Green Music. 9 ways to keep the music and the planet happy.

12:32 pm Music

Making music is not necesserily the most earth damaging social phenomenon. But we can, and should, do what we can to to minimize our impact on the planet.

Are there things that a musician can do to reduce the damage that their music making causes? Well, I can think of a few, and invite you to participate in this discussion and share your advice.

Here are my thoughts:

1- Use rechargeable batteries for battery operated equipment. NiMH batteries recharge hundreds of times (I’ve been using the same AA, AAA and 9V batteries for over five years and they still recharge and hold their charge). Please remember that batteries (rechargeable and otherwise) are toxic. Don’t throw them in the trash. Rather, take them to your local hardware store or other local business that accepts used batteries and discards of them safely.

2- Buy downloadable music rather than physical CDs where possible. And don’t back it up on CDs. Just back it up on your hard-drives. I am sure you back up your computer hard drive on an external one. So you will have two backup copies of your music database. That’s even safer than having a CD.

3- If you must buy CDs, buy used ones. Sell used CDs that you no longer need.

4- Minimize use of paper, and use recycled paper for intermediate copies of music. Paper has two printable sides. There is no reason why a it should make it to the recycling bin with only one side printed.

5- Repair rather than replace where possible. Many times you can repare rather than replace music stands, microphone stands, foot rests. With a soldering iron you can replace microphone and speaker cables as well.  You can also reshave oud pegs and ream their holes and bingo, your oud tunes smoothly, and somewhere in a forest far away a tree is grateful to you. This step needs some experience but there is plenty of information on the web on how to do it. You can check out Lute, violin, cello, or viola web pages and find several ways to do this.

6- Use virtual rather than physical equipment where possible. There are hundreds of metronomes that you can download for free. There are also many tuners (I am working on an interactive oud tuning page. Later on in the horizon, an interactive qanun tuning page). Even on stage you can use a laptop as a mixing board, multi-track digital recorder etc..

7- If you must use a physical piece of equipment be aware that:

  • You can buy used high quality microphones, amplifiers, cables, recorders and even reusable media (dat tapes for example) for a fraction of the price of new ones.
  • Digital recorders that record on a memory stick offer extremely high quality recording without using digital tapes, CDs, DVDs or whatever.

8- Minimize use of printed publicity media in favor of email, and web publicity. In additional to building an email database of your audience, you can ask the venue you’re performing at to email your announcement, and you can get on mailing lists and forums of people interested in your idiom. You will not only be able to publicise your concert, but you will learn a lot and connect with other lost souls with musical inclinations (aka networking).

9- Choose a rehearsal location wisely. If your group consists of people who will be coming from different places, choose a rehearsal location that will minimize the total amount of miles traveled, and/or accessible by public transportation.

Got other tips? Do let us know.

One Response
  1. Karim Ratib :

    Date: June 7, 2008 @ 11:36 am

    Thanks for the global outlook. What about music pollution? I find that some music would be better left unpublished. That would save lots of energy, both physical and psychic :-)

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