Category Archives: Music Makers Advice

How to Record YouTube Music Videos

YouTube music videos are an important part of any music makers’ promotional tools.

There are a lot of reasons that I recommend new artists record a music video of themselves. You can use your own YouTube music videos to help find ways to improve your performance. The video, after all, will allow you to see and hear exactly what your audience does.

YouTube Music Videos

For your first video you don’t need to go out and spend tons of cash to get going. I recommend you simply use the camera and microphone on your laptop or smartphone.

(How to record singing and playing guitar at the same time)

YouTube Music Videos

Below are some helpful tips on how to make yourself look and sound as great as possible for YouTube music videos.

Positioning

On phones and webcams the microphone and camera are attached to each other, so it can be difficult to get the camera far enough back to capture your body, but close enough for the microphone to hear you. It can be a bit of a balancing act.

Get as much of your body in the camera shot as possible so that you can see if you have any weird habits while you play/sing. If your foot is out of frame, you may never know that you subconsciously tap your foot as you sing.

Room Acoustics

Acoustics are the properties or qualities of a room that determine how sound is transmitted in it.

Basic rules:

  • Don’t record in a small room with flat, square, bare walls.
  • Eliminate all the background noise you possibly can.
  • If the room sounds echoey, throw some pillows against the wall and hang up some blankets.

Video Recording Best Practices

Simple best practices:

  • Look into the camera.
  • Sit or stand comfortably/naturally.
  • Don’t wear distracting clothes.
  • Use lots of light.

Simple Next Steps

The easiest way to get a dramatic increase in your recorded music quality is to use a separate microphone. The improvement will be immediate and glorious. Before you go out and buy something though, you need to know how to find the best microphones for singing.

So what are you waiting for? Start recording YouTube music videos today!

This is a guest post by Jesse Elmore from Hear The Music

 

Vocal Health For Singers

vocal healthHere are some things I learned about vocal health for singers.

Vocal cords are like a rubber band. Mucus covers them, getting thicker as you get older. Falsettos sing on the edge of their vocal cords. When you stretch the rubber bands, you get the higher notes. When you have phlegm in the morning, that is your body self-repairing the vocal cord. When you “clear your throat” a lot, that’s bad. It could lead to a nodule– a big sore on your vocal cord.

You might have vocal health issues if:
1) you have a hoarse or raspy voice
2) you lost your ability to hit high notes
3) all of a sudden your voice is a lot deeper than normal
4) your throat feels raw/strained
5) it hurts to talk/veins popping out
6) you’re repeatedly clearing your throat

The best way to help your vocal health is to drink lots of water– this will help you get rid of morning phlegm. You should have 8-12 glasses of water daily. When phlegm’s on your cords, your voice cracks– you get bad notes! It’s important to warm up and cool down your voice as a singer. Avoid dry environments– for instance, if you travel on an airplane, where the cabin air is stale and dry, drink lots of water. Aretha Franklin is famous for not allowing air conditioning in any of the venues where she sings– it would dry her out.

Also, if you’re a singer getting ready for a performance, stay away from dairy products like milk, which causes mucus. Also, alcohol, pop, caffeine and tea all dry your voice. I will share some more information in Part Two, coming soon…

If you want to warm up before singing–and you should–you should say “oooo” to clear off phlegm on your cords. Use your normal voice to do this. Gradually do a note higher/lower off the main note.

Remember, a day before AND the day of your performance, no dairy products!

Put a little lemon juice in water to help your voice– you could also use salt water.

Before singing, it’s wise to avoid yelling.

Medication might make your voice hoarse or raspy. Some mouthwash can cause phlegm.

If you have a cold and have to sing, then an hour beforehand here’s what to do:

1) fill coffee mug with hot water
2) 4-5 Halls ICE BLUE cough drops (with menthol and peppermint)– put in cup
3) add a little honey or sugar to add taste
4) stir it up
5) close your eyes– vapors burn
6) breathe it in and sip it

This will soothe your nose and throat immediately.

And finally, one more tip for overall vocal health: SMILE, it makes your singing brighter!

–Mark Weber

 

Tips for bands to succeed

tips for bands10 tips for bands

In a perfect world, music bands would never break up; they’d be a well-oiled yet still spontaneous machine, beloved by fans from the first few months of gigs til the ripe old age of a legend like Mick Jagger or Tina Turner. However, a lot of bands have a lot of problems, so it’s no wonder that very few last a long time and can be successfully making money and pleasing fans over the course of several decades. That said, there are some things your band can be doing to help create a positive reputation that’ll help your career. Here are 10 tips for bands on how to be the best music band you can be:

10) DON’T BE LATE It doesn’t matter whether you’re playing for 2 people, 200, or 20,000. You need to be “on time.” Many musicians are late. When one musician is late, the whole group suffers, and the audience will suffer. The leader of a band should “dock the pay” of anyone who is late to rehearsals or gigs, because when one person is late, all the other guys and gals in the group either have to wait around (time is money) or practice/perform without them (awkward).

9) CALL AHEAD Sometimes gigs are booked months in advance. People at “the venue” may have come and gone since the booking. It never, ever hurts to call the venue a day or two before the scheduled gig and “check in” with the people in charge, just to confirm the time and ask any last minute questions/give any last minute answers.

8) SOUND CHECK Many bands make the mistake of spending way too much time doing the soundcheck, and then still having problems once playing in front of a crowd. If you’re lucky enough to have a sound guy working with/for you, they like to check drums first, then bass, guitar, keys, and finish with vocals. Make sure your band members are “in the room” so they’re “ready to go” when needed– the worst thing is when a sound guy has to wait around for the one musician who is no where to be found, or the one musician who stays too long on stage testing their equipment over and over again when it was fine the first or second time.

7) MORE MUSIC, LESS TALK Unless your band is known for telling personal stories, remember to concentrate on what people came to see and hear you for: your music. If you want to talk with the audience, you can do that after the show while signing CDs, t-shirts and posters they’ve bought.

6) NO GAPS Have you ever been to a show where the musicians stalled for what seemed like an endless five minutes and you were like, “Just start the song already?” Yep. Happens a lot, but that’s not a good thing. You have a limited amount of time with your audience. Why waste precious minutes on stalling or nonsense chit-chat that you might find funny but they may not? It’s very important to have a show that flows from song-to-song, keeping the audience’s attention. We live in a culture where we expect immediate gratification; an audience can only “wait” for so long before they get frustrated and then form a negative opinion about your band.

5) NO MESS A venue owner or manager will always remember a sloppy band. Why? Because he or she notices everything about how a band operates. When a band leaves their gear blocking the aisles/blocking doors/etc., that’s bad. When they keep their cords and gear and boxes tidy, then “all is right with the world.” Think of it this way– if you had a houseguest who left wet towels on the floor and crumbs all over your couch, would you want them back? The neater the band, the better the reputation among venue organizers. It’s better to be the band helping pick up trash from the floor after the show than to be the band that “came in and left us a total mess to clean up.”

Tips for bands…continued…

4) NOT SO LOUD I have been to many concerts where the volume was way too loud for human ears. It’s no secret that many musicians experience hearing problems and deafness. It’s very common for audiences to be right in front of massive speakers cranked up to their highest possible volume. It doesn’t have to be this way. In the long run, you’d be better off as a band turning the volume to a level that won’t cause hearing damage for you or them.

3) YOUR WEBSITE A band without a website today makes no sense. If you’re a band, you have to have one. You can have a “Twitter” account and a “Facebook” page, and those are “okay,” but it’s best to have your own website with your own domain name– one that you can totally control. Your website is like having an ambassador who will hype your band to anyone, anywhere in the world 24-7. The site should have your bio, gig info, some pictures/videos, links, and a contact page/email address.

2) KNOW YOUR (TIME) LIMITS I was at a club in New York City where my friend was scheduled to play at a certain time. The band before her decided to do “just one more song,” which cut into her performing time. That sucks! Nothing says rude like overstaying your welcome at a gig with multiple acts.

1) HAVE FUN Finally, remember this: it’s called “PLAYING.” Certainly making music is better than digging a ditch. Make time for your band to hang out aside from music so that you’re friends in real life, and enjoy each other’s company. Why? Because that camraderie is one of the reasons people come to see/hear you! When you’re having a great time on stage with each other, it totally translates to the audience, who, in turn, also have a great time! –Mark Weber Music Blog

These were 10 tips for bands; in the comments section, leave more tips for bands!

Leaders of bands

leaders
Image via Wikipedia

Every band needs a leader. Bands cannot survive great leaders. Here are ten tips for leaders of music bands, from Mark Weber…

10) Leadership can be learned through active experimentation, observation of others, study in the classroom or reading books. To be a good leader, copy what other leaders do well, and reflect on all that you’ve learned in and out of school these past years.

9) Great leaders are great because they pay attention to the hearts of the people following them. Great leaders care.

8) It can be painful to admit you’re not perfect, but if you want others to trust and follow you, they’re a lot more likely to want to do so knowing you’re human, too.

7) Leaders must be passionate about that which they are leading. If you’re not passionate about your band, you shouldn’t be the one in charge.

6) If you’re going to lead, selfish aims and desires have to be given up for the good of the group; instead, look for ways to respond to your band members’ needs and interests, in essence, serving them.

5) The word “Yes” begins things. Saying “yes” is how things grow.

4) If the why is big, the how will come.

3) To accomplish your own dreams, help two or three others accomplish theirs.

2) Work on your strengths rather than your weaknesses. Take mental notes of the things you do that make you feel stronger– keep doing those things; things that make you feel weaker? Don’t do those things.

1) Leaders are learners. Soak in the world around you, so that you know all of its details. Ask questions, a lot. You have to have a passion for learning in order to become the best leader you can be.

Like music? Check out Mark Weber’s Days Like These