Wish: To have my own laptop music studio

Tell us your wish, tell us your obstacle, and we'll try to come up with some useful suggestions to help you get into action toward your dream.

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Wish: To have my own laptop music studio

Postby elarue » Tue Jan 15, 2019 7:53 am

All right, after responding to several other people's wishes, I think I'm confident enough to post my own. :-)

I want to have my own laptop music studio to compose electronic and synthesizer based music with. The two main obstacles are:

1) Money
2) Support from my wife

The first thing I would need to do is replace my laptop. Without getting into too much detail, my previous personal laptop was destroyed, and I'm not sure my wife would trust me to own a laptop of my own again. And even if she did, we're in a financial situation where I can't justify buying one, let alone all the hardware and software to go with it.

Okay, that's the short version. I'm sure as I get more feedback, I can go into more detail, but I'd love to brainstorm how to work through all this. :-)
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Re: Wish: To have my own laptop music studio

Postby pattyn » Tue Jan 15, 2019 8:57 am

Money is never a real obstacle, elarue. It's the laptop and equipment you need, not the money to buy them. How to get them?
[*]Check Freecycle.com, nextdoor.com, craigslist.com, and Facebook Marketplace for anyone offering any of the stuff you need for free.
[*]Ask your friends and family if they will be replacing a laptop soon and might be willing to give you the old one.
[*]Contact every recording studio and elearning developer in your area to ask if they are replacing any of their audio equipment or laptops soon.
[*]Ask what they might accept in exchange for the old equipment, perhaps some free original music for a client of theirs. Or maybe dog walking services while they're on vacation. Get creative. They need to unload the stuff, and most musicians don't really look forward to dealing with such botheration.
[*]Ask if they just might also need some music for other clients for pay, so you can buy whatever you don't find.

That other obstacle, support from your wife, will be lots easier if you aren't taking money out of a tight budget to buy anything. But here are some other ways to get more support:
[*]Draw up a step-by-step plan for selling the music you compose, and start implementing it even before you get the equipment.
[*]Ask her about her dreams and how you might support them, and then support them.
[*]Ask for her advice on how to avoid a repeat of whatever destroyed the last laptop. Instead of disputing anything she suggests, just paraphrase it and say, "I'll think about this. Thank you."
[*]Pick up a few side jobs to bring in enough extra cash that she feels less stressed over how tight the budget is. You'd be amazed how much more encouraging humans become when their stress is relieved. Craigslist, NextDoor.com, and Fiverr are all good places to advertise your services to your neighbors.
- Patty Newbold
Director, Sher Success Teams
Marriage Education Author/Speaker - assumelove.com - enjoybeingmarried.com
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Re: Wish: To have my own laptop music studio

Postby elarue » Tue Jan 15, 2019 9:40 am

Thanks for the suggestions! I'll check out freecycle.com - granted, I can't have a laptop that's too old, or it won't run the software I need. But it's worth looking into.

I've also considered setting up crowdfunding, such as a goFundMe or a Patreon account. Unfortunately, I'm not on Facebook or a lot of social media, so promoting the campaign would be difficult. But I suspect there are ways around that obstacle as well. ;-)
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Re: Wish: To have my own laptop music studio

Postby elarue » Tue Jan 15, 2019 1:57 pm

It occurred to me that maybe I should post a list of what I'm looking for:

MacBook Pro
A software synthesizer suite (along the lines of Native Instruments Komplete or SampleTank)
A MIDI keyboard controller
A keyboard stand for said controller (unless it's one of those miniature desktop models)
Vocaloid - a software singing synthesizer.
A good pair of monitoring headphones
A microphone

In addition, I need to upgrade my version of Finale, a music notation program, to work with the current MacOS. I would like to also upgrade my version of Digital Performer, but I can get by on GarageBand for the time being.

The software programs are ones I'd need to buy - I tried using a license I got off eBay once, and it didn't end well. ;-)
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Re: Wish: To have my own laptop music studio

Postby Elaine Glimme » Sat Jan 19, 2019 2:03 pm

Hi, elaru,

Does the library have anything that might help you? They're not just about books anymore. Also do you have any musician friends that you hang around with? If not, you could go to a couple of coffee house gigs. Maybe you'd just have an evening of coffee and music, but maybe you'd meet a kindred spirit. - maybe someone who would be willing to share equipment for something. Have you written anything that a performer might want?

Good luck.
Elaine Glimme - author - "Temporary Address" and "The Molly Chronicles"
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Re: Wish: To have my own laptop music studio

Postby Elaine Glimme » Sat Jan 19, 2019 2:07 pm

Check out last couple of posts here on "doing good in the world." A tribute to libraries.
Elaine Glimme - author - "Temporary Address" and "The Molly Chronicles"
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Re: Wish: To have my own laptop music studio

Postby SquarePeg » Sat Jan 19, 2019 7:02 pm

You might be able to find free GNU software packages that allow you to accomplish your goals. And they'll run on Linux, so you might not need a Macbook Pro.

For example, The GIMP is what folks use if they don't want to buy Photoshop. I haven't gone down the free music software rabbit hole for fear of getting too distracted from life. But I feel there might be some packages that compete well with the ones you describe.

BTW, I enjoyed using the demo version of Finale. It's really neat!
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Re: Wish: To have my own laptop music studio

Postby SquarePeg » Sat Jan 19, 2019 7:09 pm

Oh boy, I'm in big trouble. I went looking for a free software equivalent to Finale! Look what I found:
https://sourceforge.net/projects/mscore/
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Re: Wish: To have my own laptop music studio

Postby elarue » Sat Jan 19, 2019 10:15 pm

Cool! I’ll have to check it out! :-D
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Re: Wish: To have my own laptop music studio

Postby elarue » Mon Jan 21, 2019 7:48 am

Elaine Glimme wrote:Does the library have anything that might help you? They're not just about books anymore.


I'm not sure what you mean. What would I be looking for at the library exactly?

I do have a library in town, and I love it. Check books from there all the time. :-D
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Re: Wish: To have my own laptop music studio

Postby elarue » Mon Jan 21, 2019 7:56 am

Elaine Glimme wrote:Have you written anything that a performer might want?


I wrote a song that I submitted to a particular Russian singer, but I haven't heard anything back from her. I'm now worried that I wrote something in the email to make myself look like an idiot, or that she wasn't happy with the audio quality of my submission because it was just an audio produced in Finale rather than going to the effort to record a full demo with vocals and such. It's definitely a good song though - my therapist liked the lyrics. ;-)
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Re: Wish: To have my own laptop music studio

Postby elarue » Mon Jan 21, 2019 8:26 am

SquarePeg wrote:You might be able to find free GNU software packages that allow you to accomplish your goals. And they'll run on Linux, so you might not need a Macbook Pro.

For example, The GIMP is what folks use if they don't want to buy Photoshop. I haven't gone down the free music software rabbit hole for fear of getting too distracted from life. But I feel there might be some packages that compete well with the ones you describe.

BTW, I enjoyed using the demo version of Finale. It's really neat!


For a DAW, I could always get by with GarageBand for starters and then upgrade as I make more money. For the synthesizer suites, IKMultimedia does have a free version of SampleTank - I haven't had a chance to really use it to see how far I can get with it, but that's an option, and I know there are free software synthesizers floating out there on the internet. The only one I don't think I could find a free version of is Vocaloid, just because that's so unique there probably isn't a free version that competes with it. Still, free software is a good suggestion. Now just need to work out the hardware. ;-)
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Re: Wish: To have my own laptop music studio

Postby elarue » Tue Jan 22, 2019 8:13 am

Funny enough, when I started looking at using an iPad for my writing ventures, I realized there's plenty of iPad software that does the same things that the Mac software does - it has a version of GarageBand, as well as SampleTank and Amplitube, and while it doesn't have an English version of Vocaloid (that's only in Japan), I could get a copy of IKMultimedia's VocaLive and sing vocal parts myself - I just need to see if that will do what I need it to do.

That would reduce the costs of the setup significantly. I'd like to upgrade to a MBP setup eventually, but using an iPad could get me started. :-)
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