May 26, 2019

Monthly Room Availability Update – February 2019

Happy 2019! Are you ready to focus on your music as part of the new year’s resolution kick? We currently have a few openings in our drum share rooms starting at $200/month and one space in a shared band room starting at $400/month. These shared spaces are all available to tour and move-in now!

Our private rehearsal rooms are in a bit more demand, as we currently have one private room coming available this week. Give us a call at 312-997-1972 or schedule a tour via our Schedulicity booking page to view and learn more information about our private room!

As always, we encourage interested clients to keep an eye on our monthly room availability page on our website. We update any rooms that are coming open soon and as they become available to rent as we receive notice from our tenants!

Music Garage Client Appreciation BBQ – 9/25/18

It’s time once again for our client appreciation BBQ! As we prepare to welcome autumn with open arms, we want to thank all of our clients for making this summer at Music Garage so awesome!! Please join us in our parking lot on Tuesday, September 25 for food, beverages, live music, networking, and community!

Get more details and RSVP on our Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/events/849634718573420/

Monthly Room Availability Update – July 2018

We currently have one drum share and one band share rehearsal spaces available NOW, and two drum share rehearsal spaces coming open next month! Give us a call at 312-997-1972 to speak to a manager for more information or to schedule a tour to check out the rooms.

Monthly Availability Update – June 2018

We currently have two drum share rehearsal spaces coming open at the end of June! Give us a call at 312-997-1972 for more information or to schedule a tour to check out the room.

Technical Issues – Click Here for Links!

Our website is currently experiencing some technical difficulties with our navigational links, so please refer to the links on this page to find more information about our hourly and monthly rooms. Our scheduling link on the homepage is still functional, so you can continue to book hourly rehearsals online or by giving us a call at 312-997-1972. Thank you!

About

Walking Contradiction: Rocking with a Degree

 by Bridget Stiebris

When you think of rock music, what typically comes to mind? If you’re my grandparents, you’ll probably imagine a sweaty stadium full of angsty punks, thrashing about and punching one another in the face. And if you ever attend a Slipknot concert, that’s probably what you’ll see. Is that really all that contemporary music has to offer the world? Think of the numerous recorded performances of Jimi Hendrix. With impeccable flowing movements and a precision so sharp it’s almost scary, Hendrix twists and bends the strings of his guitar as it wails through the night. And what about Bruce Springsteen and the E Street band? A timeless performer, Springsteen fills the audience with pure energy and nostalgic delight as a saxophone solo captivates the room. To dismiss this as “dumb” or “reckless” simply wouldn’t make sense. After all, Brian May, the guitarist for Queen, holds a degree in Astrophysics and has worked with NASA on numerous occasions. Dexter Holland, vocalist for The Offspring, has a PhD in molecular biology and has penned multiple scientific research papers.

It’s undeniable that these artists, and countless more, have touched the hearts of millions across the world. It’s music like this that inspires, influences, and propels us through the good and the bad of each passing day. So how does the classical world continue to dismiss it as not “serious” enough? We talk of the brilliance of John Cage, a 1950s composer who created the prepared piano (filled with bolts and rubber bands to alter the sounds of the strings) and wrote the famous 4’33” (a shocking 4 minutes and 33 seconds of pure silence). We study the music of Henry Cowell, who composed a piece called “The Banshee,” which consists of a bow roughly scraping different areas of a cello. Yet, these examples are dubbed “avant-garde” and praised for their contribution to new ideas in composition and technique.

I must stress that my goal here is not to put down or ridicule classical music; only to compare its ideals with contemporary music, and question why it can’t be taken as seriously in our modern world as the pieces above. I am constantly trying to figure out the true purpose behind this definition of “smart” music, and music that is unworthy of this title. And so, in an attempt to answer this question, we must consider those who have a degree in formal music education, and chose to pursue contemporary music paths instead. There is so much we can learn from music school graduates, but above all, we can explore how they have come to fit into the contemporary scene with their formal degrees and years of training.

 

Kris Meyers:

Umphrey’s McGee (Meyers on right)

Drummer for touring jam band Umphrey’s McGee

Masters of Music, DePaul University

“There’s a learning curve with whatever artists you’re dealing with…how they want to learn songs. But the discipline you get from the rehearsal techniques, the pedagogy, your classes, and the programs –especially at DePaul — they teach you how to memorize things. They teach you about chart reading, about style features. You study all the artists from past, present, of that genre. Understand when someone is playing a certain way.  You learn to speak the language. Big band teaches you a lot about how to set up with the proper fills, how to set up rhythmic figures. DePaul is right in the metropolitan Chicago area, so you’re getting hands-on experience playing gigs, which is where you learn a lot of the real lessons in life.”

Catch Umphrey’s McGee at Union Park in Chicago on September 2.

 

Arcana (Clark on left)

Joe Clark:

Adjunct professor at DePaul and lead trumpet in local jazz band Arcana

Masters of Music, DePaul University

“One of the most valuable parts of getting a degree in music is being surrounded with a bunch of other people who want to have a career in music. Every member of Arcana has different degrees: Classical Performance (Will Russel), Music Education (Mark Hiebert), Jazz Performance (Dave Agee), and Jazz/Classical Composition (Me). We also all come from different states. If it wasn’t for DePaul University, I can’t imagine our paths crossing any other way. Additionally, our different backgrounds give us different viewpoints and areas of expertise which makes sure we don’t become an echo chamber of the same kind of ideas. Plus, many of our fans first heard about us through musical connections that started at DePaul.”

Find out more about the incredible jazz outfit Arcana here.

 

 

Bob Koutek:

Bassist for local rock group North of Eight, Singer/Songwriter, Recording Artist

Bachelor’s in Music Performance, The American Musical and Dramatic Academy

North of Eight (Koutek, far left)

“The formal aspect of my musical education technically began in high school when I joined choir. I had a phenomenal instructor named Debora Utley, who really made sure that music theory was a huge part of our curriculum. Fast forward to college in NYC, where I tested into Advanced Music Theory and was continually challenged to push the boundaries of my own understand of music and all its mysteries. Initially starting with a focus on musical theatre, our professor, by the name of Peter Susser, exposed us to many genres, from classical and jazz, to pop and everything in between. In no time the training I was experiencing inevitably bled into all forms of music I was performing or writing. It has helped me to communicate my musical ideas with other musicians clearly.

I cannot stress how important formal music education has been in my career. Learning music theory and more importantly being able to put it into practice has opened many doors that might have been previously closed. I believe it has helped me become a better musician and band-mate. I’ve played the clubs for nobody. The band has headlined the Metro and House of Blues here in Chicago. I’ve even I’ve sung and danced on Broadway. I truly feel as though I appreciate music more, even being out in the crowd just listening, having had musical education in my life.”

You can see North of Eight at the 4th Annual Homegrown Arts and Music Festival in Lisle, IL on August 6 and 7.

 

These artists are clearly not your average symphony orchestra members, yet they all praise their education for enabling them to perform better in the modern world. So if you ask the question, “how does modern music apply to classical?” You have your answer in their words.

Like it or not, all music is connected. The skills you need to sight-read will help you to quickly figure out a riff. The energy you deliver in an audition will prepare you for a sold out night on stage. Contemporary music has too much relevance in our world to be thrown away from the classroom. The concept of music education has such incredible potential to give students a comprehensive guide to the galaxies of art that await them in the world — and I say we let it.

Master Networking: An Interview with Myron Cherry

By Zachary Caputo

We could talk all day about the positives of networking, and how it can truly help you reach heights you never thought you could before, but why  not let it speak for itself?

We interviewed Myron Cherry, a Music Garage tenant with a laundry list of amazing achievements. We got some engaging stories not only about his career, but how networking has helped him every step of the way.

Some of those aforementioned achievements are truly remarkable:   opening for the legendary band Mint Condition, best-selling R&B artist Ginuwine, and regularly performing at venues such as House of Blues and festivals such as SXSW.

So, how many of these opportunities came about because of networking? “All of them,” Myron said. “Networking is extremely important for what I do, especially if I desire to work as consistently and frequently as possible.”

His approach to networking shares some characteristics with other common tactics, but he has one unique way of going about things that makes him stand out from the rest: “I place cold calls and build relationships before actually working with certain people.”

Myron was also fantastic enough to share some great tips: “[Having] a basic relationship and being identifiable in your field is first and foremost. Having accessible product or evidence of your work adds more impact to your efforts.”

There you have it! No longer must you simply trust us, you have a real example of the power of networking. So, get your business cards and get out there!

 

Guitar care with David Taylor

By: George Ellzey

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As one of the most played and popular instruments of all time, the guitar has made a huge impact on the world of music. Originally from Spain, the guitar has evolved from a small wooden “four course” figurine to a powerful and popular instrument that comes in various shapes and brands. In keeping with this month’s theme, it was fitting to focus on guitar upkeep. I had an in depth conversation with the newest member of the Music Garage family, David “Dave” Taylor. With his years of musical experience combined with his time spearheading guitar repair at Dr. Fretgood, David Taylor is our resident expert on guitar care.

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Music Garage: When did you begin your musical career?
David Taylor: I’ve been playing for a very long time. I began playing the piano at a young age. One day I saw some people in a middle school talent school playing a guitar. I thought to myself, “If those guys can do it, so can I.” After I learned guitar, it really complimented what I was doing on the piano.

MG: What lead you to guitar repair?
DT: I began guitar maintenance at a studio I was working at. I taught guitar lessons there. The owner asked if I could do basic guitar service and they took me on. I started with restriping. I was there 5 years and I learned everything from re-fret to restringing. I’ve done every type of guitar repair several times.

MG: What are basic maintenance tips every guitar owner should know?
DT: As far as maintenance goes, continence or frequency is probably the best thing. You can go in every 6 months to get basic maintenance. When I do a set up, I look at everything. For example, if the volume nob on your stret is loose and you ignore it, you can either tighten it right then or can just let it jiggle. Then something gets disconnected then you have to pay a hefty price for repairs.
Just like going in frequently and staying on top of things, having basic environment awareness for your guitar is key. During the Chicago winter bring the guitar inside when it’s 10 degrees or vice versa. You don’t need to get a humidifier (it helps for certain acoustic guitars). Also, keeping your guitar in the case is helpful especially if it’s acoustic.

MG: What about live performances? How should one prepare their guitar for the stage?
DT: For live performances there are two extremes. The first is having a guitar that is barely playable. You have a hard time keeping it in tune. The intonation is not right. The strings are old. Poorly maintained guitars will affect your performance. It will affect your confidence. In those scenarios it’s hard to distinguish between whose fault it is. Is it the guitar or yours? On the flipside. Your guitar sounds great. You play one tone and that makes a contribution to that moment of music. Being on both sides, when you have both of those items

MG: Are you for or against customization or “pimping out” guitars?
DT: I don’t do really fancy stuff to my guitar. I do basic maintenance. I come from an extreme school where I will buy a base instrument. I’d buy a $120 basic Squire Stratocaster and rebuild certain things such as the machine head, frets and add some pickups. For guitar customization the results will vary. If you get the base instrument, anything you do to it will improve it. Then you get to a cut off and it’s a point where you can do more and more to the guitar and it won’t make a huge difference. There’s a point where it’s not practical anymore. Unless, you are really hearing it and it makes a difference for you and your performance.

MG: Do you recommend every guitarist continue to learn about his or her instrument?
DT: When I’m teaching lessons, I include guitar repair knowledge. I think it will make for a better musical experience knowing how to repair your guitar. You can change your guitar strings overnight instead of paying someone else. Having awareness of your instrument will make your experience that much more positive.
My playing changed when I knew the anatomy. At first the guitar was a mystery but when I took things apart and put them back together, I played with familiarity with the instrument and I felt more comfortable. I don’t think every student needs to know everything about the guitar, but if they are aware and have basic knowledge they will have a positive experience. Continue learning about the guitar.

MG: What are some of the worst guitars you’ve ever had to repair?
DT: One guitar I repaired the owner spent about $600 to $700 and it came weathered. The parts had rust and the pick guard was warped. I recommended that the owner buy a basic Stratocaster and play till it’s weathered. The second nightmare guitar was 12 string acoustic guitars. It was in pretty bad shape. There was so much tension with the 12 strings that the stem looked like it was going to break. It’s hard to make it play well. Also, vintage is not necessarily good thing. People think it’s cool to have old hardware because it’s vintage; but it’s obsolete. There is a big market for vintage. Old doesn’t necessarily means it is timeless.

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David Taylor’s guitar services are available 7 days a week at Music Garage and can be accessed at the Front Desk, or by emailing David directly at david@musicgarage.com.

Calling card: How to preserve and strengthen the character in your singing voice

By: George Ellzey

If you rely on your voice for your livelihood, then your voice is your calling card. Professor Norman Hogiykan of the University of Michigan describes the voice as “your ambassador to the outside world”. Regardless of your introspective and personal song lyrics or your captivating robust presence on stage or even your beautiful boyish looks, your voice is the main factor that distinguishes you from the pack. When you hear “Think” on the radio you automatically know it’s Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin. As the thought provoking “What’s Going On” plays on your Crosley Lancaster turntable, you know that sweet and smooth tenor voice belongs to Marvin Gaye and no one else.

Every person has a matchless character to their voice. Just like fingerprints, voices are not identical. Humans are born with the same hardware that contributes to your voice: 1.Power source – lungs. 2 The Vibrator – voice box. 3 The resonator – ears, nose, mouth, throat and sinuses; however, our genetic makeup combined with external influences craft our individual sound. Each voice is special. It’s our duty to protect as well as enhance our voices. Below is a list of suggestions provided by Dr. Martin Hopps, Otolaryngologist, on how to preserve your voice through all the hustle & bustle of singing, touring and everyday life:

1. Your singing voice is an extension of your speaking voice.
2. If you abuse your voice speaking, your singing will be affected.
3. Get a lot of sleep, drink plenty of water, and participate in exercise.
4. Rest, moisture, and muscle tone are the three key ingredients to good vocal health.
5. Going in and out of changing climates (cold/dry/warm) irritates vocal cords.
6. Smoke is the biggest enemy. It dries and irritates the throat.
7. Alcohol dries the throat. It is a major enemy to the voice.
8. Talking while smoking is very damaging (avoid smoking).
9. Caffeine is a drying agent. Avoid it or limit your intake.
10. Never yell or scream in conversation, especially in dry climates.
11. Moisture is the key to maintaining healthy vocal cords (drink plenty of water).

There is one tip, however, that every vocalist should consider – vocal lessons. Vocal training is not a requirement for becoming a superior artist: Elvis Presley allegedly never had vocal lessons or musical training and he became an icon. The act of learning about the mechanics of your vocal instrument will inform your use of it. The more you know, the more confident you will be. Whether it’s hiring a vocal coach or picking up new vocal exercises from YouTube videos, vocal conditioning and preservation is key to having a positive music career.

You can’t have your cake and eat it too

 

By: Stefanie Safahi

One of the greater misfortunes of life is that those things that are truly enjoyable are never really all that good for you. Why can’t cheese fries be just as nutritious as kale? Why can’t rolling a joint and playing Halo 4 all day be as productive as running a 5k?

While many musicians might like to believe such a Shangri-La in which you can consume and do whatever you want without feeling repercussions exists, the universe begs to differ.

Just look at James Brown. All respect to Mr. Brown, though. He was truly a talented individual who just happened to fall victim to that ‘sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll’ lifestyle that still entices so many in the industry. At the height of his career in the 1960s to 1970s, Brown was riding a wave of success and didn’t show any signs of washing out any time soon. A few years and a few drug problems later, Brown pulled a shotgun on a man using his toilet in 1988.

There are countless other examples out there, but the message is the same: you are what you consume. Everything that goes into your body interacts with your insides and influences how well your body and mind work.

Human bodies are complex structures that require certain nutrients to keep things running smoothly on a day-to-day basis. If you don’t satisfy those nutrients, because, say, you live off of Big Macs and PBR, your body will struggle to keep up with daily activities like making it through a three-hour band rehearsal.

I’m not saying you need to become a total veg-head or cut late-night tacos out of your life completely, but I am urging you to be more cautious of how you’re treating your body, especially since it can influence how well your career can thrive.

Below are some simple tips to help you do some “spring cleaning” of your health habits.

1. Drink water. Everyone, not just vocalists, needs water. It replenishes your body and flushes out the toxins, like those seven shots of Jack Daniels from last night. Opt for a water bottle next time you’re at the vending machines and that Dr. Pepper is catching your eye…

2. Eat this, not that. It’s hard when you’re ballin’ on a budget and/or touring to make healthier choices because they tend to be pricier. If this is the case, just choose the lesser of two evils. There’s also a handy dandy book that you might find very helpful, especially if touring and unable to make your own food at home.

3. Get physical. This is easier than you think. You don’t necessarily have to turn into a gym rat who lives in muscle tees and snorts protein powder. Take advantage of the nicer weather and get outside for a little while. Walking to the bar also counts.

4. …But get your z’s, too. Sleep is good. Musicians and those involved in the music industry are often subject to a few all-nigthers here and there, but you need rest. Get some.

5. Bye, bye, bye sodium. Sodium is like the cunning snake of food seasonings, always slithering into every meal when it gets a chance. Ditch salt and other processed foods that are jam-packed with sodium because a diet saturated with sodium can lead to increased blood pressure, which in turn can lead to increased risk of heart problems.