The Traveling Musician

You know the story, you are a working session musician, you would love to take a “break”, take a few days away, maybe even move to an island for a month, but you cannot leave your studio! Duh!

Ok, can you record on top of a mountain? Yes! (And, yes, all of this WILL fit in a small rucksack, I know – I’ve done it! )

You need:

A small laptop with a large battery. Something like a Lenovo X220, old and cheap, now! You can get extra batteries that will give you days of battery!! x230

Recording Software:
This is going to get some people. But here is the thing. You want something that does not crash. You want something that can do anything you can imagine. You want something that will allow you to record in any format you wish and you want something that will produce end sounds as good as anything in the industry. In other words, you need Reaper reaperdaw

I used to think this was “not professional” software, because everyone talked about “Protools” etc… well, no more, no more!
And, it will run no problem, real real fast also on Linux and Mac. $60 to buy outright. How cool is that! (Btw? If you want to get rid of Windoze for your traveling laptop etc? check out MX-17 Linux, small, very fast, excellent everything! )
MX-17 Home (with intro video)

This is also easy: you need the best mic that suits your voice or instrument. I use a DPA 4099v for my violin now because people prefer the sound of that to my larger condenser mics… j1

Also easy, it must be small, portable, USB or Firewire, Thunderbolt etc powered and top quality. I use a Focusrite Scarlett. It has updated drivers and a zero latency option. Very high quality.
Focusrite link
scarlett focusrite2i2

No problem. Personally, I have the Arturia Keylab Mini and an Akai Mini.. the keys on the Keylab are excellent! If you are on a PC, any VST you wish becomes available, if you are on Linux? well, no VST really, plenty to keep you going though till you get back to the studio!
(ps? yes, these are all USB powered and small! take one of them if you need one)
Anyway, you are not after a full production, that will be done when you “get back” to a more permanant place *unless you moved for a month? in which case you have your proper gear!)
for Scott

With this gear in your bag? Pick a mountain, unplug on sing/play what you wish.

The only thing is electricity. Which is why I said, get an old laptop with cheap extra batteries (which is why I said Lenovo…yes, there are cheaper laptops , but the battery price is just crazy…)


Session Violinist

Here is the thing. You want a violin on your track. But, you don’t want a solo. and the loops you bought don’t work. what to do?
Hire me.
I will give you a “kit”, you tell me what you want. And I deliver. Then you can cutnpaste as you will.

The difference? the “kit” you get is tailored to your song! key, timing, articulation(s)

this is what you have been looking for. 🙂



kit violin for your song, here…

New Violin Book

After the success of the “How to Play Violin”. .comes a deeper study.  More philosophical in nature, more in depth in physics, for those who wish to understand the “why.”


Let me ask you a question. Do you think, that, in order to learn violin you have to study the “X” method? Do you think you have to learn the methods of Professor “Y?” You are wrong. You need to think and you need to move, be able to move, your body the correct way. And, of course, you must be able to sing the music you wish to play, in your head.
The idea of things being small, of things being separated, is a modern invention. An animal does not use its “wrist”, a cat does not walk on it’s paws, it uses it’s whole body. This is the same for little cats and big cats. Violinists should do the same.

There is no such thing as bowing. No such thing as the “Left Hand” or the “Right Hand.” There is only intention.
Most violinist use far too much bow. Sawing away as if they wished to cut the violin in two. This is not violin playing. It certainly does not sound like real violin playing. Real violin playing is economy of movement. You only move what you need to make the sound you wish to make. And there is the problem. In order to make the sound you wish to make you must first know what kind of sound you wish to make. It must be heard before moving the bow, before using the violin. You must hear it in your head. You must be able to sing it. Then, and only then, can you learn to move your arms in such a way as to implement the sound you heard in your head. And for this you must be relaxed enough to let your body do what is needed.

This, and only this, is the biggest “secret” of every famous teacher, of every famous Conservatoire of Music, for every instrument. It is not about how to move the bow, how to hold the violin, how to place the fingers of the left hand – it is all about how well you hear, how much you can relax and how well you can visualize the music and make the visualization become sound.

The human body is very smart. The unconscious mind is far, far more powerful than the conscious mind. Every “mind-doctor” knows this. This is the secret of “the secret” and visualization techniques now used by Olympic sportsmen- and women throughout the world. What you can imagine is what you can do. There are no other limits. Why does a Heifetz exist? Because he is faster? Because he has more talent? Because he worked harder? Perhaps it is the working harder, combined with a greater trust in his body to deliver the goods when needed. Training, practice, is just telling the body what you are going to want. It is telling the body to be prepared to respond to your wishes. What will those wishes be? That depends on the music, and the moment. Why is he faster? Maybe he just wanted to be. Maybe that is just how he imagined music to be? It is who he was.

If you wish to play violin well then you must exercise. Why? Because the body works better with exercise. It really is that simple. If you do ten or twenty minutes of Tai Chi Quigong exercises before playing the violin then the “physical” difficulties will disappear. Why? Because your mind is bored with your body. Your body no longer rules your mind. After Quigong you feel energized and alive. Why Tai Chi Quigong? Because it promotes balance, and works. Because it is like violin playing. You cannot use force to achieve a movement. The movements follow from intention and by doing you learn how to do.

As a young adult hoping to enter the Conservatoire you must go home. You have been studying here for a year. You know you must leave and climb that long hill to your house. It is far. It is raining. You do not want to climb up that hill. You check your locker before you leave. There is a letter for you. You have been accepted. You start in September on a scholarship to the Conservatoire. The letter tells you that you have everything you wanted. You want to jump up and down with joy. And you cannot wait to get home to tell the others. You must tell somebody! Suddenly it does not matter that it is uphill. That is is raining. You run. The hill is nothing. You are not out of breath. You love the rain. You know it cannot stop you as you run and run and run with joy! This is mind over matter in practice. This is Quigong and violin playing. Right now, you could play anything and you know it.


The Zen of Violin Playing.
William Stewart.


The End Of The Loudness War

Law in America, recommended and implemented in EU etc, Youtube, Spotify, iTunes etc are already “down-normalizing” tracks that are recorded “too hot”, ie, RMS >8dBFS at peaking around 0dBFS… This is great news! See the new standards R128 and the -23LU units here…

What are LUs? Loudness Units, read all about them R128 allowances.

So, people will need a new “Meter!”… try this: Klangfreund LUFS for a usable in so many ways meter!

That’s it. Enjoy!