My Journey With Music

By: Madison. Hughes

I remember a time in grade three when my class was learning a song for an assembly. Everyone had a chance to sing and before this I had never really sang much. While we were all practicing, the teacher was walking around the room listening. When the teacher walked past me, she told me that I had a really nice voice and that she wanted me to sing a solo in the song. When it came time for the assembly I sang my solo and absolutely loved the experience. While I was nervous at first and had no experience at all, it felt as though it was something I was meant to be doing. From that day on I started singing more and more because that was the push I needed. It took this push to help me figure out that what I loved doing most was singing.

Over time I realized that I was also good at learning instruments. I experimented with a lot of different ones including piano, violin, flute, clarinet and guitar. Guitar was the one instrument that actually stuck with me when I first started playing it in high school and I have now been playing for over five years.

Playing guitar and singing have definitely made a huge impact in my life. Through ups and downs, playing and singing music has always gotten me through the toughest of times. Whether it is writing my own music, or just finding a song that fits my mood at the time, it always seems to help. When I would be having a bad day I would just come home, go up to my room, take out my guitar and start playing. There was one day in high school I had just had a fight with my best friend. I felt as though the fight was all my fault and I felt like we would never be friends again. Through tears streaming down my face and through all of the pain I was feeling in that moment, I turned it all into an original song. I played the song over and over again until I calmed down. Although I was still upset about the incident that happened, after finishing with my guitar I felt as though a weight had been lifted from my shoulders.

Music is also very important to me due to my battle with depression. A few years back I was in the hospital due to a suicide attempt and at that point in my life I can confidently say I was at my lowest. It was an extremely tough time for me but while I was in the hospital, I learned that they had a guitar in the classroom there. Since I did not have any school work to do in the hospital they allowed me to use the guitar because it helped keep me calm and at ease. It was nice to be able to share my music with others since I had not really had the chance before. It also helped me bond with the other youth that were in there with me as they would ask me to play songs for them. Being able to play my music in the hospital definitely made my stay in there a lot more bearable. It kept me calm as well as helped me make friends while I was there. It helped me to become more open as a person and allowed me to express myself. Every day I would ask one of the counsellors if I could have the guitar because that is all I wanted to do while I was in there. Having that guitar to play music really helped me get through this difficult moment because it was something that I could really connect with. While I did get a lot out of the counselling and other things we did there, I feel as though the guitar made the biggest impact on me since I could really express my feelings through my music instead of actually having to say everything.

Since my hospitalization, I have come such a long way in terms of my guitar playing. I find it ironic that the first song I learned was, “Free Falling” by Tom Petty because that is exactly how I feel when I play my music; like I am free falling. I feel free and as though all negative emotions drift away. Nothing can change how I feel about playing music. I just keep playing and free falling into my own musical world.

Having all of this music in my life has helped me become who I am today by allowing me to express who I am through sound and words. It has allowed me to share with others how you can start from such a small sound and allow it to grow so much bigger and more powerful. When I am playing guitar and singing, it is like nothing can bring me down because it has helped me through so much. There is a quote that has always stuck with me about music, “Music in the soul, can be heard by the universe” (Lao Tzu). This is one of my favourite quotes because it says that if you are really in tune with your sound and what you are playing and really feeling it, the whole world will hear it. If you just sit there and strum some chords on a guitar and belt out some lyrics, it won’t mean a thing to you. However, if you really sit there and put all of your heart and soul into it and become one with what you are playing, THAT is when it becomes meaningful and THAT is when it will become therapeutic. Music has been so impactful in my life and while there are alternatives to life’s problems, music is my medication.

 


A Study of Women in Rave Culture

A Study of Women in Rave Culture: An Insider’s Perspective on Identity and Deviance

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Mt. Woozy (Sept. 2015) Taken By: Tas Fraser

In late August 2015 to early September 2015, I came up with the idea to study rave culture. A couple of people my younger sister knows attend raves and I never took much of an interest in them before. It just so happened that during my 4th year course selection in the summer,  I decided I wanted to do an independent research project to gain some experience. But of course…you need to have a topic to study. So that is when I thought…what about rave culture? For one I knew practically nothing about it except for things i’ve heard such as “ravers are crazy”, “everyone goes just to do drugs”, and “those girls show too much skin”. I’d also never been to one. I figured it was time to learn something new so my Criminology and Sociology background then came into play. I wondered why this activity was viewed as deviant, why people go to these events, what is with the stereotypes and how people benefit from raves if they do at all? After a while I honed the topic to be about women’s experience in the culture and it took off from there.  I stepped out of my comfort zone to study raves which many speak negatively about but have never attended. The study includes a 40 page report and a video. I conducted interviews with 6 women who are active participants in the rave scene, obtained the opinion’s of 3 other women I attended events with on their first experience, and I attended 3 Toronto rave events myself. I never imagined the outcome would be so rewarding. I learned so much being exposed to this different world and I can’t wait to share it with all of you. As of January 2016, the project has been cleared for publishing. So, if you’re interested and if you’re willing to keep an open mind….read on and take a glimpse into my experience as a rave participant!


REPORT

Below is the link to the full report of the project. Included is: interviews, themes, my personal experiences, first impressions, etc. Hopefully you enjoy the report and that it gives you some insight into what rave culture provides for women!

A Study of Women in Rave Culture Report


If you liked this article or if you have any questions etc. Please contact me! I’d love your feedback

Songwriting Contest

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Details

Are you a songwriter? Would you like to have one of your songs professionally produced and recorded? This contest is for you!
I’ve teamed up with Hive Studios (www.hivestudios.ca) in Hamilton, Ontario to create a contest for all you amazing songwriters out there! All you have to do is get a recording of your original music to us by January 31st 2016 and you’ll be eligible to win a full-production recording of your music at Hive Studios (5 Years in a row Recording Studio of the Year in Readers Choice) .
This contest is open to music of any genre or style as long as it’s your very own original composition. From Jazz to Hip Hop or Classical to Death Metal send to this email: hiveandvidscontest@gmail.com in any format and your music will be judged myself and by a panel of industry professionals.

The winner will have 1) their song professionally recorded and produced at Hive Studios with professional studio musicians and 2) an interview with me about your music to be posted right on my blog “Videos and Venues”! 

2 runners-up will receive a credit for 1 free song added to one of Hive Studios unlimited time projects. (Over $800.00 Value!!)

Format & Info To Include

Examples of format: mp3, dropbox or wetransfer links. Your submission can be recorded just using your phone or camera or webcam of you, or anyone else playing and/or singing your song. 

With your entry please include: 1) A copy of the lyrics, 2) your name (and any co-authors), 3) email address and your phone number 


If you have any questions please get in touch with me (Tas Fraser) at videosandvenues@gmail.com or Michael Brown (of Hive Studios) at mike@hivestudios.ca

 

How I Get Ready to Perform

This week I did a more personal behind the scenes video about how I get ready to perform at shows! This video is a bit shorter so it will  not take as much time to watch as the other one. Basically I told myself “Tas…you’re going to do the open mic tonight” and that’s exactly what I did. The open mic I performed at was at Station 1 Coffeehouse in Grimsby, Ontario. The food and drinks are great and the staff are all extremely friendly. It is a great environment for a first show (and for me it was kind of like a first show as I haven’t performed in three years!). They have open mic nights every Thursday starting at 7:30. You come in, sign up on the list then wait to perform. Additionally, they have free shows on Saturdays if you’re looking for a place to get out and listen to some local music.

In the video below, I take you on my trip from getting ready to performing at this open mic.

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How I Get Ready to Perform

Don’t forget to subscribe, share and comment! I encourage feedback and any ideas for videos you would like me to do just send me an email at videosandvenues@gmail.com or comment on the video or in the comments box below!


How to Make a Low Budget Music Video

Hey everyone! Today i’m releasing my first YouTube video associated with this blog. I decided to give you a little how to on one of my favourite hobbies….making music videos. My sister and I in our spare time like to have a little bit of fun by recreating the music videos of popular songs. In this YouTube video i’ll be showing you the steps I go through to create music videos and how to use the app “Video Star” . Something to keep in mind, while I did mention Samsung users can find this in Playstore, I was incorrect so I apologize. If you are interested in similar apps, Playstore does have: Red Karaoke and Video Cam Illusion.

In the video I mention 3 steps you have to take prior to actually making the video, which will be summarized here:

1) Pick a Song, 2) Gather Supplies and 3) Pick a Location

Following this there will be a tutorial on the basics of the Video Star program. At the end there is a little surprise and you can see a preview of how our music video for Virginia to Vegas’ “Don’t Fight the Music” turned out.

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How to Make a Low Budget Music Video  

 Don’t forget to subscribe, share and comment! I encourage feedback and any ideas for videos you would like me to do.