Spontaneous Street Piano and Violin Duet in NYC

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Spontaneous Street Piano and Violin Duet in NYC

When you learn the language of Music you can speak it freely with others. Music has helped me connect with thousands of people around the world, even if they don't speak your native tongue. 

I just met this cute girl while playing piano on the streets of New York City. Here name is Ada Pasternak and she is an incredible violinist. This is one of the greatest videos I've ever released. Have a listen to our spontaneous jam session. 

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Addiction to Music is as Real as Addiction to Drugs

The human response to music is widely recorded and integral to the well-being and identity of every culture throughout history. While we understand the importance of music, we don’t fully comprehend how music affects the brain, or to what degree it is actually addictive. A recent scientific study offers evidence that music addiction is as real as drug or sex addiction.

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Why do humans love to listen to the same types of music, or even the same songs, over and over? A study by Valorie Salimpoor and Robert Zatorre, neuroscientists at McGill University, investigated the ways in which dopamine affects the brain while music is playing. They also measured body temperature and heart rate.

With their brains under observation via Position Emission Tomography (PET) subjects listened to their favorite music while scientists observed dopamine release. The subjects were instructed to press a button during times in the music when they felt chills or excitement. Researchers recorded an increase in dopamine when the subjects were anticipating certain parts of their favorite music. The brain’s limbic system, which governs its response to emotion, reacted to the peak moment when subjects pressed their buttons to signify that they were experiencing a music-induced high. Salimpoor notes, “the euphoric ‘highs’ from music are neuro-chemically reinforced by our brain so we keep coming back to them. It’s like drugs. It works on the same system as cocaine.”

The human response to music is well documented throughout history. Research into the physical effects of listening to familiar music and the topic of music addiction is fairly new, however. Dopamine release is commonly associated with a human response to the fulfillment of needs. This type of brain activity is a hard wired survival mechanism. The McGill University study shows us that music, an abstract stimulus, is worthy of further study, as is the human response to aesthetic stimulus. Humans are likely evolving to better process and enjoy this type of external stimulus, making it crucial to achieving a higher quality of life.

Humans go to great lengths and spend vast amounts of time, money, and effort, in order to experience the ideal musical experience. One modern example of a deep seated fan culture is the legendary Deadheads. This group of people followed the Grateful Dead all over North America throughout the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, in an effort to see as many shows as possible. This community eventually began using the term “X Factor” to express how their experiences at Grateful Dead shows became something more than just listening to music. Blair Jackson, Jerry Garcia’s biographer said, “for many Deadheads, the band was a medium that facilitated experiencing other planes of consciousness and tapping into deep, spiritual wells that were usually the province of organized religion ... [they] got people high whether those people were on drugs or not."  

The collective obsession with replicated music via high-end stereo systems and expensive portable electronics illustrates the overwhelming need to keep favorite music, including motivational or comforting playlists, close at hand. According to a recent Nielsen study, 40 percent of Americans claim 75 percent of music spending. Could the 40 percent be music addicts? This group of super-fans also indicate that they are willing to spend more. Premium services like pre-orders, limited editions, original lyric sheets from the artist, and other exclusive extras prompt them to open their wallets wider for a better music-buzz.

Thankfully, there is no conclusive research proving that our collective addictive response to music is harmful. In fact, dopamine release is vital to humanity’s survival and ongoing happiness. While addictive drugs may break down the human body in various ways, music only lifts spirits and encourages community.

SOURCES: 

Anatomically distinct dopamine release during anticipation and experience of peak emotion to music

http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/v14/n2/abs/nn.2726.html

Addiction Watch: If Love is a Drug, Can Music be One Too?

http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/01/11/addiction-watch-if-love-is-a-drug-can-music-be-one-too/

Blair Jackson

http://www.blairjackson.com/about.htm

Nielson Study: Music fans could spend up to $2.6B more annually

http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2013/turn-it-up--music-fans-could-spend-up-to--2-6b-more-annually.html




 

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10 Tools I use to Make Money while Traveling the World

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10 Tools I use to Make Money while Traveling the World

I have often been asked how I can afford to travel the world and still eat every day. Well, first things first, eating throughout the world is remarkably cheap when you cast aside the American version of dining.  But yes, money helps and since my parents are not wealthy and I have grown accustomed to eating every day, not just some, I do need to make a penny or two.  Between myself and other travelers, I’ve picked up a few tips on making money on the go and I’d like to share them with you today.

1. Upwork.com

This site is probably the most reliable and serves as a one-stop shop for whatever skill you might have to offer.  Writing blogs, coding websites, or for goodness sake just editing someone’s novel, you literally can make money anywhere you have an internet connection.  The more you work, the better reputation you get and the more money you can make.

2. YouTube.com

I have made a penny or two on YouTube and that is not an example of myself being humble.  Literally, I have made a penny or two.  Thankfully, because I operate in the world of music YouTube has been kind to me and I can honestly make some decent money through this platform. I have friends who are making around $500k a year making videos and doing brand deals. Anything is possible on YouTube as people can even make money showing others what they eat for dinner. I’m not kidding, it’s insane. If you can find your audience, you can make money on YouTube, I guarantee it.   

3. WritersAccess.com

This is a site which focuses specifically on writing and can often draw in some pretty high profile clients.  But if you have an internet connection, you can make some pretty good coin writing for major brands here.  It takes a little time to establish your reputation, but once you do you just might find yourself travelling the world on an American-sized budget.

4. Teach English using ChinaProgram.org/

Teaching English in Asia has become very popular in the last 10 years and some say the golden years are over. But I would recommend for you to find out for yourself. There are a variety of programs that offer this option and the only downside is that you are often restricted to a fixed location.  However, if you can find an accredited program to teach English in say, China, the entire Far East is open for exploration on your time off.  The income is fixed and reliable which is a major plus for those traveling the world on a budget. 

5. Street Performing

If you like to live dangerously, then let me welcome you to the world of working for tips.  As a musician, I have regularly started a performance having no idea how I’m going to pay for dinner and before it is done I know I’ll eat and sleep well that night.  Music is an international language and if you are committed, it is entirely possible to have your dinner or lodging paid for by a night’s performance. Some consider such a moment to moment existence scary, but I find it thrilling. And you dont have to limit yourself to Music. You can pull out a vintage typewriter and write poetry for passerbys. 

6. Squarespace eCommerce

I mention Squarespace because it is what I use, but basically the premise is to start a website and sell products.  Keep in mind that when travelling the world your expenses are basically lodging and food.  Consequently, you don’t have to become the next Amazon to live or eat.  Find your passion and connect with others who find it congruent with their own.  You might not buy a BMW on any given day, but you will be able to afford dinner and hotel room with a soft bed.

7. eBay.com

Sell stuff, pretty simple, not hard to figure out.  Chances are, you have a room full of belongings back home while you trek across Asia and if your Xbox is collecting dust on your shelf, just sell it. The good thing about eBay is that it has been around long enough to be trusted by customers.  They don’t even have to know you are a half a world away.  Sell your old stuff, and live a new life today.

8. Craigslist.org

Similar to the eBay premise, you can sell just about anything here.  All you typically need is someone back home available to help you ship it out or meet up to collect the cash.  I know your collection of Cabbage Patch Dolls is important to you, but if you can sell them for some coin today and travel through Europe I have an informed suspicion that you won’t be disappointed. But honestly, you can even buy something at a foreign market and sell it the same day for a profit. It is possible.

9. Travel Blogging

I saved the last two because I don’t want to fool you into thinking that traveling the world and making money is a simple task.  But yes, some people can make quite an amazing living just traveling the world and writing about it.  You can cash in through ad revenue, product reviews, or even sponsored endorsements.  However, it is entirely possible and more common than you would think.  It just requires hustle and a sense of adventure.

10. Eating Pizza

Yes, there is currently a man traveling the world making money from his Instagram account because he eats pizza in every country to which he travels.  Now, I have no idea how this is possible, to be honest, but I wanted to highlight it to show you that even the inexplicable is possible when you have passion.  This man eats pizza, but perhaps there is a market for your favorite food just waiting to be tapped.

So there you have it, I travel the world so I can gift music to the world but that doesn’t mean I don’t know how to grind it out and earn a buck.  I wrote this post for no other reason than to encourage you to embrace the possible. Yes, it can be hard, but the possible can literally open up the entire world for you exploration.

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Interview with a Shoeless Wandering Gutter Punk

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Interview with a Shoeless Wandering Gutter Punk

In Athens, Georgia I ran into a bunch of wandering hitch hikers. Some people call them crusties, Gutter punks, train jumpers, but they're all different. They were all around 20 years old, lost, wandering, not caring for consequences, and living life completely in the moment. But what made them so extraordinary was that they were traveling the world without shoes like modern day Huckleberry Finns. 

I was really curious to hear their stories so I hung around for a few days and spent a lot of time with them. Here is a short interview I did with one of them. 

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