I published my music to Spotify for Free!

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In all seriousness, I never dream I would be doing this one day with my own music.

This crazy business started with me and a group of friends, brainstorming how we could distribute our original Christian songs. Being the tech person I am, I did all my research including this.

Then I came across this very interesting article.

This person, as ordinary as I am have the same ambition but we simply can’t afford to publish music from our own coffers if our imagination is so free to run wild.

I read as many reviews as I could about Routenote. It is a digital music distributor and one of many companies out there.

I decided I would try this with a piece of music I arranged for a school Raya celebration. An instrumental, unorthodox version of Wau Bulan, a Malay traditional song.

The whole process is relatively stress free until you have to do some creative work like making an album cover.

Ms Cherylyn's Music Education.jpg

I made this album cover with Canva, a really wonderful website for amateur artists like me. All dimensions must be noted otherwise the outcome can be awful, I think.

Another thing to note is also the file you upload. I believed I uploaded a very good quality Mp3 and it worked.

Other than all that, there’s pretty much a lot of wait involved and that’s what you get for publishing your music for free.

It took me 6 days for the song to get approved and the next day I could see this on Spotify.

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I was so overjoyed I thought I broke the internet or something!

All in all, a very very interesting experience! I truly recommend to anyone who wants to give it a try and especially if you like sharing your original music through commercial channels.

The only disclaimer I would put out there is that your original music is not copyrighted in anyway. That’s a whole different process altogether.

At this note, here’s the link!

https://open.spotify.com/embed/album/4pDxAsle6ZbGeeVgMV9iBa

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God of Rain

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Since October 2017, I was quite worked up to complete this music arrangement for an original composition by my friend, Sheela.

It was some time back in early 2017 where I found that Sheela has personal composition. Me being me, I like to encourage others to see their songs come to life and I also like to be involved in producing original music.

We did our first draft recording in the same month but I wasn’t too happy about the sound and left it gathering for a good number of months and subsequently entered into the year 2018. It was around March or April that I finally got down to really making the music arrangement from scratch and new sounds just came out. When we finally got the recording done by early May (? – I seriously am not good at keeping track with timelines), the final sound was good. We were still looking towards setting a good time to release the music and finally we got the video done by the end of May.

This song is rather prophetic and at the same time, it couldn’t be more apt for this season that we are experiencing in Malaysia.

The production was simple but really time consuming as this is an independent project. Who knew that the church sanctuary will be a good place to create a makeshift sound booth? All things are also made possible with a little imagination and creativity.

In time to come, more things will be shared about The Damascus Project.

Thy will be done on earth as in in heaven.

 

Virtual Drum Lesson with Garage Band

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With Quicktime Player Screen Recording mode, Garage Band, Google Slide (lesson powerpoint) and Spotify, I created a playlist of Virtual Drum Lessons for my Secondary class.

Kids were quite impressed especially when they get to play along simple drum beats with pop songs.

There are 10 videos in the playlist including the a quick setup video at the beginning. You may skip to the last two videos to hear some surprise pop music.

This videos are not perfectly made they give a strong idea of how you can teach music tech in class for lack of real instruments.

Never Enough -Solo Cello-Free Sheet-pdf

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It’s been awhile since the movie came out but I was suddenly inspired to transcribe this beautiful song for solo cello.

I’m also trying out embedding the music sheet from Flat.io which is the website I use to create the arrangement.

Hope some amateur cellist out there like me would give this a try and give me some feedback ’cause this is my first cello transcription.

https://flat.io/embed/5ae9a53e3702667bf107f9a0?layout=track&audioSource=&videoPosition=

The Free Cello Sheet – Never Enough(1)

Music Ed Tech Tools: Free Music Composition and Notation Software

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One day, I was driving while thinking about a composition that I’m working on. It struck me amazing that composers in the old days were able to churn ensemble hits since the 1600s. All the symphonies from Mozart, Beethoven etc. were composed with music in their minds. Today, we have a luxury of listening to our originals on the fly by just clicking a play button. In some philosophical sense, our brain capacity has greatly deteriorate over time. We simply became lazy.

On the bright side, technology advancement means we have the ability to do more and be greater right?

That’s fruit for thought.

I deal with music arrangement a lot in my free time and some occasions where I’m commissioned to do so. Sibelius is my go to software for publishing music. It would be really nice to share the same enthusiasm and spread it to my students.

Over the past year while using the iMac, I discovered the use of Noteflight, Musescore and most recently, Flat.

Each site interface has their plus points.

Noteflight is available for free online with most common tools available for publishing. It even has a midi component but stuff like that are only available on premium subscription. I was to use it on the iMac and iPad. Both used on browsers like Chrome or Safari. However, Noteflight has a limitation to its number of working titles per account in its free version. The free version also does not allow you to share the score publicly. It does have a collaboration feature but as expected, only in the premium version.

Musescore is more complete than Noteflight whereby being it is an app of its own and you can download it on Mac and Windows. It’s almost like a free version of Sibelius. I have yet to push the limits of Musescore but I’m quite impressed that there are some useful plugins available to use such as the one that allows you to insert note names into note heads. Musescore has quite a large public user library too and quite often you will find pop sheet music originating from Musescore.

Flat is the most basic of them all but it has a very unique collaboration feature. It allows you to invite other users to compose or work on a composition. I also like it’s clean looking interface. It’s still a growing site but with lots of potential. Flat also has its own user public library and very easily accessible. You can also download it on your iPad as an app. The interface is a little different from its site version but it’s good to use when you’re on the go.

The winner for me is Flat as a very simple, clean start for students to try music publishing. What appeals to me the most is it’s free collaboration feature that does not affect the number of working titles you can have in your account (Flat allows free 17 working titles for each account user). I have no problems using it across my nearly 50 secondary school students and I was able to check their work seamlessly and provide feedback in due time.

Online music publishing has made composition class an interesting one as students quickly realize how theory rules like time signature are very essential. Students get to connect their understanding of music theory very quickly through application on such a platform.

Do you have other applications or methods to share? Will be glad to hear about them in the comment section.

Lesson Ideas: Musical Cliches

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It’s already the end of the second term, I usually give graded tasks a rest towards the end of term. I still wanted my students to learn something interesting about Music.

I created this mini project on musical cliches. In my own terms, it means music that is used to dramatise or emphasise a scenario.

That video, to me, is the perfect example of how musical cliches are used.

I bet there are many videos such as these but they are in trend now as memes or viral videos. Such is this case for the age of social media.

Another example I used was this local telco ad video.

Not many knew but this song was originally a Peggy March favourite.

Task: Create a short video clip (1 to 3 minutes) or use an existing video clip to add in your own musical cliches taken from pop music, film music or classical music.

I gave my students the freedom of using silent films, game plays, animation etc.

Some even volunteered to record their own video which I thought was really great; an effort rarely seen sometimes.

I complied a Youtube playlist of Music very commonly used in these types of media: https://youtu.be/_D0ZQPqeJkk