On this page, you will find an overall of the things I tools that helped me shape and produce my music from my instruments to the tools I use to record my audio and my Youtube videos.

I included the links of the websites and products so you can check it out/purchase. I am on a budget so a lot of the things tend to be at a decent price.

Bonus: hair products regimen + favorite fashion accessories!

My Music

vintage music sound retro
Photo by Markus Spiske temporausch.com on Pexels.com

I started to learn the Ukulele at the end of 2015/beginning of 2016. You can read how I picked up the instrument here.

I taught myself how to play with the help and Youtube and with the help of a couple of books + websites listed below:

My first Uke book that was gifted to me by a friend is a complete collection of chords with different position called : Hal Leonard Ukulele Method Book 1 Plus Chord Finder. I love this book and carried it with me around the globe, especially at the beginning, when I was learning the chords

When come up with a chord I don’t know but don’t want to search my book for too long (kinda like a reverse search) I use Online Ukulele Finder nb: make sure to check on the right hand side that it is the right Uke tuning (I personally have a  Soprano and a Tenor tuned in C – so I have to change from the Soprano tuned in D or the Baritone)

If I look for popular songs chord progression I want to cover I go to Ultimate Guitar Website. Most time they have a Uke section for easy following, and if they don’t I just follow along the guitar tabs. I also have a membership on my phone because I like some of the features on it (can’t remember the price, but check it out from your app store)

I own 3 ukuleles.

with Uke - City College NYC. Pic Capture by Roxane Spark
with Tenor Cordoba Ukulele that I hand drawn @ City College NYC. Pic Capture by Roxane Spark

My first purchase was a simple acoustic Luna Ukulele. In my budget at the time, I really liked it; however, when I started to gig, I needed an instrument with a pick up for more convenience, so I upgraded to a Cordoba 20TM-CE Acoustic Electric Tenor Ukulele. This one is a bigger size than the Luna (there are 4 uke sizes), so it is warmer in tone and feel.

chair deck chair guitar musical instrument
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In July 2018, I was looking for a new Ukulele (cause that’s what I do… hahaha) and I stumbled upon this Electric Ukulele from Vorson. Before then I had never heard of the brand so I started to check out some reviews on Youtube and they were pretty good. Since the price was pretty low (less than $150), I thought I would try it out. Now it is my favorite Uke and that is the one I take on the road. It is slightly smaller than my Cordoba, and has the feel of an electric guitar. I love it because I can put a strap (which changes my life, especially when I have to gig.

I also own a small amplifier the Fishman Loudbox Mini 60W Acoustic Instrument Amplifier. I like it for its portability and also I can plug my microphone and Uke on two different channel and EQ them individually, which is pretty dope. To carry it I put it in Fishman Mini Slip Cover (light travel) or Fishman Amplifier Bag (Heavier Duty).

Finally, I follow a few pages on Youtube:

  • Perfect if you are a beginner and also great if you are advanced, Bernadette Teaches Music is a great channel: Japan-based professional musician and Educator with great tutorials and reviews!
  • When I grow up maybe I can be like Taimane. I discovered her on a TedX Talk Maui video Website and was blown away! She is an amazing virtuoso player, so don’t get discouraged if you are starting. She also has cool reviews and tutorials
  • That is where I get my inspiration as a singer-songwriter: SoFar, NPR Music and Color. .One day I would like to perform on these different platforms along with of course live shows throughout the world!

Audio + Visual Production

black vinyl disc black vhs tape and camera

In this day and age it is important to provide great quality content. Luckily there are a lot of free or near free resources online to learn

Audio

sound speaker radio microphone
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I did go to school for Music Engineering at IAR (read more about it here) – and I usually record and produce my music on Protools and Reason. My audio interface Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, came with Protools First and I purchased Reason software online.

When I am away from home, and I don’t have all my material, I record on Garage band with a Snowball ICE Condenser Microphone

That is how I recorded my latest song “On the Way to Oz

Nowadays, there are a lot of free resources to learn those softwares and even more, so even if you did not go to school for that, do a quick online search on google and see what’s best for you!

Photo + Video

 

person taking photo of food and petals through smartphone
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

I am in no shape or form a professional photographer or videographer. But I have been told I had a “good eye”.

At the beginning of this year (2018) I decided to start learning a bit more about photography: with social media which demands high-quality post visual and since I have chosen to become a Vlogger, I thought it would be wise to invest in my craft (Plus I do like taking pics and geeky things)

I went on my favorite platform: Youtube. There is so much resources out there! Here are some of my favorite:

  • Photographer and Educator on his channel Tim Grey TV – I went to a free workshop at B & H Event Space on 34th street in the city (worth checking out if you are interested in photography, they have a bunch of free resources). He has great tips and videos
  • I purchased a Gimbal so I decided to look into tutorials DJI Tutorials

I also subscribed to Skillshare  For those who do not know, it is an online learning community with thousands of classes in design, business technology and more. I love the platform and there are so many tutorials I take on different topics. Get 2 Free month by clicking on this link.

Next, I purchased some inexpensive items (cause I am still a novice + to be honest, I don’t have yet the means to spend hundreds of dollars at the moment). I mainly use my iPhone to take pics. When I will have more funds, I will probably invest in a camera, but for now it is doing good. I have an old iPhone 6S and also my iphone 8 that I “pimped up” with some great quality items that improve your the quality of sound + audio for minimal price:

  • Small and efficient Professional Grade Lavalier Lapel Microphone. It really improve the quality of the recording (cause let’s face it, the iPhone microphone is not the greatest) – the only thing is that if you have a new iPhone version (like my iPhone 8) you need an adaptor, that is why I mainly use it with my iPhone6.
  • Selfie Stick/tripod: BlitzWolf Extendable Selfie Stick Tripod – I love this thing: it is portable and compact, fits in my purse and I use it landscape mode for my Facebook + IG Live Stream and videos.
  • iPhone Camera Lens: Kit – for cool effect when taking pics

Hair

 

Woman with black dress, white jacket, natural makeup and curly hair
Pic captured by Brianna Kilgore

I won’t spend too much time on that, and I mainly write this so I don’t have to continuously talk about it. Don’t get me wrong, I love to look good and I understand how my appearance may able to grant me access to different opportunities; that say, this blog is more focus on my craft than anything else, so here it is.

Being a woman a color with curly hair can be challenging especially when you travel as much as I do, and to be honest, my main focus in life is to keep it really simple. Sometimes due to circumstances, I have to change routine, but otherwise it is pretty consistent. I purchase inexpensive – forever lasting products:

Style

I love to shop and do it a lot when I travel. I really love simple clothing and accessories. However, I have decided after spending a few months abroad that I will minimize my wardrobe and sell/donate most of my things – after I figure out my “capsule wardrobe”

Dancing in Dumbo, Brooklyn - NY, July 2018 - Pic Captured by @RoxaneSpark
Cute Jumper from Marshall – Pic Captured by @RoxaneSpark

The first one I craft African Fabric inspired Kanzashi Flowers on Etsy called Aoede’s Hands, that I started back in 2011.

IMG_0822
Follow AH on IG @aoedeshands

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