As a working guitarist you’re going to want to up your organization skills. Being organized will save you lots of time and frustration in the future. Time is money and neither is much fun to waste. This week we’re going to look at organizing iTunes. Often when artists send material to learn for a gig it’s not well labeled. Either because of using different formats or some people aren’t technologically advanced. This will slow you down. You should take the time to properly label your songs and even create playlists related to gigs.
Let’s look at the field labeled “name”. Whats in a name? A lot!! It can tell you if it’s a rehearsal take, show performance, demo or from a record. You’ll look at the name first so the better this is labeled the better. ex: “The Late Hour” reh 10/22/12. Artist name should always be filled in as well. Make sure you spell it the same and capitalize the same so multiple folders don’t get created. Ex: Don’t Label in the artist category as M Marshall and another as Mark Marshall.
Seriously a minute re-labeling when opening a song can save you 10 minutes of valuable review time. By changing the artists name by even 1 letter Itunes will create a new folder. You’ll especially notice this when syncing your ipod. More menu’s to sift through = less productivity.
Album name. Create a few but very specific for your needs. Demo, Rehearsal, Album and Performances. Now sort accordingly. If everything is labeled properly you’ll be able to search artist by name, album or song.
When labeling a song make sure to be able to distinguish which version it is. for example it’s possible you may acquire more then one version of the same song from different rehearsal. But, you’ll need to check the latest one because a line has changed or the form has changed. If they all say “The Late Hour” Rehearsal you’re going to have to listen to all of them to find it. This will eat up time and energy. By placing the date after the title it will help you track the version down much quicker.
Playlists: I keep a separate playlist for each artist I play with. In that playlist is everything I have of theirs. Every rehearsal, demo, audio memo. albums, performances…all of it!! I may take music on and off my ipod when it’s near full. In the event I took an artists playlist off, I can easily add it back on by dragging the whole thing. Every time an artist sends me a new song I first label properly and then place in the playlist that already exists. Often musicians review on the go. Listening on subways, a bus or in cars. If you make this a regular routine you can simply drag and drop and be confident everything you need is there.
Part of the point of this is to relieve stress in every way possible. You want it to be an enjoyable experience. Running out the door last second to find you’re missing will not help your zen state. With the extra time you’ll have you can run through that difficult song one more time.
Formatting is not the same with every device which is why you HAVE to check everything when you import. Often the artist and album fields are empty which means you have 2 less ways to search for it. Laziness doesn’t pay, in-fact it pays less because those minutes you’re eating up are often on your own clock. Your organization is reflected in your playing.
Back it up!! It will be nearly impossible to replace all those rehearsal and demo versions. Do not expect artists to have everything in their library and easily accessible. This is yet another reason to be really organized. It will make backing up very easy. As long as you’ve spelled the artists name correct EVERY time you’ll be able to locate your itunes MUSIC folder, drag and drop the folder of the artists name to your back up drive. What’s that you don’t got no back up drive? <slap> Hard drives fail slick, it’s not if but WHEN. It’s not a conspiracy theory, it’s fact. Hard drives are cheap, buy one.
In iTunes you can access the area to adjust the songs info by any of the following:
Right click and select Get Info
Key command Apple or Command and I
Under Menu>File>Get Info
Here is a peak at my playlist for Abby Ahmad.
For more on Mark’s guitar classes