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Amazing Things You Probably Didn’t Know About the Grateful Dead

Here are some cool facts about the Grateful Dead. Before meeting any future performing members of the group, Jerry Garcia first befriended Robert Hunter in 1960, who go on to become the group’s lyricist behind some of their biggest tunes like “Sugar Magnolia,” “Casey Jones,” and “Truckin’.” Their devotion to musical and psychedelic exploration even reaches their use of music theory with tunes like “The Eleven” — performed in rare 11/8 time signature. In 1969, they switched gears towards incorporating live albums into their discography as the best way of capturing their sound, starting with Live / Dead recorded at Bill Graham’s Fillmore West. As a genuinely tour-dependent group, eventually their road crew that was loyal was employed full time with benefits and insurance. Their 1973 show and The Allman Brothers drew over half a million individuals. Jerry Garcia had to relearn the best way to play guitar in 1986 while recovering from a coma. Jerry Garcia served on the board of directors for a nonprofit called The Rex Foundation that has been assembled to support grassroots/artistic enrichment in “the spirit of generosity and concern that evolved in the culture surrounding Grateful Dead concerts.” Al and Tipper Gore are noted Deadheads (down to wearing J. Garcia neckties while campaigning) and even attended 1992′s RFK Stadium show within weeks of Gore being named Clinton’s vice presidential nominee. Grateful Dead is for the kids! Jerry Garcia’s last recorded job was a kids’ record called Not Just for Kids, and Bob Weir co-wrote a children’s book with his sister called Panther Dream that prepares kids about the rainforest. Jerry Garcia adored comic books and scuba diving, besides truly being a musician and visual artist. Phil Lesh’s enduring love of the sweatband is a legacy unto itself. No other group in the whole world can sound strong all at exactly the same time, and so pretty, surprising, over time. Long Live the Dead!

Running with Music

These days, you rarely see a runner outside without spotting those iPod earbuds, and for good reason. Music can really help with running. Not only is it fun to listen too and useful for keeping focused over lengthy runs, but choosing the right music based on tempo can really help with pacing. Last year, when I was training for a half marathon, I used many different playlists for my training. I carefully organized the music based on its tempo, or beats per minute, to help me maintain the proper running speed and cadence of steps. Although I didn’t listen to music during the actual race (the organizers politely requested a no headphones policy), because I had trained extensively with music, I was able to maintain my desired running pace. Plus, I pretty much had all the music pumping through my head based on memory.

Here are some tips to putting together a perfect running playlist.

Having a great jogging play list could function as the determinate variable to a good run. It could make the difference between a substandard or poor jog and an awesome 1. I had many runs start out poorly and then became better when I put an excellent music playlist on.

The key variable to assembling a good playlist depends on the form of jog you’re trying to do, how you jog, and the type of music you like.

In the illustrations recorded in the next paragraph you’ll see tips on how to make use of the BPM of the music, playlists as well as the sort operation of the tunes to assist you jog better, quicker, and stick to your own training plan.

My friend Tyrone loves to be involved in shorter races, like the 5K and 10K. He is fast, and he listens to audio when he runs. His play list is loaded with high tempo, or beats-per-minute (BPM) tunes.

My mother is a rather new runner, although she really wants to jog faster, and complete a half marathon sometime, she’s aware that she is only starting out and has to pace herself therefore she does not get injured.¬†If you’re like her, you are going to create a playlist which is around 50 minutes long, with the first 5-10 minutes having tunes with a BPM of around 100-120. This will help you get to a great speed slowly and ease to the jog. If you are in a race, you may be someplace in the middle of the pack and it will take you a few minutes to get into a place with enough breathing room to jog faster anyway. Following the initial 5-10 minutes, you should begin to gradually build up the BPM of your songs, go around 140 for another 5-10 minutes. After that you could grow the BPM of you songs to a high speed of 140-180.

Music and Video Games

When you typically think of great music achievements, the world of video games doesn’t jump to mind as quickly as say a concert hall or a CD. But increasingly we’re seeing more and more effort and attention being put into the composition and production of video games. As this medium becomes more and more popular, particularly with teenagers and young adults, music in video games really starts to shine.

These days, kids are introduced to video games–and music–at a very early age. My daughter, who plays a lot on Club Penguin and Poptropica, will often be humming the music she hears while enjoying the adventures and quests in those games. My older son, plays a number of console games including very high production titles on the XBox and the music is often very well done. We have of course seen the incorporation of known classics (Carmina Burana, anyone?) make their way into video games just as they did with action movies before, but there are an increasing number of original compositions as well. Some more recent games, such as Pottermore¬†use very little in the way of music but instead rely on ambient sounds to convey a mood or setting.

I remember reading a wonderful NPR story on the evolution of music in video games from the 70′s genre of Pong and other simple games through the present. Whereas early games merely reproduced simple blips and beeps on their chips, today’s games incorporate full sound, even in Dolby Digital. Music in video games have certainly come a very long way.

Celebrating Music and Entrepreneurs

Musicians and entrepreneurs share a lot of common traits. Both are celebrated for their creativity, drive, discipline and passion. Each knows that rewards come from hard work and they are eager and willing to take risks and create their own success from opportunities that they seek out. Music professionals who think like entrepreneurs can approach their career more resourcefully, and are capable of generating successful opportunities that allow them to prosper and grow in their art.

Is It About the Money or the Music?

A common conundrum facing successful musicians (as opposed to the more typical starving variety) is maintaining the balance between the money and the music. More often than not, musicians follow their passion for the art and beauty of music. Regardless of instrument played, or general skill and ability, the passion is the unifying element that keeps musicians practicing and playing, day in and out. But money pays the bills. And even for the most pure and artistic among us, money can be nice. It can mean the difference between driving a clunker or new car to practice, or getting a restful night’s sleep on a feather bed vs. an inexpensive mattress. For some, the money factor can loom quite large once success begins to knock on the door. And that’s where maintaining the proper balance between doing what you love for the simple sake of doing it and the desire to make a respectable living from your art.

Of course, not every musician wants to make money. Some pursue music as a simple pastime or for social connections. But for those who dive into music on a full-time basis, money certainly enters the picture. And the move you dive in, the murkier the water gets.