My Favorite Thing to Do with Music – by Ben Levin

If you’re looking to learn more about music or want to consume some eccentric YouTube videos about music you need to check out Ben.

Quarterly Digest – Q3 2022


It’s been a surprisingly busy three months at Plan M Music Blog. I’ve totally revamped the site with new slicker navigation and improved categories. Hopefully you’ve found it easier to find the posts that suit your musical skill level and personal interests.

I’ve also spent time setting social media sites like Pinterest, Twitter, & Tumbler to help drive traffic to the site. I haven’t seen much effect on my site stats yet from it, but perhaps that will come with time.


My primary mission is still to help adults connect with musical hobbies that suite their needs and busy life style. I’ve posted 12 new posts in this area.

Hobby #1: Don’t Start a Band – Part 1

Hobby #2: Start a Band

Hobby #3: Reinvent the Concept of a Band – Hobbies You Should Try Instead of Starting a Band

Hobby #4: Create a Fake Band

Hobby #5: Listen for a Cause: Support Ukraine – #Music4Ukraine

Hobby #6: A Call to Action

Hobby #7: New Goblin Ears Images Created by Artificial Intelligence

Hobby #8: Active Listening

Hobby #16: Kill Your Radio Club

Hobby #27: Write Song Parodies

Hobby #97: Conduct Historical Research – Part 2 – 5 Ways Researching Your Favorite Music Can Bring You Joy

Epic Protest Songs – A Playlist


I’ve also launched a new series that I call Hasty Music Reviews. I examine and describe songs I’ve never heard before and recommend them to fans of other similar bands. This series is my humble attempt to help drive listeners toward Ukrainian musicians. Hopefully this will help them to earn a living from streams and online sales while Russia’s invasion continues.

Thus far there have been, 7 new posts in this area.

“Pisces” by Jinjer – A Hasty Music Review to Support the People of Ukraine #Music4Ukraine

“Hydronaut” by Shiva the Destructor

“Picnic in Tchernobyl” – By Yom: A Hasty Music Review for Folks Trying to Support #Music4Ukraine

“Kurs Valüt” by Kurs Valüt: Another Hasty Music Review for People Supporting #Music4Ukraine

“Da Cao” by La Horsa Bianca: Another Hasty Music Review to Support Musicians in Ukraine #Music4Ukraine

“I’m the Mountain” By Stoned Jesus – A Hasty Music Review to Support Ukrainian Musicians #Music4Ukraine

“Up In the Sky” by Somali Yacht Club – A Hasty Music Review to Support Ukrainian Musicians #Music4Ukraine

I’ve also published a playlist to help you find your own favorite Ukrainian artists. I hope you’ll join the cause and post similar content. If you do, please be sure to Pingback to me and I’ll share your work with my audience.


I was fortunate enough to travel a bit this quarter. Like most people, I’ve collected plenty of great content from my travels. Much of it is music-related, and is great for this blog. Some of it has nothing to do with music, but I just want to share it anyway. It’s my site, so I’ll do what I want. I hope you’ll forgive my divergence from my mission and enjoy the content in my Travel Series anyway.


Marsha Ingrao at Always Write encourages bloggers to post artwork that they’ve enjoyed in free, public settings. This is known as the PPAC Challenge. I’ve found this endeavor to be quite worthwhile because I’ve casually been collecting photos of artwork that I enjoy and I’ve always just horded them to myself. Her series has provided a fun outlet. Thanks Marsha!

Sculpture Outside Kilkenny Castle

Pink Predator Sculpture #DublinInk

“Art” at Guinness Open Gate Brewery

BJ’s Bar Fredonia, NY

Eric Schultz Reconnecting

“Full of Beans” Moxy Hotel, Dublin

A Missed Opportunity

Cleere’s Bar and Theater, Kilkenny, Ireland


I’ve made it a focus to share the work of other authors on my site, particularly those that align with my mission to inspire adults to make more of their musical hobbies.

I hate knowing that I might be driving you away from my content, but I’m hopeful that you’ll return. Either way, if another author’s content helps you find more joy from music, then I’m proud to help you connect with them.


WordPress provides lots of useful statistics to help quantify success. I wont bore you with many, but this is my 31st consecutive day posting (my longest run). It is also my 100th post.

When I started this blog I didn’t know if I would stick with it. Im happy to say this has been a more enjoyable endeavor than I expected and that’s largely due to the interactions I’m having with other bloggers. Thanks for making blogging a new fun hobby for me!

Garage bands, guitars, notebook paper

Sharing a fun story about a garage band I did as an unconventional back-to-school piece. Teenagers are still teenagers. 🙂

Garage bands, guitars, notebook paper

A Lil’ Freaky Fun For The Songwriters…

If you’ve ever written a stinker of a song before you’ll get this. Enjoy!

Hobby #27: Write Song Parodies

Here is a quick idea for the song writers.  Rewrite the lyrics of your favorite songs.

When I was a kid, my friends and I used to rewrite the lyrics to our favorite songs. We’d then record them on cassette and share them with our friends. It was a silly endeavor, but it was enormous fun. It’s been 25 years since, and I still sing along in my head to “Sweet Volvo of Mine” or the Neil Youngs classic, “Only Farts Can Break Your Heart.”

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

Weird Al Yankovic is the king of this, but you can do it too and
it’s easier than ever to get started. I doubt you’ll be as funny as he is, but
I dare you to prove me wrong.  Feel free
to try by posting a link to your songs in the comments.

YouTube has karaoke versions of many songs that you can use as accompaniment,
so you don’t even need to play an instrument.
You could quickly record your song and upload it to YouTube or TikTok.  Who knows, maybe you’ll be a star!

By the way, my inspiration for this idea came from the Kelly Clarkson song, “Because
of You.”  I had been editing technical
documents at my day job, and these alternate lyrics just sprung into my mind.

Because of you, when I speak, I bury the lead

Because of you, when I write, I do it passively

Because of you, I make it hard for those who read, because I never write the least bit actively

Because of you

I know song lyrics about grammar are not likely to be a big hit, but it made me chuckle, so it was worth it and that should be enough for a hobby.

One parting thought, this could be a great educational way to have fun with the kids too.  It might make the next Disney classic a little more bearable when you hear the lyrics that your family wrote instead of the recorded versions that you’ve already heard a thousand times.  

Have fun!

If you’re looking for a very goofy way to write a parody check out Stevie T’s take below.

Hobby #97: Conduct Historical Research – Part 2 – 5 Ways Researching Your Favorite Music Can Bring You Joy

Here is a way all people that all people, regardless of musical talent, can try: conduct original research about your favorite song, artist, genre, era, concert venue, etc.  Try to learn something that no one (or next to no one) knows about then share it with the world.  This post is part 1 of a three-part series.  In Part 1 I described my experience conducting historical research.  In part 3, I plan to post an article that I published.

Benefits of Doing Research About the Music You Love

  1. You can make a unique contribution to the understanding of a song, artist, genre, etc. The internet is saturated with people writing about new music.  There are even people who write reviews of songs that have been around for decades.  There’s a lot of opinion there, and can be a wonderful thing, but wouldn’t it be more wonderful if there were more facts?  You can be the person to piece together what inspired your favorite songs or provide a greater understanding of the cultural influences that your favorite artist a hit.  You can really go down some fun rabbit holes here.  For instance, try to find a reputable interview with your favorite artist in which they describe their earliest musical influences.  Then go and listen to the artists that inspired them.  What is similar between your artist and the influences? What is different?  Who inspired the artists that inspired your favorite artist?  How many generations can you go back and still hear similarities to your original artist?  Maybe you can’t find any information about who inspired one of the artist.  Learn about where and when they grew up and try to deduce what they might have listened to.
  • You can use your research to benefit a community of fans.  Recently someone dug up a photo of Prince as a child.  This brought joy to many Prince fans, many of whom were still mourning his death.  The media coverage probably inspired an increase in radio play an streams for Prince and there might even be some people who found his music for the first time. Moreover, it’s become easier than ever to connect with fans of even the most obscure bands via the internet so the community you benefit can span the globe for even the most niche genres of music. Who knows what gem you might find about your topic and what effect it might have on other people like you?
  • You eventually become an expert on your topic.  If you dig deep enough, and stick with it long enough, then eventually you may become the leading expert on your topic.  Sure, the breadth of your knowledge may be limited, but by knowing a lot about a narrow area you can become a thought leader.  For instance, consider Josh Scott the owner of JHS pedals.  He is a guitar player who become obsessed with guitar pedals (electronic devices used to change the tone of an electric guitar).  Over the years he taught himself to modify these devices by collecting and dissecting old and sometimes vintage devices.   He collected hundreds, maybe thousands of these devices and has researched them extensively.  He keeps advertisements that he clipped from old magazines.  He studies the boxes that the pedals come in.  Eventually he started creating his own circuits and found the JHS guitar pedal company.  The business has continued to grow and grow.  Check out this tongue in cheek video about the history of the company. If that wasn’t enough, he started a tremendously popular and funny YouTube channel in which he teaches guitar players about the devices and demonstrates how they sound. (Nick’s off camera screams crack me up).  His channel is so popular that it has been accused of influencing the used pedal market, because so many people learn about the hidden gems there that had been forgotten and devalued over the years.  You don’t have to be an obsessive over-achiever like Josh and the folks at JHS, but you can see how becoming an expert on one thing can lead to exciting new opportunities.
  • You will learn new skills. You’re going to learn about your topic, that’s a given.  But by working through this process, you’re going to learn other new skills as well.  Research is a skill unto itself.  In Part 1 of this series, I described some of the tools I used to conduct my research.  In the JHS pedals example above are other examples of what Josh learned on his journey.  Beyond that, if you want to share what you learned you may need to develop other skills such as improving your writing skills, publishing skills, photography, video, etc.
  • Research is fun.  Once you step away from your computer you can have all kinds of exciting experiences.  You could follow your favorite band for years, chronicling their concerts with photos, or bootleg recordings if they let you.  Maybe there is a local band that you love, and you think they’re the next big thing- start writing about them now.  Maybe they’ll remember you when they’re famous.  Visit venues where your favorite deceased or retired artists played, try to imagine what it was like to play there in the time that they did.
Photo by Andy Pinaria on

Things to Consider When Starting Historical Research

Of course, you could do research on any topic you want.  It doesn’t have to be music, but you’re here because music makes you happy. So, let’s go with that.

  • Find a topic that interests you: You’re not doing this for a living, then you’re probably doing it for fun.  That means whatever topic you pick needs to excite you.  Otherwise, what’s the point?  You don’t have to limit yourself to just the music either.  For instance, David Byrne, of Talking Heads fame published a remarkable book called “How Music Works” about his experience with the music industry and provided some really insightful perspectives on some unexpected topics such as the influence of concert hall design on recorded music and fashion.  In fact, the more unique your topic is, the more likely you are to find that it hasn’t already been extensively written about.
  • Use the internet to help you find a great topic: Is your topic already well documented?  If so, you will probably find a lot about it on the internet.  That’s great, consume as much of it as you can.  Then ask yourself some these questions
    • “Is there anything left for me to learn about this topic?”
    • “Is there some niche that remains unknown?”
    • “Is there a burning question left for me to answer?”
    • If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then maybe you have a good topic.  If not, then consider finding a new topic where you can make a bigger contribution.

If your topic isn’t already documented on the internet, you’re going to have to come up with a different way to learn about it. This means you’re going to have to do some real-world sleuthing, but you can still use the internet to help you get started.   For instance, maybe you’re very interest in the history of banjo music in a particular Appalachian trail town.  You may have to find a different method to learn about your topic.  Can you find an article about how someone wrote about trombone music in the back swamps of Louisiana?  What method did that author use?  Would a similar strategy work for you?

  • Immerse Yourself – Find Real World Resources:  Doing research on the internet is great, it can be quick and convenient when resources are already available in the digital world.  However, there are still plenty of artifacts that live solely in the real world, especially if the music you love was created pre-internet.  You’ll feel a rush of excitement when you start finding old records, playbills, posters, t-shirts, memorabilia or items owned by the artists you admire.
    • See if you can find relevant artifacts (vintage concert posters, setlists, guitar picks, artist owned instruments).  Perhaps you can find them for purchase on eBay or   Collect what you can, snap pictures of what you can’t collect.
    • Visit a museum like the Smithsonian, Dollywood, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, etc. 
    • Listen to old recordings either on Spotify, or dig deeper if you’re into older music, try the National Archives.
    • Interview people like artists, promoters, club owners recording engineers, fans, etc. who experienced the important events.  All of these people may be able to give you unique perspectives and perhaps can help put you in touch with other people who can connect you with the information you need.  It may be a challenge to get connected with a currently in demand performer, but sometimes you can learn what you want to know by talking to a sound guy, roadie, groupie or other researcher.  Develop and maintain a network of people who can help you. 
  • Publish your findings: If you want to write a book, go for it!  If that sounds too ambitious for you write a blog post, or share your photos on Instagram, YouTube, etc.  The digital world provides many creative ways to share what you learned with the world and it’s easier than ever to find a community of people who might want to know what you learned.