Category: Blog

The Worst Blog Post Ever: How Trolls Can Ruin You (If You Let Them)

This week, I’ve been getting a lot of negativity from different places in my life and it’s been challenging. If you get enough negativity at the same time, it can wear you down. I’m going to share one example for you because there’s a crucial lesson to be learned from it.

The Worst Blog Post Ever: How Trolls Can Ruin You (If You Let Them)

Well, first of all, I worked very hard on this Udemy course on Bass Guitar back in December and January. Hours and hours were spent outlining, filming, editing and recording voiceovers. I finally released it in February and sent out a few free coupons to promote the new course. About a week or two later, I received my first review. Here’s what the review said:

“THIS IS AS BAD AS IT GETS – BE WARNED

If you’ve already been playing more than 5 minutes, you already know more than what’s in this course. Even if you’re a complete beginner i would say don’t do this course unless you want to see a bunch of stuff played badly with virtually no explanation.

You will learn a few ultra basic bass lines with no understanding of what you’re doing. And as an added bonus you will learn really bad technique as well. If you get a coupon to see this for free, do it to see how NOT to play bass. If you don’t have a coupon, do not waste one cent on this course”

Upon reading this review, my mood was changed for the rest of the day. It caught me off guard and stressed me out. My first Udemy course on Garageband had received nothing but 5-star reviews from the get-go, and now this new course was already hit with this 1-star bomb. As soon as I got home from work, I got to work on adding about 15 new lectures to improve the course, which included videos, charts and all sorts of detailed explanations. At the time of the review, my course was basically brand new, and I was hoping that the first batch of students would be able to provide me some useful feedback on how to improve the course, but instead I received this bomb of a review which made me re-think the entire course. I started to panic and even considered deleting the entire course. I didn’t want a bunch of people to have the same reaction.

So time went by and I wound up having very satisfying sales growth in March and April. I noticed that people were signing up for the Bass Guitar course and leaving 5 star reviews. The Garageband course was far and away my biggest hit in those 2 months, but my Bass Guitar course was steadily growing as well. In May, I took a look back at my reviews and decided to reach out to the one bad review guy. I sent him a message that said:

“Hi [name not disclosed],

Thank you for the feedback on my course. I took a lot of what you wrote in your review and used it as motivation to improve. Since your review, I’ve made about 15 new lectures which patch up a lot of the information that may have been missing in the early version of the course- keep in mind that the course was about 3 weeks old when you wrote your review. Anyway, I’ve put a ton of time and work into creating and improving the course and would love if you could re-evaluate my course now that it’s been updated. Student feedback is huge.

Anyway, I hope that you are enjoying the course and that you continue to stay active on Udemy. Best wishes.

Sincerely,

Matt”

That was my attempt at being polite and professional. Within a day, I noticed that my the one bad review was updated:

“THIS IS AS BAD AS IT GETS – BE WARNED

If you’ve already been playing more than 5 minutes, you already know more than what’s in this course. Even if you’re a complete beginner i would say don’t do this course unless you want to see a bunch of stuff played badly with virtually no explanation.

You will learn a few ultra basic bass lines with no understanding of what you’re doing. And as an added bonus you will learn really bad technique as well. If you get a coupon to see this for free, do it to see how NOT to play bass. If you don’t have a coupon, do not waste one cent on this course

*****UPDATE******

Since my review he has added some new lectures so i thought i’d check some of them out. In lecture 10 he says to “play F on the 3rd fret of the E string”. WRONG, and typical of the standard of this guys “teaching”. In lecture 34, “pentatonic scale explained”, he doesn’t mention even once the vital fact that it’s a MINOR pentatonic scale as opposed to a major pentatonic scale. In fact he never clearly explains what a pentatonic scale actually is at all.

Please buy this course if you want to be “taught” (confused) by a guy who has awful technique and no ability to explain or teach anything with any accuracy or clarity.”

After I received this updated review, I started to realize that maybe my course really wasn’t that bad to begin with and that I might have just been dealing with a troll.

What’s a troll? Well, according to Google, it is “a mythical, cave-dwelling being depicted in folklore as either a giant or a dwarf, typically having a very ugly appearance.”

In the modern sense of the word, it’s uglier than that. According to urbandictionary.com, a troll is “one who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument.”

Trolls can strike at any time. On my YouTube channel, I’d get hit with a troll-like comment every now and again, but the positive comments from people drowned out the trolls pretty quickly. Often, I’d find that my subscribers would come to my defense on certain issues that the trolls would start. It was an amazing feeling. From my experience on YouTube, I should’ve known that the best way to silence the trolls is to simply drown them out with quality content, which will inevitably lead to real humans leaving positive feedback.

The 3 reviews that I received after this one bad review have been gushing 5-star reviews.

REVIEW 2:

“More Than Your Average Lesson

This course is great! It teaches you more than just the basic steps of how to play bass, but it also teaches you how to play scales and popular bass lines. You can tell that he pushes rehearsal and self-taught techniques because he creates background tracks for you to rehearse with that match the new concepts he wants you to learn.”

REVIEW 3:

Great Course for Beginners!

This is a great course for beginners. Easy to understand, and very down to earth, and he breaks it down clearly. I was able to play some songs on the bass after taking this course. I learned alot of the basics quickly and easily!

REVIEW 4:

“Wow, I guess I can play the bass!

I am learning the bass out of necessity to join a friend’s band. I was told that i could just pick it up and figure it out, so I bought a bass and went to my first band practice… boy was my friend wrong! After feeling overwhelmed and discouraged for a while, i found this course and gave it a try. Within minutes i was getting a grasp of concepts my friend had tried (and failed) to show me, and at the next band practice I stunned the rest of the rest of the band with my progress. The course is fast paced, but the instructor is very clear and understandable, and you can always replay any section you had trouble with. The instructor seems generally concerned with the progress and success of his students and is quick to answer any questions. Learning an instrument is hard work, but with this course it is a manageable and rewarding process. Thanks!”

So far, almost 75% of my Udemy sales for this month (May 2015) have been from people signing up for the Bass Guitar course. To this day, the Bass Guitar course is my second best seller on Udemy and NO ONE has requested a refund.

To think that I almost deleted the course because of one startling review is crazy now. At the time, it wasn’t so crazy.

I’m telling you this story because I want to help remind you that you need to have thick skin when it comes to stuff like business or music. There are always going to be people trying to shoot you down when you put yourself out there. I almost gave in, but I’m so thankful that I didn’t because I’m now reaping the rewards of my hard work and tenacity.

If you’d like to check out the course, it’s here.

Do you have a story where you stayed strong even when someone tried to shoot you down?

3 Ways to Get Music for Your Udemy Course

3 Ways to Get Music for Your Udemy Course

garageband course

If you’re like me, then you are amazed by the growth of Udemy as an online education marketplace. It’s amazing to know that you can teach something you already know and make some real money collecting commissions from Udemy when students enroll in your class.

When creating your course, one of the many things to consider is the use of music and sound. If you’re a musician, you might have plenty of royalty-free music that you can use for your course and course promo. If you don’t have any royalty-free music and want to use music for your courses, then what do you do? The last thing you want to do is risk getting in trouble for using someone else’s intellectual property. For these reasons, here are 3 ways to get music for your Udemy course.

3) Royalty-free Music Sites: The first method is to go on Google and search for “royalty free music”. You may get lucky and find exactly what you are looking for. The downside of this approach is that you will probably have to pay a membership or fee to access the music and use it for your courses.

2) YouTube Audio Library: YouTube now has a feature where it provides users with royalty-free music to use on their projects. They probably included this feature to help lower the instances of copyright infringement within the videos on their site. A simple search for “YouTube royalty-free music” will get you a long list of music to preview and download at your leisure (but you need a YouTube channel to access it). This method is better than the previously mentioned method because there is no hassle with finding out what is free and what is not free: everything at the YouTube Audio Library is up for grabs.

1) Use GarageBand: If you have access to any Apple device, then you have the ability to get GarageBand. In my opinion, this is the best method for obtaining music for your courses. Unlike the other methods, you can easily customize your own music using Apple Loops and some simple editing tools. The possibilities are endless when you are able to take the loops and tweak them to your liking. Unlike the other options, you are not downloading a full composition that can only be edited so much before it becomes useless. With GarageBand, you have access to hundreds, maybe thousands of customizable loops that you can mix and match to your liking. I’ve used GarageBand in all of my Udemy courses to date. Here is an example of a promo I made using Garageband:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjMwpcTznns

In the promo, all of the music was made with GarageBand. Even though I know how to play different instruments, I did not need to use a single instrument to make the backing track for my promo. I also recorded the vocal portion of the promo with GarageBand.

If you have any interest in learning how to use GarageBand, then feel free to check out this GarageBand course on Udemy: https://www.udemy.com/appmusic

You will learn all of the tools needed to create an unlimited amount of royalty-free tracks for your Udemy courses for years to come. Best of luck.

If you have any questions of comments, feel free to reach me at http://mattygthemusician.com/

M-Audio Oxygen 25

M-Audio Oxygen 25 MIDI Controller Review

When I got hired for my current position as a Music Teacher and Social Studies Teacher, I was given the honor of being the first Music Teacher in the school’s history. The first step to starting the first music program in the school’s history was to pick the musical equipment. Since the school is very technology-friendly and provides the students with Apple laptops to use for certain classes and activities, I started off the school year teaching GarageBand in the Music classes. Since I had to balance Music with Social Studies, I made the schedule that every grade would have a guaranteed Music class on Thursdays. Thus, GarageBand was the focal point of my Music lessons for the first few Thursday Music classes as we waited for the music equipment to arrive. 

The first piece of musical equipment I recommended for the school was the M-Audio Oxygen 25.

M-Audio Oxygen 25
M-Audio Oxygen 25




I had used an older model of the Oxygen 25 in my previous school and had nothing but pleasant experiences using it with all of my Music classes. In my old school, I used the Oxygen 25 every time I had an opportunity to use the computer lab for Music class. This MIDI controller is literally “plug and play”. It doesn’t even need a power adaptor as it is powered by the computer when it is plugged in. Students would find their laptop numbers, open GarageBand and then receive their MIDI controller for the session. Once they connected the USB cable from the Oxygen 25 to their laptop and hit the power switch, they were ready to get started. 

Size:

These controllers are small enough to store in most school cabinets. My old school had about 8 of them. I ordered 20 for my new school and there is no issue with storage. I love the 25-key version because it is easier to fit on student desks, whether they are working by themselves or in a group.

Use:

In 3 years, I’ve had nothing but positive experiences using these controllers. There have been no issues with compatibility. The students plug in and they are ready to learn. They absolutely love using these MIDI controllers and so do I.

Features:

There are some useful and more peripheral features on the controllers. For instance, the octave buttons are very useful and help users compensate with the lack of keys as compared to a full length piano or keyboard. A more unnecessary but fun feature can be seen in the pitch bend, which seems pretty standard on most keyboards I’ve seen nowadays. 

Overall:
When combined with a program like GarageBand, the M-Audio Oxygen 25 has been an excellent resource for me as a musician and as a Music Teacher. The controllers have become a cornerstone to teaching Music in my program and I would recommend them to any musician or teacher with full confidence.IMG_2639.2014-10-29_205258

 

 

 

 

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The Five Greatest Nintendo Game Soundtracks Ever

The Legend of Zelda turned 29 Years old today. It was an all-time NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) classic and paved the way for numerous successful Zelda games for years to come.

When I think of games, I immediately think of retro games first. Retro games take me back to simpler times in the 80s and 90s when I was playing NES, Sega Genesis and Nintendo 64. Growing up during this time period, the games had a lasting impact on me and so did the music. Certain games had music that, to this very day, I still blast from my car stereo from time to time. Breaking down the greatest of anything can be difficult since there needs to be specific criteria and since personal taste is a big factor. With that being said, I’d like to share 5 of the “greatest” NES game soundtracks that have had a lasting impact on both my childhood and my iPod. If you want to make your own game music, you should check this course out. Here are the criteria:

A) No repeating franchises

B) One theme does not equal an entire soundtrack

C) Music needed to be fantastic but also complementary to the game

D) Lasting impact

E) Bonus points for being technically impressive

Without further ado,

The Five Greatest Nintendo Game Soundtracks Ever

 

NUMBER 5

CASTLEVANIA

Castlevania

The countdown begins with a game that I didn’t play until the mid-2000s. It took me that long to finally play it and then realize that it had some of the best NES music ever. It’s all 8-bit music of course, but if you translated this soundtrack into guitars, bass and drums, it would sound like Avenged Sevenfold. I love 8-bit style music for so many reasons, but one of the main reasons I love it is because it’s hard for bad songs to hide when there are no gimmicks. Despite being limited to only 5 channels, 8-bit songs like the tunes in Castlevania absolutely rock and it says something about their composers that they were able to shine with such limited technology. It says that the music is outstanding at its core and doesn’t need any bells and whistles to dress it up in order to be awesome.

The classic theme: Stage 1

If I had to pick one to share: Stage 3

BonusHere’s a YouTube video of me playing a couple of the Castlevania tunes as a one man band.

 

NUMBER 4

MIKE TYSON'S PUNCHOUT

Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!!

I realize that most of the songs in this soundtrack are not original tunes. For example, almost all of the character introduction songs are not original nor is the opening theme. But the songs that are original are so memorable and so complementary to an incredibly unique and exciting retro game. Every aspect of your fight seemed to have its own music: from squaring off toe to toe with Bald Bull to getting knocked down to finally beating southpaw Soda Popinski by TKO. The password screen and music has been etched into my mind since childhood and every time I drive down the Henry Hudson or FDR to New York City, I sing it in my head. It’s one of the games that I needed to have the entire soundtrack on my iPod back in the day. I tried to learn the whole soundtrack for a YouTube video that never happened, but still remember enough to entertain friends whenever there’s a piano around.

The classic theme: Fight Theme

If I had to pick one to share: Password Screen

 

NUMBER 3

LEGEND OF ZELDA

The Legend of Zelda

I know I’m going to get punched in the face for saying this, but I didn’t love playing the Legend of Zelda as a kid. I did, however, love to watch my older siblings figure it out. Despite the fact that the soundtrack is less than 10 tracks deep, there is no denying in my mind that it is one of the greatest ever. The main theme is as legendary as they come. The dungeon theme scared me as a little kid and blew me away as a musician later in life. The “game over” theme creeped me out but was somehow beautiful at the same time. All in all, the soundtrack was memorable, technically brilliant and helped elevate a classic NES game into a true masterpiece.

The classic theme: Overworld Theme

If I had to pick one to share: Title Screen

BonusOne Man Band video

 

NUMBER 2

Super_Mario_Bros._box

Super Mario Bros

Hands down: the most iconic video game theme song of all time. It’s a song so popular that your parents and grandparents know it. If you can find a weird way to play it on YouTube, you’ll probably go viral. Besides THE song, this soundtrack consists of some of the most memorable themes of all time, such as the unorthodox underground theme and the water theme that makes you want to do the waltz. The big question most people will likely have will be “How is this NOT number 1?” Well, my friends, read on.

The classic theme: Overworld Theme

If I had to pick one to shareWater Level

 

NUMBER 1

MEGA MAN 2

Mega Man 2

No game soundtrack has had a bigger impact on me than Mega Man 2. This game has so many memorable, catchy and beautifully composed tunes that still hold up today. Most people know about Dr. Wily’s Castle Stage 1 and it seems to be a popular notion that it’s one of the greatest game songs of all time (if not THE greatest). But, beyond that, this soundtrack is one of the few complete NES soundtracks that I can sing off the top of my head because it is THAT good and I’ve spent so much time listening to it. It definitely helps that this game is one of my favorite games of all time. Beyond that, it’s very difficult to find a bad song on this entire soundtrack. Some may not be keen on the Dr. Wily Stage 2 theme where the melody repeats the same transposing four notes while the bass line stays the same, but I think it adds to the tension of the situation. It’s extremely difficult to pick a favorite song from this soundtrack and personally, I’ve gone through phases where my favorite has been Metal Man, or Flash Man, or Air Man, or Wood Man, back to Metal Man, then Bubble Man, then… well you get the picture. It’s the most iconic NES game not named Mario or Zelda, and in my view has the greatest game soundtrack on the NES- or any console- ever.

The classic theme: Dr. Wily Stage 1 & 2

If I had to pick one to share: Metal Man

BonusOne Man Band

By the way…

If the list were a top 10 and if franchises repeated, the list would likely consist of:

Mega Man 3

Super Mario 3

Contra

Ninja Gaiden

Ducktales

What is your top 5?

Are you outraged by my rankings?

What did I get right and what did I get wrong?

 

If you want to make your own game music, you should check this course out.

 

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Why Build a Website?

Over time, I’ve become increasingly dedicated to consuming as much intelligent media as possible. I’ve played less video games even though I love them like most people. I’ve abstained from tons of trendy TV shows that everyone on my Facebook news feed can’t stop talking about. I’ve even been listening to very little mainstream radio, which might seem odd to people since my internet persona is “Matty G the Musician”. Instead, I’ve tried to become immersed with intelligent sources of information that I hoped would teach me things and benefit me in the long run. One of those changes came in the forms of podcasts, which have seemed to pick up steam in recent years. Once I discovered that there’s a podcast app for the iPhone, and that I can download podcasts onto my phone for free, and that they can play in my car without any connection issues, I was pretty much done with radio. My two favorite podcasts right now have been The Motley Fool and Smart Passive Income with Pat Flynn. I was hooked on the Motley Fool for a couple of years but have been listening to SPI a lot these days. On SPI, Pat has a bunch of interviews with successful people who have built successful businesses that allow them to generate passive income. Long story short, the podcast inspired me to get back into websites and get started on a new adventure. So I signed up again with HostGator and got to work.

 

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