SOPP440: I have given some thought to blogging—particularly since my studies focus on early music
Vidas: Hi, guys, this is Vidas.
Ausra: And Ausra.
V: Let’s start episode 440, of Secrets Of Organ Playing Podcast. This question was sent by Michael, and he writes:
Hi Vidas and Ausra,
Thank you again very much for liking and reposting music! I cannot thank you enough, and I am extremely honored by your likes and reposts!
I have given some thought to blogging—particularly since my studies focus on early music (particularly English composers like Byrd, Gibbons, Tallis, etc.). I've always loved early music, so it was not difficult for me to decide on what part of the repertoire I wanted to focus. I have given some consideration recently to creating a website for my work in general (compositions, studies, recordings), and I have also given some thought to recording an album of my clavichord music. I am still researching into how I can do all these things. I know there are some free domain sites, but I am not sure about PayPal so people can purchase my scores or recordings, or how to add a feature that allows people to peruse my scores before purchasing them, etc. I am hoping to do all these things before university resumes in late August.
At the end of this month, I have a harpsichord recital, so I am focusing all my energies on that, at this time. On the recital will be pieces by William Byrd, Girolamo Frescobaldi, Ercole Pasquini, Domenico Scarlatti (the "Cat Fugue"), Domenico Zipoli, and several of my compositions. I will be performing on three instruments, all tuned to a temperament appropriate for the time in which those works were performed (meantone tunings for Byrd, Frescobaldi, and Pasquini; well-temperament for Scarlatti and Zipoli, etc.).
The semester will conclude the week after the recital. After resting for a few days, I will try to begin the process of creating a website/blog.
Thank you again for your message and suggestions, and thank you again very much for liking and reposting my music! I greatly appreciate it!
V: Ausra, do you know who Michael is? Or which Michael, because we have many Michael’s on our listeners base.
A: It’s a very popular name.
V: Exactly! He is, I got to know him from SoundCloud...
A: Yes, I know it.
V: ...Where we share our podcasts, and other audio files. So Michael Calabris is his name. He is a composer and student and organist and harpsichord player and clavichord player, basically keyboardist. And he posts some nice compositions of his own and also his performances of those early baroque pieces on harpsichord and clavichord. So I’m in the habit of liking and reposting his pieces and which he really appreciated.
A: Yes I heard some of his works.
V: So then after a while of doing this, he wrote me this message and I suggested that since he likes to share his work on SoundCloud, it would be nice for him to write about it too, as a blog. And that’s what this feedback is about. What do you think?
A: Yes, I think it’s wonderful that nowadays that you can share your works and your ideas with others, with thousands of people on the internet. We didn’t have that possibility, let’s say, twenty years ago. And I really like those composers that he is particularly fond of, because as probably everybody knows, Vidas and I, we love early music too. And another thing that I liked about this message [is] that Michael is playing harpsichord, and he’s using different temperament for different composers. I think that’s such a great idea. And I miss our time at Eastern Michigan University where we had [a] wonderful harpsichord technician who would tune harpsichord for us in any temperament that we would wish. And in the same recital you could play, let’s say, Sweelinck’s ‘Fantasia Chromatica’ on the meantone, on the Italian harpsichord and then to play let’s say, on the on Kirnberger, the third temperament.
A: harpsichord. It was really wonderful experience. I miss those times a lot. Because you cannot change temperaments so easily on the organ.
A: Especially on as big as is ours at St. Johns.
V: Would you like to have a harpsichord at home?
A: Well yes, but knowing that we already have organ and piano, I don’t think we would have enough space to place it.
V: What about clavichord? It’s a little smaller—much smaller.
A: Ha! Well if you would get pedal clavichord with two keyboards—two manuals, it wouldn’t be smaller.
A: Because the pedal clavichord, the pedals takes a lot of space.
A: Because they are very long. I’m meaning because it’s a string instrument, obvious.
V: And pedals strings need to be twice as long.
A: That’s right.
V: They have have 8’ strings like normal manual clavichord, but also twice as long strings for 16’ sound.
A: So it takes space.
A: But if I could get pedal clavichord, I think I would sacrifice probably my old piano for it.
V: It would be worth it.
A: Yes, I think so.
V: We would play a funeral mass for this piano.
A: Stop teasing me…
A: okay, because I will do something bad with your piano in Klaipeda, at your mom’s house.
V: I think my mom already did something to it. Some improvements. Excellent. So, going back to original question by Michael, to what he is planning to do after his exams in August, start writing a blog—it’s good to start planning for blog, even before you’re ready. Because when you’re ready, you have to do it, not the other way around. Planning stage might last for several months, for beginners who are hesitant to jump in and get started right away. Because it is possible, Ausra, don’t you think, to start writing your blog this weekend, for example?
A: Well yes, but again, it’s not everybody’s path, it’s your path.
V: But it’s Michael’s path. He wants to do it.
A: Then it’s fine. It works just fine.
V: I mean technically, you can start a blog in ten minutes, lets’ say. Just setting up the domain and everything else takes that little time. But it’s scary because you don’t know what you’re doing. You’re not sure if your taking the right path, if you’re blogging on the right platform, if you’re domain name is okay. If you’re using let’s say, your name for the domain, for Michael would be like MichaelCalabris.com perhaps, right? Or you could create some brand name for your subject or niche and people don’t know which one to choose. Obviously if you are not sure, always go with your name. That would be first choice. Um, what else? Since we started blogging, at first I was alone, then you joined in. Many things changed and many more opportunities are there in the blogging world. For example, the last three years, we can see how Steemit platform is suitable for blogging. If you want to blog just using Steemit, it’s possible, and get right rewarded right after seven days of your first post. When somebody uploads or likes your post, this reward gets to your account after seven days. And I received my first dollar with blogging with Secrets of Organ Playing after three months, I remember. I sold fingering and pedaling practice score for ‘Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ’. But that took me three months to get to this point when I was comfortable even asking for money.
A: You still remember that, yes?
V: Because it’s my first dollar, you know. It was actually my first hundred dollars but still the first payment after three months. But with Steemit, for example, you get rewarded right away, and this reward comes into your account after seven days.
A: But it comes not in dollars. It comes in crypto currency.
A: Don’t forget to...
V: Exactly. And uh…
A: stress it.
V: And you can cash it out, change it into other currencies, or you could grow it. You could stake it. And the more Steem you have, the more value your own upload has.
A: Don’t you think that if Steem platform would be in like normal currency, it would attract more users?
V: Obviously, but it’s impossible to do this with cash because of regulations. Dollars and Euros are regulated heavily, and all those permits, and… Imagine if you are starting to pay anonymous people real cash, this cash could be used for bad things, so you have to get their own identity cleared. It’s very difficult.
A: But don’t you think that if more and more people will begin using crypto-currencies that governments around the world will start to regulate them themselves?
V: Yes! To some degree, it’s already happening, yes.
A: So basically it’s, the term is short.
V: No, no, it’s okay. It has to be legal because if we want the future for it, it has to be legal. For example if you want to cash out and change into euros or dollars, you have to declare your taxes, right? You cashed out some, maybe, let’s say, hundred dollars, and it’s probably taxable. Yes! It depends on your own country of course. You have to check your own regulations, but, I presume, in many cases, it would be. But that’s normal. It’s like in, it would be taxable if you got paid through PayPal as well.
A: So from harpsichord to music, see how far away we…
V: Yes. The good thing about Steem blogging is that you could actually create your own blogging site through Steem based application, but not using Steemit.com, but your own domain.
A: But you see for people like Michael, for example, how will he would know if there are many people, let’s say on the Steem platform, that are interested in early music? Wouldn’t it be work for nothing, all this job of his?
V: It’s a little bit growing, you see, it’s growing…
A: Well, how? Because you wouldn’t want probably to blog, for let’s say, ten people.
V: Mmm, those ten people can bring you 100 people, you know. Every person can bring ten people.
A: But I would think that on such a platform as Steem, it would be hard to find even ten people who like early music.
V: Look how many Steem accounts I have created for people for our contest, Secrets of Organ Playing Contest.
A: But is it still growing right now?
V: It’s little, it’s slow, but as long as there are people who are using it, I’m, I don’t mind for this contest to be a small little contest. It’s okay with me.
A: As you see Vidas is optimistic and I am pessimistic so if you would mix our opinions, you would probably get a right opinion.
V: If you’d started blogging the traditional way, if Michael starts blogging the traditional way, by using, let’s say, using WordPress platform, right? Then what he needs besides that is obviously newsletter service to reach directly his subscribers, like we’re doing with email. And it also takes time and extra resources.
A: But is it possible just to use what you are using, what you are creating and to share the same post, let’s say, on a few platforms?
V: It’s called ‘cross posting’, yes. And…
A: So I guess this would be the wisest thing to do. That way you would reach the most.
V: Exactly! And actually, automatically you can repost from WordPress to Steem, using SteemPress plugin. And you get rewarded for both things, and you can actually triple your reach by cross-posting also to WhaleShares platform through Steem2WLS application. And imagine—you just post and publish a blog post on WordPress, SteemPress automatically picks it up and cross-posts it to Steem blog chain, and then at the same time Steem2WLS publishes it to WhaleShares. And you get twice as much reach and twice as much revenue for that.
V: Yeah! Without any extra work. Yes. Exactly. So, wonderful, guys. There are so many new opportunities. You just have to look them up and check them out and be a little bit curious about new developments because maybe in three months there will be even more opportunity.
A: I’m sure of it.
V: Yes. Again, thank you so much for sending those wonderful questions. This was Vidas.
A: And Ausra.
V: And remember, when you practice…
A: Miracles happen!
5 years of blogging
By Vidas Pinkevicius (get free updates of new posts here)
For the last 5 years I've been teaching people through this blog how to play the organ.
Through this incredible journey I met many wonderful people I didn't know existed, many opportunities presented themselves that I didn't now were possible.
I constantly meet people who want my help in teaching them about blogging what I have learned along the way so they could replicate my success too.
Let's face it. It's hard to start a blog. It's even more difficult to keep going relentlessly.
But the only thing harder than blogging for me is to walk around and meet people from all walks of life who are enslaved by their job, by their boss, who think it’s the way it’s always been and it’s the way it will always have be.
Who think they have no choice but to obediently follow instructions until they die.
But the world has changed and those middle men are losing their power (many of them still don’t understand this).
With the changes that technology has brought about, the power has been given to an individual, to a person who is no longer satisfied to be an anonymous cog in the machine.
For the first time in history, it’s possible for a person to do the things that truly matter.
So that’s what I’m going to help people with - to change their lives for the better with their blog by creating their own rules instead of following the rules of someone else.
I hope you will join me in my new Vidas Blog Academy.
I have written a report "Overcoming 12 Challenges Beginner Bloggers Face".
You can download it here.
Blogs about organ
As a result of my example, a few people have decided to start a blog about organ playing. I'm very happy for them because they help make the world a better place.
With this in mind, Francois has a question about blogging and intellectual rights:
"I know only about blog hosters who claim that the contents bloggers send are their property, or others that put automatically contents as free for all. Do you have recommendations about blog hosters that:
- grant intellectual rights of blog owner AND
- are not under GNU or other license?"
On my site everything is free to share as long as a person doesn't charge for it and gives a link back.
Links from other websites pointing to your own blog can be really helpful. So this could be the prerequisite for sharing information on your site.
It doesn't make sense to me to forbid people to share it because they will do it anyway.
In a connection economy, if you feed your network often enough, the network turns back and feeds you in many ways (in making a difference, in a community, in a privilege of doing work that matters).
But first you have to be extremely generous with sharing your ideas.
I hope you care enough to put yourself on the line.
[Thanks to Francois]
Ausra's Harmony Exercise:
Do you have a question about harmony for Ausra? You can reach her by email.
Michael Hammer: "If you have something to say and you want to say it, then you don't really have a choice"
Welcome to episode 18 of Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast!
Today's guest is Dr. Michael Hammer, an American organist, pianist, composer, improviser, church musician, teacher, and a fellow blogger.
He is the creator of the blog "Pianonoise" and works as an organist at Faith United Methodist Church in Champaign, IL.
In today's conversation you will find out about Michael's experience of being a liturgical musician, creator of piano and organ music on the spot and in the written form, and also about what it takes to have a commitment to share stories on a blog about piano and organ music in a humorous and highly personal way.
Enjoy and share your comments below.
If you like these conversations with the experts from the organ world, please help spread the word about the SOP Podcast by sharing it with your organist friends.
Listen to the conversation
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Drs. Vidas Pinkevicius and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene
Organists of Vilnius University , creators of Secrets of Organ Playing.
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