Today I thought I’d touch base with what’s now become one of my most favourite websites to exist, Visualify.
I wrote a post all about Visualify a little while back, which I softly suggest you give a read, because I get most of the rambling done in that one, but if you can’t be bothered then I’ll fill you in.
Last year, quite a few people, me being one of them, shared their Spotify 2017 Wrapped, which gave you a run down of your listening habits for the year, such as how many minutes of music you listened to in total, the artists you listened to and the songs you listened to the most, how many songs you skipped, which genres your listening styles fell under and quite a bit more.
The Spotify Wrapped only captured everything at the end of the year. It only gives you a roundup of the entire year, and once I was shown those stats and details of my listening habits, I was hungry for more.
Thus began the search for an app, a website, a number-cruncher of some sort, that could show me my stats throughout the year!
Thanks for choosing to give me some of your time, I can’t guarantee it’ll be worth it, but we can sure as heck try.
This week I thought I’d let you guys in on a week in my life, more specifically, my first week back at university, and an exceptionally busy week in general. I’ve done one of these before, my I Blogged My Day post, where I gave you updates as I went about my regular day at university, but I thought I’d extend on it a bit, considering I have a busy week ahead.
Let’s get into it!
(I hope you all notice and appreciate the date stamps on the photos throughout this post, I wasn’t playing any games this week).
I worked today. I struggled considerably to get up at 9:00 this morning due to the Melbourne public transport system screwing us over last night on our way back from the footy, turning what should have been a forty minute trip home into a two and a half hour nightmare.
It’s been pretty slow at work for the last few weeks, I guess because it’s school holidays and quite a few people are away and schools aren’t buying anything for the term yet, but there’s never a boring day at the music shop. Since I finished smashing boxes considerably fast (amazing stress relief would highly recommend) I was sent over to the MI section to help out at the counter.
I count myself incredibly lucky that for a solid hour and a half I got to sit in the guitar room and tune all the electric guitars and basses with one of my coworkers, with whom the banter is top quality. It was a great way to start the day.
But then it decided to start picking up, meaning we had some customers coming through the door, and ya girl ended up selling a ukulele and a kids guitar within a forty minute time frame. I was slightly buzzed off the adrenaline but it was a good kick start.
One of the best things about working a Saturday shift is that the company buys us lunch, meaning we got to scoff down pizza during our break before we got straight back into it. I followed the guitar and ukulele sales with the biggest fluke, by selling a bass guitar.
Towards the end of the day I helped in setting up an electric drum kit, and spent the last hour just messing around with the kit and some bass guitars with the other guys working in the MI section with me. It was a good way to end a good day.
Today was a really productive day.
Today meant rehearsal.
‘For what?’ I hear you say. For a performance. I finally have another gig coming up next month, and this time I’m playing not only with a friend (colleague too as he works with me at the music shop) accompanying me on the guitar, but with a drummer as well. Which obviously means, we need some decent practice time.
This was the second practice we had, and we managed to get a lot of stuff done, despite the vibes and our energy levels being a lil bit low during the first half of the day, however from 11-4 we plowed through, managing to perfect a few of the songs. PLUS, the boys even helped me finish up a new song, which I had finished the lyrics for earlier in the day while they were setting up the drum kit.
We managed to sort out majority of the setlist, but there’s still one song, an original of mine that we aren’t entirely sold on yet, so depending on how next week goes, we’ll probably try to rework it a little bit more, or choose a different one. We shall see.
Unfortunately I was also coming off a cough and cold that’s been floating around, so I wasn’t able to sing as well as I could or really go for any of the high notes in my set, of which there are a couple, though…the dudes forced me to chug two huge mugs of chamomile tea and honey, disregarding me whenever I mentioned that I actually liked neither of those things.
However, I didn’t mention it while I was there to save their heads from exploding, but it definitely did the trick, and we were able to give the last couple of songs a bit more energy.
The rest of the day following rehearsal was spent lounging around at home, only slightly panicking over the impending beginning of university and binge watching Queer Eye on Netflix.
MONDAY Ah, Monday. The first day of the week, and the first day of semester two at university. It was definitely a very chill day for me, despite the 7:30 wakeup that was a severe shock to the system after nearly a month and a half of getting up between 9:00 and 10:00. That said, the day did not exactly go off without a hitch, as I came to realise that I’d misread my timetable, and my tutorial only started at 11:30 rather than 10:30.
So what did ya girl do? Literally nothing. I walked back to Melbourne Central to get me some bubble tea cos I live off that stuff, and browsed through some of the shops, all the while checking the time until I could finally head to class.
The class was good, at least. Sure we had to do an ice breaker that I recall doing in Year 7, but it was fun. I have a pretty decent class, and even though none of my close friends are in my tutorial, I have a good group.
During the tutorial however, I managed to take a quick glance at the schedule for the lecture that I had next.
Some of you will judge me for this.
I am not a huge fan of introduction lectures. If whatever is being said can be said on the PowerPoint presentation that’s uploaded online or compiled into a succinct, quick email, then I am all for that option. Which is why when I saw that my lecture would be precisely that, I decided to head to JD and grab a bargain.
These, my friends, are the newest members of the family.
I’ve had my eye on the Reebok Classic Club C’s for ages, they’re one of the top shoes on my ‘Sneakers To Snag’ list on my phone Notes, so when I saw this pair, originally $150, down to $120, and then dropped to a ‘final-pair’ absolute steal of a deal of $60, I knew they were mine. Now we just wait for the 85’s to get on sale too and I can rest.
Does anyone else share an absolute obsession with sneakers that are stupidly out of your budget, save for sales like the one I was blessed with??
Anyway, after I picked up my shoes, I jumped back on the train and headed home. Like I said, a self-inflicted ‘chill’ kinda day. Also it was 13 degrees outside, so chill to that extent as well.
To make up for the cash I dropped earlier in the day, I managed to hold off on buying any lunch on my way home, and made use of the stocked pantry at home. It was a good day and a relaxing evening.
TUESDAY Tuesday marked the first day of my newly appointed Tuesday afternoon, 12:00-5:30PM shift at the music shop. Thanks to a much more forgiving university timetable this semester, I was able to jump on the MI roster, meaning I get to work a couple more shifts in the musical instrument department, as well as my regular Saturday shift in the print music department.
Which is exciting.
I spent the first half of my shift doing the usual low rank jobs, none of which I had a huge problem with. The first was flattening cardboard.
Working in a music shop means we are constantly getting instruments and equipment delivered, meaning we are usually left with a large assortment of cardboard boxes in varying sizes, that end up being tossed in the back room for the poor soul left to deal with them at the start of every week.
This week, being me.
However, I can’t say I cared all too much. Our work is pretty lenient. If I’m stuck in a back room, sorting through boxes or doing any odd jobs out of sight of customers, I’m all good to pull out my phone, throw on some tunes and get the job done. Flattening cardboard means I get to go out the back of the store near the carpark with a Stanley knife, blast some tunes from my Spotify, and flatten cardboard at my leisure.
It was a chill start to the day. Again, it was bit windier and colder than I would have liked, so chill in all senses of the word.
Once I finished that, my next job was one of my favourites, one which I jump at the chance to do every day; tuning guitars.
Um … sitting in a room of beautiful guitars, tuning them all up and having a strum when I’m finished each one?
That took up quite some time too, meaning that by the time I was finished, my manager left to go on his break, leaving my other colleague and I to hang out at the front counter, banter over proper conductor hand movements and assist any customers that happened to come in.
Ya girl got another customer lead for a guitar and amp pack meaning commission, but we shall see.
Considering I’m going to be on this shift until the semester finishes and my timetable switches up again, I was also shown how to lock up that end of the store, finally attempting to wrap my head around the twelve key keychain.
We’re very blessed at the music shop, to be within walking distance of heaps of yum food, which is where I headed straight after I finished work at 5:30, right next door the the Chinese restaurant, where I was planning on meeting one of my closest friends Nishika, who’s recently returned from a trip to Asia.
I see her often enough when she’s here and we go out with friends, but it was really, really nice to catch up with her one on one, considering we’ve been close friends for the past six or seven years and I’ve considered her a sister to me for the longest time. There was heaps of talking, catching up, lil bit of crying, and a whole heap of eating and shovelling food into our mouths, resulting in us being the last ones left in the restaurant until my mum picked us up.
Tuesday was a good day.
Welcome to the off-day. Thanks to picking up that Tuesday shift, Wednesday became my completely free day. However, it also meant I had one day to do most of the things I had to do during the week, and it was a pretty easy feat considering the university semester has just started and there isn’t a whole lot to catch up on. I did, however manage to watch a required movie, The Social Network, for my Screening Politics and Economies class, and it was a pretty good film. I enjoyed it and laughed quite a lot more than I anticipated, definitely recommend if you haven’t already watched it by now.
I made the effort to start looking for some hooks around my house. My dad has a slight hatred towards anything that needs to be banged into the wall, so majority of the things that are hanging around my house are stuck on with the sticky hooks, and so far they’ve worked well enough, it’s just hard to get them perfectly in place on the first go.
I have some digital drawings that I did on my phone that I actually liked enough to print out and frame, and I plan on hanging them up in my room above my bed, the only issue is all the sticky hooks around my house have disappeared, so the project is currently on hold.
My next activity for the day, is what I like to call ‘independent learning’, a relatively new endeavour I’ve undertaken, where for an hour a day I try and learn about something new. Whether it’s through a TedEd talk, a podcast or whatever, just learning something, taking some notes and all. Today I learnt about altruism, contagious yawning and the science behind memes. It was enlightening.
The rest of the day was spent hanging out with my dog (it counts as an activity, fight me), watching Queer Eye, and finally getting around to watching End of The F***ing World (Chloe, you’re welcome), which made me pee my pants with laughter, but also creeped me out because they’re both complete psychopaths.
It was a relaxing day. I definitely feel I managed to get as much done because I woke up a bit earlier than I usually would, which I’m aiming to start doing from now on. Not only do I have more time to get things done, but I also feel a bit better.
Thursday marked my second day back at university.
By all means, as has been the running theme throughout this week, it was a pretty decent day and I wasn’t hating life at all. It was pretty windy in the morning, so the walk to the bus stop was not entirely pleasant, but it was a smooth train ride into the city for my first class.
I had a two hour tutorial for my Screening Politics and Economies course, and I was lucky enough to know at least one other person in the class, considering a lot of the students taking the subject were Cinema Studies students. The other boy at our table with us was nice as well, so we got on well as a group as we discussed The Social Network. Once the class was over, I exited the building, only to realise that the huge clubs day and sign-up was happening in the main courtyard that I had to walk through, meaning it took slightly longer than usual to get back to Melbourne Central for lunch.
After a quick cheeky Nando’s for lunch, and watching an intense dance battle going on courtesy of the marching band and the dance club, I made a quick stop at Glassons (rip my wallet) and Pandora to pick up two gifts for my sister’s 14th birthday the day after.
After walking back to the right building I was joined by Kate, my best friend who has been mentioned on the blog before, and we made our way to the one class we were lucky enough to have together, despite doing different courses and forgetting to consult each other when putting in our timetable preferences, TV Cultures. Fair to say it was a very enjoyable class that consisted of everyone sharing and conversing about their favourite TV show, getting to know our tutor who is one of the most laid-back, chill teachers I’ve ever had and then talking some more about TV and shows she needed to watch, as well as people life hacking Netflix with their own VPN. It was a great tutorial, really fun, and after the two hours were up, Kate and I caught the train back home.
FRIDAY Friday was a fantastic day. A bit busier than the rest of the week, but it was really fun.
I woke up earlier than usual, to make sure I could give my younger sister her 14th birthday gift before she left for school. I got her the July birthstone ring from Pandora considering me and two of my other cousins all have ours, as well as a cute burnt orange top from Glassons, just to slightly poke fun at the fact that she finally had her own clothes from my favourite store, so now she didn’t have to steal mine.
I had a tutorial in the morning, this time a 10:30 class, meaning I was on the bus around 9:30, and catching the train into the city, listening to my Spotify playlist to get me through.
My first class was actually my practical for my main course, Global Perspectives, and I had chosen a really fun studio, all about covers and cover songs. Our first class was the usual introductory class, and we all shared our musical backgrounds so our teacher could really tailor the semester for our capabilities and styles, and then we spoke for a little while about some of our favourite covers. You know I had to learn everyone a thing or two about my favourite cover, Moon River by Frank Ocean, as well as a heap of the Triple J ‘Like A Version’ covers.
It was a very relaxed studio, mainly filled with talking and listening to a ton of different covers, and I learnt a bit more about our assignments and practices which are all basically going to be recording our own covers, sampling pre-existing music to use in our own music, creating remixes and understanding mash-ups, all of which I’m super keen to get into.
Choosing again to skip my next introductory lecture, I picked up a call from my cousin who I was seeing later in the evening, to find that she was in the city as well, so we decided to meet up at Melbourne Central to grab lunch.
After a short Gong Cha break while I waited for her, we decided that $4 pizzas from the Asian Beer Cafe (ABC) was the move.
Two pizzas, a bowl of chips and two very satisfied gals later, and we decided to head on back to my house.
Once we got home, we only had to wait a little while until my other cousin arrived at my house, as the sisters, as well as my sister and I were planning on going and watching Richmond play against St Kilda at the football at Etihad Stadium.
We left my house around quarter to 7, and made our way to the station and onto the train. We had a slight mishap one station in when we tried to change carriages to find a place for all four of us to sit, only to have our group split up, leaving me with my younger cousin on the train, and my older cousin with my little sister on the platform, watching us as the doors closed between us before they could get on.
We only had to wait at the next station for ten minutes to meet them on the next train and from then on it was smooth sailing, and a good laugh.
We made it to Etihad Stadium, where I had seen Ed Sheeran a couple months ago, and after buying some food to eat, we walked around the stadium to try and find some seats.
We managed to get some decent seats with a pretty good view, and settled in for what we knew would be, not a very eventful game, considering that unfortunately for me, St Kilda are 15th on the ladder of 18 teams, while Richmond is currently 1st, much to my sisters delight.
While it was an easy win, there were a few moments when my younger cousin and I thought the Saints could pull up even a little to make the loss slightly less embarrassing, but I’m glad we left at the start of the fourth quarter, just in time to miss the huge crowds on the train, as well as the 54 point loss.
After a quick stop at Hungry Jacks for hot brownies, we were back on the train on the way home, with my younger cousin reading inspirational cringe-y quotes from Pinterest that had us all giggling like idiots until we got off the train.
It was a good way to end the week.
So there you have it friends. It was actually a pretty fun week, and I really enjoyed myself with all the people I spent it with. Work was fun, rehearsals were great, I’ll probably have to try a bit harder with lectures next week but I’ll let you know how that ends up going.
If you read everything, congratulations and thank you, let me know if you enjoyed this type of post, I know it was long, but it was great fun to sit down at the end of every day and run through how it went. I had heaps of fun taking and editing the photos too, date stamps are my new lil obsession.
The title’s weird and a little bit alarming, just roll with it, it’ll make it a whole lot easier on all of us if you do.
Basically. If you know anything about me and my life outside of this blog, you would know that I am a musician. It’s one of the many slashes in my ever-changing title, and I’m working hard to make it legit.
“How?” you ask, well by somewhat attempting to make music, make better music, and make music that people actually enjoy, and it’s taking it’s own sweet time in happening, but I’m having heaps of fun while we get there.
One of the things I’ve been doing to better my limited production knowledge, explore my style a bit more, expand on what I know and what I don’t, is research. Since ordering one of my most wanted items on my wish list a few weeks back, the AKAI MPK Mini midi keyboard, I’ve been looking into how other people are using it, the way it works, how to load sounds up, and ultimately that usually leads me down the YouTube music and production rabbit hole.
One of my favourite things to do, is watch how producers make their songs. There are some amazing producers who work with some of my favourite artists, and channels like Rolling Stone and Genius on YouTube have heaps of videos that show the thought processes and construction of some of the most popular songs at the moment.
My favourite of these videos, are the ones where the artist and the producers, are one. For example.
I couldn’t keep track of how many times I smiled during that video from sheer awe of the genius and intuition and innovation in the man. I’ve never listened to anything by Charlie Puth and not enjoyed it, but it’s very clear that a lot of his recent music is vastly different from his older music. Attention was the song that really made me say, ‘Hell yeah, I’m a Charlie Puth fan‘. AND. Voice memos. My life. It’s great seeing people’s eyes widen when they see the amount of voice memos I have on my iPhone, purely for the same reasons as Charlie, I can’t read or write music, so if I forget a melody or a harmony or anything, I’m screwed.
I also definitely made my dad stop his actual business work so I could explain how impressed I was with the simple idea of how he set up the guitar in the introduction, similar to a way I’ve seen Jon Bellion ‘record’ trumpets, but we shall get to that man in a bit.
It’s just the whole process is full of ideas and small bursts of genius that make so many things outside of what was supposedly the realm of realistic expectations of a musician who can’t read or write music, possible.
Sorry for my tangent.
And then you watch this, with Mura Masa.
My favourite part is is explanation of the steel pans and how they come to be such an integral part of the song. Also, his explanation of all the vocals that he cuts up and pitches up and down, it’s super duper inspiring and interesting to watch. I got so many shivers watching that video in particular.
Like I said though, Jon Bellion, for me, is in a whole different world. The musicality, the vocabulary, the voice, the way his entire body jolts and shifts when he hits upon something good. When he talks about the lyrics it’s literally as if he’s doing a spoken word performance.
I may not mention it as often as you would assume I probably should, but Guillotine, will forever be one of my favourite songs. Ever.
There’s also the contrast between John, and the last two artists, Charlie and Mura Masa, in how he’s very intent on bringing the live music element into it, rather than recording and producing solely electronically, and there’s nothing wrong with either, but I love how videos like these can highlight the versatility and potential in both. He’s also so appreciative of everyone who jumps in to help him, and you can see how excited he gets when they bounce their ideas back and forth.
I don’t know if it’s too much to share that I cried at the end of this video when they pieced it all together…
I had a few second thoughts about sharing this post, because I wasn’t sure if my experience was deep enough to merit an entire blog post, but I’ve just finished up my second and final day, and thought…’what the heck, my blog, my posts‘, so here I am.
Over the 4-5th of July, the CHANGES Music Summit took place in Melbourne for the first time ever. What is it? Well, if you head to their website, this is the rough gist of it;
Over two days, CHANGES will outline the future of the music industry. Across the realms of music, tech, talks and ideas, CHANGES has assembled a roster of ground-breaking voices to ignite one question: what’s next?
Headquartered within the stunning ACU Melbourne campus, on July 4 and 5, CHANGES will begin to draw a roadmap for the future.
It sounds cool, right?
The summit covered changes throughout the entire industry, ‘music, tech, talks and ideas’. A plethora of subjects were covered over the two days such as;
The Changing Mindset Of Contemporary Artists
The Importance Of Covering Artists Outside of The Mainstream
It’s Not Digital Marketing: It’s Marketing
Elevating A Visual Experience With Technology
DIY Party And Event Projects
Gameboy Music Workshop
The Benefits Of Being Multi-Disciplinary
Women In Music – Hearing Voices You Can’t See
and a ton more.
Not only that, but from around 6PM onwards, the summit transformed into the music festival, and instead of stages that you would have at a regular festival, iconic live music venues, some that I’ve mentioned in my Music In Melbourne post, became stops to see up and coming as well as well-known Melbourne artists, allowing live pass and summit pass holders to travel around the city, and catch some amazing acts.
However, I found out about the summit, through my university email inbox. I often take it for granted, because on the odd occasion that I choose to check those emails, and go through the pile of mostly junk, I’m always certain to come across some sort of opportunity, tickets available, free passes, internship offers and so on.
A couple months ago, I came across an email seeking volunteers for the CHANGES Summit, and without really giving it much thought, decided it would be cool to give it a go and fill out the application. I’m telling you, the second I closed the tab on my phone, the entire thing was forgotten.
Which made it all the more surprising for me when I received an email last month telling me I had been selected as part of the volunteer roster for the summit. The best part, I had a free pass for the day I wasn’t rostered on. Hence, my short volunteering stint began.
Having been rostered on for a half day shift on the first day of the summit, I was quite pleased considering some of the the talks I was keen on seeing were the following day. The day before the festival kicked off, I headed to Fitzroy, catching a tram out of the city, to find out where I would be stationed, get my volunteer pass and my T-shirt. It was a short, quick, fun meeting, and I met a couple other people from my university course who were all going to be in and around the event.
For the first day, my role as an Event Runner had me stationed at the CHANGES Hub, which was the first port of call for anyone and everyone who was going to be attending the summit. Considering I started at 1 and finished at 5, it was a pretty breezy shift, taking into consideration most people arrived earlier in the day. My role quickly turned into one of security/attendee assistance/registration.
I spent quite a while keeping people out of the staff and volunteer areas, helping them with problems that arose with finding schedules and maps and knowing where they were meant to be, and when the next wave of people came in, I ended up helping out at the registration desk, finding people their passes, putting on live past wrist bands, printing out new name stickers for passes and watching as industry professionals struggled with the sliding door that refused to open on command unless you were one centimetre away from it.
It was a fun shift, and a lot of the other volunteers were students like I was, either interested in music, event management or festival work. It was a great atmosphere.
The second day was a lot more chill, considering I didn’t have a shift, so once again, I caught the tram in and headed towards my first talk, Music Passport: Live America.
The talk was really interesting, and covered a lot of grounds around the export of live Australian music in the USA, festivals like SXSW in Austin, making decisions surrounding taking bands over there for managers and labels, the costs involved, the processes and so on.
Following that session, a couple other volunteers and I headed back to the Hub, for the all ages lunch showcase, with RAT!hammock playing that afternoon. If you’re looking for a funky, bedroom-pop, Mac DeMarco type sound, definitely check them out because I loved their set! My favourite song was definitely Mud, though all the songs they played were really good, and easy to listen to.
After RAT!hammock, I caught one more keynote talk, one that I was really keen to listen to, and that was The Benefits of Being A Multi-Disciplinary. The talk was incredibly interesting for me. While being a musician, working towards songwriting and maybe performance one day, are my main aspirations, they haven’t stopped me from becoming a ‘slashie’, as they say; someone with a couple of slashes in their title. For example, old blog favourite, Donald Glover. He’s got all the slashes. If you looked at his title it would probably be something like;
Along the way, I’ve kind of picked up my own set of skills, and while I’m not incredibly mind-blowing amazing at all of them, I’m good enough that I can list them as a skill set, which in turn makes me more valuable to hire or work with. Things like photography, videography, music journalism, blogging, editing and producing (we are getting there) can be added to my singer/songwriter/musician title, and help me hopefully get more jobs that carry more weight. I know a lot of us bloggers are already ‘slashies’, due to the nature of the endeavour requiring not only a lot of extra out-of-pocket work, but also different avenues to make money and sustain ourselves at the same time.
Uppy, the speaker, a radio host at Triple J and currently a Music Director at Red Bull Australia, also gave seven key tips to help us ‘slashies’.
Ask questions from colleagues: there is always something to learn, and if you can dip your feet into all aspects of a project or work, then you can gain more insight and knowledge into how those roles are filled, the skills needed and how you can make it work for you.
Find someone you trust who can mentor you.
Read about the stuff you can read about: Keeping on top of everything that’s out there for you, puts you a step ahead.
YouTube is a rad resource of how to do things.
Attend music conferences and summits: they are one of the best places to network and navigate the industry, make connections and form relationships you can rely on further down the track in the future.
Consider doing an online course or qualification if the traditional educational route is more your jam: while DIY self-taught work ethic is well respected, so is someone with a degree or qualification that guarantees their value.
Take care of yourself because burnout is real: the point of being a ‘slashie’ is to be good at a lot of things, which doesn’t work if you yourself aren’t in your best form.
I made sure to note those tips because I could see how well they could lend themselves to all types of career movement and trajectory. Those tips, as well as the entire session were really worth the time it took to get to and from the summit.
Although it started out as a mindless process for me, one I forgot about almost instantaneously, the CHANGES summit was an amazing experience. I really enjoyed attending the festival, meeting all the amazing people I did over the two days, and opening myself up to the real inner workings of the music industry and the people within it. Who knows, I’ll probably be back at the summit next year, either as a volunteer or a regular pass holder!
A little while ago I made the conscious decision to broaden my blogging horizons and start sharing a bit more of myself with you folks, and here I am somewhat trying to hold up my end of the bargain!
In the form of a wish list.
Over the past couple of years months, I’ve been narrowing down my search of items that I am setting as goals to save up for, in order to take my music to the level I want it to be, as well as some other cheeky little purchases that I obviously need in my life. So let’s crack on, let me know what you think of my wish list, I’d love the opinion of someone who isn’t in control of my wallet, or at least can’t see the bank account it’s linked to, to help ease my mind 😉
MATON 1/2 ACOUSTIC-ELECTRIC GUITAR As I type this in my mind I can see my mum shaking her head and wildly gesturing to the two other guitars I have sitting in my room. I love them, I promise. My Cort is a little worse for wear, a lower end, but still highly functional acoustic guitar, that I really busted up my fingers on learning how to play when I really got into it and then my pride and joy, my Martin acoustic-electric, which my Dad brought back from the USA as a birthday/Christmas gift a couple years back. However, they are both full size. Since I’ve started doing a few more shifts in the musical instrument department at work, I’ve had my eye on the wall of Martin and Maton acoustic guitars that greets you when you walk into the store, especially the 1/2 size guitars. I’ll admit, Ed Sheeran and my front row view at his stadium tour in 2015 have some influence over this desire to own this guitar, but I’ve also loved playing the 1/2 size’s, they feel so snug, and I could easily picture myself on a stage with the lil acoustic under my arms. That said, this is on a legit wish list, because I have some decent saving to do before I can splurge on this item.
AKAI MPK MINI This has honestly been on my wish list for quite some time. It’s a midi controller that genuinely seems ideal and a perfect fit for me. With 25 synth-action keys and 8 sensitive drum pads, it’s really all I need to get a move on with my at-home production that could possibly save me valuable time travelling to and from the city to use the university studios. If you’re familiar with Alex Aiono, and his popular cover videos on YouTube, then you probably have an idea of what I’m talking about considering he uses the exact same one. It’s compact, light, the perfect size to fit into a back-pack and not too expensive at all, considering how practical and useful it is. Honestly, give me a couple of months and I promise you I’ll have this baby in my possession.
I’m currently at work (there are -0 customers so don’t come for me) and I’ve just put in the order, so you bet I’m getting my hands on this midi controller, for a mean staff discount, will give an update when my child arrives.
AUDIO TECHNICA AT2020 CONDENSER MIC So this one too, isn’t incredibly expensive as far as condenser mic’s are concerned, but it’s definitely up there with some of the best budget, home studio condenser microphones. We actually have one at work, waiting for me to get my hands on it, and I’d also get a great staff discount, but coincidentally, the order of this item and the midi keyboard before it, matches the order in which I want to purchase it. Plus, the vocal mic’s in the studios at uni are phenomenal, considering some of them cost over $1000 you’d bloody expect them to be, so I’m in no rush for this purchase. This will be a gift to myself for when I really get into recording raw sounds and vocals at home, other than just making beats. It also mean finding an area in my house to possibly soundproof as best I can, which will be a fun DIY we can all look forward to.
STUDIO MONITORS So this one is totally dependant on how long it takes for me to get my shit together. I’ve sworn to myself that only once I’ve sorted out my midi controllers, my microphone and an actual space to recording (attention mum: please, can I please clean out the currently unused study room, asking for a friend), only then will I purchase some monitors. I’m currently tossing between Yamaha monitor speakers or Presonus Eris speakers, but at the moment I’m fine checking in on Store Dj every now and then to check out how the prices are looking. The margin on them isn’t incredibly great at work, so I could definitely, possibly get them cheaper straight from the supplier, but like I said, I need to sort my shit out before I even think about spending money on these hunnies.
MACBOOK PRO Once again, this is an item I have a heap of saving to do before I can think about buying it. But it’s gonna become a necessity. Currently I have a secondhand MacBook Air from my mum, and while it does the trick as of right now, I’m constantly running out of space, and I just know that once I even attempt to boot up Pro Tools or Logic Pro X onto this thing it’ll shut down on me. The processing power is pretty weak considering how difficult it is to smoothly run even iMovie, so while it’s holding up for now, I can’t download any of the software I need, meaning I’m limited to GarageBand when I’m at home. In turn, due to the lack of overall equipment, this means I can really only do rough guide tracks at home, and then go and emulate them later in the studio at university. It’s not a problem at the moment, but it would be a lot more convenient, if I could do everything from the comfort of my own home.
LOGIC PRO X This one relies solely on the purchase of the previous item, the laptop, because there is no way I can think of attempting to download it onto my current laptop. It’s not ridiculously expensive, Ableton is a bit over $400, and Logic is a bit cheaper, but considering how well I know my way around Logic, how much I’ve used it in the past year and a half, and all the work I’ve done already on it, I can kinda justify getting the software. There are a couple student bundles I can get, but they also come with programs like Final Cut Pro and a few others meaning I really need a stronger, faster, heavy duty laptop with more storage space. But until then, GarageBand will have to do.
LED STRIP LIGHTS This one has no relevance to being a musician, other than vibes. This has been on my mind since we starting packing and getting ready to move, and the idea of decorating my new room was playing around in my mind. I have a very clear visual in my head of putting them around the large window that faces my bed, which takes up a large space of one of my walls, and I know it’ll look sick. They are definitely the cheapest item on this list, meaning I definitely could have purchased these long ago, but I’ve been putting it off until I find a good set. Each time I think I’ve found one that will last I find something to be unnecessarily picky about, such as the battery life, or the need for WiFi connection to use controller apps of which I don’t get much in my room, or how the adhesive isn’t as sticky as it claims to be. For every different LED strip light I’ve looked at, I’ve read ten more reviews. It’s an ongoing struggle, but we’ll get there eventually. Before my birthday. Surely.
TICKETS TO FALLS FESTIVAL It’s been a hard road, recovering from the shit show that was the Falls Festival ticketing scam that literally made national news, when the festival sold out in two minutes flat, due to scalpers managing to buy a huge chunk of tickets, only to sell them for ridiculously inflated prices on Viagogo and other sites. My best friend and I were devastated for a couple of weeks following the loss, considering the amazing lineup. It’s one of the most well know New Year’s Eve week, four-day festivals in the country, and I’ve been dying to go for years. Last year was the first time my parents were chill with it and I had the money to fund the experience, and I was beaten out by a bloody scalper. That said, I’m keen as hell to try again this year, so I’ll let you know in November how that sorts itself out.
It’s not a long wish list. It’s been edited again and again, and items have come and gone several times however these ones have withstood the test of time. Wish me luck as I try to hustle up the money to cross off my wish list completely kids.
Today I thought I’d share with you my experience of working in a music shop.
However before I start, I’d like to say a quick thank-you to the now over 200 of you who have joined me here on this little blog of mine, especially those of you lovely people who have continually commented and engaged with You Should Hear and I. I’ve said this a couple of times on my Twitter (linked and down below), that my goal at the start of 2018, was to hit 100 followers by June. To consider that even before the end of June, I hit 200 followers, is insane, and my family have all had to put up with me constantly voicing my huge amount of disbelief as I try to wrap my head around it.
Back to the music shop.
I’ve been working at this particular music shop, a family run business, since my last year of high school, now just over two years. I’ve never been so grateful for having a job, despite my bleary eye’d SnapChat’s to my friends while I make my morning coffee every Saturday morning in the staff kitchen.
It was a complete off-chance that led to me securing a job here. I’ve driven past this shop since I was a young child, it’s been an ever present fixture on the corner of one of my most frequented main road intersections, one I spent driving past on a close to daily basis during my childhood, and well into my teens.
It was during February of 2016, and my friends and I were on the way to our Year 12 formal, as our hired limo for the night crossed through the intersection, and I voiced my appreciation for the music shop. My best friend Kate’s, who I have mentioned several times throughout my blog, formal partner offhandedly mentioned that his best friend worked at the shop, and loved it. I didn’t pay much mind to it, until the day after when I mentioned it in passing to mum, who told me I should apply. However, I never got around to it, until a week later when she texted me the store number as a not-so-subtle hint to get a move on.
When I rang up, I spoke to my now manager, who told me they weren’t currently hiring, but to send my resume in anyway. The next day I was called in for an interview, which I went to the day after that, on a busy Saturday morning.
The shop was bustling with people, so I was super duper grateful that he took the time to chat with me, even going as far as introducing me to the staff in the print music section, where I would be working, should I get the job. I left the interview feeling pretty confident.
And then didn’t hear anything for two weeks.
It was nerve wracking to say the least. This would be my fourth job, and at least the hundredth that I’d applied for so I was incredibly keen to find out. So I called up, only to be advised that the owner was currently away on holiday, so the conversation hadn’t even been brought up yet. I went away on my family Easter trip, waiting again. On the long drive back home, it was all I could think about, so determined, and slightly impatient I called again, only to be asked how soon I could start. Three days later I started.
It’s honestly been so much better than I ever could have hoped for. The beginning was only slightly rough. I’m pretty reserved when it comes to people I don’t know, and I’d been thrown into a pretty tight knit family of staff members who loved cracking jokes, hanging out after work, organising get together’s and calling each other over the desk phones just to mess with each other, so it took me over a year and nearly four more people joining/leaving the shop for me to stop calling myself the ‘new girl’ and relax a bit. The staff member in charge of print music on the Saturdays that I worked also took some time to get used to. Since joining, his dry sense of humour, refined English accent and love of watches, organs, old Melbourne trams and Rover P5’s have become staples in my weekly shift, and I always come home with a story to tell.
Saturday shifts are undoubtedly the best of the week, considering nearly the whole staff is working, it usually gets busy, and the company shouts us all lunch every shift. This year I started working in the musical instrument (hereby referred to as MI) department a lot more, more full day shifts rather than afternoons filling in, and while it continues to intimidate me, I’m slowly growing to love it, especially getting to hang out with my friends, all the younger staff members, all of whom work in MI.
That said, working in a music shop, like any retail experience, comes with it’s fair share of con’s to try and balance out the pro’s.
One of the huge problems I’ve come to face? One of the problems that continues to grind my gears on a close to weekly basis?
The staff are 100% not the problem. If I’m asked to dust and vacuum the print and piano rooms, no-one has a single problem if I get sick of it and pass it onto my friend, a male staff member, to do the guitar rooms.
When I’m helping out in MI, the manager has no problem with asking me to help out with carrying boxes and instruments, and I know if I’m having trouble, I can say so.
Sure I end up the one washing the dishes in the sink when it starts over-flowing, but that’s because the sight of it gets on my nerves. On several occasions I’ve directed another staff member, a guy, to empty out the sink, or at least dry them as I finish, and no-one complains.
Customers however, a different story.
I’m one of two women working in print, and I’m also the youngest person in the entire store. On several occasions I’ve had someone on the phone asking about a particular sheet of music, only to be asked if they could ‘talk to the man who’s usually there’. I understand having prior conversations with him throughout the week when I’m not there, it only makes sense to finish what we each start separately, but I’ve had customers with fresh enquiries, assuming that because what they want isn’t in stock, there’s a man there who could possibly tell them differently.
Working in MI was an eye opening experience as well. There’s one other younger girl, a year older than me, who works there regularly, and she’s shared experiences with me, that only recently I’ve gotten to experience first-hand. I was shocked when she recalled stories of speaking to customers on the phone, only to have to assure them several times that she did work in the guitar room and was perfectly capable of helping them out, sometimes even having people asking directly to speak with a guy. A whole group of boys have come in and watched her setting up a bass and a bass amp for them to test out, whispering and snickering between themselves as she did so. My experience in MI, due to the sparse time I’ve spent over there, only occurred recently, but it still left me incredibly frustrated.
I’d just finished nearly a whole day of going over entry level guitars, the different EOFY sales going on, the prices, the type of guitars, the strings, the necks, the bags/picks/tuners/capo deals, the lot, so when a couple walked into the store, the MI manager nearly pushed me across the room to have a go at serving them.
Before I start, I’d done it before, assisted now and then by other staff, but I was determined to do this one by myself, and I could not have bagged a more difficult customer. The husband seemed set on asking every single question he possibly could, which fair enough, you’re purchasing a guitar, you want to know whatever there is to know, but I’m sure we’re all well practised in reading tone and body language, of which I was getting ‘You’re damn stupid‘ vibes. I could also gather that his wife was telling him to back off a bit, despite speaking in Mandarin, due to all the apologetic glances and friendly smiles she sent my way, but he was having none of it. Then it came to pricing. My God did that man try and push the price. Remember that we’re already having end of financial year sales, so our prices are ridiculously low, as in he’d be getting a guitar, a bag and a couple of free picks, for under $120. Every time I expressed a price or mentioned a deal he did not hesitate to let me know that it was still very expensive, despite knowing there was little I could do to go any lower. Then came questions about the guitar neck. Now this part I can’t blame him for. Most people would assume that the slim neck’s would make it easier for young kids to wrap their hands around and play, but in the long run, and for lessons, it really makes no difference, which I explained. Then came the sentence that increased my blood pressure.
I swear to god the MI Manager looked like a deer in headlights. He essentially repeated everything that I said to the man, word for word, and it was only after firmly stating that we could do no cheaper that he purchased the guitar. My manager was quick to explain that he too was getting frustrated on my behalf and that he’d put the sale under my name considering the close to twenty minutes I’d spent with the couple.
However, I have one experience that my entire family and anyone who encountered me for the next week know about, considering how incredibly outraged I was at it.
So it’s busy. I’m by myself in print because the other staff member has a choral performance. It’s summer, late in the afternoon, my feet hurt and there’s another wave of customers just charging through the doors and dispersing throughout the store’s four rooms, many of them wandering through the print room or stopping in front of my desk for help.
A man came in, and while at first he seemed pleasant enough, he was a bit demanding and blunt, but nothing I hadn’t dealt with before. He gave me a rough guideline of some singing books he wanted to look at, and I did my best to show him the several we had that suited his needs. Again, he was demanding, he was short and becoming slightly rude. Note that the store was filling up and I had a line of two or three families that were waiting for my assistance. After showing him all the books he had to choose from, I showed him the little corner we had that was available for him to read through the books and look at them, as I turned to go and help a family looking for a book.
As I’m talking to this family who, bless them, knew the colour and picture on the book they wanted but not the name of it, I hear clicking. Fingers snapping. Like right behind me. At the back of my head. Clicking. At this point I’ve also lost the attention of the family, who are now looking behind me, slightly alarmed and confused. There’s only one person in that section of the room. And in my head, all I can think is, ‘I know this man is not clicking at me right now’. On reflection, I should have followed what my mum would say later on, and not acknowledge him, not responded to bloody clicking like a dog, but in the moment, I apologised to the family and turned to the man, only to have a pile of books dumped in my arms as he moved through the shelves, very much expecting me to follow him. As he walked through the shelves of books he spoke to me, without even turning around to face me. “You were serving me, how come you started serving that family? That’s not professional.” “I’m sorry, the store’s just a little bit busy, I have to serve a few people at once.”
My dude I’m definitely not sorry.
I politely asked if he needed anymore help, to which he only added more books to the pile. By then my fuse was short, so I told him that I had a few other customers to help, but I’d keep his books at the desk when he was ready. I didn’t stay long enough to see the look on his face, but I didn’t see him for the next twenty minutes as I helped out the remaining customers in my section, before returning to my desk. He walked out of the adjoining room where we keep majority of the books and came to a halt in front of my desk.
“What’s your name?”
I have no idea what the intent of that question was, but I know it wasn’t to genuinely find out my opinion on working in the shop, however I answered with a simple ‘yes’ only to get, ‘Interesting.’ as my reply. Much confusion on my behalf.
To finish the exchange, he proceeded to buy only six of the thirteen books he’d dropped on my desk, and leave without so much as a thank-you.
All of that said, I thoroughly enjoy working at the music shop. Every retail worker has their own unique experiences that do their head in. This isn’t my first retail job. My first job was in hospitality at a churros and chocolate restaurant, where I was in constantly touching chewed gum people decided to stick to the underside of their plates when I was clearing tables, and my second and third were both in retail, my third being in direct contact with rude mother’s who expected me to babysit their children while they shopped for them. With that in mind, the music shop has been a fresh of breath air, despite the occurrences like those above every now and then. Anyone who works retail will agree with the statement, that it makes you ten times more empathetic with employees when you’re not working. I can’t recall a time I’ve not been overly accommodating and forgiving when being served, even before I started working.
If you haven’t worked in retail and can’t relate one bit, remember this; you never want to be the customer that employees complain about and imitate in the break room.
If you’ve been here for more than a couple of weeks, then you may have picked up along the way that back in April my family and I moved houses. I recently read a post, (linked) written by one of my favourite YouTubers, Margot Lee, about her ‘happy place‘. It was a beautiful post to read, and honestly got me thinking a lot.
I only moved recently. This house, will be my fourth house. This current townhouse I’m living in, the house I lived in before, and the unit I lived in before that one, are all in the same suburb, and the house I was born in, is several suburbs away, close to forty minutes in the car. So since moving from my first house ever, I’ve never really moved out of this current suburb and I can walk to either of my last two houses if I really wanted to.
However, the house that I moved from most recently, was a house I spent a large majority of my childhood in. From the ages of six to nineteen I was in that house, and I did a lot of growing up there, as did my younger sister, who spent most of her life there, and my cousins.
/sis and I pulling out the ‘SOLD’ sticker and saying bonjour to the rude french guy behind our house who hated our dog/
My four immediate cousins from my mother’s side, my sister and I, spent a heap of time at my old house, especially during school holidays and breaks. When we were really getting into the swing of moving, going through the motions of slowly packing everything into boxes, labelling all our stuff, emptying out our house and garage, one of my cousins, my favourite, vocalised that she was gonna be exceptionally sad to not come back to the house again, and I was really confused for a second, until I realised how much of our childhood together was spent at my house.
We’d film music videos, short films, we’d have fashion shows and photo shoots, we built the fort of all forts and had sleepovers that went far too late in the night for kids aged between 4-12. When our parents all went out for parties my cousin and I who were the eldest were in charge, which meant all the kids were at my house, mattresses were pulled out and the big screen was powered up to watch movies.
For me, I got my first dog in that house, and I got to spend several weeks watching my younger sister running through the house, jumping from the kitchen counter to the sofa, refusing to touch the ground and grant the little puppy access to nip her ankles, even though she’d covered herself head to toe, down to the Ugg boots. I watched my house get renovated and extended, which meant my family was relegated to the front half of the entire house, with our microwave on the dining table, the mini fridge next to the sofa and all of us crammed into a small area until the extension was finished.
/my son and I in our backyard last summer/
I celebrated my 18th birthday in the backyard of that house, drinking for the first time in front of my parents, and hosting a huge pyjama party to celebrate the occasion with my friends. We celebrated New Year’s eve in that house, as a big goodbye, with my whole family and nearly everyone commented on the memories made in that house over the years.
/just the spread the gals and I created/
The point of this blog post is, your gal’s feeling nostalgic. Since moving, I’ve kind of been moving around the house without the same feeling I used to in my old house, and it makes sense, considering I’ve only been in this house for three months, compared to the thirteen years I spent in my previous house. However, I’ve come to find that as soon as my sister gets home from school, or whenever my cousins and my family drop in unexpectedly for lunch or tea, or a couple of nights ago when a few of my cousins decided to spend the day here during the holidays, which ultimately turned into a sleepover, I find myself feeling right back at home, regardless of whether I’m in my big house of thirteen years, or in this new double-story townhouse for three months. So as is a must for all my posts, here’s a playlist. A playlist to feel nostalgic, but to also give you that real good feeling of knowing that home isn’t necessarily four walls and a roof.
September – Earth, Wind and Fire Castle On The Hill – Ed Sheeran Home – DOTAN Take It Easy – Eagles Dancing In The Moonlight – Toploader Alaska – Maggie Rogers Signed, Sealed, Delivered – Stevie Wonder Idle Town – Conan Gray Bibia Be Ye Ye – Ed Sheeran Brand New – Ben Rector Arcadia – The Kite String Tangle Old Guitar – BUNT Say It Again – KINGDM Settled In The Sound – Tim Atlas Bloom – The Paper Kites Give Love – Andy Grammar Don’t Forget Your Roots – Six60 Ain’t Nobody – Chaka Khan Geronimo – Sheppard The Way You Make Me Feel – Michael Jackson