Canadian Brass: a Glimpse Of the Next NetMusician Webkit Generation

We are pleased to announce that the classical music giant, Canadian Brass, has recently launched its new website. If you are no stranger to classical music or brass instruments, you have no doubt already heard about the Canadian Brass and their decades of history and presence in the musical world. The award winning group has been going in new directions as of recent years, so therefore it seemed fitting to create a new website to express this new vision!

On this new site you can learn about the group’s history, its numerous recordings and videos, the instruments they play, acquaint yourself with the current and past membership, keep informed as to when they will be performing near you, access a wide range of press materials including posters, cover artwork, ringtones, learn about what the group has been working on in the area of education and outreach, access their store, or their exciting blog entitled Brass Underground which documents their experiences on the road and provides a special glimpse behind-the-scenes.

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Optimizing Apache and PHP for Amazon EC2

Some useful performance optimization tips for optimizing Apache, PHP FPM, and APC for Amazon EC2. In this case the configuration examples are the settings that work best for our Small instances, but certainly these concepts will apply to other instance types as well.

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Update Your yui3-gallery Git Fork

Unless you are a pretty experienced Git user, updating your yui3-gallery fork for a new Yahoo CDN pull request can be tricky. Here is one way you can do this, the following steps assume that you have defined the official yui3-gallery Git repository as a remote source in your repository entitled “upstream”…

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How to Access Your WordPress Akismet Key

If you wish to retrieve your Akismet key from your WordPress database directly via MySQL you can do so as follows:


mysql> use [your WordPress database];
mysql> select option_value from wp_options where option_name = 'wordpress_api_key';

Keeping Your Web-based Software Current Using Github

Since so much software is tracked using a Git repository on Github using public repositories, this can make for a very useful software update mechanism. read more »

Handy Command-line Video and Audio Conversion Commands

A quick list of commands for audio/video conversion on the command line read more »

Migrating Your Local FreeBSD User Accounts To a Linux-based OS

If you are interested in switching from FreeBSD to Linux, you will need to come up with a plan for migrating your user accounts to Linux. Here are some tips, some things to consider, and a tutorial outlining one way to go about this.

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Setting Up Git Push, a Local Quasi-Github On Your Server

Those who have used Github know how nice it is to be able to “git push” your work to the cloud, how nice it is to have this repository function as a backup of your work, and how nice it is to be able to so easily “git pull” this project down to another machine. The following tutorial details how you can setup your own private Github repository, minus the web interface and all of the features that go along with this (e.g. comments, pull requests, etc.). This approach is great for when you might want to store some sensitive and/or proprietary information in your project (other than database passwords and content which can be easily added to your .gitignore file), and you don’t wish to purchase a private Github repository.

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Official Website for Ron Romm Now Live!

We are pleased to announce that the new website for virtuosic, world renown, former Canadian Brass trumpet alum Ron Romm is now live!

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Dealing with iOS Mail “Can’t Connect to the Server” Errors

If your iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch Mail app is generating these errors despite connecting to the same server without difficulty prior, a quick fix is to:

  1. Double tap your home icon while on the home screen to bring up a list of all running apps
  2. Press and hold on the Mail icon until a red minus appears, press that minus

This will quit that currently running app (whereas pressing the home icon normally simply switches GUI control to a new process – i.e. the app is left to run in the background). Once the app has been quit and relaunched these errors should go away.

I can’t substantiate this, this is just a theory, but I suspect that since the iOS Mail client (and OS X Mail) are not particularly good about limiting the number of connections to an IMAP server to sane and reasonable numbers that these errors are generated when no more connections are permitted, and will go away on their own after unused connections timeout. Quitting the app presumably kills these IMAP connections in IMAP IDLE state.

NetMusician TwitterFetcher CodeIgniter Spark Released

We are pleased to release our first, and likely not last CodeIgniter Spark called, simply, “TwitterFetcher”

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Share Code Between CodeIgniter Controllers

If you have a block of code that should be invoked with each of your CodeIgniter controllers, you may not have found an obvious way to do this, other than using one controller for your entire project. Read on to learn how you can!

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Motéma Proudly Releases “Convergence”, by Lynne Arriale

Pianist/composer Lynne Arriale is still experiencing the momentum of her previous release, a dizzying flurry of magazine covers, features and stellar critical accolades heralding her skills as an, “ingenious arranger, composer, soloist and performer . . . Arriale has made one of the most original ensemble recordings of 2009.  Nuance is an album of brilliant group interpretations, finely crafted original material, intricate arrangements and rapt solos”—DownBeat. Arriale strikes again with Convergence, an eloquent new work of power and strength exploring previously uncharted musical waters, featuring a new band of some of New York City’s most in-demand players, Bill McHenry on tenor sax, Omer Avital on bass & oud, and her stalwart new drummer (who also played on Nuance), Anthony Pinciotti.

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Spirit Dance Nominated for Juno Award

Spirit Dance, the new CD from pianist David Braid and Canadian Brass, has just been nominated for a Juno Award for Instrumental Album of the Year!

Canadian Brass to be Televised on National Chinese TV

For the second time this season Canadian Brass has been invited back to China.  At the end of January they will be seen on national TV for the Chinese Spring Festival Gala, Chinese New Year.

Rotating a Folder of Log Files With newsyslog

If you are interested in using newsyslog (included in FreeBSD) to rotate a folder of log files without having to specify each individual log file path in your /etc/newsyslog.conf, you can do so making use of a wildcard, with an important catch… read more »

FreeBSD “unsupported filesystem layout” errors

After an OS upgrade we started getting “unsupported filesystem layout” errors when invoking certain executables – this was causing fatal problems. Here is what the error meant in our case, and how this was fixed.

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AJAX Based File Uploading

There seems to be a number of different forum threads and webpages that deal with constructing AJAX based file uploader tools that don’t require that the page be completely reloaded to process the file upload. In addition, this is further complicated by the desire for progress bars and other forms of feedback.

This posting will attempt to deal with the basic strategies and choices available for providing this functionality. We won’t delve into actual code, but rather (hopefully) help point you in the right direction to tackle this on your own!

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Jeff Nelsen’s Brahms Horn Trio Project Released!

World renown french hornist Jeff Nelsen today has released his latest work, an album featuring the Brahms: Horn Trio in E-flat major, Op. 40 and Mozart: Horn Quintet, K. 407 (adapted for horn, violin & piano). This CD release can be purchased here, more information can be found on Jeff’s website, and if you are looking for previews of this music, video documentaries chronicling the work put into this incredibly intense, powerful, and passion filled project can be enjoyed, below…

The Brahms Horn Trio in Performance

The Making Of This Album

CodeIgniter image_lib and Creating Multiple Sized Thumbs/Images

I found the documentation on using CodeIgniter’s Image Manipulation class (image_lib) in a loop, creating multiple sizes of a graphic a little confusing and hard to get a handle on, so the following is an example of how to do this…

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Network Access to Local VMs When the Internet Is Not Available

There may be times when you wish to SSH or establish some sort of network connection to a local VM guest while you don’t have an internet connection. Using bridged networking you can facilitate this. Here’s how…

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Canadian Brass Album “Stars and Stripes Forever” Scores #2 on Billboard!

The Canadian Brass’ latest album Stars and Stripes Forever has recently scored second in the Billboard “Classical Traditional” category, week ending June 13th.  Congratulations guys! Unfortunately, this particular category requires a Billboard subscription to view, so you’ll just have to take us at our word here!

More information about this release and the Canadian Brass can be found on their website.

Earn Money With Referrals!

We are pleased to announce a new referral program that effective immediately is available to everybody! The deal is simple: refer somebody to NetMusician, have them request a custom designed website similar to yours, once they agree to our service agreement and pay us their initial installment you earn $100 in cash or credit! Please contact us if you have any questions about this, we thank you in advance for your referrals…

How To Sell Individual CD Tracks and Other Downloads On Your Site

We are pleased to announce the near completion of a brand new version of the NetMusician Store software. This new version includes many improvements which will be detailed shortly here. As always, you can receive notifications of updates such as this by joining our Facebook group or following us on Twitter.

For now we’d like to highlight two of the most important new features of this new version… read more »

Free “Starter” Websites: Coming Soon!

After many, many years of nearly constant work, this is a very exciting time for NetMusician!

With work to the new NetMusician Store module nearly complete, we are just about ready to market NetMusician to a wider audience and support the creation of free websites that can be managed through the Webkit. read more »

Verisign to Increase Prices of .com and .net Domains

Verisign has announced a price increase in the costs of .com and .net domain registration. Many domain registrars are actually dependent on Verisign, so these costs will likely be reflected by many of these resellers as well.

If you are thinking of purchasing a .com or .net domain, now might not be a bad time to do so! NetMusician is not a domain registrar, so this registration will have to come via a third party. Please contact us if you have any questions…

Witz Apple Certified Training Site Redesign Complete

Witz Apple Certified Training provides IT training specializing in Apple software, including Apple operating systems and content creation software. We are pleased to launch a very substantial redesign to their site which now includes far more in-depth information about their course offerings and special bundle deals, support in their calendar (powered by the NetMusician Webkit Events Calendar module) for multiple locations, and a far more robust system for providing timely news, including their “genius tips”, “case studies”, and “showcase articles”. Their registration page has been revamped to support sign up of multiple employees, bundle registration, and more!

Their site also features the NetMusician Mailing List Webkit module which provides their customers a painless way to subscribe and unsubscribe from their newsletter.

Jeff Nelsen Website Launched!

We are proud to unveil the website of french hornist and Canadian Brass member Jeff Nelsen. Jeff’s website features information about his performance career which includes numerous recordings, films, and live performance with the likes of Michael Bolton, Barry Manilow and others, as well as information about his “fearless performance” teachings, and his affiliation with Indiana University.

His website features the NetMusician Webkit Events Calendar, Twitter Status, TweetMeme and Facebook integration, Photo Gallery, YouTube Gallery, Discography, Sound Clips, Mailing List, Press Kit, and Email modules, as well as a blog and the ability to post news items. His Events Calendar events are automatically synced with the Canadian Brass event data, also hosted by the NetMusician Webkit, since he performs with this group regularly.

Gallery: Nathaniel Fox Beversluis and Social Networking

Nathaniel Fox Beversluis has been appointed Assistant Conductor of the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of the Greensboro Symphony Youth Orchestra, and wanted to use his site to communicate with his students,  colleagues, and audience about the many musical projects he will be involved with through these new collaborations. His site did include a blog where we would post news relating to his musical projects, but there was little to connect the discussions already taking place on Facebook with his site, and little to make visitors to his site aware of his Facebook community or Twitter “tweets”.

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IE and Prototype JS parentNode Problems

For some reason IE 7 and earlier versions choke on references such as obj.parentNode.id or $(obj.id).parentNode.id. As a workaround, as awkward as this is, you can make call $($(obj.id).parentNode).id, which seems to work in all browsers. Awkward, ugly, unexplainable (at least to my feeble mind), but it works… I came across this solution here.

Compile Virtualbox 3.2 OSE With VNC Server Support For Ubuntu 10.04

New to Virtualbox 3.2 OSE is a built in VNC server for accessing your Virtualbox VMs. This is a great feature, and I like this more than the VRDP feature available in the commercial Virtualbox since there is a wider variety of VNC clients that I’m aware of for Mac OS X in comparison to RDP clients.

However, I don’t believe this feature is compiled in by default just yet, and finding recent versions of Virtualbox OSE seems to be a  little tricky on some distros anyway, so I set out to compile this for myself with VNC server support on Ubuntu 10.04. The following is what I did to get it to compile and run properly…

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How To Speed Up Your Virtualbox VMs By Using the SATA Disk Controller

As of Virtualbox 3.2 the default disk controller has been changed from IDE to SATA. If you had setup a Virtualbox disk in a previous version, unless you opted for using the SATA (or SCSI, SAS) controller, chances are you are using IDE. You can confirm this by putting your mouse over the disk icon in the lower status bar of a VM window, which should reveal the controller type being used for the current disk.

If you are using the IDE controller, with a small amount of work you can switch to the faster SATA controller without having to reinstall the entire OS and recreate your images. You can also switch to the SATA controller if you are using the SCSI, and presumably the SAS controller as well. Here is how…

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Manage Your NetMusician Site With Your iPhone or Android-based Phone

The mobile version of the NetMusician Webkit is still undergoing development, but in the meantime if you are interested in managing content such as your Blog or News pages, you can download the free version of WordPress for the iPhone via the link available here, or the version for Android powered phones here.

The NetMusician Webkit and WordPress are integrated with each other so that the Webkit is used to manage a musician’s store, events calendar, photo galleries, and much more, and WordPress used to manage all other pages.

Integrating CodeIgniter with WordPress

It is possible to use CodeIgniter in conjunction with WordPress. This article details how to integrate CodeIgniter with WordPress, including an important a caveat involving 404 headers and its workaround.
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Canadian Brass Announce Successor to Watts

The Canadian Brass have announced a successor to founding member and trombonist Gene Watts, who has played with the group for over 30 years! 21 year old Keith Dyrda has joined the group and will be a part of the upcoming Asian tour. More information can be found here.

Commiting Specific Files Using Git

As great and as useful branches are in Git, every once in a while we may forget to create a new branch when we meander off with experimental changes, or changes that may take longer to complete than changes you may want to commit in the meantime. No worries, it is still quite easy to commit only the files that you want with committing everything else. Here’s how…

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Managing Remote Branches Using Git

A “remote branch” is a branch that you are not in charge of maintaining, and is not a part of your local repository. It would be rather chaotic if we just let people have free access to write what they want to our branches. This would make accounting for changes at least somewhat difficult! Therefore, Git provides a way to add remote branches to your repository to “track” changes and merge them in with your own.

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Facebook and Twitter Social Network Widget Prices Reduced!

Effective immediately the price to install any/all of these respective social networking hooks featured here on our blog (Facebook Connect Like and Share, TweetMeme) has been reduced to $25! Please if you are interested in setting this up on your website! For a complete listing of our services, please visit this page.

WordPress Post Thumbnail Generation

As of WordPress 2.9 a very useful feature has been added that allows users to designate a thumbnail for each post, as well as its dimensions. This feature requires a slight modification to your theme to enable it, as well as some familiarity with some new related template tags.

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Stars and Stripes: the Canadian Brass Salute America

The Canadian Brass have announced the release of their next album, Stars and Stripes: the Canadian Brass Salute America! Their latest recording will be available in stores starting May 18, and is available for pre-order at a discounted price at their store. The Canadian Brass have well over 70 recordings to date in their name, you can learn more about this group and their music at their website, where information and clips pertaining to this release are forthcoming.

Git “not uptodate. Cannot merge.” Errors

These errors when going a “git pull” can be very confusing. They indicate that there are local changes that would otherwise be obliterated, and you are prevented from continuing unless you commit your changes, move or delete the file before doing a pull, or the following workaround…

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Jeff Nelsen Site Redesign Coming Soon!

A substantial website for french hornist Jeff Nelsen is in the works. Jeff is featured in the Canadian Brass, is a faculty member of the prestigious Indiana University, and has performed and recorded extensively with numerous performers, Hollywood films, and elite groups including Barry Manilow, the New York Philharmonic, and many more. Jeff’s impressive list of credits (the aforementioned which merely scratches the surface) clearly warrants a top notch web presence which we will be pleased to unveil shortly!

His new site will feature Twitter status integration, our latest media player version (including a much flashier track selector), our Webkit graphical calendar display, newest version of the Webkit store, video, information about Jeff’s “Get Fearless” approach to music making and performance, his itinerary, and several sound clips compiled from various sources.

Lil Phillips Site Launched!

We are happy to have completed and launched the new official website of Lil Phillips! Please visit it, listen to her music, and help support her and the sale of her latest CD, “Pull Out Those Dreams”

Access to Roundcube Webmail Restored

Access to Roundcube Webmail has been restored, and is available via the “preview our next generation Webmail” link on the main Webmail login page. We are evaluating the possibility of eventually migrating NetMusician users to this newer system, or continuing to provide it as an option along with the current Webmail system, Squirrelmail, dropping its “next generation” designation.

Using the Return Key to Submit a Form

Using Prototype we can capture the return key (and other key presses) to replace the usual form submission with our own Javascript functions. This is useful if we, say, want to do some Javascript-based error checking on the form prior to submission when the user presses their return key, or invoke a search via a return key press within a search field.

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Witz Apple Certified Training Redesign Coming Soon!

A complete redesign and information overhaul for the Witz Apple Training website is nearing completion. This new site will feature a wealth of information about the courses offered by Witz, will allow you to register for any of these courses, and will include a wealth of information about popular professional media creation applications used in OS X, as well as information and helpful tips relating to OS X and OS X Server.

NetMusician Disk Space and Backup Retention Increased

A long standing policy of ours has been lack of enforcement on any storage quotas for any NetMusician websites and email accounts. In order to continue this we have installed a brand new high performance disk array and a new server that provides an abundance of disk space we can add to over time, a significant performance increase for access of all information (email and website data), and as of today we are also able to announce some new features and capabilities available to you!

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Unix Based Time Machine-like Backups

If you are interested in reproducing a backup scheme similar to Apple’s Time Machine on non OS X Linux/Unix machine, it is actually pretty easy to do so using a combination of rsync and cpio. You obviously won’t get the pretty space themed GUI (or any sort of GUI), but you will get as many complete snapshots as you like where hard links are used to account for files that haven’t changed in order to save a very significant amount of disk space. This is the same scheme used by Time Machine, although with this approach you can also have your source and destination machines be totally separate machines, even located in different physical locations so long as both are accessible via SSH.

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Moving WordPress To a New Domain

The following set of instructions will encapsulate your WordPress data into a dump file you can transfer to a different host (if applicable), and then update all WordPress database references to point to your new domain (including all of the images you have attached to your posts and pages).

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Convert Fonts to TTF and EOT Formats For CSS Font Embedding

Since Firefox 3.5 and some version of Safari/Webkit released around 2007, both Firefox and Safari have supported embedding your own fonts into webpages for quite some time. Surprisingly, IE has supported this for quite some time too, although less surprisingly IE uses some weird non-conventional font format using a .eot file extension. In short, since font embedding is available in all major browsers and you can convert to Microsoft’s EOT format via the following instructions, font embedding is now considered fair game to developers!

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Making CSS RGBA Work in All Browsers

We have found that opacity settings have some weird characteristics we have not completely gotten a handle on (or at least I haven’t gotten a handle on :-) ) involving inheritance of child elements. In short, setting opacity to 1 does not undo an opacity setting set by a parent element. When it comes to making entire backgrounds slightly transparent, say, creating some sort of transparent screen, one way around this is using the CSS background-color: rgba property.

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Making CSS Display Inline-block Work in All Browsers

I’m not sure whether this is a well-kept secret or widely recognized knowledge, but we’ve come to rely heavily upon using the “inline-block” CSS display property.

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Macbook/Macbook Pros, VMWare Server, Control+Alt+Delete

The omission of a control + alt + delete GUI option in VMWare Server 2.x has been well lamented by many people on the internet. It seems like the keyboard combination for this varies depending on your keyboard layout and possibly other factors, and this is further complicated by introducing additional variables such as X11 forwarding and Mac laptop keyboard layouts, the former which is necessary in conjunction with a Linux-based computer to utilize the VMWare 2 console on a Mac (that or a Windows-based VM).

After a great deal of experimentation and, truthfully, blindly pressing random keys, I finally found the working combo!

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phpMyAdmin and Individual User Configs

phpMyAdmin natively supports a global set of configuration options for all users, but with a simple hack you can change this allowing particular users the options that are most useful to them, such as default tab view, max rows per page, etc.

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Sample ZFS Snapshot Shell Script

Creating snapshots with ZFS is easy, but scheduling these as cron jobs requires a simple script to automate these commands. Here is a simple sample script you can use and customize to your liking:

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Stripping the Default Controller from Your CodeIgniter URLs

If you don’t want your controller to be a part of your site URLs (i.e. /sitesection rather than /main/sitesection), there are a variety of techniques for doing this. I’ve come to better understand how CodeIgniter is designed as to not (I think, I hope) circumvent its design without triggering 404s that skew your traffic patterns and prevent Google deep crawls despite having your content render as expected.

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Solaris 10 Setup

Solaris 10 setup cheat sheet, some miscellaneous commands and various odds and ends…

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How to Install Solaris 10 Without a DVD Drive On amd64/i386

Either my SuperMicro SATA adapter or DVD drive ended up being bad, as I was getting an amber light at boot and could not boot off of any CD/DVD media. I decided to instead install Solaris using my USB drive, and ended up struggling with this for several hours – this ended up being far more difficult than it probably ought to have been!

What I ended up doing was the following…

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X7SB3-F Supermicro Motherboards and HDD Detection

The X7SB3-F ships by default with the LSI controller’s 8 SAS/SCSI ports managed by the LSI firmware, which includes setup and presentation of this RAID array. Without initializing your RAID array by slipping into the management software at boot time, your individual drives will not be detected by OSes such as Solaris, Ubuntu, etc. read more »

Creating a Bootable USB Drive From an ISO Image

I struggled today with this task, thinking initially that it ought to be as simple as doing a “dd” of the image to the drive’s device node. I was getting discouraged when I came to find that the “usb-creator” app recommended by the Ubuntu team within the Ubuntu Wiki (and an app that seemed to get frequent mentions in various Google searches) proved to be extremely buggy for me in not allowing me to select an .ISO, format command failures, and bogus UI feedback. read more »

Adventures with VMWare ESXi 4 and my Shuttle PC

I’ve been trying for some time now to build a VMWare ESXi 4.0 test box using my Shuttle PC, today I finally identified the problem – sort of… read more »

Alex Heitlinger Winner of Young Jazz Composer Award

Alex Heitlinger, a fine trombonist we have had the pleasure to work on his website with some time ago, has just informed us that he is the recipient of this year’s ASCAP Young Jazz Composer award for the third year in a row! Congratulations, Alex!

The full press release can be found here.

Follow NetMusician on Facebook and Twitter!

Want to keep track of the latest news from NetMusician? Want to see what we are up to? What we’re working on? What we are planning? Find us on both Twitter and Facebook!

Lil Phillips Website Coming Soon!

The official website for jazz vocalist Lil Phillips is being developed as we speak, and is slated for release later this month. This site will feature her music from her album Pull Out Those Dreams which you can purchase there, as well as her press kit and itinerary.

New NetMusician Storage Appliance

A new 1U server for housing NetMusician website and email data has been ordered and will be hopefully put into production, or at least testing later this month. read more »