Boot Up The Band

Technology is making it easier to compose, perform, record, and promote your own music

You may not realize it, but if you have a PC or Mac at home you've already got the guts of a professional home music studio. Whether you're a lapsed amateur or a newbie musician, we'll help you figure out the gear you'll need to start making your own kind of music. We've looked at everything from portable keyboards to digital guitars. We'll point you to the software you'll want to use to converse in MIDI, the Musical Instrument Digital Interface that is the computer language of music. We'll help you hook everything up. (It's pretty easy, actually: Music Trades magazine called last year "the year of the USB port," as everything from microphones to digital pianos sprouted the ubiquitous computer connection.)

Rockfest or recital, once you've performed or composed, and recorded and edited your music, what can you do with it? We've taken a look at Web sites that will host it, judge it, and even promote it. Pretty soon, you can quit your day job -- or not. Stay tuned for our May 15 issue, when our next Personal Tech guide will help you work more effectively on the road. That should leave you with more time for jam sessions when you're home.

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