Ten Song Titles That Could Serve As Brief Weather Forecasts

For Midwestern folks like me no part of the local newscast is as anticipated as the weather forecast, but it usually ends up being the most unsatisfying segment as well. Even though they always greet us with smiling faces, seldom do the meteorologists offer us mild temperatures with clear skies.

Instead of the smiling weather experts, the forecast would be more palatable if the news stations chose music to represent the weather conditions. There are a multitude of songs that represent the different types of climates, such as “Mr. Blue Sky” by the Electric Light Orchestra for the beautiful days that are so rare in the Midwest.

Here are ten other popular songs that could be used to represent the weather forecasts.

Cloudy by Simon and Garfunkel

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme is the album that spawned this laid back classic, which leaves one with the feeling that Paul Simon wrote it while lying on his back in the middle of a big green field.

Stormy by the Classics IV

Its beautiful melody belies the adjective that serves as the title, undoubtedly the most recognizable in the pop band’s catalogue.

Sunny by Bobby Hebb

Back in 1966 this hit was ubiquitous, and amid that tumultuous time its message of gratitude and joy was likely most welcome.

Cold As Ice by Foreigner

One of many gems from the self-titled debut album, this monster hit describes a girl but could very well work for a January weather forecast.

Heat Wave by Martha and the Van Dells

Passion is the cause of the rising temperature in this doo-wop tune, which could also be the name of a mid-August trend in the atmosphere.

Misty by Johnny Mathis

Most likely, this pop standard would be used for a morning edition of the local news.

Windy by the Association

This hit might suffice for a breezy afternoon, yet it could also leave you with a craving for a double cheeseburger and a thick chocolate shake.

Rain by The Beatles

John Lennon penned this hit around the time of Revolver, only to see it carried on the compilation album called Hey Jude.

Snow by the Red Hot Chili Peppers

The alternate rockers scored a hit with this wintry track from Stadium Arcadium.

White Out Conditions by the New Pornographers

A.C. Newman and Neko Case share the vocals on this title track from the indie band’s latest album.

What to Know About Stringed Instrument Bow Rehairing

Fine violin bows (as well as fine cello bows and viola bows) are a bit of a menagerie. There’s the frog of course, which isn’t at all derived from real amphibians, plus horsehair, the most important part. And tucked inside frog mechanism is the abalone slide, made from a real mollusk.

This last piece, the thin rectangle of iridescent purple and turquoise, is almost too pretty to hide inside the frog. It is in fact the same material known as Mother of Pearl used in jewelry. But the hardness of abalone is part of why it’s used in the vise-like mechanism in stringed instrument bows – along with several other precision parts – to hold the horsehair in place.

That said it’s the horsehair that gets most of the attention. This is partly due to it being visible and also because the vibration of the hairs sliding or striking the actual instrument strings produce the sound. Any violinmaker will attest that even the best Stradivarius violin is only as good as its bow, a powerful statement on the bow’s importance.

But bows fail and need repair – frequently. Active players might have their bows repaired and rehaired every six months. The reasons for this are sometimes obvious – broken bowhair mid-concert! – or very subtle. The horsehair stretches and breaks, or just fails to engage with the instrument’s strings to produce an acceptable sound.

A few things to look for that indicates failing bowstrings are:

• Broken hairs that are unevenly distributed, such as all on one side. This might be due to how you play or uneven bow tension, but either way it needs fixing.

• Frequent hair breaks, which might be about a bow-instrument mismatch, or the player is trying to force a sound (too firm a grip and pressure on the strings) that isn’t there.

• Seasonal weather conditions, or travel to a different climate, can affect the humidity and relative dryness and length of the bow hair. The dryer the conditions, the shorter and therefore more tense the hairs – perhaps too tense, leading to breakage.

• Bow bugs, the tiny mites that love dark places (inside cases) and the taste of horsehair, can destroy the bow hair in a few short weeks. Sunshine can go a long way to scare them out of a case; hair damage still needs to be addressed.

• Accumulated dirt on the hair, from human hands and sweat or the rosin and ambient dust, can compromise the horsehairs as well. Clean with a soft, clean dry cloth is recommended; veteran violinmakers often advise that detergents and solvents can cause more harm than good.

With the cost of a simple rehair priced at only around $65, players are urged to take their underperforming bows in to a violin shop for examination and a repair. It just isn’t possible for the individual musician to do it at home. The proper workspace and tools are required, not to mention the expertise. With frogs, horses and abalone already involved, it’s quite all right to hand the job over to a professional.

What Is a “Student Violin Outfit” and What Are Its Benefits?

“Outfit” is another word for “set,” as in how the three primary components (violin, bow, and case) are sold in a package. Sometimes it’s a better buy.

The beginning violin student and even someone with a few years of study might choose to purchase what is called a “violin outfit”. This is in contrast to separately purchasing the violin, bow, and the case.

Why would a student (and the funding source, typically parents) go one route over the other? It is basically a matter of having strong preferences for characteristics of each component, versus not knowing why they would prefer one bow, one violin, or one case over another. And some of that has to do with simply how much tolerance the buyer has for shopping or confidence when entering a local violin shop and speaking with a violinmaker.

These same considerations go for students of violas and cellos.

It isn’t difficult to find violins for sale at a local shop, online or in one of the large chain music stores. Violas and cellos for sale are similarly easy to find. The challenge isn’t finding them as much as knowing which models to buy. For beginning players, it’s a good bet that an outfit put together by a local violin shop is going to be a good buy.

Pricing of outfits – pretty much around $299 at the low end up to $2000 – is what makes them attractive as well. But that’s not to say individual components will necessarily cost more if purchased separately. All too often the pricing of an outfit might be misleading when, for example, available violins are of acceptable quality but the bow and case are subpar.

To help a violin buyer determine if the outfit components are of reasonable, “beginner level” quality, here are some things to look for:

Bow: For the beginner, a bow made of fiberglass is common and acceptable, although a student might also consider a carbon fiber bow because they are sturdy (sturdier than wood, which tends to be more expensive) and are less affected by temperature and humidity. More expensive are the Brazilwood and Pernambuco bows, although the Pernambuco (considered by many to be “the best”) are in short supply due to deforestation of the tree in its native Brazil (Brazilwood is derived from several species of available trees and as such is relatively inexpensive).

Case: A more expensive violin for a dedicated student might have a case with a built-in humidifier, thermometers and hygrometer (to check for humidity). But for students with a first violin, only the following should be a feature of the case: bow placement is secured to avoid contact with the violin, plus an extra compartment to hold rosin and a wiping cloth; interior padding with contours that mold to the shape of the instrument; hard exterior construction, made of wood, compacted foam, or carbon fiber. Soft-sided cloth carrying bags simply do not provide the same degree of protection.

Violin: A student’s teacher might be the best guide in determining which beginner violin would work best. At the minimum, the strings need to be set right, neither too high nor too low. The pegs and fine tuners need to be operational. And the spacing of the strings, the “bow clearance,” should be such that the bow does not hit the edges of the instrument when the violinist is bowing the outer strings.

The beginning student is also advised to find a luthier (violinmaker) who can determine where the student is at in his or her training. If the commitment is strong and there is some evidence of emerging talent, a smart strategy of investment in a good instrument, bow, and case might be in order. If the student has yet to demonstrate such qualities, a lower-priced violin outfit is perhaps the better choice.

How To Buy Hip Hop Beats For Sale Online

If you are a music artist, you may have had this question in mind at some point in time – How do I buy hip hop beats for sale online? With the internet becoming more and more popular, it’s easy to see that online music producers and online music artists are taking over the music industry. In the past, if you were a music artist the only way to get hip hop beats would be to either produce hip hop beats yourself, know someone who makes hip hop beats, or be signed to a label. But now with the evolution of the internet, this is no longer the case, in fact all you have to do now is type “Hip Hop Beats For Sale” into your search engine (I prefer Google myself) and over 2,000,000 websites with the title Hip Hop Beats For Sale will pop up into your computer screen! But who do I trust? How do I know what site to choose? How do I even go about buying hip hop beats for sale online? Well let’s get into it!

Tip #1: Finding Beats Online: If you’re new to shopping online, finding the right place to buy beats might seem hard, but not to worry its a lot easier than you might have thought. The first thing your going to want to do is find a music producer that sells beats. Searching Google is probably the most popular way to find anything these days so try typing in hip hop beats for sale and see what pops up. Another great way to find beats online is YouTube. Here you can search for “type beats”. For example you can type in Drake Type Beat and YouTube will show you thousands if not millions of videos related to what you searched. But to buy a beat on YouTube you’ll have to somehow contact the producer and work something out, this could be a little harder than just purchasing from a website where you could buy beats without ever having to talk to anyone.

Tip #2: Professional Looking Website: For obvious reasons you don’t want to buy from a website that looks spammy or sketchy. I mean, think of a restaurant, would you eat in a place that looked dirty or ugly? Probably not, so why would you shop with someone who’s website does not give you a professional vibe. If a producer is serious he/she will put in the extra work to make sure their website is of the highest quality. A professional website might have a website header with the producers name on it (example – Producers Name Beats). Or it might just immediately show case their beats in some kind of beat or music store. Popular beat store examples are AirbitSoundgine, and Beatstars but there are plenty more out there. They allow online producers to sell beats on their own websites and accept credit cards or PayPal payments online. The average beat store you might see on a producers website will have a rather simple layout, with beats you can preview, an add to cart button, and a checkout button. Most will allow you to use a credit card or PayPal account to purchase and send you your beats automatically to your email. Another thing you want to see on a producers website is testimonials or featured artists. This shows you that other people have successfully purchased beats from this person and can can be trusted. Try to stay away from a producer that doesn’t at least have one of these two things.

Tip #3: Lease Or Exclusive: When buying beats online you’re always either leasing it or buying it exclusively. Leases are the cheaper of the two options ranging anywhere from $10 – $50. When you buy a Lease you’re basically renting the beat from the producer with certain benefits and agreements. Most leases will allow you to sell your song a set number of times or perform your song a set number of times. This is the option you will probably gravitate to if you are just starting out or are just trying to make a name for yourself. It allows you to get a beat rather cheap and use it in mixtapes or music videos etc. Exclusives are a little more expensive and can range anywhere from $100 – $1,000 even more in some cases. When you buy the Exclusive Rights to a beat that means that you own it and it will no longer be sold to anyone else. This is great for an artist that is making a lot of record sales and has a big fan base because it allows you to make unlimited music sales without any problems. When looking for beats for sale just make sure to read the Lease and Exclusive License Agreements because they are different for every music producer.

Tip #4: Prices: As I mentioned before, prices can vary depending on the producer, but in general you’ll see that most producers stay within a certain range. Basic Leases usually stay between $10 – $40 and usually come with an MP3 version of the beat you are purchasing. Anything here would be considered normal, I wouldn’t recommend you paying more than $40 for a basic lease. A step up from that might be a WAV Lease, maybe referred to as Premium or something along those lines. These usually go anywhere from $30 – $60 and come with the MP3 & WAV files to the beat you purchased. Another common Lease would be a Tracked Out/Stems Lease. This one is a little different ranging anywhere from $60 – $200. The reason being is that you get the Tracked Out or Stem files (all the individual sounds that make up the beat on their own wav). This allows you to turn the volumes to certain sounds up or down, or even take an instrument out you don’t like. This Lease is popular among artists who have a producer they work with that can mix the song as a whole. Exclusives are a little tricky and really just depend on the producer you are working with. I’ve seen Exclusives go anywhere from $100 – $1,000 and some producers don’t even sell Exclusive Rights at all! When buying Exclusive Rights you really just have to know your own budget. For someone like Eminem who makes millions of dollars off of album sales, $1,000 for a beat would mean nothing to him compared to the profit being made back. But if you are just starting out and would like the Exclusive Rights for a beat I would recommend staying in the $100 – $300 price range. Most online producers will even negotiate with you if you contact them via email or social media. Just keep in mind that every producer is different, so make sure to read the license agreements before purchasing so you know exactly what you are getting and what you are able to do with the beat afterwards.

Brief Overview:

1. Find a website that has hip hop beats for sale via Google search.

2. Make sure the website looks professional and trustworthy.

3. Browse their beat store until you find beats you like.

4. Click the Add To Cart button next to beats you want and pick a License that best fits your budget and needs.

5. Click the Checkout/Buy Now button usually located in the top right hand corner of the beat store.

6. Check out via PayPal or Credit Card.

7. Receive your beats via email usually within 24 hours.

Hopefully this article made your beat shopping experience a little easier! I hope you find what you are looking for and much love to you on your adventure in music and in life.

Best Ten I Want You Back Songs

Once again my mental discography has been ignited by the hosts of Sound Advice, the popular music discussion show on National Public Radio. On a recent their topic was what they called I Want You Back songs, and each host presented his six favorites.

Among the half dozen of Jim DeRogatis was “If I Can’t Have You” by Yvonne Elliman, her first single after a successful tenure as the backing vocalist for Eric Clapton. Its lyrics lay bare the pleading to get her old!over back, Boeing that no one else could ever replace him.

Co-just Greg Kot offered a different six pack, highlighted by “Working My Way Back To You” by the Spinners. The legendary pop group songs about a guy who has grown to regret his infidelity, now that the girl he had taken for granted has left him.

Here are ten other songs that could have been mentioned in a program centered on songs about someone wishing to get his former lover back.

Baby Come Back by Player

In the chorus he owns up to the fact that he was wrong and cannot live her, a confession that is gorgeously backed up by a beat that would make peers Hall and Oates proud.

I’ve Returned by Squeeze

After calling her friends a bunch of Muppets as well as insulting her sister, the apologetic male has come back intending to win her heart again.

Bad Boy by Ray Parker Jr.

As a sequel to a previous hit on which he confessed to having fallen for another woman, the Raydio front man is now expressing his desire to return to the one he jilted.

Come Back To Me by the Bongos

His girl left him in the old heartless way by leaving a Dear John letter, but nevertheless he is now begging her to return to his arms.

Can’t You Hear Me Calling? by Bill Monroe

This timeless bluegrass classic centers on a man filled with regret after misusing his former woman, who he hopes will return to him.

Band of Gold by Freda Payne

In most cases the ring has to go back to the man, but on this Sixties smash hit the jilted girl would much prefer to have the liver than the piece of jewelry.

Boy With a Problem by Elvis Costello

Squeeze lyricist Chris Difford provided the words for this Imperial Bedroom track, which has Elvis willing to roll over and play dead now that he is in her doghouse.

Don’t Pull Your Love by Hamilton, Joe Frank, and Reynolds

Because his former girl is leaving him, the guy swears that he will cry for a hundred years and drown in his tears.

Big Mouth Strikes Again by the Smiths

On this great side two opener from The Queen Is Dead, Morrissey bemoans the recent occasion on which he threatened his now ex by bludgeoning her in her bed and smashing every tooth in her head.

I Threw It All Away by Bob Dylan

One of the five singles from Nashville Skyline, the regret here in obvious in lyrics like “I once held the mountains in the palm of my hands, and rivers ran through every day.”

Benefits of Music for Seniors

It is generally acknowledged that musical activity can have beneficial results for seniors. These benefits come in different forms for different people depending on their circumstances.

“Music Therapy” is one well established method of helping people with physical and cognitive disabilities caused by conditions such as dementia. “MT” as it is referred to, often involves relatively passive activities like listening to music under controlled conditions. But it can also involve singing, drumming or tapping, and playing other simple instruments like the harmonica.

Research has shown that the soothing effect of music leads to better social interaction and often helps improve communication skills where they have been impaired by such things as stroke, or been the result of some other injury or sickness.

For what we might call “ordinary” seniors, music is often used in retirement communities and senior centers in the form of special musical entertainment, sing songs and even dancing classes.

Participants are encouraged to engage in singing, clapping, and dancing to old familiar standards. This type of musical experience provides pleasant and enjoyable social interaction, a valuable bit of physical activity, and a jolt of positive emotional stimulation.

Can seniors benefit from playing musical instruments?

Listening to music can be emotionally stimulating, but it is a relatively passive activity. Can seniors benefit from being more actively involved in making music – by, for instance, singing or playing a musical instrument?

Of course it depends a lot on the senior, and on the instrument. Many seniors have physical limitations that make fingering a violin or a guitar almost impossible. But those same people might benefit from participation in a drum circle.

Participants in activities like this quickly get involved in making music, having fun, even dancing, chanting, and singing.

As Shannon Rattigan of drumcircles.net says,

If a facilitated drum circle is presented properly, in a matter of 10 minutes everyone can be playing a drum rhythm together… The key to it is setting the right tone that this is going to be playful and fun. You can improvise, play around, and just have a good time. Like we did when we were kids.

Can this be done with other instruments?

Again, it depends a lot on the senior and on the instrument.

Many older people have played a musical instrument when they were younger, and stopped playing when family and work intervened. I often read on music instruction forums comments from older guys (most of them seem to be men) who have picked up the guitar after it sat in the closet for 40 years.

Yes, 40 years! That is not an exaggeration. I am an example. I played the guitar and trumpet in my teens and twenties, and didn’t actively pick them up again until I was in my 60s.

The incentive for me was the opportunity to teach some of my grandchildren a bit of what I knew. And that led to many opportunities to perform with them at family gatherings. And of course that has resulted in the joy that comes with watching the kids become talented musicians in their own right.

The point is, it is possible to dust off old talents if the circumstances are right. Reviving old talents and playing in a small, informal band with friends or family is one possibility.

A retirement community seems like the perfect place where a group of people might get together to make music together in a more structured way – say as a singing ensemble or a little band.

An enterprising social director in a seniors community might even form a larger band – using regular musical instruments or simple ones such as whistles, harmonicas, and a variety of percussion items (drums, tambourines, shakers, wooden blocks, etc.)

Playing traditional musical instruments

Is it realistic to think that a person who is 70 or 80 years old might continue to play a traditional musical instrument like a keyboard, guitar or trumpet? Or could he or she learn an entirely new instrument – a keyboard, for instance, or a banjo, harmonica or even a saxophone or guitar?

Again, it depends on the circumstances a person finds herself in – in particular, her physical limitations. Many aging people have lost flexibility in their hands. They may have a sore back or hips that make it difficult to sit in positions required by some instruments. And often an older person has difficulty seeing or hearing.

If none of these things are holding a person back then why not go for it!

But there is always the question of motivation

Learning to play an instrument like a piano – even in the most basic way – has real benefits. It provides enjoyment, mental stimulation, and a sense of accomplishment. And that may be enough incentive to get you to take on (and stick with) a project like teaching yourself a musical instrument.

But playing for your own enjoyment is often not enough of an incentive to keep you going. Playing a musical instrument, or even singing in a small ensemble, almost inevitably involves the opportunity to perform for others – usually friends, family or fellow community residents.

In other words it is often just the prospect of performing for others that keeps musicians going. Taking music lessons when you are a child almost always involves a “recital” every now and then to display what you have learned. Without the recital practicing starts to seem pointless.

There is no reason to think it should be any different for a senior. My father played his violin in church for at least 50 years, and it was those “performances” that kept him interested in playing. When his faculties started to deteriorate and the invitations to play dried up, so did his interest in playing at all.

It is performances like this that provide the incentive to become better and to learn new material, or for an older person, to hold on to the skills they developed earlier in life.

So I would answer “Yes” to the question “Can a senior like me learn a new instrument?” It will give you enjoyment as well as mental and spiritual stimulation. And it will give you something meaningful to do with your time.

But don’t keep it to yourself. Play for friends and family. Join a group or form a band. Have fun being a musician, and share the joy with others.

The Most Important Skill To Practice For Recording Guitar On An Album

The most important skill you need to practice for recording guitar is rhythm guitar playing. Many guitar players neglect this skill and end up wasting valuable recording time in the studio (costing them tons of money in the process). Improving rhythm guitar playing saves you time in the studio and makes your recordings sound pro.

To record rhythm guitar perfectly and make your recordings sound great, you must master several key skills. Here is a list of some of the skills you must train:

Making The Notes Of All Chords Be Perfectly Stable

Improving this skill requires training yourself to consistently pick every note of a chord with the same amount of force. This is especially important while recording double or quad tracked rhythm parts. Practice this by recording yourself playing a chord 10-15 times. Then look at the visual representation of the chord (waveform) in your recording software. This helps you see any inconsistencies in your picking attack. Try to play ten chords in a row that are perfectly identical.

Palm Muting To Eliminate All Excess String Noise

When your recordings are full of unwanted string noise it sounds sloppy and totally unprofessional. Getting rid of all string noise requires palm muting with the picking hand and using the index finger of the fretting hand.

Palm Muting Consistently On All Tracks

Palm muting consistently means muting at the same location (on the strings) and using the same amount of pressure while pressing down with your picking hand. Many guitar players palm mute inconsistently either because they don’t practice muting consistently or aren’t aware that this skill exists to be practiced.

Playing The Same Rhythm Guitar Part Perfectly More Than Once

A lot of guitar players do not have good overall consistency in their playing. They do not practice recording and are unable to play something perfectly several times in a row. You WILL have to do this to create multiple tracks for a single part in the studio. This makes this skill critical for saving time, money and frustration.

Playing In Perfect Time

To make any rhythm guitar part sound professional, you must be able to play in perfect time with the drums and bass. This means locking in with the beat so that the part you’re playing seems to disappear. Perfecting this requires practicing recording yourself to make sure you are neither ahead of or behind the beat.

Ten Classic Albums Turning Fifty This Year

Yellow Submarine, the quirky animated film involving The Beatles, is returning to theaters this season. The special screening has been scheduled to honor the fiftieth anniversary of its release, not long after the band had created its iconic Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album.

Another psychedelic film from a popular musical quartet, which like Yellow Submarine was accompanied by an album of the same title, came out in 1967. With a simple one word title, Head portrayed the Monkees in a much different light than fans of their hit television show had seen.

Neither the film nor the record received much critical acclaim, but the Monkees did that same year release an album that has long been considered among their best. It is just one of many albums that came out the year after the summer of love, and here are ten of the best releases from 1968.

Bookends by Simon and Garfunkel

“Mrs. Robinson” appeared on this as well as the soundtrack to The Graduate, but the highlight here is Simon’s story of the young couple fruitlessly searching for “America.”

Music From the Big Pink by the Band

Bob Dylan wrote a couple of the tracks on this disk, which is best remembered for Robbie Robertson’s “The Weight.”

In Search of the Lost Chord by the Moody Blues

This disk spawned two of the British group’s earliest hits, “Ride My See Saw” and “Voices In the Sky.”

Tape From California by Phil Ochs

After a career making acoustic protest songs, the folk legend branched out here by adding orchestration and electricity to his still poignant lyrics.

The Hurdy Gurdy Man by Donovan

The title track was a huge hit for the man dubbed the British Bob Dylan, and the album has several other jaunty tunes done in the same vein.

The White Album (self-titled) by The Beatles

Some flaws are evident, sure, but this four-sided masterpiece showcases just how great of a songwriter John Lennon was.

Self-Titled by Neil Young

After the demise of Buffalo Springfield, Young set out on his own with an album that opens appropriately with a song called “The Loner.”

The Birds, the Bees and the Monkees by the Monkees

A girl named Valleri inspired one of the hits from this record, which also includes “Daydream Believer” and the underrated “Tapioca Tundra.”

Aerial Ballet by Nilsson

Midnight Cowboy spurred “Everybody’s Talking” to the Top Ten, but its album mate “One” was taken all the way to the top a year later by the Three Dog Night.