Tuesday, 7 April 2020

3 Reasons why you shouldn’t Overplay a Song

As an instrument player in a band, what is your role? Is it to outshine all of your band mates? Is it to play your scales and arpeggios everywhere? Or is it to support the band? Well, The right answer is that you should play according to what the situation needs you to play. If there is a prominent vocal melody line going on, do not overcrowd the music with a lot of notes and instead support the vocalist with a sweet and short chordal based melody line. For another example, if the music that is playing is instrumental and mostly chords on the background, then you have the space to include your solos and explore different scale shapes based on the chords. Band is a team game and to understand it better, here are few reasons why you should not over-play a song.

1. Every instrument is filling up a certain frequency in the song in the song
We will start with drummers, they are the metronome of the song, the provide you the rhythm and as a bandmate you have to respect that rhythm and play something that goes on with that and not anything that you feel like. The bass covers the low range of the frequency bands. Now as a pianist and a guitarist, you have to decide what each one of you wants to do in terms of contributing to the song. Do you want to occupy the middle section or the high section or you want to harmonize with each other. Better you project your sound in a frequency unique to your instrument, better will be your output and as well your sound as a band.

2. Song can only have One Focal Point
As a band, when you cover a song or make your own compositions, you decide on the focal point of a song or in a part of the song? Do we need a guitar solo here or should there be more voices harmonising? Anyways, whatever is the decision, as a band your job is to make that focal point shine through in the song and be heard and understood by the listening crowd that this is what you are trying to portray in the song. In cases like this, as a backing instrumentalist, you have to play as minimal but meaningful towards the common goal, that is to make the song as soothing as you can.

3. Ask yourself, is it really required?
The final question that you should constantly ask is if it is really required in that song? If you are playing a lot of notes, do they actually play a role in the song? How can you just play enough so that other instruments can be heard alongside you. Yes, it does some experience but there are certainly some tutorials on the net and you can take help of those in understanding, how you should contribute to the band. As a band, you have to know, where are the parts where you have the liberty to explore and the parts you have to strictly follow what has been planned. Playing in a band isn’t an essay writing where you can improvise your content , it is a movie where you have to direct every part of it very carefully. Also, do check out the video given on the link which will help you understand better how to not overplay certain parts - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2Rdzi2srkc

BlueTimbre is a unique Music Company that provides Music Education and  Recording Studio services. BlueTimbre also works with schools to provide end-to-end Music Education solutions for schools. 

The BlueTimbre team comes with decades of cumulative experience in running Structured Businesses, Music Curriculum Development, Music Education and Performance.

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

3 Ways to Cure Boredom through Music in Lockdown

First of all, stay safe, stay informed, get the facts from a reliable source and stay home until this dire situation in the world settles down. The whole world is in quarantine but now that we have all the time for ourselves at home, we don’t really know how to occupy ourselves. Some will go back to their hobbies as a child like reading books, painting and whatever you like to do to have fun. One such activity is practicing music.

When I say practicing, I don't mean just doing the same exercise over and over again, but to be involved with music. Listen to music, play music, practicing your instruments, watch concerts on YouTube or watch people doing covers or putting your own rendition of a song that you always thought of trying. If you are inclined towards being involved with music during these tough and trying times, here are some ways to work on yourselves so that you come out a better and more talented person on the other side of this pandemic.

Listen to a lot of music
Music helps to ease anxiety which, all of us have a lot in stock during these isolated times. Cheer yourself up. Listen to music, a lot of music and a lot of different artists - new and old and discover different styles which you never thought you needed in life. Sing along to your favourite tunes or learn the lyrics of a new song. Watch your favourite artist play in front of thousands play live on YouTube or support the local bands and brands that are trying their best to put out content just for you. But be involved, this is the most important time to support each other and don’t let the virus win by killing the only thing you love to do, whatever that may be. If you love to enjoy listening to music, you should do that more often. The best thing about listening to music is, you can do that with any other activity. You can do it while reading books, painting your illustration, working on your office chores from the comfort of your home desk, while washing your clothes or dishes. Basically, you can club music with any activity, in fact I am listening to music as I write down these few helpful tips to cheer you in your boredom.

Learn Music Online
So, you always wanted to learn music but never found time. Make use of your time now! Go online, search for online classes and start your music journey. Although YouTube has a lot of lessons and content on how to start playing your instrument, it is never structured and more importantly you don’t know if the lessons are any good or where to go from there. So, go to exclusive sites or ages which are designed specifically for music lessons. One such example is https://musicpandit.com/ who curates and designed lessons according to your needs Beginner or someone who wants continue from where they left off - in a more structured manner, this is the site you should definitely check out. They have lessons in over 5+ instruments and also have this cool feature of real time assessment and provide the necessary tips and tricks  and practice routines to get your playing up a notch in the most effective way.

Support Local Artists
Due to the lockdown practiced in so many places to curb the spread of coronavirus, some of those who have had an economic impact are the local artists whose shows and concerts may have been cancelled. Also, several local music education centres are closed too which, resulted in a lot of losses. However many of these places are now trying to bring something for you through online sites or social media pages. You can definitely explore their content and help them even a little by subscribing to their pages or following their work. If you like what you see or want to see other things, you can even send in requests.

So, in this tough period, we request you to please support the musical community by listening to their content, sharing and subscribing to their channels so that they can earn a living through those means. You can also take up music lessons online, practice and perform! Release your home videos and who knows, you could get famous too!

Finally, please stay home, stay safe and be a corona hero.

BlueTimbre is a unique Music Company that provides Music Education and  Recording Studio services. BlueTimbre also works with schools to provide end-to-end Music Education solutions for schools. 

The BlueTimbre team comes with decades of cumulative experience in running Structured Businesses, Music Curriculum Development, Music Education and Performance.

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

4 Ways to Practice Drumming without Drums

It is always exaggerated that you won’t progress until you practice it in a real thing. Although it is mostly true for most instruments, it is a different story for drums. But first, why should you practice without a drum kit, will that even help you improve? The answer is Yes, because you should practice keeping in mind that you do it to improve your muscle memory and your timing which are essential parts for any instrument. So how do you make sure that you practice something that is gonna help you apply it in the real kit. Here are some examples:

1. Pillow Practice for Your Hands
Start with a pillow because that is the most readily available practice pad you can find. Sticks are important in this practice because then you can play the exact finger and hand motions that you would perform when playing a drum set too. Another advantage of this is that since the pillows are soft, it doesn’t offer you much rebound and you end up strengthening your muscles doing the lifting. This will be difficult in the beginning, but that’s why you are practicing, to get better. As you adapt and return to your drum set with considerably more rebound, you’ll notice that you have developed speed in your playing. 

2. Air Drumming for Your Arms
Here is a strange one but one every one of us is familiar with. Everyone had that one air drumming moment that releases you from all the stress. However for a drummer, it can be more than just an imaginative play. You can practice your movement and practice being conscious about your limbs. You can choose to have sticks or can practice even without it. All you have to do is take a groove or a piece of sheet music, visualize your kit in front of you and play it as it is required. You will be surprised to see the awareness it needs to be perfectly executed. You have to make sure that your hands move and play the parts as it should be played, otherwise the whole point of practicing through air drumming is a waste. For example, if in a section you have to hit the cymbals, your arm has to reach approximately at the same point in air as if there was a cymbal.

3. Ground Drumming for Your Legs & Feet
Ground Drumming is for your legs and feet. One of the best ways to practice your feet is to get a foot pedal and arrange it in a way that the beater hits the wall. Since the wall provides no rebound, you will start feeling some pull in your thighs and it will strengthen your muscle. You can play along with a music piece and practice the bass drum part in a way that you build coordination along with some necessary muscle so that you can play it on a drum kit for a long period. You can also do this practice without any pedal and just tap the parts on the ground. Once you shift to a real drum set you will able to recognise the increase in speed and lack of fatigue in your playing.

4. Clap for Your Timing
Keeping rhythm is one the fundamental skill a drummer should have as they are the metronome for any band they are playing for. So, you would not want to let your bandmates down. So this is to improve your timing and one of the best ways is a clapping exercise. Download a metronome and and clap along with it. Make sure that your clap purely and completely synchronises with the beat. Once you can do that, here is one fun exercise. On your metronome there are different time signatures, make it 8/8. Now, let the first four beat be heard but mute the last four beat. Now clap along with it. Your aim is to be on time and that will be determined by your 9th clap which will come after your 8th clap which was muted. If it completely synchronises with the beat, you are on time but if it is ahead or behind, then you have to start over again. You can also vary your clapping exercise by leaving some claps in between beats and start being more adventurous with the metronome.

BlueTimbre is a unique Music Company that provides Music Education and  Recording Studio services. BlueTimbre also works with schools to provide end-to-end Music Education solutions for schools. 

The BlueTimbre team comes with decades of cumulative experience in running Structured Businesses, Music Curriculum Development, Music Education and Performance.

Tuesday, 25 February 2020

5 Music Albums that changed the Music Industry

Some bands become immortal because they put out a song that no one can resist singing in their head while some write music that no one might have expected. Here are a few albums that changed the course of the music industry.

1. Radiohead’s In Rainbows
In Rainbows shook the music industry's very infrastructure. They simply announced on their official site, "the new album is finished, and it's coming out in 10 days." With that , Radiohead completely invented a new promotional cycle in the digital age. Ever since In Rainbows arrived in everyone's inbox simultaneously and listeners experienced those torrid first notes of "15 Step" together, many artists have tried to "pull a Radiohead," with Beyoncé and U2 succeeding in delivering their music in a similar manner. The album's "pay-what-you-want" offer that allowed diehards, casual fans and curious listeners to put their own value on music was just another step forward in questioning how the music business does business.

2. Run DMC Self-Titled Album
This was the first classic hip-hop album that anyone remembers. This was the breaking point where the buoyant post-disco rhythms and future-shocked electro were introduced which ended up dominating the genre's first five years on record. The Hollis, Queens crew did nothing short of reinventing the still-new style in their own image: hard, raw, in your face and catchy enough to challenge anything else in pop. The rap-rock fusion "Rock Box" stands as a foundation-ally transformative moment for American culture itself, while the earth-shaking one-two punch of "Sucker MCs" and "It's Like That"  presented grandstanding to complex social realism. The album is minimal and stark, but was revolutionary for that time.

3. Michael Jackson’s Thriller
It is hard to imagine the present-day musical landscape without “Thriller”, which changed the game both sonically and marketwise. The album's courageous blending of pop, rock and soul would completely change the scene in radio. They introduced guitar solo in what was considered pop at the time and lot of elements from different genres were added up to spice up the sound of the songs in the album. The album's fun, cinematic videos attracted even more audience and forced MTV to incorporate black artists into its playlists. Its promotional strategy, which led to seven of its nine tracks being released as singles, raised the bar for what, exactly, constituted a "hit-laden" LP. It broke records, showing just how far pop could reach: the biggest selling album of all time, the first album to win eight Grammys in a single night and the first album to stay in the Top 10 charts for a year. This was truly game changing.

4. Black Sabbath’s First Album
When Black Sabbath released their self-titled debut in 1970, they didn't think they were starting a movement. But their sludgy take on psychedelic-blues and incorporating catchy riffs in songs, it became the core of what's now known as metal — whether modified by "thrash," "prog" or even "glam." Part of the influence lies in the way Tony Iommi's guitars were tuned down, the result of a freak accident that resulted in him shearing off two of his right hand's fingertips and having to play with their tenderness in mind. That contributed to a doom-filled atmosphere that was only enhanced by frontman Ozzy Osbourne, who was still refining his "prince of darkness" persona, and song titles grasping toward signifiers of evil. The album proved inspirational to generations of musicians, who used Black Sabbath's ideas of  rock & roll  making it faster, slowing it down even more, adding orchestral flourishes — to create not just a genre, but a musical movement.

5. The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Sgt. Pepper's wasn't the first album to blend rock music with high art, but it was probably the first time that musicians of the Beatles' stature and popularity decided to turn their back so completely on what had made them famous. It was the first time the Beatles were free of the responsibility of being the Beatles. The irony is that no other album cemented them so firmly in the public's mind. The Beatles as a whole defined an era inspiring many generations and song writing that still inspires the current crop of artists.

BlueTimbre is a unique Music Company that provides Music Education and  Recording Studio services. BlueTimbre also works with schools to provide end-to-end Music Education solutions for schools. 

The BlueTimbre team comes with decades of cumulative experience in running Structured Businesses, Music Curriculum Development, Music Education and Performance.

Monday, 17 February 2020

5 Songs with Bizarre Background Stories

What makes one write songs? Or, What makes one write some amazing lyrics? For example, when Clapton wrote "Would you know my name, If I saw you in heaven?" you must have been absolutely touched. Also, you must wonder what made him write such a line, unfortunately for Clapton, he wrote Tears in Heaven for his four year old son who tragically died falling from a window of a 53rd floor apartment. Here are some of the true and bizarre background stories behind some of the famous songs you must have heard and loved.

1. Smells Like Teen Spirit, by Nirvana

Believe it or not, the inspiration behind “Smells like teen spirit” is a deodorant. A friend of Kurt Cobain had written a phrase on his wall “Kurt smells like teen spirit” referring to him smelling like woman’s deodorant which his then-girlfriend wore. However, Kurt did state that the phrase teen spirit sounded like it had a deeper and a revolutionary meaning, so he wrote that song. Well, always look on the brighter side.

2. Layla, by Eric Clapton

Another Clapton classic which he wrote during his time with the band ‘Derek and the Dominoes’. Although the inspiration was from a 7th century story of unrequited love it also had another hidden meaning. He wrote the song with Pattie Boyd in mind with whom he had fallen deeply in love but at the time was married to The Beatles musician George Harrison. The couple ended up splitting and in the end, Clapton married Boyd. What a  tragic and yet happy ending.

3. Sweet Child of Mine, by GnR

You will be surprised to learn that this song started as a joke. Yes, you read it right, as a joke. The drummer and the guitarist were warming up for a jam session and began playing a circus melody. Axl Rose, however liked the sound so much that he decided to turn it into a full song with chords and lyrics. Slash even said once on record that he hated what the song stood for. Now, it might be one of the most famous rock song till date. Want to make a hit, just goof around with your instrument and then you never know.

4. Don’t Stop Believing, by Journey

This song was the best selling digital track of the entire 20th century. It was well known for the line “born and raised in South Detroit” which left Detroit residents scratching their heads because there was no such place. In fact, the are south of Detroit is Canada. Steve perry, the lead singer confessed “I tried east and west and it didn’t sing, but south Detroit sounded so beautiful. I loved the way it sounded, only to find later it’s actually Canada”. 

5. Smoke on The Water, by Deep Purple

This was inspired by actual smoke on the water. The inspiration came from a fire at a casino in Montreux where they were due to record an album. An audience member fired a flare gun during Frank Zappa’s performance and the building caught fire. A thick layer of smoke covered Lake Geneva and they just made one of the most iconic riff from it. However, the band were reluctant about the name of the song because they thought that the reference to smoke made the sound like a drug song but thank heavens they decided to stay with the title.

BlueTimbre is a unique Music Company that provides Music Education and  Recording Studio services. BlueTimbre also works with schools to provide end-to-end Music Education solutions for schools. 

The BlueTimbre team comes with decades of cumulative experience in running Structured Businesses, Music Curriculum Development, Music Education and Performance.

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Evolution of Music Genres

Music has evolved over the years. Based on the era and the different factors relating to that, people have turned to music to let their feelings be known to the world. Whether it is lyrics or the sound of instruments, every aspect of music has changed throughout the times. Let us learn some facts about different genres of Music and how they evolved throughout different eras.

Blues is one of the oldest known genres of music. Born in the U.S with a deep roots in African American history. Invented by slaves, ex-slaves and the descendants of slaves, it started as songs they used to sing as they worked in order to lift their spirits up. The music was an outlet for them to express themselves, they would sing about their misfortunes and sometimes it was just about having fun. Lyrics played an important role as it would talk about their personal hardships or just about their day-to-day life. They would sing it as if they are narrating it to somebody with repeating lines and focus on certain words. However, as guitars came in, it changed as the years went by, starting with very swing-style chord play and use of 12 bars - lot of artist started introducing lead guitars. With distinct melody lines and using the same technique as the vocals, they also started repeating certain patterns and added significance in certain notes with genius use of dynamics. This changed the entire outlook of how guitar is used as an instrument. Now elements of blues have influenced a lot of different styles, very first variations were the birth of 'Rhythm n Blues' and 'Rock n Roll'. Now it is welcomed in all styles of music and is one of the foundations of modern music. 

Although we associate rock with the modern giants like Guns 'n' Roses or AC/DC , the way it started out was quite different. Beatles, Cream and Pink Floyd were all innovators of this genre and yet everyone perceived it in a very different way. It was an era of innovations and experiments where artists were not worried about what the audience perception of them might be. Rock has been influenced by a lot of elements in blues. It has drawn inspiration from Rhythm n Blues, Rock n Roll, Folk music, Jazz and a lot of different elements. Rock is one of the most diverse genres that there is  - where different artists started taking the genre on different pathways. Beatles, was the pop rock band of those times and that, made them so popular as a band. Cream, were what we now call mainstream rock with guitar leads, drums and electric bass as the showrunner. Whereas, Pink Floyd were experimental and delved into different soundscapes. Then came Jimi Hendrix who basically discovered distortion in guitar and completely changed the rock scene. From there, more hard-rock bands began to appear like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, The Who and so on. Also during the same time another heavier genre appeared which called itself as heavy metal with raging distortion, super punchy riffs and vocals that were unheard of during those times.

Pop music is one of the most subjective genres of all and that is because there is no particular aspect that defines it. It is called Pop because the songs were popular at the time of their release. Michael Jackson is called the King of Pop but you don't hear many influences of that in the current pop music scene. So we can say, pop music is a trend music that basically follows the age and era of the music scene. However, the vocals is based around a lot of romantic gestures but sometimes they also do give out sensitive messages about politics and the way of the society as well. So, if the vocalist sounds like the star of the show, you are probably hearing pop music. There have been legends in the pop music scene. What you call pop music can vary from person to person but as long as it is good music, who cares about what genre it is based upon.

Hip-hop was more of a culture in the United States which was defined by Rapping, DJ-ing, Break-dancing and Graffiti-making. Musically, it started out as rapping which you can define as vocal delivery with rhythmic speech and rhymes which often included lyrics associated with personal experiences. Then the rapping was accompanied by music which can be associated with sampling beats, rhythmic bass lines and sometimes beatboxing. As the years went by, you can now hear rapping in Rock music, RnB and other genres of Music.

The music of today’s era. Electronic Dance Music is the go to music in any Parties, Bars or Concerts attracting big crowds. As the name suggests, music is electronically composed on a software often defined by loud bass lines and  groovy beats, usually to keep the crowd on their feet dancing and enjoying the occasion. They usually keep different tracks in sequence and swap between tracks seamlessly. However, many instrumentalist and different genres of Music have started including EDM concepts into their songs as well.

BlueTimbre is a unique Music Company that provides Music Education and  Recording Studio services. BlueTimbre also works with schools to provide end-to-end Music Education solutions for schools. 

The BlueTimbre team comes with decades of cumulative experience in running Structured Businesses, Music Curriculum Development, Music Education and Performance.

Reference : 
  1. https://www.allaboutjazz.com/a-brief-history-of-the-blues-by-ed-kopp.php
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_music
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hip_hop_music
  4. https://www.lafilm.edu/blog/brief-history-edm/

Wednesday, 5 February 2020

3 Ways to improve your Aural skills

This week, we will cover a topic that is a little complicated but will help you wonders in the future. It may sound easy but, it is the most complex technique or skill to have as an aspiring musician. It is one of the most important tools you need to have in your inventory. You must have heard about ear training, and as a student you must have done a lot of exercises but in this blog, we will look at few general skills you must have and understand.

Recognizing the Instrument
This is the most basic skill you need to inherit through hearing songs. When you listen to a song, can you differentiate the instruments? Every instrument has a part to play in the song. They all have a different role and yet, together it sounds so majestic. Listen to each instrument and recognize the different tones and different space in the song that they occupy. This will help you a lot in a band setting where you understand your peer's participation and weigh their contribution. This will also enable you to use your instrument in a much better way and sound unique yet one with everyone.

Finding out the key/pitch
Except for the drummers, others should be able to find the key of the song in their instrument just by listening to it. Once you do that it will help you find the melody line as well as chords that is been played in the song. Although, some of the songs make key changes, most of them follow the theoretical study you are doing now. As a drummer, your task is to understand where the beats are been played, for eg; where does the bass drum kicks in or where the snare is been played.

Understanding the Rhythm
As you get acquainted with the process of hearing the song and applying it to your instrument, try to understand the rhythm of the song and play it accordingly. The best way to test if you are doing it right is play along with the song and listen if it matches the groove of the song. Once you can get the rhythm, you can easily express the feel of the song and add texture to your playing. Drummers should now able to identify the rudiments and different pattern of beats that is going on in the song.

There are lot many aspects and traits that you have to understand and master through just hearing the song, however we will discuss those in detail another time. For now, just start with these basic approaches and try to learn as much as you can.

BlueTimbre is a unique Music Company that provides Music Education and  Recording Studio services. BlueTimbre also works with schools to provide end-to-end Music Education solutions for schools. 

The BlueTimbre team comes with decades of cumulative experience in running Structured Businesses, Music Curriculum Development, Music Education and Performance.