Deep Listening

I often tell my students to “listen deeper”. The more you practice, the better you get IF you are listening to what you’re doing. It starts out simply – listen to your tone, your intonation, your rhythm. The more you listen, the more you hear aspects of your playing that are possibly not what you intended. You carry this further into dynamics and phrasing and articulation. There is no end. You can always listen deeper and hear more things to improve. And then you carry this out into the world and you notice more of the world around you – the tone of someone’s voice, a color in the leaves, a bird call you never heard before, the sound of a bicycle going past your house.

But enough of that – there’s always the Deep Listening Bot on Twitter to stir your imagination.

Favorite Bike Bell

OK – I love sound and quality, interesting sound. So – after a ride on the Neuse River Greenway last year calling out “on your left” to the walkers and joggers I passed I walked into the bike shop at the head of the trail just below the Neuse River Dam and they had a bell sound when the door opened to alert them to customers entering. It was a beautiful, sustained ringing sound. I said “I want a bike bell that sounds like that!” Unfortunately, while they had one in stock that sounded pretty close to that it did not fit my handlebars so when I got home I searched online and found the perfect bike bell. Here it is. You can listen to the sound of it on their website. Compact and beautiful – but the main thing is the sound. No more calling out as you pass folks. Cheer them up with a beautiful, angelic ringing tone. 

Streaming to Concert Window with an Android Phone

10/20/19 UPDATE: Concert Window has closed down!

Concert Window is a platform for broadcasting performances live online. You can broadcast from a laptop or desktop computer using the site’s built-in broadcasting software without downloading any external programs. Concert Window is the most flexible live broadcasting platform on the internet that allows artists to interact with fans, sell merchandise and receive tips in real time. The platform supports multi-mic/multi-camera productions as well as smaller setups, or simply using your laptop’s built-in camera and mic. Most shows are broadcast from more intimate spaces. Shows can be set to be free, “Pay What You Want” ($1 minimum) or have a set ticket price. Viewers can tip while the show is in progress. They add up all the revenue after the show and send you 70%. They keep 30%. They pay you via PayPal (or check) within 24 hours of the show’s completion. You can play as often as you like for as long as you like.

I have friends on Ocracoke Island who regularly stream their concerts from the island to viewers all over the world. The Concert Window site is bare bones but the streaming quality is fairly good (depending on your source device). They only have an iOS app – no Android app but you can stream from any device using the rtmp protocol. Concert Window tech support is no help on this but after many trials and errors I have finally found a setup that works for me on my Android phone. I got it to work using two different apps: Larix Broadcaster and Streamlabs.

The problem is that Concert Window gives you confusing information when you set up a stream and it’s hard to figure out what to put in what field in your streaming app setup. AND – it’s different for each app. So, first for Larix Broadcaster – the one I have chosen to use. The first paragraph of THIS POST tells you everything you need to know.

So for this RTMP URL that concert window gives me (changed the names): rtmp://ipaddress:port#/origin/_definst_/stream-cw-wowza-web-number-number-production

and this STREAM NAME: stream-cw-wowza-web-number-number-production?username=user-username&password=password&startRecord=1

You will add everything from the “?” in the STREAM NAME except for the &startRecord=1 part  to the end of the RTMP URL and you will get this:

rtmp://ipaddress:port#/origin/_definst_/stream-cw-wowza-web-number-number-production?username=user-username&password=password

You put that in the Connection URL field of your RTMP connection in Larix and that’s all. Leave everything else blank. You should be able to connect to Concert Window now.

For Streamlabs app you will put the rtmp://ipaddress:port#/origin part in the URL field – that is everything before the “_definst_” part (we won’t use that) and put the rest (except _definst_ and the &startRecord=1 part) in the Stream Key field so that would be stream-cw-wowza-web-number-number-production?username=user-username&password=password

OK – hope this helps. Concert Window tech support basically said “we can’t help you with that”.

 

 

 

A Sweet Short Bio

One of the things every performing musician needs is a good, short bio for programs, publicity, etc. Who is really terrible at writing good short bios? Most musicians, that’s who. I was more comfortable writing a whole page about my evolution and experience as a musician but always struggle with a concise, informative short bio. Friend and fellow musician Mary Rocap wrote this (partially extracted from info on this site and partially from herself) for a program I’m playing for her:

Robbie Link is the Triangle’s go-to double bass player. His expertise and experience are legendary. He is a much sought after session player, teacher, and collaborator. In the academic world he has taught double bass at East Carolina, UNC/ Chapel Hill, Duke and for 30 years taught bass and cello and coached the young ensembles at the Duke University Pre-Collegiate String School.

I think she did a pretty good job. Thanks, Mary!

What I’m Listening To

If you’re a Google Play Music subscriber you can listen to my playlist here: Robbie’s Mix

It’s a varied collection of things I’ve enjoyed listening to over the years – though there are many more things I’ve enjoyed listening to. These are just the ones I happened to save to this Google Playlist. I always listen to it in “shuffle” mode, though. I prefer to jump from one genre to another and be surprised.

Social Media? Onward!

tl;dr

Yes, I’m leaving Facebook and I want my 1000+ friends there to know how to reach me and to let me know how to find them. So – the short version first:

Email: If you don’t already have my email you can write me via this form. When I reply you’ll have my email and I’ll have yours! It’s an even trade. You can also request my phone number, too.

Upcoming performances: If you just want to know where I’m playing then check this page periodically. I try to keep it updated!

Newsletter: For a very sporadic and short email newsletter that lists some of my more interesting performances and maybe even some other interesting stuff (probably no jokes) you can sign up here.

Blog: Not a true “blog” but I do post about things that I think are of interest right here on this site. You can click on the “Categories” or “Archives” drop boxes at the bottom of any page to get an idea.

Social Media? – sorry, you’ll have to read to the end to find that out!

The rest of it….

I joined Facebook in 2007 and before long had over 1000 followers – over 90% of them musicians I had either played with in the past or was currently playing with. Most of them found me – I would only occasionally seek out new “friends” on the platform. There were a few high school classmates, no college friends, and only a handful of family members. In the last couple of years a few non-musicians in the community who had heard me perform started following. 

All in all it was a nice community of folks – I think in all those years I only “unfriended” 3 or 4 people who were posting such senseless stupid stuff that I couldn’t imagine why I would want to associate with them in any way. Oh, and one person who must have spent her entire days playing games on the platform and sharing them in her newsfeed. There were the obvious fake accounts that tried to friend me that I declined. But that was the extent of the people problems. It was nice to get little slices of life from far away friends and old acquaintances – even their favorite recipes and cute cat pics. I can’t really say that I saw any benefit to the marketing aspect of having a FB account as an artist and the “pages” part was even worse. Very limited interface and the audience reach is pretty abysmal unless you pay them money and friends who have tried that route had nothing good to say about it. So, for me it was just the social aspect that had any benefit. 

No, the reason I have left is the platform itself – and the people who run it.  I don’t need to rehash all that’s been in the news about the privacy breaches and the censorship and manipulation and the sheer arrogance of the founders of the company. And those are just some of the facts of life in our corporate controlled country. There aren’t always easy alternatives to doing business with an evil company or entire industry but Facebook is by no means a necessary evil. I think no further explanation is needed here. 

So, this is just to let my friends and followers know that I’d love to stay in touch and I’d love to be able to let you know what I’m up to if you’re interested. The basic contact info is at the top of this post. But I am still active on some other platforms – not much but some. And things could change but currently, if you want to find me elsewhere:

robbielink on Twitter  – It is what it is and sometimes it’s actually useful. 

robbielink @ minds.com – not for the faint of heart. Uncensored, unfettered. You have to learn how to filter out the stuff you don’t want to see (it’s not hard) but there are amazing visual artists on there. Not so easy for musicians at this point but it’s all still a work on progress and a great community of people. I can pretty much guarantee you won’t find anyone you know on there and most folks use pseudonyms. 

robbielink at Patreon – Oh, joy! At some point in the very near future you’ll be able to contribute to my well being and happiness! Page not ready yet but check in at some point in the future. I mean, do you know how much bass strings cost???

OK – I hope to be hearing from a lot of you in the near future. Peace,

Robbie

 

 

 

The Age of Aquarius?

Was reminded of this song this morning:

Which got me wondering if we were there yet. Hmmm, looks like you can take your pick – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_Aquarius

Although if this IS the Age of Aquarius then I’m afraid that this interpretation listed (among others) in Wikipedia is probably the correct one:

  • Proponents of medieval astrology suggest that the Pisces world where religion is the opiate of the masses will be replaced in the Aquarian Age by a world ruled by secretive, power-hungry elites seeking absolute power over others; that knowledge in the Aquarian Age will only be valued for its ability to win wars; that knowledge and science will be abused, not industry and trade; and that the Aquarian Age will be a Dark Age in which religion is considered offensive.[12]

And this page has a nice collection of quotes about the Age including this one:

Many religions speak of the End of Days. It refers not to the end of the world, but rather the end of our current age – Pisces, which began at the time of Christ’s birth, spanned two thousand years, and waned with the passing of the millennium. Now that we’ve passed into the Age of Aquarius, the End of Days has arrived.

 

Questions

What do those who struggle against power do when they seize power?

What does the revolutionary do when the revolution triumphs?

Why do those who call for independence and freedom take away the independence and freedom of others?

And is it sane or insane to believe, as so many around us apparently do, in nothing?

Questions for all of us as posed by the main character in Viet Thanh Nguyen’s novel “The Sympathizer”. A book about a man of two minds – something I can relate to.