Should I study Music?

There really are quite a few reasons why having an understanding of music and how it reads, can be beneficial to your musical abilities. However there are a few negative factors to consider too.

Should I study Music


  • You will be able to read music
  • You can sight read scores
  • You will understand the concept of tuning better
  • You are able to interpret the music
  • It broadens your understanding of music
  • Your concept of genres is broadened
  • One can slowly adapt to other different instruments as their concept of music broadens
  • Reading sight music and playing an instrument simultaneously, can develop pathways in the brain that no other exercise can develop.


  • The genre can be limiting i.e., classical versus jazz or rock etc.
  • You may feel that you are not good enough, when being graded for exam purposes
  • Formal music study requires a daily commitment to practice
  • The music can be repetitive as you prepare for exams
  • The need to practice may outplay the desire to be passionate about the impromptu songs you begin to play
  • You may have to play songs you do not necessarily enjoy.

Should I study Music?


It is imperative to choose to study a musical genre that not only challenges you, but stimulates your passion. There is no sense attempting to study something that you either do not love or find utterly boring.


The best way to start is with Music Theory 101 and then progress from there. It will have a focus on the classical side of music, but you can embrace other genres like jazz by taking up classes in Music Practical 101. Genres include

  • Jazz
  • Classical
  • Blues
  • Rock
  • Alternative (Not an official format of study).

Where can I study music without going to college?

For some, the idea of going back to university can be quite daunting. But for others, it is not possible as you are already knitted into a job and life. Do not lose hope; there is another option if you are interested in studying music.

Where can I study music without going to college?


To study an instrument, you need to not only be able to read the finer details of music, but to be able to follow and interpret a score or a sheet of music. A piece of sheet music includes timing, breaks, tempo, soft play as well as loud and playful sections. It is therefore helpful to study music theory along with the practical of the instrument you are trying to gain accreditation for.


Studying music via correspondence can be a lot less time consuming that having to sit and follow online courses. The following institutions are readily available for you to study through, and the fee includes all study material. Many of the institutions do have a separate fee for exams.

  • Trinity College of London
  • Victoria Conservancy of Music
  • Berkley


Online music can be a little more time consuming in terms of ensuring you are online at the right time for your lesson, but it is also much easier for some people to learn from observation. Here are a few reputable institutions and websites to try:

There really is no excuse to not actually learn an instrument. So figure out exactly which instrument you want to master, and start inquiring at the above mentioned universities. Keep in mind that they are all paid courses, in the currency of the country they are based in.

The Highs and Lows to Self-Releasing a Record

Technology has advanced to such a degree, that one can record a full album from the comfort of their own home, and still release it to the masses without much effort. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Let’s look at both.

The Highs and Lows to Self-Releasing a Record

The Bad

  • You are responsible for all the costs and time involved
  • There is no brand or agent to hide behind if it is a flop
  • You put in a lot of money, and do not sell anything
  • Unless you know somebody, you are charged full prices at recording studios, manufacturers and for any Public Relations
  • You can be asked to pay for the finished product in advance or upfront before release and sales
  • You will have to pay for Public Relations, newspaper articles and reviews in order to establish your name
  • Building a brand and marketing your band is a full days work in itself:
    • Sales
    • Advertising
    • Press releases
    • Hiring venues
    • Booking gigs to play
    • Burning of album
    • Album art
    • Email lists
    • Promotions

The Good

  • You own everything that you produce
  • Any profits made can go into your own pockets
  • You can work as hard as you want or as little as you want
  • Choose your own style and way of expressing yourself
  • You are not bound by the legal side of an agency
  • You are not bound by the creative limitations of a record label
  • You are in control of the access to your music, including its use elsewhere

At the end of the day, both the good and the bad components still cannot make the decision for you – but whatever decision you do make, be prepared to work hard. Nothing is for nothing and nothing comes for free.

Sometimes if one cannot get their band signed, it may very well be easier to release your own demo to the public. This can be a little risky, but in today’s times of modern technology, it is so much easier to do.

How to Self-Release a Record?


In order to release a demo or a short album, one will need some sort of audience to release it to. Of course your friends and family will be there, but how do you draw in the rest of the crowds? You need to follow a few steps in order to build a reliable fan base.

  • Offer to play free gigs wherever possible
  • Offer something free for people that attend your gigs
  • Ask people to join a mailing list if they like your stuff
  • Keep people in the loop about how the band is doing


It is important to let your audience know where the band is at and how they are doing. If you have built up enough of a fan base, then let them know that you are planning on releasing a record.

How to Self-Release a Record?

  • Let them know when
  • What to expect
  • What is in it for them i.e., first 50 at the door are free
  • Is there a cover charge to pay for the venue

Digital Release

If you cannot build up a real time fan base, there is always YouTube. The wackier the music video behind the song, the better the attraction. But if there is something amazing about your band, you are going to get noticed. The more hits, the better. And once you have a digital fan base, you can release your demo or record.

Always offer something for free if you can – nobody can resist a freebie.

The reality of any industry is that we do not all succeed the first time around. If you have worked hard on a demo, taken the time out to submit it and either didn’t hear back from the record label or received a rejection letter – it is only expected that you would be disappointed. But do not give up, there are other options.

What to do if your recording is rejected?


It can take months for a record label to get a chance to hear your demo. In fact, you may think you have been rejected, when actually they simply have not had the chance to hear it. It can pay to send them an occasional email until you have a definite response.

  • Once rejected, do not assume you can never resubmit to that record label.
  • Always consider other labels if you have not done so.
  • When your band records new stuff, submit it again to the record labels of choice, even if they rejected your previous demo.
  • Email the record labels to inform them of gigs that your band may have coming up – especially notable ones.


The quality of a demo is not necessarily the reason that you were rejected, but it can however make a difference in terms of the immediate feelings towards your band.

  • Consider recording your demo again with better software.
  • Consider recording your demo again in a recording studio.
  • Keep in mind that it is the first few notes and chords that sell the song.

What to do if your recording is rejected?


A CD cover that looks professional can go a long way in getting peoples attention.

  • Have a friend snap a few band photos.
  • Possibly do low budget photos to include on your CD cover.
  • Have somebody consider your band bio, to spell-check it and if possible, to improve it.

Do not give up

An old Chinese proverb says, “Fall seven times, and stand up eight.” So no matter how many rejection letters you get – keep trying. You sincerely never know who may be listening one day.

Oh the tunes that have been emitted from many a Nashville guitar. Gibson’s, Fenders and the likes in the hands of those who have been lucky enough to grace the walls of the hall of fame.

Unfortunately, not everyone can simply afford to go and buy the best or the top of the line guitar – but we can dream. And save.

Things to consider

One must obviously always buy a guitar that is comfortable, especially on their finances. Yes, a beautiful guitar can emit a better sound than a cheaper guitar – but you can buy all the expensive guitars in the world, but you cannot buy talent.

Plucking the Nashville strings

When deciding what guitar to buy, you need to know the sound you are looking for. A country guitar generally has a twangy sound, great tone and can take a decent beating. Keep in mind though, that the top guitars are expensive for a reason and have been at the top of their game for decades. For a top guitar, expect to spend anywhere around $3000’s and up.

Traditional Country Sound

Look for the following characteristics, to ensure you get that country sound:

  • A single-coil pick-up
  • A bright guitar, made out of alder or ash
  • A mahogany or maple wood guitar will give you a warmer sound

Modern Smooth Country Sound

  • Choose a guitar with a warmer sound
  • Look for a guitar made out of tone woods such as mahogany
  • Try out a guitar that has humbuckers that are a little more aged in style

Electric Guitars

All the big names will come to mind, but you may be a little surprised about the names you didn’t think of.

  • Fender Telecaster: maple neck and alder or ash body; two pickups.
  • Fender Stratocaster: maple neck and alder body: three pickups.
  • Gibson Les Paul: mahogany neck and body, deep warm sound, 2 pickups

There are however, a few general electric guitars that will do the trick if you are a beginner.

Under $200’s:

  • Squier Affinity Stratocaster (Fender made)
  • Squier Affinity Telecaster (Fender made)
  • Epiphone LP Special ll (Les Paul made)
  • Epiphone SG Special (Gibson made)
  • ESP-LTD EC-10
  • Charvel Desolation DS-3 ST
  • Ibanez GRG20Z
  • Jackson JS22 Dinky
  • Yamaha Pacifica PAC112J
  • Sterling SUB Silo3
  • Carvin Guitars. (Custom made to your budget and your request.)

Plucking the Nashville strings

Acoustic Guitars

One of the nicer attributes of an acoustic guitar is that one can play it wherever and whenever they want to, without having to drag an amplifier around. There are some really stunning country styled acoustic guitars, and some wonderful choices for beginners on a budget.

  • Takamine Santa Fe (excellent for playing plugged in/live.)
  • Martin D18 (for a picking approach.)
  • Martin D28 (for a picking approach.)
  • Martin D-1R (for a picking approach.)
  • Taylor 414CELTD (for a picking approach.)
  • Gibson Jumbo (for a strumming approach)
  • Gibson Hummingbird

Under $200’s:

  • Yamaha FG700S
  • Fender CD-140S
  • Ibanez Artwood AW50

Whatever your budget, there is a guitar out there waiting for you to pluck its strings all the way to Nashville.

With a world so convoluted with musical talents and expressions, how does one get noticed? There are a few options such as recording your own demo, submitting it to record labels or even publishing it yourself. But if you are one of the few who wants to be “noticed” for their pure talent, then here is where you should start.

US ENGLISH (Snapshots)


Find a cosy street corner that you know is going to be busy, set out a hat or that old guitar case and get playing. The simplicity of this is that you just belt out some tunes and hope you can be heard over the rush hour traffic. If you are able to, then plug yourself in and try being a little more noticeable about the bustling crowd. Do a few crowd pleasing songs, and of course a few of your won. Mournful ballads are not going to work in this situation – go for upbeat and perky if you can. The bonus is that you may also earn a little moola as passersby throw some cash into your hat or case.

Free Gigs

Inquire at local coffee shops, markets and pubs and see if they would be willing to let you sing a few tunes. You may not be their perfect taste in genre, so do a few covers. But do not forget to slip in a few of your own songs. And use this as an opportunity to gauge how well liked your songs are.



If you have the opportunity, give away a few free items. Everybody loves getting a gift, even if it’s a quirky one

  • Loyalty card: if you attend x many gigs, I buy you x many beers
  • Free shirts
  • A few free demo albums
  • First 25 at door enter free
  • Ask for sponsored items to give away

Whatever happens, the main thing is that you are pleasing the crowd. Nobody is going to notice a miserable, unhappy and sorrowful musician. Play to the strengths of those around you, and they will be eating out the palm of your hands.

The song is clean, the recording is done and now you finally have the guts to send it off. But how does one actually send off a self-recording? Sometimes it is as easy as “who you know” in the business, and other times it is a scramble to get noticed. You have to be sure that you are not just another number waiting in a line.

How to submit a demo to a record company


It is imperative to know about the genres of music your record label of choice hires. You cannot be sending off a rap piece or heavy metal gig to a classical recording label. So do your research. The internet is a wealth of information and so it is easy to look up different labels and the types of bands they hire. Or one can simply look at the record labels on your own CD’s and who signs the musicians that inspire you.

Step 1: Figure out who you are applying to.


You cannot simply just email a demo. In fact, it requires a little formality. A lot of record companies have legal stipulations.

Step 2: Research

  • Does the record company accept voluntarily sent recordings?
  • Where are you sending it to?
  • Do you need to address the demo to anyone specific?
  • Label your demo with a return address
  • Include your email address
  • How do they like to receive their demos?
    • CD
    • MP3

Keep it simple

Do not waste time with lengthy musical introductions. It is a demo – so very quickly get to the point of what it is you are demonstrating.

How to submit a demo to a record company

Step 3: Keep it simple

  • Choose up to 3 of your best tracks
  • Include a short paragraph on your band or on yourself if you are a solo artist.
  • Include any publicity items such as prints of your band in the newspaper or reviews.


Once you have sent your demo off, simply wait. Most recording studios do have a notification policy, but if you are unsure then email them 6 weeks after submission.

Step 4: Wait

The world could not have known what was about to hit them, until 1969 rolled around with Woodstock and all its glorious musical heroes. And out of the naked bodies, shared love and a whole lot of other shared intimacies – rose David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash.

The Smash of Crosby, Stills and Nash

Famous Bands

Before becoming the famous CSN (and sometimes Young when joined by Neil Young), each member had a role in another famous band.

Stephen Stills – Buffalo Springfield (vocalist, songwriter, keyboardist, guitarist)

David Crosby – The Byrds (guitar, singer, song writer)

Graham Nash – The Hollies (guitarist, singer, songwriter)

Neil Young – Buffalo Springfield

Each member had left their previous bands for a variety of reasons including frustration and a difference of opinion, but at a party in 1968 at Joni Mitchell’s house – they suddenly became the vocal legends they are today. A simple song, harmonized in 3 parts, made the three founding members of CSN shiver with anticipation – their voices simply worked together with a chemistry that they had not previously experienced.

The Smash of Crosby, Stills and Nash

Failed Auditions

The first record company, however, did not feel the same chemical explosion, and decided not to sign the band. It was at that point that they decided to call themselves Crosby, Stills and Nash, thereby giving themselves an irreplaceable spot in a band that they knew would make the big times.

Signed eventually by Atlantic Records, they released their first album in 1969 and reached two Top 40 Hits. Neil Young soon came in as a part time keyboardist, who maintained his place in his band Crazy Horse.


By the time this fresh faced group got to Woodstock later in 1969, they had only played live once – the day before. Nervously stepping out on to the stage, they fondly refer to themselves as being “scared shitless.” They however, won a few hearts and grew a fan base that was eager for their 1970 album release.

Solo Careers

The relationships of the band members however, had always been tumultuous and this lead to a stint where they no longer were together as a band. Each one embarked on a solo career, and each had a top 15 entry on the Billboard 200. Continuing into 1972, the individual members were faring well – but 1973 was not a pretty year for any of them, and led to a meeting at Neil Young’s house where they decided to record a new album. It was the unsolved issues between them that caused them to fall apart again by 1974. It was the likes of their original agent from Atlantic (Elliot Roberts), that saw the commercial potential of this band, and in his hands he molded the CSN&Y that has become a favourite in many folk rock homes. In 2014, CSN&Y celebrated their 40 year touring anniversary.

How to make a Demo?

To make a self-recording is to literally make a recording of your voice. Why would you do this? Well for some, the ideas of recording their songs and voices in a music studio are either farfetched or far off the budget for the month. Unless you find some low charging music studio, it can be incredibly expensive. There is a whole bunch of home gear that you can also purchase, but for a novice recording, there are a few easier options.

How to make a Demo?

Where to start

The first step is to obviously have your piece of song perfected, so that it is ready to be recorded. Luckily, there are a few apps available that can help you with this.


  • GarageBand: This is an easy to use app that offers many people the chance to record their music, as well as to fine tune and mix the songs.
  • Music Studio: It may take a little bit of time to become comfortable with this apps interface, but it offers a myriad of recording options as well as instruments to use in your songs via a few strokes on the keys of your device.


Unfortunately Android devices do not have any serious competition when it comes to the Apple Apps and recording music, but there are a few notable apps available.

  • Recording Studio Lite: Designed to be easy to use, quick and uncomplicated – Recording Lite is a good entry level option. Offering you 2 track recording opportunities, one can upgrade to 24 tracks with the top version. The Lite version does offer a piano to accompany your song, whereas the Pro version offers a wide selection of instruments.

Once your track is complete and you know you are happy with it, it is time to either save it as an MP3, upload it to YouTube or to send it off to that record label you believe will be interested in your music. Best of luck!

How to make a Demo?