Shopping on Amazon for Flutists

Amazon has become a haven for online shopping. You can purchase anything on there, from a new computer to a pair of socks. That also means that you can purchase music related items from Amazon.

Since you can find just about anything on Amazon, you have to be smart about what you do buy. There are some scams on there as well as some subpar products. In this post, we are going to talk about how to avoid those scams and stick to the good stuff.

Hannah B Flute | Shopping on Amazon for Flutists

I have personally used Amazon to purchase a lot of music stuff, everything from sheet music to instruments themselves. So I have quite a bit of experience when it comes to using Amazon to further my music goals. Continue reading “Shopping on Amazon for Flutists”

Posting Rough Cut Recordings

Hello friends! It is officially December! As you may have noticed by now, I am not participating in Blogmas this year. I am just too busy with my full time job and making music my little side hustle. I couldn’t think of enough topics to cover it. But today, I did want to talk about something I have been doing: rough cut recordings!

Killer Harmony | Posting Rough Cut Recordings

Back in October, I started posting videos on YouTube! I am not much of a video person, so I decided to start my channel by posting rough cuts of me playing different pieces of the flute repertoire.

Today, I want to talk about why I am doing rough cuts at this point, and how I think they can help you all as well as myself.

No Editing Required

Rough cuts are easy, because I can film myself playing a work or excerpt and then post it. I don’t need to spend a ton of time editing the footage to make it perfect. The video can go up as soon as I am done filming it.

As a busy musician with a full time day job, being able to film and immediately upload the video is awesome. I don’t have all that much time to dedicate to editing videos much less filming them in the first place.

Filming and uploading a rough cut is a lot easier and less time consuming than if I were to edit. I can share more content with you guys more quickly.

Teaching Tool

Rough cut videos are a great tool to use for every musician. They are great for my own use, because I can learn from my mistakes. They are great for viewers, because you can see that I am not perfect. Rough cuts go behind the scenes to reveal the “secrets” of pro and semi-pro musicians.

I can learn from myself, but my real goal is for you all to learn from my rough cuts. These videos show my mistakes, and if you make those mistakes, you can then understand mistakes aren’t bad.

If you make my same mistakes, you can then learn from them, knowing that you are not the problem. Some pieces are not written to be easy.

Vulnerability

A lot of musicians have to use social media and the internet to build their careers these days. That means that skilled musicians could come off as perfect. If a musician knows how to edit their photos or videos to appear as this perfect person, they aren’t relatable.

Posting unedited footage leaves the musician vulnerable. They show the world what musicians a generation ago showed their audition committees. The openness of rough cut videos shows a side to me (or any musician) that the internet would otherwise allow to stay hidden.

I love showing off a vulnerable part of me, because it proves that I am human. I make mistakes. Being a perfect musician is not a fact of life for many of us. That’s okay.

So…

I hope you enjoyed this shorter post. I think it’s important to share the unedited version of myself once in awhile. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out my latest video. I want to start posting weekly on there and to continue to show off what a real musician looks and sounds like.

How to Buy Instruments Online

With websites like Amazon and eBay, it is easier than ever to buy instruments online. You can find so many amazing deals, and you can have your new instrument in a matter of days.

Gone are the days of having to trek to a music festival or visit an instrument vendor or store. You can order yourself a new instrument from your own bed. How nice is that?

Killer Harmony | Buying Instruments Online | Grey background with maroon text (Buying instruments online) and teal text (for musicians)

It’s nice…if you’re smart about it. There are some good deals out there, but there are also some not so good deals. So, I am going to give you my tips for buying instruments online. While in person is best, sometimes you have no other choice.

1. Stick with reputable brands.

There are dozens of brands of instruments on sites like Amazon, but a lot of them are of bad quality. They are cheaply made instruments, which is why those instruments are usually really cheap.

If you are searching for a flute or piccolo, stick to brands like Yamaha, Pearl, or Jupiter, among others. These instruments will cost more than the  “Sky” or “Band Director Approved” instruments.

Going with a reputable brand means you will get a better quality instrument. It will last longer, and the cost will be worth it over time. Please do not buy those $100 instruments; they are not worth your time or money.

2. Read the reviews.

Read the reviews of the instrument before you purchase. If you can, contact someone you know who has played the brand and model you are considering. Or ask a private teacher for recommendations.

In many cases, the reviews can tell you a lot about the instrument. If you cannot test the instrument out before buying, you want to make sure you are getting a good value.

If you are on Amazon, you can even check out the Q&A section to see if there are any questions with helpful answers. Reviews may seem silly, and of course you should ignore the more biased ones. Some reviews can be really helpful, though.

3. Look at specialty websites.

There are so many online music stores, both general and instrument specific. Even if you plan to buy from Amazon, check with these other sites to see if the instrument you want is available.

For flutists, websites like FluteWorld and the Flute Center of New York have a ton of good brands in stock. I ended up purchasing a piccolo from Amazon, but I had seen it on flute specific websites. I also had a recommendation from a flute teacher.

These specialty sites will probably have a higher shipping fee, but a lot of them do have trial periods. If you decide you don’t like what you ordered, you can send it back. That is a great perk when you are unsure of what you want.

4. Check the shipping terms. And track your package.

What I mean by this is that you should be aware of how your instrument will be shipped. I personally would go for the fastest shipping you can. Yes, it adds to the cost. But the last thing you want is to have your instrument sitting in a warehouse without temperature controls.

You should also do your best to be home the day your instrument arrives. That might contradict my last piece of advice, but it’s almost more important. So priority goes to being home on delivery day. If you are out running errands or working all day, you won’t be able to get your instrument inside and away from crooks.

Not only do you want to get your instrument out of the elements quickly, but you don’t want to have a package sitting on your doorstep that will attract thieves.

5. Know the return policy.

This goes for anything you buy online. If you buy from somewhere that does not have a trial period, you still should know whether you can return the instrument if you are unhappy.

How long do you have to make a return? Do you have to pay for shipping? How do you ship it back? While you will hopefully find something you love, you still want to be aware of the terms in case you don’t end up liking the instrument or in case something is wrong with it.

6. Buy in person when you can.

I wrote this post for the people who can’t buy an instrument in person. If you have the option to buy an instrument that you want in person, do that.

You’ll save on shipping, and you can test the instrument out before you even purchase it.

For when you can’t buy an instrument in person, I hope these tips help for buying an instrument online. Definitely read up on everything you can regarding the instrument you want to purchase and educate yourself and the shipping and return policies.

7. Enjoy your new instrument!

Buying a new instrument is exciting! So be sure to enjoy your new purchase. While some purchase methods are easier or harder, no matter how you buy, have fun.

So…

Have you bought an instrument online before? What was your experience like? Let me know in the comments, and be sure to subscribe for more exclusive tips and musings sent straight to your inbox!

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Top 3 Social Networks for Musicians

A couple of weeks ago, I published a basic overview of how musicians can use social media. It is a great introduction to using social media professionally, but it doesn’t go into detail about which social networks you should focus on.

If you haven’t read that post yet, I suggest you catch up now.

Killer Harmony | Social Networks for Musicians |Social media is overwhelming. There are so many choices. Here are the top 3 social networks for musicians. Social networks are great tools for musicians.

In today’s post, I am going to talk about three social networks that work for most musicians. Not all networks will work for all users, and you should experiment yourself to see what works. However, this post can help you get started.

Why Only 3?

I chose to only list the top three networks, because you don’t need to use more than that. There comes a point where social media can be too much to handle. When you are starting out or changing your strategy, it is best to focus on three networks or fewer.

These three networks are all good for musicians for networking and sharing clips of their work. They do function a bit differently, though. This set up of each is not always the same.

Now, if one or all of these networks don’t work for you, you do not have to keep using them. So, without further ado, here are the top social networks for musicians.

Instagram

If you only want to give one of the networks in the post a try, make it Instagram. There is a thriving community of musicians on there. You can follow others and watch videos of your favorite artists.

Show off your work space to the world. Post your own photos or videos of you playing your instrument. Share an excerpt of an upcoming composition.

With the correct use of hashtags, you can do great things on Instagram. You can share your post with a lot of hashtags. Be careful, there is a reported limit of thirty; after that, your account won’t alway show up.

Instagram is the most visual and musical of the more traditional social networks. Yes, you have YouTube, which is a great tool, but it is more of a database than a network.

Sharing videos on your Instagram account is a great way to start building a performance portfolio. You can share short clips, limited to a minute long, and you can shoot those videos on your phone. No crazy editing needed.

Facebook

Facebook is probably the most popular social network available. It seems like everyone and their mother has a Facebook profile these days. Not only that, but there is a lot you can do with the platform.

For one, you can share your music and recordings with your friends and family. While they may not be able to hire you, they can share your work. Word of mouth is powerful, even with the internet.

Another way you can use Facebook as a musician is with Facebook groups. You can share helpful information and your own recordings with others. Groups can be a great way to network with others and find music groups to join or gigs to play.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is often misunderstood. It is usually nicknamed “the professional Facebook.” That explanation is fairly simple, but it doesn’t cover everything.

With LinkedIn, you can write articles and share them to your profile. Even if you are not a great writer, articles can showcase your expertise on a subject. They are also a good way to keep a sort of blog without needing a full website.

The main draw of LinkedIn that you won’t find on other networks is the job board. Once you fill out your profile, you will be shown job recommendations based on your skills. This can be a great way to find work.

Overwhelmed?

It’s okay. Social media is crazy, especially because it is constantly changing. Facebook and Instagram are always switching up their algorithms, and they even force business pages to pay to reach their followers.

That is why I have created a few resources to help you. First off, I offer social media and website management services. If you want to build your social media presence but don’t have the time to, I’m your girl.

Soon, I will be releasing an eBook that covers everything you need to get started with social media. I talk about the most common networks, how and what you should post, and a whole lot more. So subscribe below so that you don’t miss out on an awesome resource!

So…

I know that social media is a lot to take in. It takes time to learn how it all works. So please, comment below with your biggest issue when it comes to social media. Any information you give will help me to offer better advice to all of you.

Thanks for reading!

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Windows to Mac: Music

In the past, and even still to this day, Apple and Microsoft have competed against each other in different technology markets. From software to smartphones to full desktop operating systems, there is a choice to be made.

Killer Harmony | Windows to Mac | As a musician at the start of my career, I decided to switch from Windows to Mac. Here are some of the reasons why most musicians should consider switching.

I have always used Windows computers, though I have used other Apple products. Macs always seemed out of reach due to their cost and the fact that I didn’t know the OS.

However, I will soon be leaving Windows behind in favor of a MacBook Pro. Here are a few reasons why I am doing so, some more general and some specific to music and musicians.

Industry Standards

While a lot of music programs run on both Mac and Windows, Mac is more common for musicians. Or so it seems. With a Mac, you already have a free audio recording and editing software included, GarageBand.

Other programs, such as Finale, MuseScore, or Audacity work with Windows. However, I have encountered some small problems with music and Windows.

Like how a music technology textbook only referenced Mac tutorials or Mac software.

Continuity

All of my other devices are from Apple. I have an iPhone and iPad. The two can sync with each other, but not with a Windows computer. While continuity is not necessary, it is something to consider if you have the option.

I have slowly switched to using Pages instead of Word, and I also use iCal more than Google Calendar or any other digital system.

Now, sometimes, that can be limiting. Using different companies for different technologies means that you aren’t stuck within one. I get that, but I have become accustomed to iOS, and prefer it even to Windows. A MacBook of some kind is just the natural progression.

Quality

Yes, Macs cost a lot, but I have heard they are worth it. They last for years, and it is free to upgrade to the newest version of macOS. I have had an iPad 2 for more than four years, and it still works well.

My iPad mini 2 is three years old and still works like a charm.

There is still a bit of an Apple premium, but I have never heard of Mac users complaining about their computers. I have heard, complaints about Windows machines…and have complained myself.

My old Windows laptop lost its charger after only a couple of years. It basically became a portable desktop.

In the Box

Macs come with a full productivity suite, iWork, already included. There’s also the iLife suite, which includes iMovie and GarageBand. I can use FaceTime and iBooks, and I don’t have to worry about complicated installations.

Those programs also come for free. I don’t have to pay a subscription fee to use them, like I would with Office. Macs also have iCal, Notes, and Reminders, ready to go.

A Mac comes with most of what I need, and I will probably only download a few programs as needed, such as music notation software.

MacBook vs. Air vs. Pro

That’s it. Some might find the lack of options limiting, but I find it liberating. I know that no matter what I choose, it will be fine. And, the fewer options means that I didn’t have to research tons of products before making a decision.

I ultimately settled for a refurbished Pro from 2016. It saved a bit of money, and the model is less than a year old.

I have yet to receive it in the mail, but I am excited to switch to using Apple for (basically) everything.

Prior Experience

A few years ago, I took a computer music class where we worked with Macs. I learned a bit about how to use the different system, and I have worked in a Mac lab since then.

While I have never used a Mac daily, I know enough about the differences to switch.

I have also experienced Windows 10, and I’m not a big fan. My current Windows laptop still runs 8.1, and I’m glad. Friends of mine who upgraded to 10 saw a decrease in speed and other important factors.

Why Not?

Now that I have graduated from college, it’s time for a new computer. I’m in a new phase in my life, so why not change what operating system I use?

Macs are more common for creative professionals; I have continuity, the quality is great. Macs come with so much in the box, the small selection of products cuts down on decisions, and I know enough about them to get started.

I’m more than ready to go from Windows to Mac.

So…

Have you switched from Windows to Mac? Or vice versa? Comment below!

Thanks for reading!