So, if you’re trying to stop noise from creeping into your home studio from the other rooms in your house, install MLV inside your wall and floors for best results. If you’re looking for a less invasive approach, hang it on all of your walls and lay it across your floor.
Take a hymn or other traditional melody you’re familiar with, and try writing lyrics to fit the existing phrase. If you know it well, you’ll be able to try different ideas without needing any music playing in the background. This is a great method if you do your best thinking in the shower or while walking, for example.
When I first discovered there was such a thing as “Music For Dogs,” I was kind of shocked I hadn’t come across it sooner. I mean, there is now music and playlists to accompany everything, so of course there’d be one for our favorite four-legged fur-balls (sorry cat lovers). Well, Mr. Puppy was in for a treat because over the next week I’d go on to try an array of made-for-dogs style playlists.
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I’ve learned this tip from experience. I’ve compared myself to other more successful (“better”) musicians and gone into a deep hole. The type of hole where I’m discouraged all day and don’t get very much done at all. So instead of wishing you had some other musician’s success or opportunities, put your blinders on and remember that you are you. Your story of success will look different than every other artist’s.
Whether that means using “children’s instruments” like toy pianos, ukuleles, tambourines, etc., or instruments that look and sound retro, like jangly Rickenbacker guitars, these elements help paint a delicate picture of the sound world you’re trying to create. As another example, my parents played a lot of country when I was growing up. So whenever I hear pedal steel guitars and tight harmonies, the combination always brings me back to my childhood living room.
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“No Brainer”: So I’m not really hearing, like, “chords” here — just the bass line with the funky leading tone, the ping-riff thing, and the baby-robot notes. I mean, together they do sort of make “chords,” but it’s pretty subjective. I’ll tell you what, though: I’m not building chords off the fifth and sixth notes of the bass line. I just don’t hear vi and V chords like I’m hearing the other chords I can pick out of this loop soup.
Alright, this one is another melody you’ve definitely heard before, whether you think you have or not. Francis Lai’s theme song to the film Love Story actually opens with two notes ascending a minor sixth, but if you skip ahead to 0:24, just after a short horn fanfare, those two notes reverse briefly before entering the meat of the run. Either way you play those two notes back, it’s a minor sixth interval, but train your ears to hear it as a descending melody to recognize the gap as such.
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It’s important to keep in mind that a lack of lyrics doesn’t mean that a piece is formless. Things are still frequently organized into typical sections of four, eight, 16, or 32 bars.
Here’s a quick video full of tips about how to reach out to venues you’ve never played at, courtesy of Soundfly’s free online course on DIY booking, management, and promotion, Touring on a Shoestring.
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This song is a great example of how music theory and psychology can help the songwriting process. In essence, you want to try to structure how listeners bring their sense of joy through the song, with the ultimate high point being in the chorus where lyrics and melodies are all repeated for better recall. Now you’ve got a tonal hierarchy to work with to make that section, and the others leading up to it, even stronger.