Beginning Vocal Lessons

In helping a student with beginning vocal lessons in classic technique I came across some materials online that I think are of value to new vocal students. One of the difficulties with developing vocal technique is that what the student hears in their head is different than what others hear. So with voice study in particular, it’s important to have an outside source guide you in technique and placement. In it’s simplest form, the teacher is helping the student with how a proper placement feels to them, so the student can build muscle memory on basic technique before moving to more complex layers and interpretation.

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Los Dorkos – Americano Pharaoh (The Donald Trump Song)

Los Dorkos perform Americano Pharaoh (The Donald Trump Song). I wrote the song and produced it for them and it was so much fun to work on. I’m interested to see reaction to the song. It’s a novelty song and like with musical theater, you never quite know how it’s going to land until you put it in front of an audience. Humor is a fine line between what is funny to one and not another. So here it is, just released today – let’s find out what happens…

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Skagit County, WA farmland photos


Photos of farmlands in Skagit County, WA on Easter evening 2016 after a light rainfall. This area is known for it’s tulip fields where tourists visit in the spring every year to tour the local farms. It’s a breathtaking area to drive and take in the local sights. We affectionately call this area “God’s country.”

This is my first venture into nature photography. I look forward to improving my skills. The process of taking these photos is an adventure in itself and very fulfilling.

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Feeling Worthless and Time Managment

On a day not so long ago I was low; that yucky very dark low where the worst of thoughts cross your mind. I searched “feeling worthless” into Google search and found page after page of “you are a child of the universe” type stuff. Those are great sentiments but it really didn’t speak to me. In fact, it made me feel worse. I just didn’t have the stomach to read articles about “you are unique” and “you are special.” Again, great sentiments, but nothing to turn my mental boat around.

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WordPress sitemap page empty

My WordPress sitemap page was empty and it took me a while to locate the problem. Hopefully this is helpful to another user.


Sitemap.xml page empty. Page only had header information without content. Showed as blank page.

Source of Problem:

I was using the WordPress plugin WPcache which was prevent three different sitemap generation plugins from working.

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Should I use Pop-Up ads on my website?

Should I use Pop-Up ads on my website? Stats show it increases conversion rates but we all hate them. I actually spent the better part of a day looking into this so thought I’d share what I found out and ultimately what I decided to do.

Great article here:

on “the good the bad and the ugly of pop up ads”. In a nutshell, it says we all hate them but it has been shown to be effective.

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How Music Works – Elements of a Vibrant Music Scene



David Byrne’s book “How Music Works” contains an interesting list of 8 elements he considers important for a vibrant music scene (Hardcover edition p. 253-263). David Byrne’s book is fascinating, the highlight for me being his dissection of how performance spaces affected the composition and orchestration of classical music.

But on p. 253-263 he dissects in more detail the elements that encourage talent to thrive in a vibrant scene. I think this list is a well thought out dissection of the music scene he was part of, but by no means a dissection of the elements needed for “any” vibrant scene.

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85 writing tips for play writers and screenplay authors

What is the one piece of advice you’ve received as a play writer or screenplay author that you wish someone had told you when you were starting out? That question was posed to a writer’s discussion group I belong to and here are over 85 answers.

Many of these are basic 101 type insights but I think even seasoned writers will find a few that will give them pause for thought. There are a few that say the same thing in different ways that I have kept in for reinforcement.  To a writer, a piece of advice worded in a new way can lead to a different thought process and outcome.

Also, there’s at least one tidbit on this list that most people would say is “wrong”; so keep your critical eye on these and consider each one not as a rule, but as an element to consider absorbing into your creative process.

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Askland Records Artists

Askland Records logo

Askland Records is an easy to deal with one-stop that represents publishing and master owners. Default publishing is Askland Publishing (ASCAP) and Conrad Askland is an ASCAP writer. Formerly under the Road Records label.

As of 2016, Askland Records represents the following artists:

(alphabetical order)

  • 760 Crew
  • Baby Sleep Ensemble
  • Benjamin Trucale
  • Cheer Trax (Cheer Tracks)
  • The Barking Dogs
  • Conrad Askland
  • Cybermonsters
  • Dr. Akula
  • Hal Loween
  • Halloween Sound Effects
  • Jam Track
  • Los Dorkos
  • Meditations For Life
  • Nature’s Music
  • Nursery Tunes
  • Rap Track (Rap Trax)
  • Santa’s Farting Elves
  • Zakari Music Therapy



Comparison and Contrast of the Advent of Commercial Radio vs. the Advent of Music Streaming Services

Comparison and Contrast of the Advent of Commercial Radio vs. the Advent of Music Streaming Services

Conrad Askland – 27 January 2016

Commercial radio broadcasting in the United States began in 1920 after the end of WWI and grew steadily in popularity through the late 1920’s and early 1930‘s. The dramatic effect of radio in the 1920‘s vs. the newspaper industry was that radio could deliver the news immediately as it was taking place. In addition, radio was free to listen to and easy to understand for those who had difficulty reading.

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Two Copyright Scenarios with YouTube

Two Copyright Scenarios with YouTube

Conrad Askland – 26 January 2016

I would like to look at two similar uses of copyright on YouTube that had two different outcomes. Both samples are highlighted at

Sad State of Copyright: Guy Using Short Clips of Music In Viral Videos Accused of Infringement.

Steve Kardynal is a popular maker of funny online videos. One of his series is called “Songs in Real Life” where every so often the dialog is a short 3-10 second clip from a popular song.

A year after it was posted he received a takedown from Sony. Knowing that three strikes meant he would lose his account, he set his other songs to private to avoid getting any other strikes. So, essentially he had to shut down his account until he can figure a way around it. I went to view secondary uploads of his videos but even those were set to private. So it would look like Sony “won” and Steve Kardynal was shut down as a derivative artist in this manner.

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The Project Management Song

The Project Management song by Conrad Askland.

I wrote this as part of a Project Management class I took with Berklee School of Music. I am currently working on some massive long term projects and took this class to refine my skills in project management. It was well worth it and I highly recommend the class. I’m pretty sure this is probably the first dance song ever written about Project Management.

My Top Picks for 2015 Technology Customer Service

EASTWEST_Hollywood Strings Ships



As music producers we use a lot of different software formats. With my music libraries alone I counted 18 different companies that I’ve worked with in the last year. Most needing their own installation procedures and authorizations. It’s just part of the business and quickly leads to the no-fun zone.

Overall I think customer service across the board has improved greatly in the technology and music app sectors over the last ten years. There are three companies which have really stood out to me above all the rest in 2015 for outstanding customer service.

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Failure: How Artists and Entrepreneurs Can Benefit from Failure



Gerald Slavet, executive producer of the series “From the Top” says:

“There is no such thing as failure in the creative world.”

With each “failure” is the opportunity to refocus, change directions and make adjustments so the final outcome is success. Those few words are extremely powerful IF you are willing to honestly take stock of your progress as you move along on your creative project.

In my title for this blog post I say “Artists and Entrepreneurs” because the process of developing an idea is very similar (or the same!) for entrepreneurs and artists. Both go through this process:

  • You get an idea, a kernel of inspiration for a new work, or are assigned a new property to develop
  • You visualize the possible areas to explore on that property, look at it from different angles or perspectives, a period of discovery to find how many different variations of the final product or create process you can come up with
  • Create a plan to begin creating the property
  • Execution phase: Now you actually have to work!
  • Assessment, Evaluation and Valuation: Is everything going to plan? Does it need adjustment? What are the roadblocks to the final developed property and how do you overcome those? Is this project on a trajectory of success?

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Recording and Releasing an Album in One Day

I just recorded and released an album in one day. In fact it took me five hours from start to finish. That time included the learning curve of setting things up for the first time, so in the future I may be able to cut that down to 3.5 hours.

What’s the point! A colleague of mine has got me really hooked on Tim Ferriss and the “4 hour work week”. One of the concepts is to do 90% of your best work, not 100%. Why? Because that last 10% of quality is what takes up 90% of the time and most people won’t notice the difference any way. (Now you say, “But I will notice the difference, and this is MY art.” True that. And different things for different times. I’m trying it though to see how it works.

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Finale vs. Sibelius


(Overture from Romeo and Juliet the musical by Conrad Askland – Sibelius screen shot)

Here it is late 2015 and there is still the grand debate of whether to use Sibelius or Finale as your main music notation software. You can read hundreds of technical break downs that compare the two. Here, I will give you a real-world breakdown of my experience with both programs.

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“Steve Jobs” Movie 2015 – Objective vs. Subjective


Aaron Sorkin wrote the screenplay for the 2015 movie “Steve Jobs”. I just saw the film and absolutely loved it. It has had disappointing ticket sales so far but has a very respectable 85% review rate from critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

One of the complaints from tech heads is that some of the true facts have been adjusted for the screenplay to make it a better film. In the link below, screenwriter Aaron Sorkin explains the difference between “subjective” and “objective”; or in other words that some have said, “this is not a documentary, this is a painting.”

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Genius Marketing Tactics of Captain Crunch


How did this box of Captain Crunch end up in my kitchen? I love good marketing and I think whoever put together this marketing for Captain Crunch is a genius.

I had mentioned to a friend recently how much I liked Captain Crunch – Crunch Berries cereal as a kid. So when they were in the supermarket recently they saw this and picked it up for me as a surprise. What a fun surprise gift – but what was even more exciting is the marketing behind this product so let’s look at that now…

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