It’s an ever-fluctuating continuum. Sometimes an idea will pop into my head completely orchestrated and ready to be written down, and other times it’ll just be a little scrap — something I have to sit down and futz around with for hours before achieving any sense of clarity about what exactly I should do with it. Orchestration has always been my favorite part of the writing process, and I enjoy trying to figure it all out, digging and finding the information already hidden in a piece of musical material that will guide my decisions about how to treat it.

And once the mix starts to come together, make sure to play your track back on as many different speakers and listening devices as possible (the car, your laptop, your phone’s ear buds, etc.) and take notes. Listen, and trust your own ears.

It’s impossible to understate the musicianship, the magnetism, the raw power hedged within Brown’s tender affection. Even though Brown financed the production of this record himself, was it ever really a risk? How could it be? From start to finish this album is perfect, and Brown knew it would be. His unbridled confidence (which in his later years calcified into what some may describe as arrogance) was completely warranted and I think he would have done whatever it took to share his genius with the world.

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A quick YouTube search shows that there are hundreds of thousands of chiptune covers, ranging from meticulous recreations coming from actual consoles to basic MIDI files loaded up in a modern DAW and run through simple “8-bit” plugins.

+ Learn the nuances of producing beats, arranging tracks, and creative sampling, drawing on the rich history and influence of hip-hop in Soundfly’s popular mentored online course, The Art of Hip-Hop Production. 

I recommend getting a professional coach with some years of experience, who you respect as a musician, and who you admire as a singer (I’m simply describing my own vocal coach here).

Some guitarists want to hear minimal pick attack in their recordings, while others (myself included) want a lot — especially on guitar solos. Pick attack presence is a combination of pickup selection, pick type, picking location, the angle of the pick, and your amp settings.

(Don’t worry guys) I listened to the radio instead, so Puppy could have his playlist) But now, when I know I’ll be using Spotify, it’s YouTube playlists all the way.  

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Sammy Hakim is an up-and-coming young songwriter based in New York City. In May, 2018 she graduated from Berklee College of Music with a Major in songwriting and a focus in music business. These days she spends most of her time in songwriting sessions with artists all over the country.

In the Presence of Wolves wants to record their sophomore album, stay the course, inch towards fame one step at a time, and do it with a smile. Okay, maybe a smirk. These guys are goofballs, and they’re able to convey their true personalities along with their struggles (“Dude, we play prog-metal, we don’t have any girls at our shows”) in their well-crafted pitch video.

If you follow your own ear instead of the attempting to mimic the sound of your favorite guitarists, you’ll be on your way to creating a tone that’s unique to you that others are going to want to copy.

Brant Wilson is an amateur musician and student based out of Indianapolis, Indiana with a special love for classical music and a goal to learn to play as many instruments as possible.

The frontwoman of the Israeli group Panic Ensemble’s first solo effort covers a lot of ground. Kraus’ versatile pipes carry her through multiple genres from cabaret to orchestral/Balkan pop, maintaining a sensual curiosity throughout. I’m interested to see whether she brings out a full band; her arrangements are as joyously unpredictable as an early Bjork record.