Tag Archives: Amazon

Using Amazon Echo as a musician or music teacher

There’s been a lot of noise around Amazon’s latest tech product, the $179 Echo. Most of the excitement is focused on how it can improve the user’s home life by performing voice-activated functions.  But there are a handful of ways the Echo can boost productivity for musicians.

Here’s a list of all the ways the device can help with your music career.

 

Amazon-Echo

**You can get a great deal on an Echo here.**

Listening

 

This one may sound obvious, but the benefit of having voice-controlled stop and start functions when listening back is revolutionary for musicians.

Musicians don’t just listen to music for enjoyment. They sometimes need to study music to get ready for a gig or analyze something for a student. Think about it, one of the hardest things about learning a tune is having to constantly put down the instrument or interrupt your work flow to set the tune up and run it again.

The Echo completely streamlines this clunky process. Simply instruct Alexa, the AI assistant which performs all of the Echo functions, to stop and start when yore ready or you want to move on to another tune. The Echo even has a search function, so you can even search through YouTube for tunes you need work on without getting up from your instrument.

 

Recording

 

If you are a performing or composing musician, you understand the importance of documenting ideas and using them later. Amazon Echo has the ability to record your voice, or whatever instrument you may be playing, so you can save it for later when you are ready to develop the idea further. Both the microphone and the speakers on this device are surprisingly effective considering the size of the device.

 

Tuning

 

One of the most impressive features of the Echo is its implementation of Alexa Skills. Alexa, the robot which carries out all the functions and takes her queues from the voice-over, has a range of built-in functions which lie in a drop down menu on the Alexa app.

Among the skills is a guitar tuner. From the other side of the room, the musician can demand to hear a perfect A from the speaker, just as they would from a guitarist in a band. It’ll be right every time too.

Here it is being used by someone for the first time. After instructing Alexa to enable the tuner, the user can be heard demanding what note he wants to hear. The Echo returns it four times.

 

My Metronome

 

My Metronome is another built-in Alexa skill. It keeps the tempo for musicians, holding from 10 to 300 beats a minute. To activate it, just tell her what you need by shouting: ‘Alexa, start My Metronome and 80 beats per minute,’ for example.

Of course, if you’d rather use your own, there are some great options here and here.

 

Lessons

 

One of the coolest things about Alexa is her ability to teach you how to play an instrument. There is even a built in app designed to help you learn how to play the piano. It is very simple, making it a great device for those who are beginners to playing music and children who have very little experience learning an instrument. It starts you off by teaching you simple notes and showing you where they are. Eventually, you will work your way to being able to play a duet with Alexa! The songs are pretty simple and mostly consist of nursery rhymes, but they can be a great primer for a student who is interested in taking piano lessons who’s parents are not sure if they are really going to be into it.

 

 

The Echo also has a built in function that will play back any note that you ask and can even play a series of notes, providing students with a reference point for a pitch when they are practicing. This means you can test out ideas ahead of time or even use the device as a means to improve your ear training by trying to sing the pitch before the Echo plays it. There is even a quiz on the Echo that you can use to work on your ear. It will play a note and you will try to guess what it is. This may seem like a skill you are either born with or not but the ear is something you can develop over time and, with enough work, you can almost give yourself perfect pitch.

Play-a-longs

 

If you are an improvising musician, you know one of the best ways to practice is to simply improvise. Of course, you can’t always call your friends to have them come over and play some tunes with you, so you need a solution. One way you can use the Amazon Echo to practice is to utilize play a longs. A play along is a recording of music that has your part taken out, so you can play as if you are playing with a band in a live situation. One popular version of these for jazz musicians is the Jamey Aebersold series. He has recorded thousands of tunes that students can practice over ranging from jazz to funk and RnB classics. Download them to your Echo and get started today.

Here’s an idea of the sound quality you can expect

 

Amazon Dot: A cheaper version of the Echo

 

The Echo sits a stop a cylinder speaker which is powerful enough to be used alone. But if $179 is too steep a price tag, the Dot is a great alternative. At $49, it’s considerably less expensive and performs pretty much all of the same functions as the larger Echo.

The only major difference is the lack of speaker. So if you have your own already, the dot may be the way to go.

Amazon-Dot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amazon Echo Show: The Echo with a touchscreen

A huge hook of the Echo is its voice-controlled function. In commercials it plays out very smoothly and it appeals to a lazier, Siri-obsessed generation. But some people would still like to have the option to control the device by hand.

 

Amazon-Echo-show

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To accommodate them, Amazon recently released the Echo Show which combines the Echo with a touch screen for easy use. It’s the most expensive device in the range at $229. In essence, it looks like an iPad with a speaker attached at the bottom.

It can however be a great tool for musicians who are trying to learn lyrics. The Echo Show will display the words on screen. It’s also a great way to pull up sheet music to play along to with a tune running in the background for support

Advantages of having an Amazon Music account

These days, it seems like every time you get online there is a new way to listen to music. The listening method du jour is streaming, giving users instant access to millions of songs at once, a luxury that would have blown the minds of people who grew up only listening to music fed to them on the radio.

Spotify, Tidal and iTunes have dominated the conversation in recent years, but Amazon Music has just as much if not more to offer music lovers.

Here are some of the benefits:

Prime Access

Do you already have an Amazon Prime account? If you shop online, you should. The free shipping alone is worth it, but Prime members were pleasantly surprised when free streaming music was added for Prime members in 2014. This is similar to the company adding streaming television and movies prior to that. Prime has gone from a free shipping service to an all-inclusive entertainment package at an affordable annual price. One of the biggest advantages of the Prime music service is the huge number of pre-programmed playlists that you can choose from depending on your mood or listening preferences at that time, making it a great resource for musicians, teachers, and even industry pros who are looking for the next hot artist or some fresh inspiration for their own compositions. If you have Amazon Prime already, there is a good chance that you didn’t even know you had access to Amazon Music. Now you know, so take advantage of it.

For a special offer of Prime for just $5.99 a month, click here.

Family Plan

The beauty of music is that everyone loves it. This can become costly though when subscribing to services as a family.  You probably don’t want to shell out a different monthly subscription price for each family member who streams music online like some other streaming services require. Amazon understands this and has accommodated for it by giving up to six people access to one account for an extremely low monthly price of just $7.99. If you already have subscriptions for all of your family with another streaming service, this could mean a lot more room in your budget each month. It seems that Amazon has seen the success that cell phone service providers have found with this business model and are acting accordingly. Also, each individual account can listen to different music simultaneously on their different devices.

Gigantic Catalog

Classical music lover? Jazz? Country? Ragtime? Regardless of what your favorite kind of music is, the Amazon Music Unlimited catalog has it in spades. This includes brand-new music being released by today’s most popular artists which are usually available without advertisements and whenever the listener wants to hear them. This includes the variety of different playlists and radio stations that have been curated by the company’s experts. There is no difference between the amount of music offered by other streaming services and Amazon which is a great deal considering the service can be had for free when you already have Amazon Prime.

Compatibility

You may not always be at home with your computer when you are trying to check out a new tune or practice for your next gig. Amazon has you covered with this. You would be hard pressed to find a device that connects to the internet that isn’t compatible with Amazon Music. Waiting in the green room before a gig and need to learn the chord changes to tune? Plug your headphones into your phone and dial it up. Don’t worry, you can listen as many times as you want too, Reading on your Kindle or Fire and want to switch over and listen to a song that is mentioned in an article? Just switch over to your Amazon Music app and go for it. This includes both Android and iOS devices.

You Can Still Listen in Airplane Mode

MAJOR perk. Those who work in the music industry understand just how much travel is required in order to be successful. The time spent flying from one place to another on an airplane is valuable because there is nothing to distract you from catching up on music you have to listen to or making some charts for your next gig. Even if you aren’t in the music industry, there’s nothing more frustrating than having your signal cut-off mid subway ride. Amazon Music eliminates this risk. On the app, you can download any song you need to listen to a specifically designed playlist so you can listen to it later when you may not have internet access.

Amazon Audible for the Bookworm

Another option when it comes to auditory entertainment is, Amazon Audible a service that lets people stream books straight from their device. It’s no accident that the popularity of audiobooks is enjoying a meteoric rise as Amazon boosts Audible (Serial ring any bells?) Audible is in addition to Prime or Music Unlimited services. Nothing passes the time like a great book and members with Audible can get a free credit each month that they are on the service. This is an ideal service for those who already have an Amazon Kindle or an Amazon Fire device. One unique feature of Amazon Audible is its exchange program which allows a person to exchange any book that they aren’t enjoying for another one. The entire internet is now your library through Amazon Audible.

Try Before You Buy

Let’s be honest, there are a lot of music streaming services out there and they all seem to offer the same thing. You don’t want to end up paying for the wrong one, do you? Luckily, Amazon offers a one-month free trial for anyone looking into adding it to their mobile entertainment package. Amazon Audible goes one further, offering a three-month trial. During this period, users will have access to all of the same features that regular subscribers do to help them determine whether or not they want to go all in and subscribe with either a solo or family plan.

The benefits are plentiful whether you’re a casual music fan or a professional. The service makes it easy to access just about every song in recorded history on just about any device you can think of. You would have to actively try to not be able to get music when you subscribe to this. Unlike other services, the new music being released will be on the application the day it comes out whereas it could take a week or two with competing services. Put simply, Amazon Music is a no brainer for anyone with a flare for sound.