messy

My Ways of Spending More Time in the Studio

organizedI believe that every one of us knows pretty well whether or not we are organized. Personally, it is a struggle on my part to be organized. However, it was my girlfriend who taught me the connection between being organized and being productive.

Throughout the years, we have moved studio and office items around in order to possibly maximize functionality. However, it was not until I joined a seminar where I learned about the value of ergonomics. I thought this concept is not applicable to musicians like me, but trust me, it can be well applied to all aspects of our lives.

I believe that ergonomics help me spend more time in the studio, as it allows me to become more productive.

I would like to share with you the things that I learned.

Sorting Out Things

messyIn a studio environment, especially in one where most of the tenants are men, having a sorted out place is a rare thing to see. However, I learned from the seminar that sorting out of things is very important. This process means removing items that are no longer needed in the studio, giving priority and space to items which are useful. This includes documents, tools, as well as an accessory.

It also helped me manage studio space when I started ordering all of my things with the most frequency of use as the nearest. For instance, since we frequently receive calls, our phone is transferred at a spot that is easy to reach from our chairs.

Paying Attention to Ergonomics

ergonomic chair studioI must admit. I never thought that the selection of furniture in our recording studio is a very important factor to consider. I and my team only gave attention to the electronics equipment that we need to have. After all, most of our budget went to this equipment.

However, I was made aware, through the seminar, that even the furniture inside the recording studio plays a vital role in the productivity of the people working inside. In fact, they should not be neglected at all. With the right furniture in the studio, we have observed that we became ergonomically efficient.

chairsTrue, creating a decent studio may take a lot of effort and time. However, if you think of it, as a full-time musician, most of our time are spent inside our studio. I always said I didn’t mind sitting on a chair that is not ‘ergonomically’ designed, but recently, I realized that sitting down on comfortable ergonomics chair brings out the best in us. After all, there is a huge possibility that 90% of our time inside the studio is spent sitting at our desk.

For this reason, it would just make sense that most of the budget of any studio, or any office, for that matter, should go to the selection of a chair where you would sit most often. Of course, you may still have to consider budget when selecting your office type chairs, but considering the impact on productivity that these chairs can give you, you know what to do.

Bottom Line

studioJust like other individuals who are pro-ergonomics, I believe that how a studio makes you feel has a bearing on our work efficiency. In fact, it has been proven a lot of times through various studies that office environments which send good vibes to the workers inside become more productive compared to those that are only equipped with monotonous interiors. My suggestion, therefore, is that while you are decorating your studio, it is often best to mix some themes that are included in your design. This will result in less distraction on your part.

Case in point, one day, my girlfriend bought a three pots of plants to our studio. She was telling us that our studio space was just so dull, with no life in it. I thought it would just be fine, but later on, my band mates admitted feeling more vibrant as they work inside the studio. As they take breaks, they either water the plants or even just looking at them gives a feeling of solitude. Adding some art will also make the studio more artistic, I believe, which is why I am planning to get one soon for our studio!

earplugs

Studio, Gigs and Concerts: How do I Protect My Ears From the High Volumes

loud musicI remember a good friend of mine giving me a valuable tip when I was just starting as a musician. He told me: “you need to protect your ears”. I was thinking about other things that day, but it was only when I finally got on stage, felt dizzy because of the noise, that I realized the importance of those words.

As a musician, I have been using my ears since I was young. I have ‘widowed’ some music arrangements (which means that I played by ear), and have listened to our recordings, and that of others. Therefore, my ears is constantly exposed to different levels of sound.

earplugsAs a protection for my ears, I got me a pair of noise canceling earplugs. The ones that I chose have been designed for musicians like me. They are very valuable in different situations, and there is also a wide range of options when it comes to frequencies, as well as custom fittings.

Sadly, however, some musicians I know hate using earplugs while performing because they believe that their performances might be affected. Still, it is still the best thing to do. Through the years that I have used earplugs, I have found some ways on how to balance the sound that enters my ears.

Earplugs – A Good Investment

In any endeavor, investments need to be made. This is very important if you are constantly exposed to the high volume of sound. Loud sound levels can destroy your hearing. If not now, maybe in the long run.
Earplugs particularly designed for musicians like me have been constructed especially to replicate the hearing range of our ears, but only with a lower decibel level. The music that is heard through earplugs for musicians comes it the same frequency, just like that of the original, but they are delivered directly to your inner at a very safe and comfortable decibel level.

It is part of our life as musicians to perform and practice, thus getting ourselves exposed to a wide musical style spectrum. For that reason, it is very important to protect our ears. The good thing is that last time I checked on ear plugs, there are a lot of them that are available, offering different attenuation levels. In fact, I use one which allows me to use a different type of attenuator in one of my ears, and another one with the other, depending on the location, sources, as well as the intensity of sound.

If you are also a musician and are wondering how to choose the best one for your need, consider the following factors:

  • The earplugs that are best for concerts, or those with high volume sound exposure are way different from the standard earplugs that a lot of people use. A good model is one that does not completely mute the sound.
  • Earplugs for concerts and performances, unlike foam earplugs, has the capacity to lower noise up to 12 to 15 decibels. This means that you need to choose ear plugs that can lower sound volume across different frequencies. Doing so will allow you to still enjoy the tune, and at the same time, protect your ears from high volume.

Aside from choosing the right earplugs for your protection, there are also some things that you can take into practice. For instance, take regular breaks. These breaks will give your ears a break. You do not have to wait before you feel dizzy before you rest, just take the initiative and take those well-deserved breaks. It’s for your own good.

If you do mixing, make sure to do so at a controlled volume. For one, there is no reason to be exposed to high volume inside your studio environment. Mixing at higher volume will only distort your sound, which means that you may not get a real response that you need.

Avoid shying away from the use of earplugs. They are the best means of providing protection to your ears. Limit your exposure to high sound levels whenever you can, and take a break at times. You will certainly appreciate music and sound better if you can hear them well.

thank you

I Would Like to Say Thank You to My Girlfriend

thank you loverIf there is somebody I would really like to thank aside from my family, it is my girlfriend.

Babe, THANK YOU is not enough, I think.

You have been with me all the way, supported me through all my ups and downs. You are my pillar, my inspiration, my everything. I feel very motivated every time I see your smile urging me on…

thank youThrough the years of being a full-time musician, starting friendships with other people is not easy at all. I meet great people, beautiful girls everywhere. But it seems that for me, somebody I have always known has made me feel at home.

We met in high school, but we were not high school sweethearts. She was among the cool, intelligent girls at school, while I’m with, guess what? The GLEE Club. We knew each other, but it was only up to that. We were just classmates.

It was only a few years after graduation when we finally got to know each other better. It was during one of our gigs at Matt’s, and she was in the audience, with her friends. Apparently, she was in town for a short vacation. I barely noticed her, because aside from the fact that she changed a lot (more beautiful), I was busy with my music.

She was the one who recognized me. It turned out that she really enjoyed every performance by the GLEE Club back in high school. It started there. She came back to watch more gigs, and the rest is history.

Two years ago, my girlfriend decided to quit her work, and is doing some freelance jobs, giving her more time to spend with me. She lives in her own apartment, but whenever I am in town, she stays with me. At times, when both of our schedules allow, she would join the band during our tours and gigs. And I love it when that happens.

epilationWhenever I am on my free day, and she is in my place, she is usually the one who prepares my coffee. While I check my emails, she also does her stuff. We get crazy sometimes, too! I remember one time, I was observing her using her epilator, and suggested that I do it one time. The next week, she asked me if I can do it for her.

Man! I thought an epilator is just similar to men’s razor. It was not! Far away from it! You need to be delicate, consistent, and all other things in between. I gave up, and admitted that the reason why I wanted to try it myself was because I thought she was doing it wrong. It turned out that she was right, after all.

I was really curious about it! I asked her how she chose a quality epilator for herself. She was very excited while telling me what she knew, but most of what she said were blurry in my head. I remembered clearly, though, that she mentioned about the importance of the Tweezers.

She was like “Any girl should know that tweezers are very important in an epilator. They are the ones that actually remove the hairs. Epilators that are less expensive usually have about 20 tweezers, but it only means that the process consumes more time.”

tweezers“I got one with 72 tweezers, faster and more effective…” Wow, did she really count them all, I wonder! Well, that’s what makes her very attractive. She is girly, yes, but not the fragile type. She can even do some things better than I do. She is independent, smart, and I love her for that.

Personally, I would not say that I have the best girlfriend because any guy would be able to do that with ease. My girlfriend is someone I need, not because of the help she gives me, but because of the peace of mind, I feel whenever she’s near. I can even freely compose good songs with her inspiration. I can pretty much say that all of the things I am enjoying now would not be as enjoying without her.

For that, again, Babe, I love you so much and THANK YOU for all the support in all my endeavors

bass guitar

Getting Ready for the Gigs: Things I Care Before the Performance

gigsGigs – I love them. They are not just a way to showcase my talent, but it allows me to realize my passion. The claps and the cheering from the audience inspire me further. However, getting on stage is not everything, I should say.

The success of a performance highly depends on the things that happen beforehand, which includes the planning phase, and of course, the preparation. The following are aspects that I really give attention to before any performance:

  • My individual playing

 bass guitarI play the bass guitar in our band. At times, I do keyboards too. Regardless of the instrument that I play, I make sure that I focus on my individual playing. What I do is focus on the songs that we play in different situations. I play them while walking, standing, sitting down, in the dark, while talking, with friends listening, without looking at my equipment, and others. The point here is to really familiarize the music even in different scenarios. After all, we’ll never know what will happen during the performance.

  • The overall performance of the band

concertDuring band rehearsals, we make sure that everything is flawless. If one of the members fail to do so or commit mistakes often, we just ask him to go home to practice further. Practicing together is not about understanding flaws because this is the business. Practice and more time can make everything flawless during the performance.

As such, we usually record our rehearsals through video. When we watch the video, we then turn the audio volume off, paying attention to our appearance. This helps us a lot with our visual impact and stage presence. After all, it’s not just sound that matters during gigs.

Then, we do audio recordings, using a recording software. During the review, however, we do not listen to the music from the recording, but we focus on the screen in order to notice any rhythmic flow or pattern issues.

  • Focusing on stage presence

Reality dictates that when playing live, music is just 50% of what the audience really care about. The other half is based on what they see. In fact, we see in mainstream bands that even those that sound great fail to become successful because they failed to focus on stage presence.

This includes careful planning on how each band member looks. Yes, we sit down with our stylists, checking the things like my hair clippers to be used, and beauty products that we would need during the set. We take charge personally, with their guidance, so you bet I am fully aware how those curling irons work!

  • Lessen stage fright

stage frightEven professional performers experience stage fright. This is one aspect that should be given complete attention. After all, even though you have the coolest band, with the most attractive songs, but if you succumb to stage fright, you will be consumed all the way. Usually, stage fright is a result of poor preparations and rehearsals. Therefore, we go back to step 1 and make sure that everything is done well.

  • Logistics and Equipment

equipmentAll the other factors mentioned above can easily be ruined if we fail to give attention to one more detail: logistics and equipment. This applies particularly true if we need to do a gig out of town. The equipment should be in their best condition, with no issues whatsoever, and they should be delivered in the safest way possible. The last thing that any musician would want to hear is that his equipment was either damaged or lost in transit.

There, those are the things that I usually pay attention to and really care about before any performance. I believe that the audience deserves the best. It’s not even about the price paid, the tickets sold, but it is more of the satisfaction I usually feel every time I hear the cheers.

That moment when you are about to end the performance, and they beg for more? The best part! Bands usually bring in extra for that moment, but I have seen other bands playing to the end of their show without receiving such compliments. The success of any performance depends on the preparations before.