Sorry if you weren’t there, but the late ’90s and early 2000s were fantastic. Once P2P was pioneered via Napster, the floodgates opened and the world of music sharing was here to stay. As an artist and a listener, my personal opinion is that we’ve regressed from that time. The problem with the P2P era, admittedly, was that artists were not getting remunerated for their recordings as disruptive tech eagerly pulled down the bloated major-label system. But, well, we’re still not getting paid that much anyway.

On this day, 57 years ago, James Brown and his Famous Flames recorded what would become one of the most earth-shattering funk and soul albums of all time.

For example, the whole concept of “toplining” may still be foreign to most non-musicians, but if you’re a songwriter who frequents co-writing sessions, there’s no way you haven’t heard of it before. Likewise, the term “scratch vocal” might confuse some, but almost every singer or songwriting producer you meet will know that one intimately.

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“It was, for a generation raised on Time-Life’s canon of Music’s Greatest Masterpieces, a symbol of an unfathomable past filled with difficult musical mountains — each a challenge to be conquered with the guidance of academic Sherpas dispensing ‘music appreciation.’ Mythically, it had found its role. It was the Monad that contained within it the secret formulas for all musical creation to follow, the musical equivalent of Kubrick’s black monolith or of Stonehenge.”

Stay focused on bringing gear into your workflow that gives a sense of satisfaction to use. It’s not just about tone. It’s about the connection you have with your equipment!

I probably cheated by throwing a festival in the mix, but there are a lot of great songwriters playing Gigawatts Festival, a 3-day romp in East Williamsburg featuring 80+ bands spread out at The Wick, The Well, and Our Wicked Lady. My favorites are tight dream-pop weavers Celestial Shore and art-soul-freaks Ava Luna. These guys exemplify songwriting as a true team effort, allowing for lots of colors and variations from each player. My band is playing as well (Saturday at 2:30pm); but it’s hardly worth mentioning, as I assume you’ll all still be in bed recovering after a week of taking in all of the excellent music this town has to offer!

Some bands (like Avenged Sevenfold, for example) use isolation boxes containing their guitar cabinet during their live performances to maintain consistency in their tone across every show on their tour, no matter the room — since the acoustics of each venue are always going to be different. Using isolation boxes live also allows guitar players to block out any venue noise that could be captured through the mic.

The course goes deep in guiding students through the methods of learning how to sight sing more fluidly by mastering intervals and grasping harmony and chord theory, and offers tips and surefire strategies for making audition cuts (or dealing with cuts when they’re made on the fly!).

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Soundfly welcomes new voices each month to offer unique perspectives, shine a light on unexpected musical worlds, and help our readers find their sound.

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.

SESAC is a much different PRO than BMI and ASCAP in that it is a private, for-profit organization, that runs an invite-only membership system. As a private company, it does not disclose it’s annual distribution total.

Some house show hosts will have to take a percentage of the door cut to cover their costs, but in most situations, it’s the performing artist who ends up with the lion’s share. Playing a big ol’ fancy venue might be an impressive thing for a burgeoning band to brag about, but with all the staff and overhead costs, the bands won’t earn any money unless they’re able to fill it. At a house show, you’re not expected to bring in hundreds — you can even make the gig free to attract more people and ask for donations.

When you pluck a guitar string, it vibrates to and fro. You can tell how fast the string is vibrating by listening to the pitch it produces. Shorter strings vibrate faster, and make higher pitches. Longer strings vibrate slower, and make lower pitches. The scientific term for the rate at which the string vibrates is its frequency. You measure frequency in hertz (Hz), otherwise known as vibrations per second. The standard tuning pitch, A440, is the pitch you get when your guitar string vibrates to and fro 440 times per second.