Filippo Faustini is a guitarist and producer based in London. He graduated in Modern Guitar at the Conservatoire in Frosinone (Italy) and then he completed an MA in Composition for Moving Images at City University (London). He is the guitarist and producer for the London-based alt rock/ambient band, Alice in the Cruel Sea. Filippo is also the co-founder of a recently formed music production company called Music Brewery where he works as producer and mixing engineer. 

Lots of times we think the best practice should feel easy, when the opposite is actually true. I remember this point coming up a lot in the another useful rundown of effective practice techniques, the book Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning. The authors talk about “desirable difficulties” — basically, by practicing in such a way that feels difficult rather than easy you facilitate more long-term learning.

And don’t these eight-bar intros and outros feel pretty long for a two-and-a-half minute song? There also seems to be a massive trend toward the extinction of song buttons — buttons are where you end the song on just one note, almost always the tonic, right after the last chord progression. If you want to know why that’s disappearing, I’ll give you a hint: it starts with “L” and ends with “oop-based-music-production.”

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I had already made an instrumental track last month, so I wanted to do something a little different this time around. With Kim’s vocals used as a garnish, I was starting to hear this as a vocally-driven track. I carved out sixteen bars that a rapper could flow over and sent it out to a few friends to see if they might be interested. But after a week of back and forth, the schedules weren’t lining up to get this track done in time. So, as is so often the case in making music, I had to adapt.

Try writing in a journal or on your computer as a continuous stream-of-consciousness for an hour. Don’t bother “evaluating” what you write, and don’t make any edits or changes — just focus on writing as fast as possible. It can help to write in a “free verse” style with lots of line breaks. While this can help you generate lines and lyrics, most often this can help you come up with “big ideas” or things you think are worth spending more time on. Which brings me to my next point…

For many, this is the dream. But not for me. My eyes become misty when I think of my teenage PC’s dial-up modem croaking into life, a low-quality MP3 of “Guerilla Radio” or “Ms. Jackson” seeping onto my hard drive through the unregulated glory of vintage peer-to-peer technology. Long Live Limewire!

Performing more often is an excellent goal, but plunging in headfirst can be dangerous and taxing. If you mean to keep this resolution, be smart about it.

Create clearly labelled folders for the samples that you use or think you might use soon. You can categorize your samples in broad terms, for example, as acoustic drums, drum machine, synth, vocals, or by the name of the sample pack they came from. Then, from there, you can categorize them by type, such as one shots, loops, ambience, pads. Organizing your folders so you can find the right sound a lot quicker is optimal for fast-paced writing sessions, bigger and complicated projects, or time-sensitive work with approaching deadlines.

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Let’s pretend that we have a guitar string tuned to play a note called middle C, which has a frequency of 1 Hz. (In real life, middle C has a frequency of 261.626 Hz, so if you want to think in terms of actual frequencies, just multiply all the numbers in the following paragraphs by 261.626.)

Free Form is fun to experiment with as there it features no rigid structure. You can write however you want, whatever you want. The danger with Free Form is that you’ve still got to ensure that there is enough melodic “ear candy” or motif usage so that the listener will have something to grab onto and remember your work.

Learn more about the new course and sign up here. And remember, since it’s a Mainstage course, you’ll have the full support and guided coaching of a Soundfly Mentor along your journey. Here’s a closer look at how this online mentored course experience will unfold from week to week over the full six weeks of the course.

In a nutshell, mastering incorporates all of the audio work done on the master output from a mixed song or album. While originally intended as the mechanical preparation step for putting music into its final media format for playback, mastering later began to include additional post-mixing audio enhancement work in order to optimize the sound specifically for the various intended playback formats (ex: vinyl, CD, digital, etc.).

I love this quote because it reminds me that it does not matter how old you are. Throughout my 365-day RV tour of the USA, I’ve played to crowds from ages 1-99 and played with musicians ages 18-91 (literally, I played a show with a 91-year old vibraphone player, Harry Sheppard, in Houston, Texas). It’s so, so wonderful how music can cross these types of boundaries. It’s easy to get caught up in ageism with social media and the pop charts showing younger demographics, but remember: There are people out here of all ages, shapes, and sizes creating and sharing their music. And it’s never too late to pick up that guitar and start singing.