Thursday, May 31, 2012

Re-visit: Rock On!

This was originally posted in May, 2012..

Have you ever been to a rock concert? Wondered what it took to make that happen?

Here are some of the steps involved:

First, you need an artist-single or a group. Then, you need a venue.

A venue (VEN-yew)-is what they call the place where the concert will take place. It can be indoors or outdoors. Concerts take place in arenas, concert halls, civic centers, armories (usually used for training people in the military), town halls, open air parks that have band shells, large fields, anywhere there is enough room for the audience and a place for the artist to have his or her performing space.

Each venue will have its own ways of pricing (how much it costs to use the venue), insurance (they have to be insured against things like theft, people getting injured, or equipment causing damage); parking; ticketing; security (they need to be sure it's as safe as possible-this could be provided by a local security company or by the artist's security people. They will need to know where the artist will get dressed and enter the stage and be sure no one can get too close to the artist). Each venue has its own way of selling food at events, and it's up to the venue who handles the profits from that.

Someone will also need to check into local ordinance, that is, laws the community has about getting permits to have the concert and whether the area is zoned for such an event.

Then there is the matter of transporting the artist to the venue: if he or she arrived by plane, there needs to be transportation to and from the airport and/or hotel where the person stays; Typically, the tour will include one or more buses or trucks carrying equipment. There has to be space to park them and security to be sure no one can get close to them.

Other people needed to put on a concert include:
  • People who put up and tear down the set or sets used by the artist, such as a stage, design elements, backgrounds;
  • People who set up lighting, including spotlights and any light shows or laser shows;
  • Someone to operate unique stage elements such as elevator-type platforms or fog machines;
  • If the venue has a Jumbotron screen for people to see the concert better, that has to be coordinated and checked to be sure it's working properly;
  • The sound system(s) have to be assembled and tested;
  • Amplifiers for the instruments and singer(s) have to be set up and tested;
  • Microphones for instruments and singer(s) have to be set up and tested;
  • Any other kinds of special effects such as pyrotechnics (fireworks) will mean that permits have to be obtained, the  pyrotechnics have to be set up, and it must be assured they are safe;
  • A stage manager to keep the concert running smoothly and to have all parts coordinated.

What kind of degree would help someone get a job with an artist making concerts happen?

If you have a degree in Marketing, you could be a concert promoter. This person 'markets,' or sells, the artist and the concert. In other words, this is someone who tries to get the most people to know about the concert and buy tickets. To do this, he or she could check out venues, put ads in papers about the concert, do promotions on local radio stations that typically have fans of that artist listening; there could be free ticket giveaways, interviews, and online information posted about the concert, such as on Facebook, Myspace, or Twitter. You could also be involved in having souvenirs made that would be sold at the concert: T-shirts, key chains, pictures, books, etc. The artist receives a small percentage of money made on those items. As a promoter, you need to be able to make many connections with other people and 'sell' them on the idea of the concert.

Other careers with concert tours:

A degree in Accounting can be used to help manage the finances of the artist; you might obtain a degree in Interior Design to be a Set Designer; a degree in Costume Design for costumes; or possibly a degree in Criminal Justice to be part of the artist's security crew. Associate Degrees are  available in Audio Production (sound) or Sound Technician; Lighting Technician; Computer Technician to handle the computer-driven special effects; Carpenter; or Electrician.

If you like to travel, meet new people all the time, and have a keen interest in any of the mentioned parts of producing a concert, you might want to check out a career working behind the scenes with a touring artist.   

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Check It Out

I can’t believe how many people never go to the public library.
You’re probably thinking: I avoid the library at all costs. It’s just a big building full of dull books and funny looking workers who never go outside. People who spend time in there have no life. If I want to be bored, I can always go outside and watch the grass grow.
Did you know all of the following are available at your local public library?
·        CDs-every genre plus things like sound effects CDs
·        DVDs—some are FREE for 3 weeks and some are a $1 fee for 7 days
·        Magazines (there are currently well over 100 different subscriptions available to you)
·        How-to videos (DVDs) on everything from plumbing to salsa dancing
·        Books on CD—you can listen to someone read you a book while you’re in the car
·         Reference books such as local history, world maps, immigration records, and government
·        Newspapers--local and from other cities
·        Meeting rooms for the use of the public
·        Online resources-some of which you can access from home-including:
o   Star Tribune, Pioneer Press, and local newspapers
o   Alternative health articles
o   Science journals
o   Legal forms
o   Grzimek’s Animal Life—pictures and videos of all sorts of animals
o   Historical newspapers
o   The New York Times newspaper
o   Biographies (life stories) of assorted interesting people
o   Online book club
o   Novelist, a place to look up reviews of books
o   If your library doesn’t have an item, you can request it from another library
o   Online homework help!!
They also offer homebound service for people unable to leave their homes---if you are disabled, you can have books delivered to your door.
If you have an e-reader such as a Kindle or Nook, you can ‘check out’ books to your device. The library has free Wi-Fi, too.
You can request books, DVDs, or CDs online using your card barcode and a PIN. When it’s available, the library will pull it for you and have it waiting, and they’ll email you to let you know it’s in.

And of course…books!! Thousands of books!
·        Non-fiction books….Here’s a quick rundown of where to find books about….
000 Generalities      *you can find books about using your computer and software here
100 Philosophy & psychology     *books about why people think what they think
200 Religion       *learn about yours or someone else’s religion
300 Social Science   *why do people act like they do?  And, 362: Crime investigations
400 Language        *how did a language develop, and where?
500 Natural science & mathematics       * do you like animals? Check out the 599s
600 Technology (applied sciences)     *cookbooks—641;  Car repair: 629.
700 The arts            *760 – graphic arts. And--ballet, theater, painting, sculpture
800 Literature & rhetoric          *poetry
       900 Geography & history       *Travel—914; 917; Biography—920

Fiction (not true) stories are classified also by different kinds of fiction: Mystery, Science Fiction, Romance, etc. You can look for books from home or in person at the library computers. Take note of the call letters and you'll be able to quickly find your book on the shelf.

Need I remind you, all of the above (except the rental DVDs) are available for the very very low price of …

Absolutely NOTHING.  Nada. Zilch. Zero.

So how can that be boring??

If you don’t have a library card, stop in and get one. You will need a driver’s license or other form of ID.

And then: visit often and see what’s new. If you’re not careful, you might learn something.

Monday, May 14, 2012

If You Give a Graduate a Diploma

If you give a graduate a diploma, he's going to want to shout out his happiness at his achievement.

If he shouts out his happiness at achieving, people will suggest he continue to achieve.

If he wants to keep achieving, he's going to want to go to college.

If he wants to go to college, he's going to need guidance, stubbornness, and optimism.

If he takes guidance, stubbornness, and optimism to heart, he's going to register for college.

If he registers for college, he's going to start classes.

If he starts classes, he's going to work very hard to finish them and get his best grades.

If he finishes his classes and gets good grades, he's going to continue to the next class, and the next, for as long as it takes.

If he moves along and takes all the classes he needs, he's going to gain knowledge about the world and about himself.

If he learns more and more about the world and about himself , he's going to find out what he's good at.

If he finds out what he's good at, he's going to want to make a living doing it.

If he wants to make a living doing what he's good at, he's going to keep concentrating and learning until he graduates...from college.

If he graduates and makes a living doing what he's good at, he's going to want to share his knowledge with others.

If he shares his knowledge with others, he's going to inspire others to go to college and do what he did.

If others go to college, they're going to get diplomas.

If others go to college and receive their diplomas, they're going to want to shout out their happiness.

Here's a shout out to everyone graduating this year!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Think Before You Ink

What could possibly be the problem with tattoos?

What's wrong with a bunny on your ankle, or a picture of The Incredible Hulk on your arm, or a 12" square map of your favorite town on your chest?
No room to correct spelling. Oops.

Well......somewhere down the line, you may find it's not really 'you' anymore. That artwork you thought was brilliant when you were 19 may be really lame when you're 25. It might be downright embarrassing by the ripe old age of 40.

It can also be a big turnoff for an employer who sees it. Sometimes businesses aren't keen on employees having multicolored sailing ships or vines trailing up their necks. It might prove so distracting at an interview that it's all they remember about you.

According to Wikipedia, tattooing has been done since about the 4th to 5th millennium BC. It was found on one mummified body found in the Otz valley of the Alps; this guy had about 57 tattoos consisting of dots and lines; they may have had some connection to acupuncture treatments he received. There have also been tattoos found on mummies from Egypt.

So it's been around for quite some time. It's thought they were originally done by burning the skin and then forcing pigments (color/ink such as from plants or coal) into the wound, or sometimes 'just' burning the skin deeply. The marks were usually meant to indicate what tribe a person belonged to, or what their craft was (weaving, metalwork, farming). It could also indicate whether a person was married or single. As more types of ink became available, the method of making tattoos changed as well.

In order for the ink to be permanent, it has to go deep into the lower layers of your skin (remember how you slough off skin all the time? Sunburns, for example?)

Modern-day tattoos are applied by using an electric tattoo machine with needles that rapidly puncture the skin with an up and down motion not unlike a sewing machine.

Because of how the ink is ‘punctured’ deep into the skin, bacteria can easily be introduced along with the ink. A reputable tattoo artist will have taken precautions to use sterilized/disposable needles and wear disposable latex gloves with each client, but you know how germs are. And how much fun would it be to contract hepatitis, syphilis, or in rare cases HIV (the AIDS virus) from a tattoo needle?

Some inks also contain traces of metal, which can trigger an allergic reaction. It seems your skin and your body are not fans of that kind of iron. On rare occasions, those metals can interfere with  obtaining a clear MRI, if you should need one.
                                             Cost of a well-done tattoo vs ...not well-done.

So let’s say you went ahead and got a tattoo even though it might not be your best choice...and now you have decided you’re not as happy about it as you once were. How do you get rid of it?

You have laser treatments, with a dermatologist (a physician who specializes in skin).  A laser focuses light beams on the tattoo that break up the ink embedded deep in your skin and encourage it to be washed away in your system, as well as, in effect, burning the top layer of skin away to destroy the ink on top. People who have had the treatments say it feels like being snapped with a large rubber band repeatedly.

And then, there is the expense. Here is what The Tattoo Removal Shop in Minneapolis says:

"To completely remove a professional tattoo, without risking side effects, takes approximately 10-14 treatments. If your tattoo is homemade or faded, or you have had previous treatments, your tattoo will come off sooner. For a standard, professionally made, tattoo, the final total price for entire removal is typically $1900 to $3800."

And, thanks to new and improved inks, you may find that removing a tattoo completely may not be possible: You might always have a shadow of that picture of a dragon breathing flames on going up over your shoulder and down to your knee.

How many of us have $1900 to $3800 just lying around my house? Would it not be better spent on Twizzlers or ITunes?

Or maybe half a semester's college costs instead of taking out a loan. Just sayin'.

Henna staining (also called Mehndi) is not permanent. It is used to draw designs on the skin and is particularly popular in India, Africa, Pakistan, and Middle Eastern countries. Henna design is often done on a bride's hands and feet the day before her wedding. It comes in a paste form, and at first is a light orange color but then darkens to a dark brown on skin. Henna is also used to turn your hair red. It will eventually slough off the skin in a month or two. Read more about henna staining here:

Here's my suggestion: When you get the urge for some artwork on your skin, invest in some 'permanent' markers and have at it. No bacteria inserted into the skin, and eventually, it will wash away and you'll have nice clear skin again...and it's not going to take a laser and $4000 to make it gone.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Interview: Music Therapist

Triogenius was lucky enough to speak to Amanda, who is a Music Therapist. Want to know more? Read on!
Name of school where you earned your degree:  I started my degree at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, KS and completed it at Maryville University in St. Louis, MO.
Major:  Music Therapy

How did you choose your major/career? 

 I knew from the moment I started singing that I wanted a career in music.  I think in my dreams I wanted to be a famous recording artist or a musical theatre actress on Broadway, but as I got older, I realized how hard it is to support yourself in either of those careers.  My high school voice teacher was a retired music therapist and she encouraged me to choose a career in music.  Music therapy was a way to guarantee a marketable skill doing something that I really loved.

    Would you have done anything differently in college?

  I would have gone to class more often!  More so as a freshman/sophomore than a junior/senior, I didn’t really take college very seriously.  I regret that every day.  I was fortunate to not have it set me back as much as it could have, but I really began to learn the art of this profession when I stopped goofing off and started trying to learn.  I sometimes wonder how much more I would have honed some of my skills (especially guitar and piano) if I would have practiced more and skipped classes less.

  Describe how difficult you felt the coursework was. 

 The coursework for music therapy is deceptively difficult.  For starters, it is completely normal for the average music therapy student to be taking 18 or more credit hours a semester.  Several of those credit hours are for things like your music lessons or ensembles, but they involve a lot of commitment and preparation.  You can’t exactly “cram” for a vocal jury the same way you can for a final exam.  I remember thinking before I started that my classes would be “easy” because music is “fun.”  It’s a very different thing when you’re actually doing it.  In every course I took, every instructor made it seem like their homework was a top priority.  Learning how to prioritize myself (i.e. how much time to practice for voice lessons vs. how much time to study for my music theory exam) was probably the most difficult part of being a music student.

   Do you have advice for a student thinking about this career? 

Do it!  It’s such a rewarding field and a unique career path, you will absolutely love the work that you do.  I also think any student entering this field should consider postgraduate studies in addition to undergraduate music therapy coursework.  The direction that the profession is going is towards an entry-level Master’s program (similar to occupational therapy).  I will most likely go back to school and get a Master’s degree at some point so that I can keep up with the field.  It’s something that I didn’t want to think about as an undergraduate and I wish I would have.

  What was your first job when you graduated? How did you get where you are eventually, that is, the ‘path’ to your current position? 

 My current position is the position that I’ve held since I’ve graduated.  I work as a music therapist in a forensic psychiatric facility.  Originally, we were an acute care psychiatric facility who serviced clients who had little to no insurance.  At that time we would see adults with serious mental illnesses for an average length of stay of 14 days.  Now, we see clients who have been charged with crimes and then deemed “Incompetent to Stand Trial” with an average length of stay of 6 months.  It’s a much different job now, but it’s in the same building.

     When you were interviewed, did the employer want a transcript of your grades? 
 Absolutely.  When your degree is conferred, it is usually attached to your transcript, so when you provide proof of your degree, you’ll provide a transcript of grades.  So yes…they do matter!

     Was it difficult to find a job doing what you do? 

 That’s a difficult question to answer.  This is a very specialized field and I only held an interest in working with select populations, so I wasn’t willing to take just any job.  That said, when I was looking for a job right out of school, I actually ended up with two offers in similar settings.  However, I know people who work in jobs with this degree that are not technically “music therapy” positions, but are related to this field.

      What specifically do you do?

 I work as part of a multi-disciplinary team in the Rehabilitation Services department of my facility.  I take part in the implementation of treatment plans and assessment of all new clients that enter the facility.  I lead 3-4 therapeutic groups a week in which I use music to facilitate the goals we are working on in the various groups.

 What do you wish you knew about this career before you went for it? 

  I wish my professors would have pushed me to get my Master’s degree or at least expressed the importance of it for this field.

   What is the best part of your job? 

 It is so interesting.  Working in a health care field, I can’t share 95% of what goes on in my day, but I sure wish I could.  Maybe someday I’ll write an anonymous memoir.  Working with psychiatric patients is fascinating.

 What do you dislike about your job, if anything, or what is most difficult?

When clients are very symptomatic, they can be aggressive.  That can be really scary.  It’s very hard to walk onto the unit when you know one of your clients is liable to snap at any minute.  The moments like this are few and far between because I work with an amazing group of professionals, but you can’t really ever get comfortable here.  Mental illness also carries a horrible stigma and it is just so unfair.  People who live with mental illness are so very brave to do what they do every day.  Some people are tormented by the psychosis they live with, but I find society treats these patients with very little respect or compassion.  To me, making fun of an individual with schizophrenia is like making fun of someone for being diagnosed with breast cancer.  It’s a disease they will suffer with for the rest of their life and they did absolutely nothing to earn it.

 Are there other careers you can pursue with your major?

 Music therapy is pretty specialized, but your experience in a music therapy career can make you qualified in some related areas.  You can also start with a degree in music therapy and decide to advance your career in other fields.  One of my professors in college had a degree in music therapy, but had a doctorate in clinical psychology.  You can do a whole lot with that kind of educational background.

   Is there anything else you would want someone to know about this career?

 It is such a rewarding career.  You’re not going to be a millionaire choosing this career path – but you’re going to feel the wealth of the difference you can make in your clients’ lives.

Thanks, Amanda, for your great insights!

Stay tuned for future career interviews at Triogenius!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

You Weren't Meant To Be A Copy Machine

Bootlegging. Theft. Stealing. Fraud. Deception. Piracy. Lying. Misrepresenting.
If you have ever copied someone else’s work and passed it off as your own, you are guilty of the above. The word that encompasses all of these terms is: Plagiarism.
Here is the Merriam-Webster definition of plagiarism, available at  (pronounced: PLAY ja rism).
  • to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own
  • to use (another's production) without crediting the source
  • to commit literary theft
  • to present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source.
It’s not only passing off somebody else’s work as your own, it’s also
  • failing to put a quotation in quotation marks
  • giving incorrect information about the source of a quotation
  • changing words but copying the sentence structure of a source without giving credit
  • copying so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up the majority of your work, whether you give credit or not.
And other forms of plagiarism and dishonesty…
·        Bribery: getting the answers to a test by paying someone who knows them
·        Doing something to prevent someone from getting the credit he or she is owed
·        Claiming you did the work and turned it in, but the instructor lost it
·        Giving a false excuse for missing a deadline (the dog ate your homework, indeed!)
·        Destroying someone else’s work so he or she can’t get a good grade or credit for doing it
In order to avoid plagiarizing, be sure you cite your sources of information. Acknowledge where you found the material and/or who was the original author. Put lines you use from that book or document in quotation marks. Use footnotes when appropriate. Let the reader know where he or she can go to look at the source (online? book? personal contact?)
You may be wondering, how would my instructor know if I’m copying someone else’s work? And if so, the punishment can’t be that bad, right?
First, yes, they can tell. In speaking to a college instructor, I learned that first of all, as an instructor gets to know you, he or she will indeed notice when you have written something that just doesn’t seem to fit with your style or your abilities. If you are currently a “C” student and hand in a paper that is full of information that sounds like it came from a dictionary, the instructor will suspect it’s copied. In fact, there is a website they can go to which can access thousands of books and other works to see if your material was taken from those sources and is not your own original work.: .
Second, as to punishment for plagiarism, it's safe to assume you will fail that test, but it is also likely you'll fall that course entirely. Do you want to run that risk?
Believe in your abilities, and keep your self-respect. An instructor looks forward to an original idea expressed in your work, not something that someone else already wrote.

 Write your own papers, give credit where credit is due, and really earn that grade. You won’t ever have to wonder if someone will find you out!