Friday, September 24, 2010

Wavepad free audio editor app.

Ever have an audio file that was in the wrong key for your band or choir to rehearse? Ever wish you could slow down the practice audio files without having it interfere with the sound quality?

Here is a totally free audio app called, Wavepad, that will do the task in just one click.

Wavepad is a feature rich sound editor for Windows and Macintosh platforms. You can record from audio inputs, like a microphone or a record player, import and edit sound files. It is good for making mixes, or digitizing vinyl.

The range of options in WavePad basic - there is a commercial "Masters" version - is impressive. You can add effects, fades, split tracks, merge tracks, and much more. Performing all of these tasks is easy, and easy to undo if you make a mistake. It's certainly user friendly, and the fact you can import more or less any sound file format makes it incredibly accessible for anyone (there's no need to mess around with file conversion).

As well as importing from your hard drive, you can also import directly from CD, and there's a tool to burn whatever you want. There is a tone generator, and even a text to speech generator, so you can express yourself with a robotic voice.

There are tabs at the bottom of the edit window for you to move easily between open files, a zoom tool so it's easy to highlight exactly the part you want when editing, and the highlighting itself is really intuitive, allowing you to apply effects with precision.

The one function I think WavePad is missing is a BPM analyzer - although this is sometimes unreliable in other programs, it's a nice feature to have.

For anyone that wants to mess around with their sound files - WavePad is a great and lightweight program to use.



WavePad supports the following formats:


You can obtain a free download at:

Good gigging!

Larry Marra

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Pick a card

Here is a very inexpensive way to get new contacts for music gigs.

Have catchy business cards printed up with the band's name, a brief description of the music venues that your ensemble can perform, along with all contact info.

Pass them out to all the members of your group.

Your ability to spread the word about your group has just increased exponentially!

Office Depot, Staples, or Kinko's can print 1000 business cards for about $15. This is a small investment considering that you have enabled every member of your group to promote you ensemble to possible club owners, event locations, and even private affairs that you would have never known about.

You can even print them from your own home computer printer for the small cost of card stock paper!

I always put five business cards in every new contract I send out so the current employer will have access to your contact info and pass then to others looking for good music.

Another way is to make your ensemble a contact in your blackberry or other smart phone that you can text to people and add to their phone directory. This way they can search for a keyword such as band or choir in their phone to quickly find you.

Good Gigging!

Larry Marra

Friday, September 10, 2010

What are you sight reading?

I was directing the first rehearsal of a brand new swing band last night. I am the only professional musician, but all the players are quite accomplished on their instruments. The purpose of this ensemble isn't to make money, but to perform philanthropic concerts for hospitals and nursing homes. and to promote the love of swing band music.

Since we had never played any of the charts before, everyone in the band was sight reading. After a few minutes into the first number, I felt compelled to stop them and ask the band an important question.

What are you sight reading?

One brave soul raised his hand and said, "I am sight reading the notes, what else?"

I replied, "I'm glad you asked. I am sight reading the notes, dynamics, key and meter changes, repeats, and articulations."

The band got very quiet.

I continued, "What makes a difference between a good band and a great band is attention to detail. A band that plays the everything same tempo and dynamic level is a very boring band.
I understand that reading all the markings around the notes will take a little time and effort, but it will be well worth it.'

So the next time someone gives you a piece of music to read, read the entire page and not just the notes.

Your audience will thank you in the long run.

Good Gigging!

Larry Marra

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Top 40 podcasts for teachers


I recently compiled a list of the Top 40 podcasts for teachers, and I
just wanted to let you know that musicteachers911 made the list!

It is published online at

Thanks so much, and if you think your audience would find useful
information in the list or on the site, please feel free to share the
link. The blog is just starting up, so we always appreciate a linkback
as we're trying to increase readership.

Thanks again, and have a great day!


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