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Topic: Is It Better To Have Music In A Kid's Show?
Message: Posted by: General_Magician (Aug 22, 2014 12:28PM)
I don't have music in my kids show. Sometimes though, I wonder if it would improve the quality of my children's show if I did include music. If so, how would you select the music? Where would you find it? What do you guys think?
Message: Posted by: kimmo (Aug 22, 2014 12:34PM)
I was a stick in the mud for years, calming I didn't need it, but adding music to my show has given it a whole new dimension. I would not be without it now.

Arthur Stead has some great CDs of Royalty free music.

Gary Dunn has also been a great help to me - he recommended that I use show cues and sold me a fantastic remote.

Good luck
Message: Posted by: TommyJ (Aug 22, 2014 12:43PM)
[quote]On Aug 22, 2014, kimmo wrote:
I was a stick in the mud for years, calming I didn't need it, but adding music to my show has given it a whole new dimension. I would not be without it now.

Arthur Stead has some great CDs of Royalty free music.

Gary Dunn has also been a great help to me - he recommended that I use show cues and sold me a fantastic remote.

Good luck [/quote]

Yes me too. I agree it adds a whole new element to my performances. I don't use it in a birthday party, but all my larger shows.
Message: Posted by: General_Magician (Aug 22, 2014 12:59PM)
[quote]On Aug 22, 2014, kimmo wrote:
I was a stick in the mud for years, calming I didn't need it, but adding music to my show has given it a whole new dimension. I would not be without it now.

Arthur Stead has some great CDs of Royalty free music.

Gary Dunn has also been a great help to me - he recommended that I use show cues and sold me a fantastic remote.

Good luck [/quote]


Where can I find a good sound system that is good for a kids show where I can cue the music? I have no idea even where to start! Also, Arthur Stead's CDs, are they found at magic shops or at Amazon.com? Where is a good place to find his CDs of royalty free music? I had purchased a royalty free soundtrack for my children's magic show demo video which I refer possible clients for children's magic shows to. But, I certainly would need some royalty free music and a good sound system which I can operate on cue as well.
Message: Posted by: The Great Zucchini (Aug 22, 2014 01:11PM)
I think it's apples and oranges. You can have a good show with it or without. I've seen people use it, and it seems like it bores kids or hypnotizes them and I've seen people that use it and are hysterical with it. I've seen people that don't use it, and have a great show. It depends on you and what you do with it.
Message: Posted by: TonyB2009 (Aug 22, 2014 02:03PM)
I am tone deaf and don't listen to any music. So I would not even consider putting it in my shows. In fact I tend not to watch acts that have music in them. I will make an exception for a good circus act, but that is about it.

However, as Eric says, it is horses for courses. It might suit some people. After all, guys like me aren't in every audience.
Message: Posted by: kimmo (Aug 22, 2014 02:05PM)
I agree, its how you use it. I would never have a long, drawn out musical section - I use stings and sound effects to make things funnier. My PA system has become a character in the show and misbehaves, playing the wrong songs and interrupting me when I'm trying to talk. The kids love it.
Message: Posted by: wwhokie1 (Aug 22, 2014 03:43PM)
Music can be a great tool if used appropriately. But with kids you need to make sure not to turn control of your show over to the music. If you are doing a silent bit with just music playing, what happens if a kid gets disruptive. If you interrupt the music to deal with the kid then the routine could be ruined. With kids, the kids will fill the silence and if you are not careful the music can become silence and you can lose the attention of the kids. Music can be great, just make sure the focus remains on you not the music and that you remain in control.

Personally, I do not use music in kid shows, though I have considered it at times. My style lends itself to no music most of the time. I have seen music used very poorly with kids and that turns bad quickly. I have also seen music, which was carefully placed and used, become a real asset for a kids routine. No right or wrong answer, just depends on your show. However, there is a right and wrong way to use music.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Aug 22, 2014 07:28PM)
I've been a STICK IN THE MUD since I started in 1945.
Message: Posted by: arthur stead (Aug 22, 2014 07:36PM)
[quote]On Aug 22, 2014, General_Magician wrote:

Arthur Stead's CDs, are they found at magic shops or at Amazon.com? [/quote]

Try my website (see below). You can listen to music samples of our various CDs on the website. Also, our "Give Your Act A Music Makeover" PDF book is a fabulous resource for knowing how, where, when, and what kind of music to use.
Message: Posted by: charliecheckers (Aug 22, 2014 08:18PM)
I think it is important to determine how most effectively to entertain your audience, and then create your show to fit your vision. Taking a boring show and adding music to it will equal a boring show in my opinion. Unless you have a thorough idea on how music is going to add to your show, it will probably not be of benefit. There are drawbacks in terms of not only financial costs, but set up time, space requirements, and the necessary knowledge to master the techknology. For many shows, music adds a ton of excitement and energy, so it does make sense to consider what it might do for your show.

There are many options you can explore, and you would be wise to read the FX section of TMC. There is a ton of information there. Also, visit a local store, such as Gutair Center and ask for advice on sound systems and remote control devices to que the sound. Once you get an idea of the options, more specific recommendations will make more sense and you can better choose what best fit your needs.
Message: Posted by: The Great Zucchini (Aug 22, 2014 08:21PM)
[quote]On Aug 22, 2014, wwhokie1 wrote:
Music can be a great tool if used appropriately. But with kids you need to make sure not to turn control of your show over to the music. If you are doing a silent bit with just music playing, what happens if a kid gets disruptive. If you interrupt the music to deal with the kid then the routine could be ruined. With kids, the kids will fill the silence and if you are not careful the music can become silence and you can lose the attention of the kids. Music can be great, just make sure the focus remains on you not the music and that you remain in control.

Personally, I do not use music in kid shows, though I have considered it at times. My style lends itself to no music most of the time. I have seen music used very poorly with kids and that turns bad quickly. I have also seen music, which was carefully placed and used, become a real asset for a kids routine. No right or wrong answer, just depends on your show. However, there is a right and wrong way to use music. [/quote] Perfect answer, in my opinion.
Message: Posted by: arthur stead (Aug 22, 2014 08:55PM)
[quote]On Aug 22, 2014, wwhokie1 wrote:
Music can be a great tool if used appropriately. But with kids you need to make sure not to turn control of your show over to the music. If you are doing a silent bit with just music playing, what happens if a kid gets disruptive. If you interrupt the music to deal with the kid then the routine could be ruined. With kids, the kids will fill the silence and if you are not careful the music can become silence and you can lose the attention of the kids. Music can be great, just make sure the focus remains on you not the music and that you remain in control.

Personally, I do not use music in kid shows, though I have considered it at times. My style lends itself to no music most of the time. I have seen music used very poorly with kids and that turns bad quickly. I have also seen music, which was carefully placed and used, become a real asset for a kids routine. No right or wrong answer, just depends on your show. However, there is a right and wrong way to use music. [/quote]

wwhokie1, you made a great point. You really have to know the right way to use music. It can be a fantastic control device for kidshows. But if it's used the wrong way, it becomes a distraction and you lose their focus.

Folks who perform our Interactive Routines (like Merlin or Skull-o-pini) know how effective the "right" music can be in a children's routine. Kids are mesmerized and totally involved from start to finish. But that's because we treated the music for those routines like a film score, using techniques which let the audience experience the onstage action on a deeper level.
Message: Posted by: gmsmagic1 (Aug 23, 2014 09:10AM)
I bought an inexpensive small portable monitor speaker for around $50 from Costco. I'm sure BJ's and other wholesale outlets also sell these cheap. The audio easily fills any auditorium, and it sounds great! I'm able to play any mp3 file and control the music directly from my cell phone through Bluetooth. You can get these monitors with built in amplification and with battery backup. It's a perfect inexpensive solution for any magic show. Just make sure your phone is fully charged, or bring the charger!

Another simple solution is to use a laptop or other audio source like an ipod with a decent sounding boombox for smaller venues. You connect from the earphone jack of the audio source through the input plug of the boombox. My laptop came with a remote for controlling the music.

My only point here being that there is really no need to over complicate your sound system or spend a fortune to acquire a workable solution.

- Gary
Message: Posted by: Mike Brezler (Aug 25, 2014 07:40PM)
Arthur Stead has an interactive music routine titled "The Magic In You." He suggests using it with the dream bag routine, and I use this in all my kids shows. I can't imagine doing the dream bag without this music track because it brings it to a whole new level.

Mike
Message: Posted by: RNK (Aug 26, 2014 06:42AM)
I use music in all my shows. Even if it's at lower volume for background music. Though- there are few effects that I won't use music. For instance- Comeback Bee by Tommy James would be an example where I feel music wouldn't fit.

RNK
Message: Posted by: gmsmagic1 (Aug 26, 2014 06:53AM)
RNK, the exception is if you want to perform it really fast...

Then "Flight of the Bumble Bee" would be perfect! :)

- Gary
Message: Posted by: Skip Way (Aug 26, 2014 09:06AM)
I have a rapid fire comedy opening set to music that captures everyone's attention and establishes my skill. I also use a gentler music piece with a parent-child bonding moment just before my big close. Both are awesome Arthur & Leslie Stead pieces. As mentioned, it's all in how you use the music.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Aug 26, 2014 11:23AM)
About 1938, PARKER & WATTS CIRCUS played my home town. They paraded (all circuses paraded in those days). I was 7 years old. I watched the parade, and got very close to a tiger cage as it passed. I was "baptized" by the occupant! Thus began my fascination with mud shows. Circus brass band music, "made" the show! 75 years later, most circuses use taped or cd music. Music still "makes" the show.

In 1947, I caught Roy MAYER'S school show, in a high school. Roy had a 78 rpm record player built in a small case. He played "Canadian Capers" (an up beat tune) for his opening routine. He closed the program with a series of ball manipulations. He played another record. "78s" ran about 3 minutes, so the record "decided" how long the routine would be!!! Roy was the only school magician I ever saw that "used" music.

From my first school show in 1945, until I finally retired in 2008, I was strictly a talking act. Music would have been nice to have, but, until the last few years, it,was just too "impossible" (technically). Besides, I had devloped a talking act, "it worked" so,"I didn't fix it!"

With the technical equipment available today, a performer has available, fantastic "help".

I was "born too soon"! That's why I'm "stuck in the mud"!
Message: Posted by: RNK (Aug 26, 2014 11:33AM)
[quote]On Aug 26, 2014, gmsmagic1 wrote:
RNK, the exception is if you want to perform it really fast...

Then "Flight of the Bumble Bee" would be perfect! :)

- Gary [/quote]


Ah. Have to check that out Gary! Thanks!
Message: Posted by: arthur stead (Aug 26, 2014 01:26PM)
[quote]On Aug 26, 2014, RNK wrote:
[quote]On Aug 26, 2014, gmsmagic1 wrote:
RNK, the exception is if you want to perform it really fast...

Then "Flight of the Bumble Bee" would be perfect! :)

- Gary [/quote]


Ah. Have to check that out Gary! Thanks! [/quote]

Also check out our Make it Magic - Classical CD, where you'll find a quirky, uptempo version of Flight of the Bumblebee entitled "Bee Sting." (If anyone is interested, send me a PM and I'll email you an mp3 excerpt to your private email).

Kimmo, Mike and Skip, thanks for your kind words and your support!
Message: Posted by: The Mighty Fool (Aug 26, 2014 01:49PM)
[quote]On Aug 22, 2014, General_Magician wrote:


Where can I find a good sound system that is good for a kids show where I can cue the music? I have no idea even where to start! Also, Arthur Stead's CDs, are they found at magic shops or at Amazon.com? Where is a good place to find his CDs of royalty free music? I had purchased a royalty free soundtrack for my children's magic show demo video which I refer possible clients for children's magic shows to. But, I certainly would need some royalty free music and a good sound system which I can operate on cue as well. [/quote]

Cesaral makes a complete sound-cue / advance system including remotes disguised as various objects. It's pretty pricy though. I'm told that one could simply cobble a sound-cue system themselves with a little help from a technician for cheap.
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Aug 26, 2014 06:32PM)
Check this out, works remotely off your I Phone or I pad by blue tooth and it's battery operated; you don't need 110 volts.

http://www.guitarcenter.com/Alesis-TransActive-Portable-Powered-Bluetooth-Speaker-System-109106229-i3034714.gc
Message: Posted by: gmsmagic1 (Aug 26, 2014 09:31PM)
I just realized that I was way off on the price of the speaker I use. I said $50. It actually sells for $210, but as a Costco member, I paid considerably less - like around $150.

Here is the speaker I own and love: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007WCJVH2/ref=olp_product_details?ie=UTF8&me=

It goes on sale on Amazon and is worth buying used or refurbished if you can find a good deal. There is currently one available for $140 refurbished with free shipping.

The upgraded model also looks great and might be worth the extra $50. There is a tab you can click on to view it from the link above. There is also a video you can view from the above link.

Just be sure to test out the bluetooth from your phone since the signal may be different from different models. And also check out the range. It works awesome from my Galaxy S4 phone, and the range is at least 250 feet. How often are you ever going to be that far away from the stage during a show?

- Gary
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Aug 27, 2014 11:59AM)
Gary;

You pointed to the same machine I linked to, and the price difference from Guitar Center is $10.00 less.

You also advised testing the blue tooth; you can't test the Amazon Bluetooth because it's on line only, but you can go into a Guitar Center test it play with it and pay $10.00 less for it and receive a very good warranty.

I also would never buy used electronic equipment because excessively dropping of the unit by the previous owner may not leave exterior damage, but may shake up the components; in addition the heat generated by leaving an electronic system on for extended periods of time greatly shortens its life and by not knowing the history of a system the savings is not guaranteed

I paid $150.00 for my PA system at Costco as well. If you’re advising members here that they can buy the system for $150.00 can you point to a link at that price, I can't find that $150.00 price on the Costco website, or anywhere on the internet
Message: Posted by: gmsmagic1 (Aug 27, 2014 02:08PM)
Howie,

I didn't even notice that you were recommending the same speaker. So we are in agreement regarding the product. And as I stated in my original post, I still recommend buying this product wholesale from a place like Costco or BJ's for securing the best price and warranty. That's how you and I got ours, so we are also in agreement on the best source.

And for all the reasons you just gave, in hindsight, I would have to admit that you've changed my opinion with your sound advice and valid concerns.

Buying used electronics is a bad idea! But I will stress that buying refurbished from a reputable outfit is drastically different than buying used - just not from Amazon with their no return policy on this item. They appear to be incorrectly using the term refurbished in this instance.

As a DJ/Magician, I've now bought at least 16 refurbished laptops over the years from Costco, BJs and Walmart online. I've never encountered a problem that wasn't easily resolved because refurbished implies that the item is being sold in "like new" condition with the original manufactures warranty. And the upside for me is that I got each laptop at 50-60% discounts all because someone bought the item and returned it shortly thereafter.

- Gary
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Aug 27, 2014 10:20PM)
Dary;

When a customer returns a product because it has malfunctioned and under the warranty and the problem can't be identified by the technician, the product is replaced with a brand new product; the company will then refurbish the product and sell it at a discounted price; there are times when the problem in the product is not repaired when it is refurbished; if it could easily be repaired the computer would have been repaired and returned to the original customer..

You comment "I've never encountered a problem that wasn't easily resolved" is very interesting. I'm a professional magician and utilizing a PA system in my show is very important to my reputation so everything I buy must be 100% reliable.

I only buy new electronic equipment from reputable companies and I've never encountered a problem that had to be resolved, not when practicing, or in a performance; no problem is easily resolved when it occurs during a performance.
Message: Posted by: gmsmagic1 (Aug 28, 2014 07:00AM)
Any electronics - whether new, used or refurbished, is suceptible to failure. I would argue that at least refurbished merchandise has now had to pass 2 inspections to be certified against quality standards, and is therefore less likely to fail. I've bought new electronics on many occasions that arrived DOA. That's why I test out everything thoroughly before any show, and that's why I keep backups on hand for any critical components.

If it gives you more peace of mind to buy new versus refurbished even though they are both coming from the exact same supplier with the exact same manufacturers warranty, then stick with what works for you. For what you pay, I'll buy 2 and have a backup on hand.

When it comes to electronics, you aren't going to win this argument against a former technician with IBM & HP that knows from firsthand experience how many new PCs and printers come back needing repairs by me. And those items have tons of components that can fail.

You're talking about a speaker which is a passive device with far less components that can fail. I have plenty of experience with speakers as well. I've run a DJ business for over 30 years, and I supply speakers to 18 DJ's working for me. If you think speakers are important to a magic show, try DJing a wedding or corporate event with no working speakers!

- Gary
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Aug 28, 2014 12:08PM)
Gary, I don't know what your talking about.

Who is this IBM & HP tech your talking about?

Your blanket statement about warranties is not correct; many companies other then Sony and HP sell refurbished equipment and not every company has the same inspections and warranty as a new product; many companies have very short warranties for refurbished products; the PA system you recommended for $140.00 had no warranty at all; .

In my reply, I'm not talking about a speaker; a speaker has a magnet and a coned shape vibrating material that has very few parts; I'm talking about a PA system that has circuit boards full of sensitive components, volume controls, tone controls multiple microphone plugins and in this case Bluetooth capabilities and a battery with a battery recharger.

You are defending an argument about a no argument subject; I don't know the reason you had at first recommended buying used, but advising General_Magician, the Original poster to buy used electronics was the reason of my reply.
Message: Posted by: gmsmagic1 (Aug 28, 2014 05:15PM)
The service tech I was referring to is me! I worked 12 years for HP and 6 years for IBM. Entertainment has always been a weekend profession and hobby for me. IT is my real "job on the side".

I already conceded that buying used is a bad idea, and that one should avoid less reputable outlets or any outlet without a return policy for refurbished. So I don't know why you keep dwelling on that topic. I was recommending a specific monitor, but not the outlet that I found it on.

I simply said that buying refurbished may be a good viable option if pursued through a reputable dealer that is offering the manufacturers warranty and selling it in like new condition fully certified. That is definitely the case with wholesale outlets like Walmart, Costco, BJ's, and Sams Club. There is no right or wrong choice here, even though you insist that only your way is right. I personally have never had a problem going the refurbished route and I've saved thousands of dollars over the years while still giving the dealers my business.

Ironically, it turns out that we aren't even talking about the same product by the way! You're recommending the Alesis monitor from a dealer that doesn't even provide a warranty on the item beyond the standard manufacturers warranty (that you need to request by mail). The Ion monitor I'm recommending lists for $280, but can be snatched up at most wholesale outlets for as little as $145 brand new if you can manage to find it - since it's constantly selling out.

Here's where I bought mine new in the store recently:

http://www.bjs.com/ion-block-rocker-bluetooth-portable-wireless-speaker-system.product.244019

And yes, I would have bought this refurbished in a heartbeat if it had been an option at a significant savings. I bought my entire current DJ setup used for $1200 (speakers, amps, mixers and music, etc.) over 20 years ago from a friend that was retiring. This equipment would have easily cost me 6K new. To this day, everything still works perfectly. Only the amp required a minor repair once.

Here's one example of why refurbished is well worth considering:

Here's a $2,104 top rated HP Laptop ( http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0%2c2817%2c2332653%2c00.asp ) that is currently selling refurbished through Walmart.com for only $294 ( http://www.walmart.com/ip/HP-Off-Lease-Refurbished-Black-14-6930P-Laptop-PC-with-Intel-Core-2-Duo-Processor-2GB-Memory-160GB-Hard-Drive-and-Windows-7-Home-Premium/31061969 )! It's insane not to consider deals like this when it comes with the exact same warranty and return policy as any new laptop in their store. You don't have to agree with me - and I hope you don't. These deals are first come, so I'd much rather be the only one snatching them up. I bought my last 16 laptops this way! All my DJ's use laptops for playing music. And at these prices, I always buy 2 of everything so that I have backups for each show.

Anyway, I'm done debating this "no argument" topic as you put it, so if it makes you feel better, you're right and I'm wrong. :)

- Gary
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Aug 28, 2014 08:29PM)
Gary, General Magician asked two simple questions

Is music good for a kids show and where do you buy music?

General Magician never asked about what to play it on

Had you not gone into a complete discussion of used refurbished, check a Bluetooth frequency etc, etc, I would never had commented. I only commented because used was not the best advice and you can't test a Bluetooth before you buy if you buy on line.

Yes music is good for a kids show and Arthur Stead is an excellent resource

In closing, here is a site where you can buy the unit new and they have it in stock; simple, easy and no drama

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EOA7EMO/ref=dra_a_cs_hp_hn_it_P1400_1000?tag=dradisplay-20&ascsubtag=4a251a2ef9bbf4ccc35f97aba2c9cbda
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Aug 28, 2014 08:52PM)
[quote]On Aug 22, 2014, General_Magician wrote:
I don't have music in my kids show. Sometimes though, I wonder if it would improve the quality of my children's show if I did include music. If so, how would you select the music? Where would you find it? What do you guys think? [/quote]
The best advice I can give you is to contact Arthur Stead by PM.
Message: Posted by: gmsmagic1 (Aug 29, 2014 12:48AM)
Howie,

General Magician actually asked 4 questions:

Initially he asked -

1) Is it better to have music in a kids show? Everyone focused on answering this question.
2) How would you select it? Nobody answered this question, probably because it's completely subjective to the mood you're trying to create.
3) Where would you find it? Several people suggested Arthur Stead, but that was answered in the first reply by Kimmo.

And then there was General Magicians follow up question which most people ignored -

4) "Where can I find a good sound system that is good for a kids show where I can cue the music? I have no idea even where to start!"

I chimed in on this question because I've owned and run a DJ business for over 30 years, and I've been buying speakers and electronics for myself and the 18 people working for me for the same amount of time. I thought this might make me fairly qualified to address this topic.

I'm surprised that you suggested buying new from Amazon after everything I said about finding a local wholesale place since most carry it. There will be plenty of drama if it arrives with problems and you have to ship it back. I provided a link to Amazon just to show what the monitor looks like. I've been saying all along to get it from a local wholesale where you can easily return it if there is a problem and where you can test out the range and the bluetooth right in the store. And it's the same price or less than anything you will find online except refurbished. But let's not go there again!

- Gary
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Aug 29, 2014 03:08AM)
Gary, stay with the subject only.
Message: Posted by: gmsmagic1 (Aug 29, 2014 06:32AM)
You must be kidding! I just finished pointing out that I've been responding directly to one of the specific questions the person asked that started this topic. And besides, the sound system is directly related to the subject matter, which is why General Magician asked about it.

Gary
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Aug 29, 2014 02:43PM)
Why all the animosity toward Gary?

He has answered a valid question from the OP from his perspective.
He has politely corrected himself when he misremembered or felt he'd made a mistake.

We have no reason to doubt his honesty or expertise.

It is up to the OP to read and take what helpful information he can.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: wwhokie1 (Aug 29, 2014 06:28PM)
[quote]On Aug 29, 2014, Mary Mowder wrote:
Why all the animosity toward Gary?

He has answered a valid question from the OP from his perspective.
He has politely corrected himself when he misremembered or felt he'd made a mistake.

We have no reason to doubt his honesty or expertise.

It is up to the OP to read and take what helpful information he can.

-Mary Mowder [/quote]



Agree, thanks to all who share their opinions and knowledge!

- mark
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Aug 30, 2014 04:12PM)
I do think that you should just start by adding music to the one effect that you feel would benefit most from music. Then add new ones as you feel you can.

No one does their whole show at once and it does take practice to remember to turn on the music. (You wouldn't think so but apparently it does.)

I've seen some acts use an Ipod dock or a CD player when they first tried out music.

Your local Magic club will have folks who can give hands on help after seeing your attempts.

Do royalty free from the start. If you start working to popular music that you like (except of course for fun) it will be hard to go to royalty free music when working pro.

There are old songs that have run out their copyrights but you would have to make some arrangement with the musicians. This could be good for retirement homes.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: General_Magician (Sep 2, 2014 10:16PM)
Many thanks to all of you for your response. Much appreciated!