State of the Art….

“My Song Got Played On Pandora 1 Million Times and All I Got Was $16.89, Less Than What I Make From a Single T-Shirt Sale!”

I should note that while this article points out how these Internet music streaming services are run on the backs of the artists, the comparison to the fees paid by over the air broadcast companies is not fair as one “play” on Pandora or other streaming services only reaches one listener while one “play” on a radio station can reach hundreds of thousands of listeners.

More interesting reading on this subject:

Sasha Frere-Jones in the New Yorker – A not very well written overview but pulls in thoughts and ideas from many other folks and is the source for the next few links here.

Damon Krukowski on Pitchfork – Good overview of how the money breaks down and where it’s not going. Love this quote:

“As businesses, Pandora and Spotify are divorced from music. To me, it’s a short logical step to observe that they are doing nothing for the business of music– except undermining the simple cottage industry of pressing ideas onto vinyl, and selling them for more than they cost to manufacture.”

Charles Arthur in The Guardian writes about Thom Yorke’s (Radiohead) decision to pull his songs from Spotify and Spotify’s response.

Great infographics on where the money goes from the Future of Music Coalition

Never Did Like Kenny G.

Saw an interesting story about a fund raiser for feeding hungry folks in the Northwest part of the country. They used Kenny G’s name, which, of course got them in a little trouble but the story is great – you can read it here:

and in the comments section was a reference to another article where Pat Metheny gives his opinion of Kenny G which makes for a really interesting read, especially starting around the 10th paragraph. Sure matched my sentiments…

Pat Metheny on Kenny G. –


The 5:00 AM Thought of the Day

God has no ego. Only man has an ego which is what totally separates him from God. When you tell me something is an offense to God, what you are really telling me is that your ego finds it offensive. God is all seeing/all knowing and takes offense at nothing. Christians, Muslims, Jews take note: Stop your ridiculous bickering and senseless killing in the name of God.

World’s First All Bass Radio Station!

Brian Bromberg has set up an Internet radio station that plays all music by bassists from all genres. Bass on the Broadband has an excellent web based player but you can also stream through your favorite player on your computer. Upcoming shows will include Classical Showcase on Sundays. This weekly internet radio broadcast solely for the classical double bass will reach all corners of the world featuring the leading artists of our time, legends, young stars, competition winners and many more. In collaboration with the Bradetich Foundation.

Bass On the Broadband is the brain-child of Brian Bromberg, Grammy award winning electric bassist. His radio broadcasts currently run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week focusing primarily on electric bass and jazz upright styles. The Bradetich Foundation Classical Showcase will integrate classical bass into the programming and will air on Sundays from 9-12 Eastern time. The shows will also be podcast so that they can be replayed at any time. The podcasts, playlists for future broadcasts and information on how to submit CD’s for possible broadcast will be available from

Unable to type into Youtube search box and other problems

Browser: Chromium 20 on Ubuntu 12.04

Recently I began having problems with Youtube. Some of the symptoms were erractic behavior of the volume slider or difficulty trying to move forward or backward in a video. The most maddening was not being able to type more than a couple of characters in the search box after watching a video. Sometimes the cursor would not even appear in the search box and no character. But if I typed and then hit return Youtube would complete my search even though I never saw what I typed.

The same thing would happen in Google Maps. Once I viewed a map I would have the same problems with the  search box. No characters would show up but suggestions based on what I had typed so far would appear.

It appears many users are having similar problems though most of the posts I’ve read have to do with Youtube. I’ve seen similar reports from users using Chrome, Chromium, and Firefox. Many suggestions and fixes listed but none seem to totally solve the problem. Many blame Youtube, some blame Adobe Flash, others blame the new flash version that ships with Chrome (Pepper).

I finally figured out what was causing the problem for me. A few weeks back while in Google Maps I enabled the new “Maps GL”. My system seemed to meet the hardware requirements. I didn’t really notice a huge improvement in Maps but didn’t really take the time to play around with it. And I forgot about it.

Today, after an extremely frustrating time searching the web for solutions I decided to turn off Maps GL and revert to the standard view. Suddenly the search box was working normally again and repeated viewings and searches on Youtube worked normally.

If you found this article in your frustrating search for a solution check and see if you’ve enabled Maps GL in Google Maps. It just might solve your problem.

2012 Bike MS Historic New Bern Ride Report for my Donors, Friends, and Supporters

Thanks again to all of you who supported my ride to raise money and awareness for the Multiple Sclerosis Society and the work it does supporting our friends and the many other folks around us living with MS as well as funding research to find a cure for MS. Once again YOU helped me exceed my goal of $1000 – this year almost $1200 – and our combined force of 2400 riders have so far raised over 1.6 million dollars! It was a very successful and a very emotionally charged event for all of us.

The best part of riding this year was having Karen riding with me again after nearly losing her last year to an aortic dissection. She is fully recovered and riding again though we’re a bit slower than in the past. But this isn’t a race and we found a small group to ride both days with. We chose the 75 mile routes both days this year instead of the 100. It’s hard to believe how quickly a group of 2000 cyclists can disperse. There were very long stretches where there were no other riders in sight except for our little group of five. On windy stretches (and there was a lot of that) we’d ride pace-line style to save energy but often we’d ride leisurely along in a clump enjoying scenery and conversation.

Saturday’s route took us north and east of New Bern mainly on country roads and through a few small communities with rest stops mostly at country churches and schools. It was hotter than we expected that day but not nearly as hot as some previous years. Just when it was starting to get uncomfortable we went through a small rain shower so that helped a lot. We got inspired to pedal much faster the last 10 miles of the day as a very dark and ominous looking storm was approaching. We finished just shortly before the storm and returned to our hotel just before it hit. The wind and lightning were so severe that many riders had to be brought back by vans and trucks.

Sunday was much cooler and totally overcast the whole day. We rode to Oriental, a beautiful town where the Neuse River joins the Pamlico Sound. If you sail you probably know Oriental. The boats in town far outnumber the human population. They’ve restored the Old Theater there and I’ve played concerts there in the past. Lunch was on a high bluff overlooking the river at one of those housing boom developments that got started just as the economy tanked so there’s a lot of very nice infrastructure and very few homes. Ironically, the slowest rider in our group led us out after lunch at a very fast pace. I was thinking “this is not a good idea” having just eaten a very large burrito among other things. Just a few miles out Karen started feeling sick so we stopped and one of the many vans that patrol the routes stopped and drove her the 10 miles to the next rest stop. By the time we got there she was recovered and joined us again for the rest of the ride back to New Bern.

The end of the ride on Sunday is always a big deal – you ride across the expansive US17 bridge over the Neuse River and then the smaller Trent River drawbridge and into Union Point Park to cheering volunteers and onlookers. Riders snatch commemorative medals from waving hands as they cross the finish line. You ride once around the park loop and then you get off your bike, butt sore, tired, grimy and sweaty and then – it’s over. It’s a bittersweet moment. You might briefly think of your friends who are disabled with this disease who can’t ride a bike. Or the ones who rode that day who might not be able to ride the next. You recall various incidents along the ride, people you met, sights and sounds. The hard parts where you wondered why you were doing this. Yes, there’s pain. Numb hands, aching shoulders and many other body parts that are not happy. But there’s a peaceful feeling, too. You did something good. And YOU – the person reading this – did the even greater good. Thank you. My soul bows to your soul.Sunday at the Finish Line

Other notes:

New Bern is a beautiful town to visit with lots of history (Tryon Palace, for instance) and many fine shops, galleries, and restaurants. Our favorite find this trip was Morgan’s Tavern and Grill. Excellent food and a beautiful building, too. Highly recommended.

Photos (hundreds of them – taken by volunteers) of the ride are at:

A great article about one of the cyclists who has MS is here:

And here is the link for the New Bern ride in case you want to try it yourself. They now have 30, 50, 75, and 100 mile options. It’s FLAT down there!

And to find MS rides across the country:

Finally – I just wanted to say that I had decided not to ask for funds again after this ride. You, my friends, have donated generously these last six years and I really appreciate it so much but I don’t really feel comfortable asking for money again. With that thought in mind I experienced a moment of intense sadness at the end of the ride on Sunday thinking “How could I not do this again?” It was a selfish thought, though. The experience is so intensely satisfying – the accomplishment, the people, the rush of riding out of town with 2000 other cyclists, the beautiful countryside – it’s hard to think about giving it up. So I may ride again next year – but I will pay the minimum donation amount myself – in honor of my friends who have MS. And I’ll have a great ride. Join us!

With sincere gratitude for your help,

Robbie Link

Vibrato You Could Drive a Truck Through

I often have to remind students to use vibrato sparingly and intentionally. Depending on their age I have various ways of communicating this. Recently I saw the following on Facebook:

Vibrato on every note is like putting ketchup all over the music.

I tried that on a young student yesterday but then his dad informed me that the student puts ketchup on EVERYthing.

But then someone pointed me to these excerpts from Leopold Auer’s classic book on violin teaching:

The purpose of the vibrato, the wavering effect of tone secured by rapid oscillation of a finger on the string which it stops, is to lend more expressive quality to a musical phrase, and even to a single note of a phrase. Like the portamento, the vibrato is primarily a means used to heighten effect, to embellish and beautify a singing passageor tone. Unfortunately, both singers and players of string instruments frequently abuse this effect just as they do the portamento, and by doing so they have called into being a plague of the most inartistic nature, one to which ninety out of every hundred vocal and instrumental soloists fall victim.

Some of the performers who habitually make use of the vibrato are under the impression that they are making their playing more effective, and some of them find the vibrato a very convenient device for hiding bad intonation or bad tone production. But such an artifice is worse than useless. That student is wise who listens intelligently to his own playing, admits to himself that his intonation or tone production is bad, and then undertakes to improve it. Resorting to the vibrato in an ostrich-like endeavour to conceal bad tone production and intonation from oneself and from others not only halts progress in the improvement of one’s fault, but is out and out dishonest artistically.

But the other class of violinists who habitually make use of the device—those who are convinced that an eternal vibrato is the secret of soulful playing, of piquancy in performance—are pitifully misguided in their belief. In some cases, no doubt, they are, perhaps against their own better instincts, conscientiously carrying out the instructions of unmusical teachers. But their own musical values ought to tell them how false is the notion that vibration, whether in good or bad taste, adds spice and piquancy to their playing …

With certain violinists, this undue and painful vibrato is represented by a slow and continuous oscillation of the hand and all the fingers as well, even those fingers which may be unoccupied for the time being. But this curious habit of oscillating and vibrating on each and every tone amounts to an actual physical defect, whose existence those who are cursed with it do not in most cases even suspect. The source of this physical evil generally may be traced to a group of sick or ailing nerves, hitherto undiscovered. And this belief of mine is based on the fact that I cannot otherwise account for certain pupils of mine, who in spiteof their earnest determination to the contrary, have been unable to rid themselves of this vicious habit, and have even continued to vibrate on every note, long or short, playing even the the driest scale passages and exercises in constant vibrato.

There is only one remedy which may be depended upon to counteract this ailing nervous condition, vicious habit, or lack of good taste—and that is to deny oneself the use of the vibrato altogether. Observe and follow your playing with all the mental concentration at your disposal. As soon as you notice the slightest vibration of hand or finger, stop playing, rest for a few minutes, and then begin once more, continuing to observe yourself. For weeks and months you must continually guard yourself in this fashion until you are confident that you have mastered your vibrato absolutely, that it is entirely within your control.

… As a rule I forbid my students using the vibrato at all on notes which are not sustained, and I earnestly advise them not to abuse it even in the case of sustained notes which succeed each other in a phrase.

Leopold Auer

Violin Playing as I Teach It

Lippincott, New York, 1960

pp 22-24


One day, while on tour in Styria, we reached Gratz, the capital. And there my father saw an announcement posted that Henri Viextemps was giving a concert at the Municipal Theater…

My father at once seized upon the opportunity offered by our accidentally finding the great violinist in Gratz and endeavored to have me introduced to the master. His secret hope was that Vieuxtemps, when I had played for him, would declare that I was a great genius, something which would have served to a nicety my father’s advertising plans for our tournées…

On the day and hour set we drew near the hotel in which the Vieuxtemps were occupying a fine apartment. Entering, we were received very cordially by Vieuxtemps himself, and very coldly by his wife, who played the accompaniments at his concerts. After a few polite words regarding my studies had been exchanged, I was permitted to take out my violin—a poor enough instrument—and play. Mme. Vieuxtemps sat down at the piano looking decidely bored. I myself, nervous by nature, trembling with emotion, began to play the “Fantasie Caprice.” I do not recall how I played it, but it seems to me that I put my whole soul into every tone, though poorly supported by an insufficiently developed technique. Vieuxtemps encouraged me with an amiable smile. Then, at the very moment when I was in the midst of a cantabile phrase which I was playing all too sentimentally, Mme. Vieuxtemps leaped from the piano stool, and began to walk precipitately around the room. She bent down to the ground, looked here, looked there, beneath the furniture, under the bureau and the piano, as though she were hunting for something she had lost and could not find in spite of all the trouble she took. Brusquely interrupted by her strange action, I stood with wide-open mouth, with no suspicion of what all this might mean. I felt as though I had been cast down from illuminated heights by a fiery explosion rising from the abyss. Vieuxtemps, himself astonished, followed his wife’s progress about the room with a surprised air, and asked her what she was looking for so nervously under the furniture. “One or more cats must be hidden in this room,” said she, “miaowing in every key!” She was alluding to my over-sentimental glissando in the cantabile phrase. I was so overcome by the shock that I lost consciousness, and my father was obliged to hold me in his arms lest I fall. Vieuxtemps turned the whole affair into a joke, patted me on the cheek, and consoled me by saying that later on everything would go better. I was then no more than fourteen.

The interview was at an end, and my father and I left the hotel with tears in our eyes, discouraged, unhappy, and crushed to earth. From that day on I hated all glissandos and vibratos, and to this very minute I can recall the anguish of my interview with Vieuxtemps.

Leopold Auer

My Long Life in Music

Frederick A. Stokes Co., New York, 1923

pp 32-35