“Pandora Bailout Bill” Robs Musicians

Quoted text from The Recording Academy:

Stop Congress From Slashing Artist Pay
Congress is considering a bill that would slash the royalties paid to artists in order to increase shareholder profits of corporations like Pandora. The so-called “Internet Radio Fairness Act” is a government bailout, letting Pandora (valued at $1.8 billion) pay artists royalties below the fair market rate. Act now and tell Congress there’s nothing fair about robbing music creators.”

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I am a professional musician and music teacher. For more information, please visit my website at My music samples are available at Audrey’s Music Page.


How To Handle Your Performance Anxiety

Most musicians who perform live in front of audiences will tell you that at some point in their careers, they have had to deal with performance anxiety and sometimes crippling stage fright. I had a very interesting personal experience a few months ago while performing background music at an event. These are the types of gigs that I never get nervous about, but for this particular job, I had a whole new set of custom arrangements that I had never performed in public before. Much to my amusement, I started feeling the little flutter in my stomach which is my tell-tale sign of performance jitters. It made me sympathize even more with what my students go through at every one of their recitals.

Below are a few tips and techniques that have helped me to effectively cope with and overcome the debilitating effects of performance anxiety. I’ve found that if I actively and consistently practice my set of responses to my anxiety, then I feel more calm and confident on performance day. I’m also less likely to have any memory slips.

Practice well and very thoroughly.
This should go without saying, but it’s very important to stress the significance of preparing and knowing your music well. If you come to your performance knowing that there are certain passages that you haven’t mastered in your music, it will feed into and intensify any negative nervous thoughts that may already be racing through your head.

Do a mock performance (or performances) before the BIG performance.
Gather your family, friends and strangers for a rehearsal sit in. Since everyone’s response to performance stress isn’t exactly the same, this would be the time to focus on how anxiety manifests itself for you:

  • Do you have excessive negative thoughts?
  • Do you have physical symptoms?
  • Are you panicked and looking for the nearest exit?

Don’t try to suppress what you’re feeling. Allow yourself to give a voice to your feelings of angst and pay attention to the physical sensations going on throughout your entire body.

Take the time to reflect after each practice performance.
Think back to how you felt before, during and after you played. Recap for yourself the thoughts that were running through your mind. It’s probably a good idea to write them down. I know that for me, things become more clear and real when I write. Try to relive the moment when your hands started to sweat profusely, when your stomach started twisting into knots, when you felt light headed or when you experienced any other physical ailment.

After you have given yourself the chance to revisit and digest everything that you thought and felt, try countering each specific negative thought with a positive, rational and healthy one. Keep doing this reflection exercise everyday until you have trained yourself to have a different, much better response to anxiety.

I hope that this blog has been of interest and/or helpful to you. I welcome any comments or other suggestions on the subject matter.

You may also find these links helpful:
Piano Practice Tips For Intermediate & Advanced Music
Cello Practice Tips For Intermediate & Advanced Music


The Making of “All About Bach”

[bandcamp width=100% height=120 album=3663513116 size=large bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5 tracklist=false artwork=none]I love being a musician, and I love exploring the technology that makes recorded sound possible. The creation of this album, ‘All About Bach’, allowed me to combine my artistic and technical sides in such a fascinating way. Initially, my goal was to quickly record some piano and cello material so that I could spend quality time honing my audio skills through experimentation with different equalizer, compressor and plug-in settings to create the optimal sound. This is why I didn’t want to make my debut album original compositions.

I decided on the Bach theme since I’ve always enjoyed playing and teaching his music. Even though I’m a classically trained pianist and cellist — at times, I have strayed very far from these roots as my music interests have expanded over the years. I was pleasantly surprised to see that my same passion for the classics was still there. I found myself studying musical tables of ornamentation and researching Baroque performance techniques and interpretation. I didn’t know that I would enjoy going down that path as much as I did.

Song #7 (The Adagio from The Toccata) was by far the biggest challenge to record since I played both the piano accompaniment and solo cello part. I experimented with a few ways of making the duet work before I came up with a good plan. The piano part by itself is sparse and doesn’t have much of a shape without knowing what’s going on in the cello line. Since the piano is what I call a precision instrument (no intonation considerations to worry about unlike with stringed instruments), I figured out that it would be best to get the piano track finalized first. I then recorded the cello part on top and mixed the sound levels to try to make both tracks sound more cohesive together.

This project was definitely a labor of love, and I hope that you enjoy the song previews.