Posting Rough Cut Recordings

Hello friends! It is officially December! As you may have noticed by now, I am not participating in Blogmas this year. I am just too busy with my full time job and making music my little side hustle. I couldn’t think of enough topics to cover it. But today, I did want to talk about something I have been doing: rough cut recordings!

Killer Harmony | Posting Rough Cut Recordings

Back in October, I started posting videos on YouTube! I am not much of a video person, so I decided to start my channel by posting rough cuts of me playing different pieces of the flute repertoire.

Today, I want to talk about why I am doing rough cuts at this point, and how I think they can help you all as well as myself.

No Editing Required

Rough cuts are easy, because I can film myself playing a work or excerpt and then post it. I don’t need to spend a ton of time editing the footage to make it perfect. The video can go up as soon as I am done filming it.

As a busy musician with a full time day job, being able to film and immediately upload the video is awesome. I don’t have all that much time to dedicate to editing videos much less filming them in the first place.

Filming and uploading a rough cut is a lot easier and less time consuming than if I were to edit. I can share more content with you guys more quickly.

Teaching Tool

Rough cut videos are a great tool to use for every musician. They are great for my own use, because I can learn from my mistakes. They are great for viewers, because you can see that I am not perfect. Rough cuts go behind the scenes to reveal the “secrets” of pro and semi-pro musicians.

I can learn from myself, but my real goal is for you all to learn from my rough cuts. These videos show my mistakes, and if you make those mistakes, you can then understand mistakes aren’t bad.

If you make my same mistakes, you can then learn from them, knowing that you are not the problem. Some pieces are not written to be easy.

Vulnerability

A lot of musicians have to use social media and the internet to build their careers these days. That means that skilled musicians could come off as perfect. If a musician knows how to edit their photos or videos to appear as this perfect person, they aren’t relatable.

Posting unedited footage leaves the musician vulnerable. They show the world what musicians a generation ago showed their audition committees. The openness of rough cut videos shows a side to me (or any musician) that the internet would otherwise allow to stay hidden.

I love showing off a vulnerable part of me, because it proves that I am human. I make mistakes. Being a perfect musician is not a fact of life for many of us. That’s okay.

So…

I hope you enjoyed this shorter post. I think it’s important to share the unedited version of myself once in awhile. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out my latest video. I want to start posting weekly on there and to continue to show off what a real musician looks and sounds like.

Top 3 Social Networks for Musicians

A couple of weeks ago, I published a basic overview of how musicians can use social media. It is a great introduction to using social media professionally, but it doesn’t go into detail about which social networks you should focus on.

If you haven’t read that post yet, I suggest you catch up now.

Killer Harmony | Social Networks for Musicians |Social media is overwhelming. There are so many choices. Here are the top 3 social networks for musicians. Social networks are great tools for musicians.

In today’s post, I am going to talk about three social networks that work for most musicians. Not all networks will work for all users, and you should experiment yourself to see what works. However, this post can help you get started.

Why Only 3?

I chose to only list the top three networks, because you don’t need to use more than that. There comes a point where social media can be too much to handle. When you are starting out or changing your strategy, it is best to focus on three networks or fewer.

These three networks are all good for musicians for networking and sharing clips of their work. They do function a bit differently, though. This set up of each is not always the same.

Now, if one or all of these networks don’t work for you, you do not have to keep using them. So, without further ado, here are the top social networks for musicians.

Instagram

If you only want to give one of the networks in the post a try, make it Instagram. There is a thriving community of musicians on there. You can follow others and watch videos of your favorite artists.

Show off your work space to the world. Post your own photos or videos of you playing your instrument. Share an excerpt of an upcoming composition.

With the correct use of hashtags, you can do great things on Instagram. You can share your post with a lot of hashtags. Be careful, there is a reported limit of thirty; after that, your account won’t alway show up.

Instagram is the most visual and musical of the more traditional social networks. Yes, you have YouTube, which is a great tool, but it is more of a database than a network.

Sharing videos on your Instagram account is a great way to start building a performance portfolio. You can share short clips, limited to a minute long, and you can shoot those videos on your phone. No crazy editing needed.

Facebook

Facebook is probably the most popular social network available. It seems like everyone and their mother has a Facebook profile these days. Not only that, but there is a lot you can do with the platform.

For one, you can share your music and recordings with your friends and family. While they may not be able to hire you, they can share your work. Word of mouth is powerful, even with the internet.

Another way you can use Facebook as a musician is with Facebook groups. You can share helpful information and your own recordings with others. Groups can be a great way to network with others and find music groups to join or gigs to play.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is often misunderstood. It is usually nicknamed “the professional Facebook.” That explanation is fairly simple, but it doesn’t cover everything.

With LinkedIn, you can write articles and share them to your profile. Even if you are not a great writer, articles can showcase your expertise on a subject. They are also a good way to keep a sort of blog without needing a full website.

The main draw of LinkedIn that you won’t find on other networks is the job board. Once you fill out your profile, you will be shown job recommendations based on your skills. This can be a great way to find work.

Overwhelmed?

It’s okay. Social media is crazy, especially because it is constantly changing. Facebook and Instagram are always switching up their algorithms, and they even force business pages to pay to reach their followers.

That is why I have created a few resources to help you. First off, I offer social media and website management services. If you want to build your social media presence but don’t have the time to, I’m your girl.

Soon, I will be releasing an eBook that covers everything you need to get started with social media. I talk about the most common networks, how and what you should post, and a whole lot more. So subscribe below so that you don’t miss out on an awesome resource!

So…

I know that social media is a lot to take in. It takes time to learn how it all works. So please, comment below with your biggest issue when it comes to social media. Any information you give will help me to offer better advice to all of you.

Thanks for reading!

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Windows to Mac: Music

In the past, and even still to this day, Apple and Microsoft have competed against each other in different technology markets. From software to smartphones to full desktop operating systems, there is a choice to be made.

Killer Harmony | Windows to Mac | As a musician at the start of my career, I decided to switch from Windows to Mac. Here are some of the reasons why most musicians should consider switching.

I have always used Windows computers, though I have used other Apple products. Macs always seemed out of reach due to their cost and the fact that I didn’t know the OS.

However, I will soon be leaving Windows behind in favor of a MacBook Pro. Here are a few reasons why I am doing so, some more general and some specific to music and musicians.

Industry Standards

While a lot of music programs run on both Mac and Windows, Mac is more common for musicians. Or so it seems. With a Mac, you already have a free audio recording and editing software included, GarageBand.

Other programs, such as Finale, MuseScore, or Audacity work with Windows. However, I have encountered some small problems with music and Windows.

Like how a music technology textbook only referenced Mac tutorials or Mac software.

Continuity

All of my other devices are from Apple. I have an iPhone and iPad. The two can sync with each other, but not with a Windows computer. While continuity is not necessary, it is something to consider if you have the option.

I have slowly switched to using Pages instead of Word, and I also use iCal more than Google Calendar or any other digital system.

Now, sometimes, that can be limiting. Using different companies for different technologies means that you aren’t stuck within one. I get that, but I have become accustomed to iOS, and prefer it even to Windows. A MacBook of some kind is just the natural progression.

Quality

Yes, Macs cost a lot, but I have heard they are worth it. They last for years, and it is free to upgrade to the newest version of macOS. I have had an iPad 2 for more than four years, and it still works well.

My iPad mini 2 is three years old and still works like a charm.

There is still a bit of an Apple premium, but I have never heard of Mac users complaining about their computers. I have heard, complaints about Windows machines…and have complained myself.

My old Windows laptop lost its charger after only a couple of years. It basically became a portable desktop.

In the Box

Macs come with a full productivity suite, iWork, already included. There’s also the iLife suite, which includes iMovie and GarageBand. I can use FaceTime and iBooks, and I don’t have to worry about complicated installations.

Those programs also come for free. I don’t have to pay a subscription fee to use them, like I would with Office. Macs also have iCal, Notes, and Reminders, ready to go.

A Mac comes with most of what I need, and I will probably only download a few programs as needed, such as music notation software.

MacBook vs. Air vs. Pro

That’s it. Some might find the lack of options limiting, but I find it liberating. I know that no matter what I choose, it will be fine. And, the fewer options means that I didn’t have to research tons of products before making a decision.

I ultimately settled for a refurbished Pro from 2016. It saved a bit of money, and the model is less than a year old.

I have yet to receive it in the mail, but I am excited to switch to using Apple for (basically) everything.

Prior Experience

A few years ago, I took a computer music class where we worked with Macs. I learned a bit about how to use the different system, and I have worked in a Mac lab since then.

While I have never used a Mac daily, I know enough about the differences to switch.

I have also experienced Windows 10, and I’m not a big fan. My current Windows laptop still runs 8.1, and I’m glad. Friends of mine who upgraded to 10 saw a decrease in speed and other important factors.

Why Not?

Now that I have graduated from college, it’s time for a new computer. I’m in a new phase in my life, so why not change what operating system I use?

Macs are more common for creative professionals; I have continuity, the quality is great. Macs come with so much in the box, the small selection of products cuts down on decisions, and I know enough about them to get started.

I’m more than ready to go from Windows to Mac.

So…

Have you switched from Windows to Mac? Or vice versa? Comment below!

Thanks for reading!

Social Media for Musicians

As musicians, we have a lot of stuff to do. We have to practice, look for gigs, maybe teach or attend lessons. Then there are other, non-music parts of life that we have to attend to. Social media has recently become one of those non-music activities that can really eat up time.

Killer Harmony | Social Media for Musicians | Social media can be daunting. There is so much you need to do to get followers and shares. Here are a few tips to make social media less of a chore.

I am not only a musician, but I enjoy creating content, like blog posts and social media posts, for other musicians. Social media can be difficult to learn and master, but there are a few things that any musician can do to better understand social media and use it to their advantage.

Here are a few tips that I have that will help you get started with using social media for your music.

Rework Your Personal Profiles

This is simple, but making a few changes to your profile photo, biography, and other information can vastly improve how your profile looks. Whether you use Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, you should have a professional profile.

Upload a photo of yourself with good lighting, maybe even with your instrument. This will look a lot more professional and appealing than a low lit, mirror selfie taken at one in the morning.

Update your biography to reflect your musical experience or your current work. Instead of saying something like “I love cheese and wine” try “I play piano, and I love helping others.” This second statement commands more attention and respect, and it shows potential clients or students that you are ready to work.

Also, don’t forget to make your profile (at least for Instagram or Twitter) open to the public. Then you can grow your following and market yourself.

Create a Business Profile or Page

If you are serious about using social media for your career, create a Facebook page or turn your Instagram or Twitter into a business account. You will be able to use social advertising and provide more information on how people can contact you.

With Facebook, it is much easier to have a page where people can follow you instead of using your personal profile. You are not allowed to create a second Facebook account, so creating a page to reach more than your inner circle is best.

For Instagram, you can add your email or physical address and even a phone number. You can also look at deeper statistics to learn more about what works and what doesn’t.

Be Mindful About Your Posts

If you want to use social media in a professional way, you have to keep in mind how your posts will come across to followers. Your public account could be seen by anyone from a prospective client to a parent looking to put their child in music lessons.

Your appearance counts. You don’t need to be fake, but you should be professional and genuine when you post. Your public profile is not the place to rant about politics or how your day sucked.

Keep in mind the audience you are trying to attract, and post content they want to see. It is not always easy, but posting for your audience will get you farther than posting for yourself.

Embrace Video

Social media is a great way to connect with others, and video is one more way to do that. Especially with music, video can accomplish a lot more than just text and photos. You can use video to promote an upcoming concert or album release. Videos can be put toward your online portfolio.

You can establish yourself as a musical expert through video. No matter how much you post about how you loved getting your masters at Julliard, your playing still matters. Someone who has n advanced degree is not automatically better at their instrument. Using video to showcase your skills will set you apart.

It took me longer than I like to admit to start posting videos. I was worried about how I would sound or if people would even watch my videos. I worried I wouldn’t sound good without expensive equipment. The truth is, all you need is a smartphone with a good camera, and possibly an external microphone.

Social Media is an Investment

Just like with your instrument, keeping up with social media takes time and/or money. You have to manage it regularly in order to foster a good community. Social media requires regular maintenance, management, and also regular evaluations of what works.

If you do not have the time to dedicate to managing a social media presence, look no further. I am a social media manager and web content manager with a focus on musicians and other creative professionals.

I have experience managing my own accounts and writing about how others can do the same. However, I understand that not everyone wants to spend the time to build their social media presence. If that is you, head over to my Web Content Management page to learn more.

So…cial Media

Have you used social media to promote yourself before? Have you worked with a content manager to grow your accounts? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

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Apps for Musicians

As a musician, I am always looking for ways to save space and money. This means that I like to download useful music apps to my phone or computer so that I don’t have to pay so much money or carry around a lot of stuff.

Killer Harmony | Apps for Musicians | As musicians, technology can really help us out. That's why I am always looking for cool music apps to help me get stuff done and be more productive.

I have apps that I use for my own particular practice as well as other productivity related apps. Technology is such an important part of our daily lives, and it only makes sense to include technology in our musical lives.

Most of these apps are free, and some are for mobile devices while others are for laptops. Here are my favorite music apps.

MusiciansKit

This free app is amazing! It is basically a three-in-one tuner, metronome, and audio recorder. I use this app whenever I need to check tuning or work on the tempo of a piece. I have also used the recorder a little bit, but I need to use it more.

I have this app on my iPhone, so you can download it from the App Store, but I am not sure if you can get it on an Android. If you can’t, be sure to check Google Play for other tuner, metronome, and recorder apps! Having those tools digitally means you don’t have as much to carry around.

YouTube, Spotify, Etc.

If you want to listen to recordings of your music, YouTube and Spotify are two of the most common ways to do that. You can find so many different recordings of most pieces, and they’re free. I use YouTube to find my recordings, and it’s really convenient. I can even make a playlist of repertoire to work on if I want.

Spotify is another good app, but it doesn’t have the video capabilities of YouTube. Watching people play is another good way to learn a piece.

As far as I know both apps are available on all platforms, mobile or otherwise. They have free versions as well as paid subscriptions. Listening to your pieces will give you ideas on how to interpret the music you are learning. Your ear is your best tool.

Instagram

There is a massive community of musicians on Instagram. You can post photos and videos as well as interact with others. Follow accounts that you enjoy, and like and comment on others’ posts.

Instagram is a great way to start building a presence online as well as build a portfolio of your playing. Social media is becoming more and more crucial to a musician’s success. The internet is growing, and it is more important than ever to network and connect with others.

Facebook

Facebook is another social media platform, but it is also another way to connect and build an audience. With Facebook, you can use the written word to meet other musicians and contact potential clients.

Join Facebook Groups for musicians and for players of your instrument. It’s a great way to learn from others and to share your own knowledge. If you network correctly, you can definitely make a name for yourself.

Canva

Canva is a free, easy graphic design program. You don’t need to be a designer to use it. If you need to edit photos or create a poster to promote an upcoming concert, Canva is for you. You have the freedom to create so many different designs, and you can actually feel like a designer.

I love using Canva, and that is actually where I create a lot of the images on this blog. Canva is so simple, and I think everyone should use it. There is a website for desktop use as well as a mobile app for on the go designing.

PDF Reader

I love having some sort of app that can read and display PDFs, especially on my iPad. Sometimes, you might want to download sheet music, so you need to be able to see it so that you can print it or use a table to read it and play.

I love using my iPad to download sheet music for sight reading. That way, I don’t have to waste time and paper to print music that I probably won’t use again. You can use any app that can read PDFs for this, So odds are you already have something.

So…

Do you have any favorite music apps? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

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