Should I work for free…

Art by freeimageslive / creator is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
Art by freeimageslive / creator is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
Art image by freeimageslive / creator is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

This might get me a whole lot of hate, but it’s a handy chart that I feel I should share with every musician, artist, photographer, writer or other creative who has ever been asked and even sometimes expected, by complete strangers, to work for free.

I am not saying that you shouldn’t work for free, but stressing that it should be your choice, that you shouldn’t be pressured in to it and do not need to feel guilty if you refuse. Would you ever expect a builder or lawyer to work for you for free?

Example: I have been asked before (by people I do not know) to play 15 minute slots on the harp (not an easy instrument to transport) for absolutely nothing, for profiting festivals and offered only a 5% discount on the cost of a ticket in return. Obviously, my answer was no.

Music is a skilled job and those choosing the profession should be paid accordingly and not exploited.


Feel free to share your stories and let us know how you responded!


Replacing Piano Bridle Straps

Piano Mechanism - Inside The Piano. Hammers, strings, tapes & keys...

New Clip-On Piano Tapes!

Today I spent some time replacing a few of the worn out tapes in our upright piano with clip on bridle straps (I found a relatively inexpensive full set of tapes here) after getting fed up with hitting ‘dead’ notes when trying to play.

Replacing the clip-on tapes was fairly simple and went something like this:

  1. Remove the old, worn-out tape.
  2. Clip the new tape on to the post just above the point where the previous tape was attached.
  3. Fiddly bit: twist the clip around so that the tape is coming from underneath the post and push it right to the back (the part furthest from you).
  4. Making sure that the tape isn’t twisted, bring it down to the right of the bridle wire and attach (use other straps in the piano as an example).

This diagram (found here) might help and shows the working parts of an upright piano mechanism. The part that needs replacing is part 20 (the bridle strap), which attaches to parts 18 (bridle wire) and the post between parts 24 and 25 (the back stop and hammer butt).

While the cover was off, I thought it would be nice to share a few pictures. When you see how much time, effort and skill it would take to create these instruments it makes you appreciate them even more.

Piano Mechanism - Inside The Piano. Hammers, strings, tapes & keys...

Upright Piano Mechanism Photography

Free Classical Sheet Music from the International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP)

I’ve just found out about the International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP). They provide a brilliant website for finding free classical music scores and seem to just generally have a really good collaborative/community attitude. Here’s what they have to say on their website:

“We at the IMSLP believe that music should be something that is easily accessible for everyone. For this purpose we have created a music library to provide music scores free of charge to anyone with internet access, with several other projects in planning. IMSLP is also entirely collaborative, and all contributions are greatly welcome.”
I just thought it was a great project that you might like to know about. If you’re really keen you can even follow them on twitter (@imslp). Hope you find it helpful!
Featured image by Horia Varlan (CC BY 2.0)

Advertising and Promoting Music on a Budget (Free)

Here are a few useful sites I’ve found whilst researching how to start advertising and and selling my music without having to pay anything. Hope it helps!

  • Bandcamp is probably the best website regarding ease and freedom of music sale. You just upload the tracks and album art and name your price. They take 15% commission, and PayPal take a little too, but if you read through their FAQs there’s plenty of information and advice to help you manage your music independently. UPDATE: Bandcamp now have a facebook app, so it’s possible to sell music via facebook pages. Here’s the info:
  • RouteNote are advertising that they can get your tunes on itunes, and you don’t have to pay anything up front as they take a percentage of the money from sales. If salesincrease you can pay a flat rate each month and keep all of the money from your sales.
  • RootMusic have quite a neat module for playing music on facebook pages. If you want to customise it, you have to pay,but the free version looks quite tidy and does the job. You can also use a facebook app by ReverbNation, but in my opinion it didn’t look so tidy.
  • Get British Businesses Online will give you 2 years worth of free domain name. The only catch that I can see (other than the fact that you have to be based in Britain) is that you have to use google sites to build a website.

If you’ve found any other useful sites like this, please don’t hesitate to comment!

Tips for Learning an Instrument

Whenever music comes up in conversation, there seems to be an instant divide between people who do and don’t class themselves as musicians. Most of the time the people who don’t class themselves as musicians mumble something along the lines of “I wish I could play an instrument”.
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