Tag Archives: guide

Five Star Music Makeover: The Independent Artist’s Guide

Success in today’s music industry requires a lot of work and education. This book, written by five experts, was designed to help up and coming musicians meet the challenges of the industry. It covers five key areas: vocal technique; writing memorable and marketable songs; professional recording; publishing; and promotion.

Five Star Music Makeover: The Independent Artist’s Guide for Singers, Songwriters, Bands, Producers, and Self-Publishers, by Coreen Sheehan, Anika Paris, Eric Corne, Michael Eames; and Bobby Borg,
Hal Leonard Corporation, www.halleonardbooks.com.


Malware and Ransomware Protection Tips

by Walter Lopez, AFM Information Systems Manager

It is becoming more common for businesses to be affected by malware and ransomware, and musicians are not immune. Recently, several orchestras have experienced data breaches of employee databases. Malware is any software intended to damage or disable a computer or other software programs. Ransomware is a type of malware that stops you from using your PC by holding your PC or files for “ransom.” Following are a few tips from Microsoft to help you avoid becoming a ransomware or malware victim.

What does ransomware do?

There are different types of ransomware. However, all of them will prevent you from using your computer normally, and they will all ask you to do something (pay a “ransom”) to remedy the situation. They can target any user—home computers, endpoints to enterprise networks, or servers used by anyone from a small company to a government agency. Well-known cases include: Los Angeles Valley College, which paid $28,000 in bitcoin ransom; Carleton University in Ontario, which paid about $39,000 in bitcoin ransom, and San Francisco’s light rail transit system, which was able to restore its system without paying.

Specifically, ransomware can prevent you from accessing Windows, encrypt your files so that you cannot use them, and can stop certain applications (like web browsers) from running on your system. The hackers behind the ransomware may demand you pay money or complete a survey. However, there is no guarantee that after you’ve paid your ransom you will regain full access. 

How does ransomware get on a PC?

Ransomware and other malware can arrive through your email. Malware authors often use tricks to try to convince you to download malicious files. This can be an email with a file attached that tells you it is a receipt, refund, or an invoice. When you open the attachment, you install malware on your PC.

Sometimes a malicious email is easy to spot—it may have bad spelling and grammar, or come from an email address you’ve never seen before. However, these emails can also look like they came from someone you know. Some malware hacks into email accounts and sends malicious spam to the contacts it finds.

To help avoid becoming a victim of email fraud and malware, follow these tips:

  • If you aren’t sure who sent you the email or something doesn’t look quite right, don’t open it.
  • If an email says you have to update your details, don’t click on the link in the email.
  • Don’t open an attachment to an email that you aren’t expecting, or that was sent by someone you don’t know.
  • Never give out personal information in an email, no matter how legitimate the source may seem.

Malware worms can spread by infecting removable drives such as USB flash drives or external hard drives. The malware may be automatically installed when you connect the infected drive to your PC. Some worms can also spread by infecting computers that are connected on a network.

To avoid this type of infection:

  • Run a security scan of your removable devices.
  • Disable the autorun function.

Some malware is installed along with programs that you download. This includes software from third-party websites or files shared through peer-to-peer networks. Some programs will also install other unwanted software such as tool bars or programs that display extra ads as you browse the web. Usually you can opt-out and not install these extra applications by unticking a box during the installation.

Programs used to generate software keys (keygens) often install malware at the same time. Microsoft security software finds malware on more than half of PCs with keygens installed.

  • To avoid installing malware or unwanted software:
  • Always download software from the official vendor’s website.
  • Make sure you read exactly what you are installing—don’t just click OK.
  • In many cases, Malware uses known software vulnerabilities to infect your PC through hacked or compromised webpages. A vulnerability is like a hole in your software that can allow malware to access your PC. These vulnerabilities are fixed by the company that created the software and are sent as updates to be installed. This is why it’s extremely important to keep all your software up-to-date, and remove software you don’t use.

For more information visit the website: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/security/portal/mmpc/default.aspx.

The Complete Guide to Connecting Audio, Video, and MIDI Equipment

BR-The-Complete-Guide-to-Connecting-AudioCorrect audio, video, and MIDI connections are crucial, especially with the wide range of hardware and software options available today. This step-by-step guide reveals the best ways to correctly connect studio equipment with more than 30 diagrams applicable for home, professional, post-production, and more. It makes it simple to understand connection considerations and technical requirements for all types of studio set-ups

The Complete Guide to Connecting Audio, Video, and MIDI Equipment: Get the Most out of Your Digital, Analog, and Electronic Music Setups, by José “Chilitos” Valenzuela, Hal Leonard Corporation,

Finding the Right Physical Therapist for Musicians

By Shmuel Tatz, P.T., Ph.D.

For musicians, professionally related physical trauma can be one of the worst kinds of trauma because working musicians can repetitively, step-by-step, hour-by-hour continue to damage their bodies.

Musicians’ injuries usually don’t happen overnight, and healing doesn’t happen in one day. It takes time. Injuries related to the music profession can become aggravated because they are generally related to overuse and are difficult to avoid.

It is the job of a good physical therapist to help a musician heal in the shortest amount of time because the next day he or she may be off to London, Moscow, or Tokyo. Whatever the case may be, working musicians must be in excellent physical condition.

I have been working with musicians for more then 30 years. Using a hands-on physical therapy method, I have learned to feel the musician’s pain so that I can help him or her heal as quickly as possible.

I also have learned that being a musician is not just a profession, it’s a lifestyle. In order to play, you have to be in top shape, but you have to be prepared for injuries as well. This means you must know how to find the right kind of physical therapist in whatever city you are playing, just in case treatment becomes necessary for the show to go on. To help I have compiled a list of frequently asked questions:

How severe can structural misalignments requiring physical therapy become?

Naturally, the worse the problems are, the longer it takes to correct them. And, as time goes by, the original problem can become worse and create secondary problems. For instance, when a vertebra moves out of place, the body tries to compensate. It gradually adapts so one or more vertebras are forced out of place in some other parts of the spine. What’s more, it is likely that the vertebrae have built up a resistance to change. It takes time and regular physical therapy to “re-educate” the vertebrae and get them to hold their proper position.

How long should treatments last?

It’s impossible to answer this question simply. It depends on your specific problem and on the severity of your condition. And, of course, it also depends on the physical therapist’s education and experience. An experienced therapist who has worked with musicians can achieve positive results in 20 minutes, while a therapist with less experience may take 90 minutes to achieve the same results.

How rapidly will my body react to corrective physical therapy?

Healing time differs with each individual. It is possible that your symptoms will disappear shortly after you begin physical therapy. But healing and rehabilitation involve not only relief of symptoms but, more importantly, correction of the underlying cause. It’s a mistake to assume you are well just because your pain or symptoms are gone. Until the cause of your condition has been fully corrected, you should never stop physical therapy.

Always follow your physical therapist’s instructions carefully. He or she usually can estimate the minimum time and number of treatments it will take for any given condition to heal. Give yourself time, even if it seems longer than you hoped for. Remember, that complete cooperation with the therapist’s recommendations is the best way to shorten the time it takes to regain your health.

How can I find the right physical therapist?

One way to find a good practitioner is to ask your colleagues because you might have a physical problem someone you know has or used to have. A good physical therapist should give you some improvement even at your first session.

I believe that manual therapy is the cornerstone of good physical therapy, so a good therapist will combine manual therapy with other appropriate treatments, such as laser therapy or auricular therapy. While physical therapists can accomplish quite a bit using their hands alone, the added dimension of machines and exercises create a therapeutic counterpoint with many possibilities. Think of combined therapy like this: a violin solo is lovely, but add a cello and a piano, and you may have something extraordinary!

It is crucial that a musician get his or her main instrument–the body–checked out and tuned up from time to time, before minor issues have a chance to become serious problems.

–Shmuel Tatz is a Licensed Physical Therapist. Learn more at www.tatzstudio.net.

Kristian Bush’s Gear

“I don’t usually do endorsements unless your product is just flat-out better than anything,” says Bush. But, here’s what he currently likes to use:

“I love Gibson guitars; I love Breedlove instruments as well. I use a log of their mandolins and some of their guitars. I own an ATI console in my studio.”

“I’ve recently been singing through this brand new microphone. They are a very small company out of Nashville, but for the last four weeks I’ve sung through these Miktek live microphones. I am so impressed. It feels to me like I’m singing into a Neumann, but I can hit it as hard as I hit a [Shure SM]58. I’m a loud singer and it has really changed the way that I hear myself onstage. I’m impressed.”

Basics in Jazz Arranging

Basics in Jazz Arranging

Basics in Jazz ArrangingThis book is a must-have for anyone interested in learning about jazz arranging. Written by a renowned jazz educator and based on what he’s taught for more than 30 years, this book is a great tool for beginning arrangers, whether they are teaching themselves or taking a course. Basics in Jazz Arranging covers how to find the right song, how to adapt songs to the jazz style, how to set up your first small-group charts, and how to write for brass and woodwinds. Rutherford includes examples of his own original compositions and small group charts, along with a CD that features both full performances and rhythm section only tracks.

Basics in Jazz Arranging, by Paris Rutherford, Hal Leonard Corporation, www.halleonard.com.

Trumpet Sound Effects

Trumpet Sound Effects: Circular Breathing, Split Tones, Extreme Embouchures, and Much More!

Trumpet Sound EffectsAny trumpet player, from student to advanced, can benefit from the techniques in this book that shows you how to add unique trumpet sounds to your palette of colors. Trumpet Sound Effects explores everything from half-valve and growl sounds to percussion sounds and mutes. It teaches dozens of inventive effects, with etudes that put them into musical contexts. The accompanying online recordings provide demonstrations of each sound effect and play-along tracks for the etudes.

Trumpet Sound Effects: Circular Breathing, Split Tones, Extreme Embouchures, and Much More! by Craig Pedersen and Ueli Dörig of Local 180 (Ottawa, ON), Berklee Press, Berklee Press (www.berkleepress.com).

Useful AFM Legislative-Political Tools

Over the past two years, the AFM Office of Government Relations has developed new tools to help both local officers and our members navigate the many policy and political matters relevant to musicians. This month I would like to highlight these tools in an effort to make them easier to access. Each is available on our website for your use. I look forward to working with members, local officers, and conferences to help make more useful resources. I look forward to answering any questions you may have.

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