Reuben Vincent Studio March 14-170

If I had a penny for every time I heard a grumpy, narrow-minded, middle-aged moaner say something like: “They don’t make records like they used to” or “They only churn out rubbish in popular music these days” I’d be a millionaire! Concerning popular music, some people seem to be trapped in a time-warp, suspiciously based around the period when they were teenagers and young adults. Like as if the music that was made before and after isn’t worth considering!

And then there’s the classical crowd. Content some are to listen to the faithful few – Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven. Now don’t get me wrong, I love those composers but what about all the fabulous writers that have come afterwards, some still living even? Come on chaps, let’s be more open-minded!

Personally, I think music has been on an incredible journey since the invention of recorded music and the internet. Now music from all over the world and from every period is easily accessible. Children aren’t just exposed to the music of  [···]

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UPDATE 10/3/10:  Zoom has just released their Zoom Q3HD.  Still with only a Hi-Low microphone gain, but with up to 1080p HD capability.  Details here.

This July I got turned on to a new way to record student lessons (by my continual inspiration for my studio, Cynthia Vaughn).  She recommended I use video when recording lessons, instead of recording & saving an mp3 sound file as I had previously been doing.  The camera she recommended is the Zoom Q3, by Samson (CNET review here).

The best thing about this camera is its ease of use.  I have had all my students purchase a 4GB minimum SDHC media card (they’re currently selling for $12-$20).  This allows for 1:23:37 of recording at 48 kHz, 24-bit audio.  At first use, I make sure the student knows that this card needs to be dedicated to voice lessons (warning: don’t let them give you the card out of their digital camera!), as I format the card, and then run the “New Card” program that comes with the camera.  This then places Samson’s “Handy Share” – a super basic video editing/playback program – onto the SD card.  After this one-time setup, all future lessons only require putting the card into the camera & then removing the card at the end of the lesson.  The time that I’ve been taking to save the lesson file onto a USB Flash Drive is completely gone.  My students all feel as if they’ve “gained” time in lessons.

Another completely easy part of the camera is the ease of switching between video and audio.  There is a switch on the side of the camera that toggles between video and solely audio.  There are times where I just want an audio file (such as when recording the notes of a new song), or very quickly video (for speaking a foreign language text where the student can really see what my mouth is doing for articulation).  This ease is AMAZING & well worth the purchase of the camera. [···]

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I get bored practicing by myself, because of this, I like to practice with recordings of pieces whenever possible. I find that I will practice longer if I have something real to practice with. It also helps me to hear how my part fits in with the piece as a whole. I also have students who work with original recordings when they are learning songs. The problem is sometimes the songs are just too fast. Enter “The Amazing Slow Downer'” This fantastic piece of software allows you to slow a piece down up to 80% of the original tempo without changing the key of the piece and it also allows you to change the key of the piece. It is available in trial and full versions. The trial version is free and will allow you to play the first two tracks on any CD (including burned CDs) in its entirity. It will also play the first few minutes of any tune from iTunes and other tracks on the CD. [···]

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