Why Use Music To Influence Your Writing

I enjoy using music to inspire my writing. The lyrics of a song can trigger your imagination and influence the way you write in so many ways. So, the next time you sit down to write find a song listen to the rhythm and let it influence the words you place on to the paper.

In the words of Melissa Muhlenkamp, author of Writing Under The Influence (of Music), “I don’t hold back the jam. Instead, I let it guide me.”

Why don’t you also give it a try? Take the thewritepractice.com challenge, and take the next fifteen minutes to write a story based on the following song, “End Of An Era” by Zack Hemsey. When you’re finished, post your practice piece in the comments section.

What’s Your MIXXX?

My Mixxx transforms my computer into a complete DJ system for free, and bobs my head. With Mixxx you’re able to mix, scratch, program, and work with different effects for recording. There is even the option to perform live and record mixes on the go. With Mixxx you can feel like a real DJ because it enables hot cues, looping, translation, and much more.

Reliable sound mixing software is often expensive, but with Mixxx you’re music mixtures and features are limitless, and works on across platforms (Windows XP/Vista/7/8, Mac OS X, Linux). Start a new hobby with Mixxx and DJ at your friend’s next party, or use it academically to create a killer sound track for your next presentation. You don’t have to be a pro, Mixxx is a user friendly program that has you covered. Download it here for free and share your Mixxx.

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I’ve become obsessed with NoiseTrade. This website has such a great database of music and books to choose from; everything is free but they sincerely suggest you donate a tip because “a little generosity goes a long way.” The site leads users to artists based on the sound of artists they choose or search for. By looking at the label “For Fans Of”, users can find artists that are similar to the one they are listening to. The same applies to the books and authors they provide. By providing your email, a download link is sent to you and your free music or book is only a click away. eBooks are provided in .epub, .mobi, and .pdf formats for different reading platforms while music is in the standard .mp3 format. Although neither the authors nor artists on NoiseTrade are going to be the big sellers on iTunes or New York Bestsellers, they are the well-loved unknowns that we should know. Go explore NoiseTrade’s libraries and discover new talent.



The Internet Changed Music, but We Still Don’t Know How

CDs will soon disappear like cassette tapes. The new trend is to plug in an auxiliary cord and let your music playlist flow or shuffle through Pandora and other music services. The Verge recently referred readers to an interview in The New Yorker between Sasha Frere-Jones and Dave Allen of UK punk band Gang of Four, which includes a brief discussion with Damon Krukowski a pop/folk-rock musician. In this interview they discuss how to consider “the internet” as a complex and unpredictable factor that affects artists and listeners across the world, instead of reducing it to American users of iTunes, Pandora, and The Pirate Bay.” It has always been a struggle for musicians to make a profit. With the Internet the hustle just got real. Allen points out, “there are plenty of people out there who fully support music and musicians and who will happily pay to see them perform, buy their T-shirts, their downloads.”


image from The Oatmeal

On the other hand, there’s the tactile generation. Allen describes these fans as a group, “which doesn’t see the Internet as a replacement for books or vinyl records.” Despite the Internet changing music, it’s unclear how. The illegal sharing of music has become an epidemic. It’s important for music companies to be creative and find new innovations to promote their artist. Krukowski mentions that the goal of music isn’t to reach everyone, but to reach its audience. There’s no going backward to gain what’s lost. The Internet has thrown the music industries lemons, so they need to grab a juicer and make Mike’s Hard Lemonade. How will musicians survive, there’s no telling where music will be in the next century.



Is the ringing silence of your solitude slowly suffocating you? Or perhaps the deafening bass of your courteous neighbors is not quite your taste? No matter! With Coffitivity, you can experience the calm commotion and soothing hum of conversation in a coffee shop without the temptation of over-priced caffeine. Get your projects done with fewer distractions. Or maybe you’re training to be a hipster and you want to immerse yourself in the coffee shop culture – I don’t judge. Enjoy a variety of environments for all your creative needs at coffitivity.com.

Songza: Free Music For When You’re Working

Last fall, I discovered a website called Songza, which advertises itself as audiences listening to “music curated by music experts.” Organized by playlists and genres, you can select whatever type of music you’re in the mood for based upon a few different factors.

For example, Songza allows you to select what time of day it is, and then what style of music you’re currently searching for—“Brand New Music,” “Enjoying the Morning,” or “Working (no lyrics),” to help pinpoint the best station  for you at that specific moment in time. After that, it’s as easy as selecting the genre you feel like listening to, and then the site will start streaming your jams.

Alternatively, one of my favorite features is that you can also search for stations or playlists you’ve enjoyed before. One of my regulars is “Downtempo Instrumentals,” because it provides a nice blend of music that blocks out other noise as I work on campus or in a coffee shop. Similar to Spotify or Pandora, you can give a thumbs up or thumbs down to songs as they play, improving the station you’ve selected.

While you won’t find the Billboard’s Top 40 Hits on this site, it’s a great resource to use when you want some music to accompany your work, cooking, travel, or other activities. Happy listening!

Free playlists on 8tracks: Radio, rediscovered.

Nowadays, it’s easy to find music streaming websites that allow you to listen to as much music as you want. You create a radio station of an artist and they’ll play that artist along with artists in the similar genre. What if you wanted a playlist specifically tailored to the artist or genre you were listening to? 8tracks allows users to create playlists for virtually every kind of mood, genre, and activity.

Tag lined as “Radio, rediscovered,” you can click on the genre characteristics you wish to hear or search any “mood, genre, or artist.” Upon creating a profile, you have the ability to create your own playlists or other 8tracks users to search, find, and listen to, as well as follow other users who have created custom playlists. On your homepage, 8tracks will display your listening history, liked mixes, mix feed (recent playlists created by the users you follow), recommendations based on your previous searches and listening history, featured playlists, top trending playlists, and newest. Playlists range in anything from top 40 mixes, classical listening, and party jams. Search around and see what you can find.

WeFunk Radio

WeFunk logo - Blending the Very Best in Funk + Hip HopWeFunk Radio is one of my absolute favorite music websites ever. I’ve been a loyal fan for upwards of 10 years. WeFunk combines the best hip hop, r&b, funk, trip hop, classic soul, and more into a mix of headbobbing handwaving goodness. DJ Static and Professor Groove dig deep for their shows, uncovering tracks you’d never heard before and mixing them into a one of a kind setlist that you’ll only find on WeFunk.

When I’m on the prowl for new music WeFunk is the first place I turn. From this site I’ve been turned on to Goapele, Mayer Hawthorne, K-Os, and Quantic Soul Orchestra, to name a few.

The site offers multiple ways of listening. I will often just start up the 24 hour radio stream and see what transpires. However, there are around 700 shows archived for you to listen to at your leisure, in addition to mobile apps and desktop widgets. AND DJ Static and Professor Groove broadcast live from Montreal on Friday nights. For music lovers, WeFunk is one of the internet’s best kept secrets. Get to listening!