“Wait, we’re musicians, we don’t write agendas.” Ok, but that’s a great way to ensure you don’t get anything done. Being a good musician sometimes requires a little business sense, and I’ve found a clear agenda can really help. Knowing exactly what order we’re going to record in can make the whole thing so much smoother and more efficient. And laying it out a week in advance gives your bandmates and engineer a chance to prepare, make suggestions, or consider alternate approaches.
By now, you’ve probably heard us shouting from the rooftops about our new and improved customized mentorship program, the Headliners Club — or as we like to call it, our “build-your-own-course course.”
If you can start getting back to the markets that are a reasonable drive away on a regular basis, you’ll start to see your network of bands and promoters, as well as your fan base grow in those cities. Once that happens and you can rely on those markets to make you some decent money on the road, it becomes feasible to start tacking on additional dates in new markets. From there, that national tour you’ve always dreamed of is just a few short steps away!
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As for taking oneself too seriously… If I wasn’t able to make fun of myself, especially considering what I’m trying to do with my life, I don’t think I’d be able to cope. That’s not to say I don’t take anything seriously, because that’s essential too. But at the end of the day, being able to throw your hands up and laugh when a project goes horribly awry, or bringing an attitude of openness and humor onstage, can make space for very magical things to happen out of the blue, and that’s what I love most of all.
Sometimes the solution is obvious. Maybe the student has a clear goal in mind, and they just don’t know how to get there. Maybe they wanted to make a bumping club track, and the beats are weak — beginner producers usually don’t know how to layer or mix drums. A lot of the time, there are some good ideas but they’re strung together without any particular structure. That’s understandable; structure is hard! Or maybe there was a misguided attempt at “realism.” Every semester, someone takes a piece they composed or arranged and outputs audio straight from their notation software. The result consistently sounds like garbage. I want them to think of the sound coming out of the speakers as the “real” music, not a placeholder for an eventual performance by humans — nothing against live performance, but my class is about making music in the box. Rather than settling for terrible fake strings or brass, we try to figure out what software instruments might sound unapologetically cool.
Explore Soundfly’s wide array of free online courses and expand your musical skills over your lunch break! Here are just a few free courses you can choose from: How to Create a Killer Musician Website, Theory for Bedroom Producers, Touring on a Shoestring, and How to Get All the Royalties You Never Knew Existed.
But don’t get too comfortable with that one, here’s perhaps the most well-known melody of the bunch: the first two unique notes of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. The most classic-est of classic major thirds.
If you’re looking to produce better music and make more fluent use of the emotional capabilities of chord progressions and harmonic theory, head over to Unlocking the Emotional Power of Chords to preview Soundfly’s mentored online course for free, and read on below to see what recent students have said about the experience!
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Find out once and for all how streaming and sales royalties work — and how to get the money you deserve — in Soundfly’s free course with Ari Herstand, How to Get All the Royalties You Never Knew Existed.
Learn tons more about hip-hop beat making, production, and history in Soundfly’s new mentored online course, The Art of Hip-Hop Production, and get one-on-one feedback on your work for six weeks with a Soundfly Mentor. What are you waiting for? Preview the course for free here.
When you make a duplicate or slight adjustment to a version of the track, you can then add that to the label, as Bricks_LessBass_04.04.19 or Bricks_Mix3a_04.04.19.
Here’s Dr. Ericsson again: “You have to know whether you are doing something right and, if not, how you’re going wrong.” The good news for us musicians is that practicing music has a built-in feedback mechanism — you can generally hear it when you play something wrong, even more so as you get better or if you record yourself playing. This is different from say learning a language in a vacuum where you would have no idea if your pronunciation was right or wrong.
To learn a bit more about how to write bass grooves that lock together with the rest of the rhythm section, check out Soundfly’s free short course, Writing Funk Grooves for Drums and Bass. Enjoy!