The Importance of Daily Practice Sessions

The Importance of Daily Practice Sessions

Convincing yourself to practice your musical instrument daily can prove to be very difficult. Not only are there a lot of other things competing for your time, but some days you might simply “not feel like it”.

Many acclaimed musicians will tell you that nothing is more important in trying to acquire new skills than daily practice. The same musicians are also very likely to tell you that they themselves don’t practice nearly as much as they should. Mozart himself was quoted as saying:

It is a mistake to think that the practice of my art has become easy to me.

Why is it easy to acknowledge the importance of practicing your instrument, but not easy at all to implement it? As humans we are always seeking instant gratification. When starting out on a new diet, we want to see results immediately.

The same applies to music. We want to be able to master an instrument without having to work tediously at it. In reality, you need to practice as much as possible, and stay consistent with your practices. By being consistent, your brain will be forced to become accustomed to the practicing and you will build up momentum steadily.

A few very basic guidelines are all that is needed to fine-tune your practice session so that you can reap the rewards in a timely fashion.

Keep Your Practice Area Well-Organized

It is important that your practice space is well-organized and clutter-free. Creating the correct ambience will go a long way towards making you want to practice as opposed to it feeling like a chore. You also need to have a high-quality instrument so that you’ll stay motivated as you practice. If you don’t own one, you can check for a guitar, violin or viola for sale, whichever you prefer.

Your brain will process your entire practice sessions differently if they are conducted in a neat and clean environment. You will automatically feel empowered and energized to tackle the task at hand with a zest that simply would not have been present if your space was dirty and untidy.

If you are a guitarist, you are going to want to kit out your space with a couple of necessities like a music stand, a comfortable chair, and enough storage space for all your equipment. If you are going to use an amplifier or looping pedal, you need to ensure you have an electric outlet close by.

Remember Why You Are Practicing

Set goals for yourself. It will make practicing a lot easier if you know why you are doing it. Your goals can range from simply playing for a period of time to maintain your technique, or to complete the song you started on months ago.  Try to add variety to your practice sessions, practicing certain techniques on certain days and leaving others open to interpretation.

Find a Friend to Practice with

Practicing with a friend will not only help you but will inspire you as well.  You don’t have to limit yourself to practicing with a friend that plays the same instrument as you. Find someone whose company you enjoy and turn an ordinary session into a mini band practice.

Take Breaks

Take regular breaks whether you think you need it or not.  It is very easy to lose track of time and play for hours without realizing it. Taking breaks will enable you to make more progress as your brain will be able to retain more information.  Don’t spend more than an hour on any one thing, especially if it is something new or particularly challenging.  Human brains can only process so much new information at a time and requires a period of recovery before it can process anything new.

Practice might not guarantee perfection each and every time you play but it will equip you with the skills required to see you forging the musical career of your dreams. As much as other factors also come into play, practicing your art will always remain one of the main determining factors of your success or subsequent failure as a musician.

4 Tips for Designing and Organizing Your Home Studio

4 Tips for Designing and Organizing Your Home Studio

Are you ready to embark on your music business? Well, the first step to any successful career is to find a place to work. This place should inspire you, keep you focused, and provide all the functionalities you require to complete your job.

Whether you’re looking to become the next big thing, or looking to find the next big recording artist, here are some tips to organizing the perfect home music studio.

1. Set Up Your Room

Many people like to organize their gear in a circular format; however, this hinders the spread of sound. Instead, you could opt for a hybrid recording setup. Your desk will be at the front of the room, with two layers of equipment in front of it.

In the second layer, you should have some kind of remote that allows you to record or hit play/pause from anywhere in the room. This remote can even be your iPad, installed with an app that controls all your gear.

2. Tune Your Room

You need to make sure your room is equipped to produce good playback. It is important that what you’re hearing from the speakers is what the rest of the world will ultimately hear.

So, you need to minimize any echoes in your room. It might require some investment, but it will be good for your career in the long run. You can hang some Auralex panels, bass traps, and a ceiling diffusor in the room to reduce any echo and vibrations.

3. Organize Your Desk

The most important rule to follow when setting up your room is to make sure your desk is distraction-free. You should only keep what you need on your desk, and put everything within an arm’s distance of your chair.

Another tip is to place a big desk calendar right in front of your chair. This will keep you organized, and with it right in front of you, you’ll never miss a task or appointment.

4. Label Your Cables

Your studio will no doubt have loads of cables, and at times it can get confusing. A simple solution is to label them. You can use a label maker, or a cheaper solution is to color code the tips with fingernail polish. This simple solution will help keep your cable mess contained.

Conclusion

Starting a music career is both hard and scary. There are many unknowns, but the first step is to design and organize your office. At least you’ll have one unknown solved, and you’ll be able to tackle everything else, one step at a time.

David Andrew Wiebe Releases New Single, “Waves”

David Andrew Wiebe’s “Waves” was officially released on March 31, 2017.

Though not a complete departure from other recent releases, this song features a relaxed, jazzy vibe. “Fragments” might be the closest thing in recent memory, and yet it’s different from even that, sounding more like a background track for a popular video game.

We caught up with Wiebe to find out what inspired this song, and how he went about recording it.

Here are his responses to our questions.

Why did you pick “Waves” as your latest single?

I had high hopes for other songs I had been working on up to that point, including “Feeling”, but they weren’t quite coming together as hoped.

If I’m struggling with the recording process, generally I will stop working on the track and save it for later. I might come back to it, I might not. That was happening with quite a few tracks leading up to the release of “Waves”.

“Waves” came together rather quickly, and that’s how I like the recording process to be. I will happily give my attention to a track that’s moving along at a good clip. If I must struggle, I must, but I will only do that for a song I believe in 100%.

With “Waves”, I started with the instruments and then added in the drums later. After adding the drums, I determined that the song just didn’t sound right without them. The drums unified the instruments and added a sense of movement the track desperately needed.

I chose “Waves” as my latest single because I like the song.

What is “Waves” about?

It might seem strange to attach a lot of meaning to an instrumental, but I think it’s important.

Every song has a specific vibe to it, and it tells a story, whether it has any lyrical content or not.

“Waves” is sort of a tribute to Amy Winehouse, because it was the documentary, Amy, that originally inspired it.

But I also wanted to try combining jazz with synthwave to create a “chillwave” or “jazzwave” track, if you will. I had already had some minor success with “City Lights”, so I was up for the challenge of fusing genres.

In the end, “Waves” doesn’t sound like jazz or synthwave. It sounds more like background music for Sonic the Hedgehog. That’s a happy accident as much as anything else. I like video game music, so that’s no skin off my back.

It wasn’t quite summer when I released “Waves”, but I think it works best in context of the warmest months of the year. It’s relaxing, upbeat, and uplifting. It evokes feelings of surfing or boating, or just a relaxing swim in the ocean.

What makes “Waves” stand out?

It’s a different kind of song for me. There is definitely music like it out there, as I’ve already pointed out, but I think it stands out in my catalog because it doesn’t sound anything like music I’ve released so far.

I know, that’s kind of a “cop out” answer.

In a world where there are more musicians publishing more music than ever before, it’s quite difficult to stand out. But at the same time, I don’t think there are too many people releasing the kind of music they want to release, just because they want to. I’ve been doing quite a bit of that lately.

There isn’t a brand attached to David Andrew Wiebe the artist, at least not internationally. On a local level, people tend to associate me a lot with 90s pop music.

“Waves” is not about commercial appeal. I hope the people that listen to it genuinely enjoy it. I hope my fans dig it. I think there are some good hooks in it, but that doesn’t automatically make it hit bound. It’s just another extension of my creative expression.

If the concept appeals to you, I’d suggest having a listen.

What gear did you use to record the single?

Here’s a basic breakdown of what I used to record “Waves”:

This isn’t much different from my previous setup, just that I’m using Tracktion 7 instead of Tracktion 5.

I don’t mess with my setup too much, unless I absolutely have to. But I do enjoy experimenting too, and will happily try different gear if it helps me get the kind of results I want.

Where can people find “Waves”?

Pretty much anywhere you go to find music online – iTunes, Spotify, Deezer, and so on. Just Google “David Andrew Wiebe – Waves” if you don’t like any of those options.

As per usual, it’s only a digital release, so there are no CDs or anything. But I hope you’ll take a listen and let me know your thoughts!

David Andrew Wiebe Releases New Single, “Hope”

We’re a bit late in covering this piece of news, as David Andrew Wiebe’s “Hope” was officially released on September 27, 2016. But as they say, better late than never.

Wiebe is currently working on a new song called “Feeling”, a track he hopes to have completed before the end of the year. He’s had the opportunity to perform it in front of an audience a couple of times now, and feels confident that it’s something his fans will enjoy.

Meanwhile, “Hope” is the closest thing to EDM or “Pop” Wiebe has ever released.

“This was a deliberate choice,” said Wiebe. “But if you listen carefully, I think you can hear that there’s a real song there. I didn’t want to rely on any kind of beat. The song should hold up all on its own, whether it’s played on a grand piano or in a rock band. And I think it does.”

Wiebe reassures us – and reminds us – that it isn’t about the style of music as it is about the underlying song and its message. If there is a song of substance there, it can be enjoyed many different ways.

We caught up with Wiebe to ask him a few questions about his new single, so let’s delve in.

Why did you pick “Hope” as your latest single?

First, “Hope” is a new song. I could have dug something up from the archives and hit the record button on that, but I felt it important to continue my growth and evolution as an artist.

Second, I had a looming deadline with nothing recorded. You never want to throw something together at the last minute, but I had this half-finished song, and I felt that if I really dug in that I’d be able to complete it to my satisfaction. And I did.

With my current recording process, nothing is ever “perfect”, but I think having that deadline forces you to make the most of what you’ve got.

What is “Hope” about?

There’s a quote by Jiddu Krishnamurti that sums it up more eloquently than I ever could:

There is hope in [people], not in society, not in systems, [not in organized religious systems], but in you and me.

It may sound as though I wrote the lyrics after I’d found this quote, but it was actually the other way around. I was floored when I found it, and thought it was perfect.

There’s that line that goes:

The miracle is you and me

And I really feel that’s true. We spend so much time looking outward for who we are, like validation, and what we’re supposed to believe. But if we’re all here for this experience, and we chose it, it means that our hope in deity is misplaced. That’s mysticism.

I don’t see this being in contraction with the idea or the reality of an entity known as God, it’s just that we become too dependent on something we don’t even understand.

What makes “Hope” stand out?

For me, it’s a different kind of song. Not to say that I don’t write “Pop” songs, because I think I do, but arrangement and production wise, I haven’t done anything quite as “Pop” as “Hope”.

Subjectively, the song is built on a lot of hooks, and every section is a hook. And I think that also makes it a little different from prior efforts.

But the hook that stands out, at least for me, and probably for others, is the bridge, the section that begins with “Soon enough you figure out”. I’m glad that I decided to repeat this section, and even add an alternate bridge with additional lyrics at the end (i.e. the “Show me that it’s true” section).

What gear did you use to record the single?

It’s quite straightforward, especially compared to “Fragments”, “City Lights”, or “Don’t Wait Too Long”.

The MOTU UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid is my audio interface, Tracktion 7 was my DAW of choice, and I used the RODE Procaster for the vocals. And I also used PowerTab for composition. That’s it, really.

Where can people find “Hope”?

For some reason the digital distribution was delayed, but you can find it pretty much everywhere now – CD Baby, iTunes, Spotify, and so on.

That’s it for now. You can’t get it physically, so go ahead and enjoy the single wherever you listen to music online. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on it.

David Andrew Wiebe Releases New Single, “Don’t Wait Too Long”

David Andrew Wiebe Releases New Single, “Don’t Wait Too Long”

So far this year, David Andrew Wiebe has released two singles: “Fragments” and “City Lights”.

Due to a cold, his monthly release schedule was delayed somewhat with his latest single, “Don’t Wait Too Long”, but sure enough, the wait wasn’t too long (get it?), with the single only coming out a month late.

Wiebe has described the single as “power pop”, but it might also be accurate to call it Synthwave much like with “City Lights”, owing in part to its 80s influence.

Most notably, Wiebe is back to singing again. Both “Fragments” and “City Lights” were instrumentals, but on his latest single, fans finally have the opportunity to hear his voice on a recording once more – and it isn’t worse for wear.

The delay may have also had something to do with the layered vocal sound heard in “Don’t Wait Too Long”, in addition to the complexity involved in mixing and mastering a song with so many layered tracks.

We caught up with Wiebe to talk about his latest release, and here’s what he had to share with us.

Why did you decide to record “Don’t Wait Too Long” specifically?

I’d actually tossed around a bunch of different ideas. I thought about putting together another Synthwave/Retrowave track like “City Lights”. I thought about writing a quick acoustic song, or pulling one from the archives.

But production on “Don’t Wait Too Long” was already underway, so even though I knew it would be a little more intensive in terms of the work involved – layering of guitar and vocals – I decided to stick with it until it was done, which I think was the right decision. I sometimes waver in choosing what to record, but I’ve found the only way for me to get new music out is to commit to the project from start to finish.

As with “Fragments”, it’s something that had been sitting in my archives for a while, so I thought, “no time like the present to get it done.” I had the melody and the lyrics for the chorus, so it was just a matter of fleshing out the rest of the song.

What is “Don’t Wait Too Long” about?

Well, it’s open to interpretation, at least to a point. I think it’s fairly apparent that it’s a song about holding true to what you believe in.

For me, it was about a bit of a dark time back in 2011, when one of my roommates was going through a crisis, and he was questioning my belief system at every turn.

And to question your beliefs is definitely a healthy thing to do – it’s something I’ve been doing more of lately – but not when it’s imposed on you by others. Hurting people hurt people, and that’s part of the reality we have to confront as human beings. That’s the situation I was in.

Paradoxically, others telling you that they want to kill themselves is a form of abuse. You can’t necessarily talk them out of it, and when they insist on their view of reality, they project their beliefs onto you. You’re not in control of what they do.

How is “Don’t Wait Too Long” different from previous releases?

Maybe not in every conceivable way, but it’s quite a bit different from anything I’ve ever put out as a solo artist. One way of looking at it is that it’s a combination of “Fragments” and “City Lights”, except with vocals. The last two tracks I released didn’t have vocals on them, and the thing about instrumentals is that they’re really hard to get people to listen to them unless they’re really strong melodically. From that standpoint, “Don’t Wait Too Long” is maybe a little more accessible.

My friends all tell me that it has a strong 80s sound to it, and Jonathan Ferguson even said that it was the most 80s thing I’ve ever recorded. I don’t take that in a bad way at all, and it proves to me that I’m maybe not capable of creating much that doesn’t at least have a bit of an 80s spin to it. So in that regard, it’s more of the same. But from the perspective that it’s basically an upbeat electronic power pop song, it’s different from anything I’ve released to date.

Why did it take longer to record “Don’t Wait Too Long” compared to the last two singles?

From a production standpoint, there was certainly more to the song compared to other recent releases. I layered more vocal parts than I’ve ever done on a recording. Guitar wasn’t too intense, except for the solo, which is synth and guitar in unison.

I’d composed the solo before I’d ever played it on guitar, so I knew that it would be kind of weird, timing wise. In the end, I couldn’t get the timing down on the first part – which is mostly chromatics anyway – but the guitar joins in for the last 60 to 70% of the solo.

What gear did you use to record the single?

MOTU UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid, Ernie Ball Music Man Axis, Zoom G3X guitar effects and amp simulator (that’s right, no amps on this recording), Tracktion T5, all the usual stuff really.

For the mic, I’m using a RODE (of course) Procaster. I also have a NT1-A, which I love, but I’d read that the Procaster also makes for a great vocal and instrument mic, so I said, “why not?” Plus, it’s a dynamic mic, so it cuts down on unwanted noise. I’m pleased with the results.

I’m gradually upgrading as I go, so the next single will probably be recorded on Tracktion T7 along with some new plugins. I’m also interested in miking up my guitar amp (Peavey head and Orange cab) to see what that sounds like, so it’s possible I’ll be going back to a more organic sound for future releases that feature electric guitar.

Where can people find “Don’t Wait Too Long?”

All the usual places, really – CD Baby, iTunes, Spotify… take your pick. I distribute my singles as far and wide as I possibly can, so you could also do a Google search and see what comes up (but remember to search for David Andrew Wiebe’s “Don’t Wait Too Long”, specifically).

There are no physical copies of the single, because I don’t think that makes any sense right now. But it’s possible that, when I have enough music, I’ll put together a compilation of the songs I’ve been recording, and put them on a CD.