5 Things I’ve Learned About Having a Career in Music
by Edgar Winter
Rock icon Edgar Winter has been part of the musical landscape since his first album, Entrance, was released in 1970. Four-and-a-half decades later, he is still recording and touring, thrilling audiences with his multi-instrumental proficiency, his searing, yet soulful vocals, and a catalog of hits. When asked for five things he has learned about having a career in the business, he quickly offered five off-the-cuff tips: “Always get paid before the show. Never leave your wallet in the dressing room. Don’t do interviews. Dress like a rock star. Never listen to anyone’s advice, especially mine!” But then he issued five more elaborate responses
Listen to all the greats, regardless of genre. There’s so much great music across rock, blues, classical, jazz, and country, and you should go back and find the early originators/innovators in each style. I feel we stand on the shoulders of the giants who came before us: My most profound single influence was Ray Charles. I would not be the musician I am today without absorbing and then personalizing his music. But I did that with a lot of musicians across the spectrum. Stay open to it all!
Always look for the best musicians possible. Playing with musicians who are better than you will teach you more, and inspire you to be your best. Conversely, try not to play with musicians who will lead you to develop bad habits. A drummer may have tons of chops and be exciting to play with, but if they don’t have good time it may have a negative influence on your own playing. I’d rather work with a simpler drummer whose time is rock-solid, with a deep groove.
Even though I’ve been playing my songs for a long time now, I try to keep it fresh every night and treat it like it’s the first time. And I leave room for fresh interplay with the band, and to try out new ideas. Before I hit the stage every night I think, “What if this is the last gig I’ll play?” And I commit to give it my all; being able to play for an audience is a gift that I never take for granted.
I’ve heard so many stories from people who regret musical and business decisions they made based on advice from people in power within the industry. Your career is going to be defined by your decisions; think long and hard about the path you take. Make sure it’s something you’ll be comfortable with for the rest of your life. Remember that music is an art form first, and then a business. I don’t define success in the music business as being famous, or making a lot of money. For me the goal is to become as good a musician as I could be, and to look back on what I have done and be happy.
If you love what you’re doing people will sense it. Stay humble: no matter how good you get, there will be somebody out there that will astound you. Be able to accept and be inspired by that. Be grateful for what you have. For me, making music is very rewarding in and of itself. So follow your dream, play the music you truly love, and never give up. You’ll never hear Edgar Winter talking about a farewell tour!
(Reprinted by permission from Keyboard Magazine)
Edgar Winter is working on three new projects: a Broadway musical about Frankenstein’s monster, a book of poetry called The Songs That Never Were, and a series of fantasy short stories called Stories from the Shadowland. And he continues to rock out on the road. Keep up with all his activities at edgarwinter.com.
For more information on IAMA (International Acoustic Music Awards), go to:
IAMA Winner Wins Grammy Award, takes the Music World by Storm
by Jessica Brandon
Meghan Trainor who started out as an unknown indie artist, won IAMA (International Acoustic Music Awards) as a 16 year old, just won Grammy award last night for Best New Artist. She has broken a staggering number of records of IAMA: youngest to win IAMA (at 16), the only IAMA winner to have to hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Charts, #1 on the Billboard 200 Charts, and main category Grammy award of Best New Artist. Her hit “All About That Bass” is one of the best-selling single of all time by a debut artist, hitting #1 in 58 different countries (US, UK, etc) and selling over 15 million copies.
This shows you that anything can happen as an indie artist. When Meghan first won IAMA 6 years ago, IAMA entrants laughed when she won. But when she got signed and chalk up one hit after another, they were shocked. She has a total of 6 songs that have hit the Billboard Hot 100 Charts so far and shows no signs of slowing down (Watch her Grammy Acceptance Speech Below).
Meghan Trainor couldn’t hold back her tears While accepting Best New Artist Award, weeping through her acceptance speech. Past Best New Artists winners include: John Legend, Carrie Underwood, Sam Smith and Mariah Carey
“I have to thank L.A. Reid for looking at me as an artist instead of just a songwriter,” she said while accepting the award from presenter Sam Smith, who won the award last year. “And my mom and dad.”
Last year she was nominated for Record of the Year and Song of the Year (both for “All About That Bass”), but lost out on both.
“This is me forever balling my eyes out. Can’t believe what happened”, said Meghan. “My dad whispered “you made it” before I walked up and I lost it. I love my family so much. Without them I wouldn’t be here today. Thank you to my team and everyone who got me here. Gonna cry happy tears all night”, said the jubilant Meghan Trainor.
Besides winning the Grammy Award, Meghan has also won two Billboard Music Awards.
MEGHAN IS NOT THE ONLY IAMA WINNER
Meghan Trainor was not the only nominee of IAMA. Ron Korb (this year’s Best Instrumental Winner of the 12th Annual IAMA) was a nominee in the Best New Age Album category. Ricky Kej (this year’s Best Open Winner) won a Grammy Award at last year’s Grammy Awards.
For more information on IAMA (International Acoustic Music Awards), go to:
5 Tips to Top Your Mix
A brief insight to some mixing techniques we use that could help you achieve a better end product and how we work here in MixButton.
First – Initial Thoughts
Simply write down your initial thoughts on pen and paper upon listening for the first time, and what direction you feel you want the track to go in. Write down how you want each section to make you feel, and any specific effects you think could work with fresh ears.
This is a simple process that is often overlooked and is great at laying down your initial instincts for the track, instead of figuring out half way through the mix.
There is only one chance for a first impression so you must capitalize on it and capture your ideas from the start.
Second – Mono Image EQ
Many of us want to get the mix sounding good early on, but mixing is a gradual process. A quick pan to the side often misleads your ear into hearing the respective instrument cleaner that it actually is. This is because the instrument is no longer competing in a frequency space.
Without disrupting your individual tracks, make sure the final output bus is in mono and start to EQ the different instruments.
As they are all on top of each other and competing for space, you will find when you treat them you will have to work harder and have to be more precise.
After making sure all instruments can be heard and are working well together, change the final output back to stereo and you will find your mix sounding a lot better.
Third – Fine Automation Key for feeling
It is important to remember that music has to make people feel something, as that is the design of the artist. A big give away of many amateur mixers is that the sections do not really move to each other and so the track does not connect with the listener.
Fine automation on a DAW or fader riding, is crucial with many instruments especially legato style sounds and notes, for example voice or strings. Obviously the performer has a responsibility to give the recording dynamics and movement, but it is also the responsibly of the mixer to bring that to the listeners ear in order that they can connect to the track easily. This is vital with the main vocal.
Fourth – Stereo Bus Cleaning
This is a tip for near the end of your mixing process to deal with any final frequency disruptions or inconsistencies.
On the stereo bus, place any linear EQ and select either a high pass or low pass filter. The idea is to isolate the low or high frequencies at once. For example, a low pass at 300hz would give you a good idea of how the bottom end of your mix is working and if there are any clashing sounds that you need to address. Same concept goes with the high-end frequencies.
Fifth – 1db or not db
Even Shakespeare struggled with the concept of mixing and chose to express this through his play Hamlet.
What he learned was that a mix is rarely transformed with one action or a secret switch that suddenly makes the mix sound good. Rather many little things, each treating individual parts of the track culminating in an overall better mix.
While you may not think 1db here or 2 db there makes a difference in the short-term immediate sound. We have to mix with the vision that these little changes are together affecting the overall sound.
So it is important to be patient with the precision at which you work as many small changes make a big difference.
MixButton (www.mixbutton.com) is online mixing studio for the masses ready to take your music to the next level. Visit the website and listen to some samples to find out what we could do for your music.
For more information on IAMA (International Acoustic Music Awards), go to: http://www.inacoustic.com
Audition Prep Tips For Music College or Conservatory
(From Berklee’s Former Dean of Admissions)
1. What are the best strategies for applying for music college or conservatory? This question somewhat depends on whether a student is applying to study Classical music or Jazz/Pop/Contemporary music. Why? The key to a student’s successful music education in a traditional(classical) conservatory is primarily their private lesson instructor – or referred to as the studio.A student considering various music schools should first research the faculty teaching on their principal instrument. Do they like the teachers performances, interpretation, etc.? The reason being, is that after four years under the tutelage of said teacher, their own playing will be highly influenced by the teacher’s approach to music. Also, they should, if possible, request a “trial lesson” with as many teachers as being considered. Just because a specific teacher/performer has a renown reputation, does not necessarily mean you will enjoy their teaching style or will “gel” with them. Finally, the student needs to know how many and what type of ensembles are offered at each school. Are you interested in Chamber music, Symphony, or a Solo career? If you are a singer, are you interested in traditional opera, more contemporary works/ensembles, or even Chorale or Education. In the world of Jazz/Contemporary music the principal instrument teacher while important is not the end-all, be-all for selecting a school or music college. Many students are not necessarily intending to be performers.They might be intending to pursue a major in Songwriting, or Music Production & Engineering, or Music Education, or Composition. In this case the faculty teaching those courses become important to the student’s choice of school. Students are advised to research and read the background and professional experience of faculty. Also, their are internet sites out there where students attending an institution actually comment and rate a professor’s effectiveness. However – buyer beware; some students just have a grudge against a teacher and may rate him/her poorly , even when not deserved.Another strategy is to research the success of students who have attended(not necessarily graduated) from any given institution. What is the least reliable means for judging whether a school is right or wrong for you? – the college’s own materials and website. They can be helpful to a limited degree. But be aware, they are written and produced by professionals who are expected to present the school in the most favorable – albeit not always accurate – light. Trust me, I was one of those professionals for many years. The BEST way to assess whether a school might be right for you? Visit;take a lesson, attend a class, and speak with students – in the hallways,in the cafeteria, in the practice rooms. The true authorities at any school, college, or university are an aggregate of the students who attend or have attended. Keep in mind – You are an individual and must in the end judge for yourself according to your goals, your perspective, and may be best of all – your gut.
2. What are the best strategies for a music college or conservatory audition?
This answer is easy – practice, practice, practice. Sound familiar? However, there are a few strategies that can help. A. First and foremost: You must know the exact requirements and expectations of any school’s audition policy. They are usually clearly stated on the Admission’s website. Follow them, or you might be sorely disappointed later on when admissions decisions are sent out. B. Next – experience a “mock audition”. Have your teacher, or someone you seek out who is familiar with the audition process, or a music college consulting firm like *Music School Central *put you through the paces of what a real music school audition will be like. Then learn from that experience. Follow their advice, double your efforts, and remain positive. C. Hire an experienced teacher to isolate and work with you exclusively on your audition repertoire; the notes, the interpretation, the presentation. At *Music School Central* we even coach students on their entrance, their handshake, their demeanor, and their exit. Don’t underestimate the importance of seemingly small details. D. Stay laser-focused. Sometimes that might mean temporarily giving up some outside interests or extracurricular activities. However, you must keep in mind – you have but one “job” in the near future – to get into the college of your choice. All else can be put on hold for the short-term. In the end, you’re either ready for your audition or not. You can’t cram into weeks or even months what is essentially a multi-year preparation.
*Steve Lipman is an independent music college consultant based in Boston,MA. Following a long and successful career at Berklee College of Music,Steve is the Founder and President of Steve Lipman Associates and a principal partner in **Music School Central/Music College Consulting Services. SLA and MSC help music students and their families to identify appropriate music schools, colleges, and universities, assist in all phases of the application procedures, and guide students through the pre-screening and audition process.*
For more information on IAMA (International Acoustic Music Awards), go to: http://www.inacoustic.com
IAMA is extremely proud to announce that our winner Meghan Trainor and finalist Ron Korb have just been nominated at the prestigious Grammy Awards.
Meghan Trainor is nominated for Best New Artist. With her debut single “All About That Bass” staying #1 for 9 weeks, it is also the second biggest debut single of all time by a debut artist. She has a total of 6 Hits on the Billboard Hot 100 Charts: All About That Bass (#1 for 9 weeks), Lips Are Movin (#4 on Hot 100), Like I’m Gonna Lose You (#8, a duet with R&b/Pop star John Legend), Dear Future Husband (#16), Marvin Gaye (#21, duet with Charlie Puth), Title (#100, even though it is not released as a single).
Most music industry people laughed when Meghan entered and won Best Female Artist in 2010. But, when she hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, heard her Multi-Platinum selling song on the radio, they were left completely stunned and speechless. The entrants of IAMA (International Acoustic Music Awards) were surprised and even angry when a 16 year old girl won 5 years ago, completely unaware of the incredible success she was going to achieve. Her song “All About The Bass” has sold over 5 million copies and reached #1 in 58 different countries. The video has garnered over 1 Billion views on YouTube (at press time).
Meghan Trainor has continued to shock the entrants, winners, judges of IAMA (International Acoustic Music Awards) and now the music world.
Ron Korb is nominated for Best New Age Album in the Grammy awards. He was a finalist in the 2010 and 2012 IAMA (International Acoustic Music Awards). He is a unique flute player and plays both the chinese and western flute styles. His music is an electrifying blend of Eastern and Western music.
Ron Korb is a Canadian flutist(flautist), composer, songwriter, and record producer, from Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Ron Korb started on the recorder in grade school and later joined an Irish fife and drum band in his teens. While attending the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, he won several local music competitions.
ABOUT IAMA (International Acoustic Music Awards)
IAMA (International Acoustic Music Awards) promotes the art and artistry of acoustic music performance and artistry. In it’s 11 year, IAMA has a proven track record of winners going on to hit the Billboard Charts. 2nd Annual IAMA winner Zane Williams’s winning song was recorded by country music star Jason Michael Carroll, that song hit #14 on Billboard Country Charts and #99 on Billboard Hot 100 Charts. Jeff Gutt, finalist at the 9th Annual IAMA was a runner-up on X-Factor USA. For more information on 11th Annual IAMA (International Acoustic Music Awards), go to: http://www.inacoustic.com