Keyboards vs. MIDI controllers

Keyboards and MIDI controllers look quite similar. They both feature keys resembling that of a piano and they both use electricity to work. So which one should you choose?

Well, that mostly depends on what you are going to be using it for.

Keyboards

Overview

An electronic keyboard is a standalone instrument that plays the prerecorded sound of a real piano whenever you press a specific key. Its popularity stems from its compact shape and portability. Keyboards can fit into any home more easily than a grand piano or an upright piano. They can be put away whenever not in use so they don’t take up permanent space at home. Professional musicians can just throw them in the trunk on their way to the next gig. Keyboards are truly a wonder of modern technology and they make learning to play the piano more accessible to anyone.

Size

Most electronic keyboards come in one of the three sizes: 61, 76, or 88 keys. More keys mean the keyboard’s range is greater – it can play more octaves. Which keyboard you will choose depends mostly on your space restrictions and your skill level. If you are just beginning to learn how to play then a 61 key keyboard is more than enough. It will allow you to study the basics of piano with ease. One more octave will extend your playing range even further. 88 keys is the size of a real piano. An 88 key keyboard can get quite big but if you plan on someday transitioning to an acoustic piano then it’s worth it to start practicing now.

MIDI controllers

Overview

A MIDI controller won’t work without some additional equipment – a computer with MIDI software installed. They are also called MIDI keyboards. MIDI stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface. This standard regulates how computer devices ‘understand’ the sounds we play on instruments. You might remember some simple MIDI ringtones of popular song hits from the era before smartphones. You press a key on a plugged-in MIDI controller and the computer records the sound as MIDI. This allows you to further customize the sound digitally later. MIDI controllers are used for digitally recording and mixing music rather than simply playing. They are mainly used in home and professional music studios.

Size

MIDI controllers tend to be smaller than usual keyboards although you need to account for the size of a computer needed to use it. The number of keys on a MIDI controller ranges from just 25 keys to 88 keys, which is the size of a real piano. The smallest size is fine if you don’t have a lot of space and only want to record simple melodies for bass or leads. If you feel confident using more keys then a 49 key ones is the best choice for most players. 61 keys and more MIDI controllers are usually reserved for people who need to imitate a piano’s real range.

Check out these reviews by Mr. Pianist to find out about different models and see what is best for you.

Traveling with a toddler – what to buy

Having a toddler in the household is hectic enough so most people don’t feel the need to throw the stress of traveling into the mix. But on the other hand, why wouldn’t you? You are not going to get any rest at home so at least try to make an adventure out of having your toddler around. Family trips are a great way to bond and there is a high probability that your toddler will be fascinated enough with all the new sights and will stop pestering you for just a moment.

But traveling with a toddler is not so straight-forward as traveling with an older child. You will need to purchase some additional equipment to make the trip as comfortable as possible.

Pack and play

A pack and play is an amazing invention, whether you are traveling to Europe or relatives’ house for a few days. It is like a portable and compact crib in which your baby can both sleep and play safely. They also often come with a diaper changing station and a bassinet. This makes them suitable for both newborns and toddlers. A pack and play bassinet can usually accommodate babies up to 15 pounds.

The newest pack and plays are extremely convenient and make traveling a breeze. They are easy to set up anywhere and can be collapsed into an easy-to-hold packing bag. The metal frame is sturdy, making the whole contraption a safe space to leave your baby in. Additionally, if you travel and stay in different hotels, your toddler will feel safer if they are always put to sleep in the same bed – in this case, the pack and play.

Lightweight stroller

Most travels, especially to new places, involve a lot of sightseeing and visiting various spots. This usually means long walking hours. And while traveling adults are ready to make that sacrifice, your toddler’s feet probably aren’t up to the task. That’s why carrying a stroller with you is a must. Most importantly, it should be lightweight and foldable but also durable.

Portable high chair

A portable high chair will save your sanity anytime you need to feed your toddler during the trip. Portable hair chairs come in many shapes. Some are clipped onto the table, some are a stand-alone type made with lightweight mesh and some are designed to be attached to a dining chair. Whichever you choose, make sure to check the maximum weight to find out which ones can hold your baby safely.

Distractions

Make sure to bring enough items to distract your toddler if they start to get anxious or too active. The worst thing that can happen is having your child misbehave on a crowded plane and drawing attention from the other passengers. Pack plenty of snacks, lightweight picture books and small toys to keep your child occupied.

How to clean kitchen countertops

Kitchen countertops are one of the quickest to get dirty elements in every kitchen. That’s where we prepare our food so splatters and stain are inevitable. Countertops are frequently used not only for cooking but also for storage, unpacking groceries and many others. The surface is almost never completely empty. Countertops are prone to getting water damage, especially the ones around the kitchen sink. On the other hand, placing hot appliances on top of them can also be damaging. For more information about how to take care of your kitchen, see the Girl Cooks World website.

That’s why cleaning these countertops is so important – they get dirty easily and you don’t want that dirt getting into your food. If you do it regularly, countertop cleaning shouldn’t take up much of your time. It is good to clean them even if you don’t see any visible stains. Some countertops, especially those with elaborate patterns, make it difficult to see whether the surface is dirty or not.

Cleaning countertops has more to it than simply running a wet cloth over the counter and calling it a day. The cleaning method differs depending on the type of countertops you have at home. Some of them are more demanding than others.

Granite

Granite countertops are very beautiful and should be properly cared for. To clean them, you can use either a homemade solution of warm water and soap or a professional granite cleaner. See here for the best granite cleaner. If you have any tough stains that won’t disappear with just the cleaner, you can also make a solution of baking soda and water. Make a paste and then scrub the surface of the stain with a soft brush.

With granite countertops, it is important to remember that they can get scratched so you should never use any harsh abrasives or hard-bristled brushes on them. For additional protection, you can also seal the surface with a stone sealer.

Butcher block

Butcher blocks are a special category of kitchen countertops. They are very useful because they can be used just like you would a wooden cutting board. However, preparing food right on the surface of the block causes it to take more of a beating when it comes to dirt and damage.

Butcher blocks should be washed with a mild detergent and then wiped dry soon after with a soft or microfiber cloth. Any liquid, whether it’s vegetable juice or soap, can sink into the wood which might leave a permanent stain.

To prevent damage, you should oil the wood surface regularly. It will seal the butcher block and also make it look nice and shiny again.

Ceramic tile

Countertops covered with ceramic tiles are quite tricky. On one hand, the tiles can be easily cleaned and don’t stain. But on the other, the grout is where you should be especially careful. That’s the part that is very difficult to get squeaky clean.

Tiles can simply be cleaned with a mild detergent. Grout, however, will need something stronger. Take a toothbrush and scrub the grout with bleach or baking soda solution to make it stain and bacteria-free.

How To Impress A Guitarist With A Unique Gift

Settling on a present for a friend who plays an instrument can be puzzling since they already have a hobby that keeps them busy. It seems as if they have everything they would ever need. However, there’s one way you could never go wrong with a birthday present, and that is supplying your mate with a guitar-related gift. Since the instrument is the celebrity of your friend’s mind, you could easily win his attention with a gift that matches his most beloved pastime.

With this list, we pursued to cover accessories with different uses. In this manner, we compiled a brief inventory of both practical and entertaining items to make sure that we deliver a gift alternative that could suit your friend’s personality. Whether we are talking about someone who indulges in the technical aspects of guitar playing and wants to constantly enhance the experience or someone who enjoys playing simply for the entertainment, there’s no way that someone won’t like at least one of our mentions.

5 awesome gifts for a guitar player 

  • Jim Dunlop Guitar Cleaning Kit
    Maintenance plays a central role in the longevity of a guitar. If your friend is an entry-level guitarist, he might have not supplied himself with a cleaning kit yet. Jim Dunlop sells a cool guitar cleaning kit for strings and fretboard, which includes a fretboard lemon oil, a polish, and a cleaner with two additional polishing cloths.
  • Headphone Vox AP2CR amplifier
    If your friend is living in an apartment or a quiet neighborhood, then emphatic guitar practice is limited to a few neighbor-friendly hours. A solution for both an intense sound and long-hour practice is a headphone amplifier. Also, there are many collateral perks of such a device, like additional amp modes and a variety of sound effects.
  • Tuner by Kliq
    Tuning is one tedious aspect of playing the guitar, however, it is a key functional element. With a tuning range from A0 to C8, this tuner will spare a guitarist some extra minutes of fetching up the harmonies. This model is ergonomic enough, so it doesn’t feel like a burden on the neck of the guitar. Also, it features an easy-to-read display that shows whether the sound is flat or sharp by detecting the pitches.
  • Guitar personalized plectrum
    Have you ever hard of an x-name acoustic guitar plectrum that has a personalized message too? If you’re looking for a gift that is both practical and holds an ounce of cheesiness, then this might be an optimal gift choice. Amazon houses a large array of retailers that sell such customized plectrums, and your friend could be one of the lucky owners of a guitar accessory that holds their signature name.
  • Guitar Tin Lunch Box
    A guitar-shaped meal box will undoubtedly give an extra ounce of uniqueness to a lunch break at school or work. Apart from the cool design, the box proves itself spacious enough to house a wide assortment of snacks. In this manner, if your guitarist friend already seems to have all the essential accessories for the instrument, a more entertaining gift would surely do him well.

How to grow muscle and build strength

Nowadays, getting fit is easier and more relevant than ever. Living a healthy lifestyle is encouraged and practiced by more and more people everyday, but getting started is not as easy as it seems, particularly for men. Naturally, it can be intimidating for an out-of-shape guy to start hitting the gym regularly while surrounded by lean and muscular powerlifters everywhere he looks. To all those skinny or sedentary dudes we say: fear not. We are about to break down some of the most important tips to keep in mind when you want to grow muscle and build strength. Let’s take a look.

Diet: start eating the right way

Most fitness enthusiasts will tell you that something they can all agree on is that an ideal body is built in the kitchen. Minding what you eat and drink can mark the difference between fast results and progressive frustration. If you’re either above or below your desired weight, the idea remains the same: your body needs enough food to turn nutrients into muscle mass. Balancing your diet is key, with a focus on proteins and carbohydrates to reach your caloric intake goals. If your budget it tight or you don’t have the time to cook that regularly, you can always rely on supplements like a mass gainer of your choice to get you there.

Routine: get off your seat regularly

Be it because you work too much or you waste too much time idling, getting fit requires you to commit to get off your chair more frequently. Discipline is essential in this endeavor, and only those who stick with it see results in time. It’s not an overnight process, rather it is built day by day with little actions that together make the difference. Set up an alarm to stand up and do some simple stretching every 30 minutes, for example. Your body will thank you and you’ll start noticing not only physical changes, but also emotional and psychological towards the idea of becoming a more active individual.

Training: lift, but don’t forget the rest

What most people focus on with no regard for other pieces of advice: training. There is no point in training if you don’t take into consideration the tips above. That being said, as you can probably guess, training to gain muscle is also all about balance, since only lifting heavy things won’t do much by itself if you don’t pay attention to what you’re doing. Do complementary exercises that work two or more muscle groups at a time, try to incorporate some bodyweight exercises into your routine, and above all, don’t rush it. Results will come, but only if you progressively get there with exercise and patience.

Bonus: don’t forget to sleep!

You’ll be tempted to get a few more reps in your routines when you’re just about finished at the gym, only to get home and catch up with some other work and then cooking dinner at midnight. Doing this leaves you with less time to sleep at night, which is counterproductive to your goal of gaining muscle mass. A growing body needs rest, so don’t be too quick to underestimate the importance of a good night’s sleep (every night)!