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This course covers quite a bit of ground. It starts with some Ableton basics, and then moves through important concepts like velocity, variation, and sound design, closing out with an intro to advanced techniques. Robin was a remarkable student who came into the course pretty new to Ableton and ended up creating this awesome, professional-sounding track. There are so many cool elements at play here. It’s a really nice blend of variety and cohesion from start to finish. Check it out, but be warned that you may end up leaving it on repeat.

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If you’re a songwriter interested in the legal grey areas of using other people’s music, check out our recent article on the basics of legally covering and sampling songs.

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For me, one way to do this is to pick a certain amount of time and decide I’m going to do focused practice for that length of time. Even better if I have concrete goals laid out for that time, such as “play the left hand to ‘Stompin’ at the Savoy’ successfully six times in a row.” When the time limit is up, I can happily jam around on whatever I want and let my mind wander whither it will.

Learning to become an accomplished and knowledgeable audio engineer is an enormous undertaking. While we’re lucky to live in the age of the internet, where so much information is available for free, that information is not always presented in a form that allows us to make the best use of it. Spend time on YouTube, for example, and you’ll find a wealth of video content aimed at those who want to master the art of mixing, yet a lot of it is inaccurate, misleading, out of context and inapplicable, or simply incompatible with your own experience and what you’re attempting to do in the studio.

If you’re an introvert this can be scary, but do your best to really talk to people at your shows. Talk to the bartender, the soundperson, the doorperson, or somebody sitting at the bar. Ask people questions about where they’re from originally, what they do for work, what they like to eat, etc. You never know who you’ll meet and the adventures you could have.

Evan Zwisler is a NYC-based musician who is most notably known for his work with The Values as a songwriter and guitarist. He is an active member of the Brooklyn music scene, throwing fundraisers and organizing compilations for Planned Parenthood and the Anti-Violence Project. He started playing music in the underground punk scene of Shanghai with various local bands when he was in high school before going to California for college and finally moving to New York in 2012.

With great soundproofing, even a beginner acoustic guitar can sound good on your recordings. I want to talk specifically about a few things you can do to improve soundproofing in your home studio, but if you’d like a bit more information on acoustic treatment, check out this Flypaper article on acoustic diffusers.

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The fact that among all modes, these two were chosen as the pillars of our system, resulted from a predominance in the use of these two scales from the Baroque Period onwards. To put it differently, the modes above share all the same notes, but since they start from a different degree of the major scale, each mode has a slightly different construction, and feel to it.

In 2006, Congress lowered the tax rate for songwriters who sell a part of their catalogs. It did this by reclassifying income from the sale of a catalog as “capital gains” instead of “ordinary income.”

Much of what’s popular today — from Mark Ronson to Kendrick Lamar to Anderson .Paak to Bruno Mars to Cardi B — seems to owe much of its funky swagger to James Brown’s crowd-pleasing, smile-inducing live recordings. Brown would go on to record several other live performances at the Apollo for decades to come. The appreciation for a well-orchestrated show with a god-like frontman singing songs that they themself wrote was increased tenfold by this album, leading to the success of other songwriter-performers such as David Bowie, The Rolling Stones, and Nirvana.

We all know caffeine dehydrates, but it’s also a stimulant and should be consumed by singers with great care. Besides causing more bathroom runs than normal, it can also cause irritability and nervousness. Though many of us can build up quite a tolerance to it, it can still wreak havoc on our bodies. It’s important to keep track of exactly what we are consuming and how much caffeine is really involved.

This is a great reminder to all of us that sometimes closing the laptop and reaching for our microphone can help our electronic productions to no end. We shouldn’t be afraid to turn those familiar sounds we get from our instruments into something unfamiliar and other-worldly, to seek new ground.