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Music is an important part of many people’s lives. The number of albums available to listen to is endless. I have recently been going through and organising my parents’ vinyl collections, as well as their VHS tapes and cassette tapes. How vintage. It made me realise that I have never really actively “looked” for new music to listen to. Music seems to find me. My lifestyle can result in the discovery of new artists every day. For example, through scrolling on social media, I am made aware of different songs. By listening to the radio, I hear new musicians. Instagram stories by influencers can encourage me to search for a song. I have an ever-evolving playlist on Spotify simply called ‘new’ where I add songs recommended to me all the time. Then when I find the time to listen, I go through and either keep or delete.

A recommendation by Corinne Fisher on the ‘Two Less Lonely Girls’ podcast was the 1995 Alanis Morissette album: ‘Jagged Little Pill’ and I am constantly playing it on repeat at the moment. It is so good. I don’t know how I hadn’t heard it before now. I also follow YouTube musicians including Ebony Day, Hobbie Stuart and dodie, not to mention authors and directors that sometimes post a cover or two, such as Hazel Hayes. Whether its covers or original songs, you can often feel much more connected to a song sung by an online personality whose work you admire. It is clear that I have an eclectic taste in music. Is there anyone else that enjoys the La La Land soundtrack just as much as Wu-Tang Clan?

I watch a Norwegian TV show called Skam, which has a superb soundtrack. The show has been recreated in many countries including France, Italy, Spain, and Germany, adapting the storylines and characters to the culture of the country. The soundtracks are available as playlists on Spotify and YouTube, and it is such a great way to discover a wide range of international music. From Yelle to Kid Astray, from Gabrielle to Sigur Rós, there’s bound to be a song that surprises you (in a good way).

I also find new musicians through podcasts such; ‘George Ezra & Friends,’ ‘Teenage Mixtape’ and ‘Phil Taggart’s Slacker Podcast’ where they ask fellow artists and music lovers what first inspired them, who they used to listen to when they were younger and the first album they bought. This made me think about the first music I bought.

My first…..

Cassette tape: S Club 7 – 7 (This was unfortunately left in a car and never found again).

Vinyl: Jake Bugg – Shangri La

CD: Girls Aloud – Sound of the Underground (I vividly remember getting this from Woolworths in 2002 lol).

Spotify playlist: SKAM NRK P3

Through looking through my parents’ record collection, I have discovered Daryl Hall and John Oates and Genesis as well as rediscovering Billy Joel and the ABBA Gold album. Safe to say I have hundreds of vinyl and tapes to listen to for the rest of the year. Do you have a record collection? Although CDs have become less popular over the past few years due to streaming and online downloads, it seems that vinyl is coming back into fashion, either to be used properly and played on record players or framed and used as décor!

WHERE ELSE TO FIND ME:

Tri-lingual radio show (Sobremesa): https://www.mixcloud.com/Alexandra_McLeod/

Sobremesa Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AlexandraSobremesa/

YouTube and Geography blog: https://alexandrasobremesa.wordpress.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexandra-mcleod-79b7a8107?trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile

Alexandra McLeod: Alexandra is a recent graduate from the University of Exeter with a degree in BA Geography and Sustainability with Advanced Proficiency in French and Spanish with Study Abroad. Yes, its a lot! However, her main passion throughout university was her role as ‘Head of Station Sound’ for XpressionFM (student radio) where she created unique events and promotional material for the station. She hosted a weekly tri-lingual radio show and continues to host a comedy/poetry podcast. She has had experience working at BBC Devon, Cornwall and Newcastle as well as PhonicFM (Exeter).

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SoundGirls.org Blog by Karrie Keyes - 1d ago

So, let them bring on all their problems

I’ll do better than my best

I have confidence they’ll put me to the test

But I’ll make them see I have confidence in me

– I Have Confidence, from the Sound of Music: Rodgers and Hammerstein, 1965

To succeed in audio, having the right amount of confidence is key. I struggle with a lack of confidence, and this post will mostly deal with how I counteract that. However, if you think you’re god’s gift to sound, you might want to take a minute to reflect on whether that’s true too, especially if your bragging is overcompensation for low-esteem. Being realistic about your abilities, and having a mindset somewhere between Marvin the Paranoid Android from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and the average Pop Idol contestant is the goal.

Plenty of aspects of this job can knock your confidence: as a freelancer, it’s easy to constantly compare yourself to others. As I mentioned in my last post, social media can be toxic; when all you see is the best aspects of your peers’ lives, it’s easy to think you’re lagging far behind. If office workers get stressed out and jealous any time there’s a promotion to compete for; we can feel that way for every gig. “Why did they put him on that show?” “Why did they think she’d be good for that role?” “Why didn’t they ask me?” The politics of who gets hired are many and varied, and if you try to make sense of it or take it personally, you may well end up sobbing in a corner. Even if you try to abstain from it, your colleagues might loudly and rudely question your abilities for you, either to make themselves feel better or to advance their careers. Having the confidence to get on with your job and show them why they’re wrong to doubt you are the best way to fight back.

Lack of confidence can sabotage you while you’re in the middle of work. We often have to deal with complex issues while sticking to tight deadlines. We can’t wander off, read up on the topic then come back the next day feeling educated and refreshed; the gig has to happen today. And of course, what every sound person dreads: the announcement that there are “technical issues.” The entire audience turns around as one to stare at the front of house, even if it’s a dodgy connection on a guitar pedal. You didn’t even see that bus coming before they threw you under it!

A healthy level of confidence (not to be confused with arrogance) is essential to remain resilient and effective in the face of challenges. It benefits the gig, your career, and your well being. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is often recommended to treat depression and anxiety, but I think it can help everyone. Courses are freely available online and from your local library, and they help you to get perspective on things and break out of negative thought processes. For example, if you lost out on a job, imagine what you would say to a good friend if they were in your situation. You deserve as much faith and respect as anyone else, telling yourself you’re worthless or unemployable is not constructive.

I have referred to this blog post about caring about the opinion of others before, but I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say it changed my life: Taming the Mammoth: Why You Should Stop Caring What Other People Think. The main point to take away is that people are far more interested in themselves than you, and it’s a waste of time to worry about what others think of you. Let’s take a classic rom-com cliche as an example: you pass a group of people who all smile at you. Wait, why did they do that? Are they just happy? Are they smiling at something behind you? What if they’re actually sniggering at you because you have something stuck in your teeth?

As you can see from the Punnet Square of Embarrassment, there are four main possible scenarios, and in each of them worrying that you have something stuck in your teeth achieves nothing. We all have teeth. We all eat food. Stuff sometimes get stuck in our teeth; no-one cares. If they are laughing at you, you can pity them for wasting their time caring about something so inconsequential. For a bonus tip: very occasionally, I go for a walk and pretend that anyone looking my way is simply awestruck by how incredibly amazing I am. Obviously, that isn’t the case, but it lifts my mood and makes me laugh anyway.

The Punnet Square of Embarrassment. Pink denotes a waste of all your energy to worrying, purple denotes a waste of some energy, and in the blue area, no energy is wasted.

Of course, messing up at work is a bit more important than dental greenery, and laughing it off like you don’t care is not the approach to take. The principle remains the same, though: it happens to everyone, even the best engineers in the world have bad days. By all means, learn from what happened and plan how to prevent it from happening again, but then brush yourself off and move on. Dwelling on it can ruin your focus for the rest of the day and lead to more silly mistakes.

A great way to have confidence is to genuinely have a solid understanding of the topics at hand, and I recommend learning all you can at every opportunity. However, no-one can know everything about every piece of equipment, every band, every venue. It can take a bit of experience to know what’s normal to know, and what isn’t. If you’re not sure of something, don’t be afraid to admit it; we’ve all been there, and it’s how we all learn. Everyone needs to ask the internet, a friend, or a manufacturer’s tech support for help sometimes. It isn’t a sign of failure; it’s part of the job.

Finding a happy medium in self-confidence, and having an accurate idea of your competence is a constant growing exercise. Discuss it with colleagues you trust, as it is often easier to gauge from an outside, more experienced perspective. Ask for input from several sources, so you aren’t unduly influenced by one opinion. Knowing your worth can reduce stress at work, reassure your clients and colleagues, help you when negotiating pay and lead you ever closer to your goals. It also encourages you to help others: only people who are afraid of competition hoard their knowledge. People who are confident in their abilities are happy to share and raise everyone up, which increases their confidence too.

Beth O’Leary is a freelance live sound engineer and tech-based in Sheffield, England. While studying for her degree in zoology, she got distracted working for her university’s volunteer entertainments society and ended up in the music industry instead of wildlife conservation. Over the last ten years, she has done everything from pushing boxes in tiny clubs to touring arenas and spends a lot of her life in muddy fields working on most of the major festivals in the UK. She has a particular passion for flying PA, the black magic that is RF, travel, and good coffee.

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No experience necessary. Beginner and intermediate users welcome. All genders and non-binary people are welcome.

$60 for the two-day course – email soundgirls@soundgirls.org if you require financial aid

Register Here

Class Description
Do you want to start making beats? Do you want to learn how to make your own demos? Do you want to sharpen your DAW skills so you can get over that first learning curve and really start running with your creativity? Do you want to start performing live with Ableton, but don’t know where to start?

By the end of this two-day course, you will have learned all you need to know in order to really get your engines revved up about Ableton. I want to give you the tools to explore and to run as much of your show as you want to. With your newfound agility and excitement, you might even feel confident to explore parts of Ableton functionality that haven’t yet been discovered! Because that’s what creativity is all about—exploring and playing! But first, what is it exactly that you will be learning?

Day One will be all about the essentials of Ableton. What is the basic design behind this software? How do you get the sounds you want IN there, so you can edit them and play with them? How do you program a drum beat? How do you slow it down if you want to? How do you mess around with ideas and decide what parts you want to go at the beginning, the middle, and the end? How do you listen to it on your phone? By the end of the class, you will have a multi-track song that you create entirely by yourself using Ableton.
*Key items covered: time signatures & tempos, MIDI, audio, clips, arrangement view, bouncing

Day Two will focus on Ableton in live performance. You will learn how to make backing tracks that are suitable for the type of performance you want to put on. Maybe you want to push play at the beginning of the set and never really look at your computer again until your last song. Or maybe you want to engage with every sound that comes out of the house speakers. Or maybe your fantasy set is something in between! We will go over different approaches to designing your live set by using your new song from day one as a template.
*Key items covered: importing tracks, deciding on a playback concept, labeling, setting up loops and automation

Equipment needed (students):
-laptop with Ableton already installed – You can download a 30-day free trial

Instructor: Elana Carroll is a songwriter, producer and performer who has been making original music for 15 years. She holds a BA in music and critical theory from Bard College at Simon’s Rock.

Elana’s interests as a writer/producer span from electronic and dance to pop and country, and she co-writes with other artists as well. Her current focus is on teaching (she will be teaching a Beats by Girlz class this fall), and her own project, Party Nails. She feels it is part of her purpose in this life to “normalize” non-males in the music business through performance, teaching, and mentoring. She is particularly fascinated with popular culture and music in the age of technology.

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It’s easy to miss the SoundGirls news and blogs, so we have put together a round-up of the blogs, articles, and news from the past week. You can keep up to date and read more at SoundGirls.org

May Feature Profile

From Making Tea to Top Gear

The Blogs

Zora Neale Hurston

Podcasting Gear on a Teacher’s Budget

Avoid the Event Hangover.

Being A Musician Makes Me A Better Sound Designer and Engineer

Internet Round-Up

New music program wants more women, non-binary producers in the mix

Songwriter / Producer / Entrepreneur, TRAKGIRL on Pensados Place SoundGirls News Leslie Gaston-Bird is raising funds for her 50th birthday. Happy Birthday! She is raising funds for the “SoundGirls – Gaston-Bird Travel fund” which has been established to increase the presence of women and those that identify as women at audio trade conferences. Women who have been invited to speak, or sit on panels at audio related trade conferences are welcome to apply. More info at https://soundgirls.org/soundgirls-gaston-bird-travel-fund/ SoundGirls Co-Founder Michelle Sabolchick Pettinato has created a Free eBook called 7 Things Every Live Sound Engineer Should Know

“The most common thing I hear from new engineers and those just getting started in live sound and mixing is how overwhelmed they are with how much there is to know. They focus on trying to learn all of the gear and keeping up with every new piece of equipment or plugin out there, instead of learning the underlying principles and techniques. This is why I created the eBook. There were so many other things I could have listed, but I tried to keep it to what I felt would help solve some of the biggest problems sound engineers face: Understanding how the system works together, being able to mix on any console, dealing with feedback, getting better quality sounds and mixes, and having more confidence in what they are doing.
The book covers these important concepts- Signal Flow, Proper Gain Structure. The eBook explains the importance of these, as well as proper EQ techniques, how to use a gate and compressor, choosing the right microphone, basic troubleshooting, and getting good sounds from the source.”

The link for the free ebook is:
https://www.mixingmusiclive.com/ebook-page

Top 30 Audio Engineering Blogs, News Websites & Newsletters To Follow in 2019

Congratulations to all our bloggers. The SoundGirls Blog is number 12 of the Top 30 Audio Engineering Blogs, News Websites & Newsletters To Follow in 2019.

SoundGirls Events

Mastering w/ Piper Payne – Oakland

Vancouver Meyer

Vancouver SoundGirls Social

SoundGirls Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon – May 26th

Register For Career Paths in Recording Arts

Los Angeles SoundGirls June Social

SoundGirls Intro to Soldering – Colorado

SoundGirls Opportunities

Apply to Work The Ladybug Music Festival

SoundGirls and SoundGym

Shadowing/Mentoring/Internship Opportunities

Shadowing Opportunity w/ ME Aaron Foye

Shadowing Opportunity – Brad Madix and Annette Guilfoyle

Shadow Gil Eva Craig – NZ & Australia

Viva La Muxer – SoundGirls Volunteers

SoundGirls Resources

Spotify and SoundGirls Team Up – EQL Directory

SoundGirls – Gaston-Bird Travel Fund

Letter for Trades and Manufacturers

Women-Owned Businesses

A More Inclusive Industry

Events

Sexual Harassment

SoundGirls Chapters

Jobs and Internships

Women in the Music Industry

Member Benefits

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SoundGirls.org Blog by Karrie Keyes - 2w ago

There are a variety of ways to approach the study of music.  I often tackle it from a technical point of view, but one can look at the historical and cultural context of music to decipher the larger picture.  Ethnomusicology is the study of the social and societal sources of music and is heavily tied with anthropology and the study of folklore. Through this human-centric approach, researchers learn about the ‘why’ of music and how emotions are expressed in different communities.  As a field of study, ethnomusicology developed in the mid-1800s, supported by the nationalist sentiments in classical music of the time. In the 1930s with the increasing portability of recording machines, there was a push to document folk music from around the world, especially in the United States.  In the Caribbean and the American South, Zora Neale Hurston was the champion of the African cultural diaspora.

While many ethnomusicologists start out as composers or musicians, Hurston was an anthropologist who studied folklore.  Where folklore and music overlapped, she did not hesitate to explore and document. Her best-known works are Their Eyes Were Watching God (later made into a film starring Halle Berry) and Dust Tracks on a Road (an autobiography).  Hurston’s relationship with human culture followed many avenues, as her name is most notably associated with the Harlem Renaissance literary movement.

Hurston was born in 1891 in Alabama and grew up in Eatonville, Florida where many of her books are set.  She dropped out of high school after her father and step-mother stopped paying for her tuition and eventually became a maid to a touring theatre company.  From there she found her way back to high-school and graduated at age 27. After receiving her associate degree from Howard University, Hurston pursued a B.A. in Anthropology from Barnard College of Columbia University.  She followed this with masters from the same institution and began research of African American culture in the American South from 1927 to 1932 under the patronage of Charlotte Osgood Mason.

It was from this research that Zora Neale Hurston took inspiration for her many novels. The lumber camps in Florida became Mules and Men, and spiritual and vodoun culture in Jamaica and Haiti became Tell My Horse.  Hurston’s dedication to anthropological research did get her into controversy.  Her adherence to dialect was not always appreciated in the literary world, as it was seen as degrading by her peers.  It took until 2018 for her nonfiction account of the last slave brought to the United States, Barracoon, to be published.  Literature was not the only way to share her research, therefore Hurston staged several revues of folk music and dance from the Caribbean and American South.  The Great Day was her first revue, staged at New York’s John Golden Theatre in 1932.  Later revues included From Sun to Sun and Singing Steel.  In 1935 Hurston collaborated with Alan Lomax and Mary Elizabeth Barnicle to record songs and interviews from former American slaves.  There are other instances where Hurston herself would perform the songs she gathered in her travels. These recordings are still available in the Library of Congress.

Zora Neale Hurston’s influence extends to this day with the ZORA! Festival of the Arts and Humanities in her hometown of Eatonville, Florida among other institutions created and barriers crossed along the way.  Hurston’s documentation and preservation of the voices of the American South and especially those of African American women help keep their stories alive. Our connection with our musical past is important for our musical future, and it takes many different disciplines collaborating to keep the connection alive.

Nicole Kirch is a North Carolina based recording engineer and musician.  In her short career, she has worked on location sound, post-production, stage crew, and electronics.  Her love of sound stretches to almost every niche.  Nicole holds a BA in Sound Design from Michigan Tech (the first female to graduate from the program) and a BS in Electrical Engineering Tech from Austin Peay State University.   She believes in female empowerment and independent music. 

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I have been a musician for almost my entire life.  At four years old, I could sing every word of Annie without skipping a note.  When I was in the third grade, I got a piano for my birthday and started the first of many private lessons.  In the fourth grade, I started playing the viola in my school orchestra. I don’t usually count that as one of my instruments because, in orchestra class, I was more interested in talking to my best friend, who played the cello and sat right next to me.  Because of this, I never learned how to read alto clef fluently, and so I faked the viola until I was in the 7th grade and had to quit when my rouse caught up with me. In the 6th grade, I started playing flute and piccolo in the school band. In the 8th grade, the jazz band needed a tenor saxophone player, so I did that for a year since it was a smooth transition from the flute.  Somewhere in middle school, my dad got me a Fender California Series acoustic guitar, and in high school, he got me a Gibson SG. I can play the guitar well enough to be entertaining at a campfire. I was a music major in college, and while there, I took private piano and flute lessons. Most of my music school friends were percussionists, so halfway through my college career, I started taking private percussion lessons, and somehow became the principal percussionist in Campus Band.  So, as you can see, I have a pretty diverse background in music. Music has driven every of my life decisions. So why, when I started my studio recording private lessons, did I not want to play any music?

My degree is in Commercial Music.  My focus in that area was on engineering and producing.  As part of this focus, I was required to write, record, and produce a song once a week.  I would then have a one hour lesson where my professor would respond to my latest creation.  The expectation was that I would absorb these notes, and my next project would be better. The thing is, it took me a while to get better because I did not want to write or play my own music.  For some reason, once I began the Commercial Music program, I decided I only wanted to be an engineer and producer, and I did not want to be a musician anymore. I asked my professor if I could hire musicians to play for me.  I told him I would do two lessons a week instead of one; I just did not want to play anymore. He did not bend–not even a little. Then he told me something that I have never forgotten. It’s a phrase I use with my students all the time.  He said, “My engineers are not just button pushers.” He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music, and he is a fantastic trumpet player. He has a wealth of musical knowledge, so it frustrates him when sound engineers don’t feel the music the way he does.  He told me a story about a sound engineer that worked for him in the past. He said this guy did not have a musical bone in his body. He was a button pusher. Mics would come on; mics would go off. That’s it. My professor decided that he did not want anyone coming out of his program to perform like that.  I fought it for a while, but eventually, I gave in, and I’m glad I did. It was the best decision I ever made.

Now I’m a sound designer for theatre, and my musicianship helps inform many of my decisions.  I know to push the music during a big musical swell or interlude. I know that a little reverb in the back makes a small orchestra sound more prominent and lusher.  I know to fade down to underscoring, and I know to gracefully fade up to transition music. It’s not something I think about. It’s something I feel in my body, and my hands just follow.  I know it’s easy for me to say though. I’m a musician, and I have been for most of my life. So what if you’re not a musician? What if you can’t read music, you’ve never touched a musical instrument, but you are a sound engineer?  You don’t have to be a musician to be musical. You don’t have to be a musician to feel the music in your body, and I have a few exercises to help bring the music out of a non-musician’s soul.

First, make pa laylist of ten songs.  These should be some of your favorite songs, and if they’re contrasting genres, even better.  Next, get some headphones, and head to a quiet room where you can be alone. If it doesn’t creep you out too much, turn off the lights.  Now put on your headphones, and listen to your entire playlist. Note the parts that give you the warm fuzzies, or make the hair on your arms stand up, or force tears to flow from your eyes.  What is happening musically in those moments? Did the instruments crescendo? Was there a vocal effect? Did the reverb ring out after the final note? What about that music made it an experience as opposed to an exercise.  Remember that stuff, and carry it with you into your next gig.

After you’ve done the headphones task, do it again, but this time listen through the best speakers you have access to.  Even if that’s in your car, that’s ok. Listen to the same playlist, and remember those spots you loved. Keep your hand on the volume knob, and gently follow the musical line.  Turn up the volume slightly with that swell. Fade it back down when the line does. This will start to help you attach your warm fuzzy feelings to your technical hands. This is an exercise I love, so I always encourage people to do make multiple playlists and practice this regiment often.  It really does help train your brain and your body to work together.

Another great exercise I like to have my interns and students work on is shadow mixing a movie.  My suggestion is to choose a few movie musicals like Les Miserables, Moulin Rouge, or literally any Disney movie.  Now, sit on your couch, and put 8 pennies on the coffee table in front of you.  For the first movie, keep your pointer and middle finger on your right hand on two of those pennies.  Those are your music faders. Just like the volume knob exercise, move those penny faders with the music.  If you want to add a level of precision, mark a piece of paper with decibel markings to put under the pennies, and keep track of the relationship of your pennies to unity.  Do not note things like “Now I am at -10, now I am at -12.” Once you start relying on the numbers, you stop using your ears, and they are your most valuable tool. The muscle memory and relationship between your ears and fingers is what is most important.  After you’re comfortable with the music, watch the movie again, and this time, assign characters to the other 6 faders. This part you will probably have to practice scene by scene, and if there are more than 6 characters per scene, you can assign groups to one DCA, or penny, in your case.  So now, you’re just repeat the process, but adding vocals. When you hear voices get big, follow them with your pennies, and keep doing what you were doing on the first round with the music. If you’re going scene by scene, try filming your hands, and repeat the scene twice. Do your hands have basically the same relationship  each time? Are there long stretches of time where you have forgotten to consider music changes? Review the footage, and repeat the practice. The next time you are mixing or designing a show, you just might find that your natural inclination will now be to enhance the musical line with subtle fader movements, thus giving an otherwise flat sound some body and life.  This will be the difference between an acceptable show and an impressively beautiful show.

Elisabeth Weidner: Elisabeth is a sound designer, composer, and engineer based on California’s Central Coast. She holds a degree in Commercial Music from Florida State University and has been working professionally in the live sound industry for over 15 years. She is currently the Sound Director and Resident Sound Designer/Composer for PCPA, Pacific Conservatory Theatre, where she started as the resident FOH Engineer. She has composed two full-length young audience musicals and is always working on the next one. Elisabeth also freelances as an audio/video technician at a local concert venue and as a West Coast sound designer for theatre. www.elisabethanneweidner.com

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Last year my colleagues and I had a super fun podcast and were hoping to expand to a live radio setup. Unfortunately for reasons beyond our control, the entire radio program was canceled! We invested in some equipment, which I do not regret purchasing as we have repurposed it for video blogging. The next adventure is learning live video broadcasting (with live switching??) on a teacher’s budget. For now, I am sharing our budget-but-still-nice setup. Altogether we’re looking at under $1000. I do not suggest buying a bunch of equipment if you’re just starting out, or have no idea on which preferences you have or what you will need. You can rent, borrow, record on your phone using your headset, etc. until you figure out what you want. My local library in Downtown Orlando has a fantastic setup with full recording studio & small vocal booths that are entirely free to use as a resident! Check your local library, seriously!

Equipment

  • 2x RODE NT1-A microphones ($229 each)
  • 3x Studio boom arms ($24 for 3)
  • 1x Steinberg UR-44 Interface ($299)
  • Macbook pro/Ipad pro
  • Various headphones – my personal ones are Sennheiser hd280 pro ($99 each)

We chose an interface with more inputs than we needed & one that had iPad compatibility (with adapter). It was more expensive than the Focusrite Scarlet, but worth the extra inputs. This interface has two built-in headphone outputs, perfect for a two-person setup. If we had more than two people, we used a headphone amplifier we already owned and borrowed an extra microphone. We purchased two hard cases (technically gun cases but whatever) with foam inserts for $20 each! Our kit also includes XLRs, which came with our mic kit plus some we already owned. You can make your own XLRs as well, which will almost definitely be nicer than the cheap ones you can purchase locally.

Ingesting/Edits

My personal preference is Adobe Audition, although my partner uses ProTools and Logic for ingesting as well. I have always preferred Audition, as I have been using it since it was called Cool Edit Pro. I did a lot of editing for our podcasts, as you can see in the screenshot. Use an automixer to avoid the need to do a lot of automation later in life.

One of the mistakes that I made early on was not having the preproduction solid enough before recording. This meant a lot of editing in post, and that was a significant undertaking. I was an editor in another part of life, but I knew there had to be a better way. Editing everything in post was an actual nightmare.

To quote Bill O’Reilly, “Fuck it, we’ll do it live!!”

Please don’t judge my automation, if we were to continue with multiple users, I would integrate an automixer or the newer “https://larryjordan.com/articles/adobe-audition-cc-2018-auto-ducking-is-magic/”Auto-Ducking feature in Audition CC 2018.’

i-Jingle Pro workspace for a podcast on an iPad

There are a lot of options for playback. You can use whatever DAW you feel comfortable with and set up all of your playback from there. Qlab has a free (2 channel) version. Soundcue ($14.99) is one that I’ve used for kids theatre production when I had to program an iPod for playback. If you have one of those DJ sound effects pads, that would be a cool choice. For our podcast, we used i-Jingle pro ($10.99) for the iPad. We made our own imaging using the garage band app on our phones (yes, seriously). We’re not musicians, and it turned out hilarious, and I still love it.

Have a solid rundown and play any pre-recorded interviews, imaging, sound effects, music, etc. LIVE. This will save you so much time, treat it like a live radio broadcast and only clean up what you need to in postproduction. When we figure out the live video blogging (budget version, because teachers) I will share that as well, so stay tuned.

Susan Williams is an educator in Winter Park, FL for a creativity and technology-focused university. Previously she was a local theatre technician and independent micro-budget film producer. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre with a minor in Cinema Studies from the University of Central Florida. Susan has spent her career working for various theatres around the country, including the Orlando Repertory Theatre, The Garden Theatre, and the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival. She has also worked as a digital projectionist for the Florida Film Festival. In addition to theatre, she has produced an award-winning short film, “Séance.” In 2014, Susan produced her first feature-length horror film, “Interior,” which has won many festival awards, including Best Horror Feature Film at Shriekfest 2015, Best Sound Design, NYC Horror Film Festival 2015, and Audience Award for the Knoxville Horror Film Festival 2015. Susan is an active member of the Orlando chapter of SoundGirls.

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The Ladybug Festival is an annual event celebrating women in music.  The event was created in 2012 by Gable Music Ventures as a block party for the residents of the 2nd & Loma neighborhood in downtown Wilmington, Delaware.

Every year Gable Music has worked to expand the scope of the event, and the reaction from the community has been incredible with attendance doubling every year since 2012, from approximately 300 to approximately 10,000 in 2017 when the event expanded and added a second day.

This is the fourth year SoundGirls has supported the work of The Ladybug Festival, providing women and girls access to hands-on experience by volunteering to work the festival and paid work for sound engineers and stage managers.

This year’s festival takes place on July 18 and July 19 in downtown Wilmington, DE.

If you would like to be involved, please apply. We will be staffing approximately 24 techs/stage managers for this festival, if you are traveling from out of town we will try and find housing, but no guarantees.

Volunteer Application

Crew Application Paid Positions

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Have you been there? Done an event that starts at 6 am but doesn’t end until 3 or 4 am.

Afterward, you go home, get some sleep, but you still have to get up at a reasonable time to function that day?

Then you wake up feeling like you spent the night drinking way too much?

I call this the event hangover. It’s close to the same feeling as a hangover, but you missed the entire section of the night that was enjoying a few drinks and hanging out with friends.  There’s the headache, body aches, your feet hurt, and you don’t exactly remember what time you got home. Does any of this sound familiar?

As I do more and more shows each month with hours like this, I strive to avoid the event hangover as much as I can. Here are the tips and tricks I have found that help me avoid feeling terrible after a long event.

Drink lots of water – forget the monster soda and coffee. Drink water all day and night long.  If you must have something caffeinated pair it with a bottle of water as well. Along with this – make sure the water you are drinking doesn’t have any additives that counteract the point of drinking water.  Be picky with bottled brands to make sure there isn’t added salt or bring a reusable water bottle and fill it up at the drinking fountain.

Eat right – Balance your meals and try to stick with your routine. Make sure to eat regularly to give you the fuel you need to make it through the long day. Most of all avoid the deep-fried food and the desire to overeat once the show is over.  If you must snack – snack well, granola bars, fruit, protein bars, etc. will do the trick. Avoid the candy bars or the left-over doughnuts from the morning load in.

Wear the right kind of shoes – unlike a real night out where we might wear cute shoes, don’t! Wear durable and reliable ones instead. If it is a long show, consider a change of shoes. I find if I change shoes halfway through, my feet don’t hurt as much the next day. Wear your composite or steel toes for load in and out, and other shoes designed for standing and walking in-between.

Shut down and get some sleep when you are done with work – Stay away from your computer, tv, or phone screen. Unwind by reading a book or magazine or by listening to soft music as you fall asleep. Focusing on digital media can keep you up and focused on everything else but rest. Get as much rest as you can so you can recover from the long hours and hopefully avoid the event hangover!

Heather Holm: Based in Saint Paul, MN;  Heather has held many positions in the sound, production, and events business. Most recently as a Production Coordinator serving the Twin Cities area. She holds a BA in Broadcasting and Digital Media Communication and an MS in Organizational Change Leadership.  Prior to taking a position with a private production firm, Heather has over seven years of working in higher education dealing with event logistics and production technology and has also been freelancing in the field for several years.

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It’s easy to miss the SoundGirls news and blogs, so we have put together a round-up of the blogs, articles, and news from the past week. You can keep up to date and read more at SoundGirls.org

May Feature Profile

From Making Tea to Top Gear

The Blogs

Interview with Electronic Music Collective Hyasynth House

Internet Round-Up

The Other 50% Podcast – Interviews Allie Boettger

Allie Boettger is a sound mixer. And I don’t mean the kind of sound mixer who works on a stage, although she can do that too. Allie is the kind of sound mixer that goes around the world on the Amazing Race, goes to Alaska in winter to shoot Alaskan Bush People, hikes to the top of a mountain and then rappels down it. She is super badass. And she is quite the storyteller, so this episode was really fun.

Theatrical Sound Designer Rebecca Kessin

This is a hugely wide field, and what I’m doing changes from show to show. Musicals become more engineering/system design-oriented, while plays tend to be more content based. One week I’ll be figuring out the logistics of routing a huge orchestra, the next I’ll be recording the rustling palm trees outside my building at three am. (True story.) Creating a narrative through sound is my favorite aspect of what I do, especially from a psychoacoustic standpoint.

URM Podcasts Featuring Susan Rogers

Susan Rogers is a neuroscientist and professor at Berklee College of Music and a mixer/engineer who’s worked with legends like Prince, David Byrne, and Barenaked Ladies among many others.

SoundGirls News Leslie Gaston-Bird is raising funds for her 50th birthday. Happy Birthday! She is raising funds for the “SoundGirls – Gaston-Bird Travel fund” which has been established to increase the presence of women and those that identify as women at audio trade conferences. Women who have been invited to speak, or sit on panels at audio related trade conferences are welcome to apply. More info at https://soundgirls.org/soundgirls-gaston-bird-travel-fund/ SoundGirls Co-Founder Michelle Sabolchick Pettinato has created a Free eBook called 7 Things Every Live Sound Engineer Should Know

“The most common thing I hear from new engineers and those just getting started in live sound and mixing is how overwhelmed they are with how much there is to know. They focus on trying to learn all of the gear and keeping up with every new piece of equipment or plugin out there, instead of learning the underlying principles and techniques. This is why I created the eBook. There were so many other things I could have listed, but I tried to keep it to what I felt would help solve some of the biggest problems sound engineers face: Understanding how the system works together, being able to mix on any console, dealing with feedback, getting better quality sounds and mixes, and having more confidence in what they are doing.
The book covers these important concepts- Signal Flow, Proper Gain Structure. The eBook explains the importance of these, as well as proper EQ techniques, how to use a gate and compressor, choosing the right microphone, basic troubleshooting, and getting good sounds from the source.”

The link for the free ebook is:
https://www.mixingmusiclive.com/ebook-page

Top 30 Audio Engineering Blogs, News Websites & Newsletters To Follow in 2019

Congratulations to all our bloggers. The SoundGirls Blog is number 12 of the Top 30 Audio Engineering Blogs, News Websites & Newsletters To Follow in 2019.

SoundGirls Events

Bay Area Chapter 1st Mondays Meetings

JBL VTX A8 Workshop – May 9 @ Harman Northridge

Mastering w/ Piper Payne – Oakland

Vancouver Meyer

Vancouver SoundGirls Social

SoundGirls Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon – May 26th

Register For Career Paths in Recording Arts

Los Angeles SoundGirls June Social

SoundGirls Intro to Soldering – Colorado

SoundGirls Opportunities

Mix With the Masters Scholarships Available- Bob Power

SoundGirls and SoundGym

Shadowing/Mentoring/Internship Opportunities

Shadowing Opportunity w/ ME Aaron Foye

Shadowing Opportunity – Brad Madix and Annette Guilfoyle

Shadow Gil Eva Craig – NZ & Australia

Viva La Muxer – SoundGirls Volunteers

SoundGirls Resources

Spotify and SoundGirls Team Up – EQL Directory

SoundGirls – Gaston-Bird Travel Fund

Letter for Trades and Manufacturers

Women-Owned Businesses

A More Inclusive Industry

Events

Sexual Harassment

SoundGirls Chapters

Jobs and Internships

Women in the Music Industry

Member Benefits

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