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  • The Performer’s Mindset

    We all know the moment. The lights, the stage, the audience cheering on our hyper-developed pyrotechnics. We all know the feeling. The adrenaline from the intensity, the euphoria from the view, the passion from the 45 minutes you have to melt the faces of everyone in the room. We all remember the time we got it right, just as we all remember the time we got it wrong. We all desire each performance to be perfect, yet these performances only so rarely present themselves. A solo that has been practiced ad nauseum, though falls apart when needed. The iconic riff of your teenage angst, performed as mildly as a first-timer holds a plectrum. Your intensely dedicated focus, strewn across the venue by lingering thoughts of primal self-infatuation. What is it that separates the men from the boys, the rockstars from the bar heros, and the decorated tour gods from the unnamed guy you fired for superimposing “Eruption” over a 12-bar blues? The answer is anything but simple, yet is still surprisingly so. Indulgence. The concept of doing something for one’s own gratification. This is a word that holds mighty value, though is so little recognised in the music industry. One could think of it as anytime you pick up your instrument, since we generally do it out of the love for the instrument. However, indulgence descends to much deeper, darker depths than just our surface enjoyment of music. It is a toxic notion, a concept that can derail even the most professional of players. It is the true enemy of the stage and all that you have worked towards. It is also entirely human. It is you. Being a professional musician is a multitude of things. It is the business, the playing, the communication, and everything else that a career-minded, dysfunctional family emits. However, it is also an innately introspective experience. It is recognising the true nature of who you are not only as a musician, but also as a human. Your playing will subconsciously manifest itself as the human that you are, even outside of the decades of training you’ve put your physical self through. This is what makes your favourite players sound unique, as well as perhaps what lends you to dislike others’ playing. In thinking of our voice on the instrument as something unequivocally human, we can extrapolate other human personalities from the same context of music. A pension for dishonesty may make one’s playing feel inauthentic, just as compassion may bring warmth to another’s. Such complex personalities, and yet so easily read through the lines of a staff. However, indulgence affects all of us, regardless of our base personality traits. To enjoy your playing is one of the best gifts you can be given from your time woodshedding the instrument. However, if left unchecked, it will leave you as empty as the guy who lied his way to the inner circle. Often, our first negative experience with indulgence is one of the most common. It is the moment we are in the light of the solo, nailing every note and dynamic, and then of the realisation that we are doing just that. And as quickly as that thought entered your mind, that thought just as quickly cost you your musicianship. There is a vast difference between indulgence and confidence, just as there is a difference between confidence and ego. However, the difference between ego and indulgence is little more than a hairline fracture. The thought that we’re killing it, that we’re nailing the line and everyone loves it, is what knocks us down all the notches that we tried to elevate ourselves from. These thoughts are incredibly difficult to predict, and even more difficult to prevent, until we experience them for the first time. Though, even many experiences can be difficult to detect when we give the blame to anything but ourselves. Like a trumpetist who begrudgingly glances at the bell of his horn when a wrong note comes out, we are inclined to toss our lesser performances towards our bassist, our floor wedges, or our personal instruments. The road to recovery begins with a dedicated foot towards the direction of ourselves. Controlling a moment that has no desire to be controlled is an innately difficult situation. With so many things working against us in the context of a performance, our mental bridge to introspection is anything but a priority. That bridge must have a foundation, solid pillars, and a path that we can cross for decades to come. This bridge will encompass all that there is to bring your performance forth to a place of musical maturity, as well as understanding your own musical identity. The foundation of our bridge comes from recognising what it is to be human. In short, it is recognising our mentality through a performance. A performance drives a multitude of emotions outside of the music itself. While all of these emotions are entirely useful, we still must learn to gauge ourselves and control what we think throughout a performance. Every performer will be different, as they will bring with them their own life experiences, thoughts of the day, and stresses from home. Many of these thoughts and ideas are important for a performance, though some of them can detract from your focus. However, all of these can be played upon and centered to your musical goals, provided they are funneled through your music, rather than your ego. The pillars that support the path above act as this funnel. The pillars to our bridge are perhaps the most crucial component of our bridge. They are the neural pathways that connect from one hemisphere of our brain to the other. They are born, they develop, and sometimes they disconnect to forge new pathways to new ideas. Taking our emotions and guiding them through these pillars is the hardest step to performance mastery. You’ll need to recognise an emotion, determine its worth and relevance, and either cast it aside or engage it for your music. You’ll also have to recognise when a detrimental thought arises, a thought that has no place amongst the performer. These thoughts or feelings encompass all that drives the ego. The notions that inadvertently separate us from our audience, rather than blending in with them. These thoughts and feelings will again be different for every performer, though the result is always more or less the same - failure. Allowing your indulgence to take hold and forego your measure limit, your stylistic genre, your authenticity, and your instrumental role will instantaneously bring you back to square one. Building the pillars for our bridge requires total and complete musical authenticity; the requirement to leave behind all that keeps us within ourselves so that we can become one with our band, the audience, and our music. Now that we are truly thinking introspectively, we can finally begin placing the stones to the path that we can walk across. This path is more of a reward, rather than a phase, within our bridge construction. It is the ability to think and feel within a unit, rather than independently. It is recognising that indulgence has morphed into a collective concept, rather than a personal one. Indulgence in and of itself is not something to shame or scoff, as it is one of the first catalysts we encounter when learning to play. It is incredibly important to hold on to the passion and release of playing, provided we’re doing it for a unified goal, rather than selfish elation. Our path is what it means to at last come home to the original reasons we started playing in the first place. Pieces of your bridge will falter every so often. Some pillars may crumble as your outside life experiences change in unforeseeable ways. The cement of our foundation may become brittle and our path may lose footing. Structural integrity is something that requires maintenance and dedication. The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, CA receives a new coat of paint every year. Because of how large the bridge is, it takes the engineers the entire year to paint the bridge, only to begin from the beginning the very next year. This level of maintenance requires extreme dedication and observancy, as failure to preserve the bridge could bring forth terrible consequences. Learn your weaknesses, strengthen them every day, and cultivate your indulgence in a positive way. Extend the same level of care to your bridge and the results will be as golden as the bay bridge itself.

  • Social Investments - Content VS. Production

    The following. The burning desire to attain a place among the elite, the suave, and the adjusted. The need to arise from the burgeoning streets of the social construct and sit beside your hero, all the while commanding an army of ten, fifty, or even one hundred thousand socialites who like or comment at your every whim. You've dreamt of the possibility, the moment when you can display your social worth to all who you think care (and those that don't). Your desire increases as you look over at your friend's larger numbers, only to wonder what they did to hit the mark. You both play guitar. You have better gear. You might even be the stronger player. Yet, your friend has twice the following and thrice the engagement. How is this possible? You've invested thousands into equipment and high end DSLR cameras! But, no matter what high definition angles you get or the hours spent behind Final Cut, your numbers just don't improve. Here's a hint: ditch the production. Your Content, Your Voice In many circles, my previous paragraph would be considered sacrilege. However, believe it or not, your content is not determined by the production. Your high-end cameras, your array of plugins, and your compendium of tools and tricks will only get you so far. So, if the gadgets aren't even part of the content, what is it exactly? Content is what your product actually is. It is the music you're playing, the lick that you're demoing, or the effects pedal that you are reviewing. It is everything that your video is about, not what your video looks like. Developing and branding content is the first step for any business. This is where you determine what you, as a business, wish to create. With whatever you decide, it is vital to remain true to your business and curate content along the same lines. 2. Your Content, Your Product So, if content is just the subject matter, that must mean we can use all of our fancy gear to polish the product, right? Not exactly. It is important to remember that your product is your content. Production only helps take it that extra step further and, while your video may look brilliant, it is not the deciding factor on its virality. Let's say you have a great concept for a video. We'll use a tried and true example for this scenario - Lick Videos. Easy concept, right? Write or learn a lick, hit record, play it, slap some post production on it, and release it. An hour goes by and your only at 250 views, while your friend with the webcam released a video at the same time to the tune of 2k views. What the hell went wrong? Aside from platform algorithmic issues, the answer is quite simple. Your product was polished, but your content wasn't. You could have an entire Hollywood studio at your disposal and still be met with crippling numbers because you neglected your content. 3. Your Content, Your Production A video will only be as strong as the content provided within. In order to curate strong content, you must evaluate these three things: What is the content? What is needed for the content? What is the content for? Recognising these three things will not only improve your workflow, but also help you identify problem areas within your content. Deciding on your content, or product as mentioned previously, is the first step to a new business. If you're a teacher, it may benefit you to provide instructional videos that require thorough explanations. If you're a master bedroom shredder, perhaps just getting your playing out there is what you're looking for. What you need for your content may require a certain aire of maturity. This just means that you provide the gear you need to execute the content efficiently and thoroughly. If you are our teacher, you'd likely want a lavalier microphone for speaking, as well as helpful camera angles and effective lenses. If you are our bedroom shredder, you may just need a cellphone or webcam that can shoot decent video. The final step revolves around where your content intends to go. This isn't quite as simple as just choosing between Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube, but more so about the circles that your content will likely leech into. Each circle provides a different level of standardisation. Our teacher would need to release content that is of a specific quality for education, whereas our shredder just needs content to promote their name and skills. Realistically, higher budget videos do not guarantee virality. Your favourite cat video scoring at 2M+ views was likely shot in 720p with a Nokia flip phone back in 2008. Your content is what decides the gear required for the budget you have available. Generally, your focus should be on releasing consistent and valuable content, rather than wasting precious hours on editing for something that truly may not need the full post-processed treatment. In my case, I built my following (13k on Facebook, 30k on Instagram) purely through the use of Logitech webcams and, for the longest time, audio straight from the webcam mic! My reasoning for this was that I wanted to be able to release content without the pressure of having to heavily learn video editing and purchase high end equipment. My focus was then left on my playing performance and transcribing the notation for my videos. My content is where my videos are effective, rather than piles of post-production sparkles that often don't add much to the content of the video. This being said, things change and evolve with time. The needs for my videos have evolved greatly in the last year, from just using webcam audio to using a Kemper into my DAW. I also now supply backing tracks, which can be very time consuming, though are now in-line with the needs of my content. However, I still use a webcam, albeit the Logitech C922, which shoots in HD. As the needs of our content evolve, we must evolve in kind. If your focus is on the audio, upgrade your instrument and interface, but relax on the camera. If your content is influenced by the visuals, upgrade the camera or production software. Placing too much time into a production that won't elevate your content is inefficient, sometimes even depressing, when the numbers don't align with your goals. Remember that your content is what makes the product, not the production.

  • Is Rock & Metal a Healthy Genre?

    Taken f rom the June ‘15 interview of Korea Guitar with Alex Campbell Q. There have been a lot of comments recently about the state of RnR. Is it still a healthy genre? I think rock is as healthy as it has ever been. I think the main cause for such speculation comes from the state of album sales. Music isn’t being distributed in the same fashion as before, when it was more of the genre’s “heyday”. With the age of digital distribution, piracy is easy. Besides that fact, various economic complications for the average concert goer impedes the growth of artists. I don’t think that affects the genre, but more of the individual artist. There will always be a fan base for the genre. Q. Is it possible to earn a living the way that the industry is going? I absolutely believe it is possible to earn a living. It may not be as simple as before, but it is certainly possible. I find a lot of people crying foul because their music is not bringing in millions when it just simply isn’t possible anymore. Instead, they should be focusing on other avenues for financial stability within the industry, such as teaching, licensing, scoring, producing, session work, etc. Limiting yourself to just your band isn’t realistic. One must open themselves up to a broader revenue stream than solely laying hope on the label.

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  • Covers | Alex Campbell Music

    COVERS Learn the stuff of your heroes with note-for-note accurate transcriptions of songs, sections, and solos! These covers are available in Guitar Pro and PDF form, as well as many having backing tracks, too! Quick View Lick 104 | Bite of the Mosquito Price $3.00 Add to Cart Quick View Lick 100 | Octavarium Keyboard Solo Price $3.00 Add to Cart Quick View Lick 99 | Octavarium Outro Solo Price $3.00 Add to Cart Quick View Lick 97 | A Nightmare to Remember Price $3.00 Add to Cart Quick View Lick 95 | Waves Price $3.00 Add to Cart Quick View Lick 94 | When the Water Breaks Solo Price $3.00 Add to Cart Quick View Lick 93 | Raw Dog Solo Price $3.00 Add to Cart Quick View Lick 89 | Universal Mind Price $3.00 Add to Cart Quick View Lick 87 | In the Presence of Enemies Price $3.00 Add to Cart Quick View Lick 85 | When the Water Breaks Harmony Price $3.00 Add to Cart Quick View Lick 83 | Gemini Price $3.00 Add to Cart Quick View Lick 108 | This Dying Soul Regular Price $3.00 Sale Price $0.99 Add to Cart Quick View Lick 82 | Afterlife Solo Regular Price $3.00 Sale Price $0.99 Add to Cart Quick View Lick 81 | Chosen Solo Price $3.00 Add to Cart Quick View Lick 79 | Into Darkness Solo Price $3.00 Add to Cart Quick View Lick 73 | The Best of Times Solo Price $3.00 Add to Cart Quick View Lick 72 | The Shattered Fortress Solo Price $3.00 Add to Cart Quick View Lick 69 | A Nightmare to Remember Unison Price $3.00 Add to Cart Quick View Lick 63 | Octavarium Unison Price $3.00 Add to Cart Quick View Lick 52 | When the Water Breaks Excerpt Price $3.00 Add to Cart Load More

  • MTS | Alex Campbell Music

    About Take Me There Clients Take Me There Gear Take Me There Services Take Me There Portfolio Take Me There Contact Take Me There ABOUT Alex Campbell Co-Owner | Producer | Engineer An alumnus of the Berklee College of Music production & engineering programme, Alex has 20 years of producing and recording experience. Tony Vu Co-Owner | CTO | A/V Specialist A veteran composer and lyricist with a knack for blending video technology and music, Tony has built a legacy from his work and brings his experience to MTS. Recording From the very first note to the final note, we've got you. Mix & Master We'll clean your tunes and bump them to where they need. Film & Television Both our studio and our team are fully in tune. Remote Record Big or small; we'll capture any concert, gig, or event. SERVICES Besides providing great acoustics and recordings skills, MTS offers specialised mixing and mastering services. Whether your project is recorded here or elsewhere, for maximum convenience, files can be exchanged online via our server. ​ Ready to bring your project to the next level? Contact us for the possibilities. Recording Mix & Master We understand what it takes to bring a demo to a mastered product. Our skills in audio production & engineering, as well as our production methods, give you the ability to hear exactly what's in your head out loud. Film & Television MTS is fully equipped for recording for picture: 5.1 surround monitoring, flexible video routing, and a live room that can record up to 20 people at a time. SEE OUR GEAR Remote Recording We're well experienced in remote recording and live sound. Our mobile rig consists of professional preamps and converters able to record every live situation. These recordings can, of course, be mixed and mastered at the studio. SEE OUR GEAR CLIENTS Seek Irony | One World (R)evolution | Kiesel Guitars | Shane Flynn | Kianoosh Taherkhani | Owls on Mars | The Construct | Astrum Lucis | Drew Landrum | MusicNotes | Tony Vu | More Than Machine | Dunlop Manufacturing | Noah Yow | In Unity | Neural DSP | Skull Shaker | Mesa Amplification | Water's Edge | Antediluvian | Speak No Evil | Holomotion | Dan Sugarman | Ernie Ball Music Man | Samuli Federley | and many more... PORTFOLIO More coming soon... GEAR Instruments Over 70+ guitars and basses for any style of music or style. Microphones A slew of dynamic, ribbon, and condenser mics for all needs. Outboard & FX When digital just isn't cutting it, we've got the analog to warm it. Software Literally thousands of plug-ins and virtual instruments. Instruments Kiesel Guitars Aries 6FR Aries 6X Aries 7X Crescent 7X DC700H DC800H GH3V Osiris 7X Osiris M8 Solo M7 Vanquish 7X Vader 8X danelectro Baby Sitar Baritone 6 HotRod CS128 Fender Various Stratocasters Squire XI Precision 4 Stinger 4 Jaguar 4 Jazz 4 Ernie Ball Music Man JP7 Maple JP7 Rosewood JP7 BFR Koa Albert Lee BFR Epiphone Les Paul Standard Wilshire WildKat SH Casino Agile BigTex 7 Renaissance 7 Intrepid 925 Hadean Fretless FR IBANEZ BTB 5 ESS 6 Yamaha ES Nylon SESQ Nylon electra X270 Powered EQ Miscellaneous 15 String Sitar Persian Santoor Turkish 7 String Oud Stagg Mandolin African Kalimba Mountain Dulcimer NI S88 Axiom 49 Axiom 32 Microphones Tube AKG C12 AKG C12R RTT MK205 Telefunken ELAM 251E Ribbon AEA R88 RCA 44BX Royer 121 Condenser AKG 414 AKG 451 CK1 DPA 4060 Neumann U87 Dynamic AKG D12 AKG D202 Blue Ball Sennheiser MD421 Shure SM57 Shure SM7B Shure 737A Outboard & FX Amps Ampeg B2R Alesis MicTube Fender Frontman 212R Fender Bassman 110 Kustom 200DFX Mesa 2:100 Orange Micro Terror Peavey 5150 II Peavey 6505+ Peavey VK 100 Peavey XRD 680+ ​ Compressors BBE 362 DOD 886 Focusrite Red 3 SPL Transient Designer Tube Tech CL1B Vertigo VSC-3 EQs DOD 231Q Manley Massive Passive Pultec EQP-1A FX Fractal Audio AxeFX II Kemper Profiler Korg Miku Eventide H3000 Peterson Studio Rack DBX 234 TC Electronics DVR 250 TC Electronics 2290 MXR Carbon Copy Dunlop Crybaby Wah Dunlop JP Wah Digitech Freqout Digitech Drop Mooer @Wah Saturnworks Kill And many more pedals Software DAW Logic Pro X 10.4.8 ProTools (latest) Notation Guitar Pro 7.5 Transcribe! Finale (latest) A/V Adobe AfterEffects BarbaBatch 4 Final Cut Pro 10.4 Izotope RX7 Plug-Ins Acon Digital, D16, Eiosis, Eventide, FabFilter, Heavyocity, JST, LiquidSonics, MeldaProduction, NI Komplete 12, Neural DSP, Overloud, PositiveGrid, Plugin Alliance, Slate Digital, SoundToys, Two Notes, Waves Mercury, and many more. CONTACT Contact Us We'll be in touch soon! Submit

  • Tab Books | Alex Campbell Music

    TAB BOOKS Shred Atoms | The Triple Threat Collection $30.00 Regular Price $25.00 Sale Price Add to Cart ON SALE! Quick View Shred Atoms | Sweep Picking Price $10.00 Add to Cart Quick View Shred Atoms | Legato Price $10.00 Add to Cart Quick View Shred Atoms | Alternate Picking Price $10.00 Add to Cart

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