my Google Business account ($12 a month for UNLIMITED storage). Well worth it. Another choice would be Backblaze.

Snagit 2020 – A great little utility to do screen captures of images, or video, or anything.

Omnifocus – There are a LOT of to-do things, but Omnifocus is the best. I use it for so many many projects. It’s great for if you have any idea, to capture it, and then come back to it.

Downie – Want to download something off Youtube or some other streaming service? Downie can do it. It can extract audio only as well.

Transcribe/Amazing Slow Downer – Two different programs, but you need both. I use Transcribe to visually slow down things. Either for students or if I’m transcribing something. Amazing Slow Downer can slow things down, and then SAVE them. Transcribe doesn’t do that. I find I need and use both. – This is a service that allows you to bookmark a site, and then come back to it. I find it extremely useful as I frequently use multiple browsers on multiple platforms, and bookmarking on Safari doesn’t show up if I use Chrome on a PC. Plus, Raindrop lets you categorize bookmarks, and you can do searching of the bookmarks (it does a capture of the text of the site).

Finale – There are a few notation choices, but Finale is still the one I go to. Mainly do to the rich plugins available and the infinite tweaking one can do in the program. Another one to look at is Musescore. It’s made great progress, and it’s free!

Sheet Of The Week – Mandalorian Theme

I was going to put this on Musescore, but seems you need a PRO account to do anything over like 4 scores on there. Anyone want to gift me with a PRO account? In the meantime, here is the PDF of the Mandalorian Theme from the new Star Wars TV show.

  The Mandalorian Theme for Alto Sax (126.0 KiB, 226 hits)
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  The Mandalorian Theme for Tenor Sax (126.5 KiB, 69 hits)
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The Long Journey Of Charlie Parker’s Saxophone

From the Smithsonian Magazine:

“In August of 1955, Chan Parker, the widow of legendary saxophonist Charlie Parker, was in a rowboat in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, trying to save the legacy of the love of her life.

Roiling flood waters were rising in the wake of Hurricane Diane, and Parker, just months after the death of one of the fathers of bebop, was determined to get the important things out as water threatened their house located on a peninsula in Lumberville.”

Sheet Of The Week – Memories (Maroon 5)

Ok, yeah…..not really doing these weekly anymore (too busy), but here is the latest from Maroon 5. Enjoy.

  Memories by Maroon 5 for Eb Instruments (142.8 KiB, 37 hits)
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  Memories by Maroon 5 for Bb Instruments (142.9 KiB, 21 hits)
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TED: Streaming Is Killing Music

“Technology is changing the very nature of not just music consumption but how music is written and produced. People need to know that they’re being both manipulated by music technology and missing out on a full music experience. Alan Cross shares the subtleties of today’s music delivery systems and questions what it means for the future of music. “


Saxophonist Yanick Coderre has a nice project mixing saxophone and electronics happening. A lot more interesting than a lot of guys who play with like Aebersold type backgrounds doing the same old tired “standards”.

Want to ‘train your brain’? Forget apps, learn a musical instrument

From this article a while ago that ran on The Guardian:

The multimillion dollar brain training industry is under attack. In October 2014, a group of over 100 eminent neuroscientists and psychologists wrote an open letter warning that “claims promoting brain games are frequently exaggerated and at times misleading”. Earlier this year, industry giant Lumosity was fined $2m, and ordered to refund thousands of customers who were duped by false claims that the company’s products improve general mental abilities and slow the progression of age-related decline in mental abilities. And a recent review examining studies purporting to show the benefits of such products found “little evidence … that training improves improves everyday cognitive performance”.

The Tragic Decline of Music Literacy (and Quality)

From, this article was very very good.

Throughout grade school and high school, I was fortunate to participate in quality music programs. Our high school had a top Illinois state jazz band; I also participated in symphonic band, which gave me a greater appreciation for classical music. It wasn’t enough to just read music. You would need to sight read, meaning you are given a difficult composition to play cold, without any prior practice. Sight reading would quickly reveal how fine-tuned playing “chops” really were. In college I continued in a jazz band and also took a music theory class. The experience gave me the ability to visualize music (If you play by ear only, you will never have that same depth of understanding music construct.)

Viga Music Tools Microphone

Microphones are important. They capture our sound. They reinforce our sound in a live setting. But they also feed back and color our sound. In the 60s to early 80s, a lot of guys would drill a hole in the neck of their saxophone to put in an a neck microphone pickup.

However, doing this means no going back. The sound that one of these modifications gets you though is great though. Worth it? I dunno.

Now, flip forward a few decades, and a French company called Viga Music Tools is offering an ingenious new mic (the intraMic) that essentially gets you the sound of a neck pick up, but without altering your neck. Check it out.

The Best Internet Thing For Musicians

There are a LOT of things a musician needs to make it in the digital world. One little secret thing that I’ve found EXTREMELY valuable is getting a G Suite Business account. Why you want to spend $12 a month on this…?

First, you get to host your domain on there. And you should have your own domain or slice of the internet and not ONLY have your stuff on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and others. A domain name is a great way to brand yourself or your band. Paired with a hosting company (such as squarespace) or using Google Sites, you can have a website in the style you want.

Second, you get email and groups. You can now have access to creating your own email lists. Using Google forms, you can make an easy signup for people to know what you are doing. Gigs, events, etc. Using your domain name.

Third, you get Google Drive…..and unlimited space. Basically, you can put all your recordings, videos, photos, documents, pdfs…..everything, in the cloud. Unlimited is that……unlimited.

Fourth, you can backup to Google. I bought ARQ Backup, and have used it now to backup my laptops, my desktop, and connecting my NAS to my desktop, backed up all 7 TB of my Synology to Google.

So is $12 a month worth it to me? Hells ya.

Jazz-Sax, all things Jazz and Sax