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.

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.