Jumat, 01 Februari 2013

Hip Hop Song Writers

Hip Hop song writers are finding the song writing process becoming easier than ever before with the increasing number of song writing tools and software available online and in the market. Traditionally song writing has always had the same steps, lyrics, music, production; the path followed varying from artist to artist.

Generally in hip hop, the beat comes first. The artist working on arranging the beats first and then getting on the lyrics. This is mostly done because it is easier to try and write lyrics to fit in with a pre-existing beat, but it is comparatively difficult to try and form a beat around lyrics that have already been writer and decided on. The basis of the beat is the drum and other percussion instruments.

Drums are the basis of the song production and can be sampled or created on original kits. In sampling, the hip hop song writers use a part of an already existing song, or track by another artist. The essence of sampling is that a part, be it drum or vocals, from a song or recording belonging to any other artist is taken and used by the song writer as a part of their track.

Parts of the track can be mixed into the main track over and over to form a pattern, which is called a loop. Loops not only add a different dimension to the song, but also add layers, introducing the work of another artist into the mix, which can be considered as some form of collaboration on the hip hop song writers part. There are other ways to collaborate such as working on lyrics with another artist or having them do guest vocals on your song track.

Besides the drums, bass lines are also an integral part of any hip hop song. Where the drums add a backing to the song, bass lines add a depth, a resonance. Generally synthesizers can be used to create bass lines. The arrangement of the drums, bass lines, sampling elements etc. is all dependent on the hip hop song writers, how they want to style the song.

Once the beat and instrumental part is laid down, most artists work on the lyrics. At the same time, many other artists prefer to work on the lyrics before creating the instrumental bass beat. A music ghostwriter can help by writing the lyrics or instrumental to your song.

Selasa, 25 Desember 2012

A Parent's Guide to Drum Lessons: When Is the Right Time to Start? (Part One)

Often the answer to this question hits many parents and kids right in the face! From the onset of mom and dad taking note of their young one tapping along with music the epiphany usually follows; "time to look into this!" From there the rest is history!

There is an age old saying in the world of drums: "People do not choose to become drummers; drumming chooses its victims." So very true!

Curious parents have to discern between brute pounding and a genuine interest in drums. For parents, gauging this interest hinges on two parts; they are: 1. Is there genuine interest in becoming a drummer and 2. The age of the child.

This article will detail ways to detect real interest. My next article will assist parents in deciding the right age for your particular child.

Here are a few things that you can look for and do to measure interest in drum lessons for your child.

  •     Does your kid clap their hands and/or stomp their feet to music? Watch their faces as they pound. Do they seem to genuinely try to follow the music? Pay particular attention to any attempt at REPETITION of sounds... that is a dead give-away to call the best drum teacher you can find!!!

  •     Whenever you take your son or daughter to a social or family event that has live music of any sort, do they pay particularly close attention to the drums and/or the drummer more than all else? If so, that could be a good sign. In addition, if the venue allows, perhaps have your kid meet the drummer on a break (maybe even ask if your kid can tap something on the drums-maybe this person teaches or knows of a good teacher).

  •     Instead of just buying your kids the same old video games, Hot Wheels cars, and Barbie Dolls take your kid to a music store and buy them an inexpensive pair of drumsticks and a practice pad. This "field trip" to the music store will really serve to gauge your child's interest! If your kid lights up automatically at the sight of all of those beautiful drums and other equipment, ask the store if they offer lessons or if they can recommend a good drum teacher.

  •     Parades are also a great way to measure a child's interest. If your child is making it a point to watch the drummers in the parade as opposed to the fire trucks, mascots, horses, and people throwing candy, then that could be the go ahead for lessons...

  •     Here's a quick test: watch these YouTube Videos with your youngster and watch their reaction:
        A. Rudimental Solo-Grandfather's Clock (you will see two men in colonial garb)
        B. 2002 Cavaliers Drumline
        C. Drum Lesson: Journey: Don't Stop Believin'

Following these short tips will allow a parent to see if a kid really wants to take the next step in learning to play the drums for real or if they are just pounding away for recreation.

My next article will focus on what is the right age to start...

George Guest run InnerBeat Drum School in Pittsburgh, PA.

He teaches full-time as a profession and works with kids as young as 3 years old. He also teaches adult students who are professional musicians.


George teaches private lessons and group lessons; kids who take lessons at InnerBeat Drum School have fun learning!

To get a sample of George's teaching methods, sign up for his email list to receive regular education material once per week


Rabu, 05 Desember 2012

The Elements That Make People Buy Trap Beats

Before you get into making a trap beat the first thing that you must know is the main elements of trap beats that give them that hardcore, gangsta feel. You can start from a simple foundation of a few key elements before you start making these types of beats. Here are some elements that are very crucial in making trap beats and ultimately trying to get artists to buy trap beats.

    THE 808's - First and foremost the key ingredient that popular trap beats are known for is 808 sounds. 808 Kicks, Hi Hats, Toms, and Snares. These 808 sounds are the main sounds that give these beats that distinctive trap beat feel. Typically the 808 kicks are made to provide a good low frequency punch to emphasize the sub bass tails that almost every trap beat has. In the industry today, 808 toms are the most popular to use for drum fills. These toms are usually used just prior to the ending of the 4th bar to emphasize the transition or prior to the ending of the 8th bar. It really depends on the feel and the character of the beat and is really up to you. The tom fills are mainly used to give the beat a nice, fluent transition into a different part of the beat. Hot selling trap beats almost all the time have a 808 snare drum sound. This is a very crucial element of trap beats. Majority of the time, once it is laid on the track, it is then boosted by a basic "EQ"(Equalizer) that boosts the bandwidth, frequency on an average of about 200 hz and adjust the high-frequency pass somewhere between the 50 hz -120 hz range, depending mainly on the bass and the direction you are trying to go with it. When in doubt listen on different systems, positions, and volumes(Ex. Monitors, Headphones, Corner Of Your Room, Near and Far From Speakers, High,Mid, and Low Volumes). Your ears are and should be your most valued tool. Usually you can find these 808 sounds on the company website of the Digital Audio Workstation that you use.

    DRIP EFFECTS - Another popular sound that is used a lot in trap beats are drip-like drop effects. Usually sounding very similar to a continuous water drop that starts at a high pitch and as the progression goes on it descends to a low pitch. These sounds, in most cases, are sampled sounds or a self-programmed synthesized effect that emulates a drop effect(very difficult to do if you are not already familiar with oscillators, wave sounds, filters, etc). This effect is most commonly used in intros, transition points, prior to a breakdown, etc.

    CHANTS - These are a very commonly used, mainly in that "Crunk" type of music. But in the industry today, producers are using chants more in trap and dirty south type beats. Most of the time chants are samples and usually go something like "Hey... Hey... Hey... Hey". These consistent chants sound best when they are hitting on the 2nd and 4th beat of a 4 bar measure. Usually on the hook, to add extra feel to it so the hook has a more powerful impact and impression on the listener. Again, depending on the flow and direction of the beat, placements of these chants may vary.

    LEADS, SYNTHS, BASSES, ETC - These elements are key to getting a hard hitting trap beat. This part gives the beat its character and personality and is mainly part that makes the beat memorable. Its popular to have a synth lead pattern consisting of a simple 4 bar melody that switches between high or low octaves after every 4 bars. It is ideal to use this technique for the hook. But in some cases producers do use it on verses, depending on the complexity and progression of the melody. It is very popular to leave out the lead melody on the verses and leave the raw drum and bass lines while still utilizing the other elements. This technique mainly is used to bring out the vocals and give the vocalist most presence on the beat. By far, this part is the funnest part of making these trap beats because these synths and basses just give the beat that extra flame.

Ultimately at the end of the day, if you want to add other elements, by all means do it. The most important thing here is to experiment to open up the opportunity to grasp your own unique sound. But this is a different story if you have your trap beats for sale online. Artists, now days, tend to like beats that sound similar to the songs they hear on the radio. Anyways, this is a whole different subject on its own and is for a totally different article. This information shared here is strictly to help people get an idea of the elements of a trap beat and what types of sounds to use to effectively make one. Keep in mind that there is no law here that says you have to follow these steps or instructions. By all means, feel free to do your own thing.

On the flip side, the most important thing you must learn to do is to trust what you hear. Your ears don't lie. Sometimes beats will start off one way and end up going in totally different direction. In some cases this is a good sign that your level of creativity is increasing.

Now the last thing I want to leave you with. A cool technique you may use to help keep your trap beats up to par, as far as fluidity and consistency. Its called the "TRIPLE F's". Which stands for "Flow", "Finesse", and "Fix".

    FLOW - First really listen and get the feel for the direction and flow of the beat. Then ask the questions "how is the flow of the instruments or instrumentation? melodies? chord progression?"

    FINESSE - Then playback melodies, leads, drum beats, bass lines, and see if the finesse of these elements are exposed to its fullest potential. This step usually will point out notes, chords, instruments, effects that will need to be re-touched and adjusted.

    FIX - Last step and final step here is to go back and fix the things that need to be fixed in order for the beat to have consistent flow and character.

P.S - It is very crucial to always be experimenting on different melodies, sounds, effects, etc while creating or mixing your beat. If you think it doesn't sound good, switch it up and experiment with it. You must remember that music is infinite and you can literally do anything you wish with it.

Breydan Keohokapu


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Kamis, 13 September 2012

Fix Your String Skipping Problems On Guitar

String skipping on guitar is the simplest skill to learn. Not even! Virtually every single guitarist will have a number of string skipping problems over the learning process. And yet with just a bit of focused work, the openness to allow a great deal of errors, along with the easy drills you are about to find out about, you will find yourself jumping over strings with wild abandon and sticking those landings just like an Olympic gymnast.

"String skipping" means picking notes on non-adjacent strings. Such as playing a note on your second string, then one on the fourth string. To make it easier to correct your technique let's work with the right-hand using just single notes.

You will see me continuously describe restricting the range of motion in the right-hand. That sounds like a negative thing to do. However, we're going to use it for the forces of good to allow your right hand a finite region to operate in to help you to create the muscle memories for the space in between your strings.

1. Rest stroke. In a "rest stroke" you'll pick the string and let the pick come to a stop against the subsequent string. For instance: Pick your open fourth string and allow the pick to come to rest on the 3rd string.

Here is this finite movement in operation. The guitar pick is going to move the exact same distance each and every time and your muscles should learn this distance easily. When you become comfortable with this rest stroke, your hand will be able to determine the length between several guitar strings readily.

As a bonus, the rest stroke also will improve your tone and right hand accuracy and precision as a whole.

2. Anchor. I am not referring to the 3-ton seafaring equipment. Although that could help keep you in one spot to practice for a longer time! Using a right hand anchor means resting your right hand pinkie finger on the body of the guitar. If you are using the bottom strings you will attach it to the top string. Same point here. It limits the mobility into a smaller space on the guitar.

A few guitar players will disagree with me on the use of an anchor. Many don't use one at all. Having said that, in my 2 decades of teaching guitar I have seen anchors help to tidy up poor right-hand technique numerous times.

3. Those blind dudes had the right idea. Now that you've got a solid rest stroke and pinkie anchor we'll do some actual string skipping, though with your eyes shut. This is also a trust exercise. A bit like that exercise where your partner falls backwards and you are supposed to catch them. However there is no possibility of a head injury here. Instead you are going to learn how to put your trust in your hands. You WILL mess up quite a few times at first, but that is entirely ok. Ignore those mistakes and try once more. Your technique will get better faster if you don't let the mistakes frustrate you.

To keep it simple, we will just use the open strings for this exercise. Close your eyes then start with the sixth string. Always keep your pinkie anchor and rest strokes under consideration. Then pick every other string: 6th, 4th, 2nd. Next start on the first string and pluck every other string coming back down: 1st, 3rd, 5th.

Keep it slow, mess up a lot, then repeat the process.

Then do it in reverse. Go down on strings 2, 4, 6 and go up on strings 5, 3, 1.

When you're able to achieve that comfortably, have a go at skipping a pair of strings: 6th/3rd, 5th/2nd, 4th/1st. Very same thing backwards. And then you can try skipping three strings, and so forth.

Whenever you shut your eyes, your mind shifts gears and places additional concentration on your senses of hearing and touch (and scent, but I really hope you don't need that here). That's why playing guitar with your eyes closed can help you develop this technique more quickly. All those ridiculous "guitar player rocking out/having a bowel movement" faces are optional, yet seem to go with the territory.

When you have it down, have a go with your eyes open, but do not look at your hands. You don't have to anymore. While you're playing, your eyes should be on the written music or the 1000s of screaming admirers in front of the stage.

Just follow these steps and fight through the mistakes. You may see that guitar string skipping is really rather easy after all!

For more guitar brain hacks and effective practice tips visit www.GuitarNotesForBeginnersHQ.com

A Singer's Interview: 5 Performance Tips for Good Results

Preparation for a singer's interview is how a successful performer can play an active part in the promotion program designed by the team they have chosen to represent their interests. During the launch of a singer's recording career there could be a nation-wide tour of 200 or more interview dates. These range from in-store mini-concerts, press and radio interviews, to national television appearances.

Recently there has been an explosion of new talent vying for media attention in an already crowded field. Learning to deliver engaging interviews is one way to guarantee you will stand out from the rest of the pack. So here are some tips for executing successful media events.

1. Be animated, have fun, Everything discussed when singers interview should be in a positive tone of voice, unless, of course, you are speaking of a disaster. Keep the tone upbeat and enthusiastic. This is especially important for drive-time radio interviews when radio hosts are working hard to keep their listeners awake and alive. When you present a positive attitude, even in times of personal difficulty, it is difficult for the interviewer not to respond in kind.

2. You will need to remember that you are there to promote a relationship with the public, but keep in mind that your job is not only to promote your agenda; it's also your job to make the interviewer look good. A singer's interview should always have an intimate feel. Plan on treating your host as if they were your very best friend -- at least for the next three to twenty minutes.

Occasionally refer to your interviewer by name. It is a good idea to match your speaking pace to that of your host. Be sure not to "step on" their lines. Give them plenty of time to finish their thoughts before you speak. Everybody loves a good listener. Besides that, it buys time for you to formulate your own answers. After all, the real translation of the sound "um" is "I'm stalling."

3. If you support your voice with your entire body when you speak, you will give the impression that you stand firmly behind what you say. Short concise bites, with strong consonant sounds at the beginning of words are best. Punch up your responses by ending your words with pauses for additional emphasis.

4. It's also good to remember that Silence is golden. Say what you need to say, then quit talking. Don't continue to ramble. Silence is not nothing; it's simply a real, real quiet sound.

5. You cannot control which questions will be asked of you in a singer's interview, but if you plan your responses in advance and practice them until they become natural, you will not be caught off guard. First and foremost you want to come through the interview with your career intact, so take comfort in the fact that you are bound to know your topic better than the host.

Be yourself; let others see you as a real person; share your life with them; have fun; make your interviewer look good and you can be assured that many more interviews will come your way.

Bonus Tip #1: Try not to leave the studio without firm plans for receiving a print, audio or video copy of your interview. You will want these public records for your growing dossier.

Bonus Tip #2: Always send a thank-you note to the hosts, engineers and producers. These little notes pave the way for future interviews.

Bonus Tip #3: Find a notebook or a place on your computer to keep records of each interview. You will want to remember the people involved, what you wore, and the topic of the interview.

Nashville vocal coach Renee Grant-Williams helped make stars out of many top artists: Tim McGraw, Martina McBride, Dixie Chicks, Miley Cyrus, Huey Lewis, Kenny Chesney, Faith Hill, Jason Aldean, Christina Aguilera...

Click Here to receive her free weekly Vocal Video Lessons and PDF of "Answers to Singers' 7 Most Important Questions."

Author of "Voice Power" AMACOM (NY). She offers insider's information via on-line lessons at cybervoicestudio.com.

Teacher Vs Teach Yourself - What's the Best Way to Learn an Instrument?

Playing an instrument is a great talent. We can all admire the skills of expert players, but few of us can actually pick up an instrument and play. If you've always wanted to be a musical maestro, now is a great time to start. But what's the best way to learn an instrument - expert guidance or teaching yourself?

Music Teacher

Getting taught by a professional is the most common way to learn an instrument, but why? Here we look at the pros and cons of taking lessons:


They know exactly how everything works, and will teach you the basics. As you develop, they will be able to teach you the more complicated parts. Music teachers help you get to know all the technicalities inside out.

Find yourself struggling? They are always on hand to make everything a little clearer. You can take lessons as regularly as you need to, and practice in the mean time. Music teachers are the ideal way to help your kids learn an instrument.


Music lessons can be expensive. At a time where everyone is feeling the pinch, is this a luxury you can really afford? Depending on your level of experience and particular instrument, the cost can skyrocket.

You may also struggle to find time to fit lessons into a busy schedule. You have to rely on someone else having the time to see you. If you work full time, it is sometimes impossible to find a mutually beneficial time.

You also have to learn what the teacher wants you to. On some occasions you will have very little freedom over the songs you learn. By learning in this way, some people find it difficult to adapt their skills to play anything else.

Teaching Yourself

What about teaching yourself then? Is this a more viable option? Here are some things to consider:


If you teach yourself, you can do so on your own terms. You can dedicate as much time to learning as possible. This also gives you the freedom to learn in a way that suits you. Musicians can choose to learn note by note, or song by song.

This freedom also transcends into how you teach yourself. You can learn to play the instrument of your choice by following YouTube videos for example. This way you can continue to go over a specific aspect until you have it mastered. Books and DVDs are also easy, affordable ways to learn at home.


However if you're struggling, where can you turn? If you teach yourself you have no real way of getting over a particular hurdle. This is often the point may people who are teaching themselves give up.

Learning from a novice isn't the same as learning from a professional. There's a chance that you'll miss out on something. For example, your tutorials may not cover tuning your instrument. This will then result in lasting damage.

What's the Answer?

There is no real right answer to this conundrum. It is all dependent on your personal preferences. If you have a little background knowledge, why not start with trying to teach yourself and see how it goes? With so many options though, it's worth trying both.

If you're thinking of taking up new musical instrument, you can find some unusual and great fun instruments at the Djembe Drum Shop.

Top 3 Songwriting "How-To" Books

I've been a songwriter for a long time. Going on 20 years, seriously. Before that I was journalling and well, writing out my pre-teen angst.

Over the years, I've done the good old-fashioned trial and error - which is by far THE BEST way to get better writing songs. Yes, I wrote one OK song for every ten bad, then 2 OK songs, then 1 good for ten bad. You get the idea...

But I'd stop for help along the way, pick up some inspiration and generally pick up a few new tricks. So I've narrowed down some of my favourite songwriting books. These are the ones I won't sell, give away or lend without holding someone's driver's license and car keys.

So, in no particular order my top 3 songwriter books are:

1) Writing Better Lyrics - Pat Pattison

I went to his workshops and also book his workbooks on rhyming etc. This guy is good and has excellent exercises for improving skills. Pat even says John Mayer keeps a copy on his toilet tank. Yah!

2) Writing Music for Hit Songs - Jai Josefs

I did all the exercises at the back of each chapter over the course of a summer. It was a lot of work, but well worth it. If filled in a lot of gaps between music lessons over the years and emphasized choosing the write chords and progressions to match the lyrics.

3) How to Make a Good Song a Hit Song - Molly-Ann Leikin

I'm actually re-reading this book and walking around making up rhymes, internal rhymes and generally getting some funny looks from people I walk by on the street.

There are some other books that songwriter friends enjoyed. Frankly I never got as much out of them as the ones above, but you might so here goes:

Anything by Sheila Davis, John Braheny or Jason Blume.

Lastly, you're a bit lost without some help on guitar and found 'Arlen Roth's Complete Acoustic Guitar Guide' was excellent for skill building and Natalie Goldberg's 'Writing Down the Bones', excellent for inspiration and sticking to your calling as a writer.

There was two years in particular that I read most of the book above and it definitely took me forward leaps and bounds. Of course, you have to put it into practise to get the most out of the learning. Write bad songs! Think of it as clearing them out to make way for the good ones!

Good luck!

Lindsay May is a 'classy alt-country songstress' who invites the muse on every occasion. With two albums under her belt and numerous singles, she's been a finalist at Kerrville New Folk Festival and New Mountain Stage Songwriting contest among her many accolades. Get a free song and find more songwriting tips by signing up for her newsletter at: