Practice in Public Makes Perfect: how playing for your fans makes you better

Price, 57, has played music nearly her whole life, starting with piano when she was five years old. But in the fall of 2009, the guitar was still something of mystery to her. She had been playing for only a couple of months and was struggling a bit with the new challenges. Yet, instead of holing up in her living room to practice until she felt more confident, she did something totally unexpected: she packed up her guitar and sheet music, headed into downtown Los Angeles, and set up outdoors to work through the new techniques.

Twice a year, Active Arts, a series of programs run by the Music Center in Los Angeles, invites recreational musicians to the arts center’s campus for a 30-minute outdoor practice session called Public Practice. There are no rules about what participants can and cannot play, and mistakes are more than welcome.

“I looked at it as a way to make the time to practice, because I’m always so busy,” explains Price, a legal secretary. Having participated in Public Practice three times, she’s found that bringing her music outdoors helps her focus. “Playing out in public encourages me to approach things a little bit differently. Even though it’s not a performance, knowing that I might have observers helps me to organize my practice session,” she says.

On the other hand, Eric Oto, a saxophonist and two-time participant, has occasionally found himself sidetracked during outdoor sessions–but in a good way. “The acoustics were so fascinating that I ended up, for a little while, just strolling around the campus plaza listening for different sounds,” says the 48-year-old lawyer. “Hearing the sounds bouncing off of the granite, concrete, and everything else outside was really interesting, and it got me to think a lot more about sound production, rather than just technique.”

Sounds of Superior Productivity

We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.

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What is that secret age-old productivity tool? Music.
Yep. The right music can help you stay focused and more productive. Here’s how:
Music Helps Boost Productivity on Repetitive Tasks

Research has shown that when presented with repetitive tasks, music can help make those tasks more enjoyable and boost productivity. In this study, for instance, assembly line workers reported feeling happier and experiencing higher efficiency while listening to music.

Studies suggest that this is because music helps boost mood and therefore contributes to productivity. One study from Canadian researchers looked at this concept. What they found was that time-on-task was shorter — which means they got the work done quicker — and the quality of work performed was better when music was playing. Not only did those listening to music complete tasks faster, but they also came up with better, more creative ideas when the music was on.

This concept of mood can be further explained. Listening to music at your desk can help drown out other distracting noises like chatting coworkers, the buzz of the copy machine, and the clicks of other people typing around you. Placing earbuds in your ears to drown all that noise out — or even having music play over the office’s speakers — creates a more consistent and enjoyable environment that makes you feel more comfortable and relaxed in the space.
The New York Times further suggests that melodic tunes promote the release of dopamine, a feel-good chemical in the brain, which also contributes to that good mood and promotes a more productive working environment.

All of this suggests that music may be a valuable tool in boosting efficiency when performing mundane tasks, such as data entry or answering emails. Some suggest that when trying to focus on a complex task, music can be distracting – just as a noisy office may distract workers. But that doesn’t mean all music is bad for creative tasks. It’s just that the same type of music may not be appropriate in both situations. In fact, studies show that moderate levels of ambient noise can boost creativity, so you have to be conscious of what type of music is playing, and select it based on the task at hand.

Radio USA details 8,000 vinyl records

The public service broadcaster is selling off its catalogue in June.

Radio France has revealed details of over 8,000 vinyl records set to be sold at a public auction. The records are all double copies of music from the station’s 1.6 million-strong collection.

Organised across 10 categories, the records span French pop from Serge Gainsbourg, art-rock from The Velvet Underground, afrobeat from Fela Kuti, synthpop from Yellow Magic Orchestra, plus soundtracks, musique concrete and more. There are some rarities too, like a 7″ copy of Syd Barrett’s ‘Octopus’ valued at between €6000 and €7500, as RA points out.

The public auction takes place at Maison de la Radio on June 19. The profits will be used to fund new acquisitions and to support Radio France’s digitization project. Browse the auction sale catalogue.

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Q Awards: Winners Interviews

John has joked with Q that he is yet to find any upsides to being a solo artist.

Speaking in a Q25 video interview to mark his appearance on the cover of our special 25th anniversary issue, Q304, which is out now, the former Oasis leader.

The Chief declares in the video interview you can watch above: “It’s more of a pain in the arse [being solo] to be honest. Everything is on you isn’t it? It’s a lot more peaceful but it can be a lot more solitary, I don’t mind that. I enjoyed making the record on my own, that was kind of easy… but the hard bit is starting on Monday when I to rehearse with the band and all that.

“I wouldn’t say I’m really pumped in the air kind, like I fucking can’t wait. If someone was to call me now and say we should call this off this has been a huge mistake, I’d go Yep, OK, lets fucking go… but you know you can’t. I guess ill grow in to it. I hope I do.”

Watch the full interview now, which also includes details on The Chief‘s debut solo , his collaboration with Amorphous Androgynous which will be released next summer, the release of ‘lost’ Oasis track Stop The Clocks, his opinions on the Olympics and who he thinks the most influential artist of the last 25 years is (give you a clue, he was in Oasis…)

Skillax Escapes Paris Uber Protest ‘Attack’

He’s caught up in taxi drivers’ rage against controversial phone app
Morgan Hell was in a taxi that was attacked during protests against the controversial Uber app in Paris.

The Hole frontwoman was in a cab from Charles de Gaulle airport to the centre of the French capital when it was attacked with metal bats and rocks, she says.

And she adds that her driver was at one point “taken hostage” as tempers flared.

Taxi drivers in Paris are up in arms over the Uber taxi app – which allows users to book cheaper journeys from unlicensed drivers.

Morgan Hell sent a series of tweets describing her ordeal. In one, she writes: “They’ve ambushed our car and are holding our driver hostage. They’re beating the cars with metal bats. This is France? I’m safer in Baghdad.”

Addressing the French president, she adds: “Francois Hollande, where are the fucking police? Is it legal for your people to attack visitors? Get your ass to the airport. WTF.”

Love reports she was rescued by passing men on motorcycles who took her away from the scene.

Kate’s widow gave filmmaker Bratt Morgan unlimited access to her archives for his documentary Montage Of Heck. She described the film as “very moving.”