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productivity


The Magic of Working in the Music Industry

The Magic of Working in the Music Industry

This article is written by Molly Rahal. She has a sweet story about working at a music production company and her writing makes me smile. I hope it makes you smile, too. 

When I was seventeen years old, I started working part time for a music and arts company called Renegade Productions Inc.

Siobhan, a close childhood friend of mine, had been working there for about half of a year.

“You need to work here,” she told me.

Getting paid to work with my best friend alongside good music and famous bands we had listened to on our iPods years before didn’t seem like a bad idea. So I went for the job.

Renegade has both an office location and studio spaces complete with a theatre, a recording studio, and a dance studio; we would start our day at the office catching up on public relations and doing administrative work, and by one o’clock we would be at the studios for our daily appointments or recording.

But it was so much more than that. I didn’t just love it because of the way there was always guitar, bass, or drums echoing in any given section of the building. It wasn’t just the community of local artists and the creativity that dripped from their paintbrushes every day. It was even more than the pattering of choreographed feet, more than the sounds of actors and actresses passionately rehearsing their lines to the pokerfaced red velvet theatre chairs.

No, the best part of it was the way it felt to be surrounded by creative people. Not only were they creative, but they cared about the art that they make.

People who play music, people who draw, people who take photographs, people who write stories; no matter what kind of art it is, no matter what skill level you are, you always gain a deeper understanding for the world when you immerse yourself in the beauty of it.

 

Last year, my boss Jim suggested that our company put on its very first musical.

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What Most Musicians Struggle With

What Most Musicians Struggle With

Five hours into the drive to Oregon and I am cruising without a speed limit and my eyelids are fluttering closed. Okay, there is a speed limit, but I don’t know what it is in kilometres, so I just copy the other cars.

In between losing focus, I think about work. I worked at a big name company over the summer and I finally felt the weight of other people’s actions on my work, and how perhaps some people may not be as interested in seeing you succeed as you might hope. I have never experienced this before.

The only way I can write this is if I tell myself it won’t be published.

I have been hit before by an open palm, and now when someone raises their voice at me in an enclosed space, I feel as if I may be hit. Two angry people have raised their voices at me in an enclosed space at work.

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Why Pianists Need to Ask for Help (When it Feels Impossible)

Hiking at Elfin Lakes.If you blindfold someone who can see, and give them a cane to walk to a new room, they always overreact when the cane brushes something.

It turns out, giving a sighted person a cane is asking them to use a muscle they haven’t developed yet. It takes practice and patience.

My dad had always given me guidance on how to deal with obstacles. He was a quiet kind of person who made people feel assured when they were next to him. Slow down, he always said. Do what you enjoy. Mind your own business and stop comparing to others.

He would peek his head into my piano practice room every once in a while to ask if the music was coming from me, so I felt like he was always listening to my playing.

In the past while, I’ve had to figure out how to navigate the world without my dad.

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Travelling Doesn’t Fix A Musician’s Problems

Surfboard shot.

Two months ago I was in Tulum. This was my first time travelling with a close friend, and I’ve learned a few things about myself and leadership. Here are a few tips that might help you.

 

On the way to Tulum, I am silent.

“Do you like this place? Are you glad we didn’t go to Cuba? Do you like the hotel?” Megz asks.

“Yes,” I say.

“What’s wrong?” She says.

“I’m just tired,” I say. It’s 3am and I could’ve been playing beach volleyball back home. Somewhere in my body there is excitement about Mexico, but overall I’m craving a shower and bed.

The next day, she says: “I thought you were angry.”

“Why?”

“Because you were quiet.”

For better or worse, each of us is setting performance benchmarks for people around us and we can create a lot of stress for someone.

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How to Make a Change

Making a Change

I wasn’t always a pescatarian. I’ve stopped eating meat for probably seven years now, for a slew of reasons. This is something I’m not very vocal about, but people catch on and ask the following questions, without fail:

“Why?”

“How long have you been vegetari–er–pescatarian?”

“Do you eat eggs?”

In the past year or so, I’ve noticed that people are less surprised at my alternative diet.

If you are trying to make a social change, here are a few things I’ve noticed.

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What People Want to Know About Hackathons

Lumohacks 3D Printing

There’s something intriguing about creating an idea quick and dirty from scratch. That’s why I’m a fan of hackathons: you get 24 hours to create a project about anything.

The most boring hackathon I have ever attended was when a bunch of doctors sat around and ate finger biscuits while they chatted about their patients’ problems — for goodness sakes, if no one is stressed, then it’s not a true hackathon.

I’ve heard from about fifty different doctors now that if you create a ‘physical activity tracking app’, you will “solve diabetes” or “decrease obesity” or some other sort of magic trick. Hi, can you google “fitbit”?

Doctors tell you about the flaws in their patients’  treatments and conditions though, which are good for working with. For example, after a while, breast cancer survivors become too lazy to get screened again. Or, for some tests, the length of time between getting screened and getting results is ridiculous. We put health science people together with engineers, designers, and entrepreneurs, at our hackathon, and got some great projects.

So, a hackathon is about getting the right people in the same room together and giving them the right tools to achieve a goal the dirty way. In music terms, this is like jamming in someone’s garage and coming up with a great song just because you were in the right place at the right time.

I put together a FAQ about organizing a hackathon, focused on logistics, which will give you a peek into the effort that goes towards a large-scale hackathon!

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The 3 Biggest Mistakes that Beginner Pianists Make

Biggest Beginner Piano MistakesI tend to focus on the psychology of practicing piano efficiently on Artiden.

But it doesn’t matter how many psychology tactics you’re solidifying bad habits and hurting your body in the long run.

Readers often ask about how to play more efficiently, the correct posture, and how to be a better piano teacher.

When I taught piano at public schools, the beginner pianists all made similar mistakes— you can tell how much music experience a student has from these three factors alone.

If you want to play beautiful piano music, remember that professional pianists sound good because they’ve set a solid foundation. If you are a teacher, you’ll see how I might explain the concepts to a student– perhaps this will help your teaching.

Take a look at the video below to see the 3 biggest mistakes that beginner pianists make!

“Don’t let the simple music mistakes hold you back.” (Click here to tweet this.)

Watch out for:

1. Tension in the wrists. If your hand looks like a claw, you probably sound that way, too.

2. Nails. The piano sounds great on its own without the clicking nail rhythm.

3. Distance from piano and posture. My favourite way to measure the correct distance to sit from the piano is to have the pianist hold a fist out in front with a straight arm. In general, that is a natural distance to sit, and allows room for arm movement but not awkward leaning.

What is your biggest weakness in music? How are you working on it? Leave a comment to join the conversation below!

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