Information for musicians: reducing the risk of tinnitus

Music and tinnitus have been unhappy bedfellows ever since the first time music was amplified, and the number of people suffering will increase and keep on increasing, whilst our ears get battered more and more by mp3 players, mobile phones, and speakers in our daily lives.cNever has there been a need for more research, so we can better understand the condition and therefore get closer to finding a cure.

earplugs61rY+DSraVL._SL1250_Musicians should protect their hearing whilst playing. There are various reasons for this – for example, the risk of hearing damage, post-exposure tinnitus and loudness discomfort.

Because of loud sound levels and frequent exposure to noise, musicians can develop hearing problems such as tinnitus and hearing loss. The advice which is given is sometimes along the following lines: “Give up your career or interest and find something quieter to do” or “Just keep playing and don’t let the tinnitus affect your life”, neither of which are particularly helpful.

However, it is usually possible to strike a balance between these two views. You can continue with your music by using the right kind of hearing protection, which reduces the sound levels to which you are exposed without unduly affecting your listening sound quality. Many musicians have taken this option, and it seems to be a sensible, practical way of dealing with the problem.

If you are an employed musician, the Control of Noise at Work Regulations (2005), which implemented the EU Physical Agents Directive (Noise) in the UK, made employers responsible for the assessment, management and reduction of noise in the workplace, including the provision, where appropriate, of suitable hearing protection. The music and entertainment industry was allowed a three-year period before the Regulations became effective in 2008.

So any employed musician should now have access to advice, suitable hearing protection and/or other forms of noise reduction. But self-employed and amateur musicians also need help and advice!

The risk to hearing from noise at work is dependent on the sound intensity (acoustic power). The safe exposure limit is calculated from a combination of exposure time and sound intensity. Reducing the noise level by only three decibels would allow a doubling of the exposure time, but this is not feasible for performances as controlling playing time is not really a very effective way of managing a musician’s noise exposure.

Reducing the level of sound reaching the musician’s ear, whilst still providing a realistic listening environment, is the best way forward for most people. A suitably chosen and correctly fitted flat attenuation earplug can be an effective solution, maintaining musical fidelity. In some cases, screens and sound absorbing surfaces can also play a part in managing noise exposure.

Some people will develop permanent noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) at moderate noise levels whilst others will not. Susceptibility to NIHL is predictable, so it is not possible to say whether an individual is at risk just by taking a hearing test. Saying “I have tough ears” is not a sensible approach to protecting your long-term hearing! And if you have NIHL, don’t say, “It’s too late for me”, it’s all the more important to protect your ears from even more damage and to try to avoid the onset of tinnitus.

A wide range of technical ear protection products are available. Effective earplugs will reduce the overall level of sound whilst maintaining an even balance across the sound spectrum. This means that you can still hear everything clearly, although the overall sound level is reduced. The greater the number of decibels (dBs) of attenuation by the ear plugs, the better overall protection they offer.

Whilst there are a number of generic earplugs available are aimed at musicians (and stocked by the BTA), customised earplugs may provide a higher level of protection as well as better fidelity of sound. They tend to be more expensive but should be looked upon as an investment.

A number of companies manufacture specialist hearing protectors and in-the-ear monitors for musicians. Essentially, musicians’ earplugs are either based upon an earplug incorporating a “tuned” mechanical filter set to provide a flat frequency response and some reduction in intensity, or a fusion of hearing protection and digital hearing aid technology. In the latter devices, the sound level at the ear may be controlled by a level-dependent amplifier and the frequency response of the system can be tailored to suit the wearer’s audiogram. These ear plugs may also be used by anyone who wishes to reduce the sound levels to which they are exposed without having muffled or distorted hearing.

A decent amplifier or instrument can cost a considerable amount, so spending a smaller sum protecting your hearing, without impeding your playing too much, seems a reasonable outlay.

If you wish to find out more about musicians’ earplugs the best option is to discuss your requirements with a qualified audiologist.

As the impact of noise or loud levels of sound on the ear is accumulative, do not forget that there are a variety of other sources of noise or loud sounds that may need to be taken into account when considering the level of noise to which you are exposed. Those who use firearms, motor cycles, power tools or other devices that produce loud levels of sound should protect their ears when doing so. These different types of sound exposure all require different types of protection. For example, musicians’ earplugs are not suitable for someone who wishes to use a shotgun. Again, if you have any doubts, please consult an audiologist.

by Eddy Temple-Morris

British Tinnitus Association

0800 018 0527
helpline@tinnitus.org.uk

Tinnitus is the perception of noises in the head and/or ear which have no external source, it is often described as buzzing or ringing in the ears. The British Tinnitus Association’s vision is a world where no one suffers from tinnitus.

 

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10 Ridiculous Songwriting Tips

IMG_7523Googling ‘songwriting tips’ will give you about 2 million results in 0.42 seconds. That’s a lot of tips.And y’know what? There’s a good chance a lot of them won’t work. Of course there’s always those songwriting exercises that always work—like recording cover songs or collaborating with a new songwriting partner. But These tips are the special ones. The ones that put you and your ideas first. The ones that open up some time to really focus, experiment and make your songs work.Writing songs is a personal process. It’s all about getting back into yourself to find that song gold.
Here’s 10 ridiculous songwriting exercises to get your songs on track that our chief producer Deanna loves.

1. Play 5 Radios at Once
You might wanna do this one when no one else is home. Or at least keep the volume low. It’ll definitely cause your family to ask if everything is ok. But it really works! Tom Waits famously uses this technique during his songwriting process. He turns a couple radios on and then listens for the interesting overlaps. You’ll find interesting progressions and melodies. Think of it like ear sampling.
This type of absurd composition is a form of aleatory music—It’s music where certain parts of the composition are left to chance. It’s the perfect storm for song inspiration. If it worked for Tom Waits it’s definitely worth trying. So turn on all those radios, roll the dice and listen for the interesting overlaps.

2. Look Out The Window For a Really Long Time
The small room that I make music in has a skylight in it. The view is quite limited—just a small blue square with the occasional cloud, bird or airplane. But I think I’ve learned more about my own process from that small blue square than any guide, walkthrough, or manual could ever teach me. It lets me think clearly. It doesn’t even need to be a window either. Just something silent to stare at. Like a tropical aquarium, or a nice piece of art. These days you have to actually rip yourself out of the hyper-fast distractions that are constantly there (computer, cellphone, etc.) to find some quite silent time. Once you do you’ll get into a way better space to write some songs.
Do you think Brian Wilson composed ‘Good Vibrations’ while he was replying to an email, ordering an Uber, checking his plays on SoundCloud and tweeting about the weather at the same time? I don’t think so.

3. Don’t Talk For The Entire Day. Just Listen.
Take a temporary oath of silence. Your songwriting will thank you. A whole day might be a bit much. Besides, you HAVE to talk to lay down that earth-shattering vocal of pure genius. But It’s no secret that silence is good for you. Even an hour of silence is more than enough time to reset your brain. Whether you know it or not, talking is a huge and complex task for your brain to carry out. Putting it aside for a little while will put you in the right place to write. And during all that silent time all those deep memories and feelings will have a clear path to the top of your mind. Y’know, all those thoughts that make great songs. So take a break from the chatting and try silence for awhile. Let your brain do the talking and find all the inspiration you need.

4. Set an Absurd Time Limit
Guess what? Diamonds by Rihanna was written by Sia in 14 minutes. She put the beat on and the lyrics just flowed. It has gone platinum 5 times in the US alone. Time is a hard scale to balance. Too much and you end up second guessing everything. Too little and you get nothing done. The solution? Set a time limit. Even better, set a time limit that’s way shorter than what you normally write in. Setting slim boundaries will help you focus on what matters, write more songs, and streamline your entire process. And the more you do it, the better you’ll get. Try it out and make your songs shine bright like a… gold brick?

5. Open Your Piano Roll. Grab the Pen Tool and MIDI Scribble
My favourite feeling in kindergarten was grabbing a handful of crayons and scribbling all at once. To be honest, I’m not sure why I stopped. Well, I guess I didn’t really stop necessarily. I Just do it in my DAW nowIf I’m stuck building a beat I often open my piano roll, load up an instrument, grab the pen tool and just start scribbling down notes. After I’m done I play it back and listen for the happy accidents. Most of the time it’s 90% crapolla. But that interesting 10% is super valuable for ideas. So grab your DAW and channel your inner 5 year old every now and then.

6. Write as Few Lyrics as Possible
Here’s a really good tip if you’re stuck: GET TO THE POINT. When it comes to songwriting simple is always effective. But it’s hard to pull off. You have to be ruthless with your approach. Just ask the Beatles. Their song ‘Love Me Do’ has exactly 19 unique words in it. But it’s still one of the most iconic songs of all time. Simple is a skill that every songwriter should master. It keeps your songs relatable, engaging and catchy. Who doesn’t like a good sing along?

7. Put a Lid On It
Infinity exists. The only proof you need is a blank DAW. There’s infinite VST plugins, infinite effects, infinite processing. But infinity isn’t always a good thing. Sometimes the best way to better your songwriting is to set a gear limit. Start with a strict list of what you’re gonna use. Limit your ideas to your gear list. Ideas will take shape much faster than having to constantly decide between a million options. It might sound weird but limitations can actually make you more creative. Because you have to work with what you’ve got and bend it to your sound. Plus keeping yourself limited will give you a deeper understanding of the tools you work with because you’ll have to push them all to the limit.

8. Cut Your Lyrics into a Million Pieces
Author William S. Burroughs created the cut-up technique to help with his own writing. Except he wasn’t writing songs. He was writing books. But his concept is super effective for songwriting as well. It’s pretty simple. Just write out a bunch of words that are on your mind, cut them out and rearrange them into ideas. It doesn’t even have to be words either. It can be chords, notes, melodies, pictures or anything else that works for you. David Bowie famously used this technique to write some of his biggest hits.

9. Set up A reward system
When Brian Wilson was struggling with his own songwriting—among other things—he was reportedly rewarded with cheeseburgers for every song he wrote. Brian’s system was pretty extreme. But the concept is really smart. Writing songs is tough. Reward yourself when you’re finished. If there’s a piece of gear that you’re eyeing, or a new studio toy you want, tell yourself that you have to write 5 songs before you even think about buying it. This will give you something to work towards beyond the satisfaction of being finished with a song—which is a pretty great reward in itself.

10. The Mozart Effect
No, I’m not about to tell you to listen to Mozart and then do what he did. That would be cheating right? But there is another reason to listen to Mozart. Listening to Mozart has been studied and proven to have a positive effect on your focus. It affects your ‘spatial-temporal reasoning.’ Which is basically a fancy word for concentration. Starting your session with a bit of Mozart will put your brain into high-gear. Perfect for pumping out some quality songs. Copying a few of his phrases and melodies can’t hurt either… Just make sure you make ’em your own!

Getting Stuck Happens
Songs don’t always flow. Sometimes you have to take drastic measures to make them work. So think outside the box and and get in touch with your best possible resource for writing songs:

Yourself.
(by Rory Seydel)

02088839641
info@bonafidestudio.co.uk

BonaFideStudio at Summer Festivals

We love being part of our North London Community by organising local Festivals or/and taking care of the performers, stage and sound. Come summer, London is awash with music festivals  with stages popping up all over the city.

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This summer is especially handsome. All this glorious sunshine. If you’re not a fan of mud, camping and not being able to shower then our local Festivals are right up your street. All just short walk away…you get all the best parts of a festival and you can head home to your own bed after…excellent.

In the last few weeks we did 1) MidsummerMuswell on 23rd of June; 2) Fortitude on 7th of July and 3) Hornsey Music Festival also on 7th of July. If you missed it this year put it in your calendar for 2019! Enjoy few photos

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MidSummer Muswell 2018

We are proud to be one of the main organisers of yet another MidSummer Muswell. Our studio chief Deanna Bogdanovic said: ‘As always BonaFideStudio is taking care of MidSummerMuswell sound, entertainment and general promotion and organising of this much loved annual event. Our stage is offering plethora of talented local acts: singers, bands, dancers and comedians. Join us for fun and frolics from 1pm-5pm at St James Square in Muswell Hill. Great free family day out with something of all age groups’

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For list of acts click here

For stage order click here

Happy 19th birthday to us

On 1st of May 1999 we officially opened our doors to music and you.
19 years down the line we are still going strong.30729272_2120693827957732_790290999124426752_nTrust our 19 years of #audio #recording experience to bring your #music& #sound to the next level. Our professionals are well versed in our #recording programs and tools and use the best #recording techniques to provide the best sound & performance.
hope to see you soon!
02088839641

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY: OUR WINNER OF THE YEAR 2018 Margaret McDonald

International Women’s Day (8th of March) is celebrated in many countries around the world. It is a day when women are recognized for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political.

BonaFideStudio traditionally celebrate it by giving The Women of the Year Tribute and this 2018 we chose Margaret McDonald of Greig City Academy.

19905252_10154791875553106_744298963346095031_nMargaret has worked in a secondary school environment for over 15 years, mentor to students and (St!) patron of music and musicians. We want to publicly acknowledge and thank Margaret for all her hard work, her creativity and dedication.

Congratulations on winning our The International Women’s Day Award. We are honoured to call you our studio friend. The award appropriately reflects the endless hours you have spent looking after students, securing them relevant placements within music industry professionals, volunteering with us on the community projects… and always going about it with the smile.

On behalf of our studio and the Music Industry as a whole, we wish you unlimited success in the future. May your students also have this kind of success in the future because of the wonderful example you have set for them.

Congratulations dear Margaret. 

Verba volant, scripta manent!

Viktor Lazic writer, lawyer, journalist and seasoned traveller without air miles is in love with written words.  His and many others.
With more than one million bibliographic units, of which many thousands are considered rarities all safely tucked away in his Society for Culture, Art and International Cooperation ADLIGAT.

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‘Our ‘Society for Culture, Art and International Cooperation (ADLIGAT)’ revolves around the Lazic Library, which was officially founded in 1882, and has survived nine generations to date.’ Says Mr Lazic.

‘In addition to the Library, the society has also established the Book and Travel Museum and the Museum of Serbian Literature.’

The world is a book and those who don’t travel read only a page.
Mr Lazic has visited 85 countries over 5 continents spending nine years travelling the world with a minimum of financial resources. He became known for driving around the globe in an old Russian Lada Niva. His greatest journey lasted 421 days during 2009/2010, which is described in the book “The Great Adventure.” During the trip, he regularly wrote for the daily newspapers Press from Belgrade. Without an accurate plan of travel, he visited thousands of cities, towns and villages. In October 2009. Mr Lazic even reached the border of North Korea! Well, not many stood on its borders….

In July 2011 he started five-month journey around the shores of the Black Sea. He visited rarely visited regions of Southeast Turkey and Iraq, continuing to Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia. At the border of South Ossetia he was arrested by local authorities and held in solitary confinement under unclear charges. Thanks to the International Federation of Journalists, Reporters Without Borders, Serbian Association of Writers and many other organizations Lazic was freed. And no, he didn’t stop travelling or “off the beaten track’ writing.

And yes he always brings books and interesting objects from his travels hence his must see museum.

Mr Lazic is always after unloved and redundant books. If you have any make sure they retire in ADLIGAT.
“Please contact us if you have any surplus books or literature that you no longer need or that you wish to make available to the public via our institution. Any help, no matter how small, is valuable and appreciated” says Lazic.
“Our ambition is to send every book to where it is most needed and most appreciated. So far, we have distributed books to more than 200 libraries throughout Serbia and Eastern Europe. Together with the Serbian Academy of Science and Arts and the Association of Serbian Writers, we have donated more than half a million books to more than 200 institutions in the region over the last few years. These libraries have often been unable to renew their collections for several decades.”

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ADLIGAT Society for Culture, Art and International Cooperation
Museum of Serbian Literature
Book and Travel Museum
Josipa Slavenskog 19a, 11.040 Belgrade – Banjica, Republic of Serbia 
+381 11 36 72 807,
+381 63 360 218,
+381 63 88 54 927

http://www.adligat-serbia.com

muzejknjige@gmail.com