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Hi, I'm Dan-O. I am a singer songwriter and I also like making instrumental music which you can use royalty free. Click here for info on licensing my music and songs for your video, photo slideshow, film, app or other media. For questions about my music see the FAQ.

Careers in Music That Need a College Degree

Is a college degree in music important? Its depends on which careers in music you are considering.

If you want to get into teaching music at a college, sure it is usually a requirement.

If you want to teach lessons or perhaps be a conductor in an orchestra its also necessary so you know what you are doing and have some credibility.

But if you want to be a performer you just need to be great, be in good fit ( so buy a jogging stroller ) and be able to sell records and book gigs!

Watch this video by Ryan Michael Galloway for more details:



5 TV Theme Medleys You Can’t Miss

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Just the simple act of hearing the opening music to a particular TV show can take you back-to watching it over dinner with your family, marathoning it with a drinking game with your college roommate, or curling up on a Sunday evening to relax with a glass of wine.

With good reason: from The Rembrandts crooning about how they’ll be there for you to Frasier singing about scrambled eggs, the TV show theme usually dictates the general feel of the whole program, giving you the gist, whether it’s a deadly serious costume drama or a rollicking, sour-hearted sitcom.

Some TV themes have gone on to be hugely popular and iconic in their own right- from The Wonder Years to The Big Bang Theory, they’ve become intrinsically linked to the time, place and feeling of the show. Like any other big musical phenomena, they’ve been prime fodder for the remixing masses of the internet to get their hands on, play with, and generally mash together in a rather pleasing way, as you’ll soon see…

FreddeGredde

FreddeGredde is a Swedish musician who does more mash-ups than one could comfortably shake a stick at, and here he sticks no less than twenty-four theme songs together with nothing more than a guitar and a piano (and a few bonus instruments) in under seven minutes. His saccharine-sweet renditions are adorably accurate, mashing up oldies-but-goodies like Charles in Charge and Fresh Prince with modern superhits like How I Met Your Mother and Friends. His blinding talent and hypnotic smile bring the six minutes and forty-four seconds to the level of acoustic excellence.

This time FreddgeGredde is sticking scores of cartoon theme tunes into another guitar-driven video that got even my stricken, ill roommate peering over the sofa to sing along. It’s another very enthusiactic, extremely good-natured and wildly fun—a particular nod to the mind-bending way he’s harmonising with himself on-screen wearing amusing disguises. It’s another fun take on the theme by a sickeningly talented young man with a penchant for TV shows vastly before his time-including a few very catchy Swedish numbers.

Carrisa Rae and Micheal Alvarado

These two singer-songwriters, Carrisa Rae and Micheal Alvarado, decided to mix up their talents and form the duo Us, who have released their first album and also whacked out a few modestly successful Youtube collabs in the process, such as this very one. In this video, they show off some real vocal acrobatics with their mash-up of older sitcom themes, with some neat beatboxing thrown in for good measure. It’s sweet, fun, and they look like they’re having a ball-even if it does verge on the tooth-achingly adorable by the end.

Roomie

Roomie is made up of super-sweet Swede Joel Berghult, here joined by a bunch of other musicians in order to appropriately mash together Ducktales, Friends, and Pokemon. What stands about particularly about this video is, for one, the effort gone into making an actual video as opposed to having the performers plonked in front of the camera like musical bricks, but also that they’ve added something gratifyingly new to each song-in particular, their toe-tapping cover of I’ll Be There For You is a real cracker-as opposed to just cramming the songs into a few minutes and going “HEY LOOK AT WHAT I DID!”. That, and he’s got almost inappropriately good hair.

Terry He

Terry He, a nineteen-year-old Youtube electro-music prodigy, is joined here by a bunch of other artists to get stuck into some (notably anime heavy) themes of the nineties. From seminal anime classic like Pokemon and Sailor Moon to Arthur and the giant genre-defining classic Bill Nye the Science Guy. It’s another one that’s a lot of fun, with the video being thrown together by what they had kicking around at the time and none the worse for it. It doesn’t have the flow of some of the others, but it does have the applicable sense of silliness for the occasion.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg of Youtube TV mashups- from 60s specials to CBS spectaculars on offer, there’s everything you could want. So, what do you think of these genre-bending TV show mashups? Should the artists have left well alone? Or do the songs complement each other placed in one mashup? Well, even if you’ve not found your nostalgic nirvana here, let us know in the comments what your dream mashup is…

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Top 3 Must See Epic Beatboxing Battles

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Over the last few decades, beatboxers have refined their skills by going head-to-head in elaborate multistage competitions, or “battles,” during which each performer demonstrates his or her vocal ingenuity and vies for the audience’s favor. And though beatboxing is musical in nature, once you step into the burgeoning world of international battles, it becomes apparent that mental and physical athleticism is the key to victory. Replace the powerful jabs and uppercuts of sport boxing with imaginative rhythms and beats and you have the idea.

Beatboxing has grown so popular that an official international league was recently founded that hosts battles around the world to determine who is the best of the best. Battles are fierce and aggressive and always mesmerizing. Sound is the weapon of choice and participants give their all to prove their beatboxing supremacy. Check out below some of the most intense, entertaining, and incredible battles from the last several years.

2012 Beatbox Battle World Championship 2012 Final – Skiller VS Alem

One of the most entertaining and impressive aspects of this quintessential battle is how each performer reacts and adapts to the other’s rhythms, humorous jabs, and physical presence. Skiller, Bulgaria’s 2007 National Champion and the 2012 World Champion, launches one high-speed salvo after another of increasingly complex drum and bass rhythms, often stepping into his opponent’s space to drive each beat home like a jackhammer. Alem, an up-and-comer and France’s 2013 National Champion, responds in kind with a sarcastic counterattack that apes Skiller’s arguably overwrought performance while segueing into a frenzied, more aggressive rhythm.

The two trade attacks like this for the remainder of the battle and their time on stage is punctuated by some truly amusing moments that get the crowd cheering. But in the end, Skiller’s precise control and obvious authority overwhelm Alem and though the young Frenchman puts up a valiant fight, this battle belongs to the Bulgarian.

2012 Female Beatbox Battle World Championship – Pe4enkata VS Flashbox

Beatbox battles are more than just sound. Beyond creating interesting music, the primary obstacle beatboxers face is the mental challenge of simultaneously undermining an opponent’s performance while maintaining the superiority of one’s own. In this battle, each performer demonstrates an aggressive physical presence, with every movement seemingly made to throw the opponent off her game.

Pe4enkata, another Bulgarian National Champion, lays down the gauntlet, cutting new beats into a fast rhythm to change things up again and again, all the while moving closer and closer to her opponent. Flashbox, another French National Champion, responds with a more traditional dance beat that captures the attention of the audience. But though the crowd is cheering, Pe4enkata moves across the stage and halts Flashbox’s momentum by mockingly dancing and making it clear how little she thinks of the Frenchwoman’s performance. Flashbox seems shaken by the physicality and attempts to repay her Bulgarian opponent in kind with a glower, but to no avail. Pe4enkata, having employed it herself, is familiar with the tactic, has the upper hand and walks away with the title.

2011 Ground Scratch Party – Big Road VS Two.H

More than anything else, every beatbox battle is at its heart about the musical versatility of the performer. Being able to adapt to your opponents or prey upon their weaknesses is meaningless without solid beatbox skills. The sonic ingenuity apparent in this battle between the South Korean masters Big Road and Two.H is at times breathtaking and always fun.

Where their European counterparts aggressively layer complex rhythms to demonstrate technical prowess, these two go about their battle in an entirely different and creative manner. Two.H’s performance is based almost entirely on traditional hip hop and dance rhythms, but he modifies them throughout the battle in subtle, satisfying ways to create a wholly listenable song. Big Road responds by taking a similar route and focusing on musicality, but employs a varied slate of comical sound effects to add a thread of much-appreciated levity to his performance. Regardless of the official victor, the real winner of this battle is the head-nodding, smiling audience.

From just this handful of examples, it’s easy to see how beatboxing has risen to such high levels of international acclaim. The musical sport is an energetic competition in which the participants are always adapting to create in each moment a truly unique, almost primal sonic experiences that can’t be found outside their performances. To learn more, check out Beatbox Battle TV (www.youtube.com/user/c4mc4st) for a complete archive of impressive talent. The 2013 American Championships (www.americanbeatboxchampionships.com) are currently underway.

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6 Unbelievable Beatles Covers by Kids

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It is really incredible how talented some kids are. One of the tried and true methods of showing off your musical skills is doing cover tune videos on YouTube. Lots of people love the Beatles and there is no better way to get discovered than performing one of their timeless songs!

Emily and Fiona

This is Emily and Fiona and they are sisters. They have been posting their videos since 2009 and now they have had over 17,000,000 views and 30,000 subscribers. The kids have over 60 videos on their channel. In this version of “Help” they are right on pitch, have a great vocal tone, and their harmonies are excellent.

Children Medieval Band

In only a couple of years the Children Medieval Band have almost 6 million videos views combined. They started out for fun and then their Dad urged them to get together and practice regularly. They got excited about YouTube after posting some medieval classical music and getting subscribers. After that initial popularity the kids decided to try out some rock songs. One of their favorite groups is the Beatles. The children really keep the beat well and can rock out “There’s a Place” which is a complex song.

Beatles Guitar Kid

Stunning guitar tapping instrumental version of “Come Together”. Who is this kid and why does this video not have more views? This really is unbelievable. No description, no name, nothing. Well wherever and whoever he is, this little guy has a future in playing the guitar. Hopefully we will see more videos from him.

Josie Nelson

Josie is 13 and also writes her own songs. Her version of “Blackbird” has a poignant vocal and very tasteful guitar playing. She has been posting her videos since 2009 and has a CD with great reviews on iTunes. Josie performs live allot and has even been interviewed on her local TV station.

Castillo Kids

The Castillo Kids videos have actually been shown on Oprah, Rachel Ray and the CBS The Early Show. They are multi-talented and multi-lingual. They play everything from Guitar to Saxophone and can sing in Arabic, Japanese and even Hindi (and much more). They are a professional act that you can hire if you go to the Gig Salad entertainment booking site. In concert they actually get all dressed up like a mariachi band. The enthusiastic backing harmonies are great in this version of “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da”.

Barbershopette Quartet

The Barbershopette Quartet got together as high school freshman in order to do some Christmas caroling. When they realized they had something they started doing videos and performing locally. They even do their own vocal arrangements. This version of “Because” is really beautiful. The harmonies are crisp and give you a haunting feeling.

YouTube is still the place to share your talents at any age. It’s clear that allot of these kids have gained a world-wide audience from their videos. When views turns into CD sales and getting hired for gigs that becomes inspiration for millions of more hopefuls. So what do you think and which video is your favorite?

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Best and Worst Robot Music Videos & Story Behind My Next Song

best-and-worst-robot-videos

I’m writing my next song based on the short film “Tears of Steal” (watch 12 minute film below). Its about a woman with bionic implants that gets her heart hurt when she is rejected by her boyfriend because of her “handicap”. Her pain turns to anger and revenge. She builds a robot army over a 40 year period and takes out her suffering on the earth. Then there is a moment of impromptu love and kindness that brings some resolution, but I wont spoil it : )

So while doing research for this song I came upon the “best and worst” videos about robots. I hope you enjoy the fun of discovering these as much as I did!

Robots are very popular in science fiction books and films and inevitably make their way into music videos. Despite the fact that movies like The Terminator and The Matrix foretell a time when machines overrun humans, people love them. Robots are fun and interesting creations that can be as fascinating as they are scary. Given the sheer robotic entertainment value, even the worst videos mentioned here are still amusing. The best have high production quality and real innovative artistry.

The Best


All Is Full of Love” by Björk

This is an award winning and Grammy nominated music video. The special effects are stunning. For a robot video it is very risque! The lyrics are beautiful and meaningful too. Leave it to Björk to push the boundaries on many fronts in one work of art. Even though they look like the androids from the film I, Robot there is supposedly no connection.

Amethyst Caverns Soundtrack

This one is for a tune on the soundtrack of a video game called Shatter. The high quality filming, cute robots and clever special effects make this one of the best robot music videos on YouTube. Oh and let’s not forget the cool factor of the massive boom box. The story here is that the little robots are searching the city for their power source, which is sound. This track by Jeramiah “Module” Ross is available on iTunes.

The Worst


Daft Punk Fan Video for  “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

The robotic vocal on this song must have been the inspiration for this fan-made video. Despite the amateurish filming and costume, plenty of people like this. Sure, it’s bad but the home-made robot is endearing. Plus this is an awesome tune. Watch until the end when the robot starts to boogie.

Flight of the Conchords: Robot Song

This video shows that Robots are so cool—even one of the worst videos like this are still entertaining. The guys from HBO’s Flight of the Conchords are in terrible costumes singing lyrics with a Terminator man vs. machine theme. Let’s not be too hard on them as this is really meant to be a comedy skit.

There aren’t all that many music videos with robots on YouTube worth mentioning. Sure, many have a robot in them somewhere, but the aim was to find videos that feature them. Were there any missed here? Are these four videos all that good or bad?

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50 Cent Covers by Girls on Guitar

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As one of the most controversial and galvanizing rap artists of the new century, Curtis Jackson is a man of stark contrasts. He is a millionaire with a lavish lifestyle who constantly brags about his personal fortune after renaming himself 50 Cent, and he is a self-styled but serious business man and entrepreneur who started out as a drug dealer at the tender age of 12. He is a huge proponent of fashion culture and has paved the way of that hardcore “gantsa” look and attitude with his cold stares and ice cold jewelry. You’ll catch him wearing his infamous durag along with these best gold chains for men you’ve ever seen in hip hop jewelry. And although he may have chosen his unusual moniker as a metaphor for “change” in his troubled life, he has given small denomination currency a new value with his flamboyant music and his inflammatory prose.

But in spite of his questionable language, mainstream success hasn’t eluded him, and his bleeped-out videos are featured in every music channel all over the world, leaving many people wondering what happens when the sound dies off and Mr. Jackson’s mouth is still moving. And although it is uncommon for hip-hop songs to be covered by artists from other genres (usually it’s hip-hop the style that borrows heavily from other sources), 50 Cent has had its share of famous renditions of his work performed in the most unusual settings.

There’s the viral video of a singer with relatively poor dental hygiene smiling widely during his extravagant banjo-driven version of ‘In Da Club’. There’s Jackson’s British alter-ego 50 Pence turning his tunes into drinking songs with titles like ‘In Da Pub’ and ‘P.I.N.T.’, and there’s even steel-drum reggae-infected versions of “Fiddy’s” catalog. And there’s obviously the WTF heavyweight titlist in the 50 Cent Covers Championship: the bizarre and hilarious rendition of ‘Candy Shop’ by the nameless wedding band and its theatrical singer scandalizing guests and hosts alike in the final scene of ‘The Hangover’.

But there is always a way to take the hip-hop cover challenge up another notch. And this time, the proverbial hat has been picked up by a group of teenagers with decent guitar skills, who found themselves simply unable to resist the temptation of youtube-ing their folksy renditions of some of 50 Cent’s most iconic songs.

Isabelle Alexandra – “Baltimore Love Song”

First up is Isabelle Alexandra with crude but charming skills on her Spanish guitar and the ability to make the slur-laced rants of “Baltimore Love Song” sound innocent. Her YouTube channel also includes renditions of works by artists such as Notorious B.I.G., Ashanti, Cam’ron and other rappers. She has a beautiful voice and laid-back style.

Liv Miraldi – “In Da Club”

Another sample of girl-next-door-gone-gangsta comes to us from Liv Miraldi. Her strumming is controlled and well-timed, and so is her falsetto. The brevity of the rendition (just a few lines and the infamous chorus) and her refusal to commit with the entirety of the composition are a bit of a disappointment, but the overall result is still quite pleasant. The tons of great material available in her YouTube channel and her ongoing songwriting studies at Belmont University reveal a great potential here.

Jenny Ondreyka – “Wanksta”

Next up is Jenny Ondreyka, who puts herself in a pickle by picking the toughest song to cover in this whole pack as she takes on “Wanksta”. A pleasantly surprising elaborate guitar intro and an awesome instrumental arrangement (using her instrument for harmonic, melodic and rhythmic accompaniment) set the bar high. A quick look at her YouTube channel reveals a handful of true gems. She performs with her Ann Arbour, MI based band, Headless Cabbage, an all-girl outfit with a penchant for unusual guitar tunings and very imaginative arrangements. When singing with her band, Jenny’s voice soars in beauty and power, revealing a truly gifted singer waiting for a better chance.

DJ Chennette – “21 Questions”

But the true gem of the pack, however, comes to us from DJ Chennette. The number of “likes” in her post is a good omen, and only a few seconds after clicking on the Play button you will see why. Her harmonic choices are plain enough to keep the attention centered on the lyrics and the vocals. The bluesy, Joni Mitchell-esque quality of her voice and her solid guitar work make her the only lady of this group that manages to make her performance sound like a self-penned tune.

As disturbing as it may be if it ever becomes a trend, these folksy renditions of 50 Cent are apparently here to stay. The profusion of Fiddy covers in every setting and every style imaginable (yes, there’s even a polka version of one of his songs, in case you asked) threaten to flood the YouTube-sphere with the most bizarre sights and sounds this side of Liberace. The final verdict is up to you. Which foul-mouthed, Heidi-looking, guitar-strumming girl will capture your imagination the most?

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Music: Dopamine Injection or the Ultimate Vibration?

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Music feels good and can help you feel better. It can be relaxing, uplifting, moving, inspiring or just really fun.

Why?

Well after having been immersed in music my whole life I understand now more clearly than ever it is about vibration and its effect on every aspect of our being.

The mind, body and feelings.

So then why and how does vibration affect us? It enters through the ear drum, then presumably into the mind, but then what?

Well according to Wired it all comes down to the release of the old familiar brain chemical dopamine.

Drum_vibration_mode21To me that is a rather flat explanation and I feel like there is more to it than that…

I recently went to a wedding in the city based on yoga tradition. The ceremony opened with 3 collective deep breaths and an AUM from everyone.

I’m not a yoga guy but I do know that AUM is considered the fundamental vibration of the universe. When I do AUM it feels like the essence of music to me.

According to this article, the foundation of universal energy is the vibration of “God’s Word”. I think that is interesting and if you believe in an ultimate designer, could explain the intense human connection to the vibration of music.

Jimi Hendrix NEW

But I think Jimi Hendrix said it best Music is my religion”.

So this may seem like a nice little package of yet another science versus faith controversy.

But sometimes I feel like the only person in the world who sees science as simply a wonderful way to self-explain, temporarily comprehend and brilliantly appreciate a few “hows” of what to me is an obviously magnificent behind the scenes intelligence—call that what you will.

So personally, my answer to the question is “Both”!

photo: Chris Tolworthy

Jimi Hendrix NEW (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



New Public Domain Record Label

Give Life Back to MusicGive Life Back to Music is a new public domain record label. They package up copyright-free music by independent musicians.

So this is a great option for royalty free music if you can’t find something you like on my website. You don’t even need to credit the artists but of course that is appreciated.

There are a lot of creative commons record labels but Give Life Back to Music is very unique. With public domain music the artist gives up all rights to the work.

This is a great way for independent musicians to get exposure if they have no marketing budget. Give Life Back to Music will even create album art for you.

 



Let Music Be Your Muse

Music is the background of our lives. It’s always there, ticking off the moments like a metronome following us around, our constant companion. Music is mathematical and precise, yet loose and flowing. It fits in well no matter the circumstance. It is said a muse is someone who inspires you to create and to grow, but does a muse have to be a person or can you let music be the muse in your life?

There is no question music has had an influence beyond causing us to tap our toes and bob our heads. There’s just something about it. It affects not just who we are – and our behavior from moment to moment, but also who we become because it has the power to help us grow.

Music and the Mind

Studies have shown that incorporating music lessons of some kind can improve academic scores and that it plays a role in brain development. Since we are constantly learning it would be an easy deduction that music’s role in our brain’s development is as continuous as we allow it to be. As we age, any help we can get is worth looking into.

Benefits Galore

Music can help you gain focus and strengthen memory; it can also help improve physical coordination and development. Music is relaxing. Music is healing. Music is one of the few things that lights up nearly the entire brain when one is engaged in it. Why not incorporate a class into your weekly schedule to help stimulate your mind and influence your soul?

Never Too Late to Learn

Whoever said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks forgot to mention that it isn’t necessarily true. If you have been intimidated to learn something new, don’t be. You could take guitar lessons or hire a vocal coach; learn the piano or even learn how to write a melody. Whether it’s a private lesson you pay for or one you find for free via an online tutorial, there is something for every budget. If you already sing or play an instrument, but haven’t done so in a while, get to practicing again!

It Pays to Participate

Engaging in music versus passively listening to it increases endorphins. It is the performance or participation, not the music itself that generates the high. Could this be because we are using so much of our brains at once? The endorphin rise is comparable to that of an athlete. In addition, the study gave credence to the idea that music was a critical factor in human bonding.

What’s Stopping You?

What role is music playing in your life? Is it something you love yet somehow got away from or is it something you never thought to investigate beyond the radio dial or attending local music happenings?

The benefits of music are immense and certainly far from being fully measured. One thing is certain: making music a part of your daily or weekly “exercise” is healthy for you mind, body, and soul. How can you incorporate it into your life now?



Top 10 Video Production Companies in Los Angeles

I took some time to outline production companies in LA doing commercial work. The top ten picks are based on reel quality, a listing of comprehensive services, stated experience, notable clients and an overall positive impression of their website. If you are looking for a video production company in Los Angeles this is a solid list you can start with.

Seven Pictures
Seven Pictures has been in business for over 20 years. Their main focus is bringing a cinematic hollywood style to commercial video. They deliver extremely high quality videos for the Internet and TV. seven-pictures
Notowitz
Provides promotional, training, live event and commercial video production for corporations. They also have a focus on creating videos specifically for the Internet. notowitz
MRB Productions
MRB places great deal of importance on storytelling in their commercial productions. This is probably due to their impressive feature film experience. mrb
Westside Media Group
Specializes in post production and duplication. Serves all levels of clients from students to major corporate networks. Mainly uses AVID and Final Cut Pro. westside
Cresta Group
Concentrates on video production as a component of marketing strategy. Also provides services like website design and advertising. Their overall marketing communications approach is unique. cresta
Highline Studios
Results-oriented productions created as part of an overall branding, identity and social media strategy. In LA and New York. highline
Advanced Web TV
Produces HD web videos with an eye on increasing sales on your website. Also creates TV commercials for clients world-wide. Comprehensive services from scripting to editing and publishing. advancedweb
The Cavalry Productions
Creates all types of digital content, including videos. Focus is on telling a story using new media and PR. cavalry
Corp Shorts
Nationwide with a crew in LA. Complete solution for online video marketing. Focuses on YouTube and other video sharing platforms. corpshorts
Advanced Media
Helps clients get more traffic to their website by producing videos and using social media. Also a specialist in media restoration and preservation. advanced

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