Update: Flying With Your Musical instrument


Over two years ago I wrote a post about flying with your musical instrument. At that time a new law had been passed detailing what US airlines were required to do when a musician wanted to board with their instrument, but it was not actually going into effect for two years! 

I’m happy to announce this rule has been finalized. This has not immediately stopped musicians from being hassled from what I’ve seen on Twitter, but I suggest that in addition to the tips about which I wrote previously you also print out and carry with you the finalized rule and a TL:DR summary:

The actual ruling

A summary of it in plain English

If you have a problem with the gate attendant show them the printouts and request to speak with a supervisor (who will hopefully set them straight). Also, if you are allowed to pre-choose seating request the rear of the cabin so that you will be boarded first before all the overhead compartments fill up! [EDIT: a violinist friend who flies fairly often notes that not all airlines board rear first, so ask whether you can be part of the “early boarding” group – some carriers will let you do so for an additional fee, or if a member of their frequent flyer club.]


Home Recording Basic Info For Windows Users

A teacher friend forwarded to me a request from one of her students who wanted information on how to do home recording with her Windows PC (the teacher is a Mac user). Here’s what I replied FYI:

It sounds like you already have [free software for Windows/Mac/Linux] Audacity, which was what I would recommend for basic Windows recording. There actually isn’t a GarageBand for PC, despite what searching would have you think – the link that came up is not a product by Apple, but something downloadable from  “Rare Software” – I can find no references for that from reliable sites, so personally I would hesitate to install it.

The other important part of making a decent-sounding home recording into a PC (or Mac) is how you get the analog sound (the waves of sound your harp makes through the air) converted to digital 1s and 0s inside your computer. Your PC may have a line in/mic in 1/8″ jack, or a built-in mic, but those are only sufficient for talking on Skype calls, etc. You want some type of external analog/digital (A/D) converter.

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Quantizing A Recording To Improve Rhythm (Online Course Homework)

If you have ever performed music for a recording session, you have probably had more than your fill of “let’s try another take” and “let’s punch (replace a short part of a recording with another) that note.” However, if you are recording tracks with a software instrument that sends MIDI signals instead of audio sounds, you can edit the MIDI notes inside of the digital audio workstation (DAW) that records the tracks, thus potentially saving an almost-perfect take.

Here’s a video I made for this week’s online Production course homework teaching how to use the Quantize function in GarageBand to make notes that were not played quite on the beat line up more closely (and in a future post I will tell you how I made this screen-capture video!):