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7 Crucial Performance Skills You Should Work On

Image via Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Talk to live musicians about the people they play with, and a few of the same complaints tend to emerge over and over. There are tons of players who are nice people and can get through a song without screwing it up, but there’s a lot more to playing live than that.

Here are seven of the mini-skills that separate the okay from the great onstage. You’ve most likely played with someone who needs to brush up on one or two of them. Could that person be you? Read on.

opinion

Sep 9, 2016 09:00 AM

Jesse Sterling Harrison

Why the '80s Were the Best Decade for Popular Music [Opinion]

Image by Joe Haupt via Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Just like it’s hard to have perspective on your own work, it’s also difficult to judge the era we’re in… until years or decades later. In the 1930s, did people realize that pretty much every car on the road would someday be deemed a classic? What are the chances that the Nissan Juke in your driveway will ever claim that status?

It’s just the same way with music. We have decades of popular music behind us now, but what bands, styles, or movements in the biz will have staying power?

One era that still rules the airwaves and live venues today: the 1980s. More than 26 years after the decade’s final day, clubs have '80s nights, satellite radio boasts '80s channels, and the FM dial offers tunes by Billy Joel, Huey Lewis, and A-Ha. Why does that material have so much staying power, drowning out the decades on either end? That’s simple: the 1980s were the best decade so far for popular music. 

The Unexpected Ways These 5 Famous Artists Were Discovered

They're out there somewhere: tastemakers. Talent buyers. Record label CEOs. They probably look like you and me, but they have the ability to hand you an opportunity to step onto a larger stage, taking a huge step forward in your career. If you're lucky, you're only one degree of separation away from someone who show you a path to fame or, at the very least, doing music full time. These opportunities can arrive at absolutely any time, and often in the most unlikely ways. These five stars prove how important it is to be practiced, committed, and prepared for when those opportunities come knocking.

Singers: How to Learn an Instrument Later in Life

Photo by Restuccia Giancarlo via Shutterstock

There’s a bond between bandmates that can’t be duplicated. People love writing books and screenplays about that relationship, but rarely capture the special dialogue and silly inside jokes that make up a band’s conversation. But if this collective is special, the links between members of a rhythm section must be stronger still. Guitarists, bassists, and drummers have a powerful interplay onstage and share a lot of that telepathy in conversation.

As a singer who doesn’t play, do you ever feel left out? Do you want a stronger role in your band’s songwriting? Maybe you’ve wanted to learn an instrument for years, you’ve just never gotten around to it. Well, the time is now. Here are some tips that might help.

The Best Audio Interfaces for Home Recording

Image via Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Many, if not most, independent musicians have some sort of computer-based recording setup at home. It could be as simple as GarageBand with a single microphone, or it could be a full Pro Tools suite with a 24-channel board, iso booths, and drum risers.

But your stock computer is one piece of gear short of being a micro studio. That piece is the audio interface, which gets sound out of the room and into the digital realm of the digital audio workstation. It may handle both analog and digital inputs and also provide you with some headphone outputs to monitor yourself.

Before diving headfirst into reviews, YouTube demos, and testimonials on different products, read Sweetwater Sound’s comprehensive and helpful guide to audio interfaces. I found it concise and informative, and it only took a minute to read. This guide will clue you into some of the features and potential problems you’re looking at with these units.