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What’s the Best Music City?

Hi SoundGirls! I hope everyone has been staying safe and healthy. With all the change that has happened over the past year, and how it has directly affected our industry- I’m wondering what’s the best music city to live in?

I’m currently living in Austin, TX. I’ve lived in Texas my entire life, and I grew up outside of Austin. As some of you may know, I moved to Austin right out of high school and began my audio engineering journey. That was 5 YEARS ago! It really is crazy how time flies. With that being said, the atmosphere of our industry in Austin has drastically changed since COVID-19. With closures of local venues and the scarcity of payable internships at recording studios- it has dawned on me that maybe it is time to live somewhere new that can offer me a different learning experience. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love Austin with all of my heart. I will most likely settle down here once I’ve achieved the level of experience I would like, but I can’t help but wonder if my time in this city has come to a close for now. I feel like I’ve experienced all I can experience here.

Now, the obvious choices on the list for possible cities to move to are Nashville, LA, and New York. As I am typing this out, I am sitting in my hotel room in downtown Nashville. I’ll be here for an entire week! I’ll be doing some touristy things, checking out local spots, and visiting studios. I feel like after being here a week I will know whether or not I could picture myself living here. I’ve always said I would move to Nashville eventually, so maybe this time I really will. I’m certainly enjoying my time here so far (the food in this city is INSANE). The reason Nashville has always been on the top of my list is because of audio engineering, and the fact that country music does have a huge influence on my songwriting and music. While I’m here I’d love to learn more about the alternative scene that is in East Nashville and what it has to offer.

Next on the list is LA. To be honest, I’ve never pictured myself living in LA, but I do love the west coast. First, I fell in love with San Francisco. I visited LA next, and I thought all the landscape and energy both cities had to offer was so beautiful. However, I know the cost of living in LA is very expensive, and quality of life is really important to me. Not to say that you don’t have that if you are there, but being able to write more and feel creatively inspired is what would make me most happy. I do love the rock scene and all of its sub-genres that live in LA though, and I would say that is mostly what pulls me to possibly live there. That, and the internships at fantastic studios. The learning experience would be incredible, even if just for a couple of years.

Last but not least is New York City. Before Covid, I think NYC would’ve been before LA. However, I’ve heard that the atmosphere of NYC has also changed drastically. I feel like when you move to New York, you move there for the nightlife and the amazing job opportunities that are there. The social life might be harder to grasp now due to Covid, but the job opportunities are still there.

Now, I don’t want this article to be me doubting what any of these cities have to offer. Nashville had its downsides too. I was at an outdoor coffee shop today. A girl was playing guitar and singing. She mentioned that artists don’t get paid to play in Nashville. The only money they receive are tips. This is wild to me. The city of Austin spoiled me in that sense. Playing shows with my last band, I would walk out with enough money to put towards our band fund, and to pay the other bands. I didn’t get into music to make money though, so I’m willing to eat some ramen while getting settled.

I haven’t visited LA, and NYC yet with the intent to move. I’m planning to do that this summer. However, my reason for writing this article is to get your opinions. If you live in these cities and have any advice, or want to say “YES! Move here. It’ll be life-changing, and amazing”, or if you live in a city that I didn’t mention (one that is on the cusp of becoming a great music city, or already is), but I don’t know it yet- then please email me at virginiahaladyna@gmail.com. With all of this being said, I’m going to go eat some hot chicken and see what more Nashville has to offer. Stay healthy and safe!

Lending Library

 

Strictly Educational | The Business | Women’s Issues and Women in Music |
Other Music-Related Books

SoundGirls Lending Library

SoundGirls members are able to check out a book from our library for 30 days. It is free for members.

How it works

Request one book at a time, SoundGirls will mail it to you in the domestic United States for free. In return you will ship book back to SoundGirls or mail it to the next member who has requested it.

For members outside the United States, you may borrow a book up to 45 days and will be asked to cover to the international shipping. Shipping will range from $12 to $24 depending on weight and region.

If you have books on audio that you would like to donate – please send them to

See Books Currently Available and Request Books Here.

Recommended Reading

7 Things Every Live Sound Engineer Should Know.

SoundGirls Co-Founder Michelle Sabolchick Pettinato has created a Free eBook called It covers some of the principles and ideas she has found to be most important when working in Live Sound, especially in mixing.

Top 30 Audio Engineering Blogs, News Websites & Newsletters To Follow in 2019

Strictly Educational

The Sound Reinforcement Handbook
The Book features information on both the audio theory involved and the practical applications of that theory, explaining everything from microphones to loudspeakers.

Live Sound Reinforcement
Excellent book to introduce beginners and HOW volunteers to live sound reinforcement. Readers will learn about sound as experts share their experiences, along with tips and tricks.

Sound Systems: Design and Optimization
Bob is thorough, complete, methodical, and passionate about the laws and facts of physics. He includes rules-of-thumb and cheat-sheets that will give you instant insight into the invisible.

Sound for the Stage
Patrick Finelli’s thorough manual covering all aspects of live and recorded sound for performance is a complete training course for anyone interested in working in the field of stage sound.

Mastering Audio: The Art and Science
Written by award-winning Bob Katz, Mastering Audio gives you a thorough introduction to the unique procedures and technical issues involved in mastering.

Acoustics and Psychoacoustics
Acoustics and Psychoacoustics gives you an essential grounding and understanding to how real music sounds behave in different spaces whether during a performance or a recording.

Field Recording Book Round Up
A selection of books and information on field recording by Creative Field Recording.

Professional Audio Reference
Pro audio reference book list

The Business

Tour:Smart: And Break the Band
From packing the right equipment to keeping enough gas in the tank to get home, every aspect of making a successful tour with a band is addressed in this comprehensive guide.

Welcome to the Music Business – You’re Fucked!
Get a free copy!

The Worst Gig
Everybody from Rush and The Sex Pistols to Owl City and Fitz & the Tantrums can be found in helpfully titled sections like Wrong Venue, Insane Fans, Dangerous Malfunctions, Nature’s Wrath, Violence and the self-explanatory Oops.

Sound Design Live: Build Your Career as a Sound Engineer

Women’s Issues / Women in Music

Kim Gordon: Girl in a Band
Kim Gordon, founding member of Sonic Youth, fashion icon, and role model for a generation of women, now tells her story—a memoir of life as an artist, of music, marriage, motherhood, independence, and as one of the first women of rock and roll, written with the lyricism and haunting beauty of Patti Smith’s Just Kids.

Alice Bag: Violence Girl: East L.A. Rage to Hollywood Stage, a Chicana Punk Story
The proximity of the East L.A. barrio to Hollywood is as close as a short drive on the 101 freeway, but the cultural divide is enormous. Born to Mexican-born and American-naturalized parents, Alicia Armendariz migrated a few miles west to participate in the free-range birth of the 1970s punk movement. Alicia adopted the punk name Alice Bag, and became lead singer for The Bags, early punk visionaries who starred in Penelope Spheeris’ documentary The Decline of Western Civilization.

Viv Albertine: Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys.
The guitarist for seminal female punk group The Slits recounts playing with Sid Vicious, touring with the Clash, dating Mick Jones, inspiring “Train in Vain,” and releasing her solo debut in 2012.

Patti Smith: Just Kids
InJust Kids, Patti Smith’s first book of prose, the legendary American artist offers a never-before-seen glimpse of her remarkable relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in the epochal days of New York City and the Chelsea Hotel in the late sixties and seventies. An honest and moving story of youth and friendship.

Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution
Girls to the Front is the epic, definitive history of Riot Grrrl—the radical feminist uprising that exploded into the public eye in the 1990s and included incendiary punk bands Bikini Kill, Bratmobile, Heavens to Betsy, and Huggy Bear. A dynamic chronicle not just a movement but an era, this is the story of a group of pissed-off girls with no patience for sexism and no intention of keeping quiet.

Cinderella’s Big Score
Cinderella’s Big Score celebrates the contributions of punk’s oft-overlooked female artists, explores the latent—and not so latent—sexism of indie rock (so often thought of as the hallowed ground of progressive movements), and tells the story of how these women created spaces for themselves in a sometimes limited or exclusionary environment. The indie music world is littered with females who have not only withstood the racket of punk’s intolerance, but have twisted our societal notions of femininity in knots. Raha focuses on the United States and England in the 70s and 80s, and illuminates how the seminal women of this time shaped the female rockers of the 90s and today. Groups profiled range from The Runaways, The Slits, and The Plasmatics to L7, Sleater-Kinney, and Le Tigre. The book includes women not often featured in “women in rock” titles, such as Exene Cervenka of X, Eve Libertine and Joy de Vivre of Crass, and Poison Ivy Rorschach of the Cramps. Includes rare interviews and more than forty B&W photos.

The Lost Women of Rock Music: Female Musicians of the Punk Era (Studies in Popular Music)
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, a new phenomenon emerged in UK popular music – female guitarists, bass-players, keyboard-players and drummers began playing in bands. Before this time, women’s presence in rock bands, with a few notable exceptions, had always been as vocalists. This sudden influx of female musicians into the male domain of rock music was brought about by the enabling ethic of punk rock (“anybody can do it!”) and by the impact of the Sex Discrimination Act. With the demise of the punk scene, interest in these musicians evaporated and other priorities became important to music audiences. This book investigates the social and commercial reasons why these women became lost from the rock music record, and rewrites this period of popular music history.

Other Music-Related Books

Musicophilia
Oliver Sacks explores the place music occupies in the brain and it affects the human condition.

This Is Your Brain On Music: The Science of a Human Obsession.

The Rest is Noise, Listening to the 20th Century
A voyage into the labyrinth of modern music, which for many people remains an obscure and forbidding world.

Lexicon of the Mouth – Poetics and Politics of Voice and the Oral Imaginary
The oral cavity is posed as an impressionable arena, susceptible to all types of material input, contamination and intervention, while also enabling powerful forms of resistance, attachment and conversation, as well as radical imagination.

Sonic Possible Worlds – Hearing the Continuum of Sound
In Sonic Possible Worlds, Voegelin proposes a new analytical framework that can access and investigate works across genres and times, enabling a comparative engagement where composers such as Henry Purcell and Nadia Boulanger encounter sound art works by Shilpa Gupta and Christina Kubisch and where the soundscape compositions of Chris Watson and Francisco López resound in the visual worlds of Louise Bourgeois.

Sound Unseen – Acousmatic Sound in Theory and Practice
The first major study in English of Pierre Schaeffer’s theory of “acousmatics,” Sound Unseen is an essential text for scholars of philosophy of music, electronic music, sound studies, and the history of the senses.

The Sound Book: The Science of the Sonic Wonders of the World
Trevor Cox is on a hunt for the sonic wonders of the world. A renowned expert who engineers classrooms and concert halls. Cox now revels in exotic noises—creaking glaciers, whispering galleries, stalactite organs, musical roads, humming dunes, seals that sound like alien angels, and a Mayan pyramid that chirps like a bird. With forays into archaeology, neuroscience, biology, and design, Cox explains how sound is made and altered by the environment, how our body reacts to peculiar noises, and how these mysterious wonders illuminate sound’s surprising dynamics in everyday settings—from your bedroom to the opera house. The Sound Book encourages us to become better listeners in a world dominated by the visual and to open our ears to the glorious cacophony all around us.