Learning an Instrument in College

I think at some point in their lives, most people hear a piece of music and think “wow… I wish I could play that.” For most of us, that idea remains an unfulfilled wish. It’s often hard to find the time or energy to learn, especially as an adult. But fear not, because I’m here with some tips on how to learn a new instrument in college! I’ve been playing the guitar for a while, but now I’m also learning to play piano. These tips proved useful to me, and hopefully they will be for you too!

budget time for your instrument

Budget Your Time- And be Realistic

Let’s be real; you might not have much time as a young adult to learn an instrument. The question is can you find just 15 minutes a day to practice? If so, then you can learn an instrument. The real difficulty is developing the habit of practicing. An old music teacher once told me practicing isn’t about having the willpower to practice – it’s about having discipline. Willpower is fickle, and relying on feelings to practice every day simply won’t work. Instead, find a consistent time to practice every day. Convince yourself there is no better use for that time other than practicing. Turn it into an ultimatum – It’s either practice, or stare at the wall. Then follow through and practice when the time comes. If you can only do 15 minutes a day, that’s fine. It’s enough to progress!


Make Sure Practice Time isn’t Wasted

Further pushing the idea of efficient time usage, make sure when you do practice, you aren’t spinning your wheels by dwelling on your past success. Ok, you finally learned that one piece you struggled with. Instead of playing it over and over, why not move on to the next piece? It’s imperative you keep learning every single day when you only have a limited amount of time to practice. I have made the mistake of dwelling on past success too long by “practicing” nothing at all for hours at a time.

Have some fun with your instrument

Have Fun With Your Instrument

The point of playing an instrument as an adult is to have fun, plain and simple. I probably don’t have to say it’s not likely to become your career. Also, your parents aren’t forcing you to play in a boring orchestra anymore. Have fun with your instrument! Learn some bluegrass fiddle parts for your violin. Learn to play your favorite TV theme song on your instrument and play along when it comes on. Practice music theory by writing a cover of Seinfeld two octaves higher than the original. If you’re not having fun playing music, why are you doing it at all? So go wild!

Getting Into Bluegrass

Can you remember the last time you heard a great Bluegrass song? Bluegrass music is one of the least understood genres of music in my opinion. From its roots in African traditions to its codification by Bill Monroe, the history of bluegrass is fascinating. Most people don’t realize how much some bluegrass resembles music they already like. However, telling people about bluegrass tends to result in them nodding off. So instead of writing about all that boring stuff, I’ve decided to recommend some songs! I’ve based my recommendations on genres you might already be into, starting with…

Classic Rock

Connoisseurs of this genre will accuse me of generalization when I lump all classic rock together, and truly they’re right. But this is a bluegrass list, not a classic rock list. Therefore, I think it’s appropriate to group it into one category.


Me and my Guitar by Tony Rice

Besides the album art, this record is nearly perfect. Me and my Guitar really steals the show! Tony Rice, widely considered the father of modern bluegrass guitar, opens with a gorgeous guitar solo. The song format is instantly familiar to any rock fan. Rice’s voice resembles rock legends like Elvis more than I’d like to admit. Lyrically, this song isn’t about the country, economic woes, or a woman. Instead, also like many rock legends, Tony spends a full three minutes singing about his love for his guitar.

Melodic Pop

Are you a Katy Perry or Taylor Swift fan? Well, according to the internet you can’t like both of them. But if you at least like one of the two, then I have the song for you.


Rye Whiskey by The Punch Brothers

Rye Whiskey is an old bluegrass standard drinking song. For me, it hits all the notes of a Black Eyed Peas song. If that comparison seems dated, you can tell how long it’s been since I’ve had an interest in pop. This song is instantly familiar to anyone who’s recently listened to the billboard top 40. Rye Whiskey follows the traditional 4 chords of pop, but it also has a gorgeous 3 part harmony vaguely reminiscent of the chorus for Twenty Two by Taylor Swift.


If you love R&B, you probably love it for the gorgeous singing and that funky, rhythmic beat. This song might not be Beyonce, but it’ll probably scratch that same musical itch


Nashville Highrollers by Owen Campbell

Owen Campbell had his 15 minutes of fame after a video of him taunting the judges on Australia’s got Talent went viral. Since then, he’s fallen back into relative obscurity but his music career is still thriving. An incredible slide guitarist, Campbell creates a cacophony of rhythm akin to R&B’s funk and blues roots. Campbell’s mastered voice and instrument create a wall of sound much in the same way R&B artists do with their voices. With only 25,000 monthly listeners on spotify, does Campbell deserves many more? I think so. Give this song a listen and decide for yourself.

After checking these out, are you interested in bluegrass? Do you disagree with my assessment of any of these songs? Feel free to let me know in the comments below!


Celebrate Warmer Weather With A Spring Playlist

Winter is finally over! That means warmer weather, more daylight, and finally retiring your parka. As spring begins to make a stronger appearance, you’ll need to update your music playlists to match the mood. It’s time for a spring playlist. Luckily, super talented artists like Lorde, Sampha, and Calvin Harris have you covered. For those who are looking for freshly picked tunes to bump during the rest of the spring semester, look no further. Here’s a specially curated playlist that’s perfect for any student trying to celebrate the arrival of spring.

Knetbooks Spring Student Playlist

  1. Nightcrawler- ZHU
  2. Green Light- Lorde
    • For those who think of Lorde and envison darkness and saddness, you might be surprised with this pop-esque hit. It’s almost impossible not to dance along with the music. Even the New Zealand singer herself can’t stop in the music video.Spring Playlist - Lorde
  3. Slide- Calvin Harris, Frank Ocean, Migos
    • Calvin Harris, Frank Ocean, and Migos walk into a bar… and create an uber catchy song that cleverly combines Harris’s production with rap verses that are intrinsically Migos. Even more, the melodies can clearly be attributed to Frank Ocean. The song was already rated by Pitchfork as a best new track. You have to listen to believe it.
      Spring Playlist - Calvin Harris
  4. Too Late to Fixate- Conor Oberst
  5. Third Day of May- Odaigahara- Fleet Foxes
  6. Sweet- Little Dragon
  7. Surreal- Louis Futon, RKCB
  8. Total Entertainment Forever- Father John Misty
  9. Darling- Real Estate
  10. Blossom- Milky Chance
  11. American Teen- Khalid
  12. Die Young- Sylvan Esso
  13. Chanel- Frank Ocean
  14. Nothing, Not Nearly- Laura Marling
  15. Selfish- Future, Rhianna
  16. Show You the Way- Thundercat, Flying Lotus, Michael McDonald, Kenny Loggins
  17. Chasing Colors- Marshmello, Ookay, Noah Cyrus
    • Say hello to Noah, Miley Cyrus’s younger, but nonetheless super talented sister. Noah is stacking her resume up with hits, recently collaborating with Labrinth on the song Make Me (Cry).
      Spring Playlist - Marshmello
  18. Big Picture (THRDL!FE Remix)- London Grammar, THRDL!FE
  19. My Emotions are Blinding- Tennis
  20. It Ain’t Me- Kygo, Selena Gomez 
    • The hype leading up to this song was incredibly worth it. Kygo’s tropical beats supporting Gomez’s melodic voice produced an enchanting and heartbreaking song about loss and moving on. Listen, cry, dance.
      Spring Playlist - Kygo
  21. Love Incredible- Cashmere Cat, Camila Cabello
  22. Kinda Bonkers- Animal Collective
  23. Basically- STRFKR
  24. My Old Man- Mac Demarco
  25. Falling- Alesso
  26. When I Get There- Big Wild
  27. Blood on Me- Sampha

Spring is here! Celebrate the end of the semester with this fun, energetic spring playlist that is sure to have you stepping to the beat. If you want to listen to these songs in order, click the link at the top of this list to hear it on Spotify. Not a fan of this genre of music? Let us know what you prefer to hear in the comments below!

How to Deal with College Stress in 5 Minutes

How to Deal with College Stress in 5 Minutes

I wish someone had warned me how stressful college can be. No one tells you about all the bad parts of college, only the fun parts like tailgates. Especially that the stress level gets bigger and bigger each passing year. Between juggling school, work and attempting some type of social life, there is also extracurricular activities like clubs and sports.

I’ve had my fair share of meltdowns and panic attacks from all the stress and worrying about the stress will (I can guarantee) make it worse. Most of the time our stress is from thinking about what we need to do instead of actually doing it. I’m not saying that we don’t have a lot to do but instead of trying to avoid all the stress, sometimes its better to face it head on. To get me through these times, I follow these tips that can take only minutes to do, to help me survive this.

Just Breathe

Take a quick second to reevaluate yourself and just breathe. Everything can be overwhelming at times but in those moments, you need to take a step back. Sometimes we take on too much in college and take a moment to breathe can give you clarity on how to handle stress.

Eat a Snack

The act of eating something can decompress stress levels and boost energy levels overall. Sometimes when we are also feeling a little tired, the act of chewing can refresh our bodies and wake us up.

Listen to Music

I am a big music junkie, I need music for everything I do like the showering, driving in the car, and even during studying. Music provides to me what TV does for other people. It clears my mind and it makes a good background noise for when its too quiet without the distractions of TV images. Music is a great way to get lost and let your mind take a break when you need to.

Smell Something Soothing

I don’t personally do this but I have friends that will spray something or go smell something to calm their nerves. I don’t know if this fully helps but I figured I would add it in, what do you got to lose? The scent of something like citrus or vanilla calms your senses and allow aromatherapy to work. Maybe we need to stop and smell the roses sometime to remind us to relax.

Take a Walk

I hate exercising like everyone else (probably more than everyone else) but a quick walk or run can be just what you need to clear your mind. Taking a break from the stress, your body will feel energized again. I tend to take walks a lot around campus with friends to mostly vent about stress or to enjoy the view.


It may seem silly but laughter can really be the best medicine. Laughing can boost your immune system and gives your mind break to think enjoy something other than all the work. Laughter can instantly makes my day better and makes my mood lighter and happier.

I truly believe the stress we face in college is the most stressful period in our lives. Hopefully these tips will help you or help someone else. Comment below and tell me how you deal with stress!

5 New Albums Perfect for Summer

It’s finally summer 16′. Along with warmer weather, longer days, and summer getaways comes some great new music that is sure to pump up your summer. Trying to put together the ultimate summer playlist? Look no further. These 5 new albums are perfect for summer!

1. Skin by Flume

Electronic music producer and DJ, Flume, has been climbing upwards in the music world and his new album has really solidified his talent. Skin features an array of top musicians such as Tove Lo, Vince Staples, and Beck. Flume’s signature sound is woven together in this album along with pretty melodies and catchy beats which make it perfect for summer parties and get togethers.

5 New Albums Perfect for Summer

2. A Moon Shaped Pool by Radiohead

Perhaps more for those rainy summer days, Radiohead’s 9th studio album,  A Moon Shaped Pool stands out as an album that marks this summer. It’s melancholic sound is similar to the band’s other albums, but A Moon Shaped Pool presents itself with a unique and tasteful style.

5 New Albums Perfect for Summer

3. Ash & Ice by The Kills

You’ve probably heard ‘Doing it to Death’ a few times this year. Punk band The Kills released their new album Ash & Ice just in time for summer. It’s sound is reminiscent of 70’s punk with a modern twist and lead singer, Alison Mosshart’s voice really gives the album a prominent sound. The upbeat feel also is perfect for any summer road trip playlist.

5 New Albums Perfect for Summer

4. Day of the Dead byVarious Artists

Bummed out about missing the Grateful Dead’s final show last year in Chicago? Well, the new album Day of the Dead was just released and you’re in luck. The album featured 60 of the Grateful Dead’s hits covered by some great artists including Phosphorescent, Mumford & Sons, The National, and The War on Drugs. Road tripping to a music festival this summer? Pop this on the radio and everyone in the car will love you.

5 New Albums Perfect for Summer

5. Coloring Book by Chance the Rapper

Sunday candy? How about summer candy? Chance, you’ve done it again. Coloring Book is arguably Chance the Rapper’s best work so far and he’s really been making his way to the top. The album features a top notch list of feature artists including Future, Kanye West,Young Thug, and even Justin Bieber. Mix this album into a summer party playlist and everyone will be dancing.

5 New Albums Perfect for Summer

A Workout Playlist That Motivates

Living a healthy lifestyle in college can be difficult, but it’s really important. I love working out because it keeps me feeling healthy. But I can’t workout unless I have my headphones in, so this is a motivating workout playlist I listen to in order to stay motivated throughout my entire workout. I separated the workout playlist out by songs to listen to while stretching, doing reps, intense cardio and cooling off. There’s a wide variety of artists and genres, so enjoy!

Stretching Songs

For when you’re stretching pre or post workout…

workout playlist stretch

I See Fire by Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran has an amazing voice. This song was featured on The Hobbit soundtrack. It’s quiet, but the instrumentals are full and intense. Quiet but intense songs make great stretching songs.

The Mixed Tape by Jack’s Mannequin

This is an amazing song to listen to, especially when you’re feeling giddy about a special someone. Stretching is a great time to reflect on how hard you just worked and your goals. If your goal is to make it work with the special someone, think about how your hard work will help you be the best version of yourself.

If It Means A Lot To You by A Day To Remember

Jeremy McKinnon and Sierra Kusterbeck collaborate on this track, creating a sort of story between two lovers. Very sweet, and really fun to sing along to. Another good reflection song to listen to when stretching.

Repetition Songs

For  when you’re bench pressing or just doing an insane amount of squats…

workout playlist reps

Somebody Told Me by The Killers

A Great rock song and it has a back beat you can follow. Aim for your reps to match up with the beat and build of the song. Focusing on that can keep your mind from thinking about wanting to quit or how tired you might be.

What Do You Mean? by Justin Bieber

Hey! Stop the groaning. JB is often cringe worthy, but this song has an EDM vibe, which makes doing reps not so bad. Warning: you may have this song stuck in your head the rest of the day. 😛

First Date by Blink-182

A feel good song, that everyone can relate to. We’ve all had that awkward first date when your hands won’t stop sweating. You likely feel the same way in the middle of reps. Let it motivate you!

Intense Cardio Songs

For when you’re really feeling yourself during a cardio session…

workout playlist cardio

All I Do is Win by DJ Khalid

I don’t even play sports and this song gets me hyped up for a big game. Any negative thoughts about not being able to keep running are completely diminished by this song because all you do is win.

Phenomenal by Eminem

This song is the king of the angry fight songs, let’s be honest. Use it to help fight through your workout!

Throne by Bring Me The Horizon

BMTH is often my go to band when I’m working out. They have a strong sound and even stronger vocals. The song Throne is a little more rock than metal, so give it a try.

Cool Off Songs

For when you’re walking and chugging water post workout…

workout playlist cool off

Sweet Child O’ Mine by Guns ‘N Roses

You can’t have a playlist without some classic rock guys. This song is slow enough that it won’t get your blood pressure up, but it also keeps you awake. It’s good to keep moving when cooling down.

I’ve Got A Dark Alley And A Bad Idea That Says You Should Shut Your Mouth by Fall Out Boy

Come on. You can’t resist that song title! If you haven’t listened to this song, you need to. It’s got a relaxing, but the upbeat melody is perfect for cooling down after a hard workout.

Reckless by You Me At Six

This song is supposed to be that grand finale to your playlist. It’s fast enough and fun enough to wake you back up after you work out!

I hope this fiery workout playlist motivates you like it motivates me. Have a great workout and an awesome day!

The Wonderfully Creative Abilities of a 3D Printer


3D printers are not a new concept but they are considered uncommon compared to the everyday printer. Some of us may have never even heard of them. The name, 3D printer, is pretty much self-explanatory. It has the ability to create solid 3D objects by methods of continuously adding layers until the desired shape or object is achieved. How can we make this high tech printer useful for everyday college kids? Let’s take a look.


Musical Instruments- Guitars, flutes and other instruments can now be made of plastic and surprisingly, I heard they are functional! Music class will never be the same. Now take that plastic guitar and rock out in-between classes.


Art- Sculptures and other forms of art can be replicated or designed from scratch. Bring your newest creations to your next art class or build upon them by adding paint or other creative touches.


Science- A truly unique use for a 3D printer would be in any of your science classes. Replica skulls and other bones for research can be made.

Iris van Herpen - 3D fashion

Fashion Design- Even though the objects made are from plastic, that hasn’t stopped anyone from creating new wearable fashions. Shoes, furniture and decorative items have been created using this method.

The One Band You Need to See Live This Summer: DMB

Dave Matthews

With the spring semester quickly progressing, college kids everywhere are scurrying to make summer plans. Some travel, while others rent beach houses or relax at home. But personally, I like to go see live music. There’s no question about it: summer time is concert season. The warm weather makes for a comfortable outdoor experience to listen to some of my favorite bands. Yet, one band stands out far above the rest, and that’s the Dave Matthews Band.

I’ve seen DMB live ten times thus far, and I’ve never left a show disappointed. The environment at every show is electric, regardless of the venue, but summer shows are always the best. The lawn tends to be filled with college-aged kids looking for nothing but a good time. Once Dave Matthews gets on stage, the place simply erupts. Before the band even plays a single note, you just get the feeling that you’re about to see something special. And you always do.

For a band that’s played approximately 2,000 concerts over the course of about two decades, the energy of each performance is unbelievable. From Carter Beauford, the drummer, to Boyd Tinsley, the violinist, each member goes all out every night. Dave Matthews’ eccentric personality shines through in every performance, as he takes frequent breaks to talk to the crowd and thank them for coming, even sharing a story or two.

As a self-proclaimed Dave Matthews fanatic, the joy I get at these shows is hard to put into words. Yet, people who don’t even listen to the band come to the concerts and have a great time. The atmosphere and the music itself are perfect for any warm summer night. So if you’ve never experienced it, the one band you need to see live this summer: DMB.

Dave Matthews




Let’s be honest, we all know you’ve been counting down the days until Spring Break since the beginning of the semester, shoot I know I have. Well Guess what Amigos and Amigas?  SPRING BREAK HAS FINALLY ARRIVED.  (Insert crazy happy dance) Please pardon my excitement, but the thought of no lectures or due dates for an entire week just makes my brain sigh in relief. I’m ready to feel the warm of the sun on my skin, catch up with friends, and sleep…a lot.

What better way to get pumped for this upcoming week than with a spring break mix tape?! With guest appearances from Lorde, BANKS, American Authors and more, this mix tape is designed to help melt the snow away.

Bring on the fun.

WARNING: This playlist might give you a case of Spring Fever.  Symptoms include: Procrastination, Day Dreaming and Happiness.

5 Summer Music Festivals Your Friends Haven’t Heard Of

Everyone knows the big names in music festivals (think Bonnaroo, Coachella, Ultra, Sasquach etc.) but there are some great smaller music festivals that are sure to cure the festival fever without causing major wallet damage. Here are my picks for the top 5 little known music festivals.

5. Bunbury Festival – Cincinnati, OH July 12-14

This downtown festival has six stages and three days of performances. The headliners include Fun. MGMT, Sky Ferreira, Tegan and Sara,Yo La Tengo, The National, and Daniel Martin Moore. Although you may have to spring for a hotel for the weekend instead of camping, you will still come in under budget because this festival is only $120 for all three days.

4. Wakarusa – Ozark, AR May 30-June 2

If you are looking for an intense camping experience in one of the most beautiful locations look no further than Wakarusa. I would say that this particular festival isn’t for everyone. It has an attractive line up but be prepared to have a primitive camping experience and be surrounded by some modern day hippies where music and shows are a way of life not just a summer distraction. Notable acts include Grouplove, Snoop Lion, Zeds Dead, Baauer, Icona Pop, Araabmuzik, RJD2, Widespread Panic, and my personal favorite, Amon Tobin. Be warned you will be dirty, smelly, and sweaty at the end of this one. Watch the promo video and you’ll know what I mean.


3. Hard Summer 2013 – Los Angeles, CA August 3-4

If you live anywhere near LA you’ll want to attend this show. In the past this series has some of the most elite electronic acts including Deadmau5, A-Trak, Borgore, Crystal Castles, and Flying Lotus. The festival lineup isn’t out yet for this year but tickets for a 3 day pass are about $120. It is definetly a bang for your buck.

2. Summer Camp – Chillicothe, IL May 24-26

This is another small camping festival that landed some big names this year. The lineup includes Big Boi, Diplo, Zeds Dead, STS9, Theievery Corporation, 3 days of Moe, and 3 days of Umphreys’s McGee. It has 7 stages and over 75 artists and at $115 it is a no-brainier. Like other mid-west camping festivals you’ll wanna be prepared for limited showers, bugs, and heat. If you can stand the stress it’ll be worth it and at ¼ the cost of Bonnaroo.

1. Forecastle – Louisville, KY July 12-14

This will be the 11th forecastle festival, and in the past few years this festival has gained some major publicity mostly due to the unique structure and setting of the weekend festival. It is a true music and arts festival that includes speakers and art tutorials as well as music. The setting is also unique. There are 5 stages in downtown Louisville on the water front (one stage is even under an interstate overpass). The after parties are on the historic bell of Louisville and range from 15-35 dollars for late night shows. This festival has become a popular one so it may be your last year to enjoy it at the low $145 price point.

When so many good lineups are released in one year it can be tempting to clean out your savings account on tickets, but it is important to look around at your options before committing to the priciest summer fest. Are there any we missed?