Part 10 - Get feedback from others. Enhancing your song through valuable input
After you have a rough mix of your song, seeking feedback from others can be an invaluable step in improving your production and achieving a professional-sounding result. By getting fresh perspectives and suggestions, you can identify areas that need improvement and gain insights on how to enhance the overall quality of your music. In this article, we will explore the significance of seeking feedback and provide tips on how to make the most of the feedback process.
One of the primary benefits of seeking feedback is gaining a new perspective on your work. As the creator, you may have become too close to the project, making it difficult to evaluate it objectively. Feedback from others can offer a fresh set of ears and provide insights that you might have overlooked. It can help you identify areas that need attention, such as mixing imbalances, vocal clarity, or instrumentation choices.
When seeking feedback,
it's important to reach out to individuals whose opinions you value and trust. Seek out fellow musicians, music producers, or friends who have a good ear for music. Their constructive criticism and suggestions can provide a valuable outside perspective on your production. Additionally, consider sharing your music with your target audience. Their feedback can help you gauge the appeal and effectiveness of your song to the listeners you are targeting.
As you present your music for feedback, it's essential to provide some context. Explain the goals and intentions behind your song, as well as any specific aspects you would like feedback on. By setting the stage, you can guide the feedback process and receive input that aligns with your vision.
When receiving feedback,
it's important to maintain an open mind and be receptive to suggestions. Remember that feedback is not a personal attack but an opportunity for growth. Consider the feedback objectively and evaluate its relevance to your creative goals. Not all feedback will resonate with you, and that's okay. Focus on the constructive aspects that can genuinely enhance your music.
Incorporating feedback is a repetitive process. Take the suggestions that resonate with you and experiment with them in your production. Keep an open line of communication with your feedback providers and update them on your progress. This continuous dialogue can help you refine your music and ensure that the changes you make align with your artistic vision.
Ultimately, seeking feedback from others is an essential step towards improving your song and achieving a professional-sounding result. By gaining fresh perspectives, identifying areas that need improvement, and embracing constructive suggestions, you can enhance the overall production quality and refine your creative output. Embrace the feedback process as a valuable tool in your artistic journey and use it to unlock new dimensions in your music.
By Vladimir Gilis
Instruments that are the easiest to pick up
Music brings happiness and joy to people of all ages. While many dream of playing an instrument, very few are willing to put in the time and effort to learn one, thinking it may be too difficult or that they may be too old to learn. However, this is not the case. No matter what age you are, it's never too late to pick up an instrument. The key is finding an instrument that is easy to learn, fits your level of commitment, and matches your personal tastes. In this blog post, we'll explore some of the easiest instruments to learn, regardless of your age or natural talent.
Many people can find the drums intimidating, but they are actually one of the easiest instruments to learn. While it might take some time to develop hand and foot coordination, the basics are relatively straightforward.
With practice, you can learn simple drumbeats for many genres, and the rhythm will come naturally as you play more. Drumming is a great way to express your creativity and make some serious noise. Anyone can learn to play the drums in no time if they put in the practice and dedication! It's important to start off with simple beats and work your way up. As you become more comfortable, you can create complex rhythms that will have your friends dancing along.
The more practice you put in, the easier it'll be to find your groove. Don't be afraid to experiment with different genres of music - you never know what kind of sound you might discover! As long as you have fun and stay focused on improving, drumming can be an incredibly rewarding experience.
The ukulele is one of the easiest instruments to pick up, especially for beginners. It's small in size and only has four strings, which make it easier to memorise chords. The strings are also gentle on the fingers, which is perfect for those who are just starting to develop calluses. This instrument is perfect for beginners who want to play along with their favourite songs or perform at social events. The ukulele has a mellow, sweet tone that is great for both strumming and fingerpicking. It's also quite lightweight, making it easy to carry around with you wherever you go. Plus, the cost of buying one is generally much lower than traditional guitars or other string instruments. For these reasons, it makes an excellent choice for anyone just starting out on their musical journey.
The keyboard or the piano is also quite easy to learn. It has a range of sounds, and you can start by playing simple songs with just one hand. You can progress to playing more complicated pieces with both hands after time of practicing. The visual component can help beginners understand the basics of music theory, and you can find a wide range of tutorials and resources online. Playing the keyboard or piano can be incredibly rewarding. Pianos are also highly valued in live musicals, as they can serve as the backbone of an orchestra, providing a rich and versatile accompaniment to singers and other instruments.
The harmonica is another great instrument for beginners as it can be cheap in price. The cost of purchasing a harmonica is relatively low compared to other instruments. It's compact, easy to carry around, and has a unique sound that can be used in many music genres.
There may be a slight learning curve, but once you get the hang of it, you'll be able to play songs in no time. The harmonica can be an especially fun instrument to learn. It's great for travelling, as it fits easily into your pocket, and its sound is unmistakable and evocative. Learning how to play the harmonica may require some practice but once you get the hang of it you will soon be able to play lots of songs with ease.
Finally, don't forget about your voice! Singing is another way to enjoy music, and it's something anyone can do. You don't have to be a professional singer to sing along with your favourite tunes, and singing can even be a therapeutic outlet for stress and anxiety. There's also a wide range of resources online to help you improve your vocals.
No matter what instrument you choose, playing music is an enjoyable and rewarding experience. Whether it's the ukulele, the keyboard, the harmonica, the drums, or your own voice, you can find an instrument that suits your preference and that's easy to learn. All you need is a little time and dedication, and you'll be jamming with your favourite artists in no time. Remember, play through your age and enjoy the journey of music-making!
Blog post by Rosie Buckley
My name is Nicholas Sentongo and I am a director at a company called Fixnrev Mechanics in Uganda. Having lived in Uganda for a year and a half, I travelled the country mainly for work but have really seen the suffering of people, especially young teenagers and children.
I felt I had the opportunity to give back. There are several ways in which we as a company are supporting local charities and the main charity we support is an orphanage called “oasis of life” based in Kampala, Uganda (please see our charity page on our company website.
I got the inspiration to build a music school
to help provide music skills that will empower children and those less privileged thereby taking them out of poverty. I however didn’t have all the funding to acquire music instruments and to complete the construction works.
I then reached out to several organisations, music schools to help donate any music instruments, furniture etc.
We are pleased to say that planet drum came through to our support. They provided a variety of music equipment like drum sets, music speakers, guitars, sound proofing equipment, cabling and a lot more other music equipment.
We can’t thank them enough for their generosity. This will go a long way in helping us achieve that dream of facilitating the music school and we are so grateful for their support.
Blog post by Nicholas Sentongo
Where do I find ads for musicians wanted?
There are so many places to look: Social media, local music shops, ads in the back of music magazines and online, notices in music venues and rehearsal studios, word of mouth, the possibilities are endless – and it’s easy to get lost.
The key is: to know what YOU want.
Knowing what you want to achieve will make you better to work with, more positive and focused and undoubtedly help you reach your goals faster.
What do I want to gain out of the experience?
Some people think of it as a hobby and others as a career choice, either way, it’s about enjoying yourself.
Work out how and where you see yourself playing and what kind of commitment you are prepared to make.
If you’re not sure, talk to your tutor, other musicians and friends, get involved with workshops, join a drumming group or musical collective.
Sometimes you need to find ways to bounce ideas around before making an initial commitment to a band.
What type of music do I want to play?
This is not about playing one style but it’s helpful to give yourself a starting point so that finding people becomes easier.
You’re likely to discover all sorts of sounds that inspire you and, ultimately, it’s about finding like minded people to play with.
Most bands looking for members state music their musical preferences in their ads. Match your taste against theirs. If it fits, get an audition.
How long before I find something?
Some of you may feel ready to go out there and find your band, others might want to join workshops, collectives and jam with other musicians to get a better idea of which direction they want to go in, musically.
The advice is always the same - If you practice hard, give it your all and keep an open mind, you're likely to do just fine.
Putting the work in will open doors to all sorts of opportunities and the more you put yourself out there, the more chance you have.
Get involved, stay focused and things will fall into place.
Don’t forget if you're a drummer, that compared to the other members of a band, drummers are in high demand, so use this to your advantage.
And above all – ENJOY THE RIDE!
I have only recently learned her name
due to her recent passing, but I was instantly inspired and curious to learn more about her. As it turns out, she was pretty epic. In a male dominated industry (and world), she was quickly promoted as the ‘fastest girl drummer in the world’ in the 1930’s, alongside blazing a path for women in music. Viola played a giant drum set that included a double bass drum, an instrument that would years later become a tool for hard-hitting rock drummers.
Where did it all start?
Viola smith took up drumming as a teenager in Wisconsin, when her father assembled the ‘Schmitz sisters family orchestra’ (there were 8 daughters)! Their band played in theatres during school holidays and Viola took lessons from drummers in the orchestra pits. They were soon in demand for weddings and fairs. By 1938, she formed another all-female orchestra - The Croquettes. They moved to New York in 1942, where Viola studied under legendary snare drum innovator Billy Gladstone.
In the same year
as men were being drafted to war and women taking their place in factories, Viola wrote a now-famous article for Down Beat magazine, arguing for the inclusion of women in the big bands of the day. She wrote:
“Many of the star instrumentalists of the big name bands are being drafted. Instead of replacing them with what may be mediocre talent, why not let some of the great girl musicians of the country take their places?
“We girls have as much stamina as men. There are many girl trumpet players, girl saxophonists and girl drummers who can stand the grind of long tours and exacting one-night stands. The girls of today are not the helpless creatures of an earlier generation.
“Some girl musicians who are as much the masters of their instruments as are male musicians. They can improvise; their solos are well-defined and thought-provoking and show unlimited imagination”.
At the height of her success, Viola performed with Ella Fitzgerald and Chick Webb, as well as for the 33rd president, Harry Truman in 1949. Today in 2020, the drumming industry is still very male dominated, with very few female drummers pursuing it as a full time job. I feel it is important to read about these female pioneers and continue to play in their honour.
Let’s keep drumming girls!
I played drums for over 10 years before I decided to actually do my grades.
I always loved music and messing about on instruments when I was a kid, but never found that one thing that I just became obsessed with until I sat down at a drum kit during a lunch break at school.
A bunch of my friends played guitar and bass and while I was hanging out with them, the only seat free was the drum stool.They were messing about with some Chilli Peppers tunes and I picked up some sticks and decided to join in. Straight away I knew there was something special about this drumming malarkey.
After swiftly being told off by the music teacher for using what turned out to be expensive beaters instead of cheap drum sticks, I started work on convincing my parents to get me a drum kit for Christmas.
I taught myself. I convinced friends of learn instruments so I would have someone to play with. I ended up forming a band and playing gigs for years around London. We all got a bit older and I became a little lazy.
I was so far into my comfort zone that I didn’t even consider pushing myself any further. This was it. This is how I drum and this is the limit of my abilities.
Then I went to a theatre showfor the first time since I was a kid. I saw The Book Of Mormon and it was amazing. The music and the musicians were just incredible.
After the show I couldn’t help but feel a pang of disappointment with myself. I’m not saying I now want to work in theatre, but I realised there was still so much to learn. Why had I just stopped?
My partner convinced me to get in touch with Planet drum and think about doing my grades. A year and bit later and I am studying for grade 7 and learning so much.
Music grades are great because they force you to learn different styles and techniques.
Once you’ve discovered genres you’ve never even heard of before, you’ll find ways of being so much more creative when it comes to making your own music.
Not only this, but it gives you a goal to work towards and you get a big sense of achievement when you get your grade certificate.
I whole-heartedly recommend it to any musician, regardless of how long they’ve been playing.
Planet drum student
I’ve been playing the drums for 13 years now
And for a very large portion of that time, I would always practice on my own drum kit.
Everything was set up exactly how I liked it and I’d know if a single drum or cymbal had shifted a millimetre.
When I first got the drumming bug, I convinced my dad to build an extra shed in the garden and made it my musical home. I playing on the same drum kit, set up in exactly the same way for a good few years before I even thought about doing a gig.
When I finally started practicing with a band, we had a rehearsal place that a family member had built. Eventually, I moved my drum kit in, and with few other people using the place, I was still able to fulfil my slightly OCD tendencies of having everything exactly how I wanted it.
When the time came to start gigging,
I realised something very important: drummers need to learn to be comfortable playing on unfamiliar drum kits.
You can’t always take your own kit with you, especially when you’ve just started out and you’re playing support slots in dingy London bars.
Other people’s bass pedals are weird. Tall drummers have incredibly low seats. Some long-armed musicians have cymbal stands locked in place at a higher altitude than Mount Everest.
Before a gig, I would get really, really nervous. Not so much about getting on stage and playing in front of people, but nervous about what the equipment is going to be like.
I quickly learnt that you’ve just gotta suck it up and get on with it.There was one time where there were not enough stands for the amount of cymbals I use. I only had one crash where I would usually have two. It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but because some of the songs were so engrained in my muscle memory, I tried to hit a non-existent cymbal on a few occasions during that gig!
I learnt to get over the fear of the unfamiliar drum kit by making myself play the same drum beats to my band’s songs on different parts of the kit. I would play the song using less cymbals and think about the pattern of drum fills rather than the actual drums that were being hit. That way I knew if all else failed, I could play them just on the snare and not put any other band members off.
Once I let go of having my cymbals in a certain place, and putting up with it if my seat was an inch lower than I usually had it, I realised I could get through any gig regardless.
Now you've got drums you'll need to learn to tune them!
Drum set tuning is the process of tensioning drumheads on a drum to produce a pleasing drum tone. A drummer tunes the drums using a drum key, a small, square socket-wrench that fits over the tension rods. Drum tuning styles and techniques vary between different drums, music genres and the preferences of drummers. In addition to tuning drums, drummers often treat drums with muffling material to alter the drum sound.
Tuning toms is the act of ensuring that the tensions on the individual batter and resonant heads on each drum are consistent and deliver a clear tone and the heads deliver the desired fundamental pitch when struck.
The relationships between the batter head and resonant head provide a sound character suitable for your intended use; and that the relationships between individual drums and the overall drumset provide a logical and pleasant sounding combination.
When tuning a drum, know that the top (batter) head controls attack and ring, while the bottom head controls resonance, sustain, overtones, and timbre.
The thin, sensitive bottom (resonant) head is generally tuned looser than the batter head. The resonant head tensioning is adjusted to allow the snares to sit into the snare beds; and treatment or muffling may be applied to the drum head to control overtones.
The resonant (front) head is usually looser than the batter head and is mainly responsible for the fundamental, audible tone of the drum;
The resonant head can have a small (approx 6") offset hole to allow for air pressure escape and for the insertion of a microphone;
Some drummers use some kind of treatment inside the drum (such as a pillow, towel, etc.) or one of the many head variations and appliqués to control overtones, this could be that a drummer fills up his kick drum with materials to absorb the sound, or that the batter head has a ring of foam on it or perhaps a kick pad placed on the batter head.
What are the musical commonalities between famous artists such as Skrillex, The Prodigy, Jay-Z, Slipknot, Bjork, Oasis, Amy Winehouse and Duran Duran?
The answer is rhythm
All of these artists have at one point used a specific rhythm pattern that is so identifiable you would recognise it even if you have never heard the original title song.
At just 6 seconds long it is the most sampled rhythm in the history of drums.
The Winstons, below, were an American funk and soul band who were not very well known, (their drummer G.C. Coleman even more so) and they released a song in 1960 titled ‘Amen Brother’, listen below! Little did they know that a sample derived from the drum solo in this track would become the ‘Amen Break’ - the most sampled rhythm in the history of drums.
The Amen Break is a loop of 4 bars that was popularised by the drum sample album ‘Ultimate Break and Beats’ released in 1986 for the DJ population. Since the sample was created it has become a prominent feature in mainstream music, featuring in a host of famous songs such as; Oasis - ‘D’You Know What I Mean?’, Nine Inch Nails - ‘The Perfect Drug’, Slipknot - ‘Eyeless’ and Björk - ‘Crystalline’.
The concept of sampling: where did it come from?
It was in the 70’s when the concept of using a ‘sample’ was brought about. Musically speaking, sampling is the process of taking a portion of a sound recording and reusing it on a separate piece of music. More often than not, this is done through a ‘rhythm break’ whereby a small section is sampled from one piece of music to form the beat on another track. It is through the sampling method that a piece of music can transform from average to being equipped with a catchy and memorable rhythm, making it hard to forget!
So as a result of this, DJ’s, musicians and artists like Skrillex and Jay-Z are continually in search of a melody ostinato/lick or drum pattern, that has the ability to resound in your mind long after it has been heard, leaving the taste of desire to hear it again… which is how the ‘Amen Break’ became one of the most extensively used rhythm across all genres of music.
Unfortunately, The Winstons never received any royalties for their original creation. However, in 2015 a DJ from the UK created a ‘GoFundMe’ page in the name of Richard Spencer, the singer and saxophonist from the band, to acknowledge and give appreciation to the ‘Amen Break’, whereby 2,000 people have donated $24,000!!
More about the ‘Amen Break’
It is a groove of 4 bars, originally played at 136 bpm, composed of 2 sequences.
1st Sequence: The main groove is played twice; 8th notes played on ride, snare accents on backbeats, 16th notes played by the bass drum on the “and” of the 3rd beat and 3 ghosts notes per bar.
2nd Sequence: It is a variation of the first one. The 16th notes have moved to the 2nd bar on the ''and'' of the first beat, the 2nd snare accent originally on the back beat has moved to the ''and'' of the 4th and in the second bar we can notice a tasty punctuation change on the off beat of the 3rd beat, which can be played on the crash or the edge of the ride.
Blog post by Planet drum teacher, Sebastien Solsona
It's always best to buy a quality branded drum kit. Brands include DW, Yamaha, Pearl, Mapex, Tama, Premier, Ludwig, Sonor, Pacific and Gretsch. The cheapest brands at the bottom end of the market are best avoided, even for children.
If you seek the advice of an experienced drummer and reputable drum dealer, then the chances are you will be armed with the advice you need to go out and make a great buy. You will get a lot more for your money buying second hand.
We can give advice to all enrolled students and help them to find the right kit.
Electronic kits have come a long way since the 80's. They allow you to play with headphones and are virtually silent. Electronic drumkit brands include Roland and Yamaha. Prices start from about £500.
Again, stay clear of budget brands!
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