Friday Faves 10-05-12

News for ASCAP musicians who perform their original songs! You may now upload your setlists in order to be paid for performing your song catalog live:

OnStage allows writer members to notify ASCAP of their live performances via Member Access. This data is processed and a royalty is distributed to the writers and publishers of the songs based upon the license fee paid by the respective venue.


If you are looking to buy an inexpensive Windows desktop PC in the Boston area but don’t like the idea of taking a chance buying on CraigsList, check out Semi-New Computers. They refurbish obsoleted PCs from Harvard and other corporate sources, then sell to you with a 90-day guarantee for about $200 depending on RAM and HD size.

Kickstarter projects I’ve recently backed:

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Friday Faves 09-21-12: Music and Kickstarter

Music to stream and download:

The benefits are over, but our friends have a long way to go recovering from the fire at Columbia House. A bunch of bands who played the benefits (including me as Reverse Polish Notation, and my band Ginger Ibex) donated tracks for a digital album – pay what you like, all money goes to the Columbia House folks:

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Cover Arrangements: Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

If you are a musician who is hired for weddings and other events you are probably asked to cover popular songs. Many of these are so ubiquitous that charts for them are readily available in “Real Books” and “Best of the Decade” collections.

But your customers have a wide range of musical tastes. While you may charge extra for obtaining the sheet music for their request, sometimes it is either not readily available or you need it arranged for a particular combination of instruments (e.g., string quartet, violin and guitar, etc).

If your usual method of arranging a pop song is to play the mp3 or YouTube video over and over while you attempt to transcribe what’s being played, here are a couple of helpful hints:

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Web Classes for Sibelius 7 and Finale 2012

I’ve been using the music notation software Sibelius for 4+ years (after initially using an inexpensive app, Noteworthy Composer, which surprisingly is still available!), with occasional forays into Finale since my bandmate uses that. All this time I’ve been “winging it” with Sib… which if you know me means I intuit a lot of it, and Google for info on more arcane functions if I can’t find it in the 500-page not always well indexed pdf manual.

I’ve felt that there are probably more efficient methods to accomplish time-consuming tasks (e.g., inputting notes) than how I do it. But the only accessible source I found for that was Berklee’s online courses, which cost $1,200 (non-credit; more if credit) for a 12-week session. So I was excited to see the Sibelius Blog mention another online course, which costs $199 for a 10-week session!

Granted, it will cost me a bit more than that, because the course specifically covers Sibelius 7, and I only finally upgraded to version 6 in January (while I’m on the cutting edge of a lot of things, I avoid software upgrades like the plague as long as my current version does what I need, since there’s always some “gotcha” requiring hours of tweaking to remediate). But thankfully my educational discount from B&H comes through again, pricing the upgrade at $45 less than retail.

AND… here’s another way to discount that you can use: the course’s website platform offers new users a 20% discount coupon. Just go to their course listing page and fill out your contact info in offer box to be emailed a code for 20% off one course. NOTE: don’t do this until you find a course you want to take, as the coupon expires in 15 days.

The Sibelius 7 course, and also a Finale 2012 course from the same instructor, start June 18th. But they will apparently be run again in the fall. Also FYI this is not a “live” class – all the materials are presented in view-on-demand videos, so you can view and do the exercises on your own schedule.

Check out the other music courses presented though this site, too – besides standard stuff like music theory and guitar lessons, there are some interesting non-Western courses, such as lessons in Indian classical music and  Carnatic violin and vocals!