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We love psychologist Anders Ericsson’s concept of “deliberate practice.” It describes an approach to learning in which we focus our activities on the areas that need the most work, steadily pushing ourselves to the edge of our comfort zone (you can read more about the science behind this method here). As learners, this kind of work can be tough to do because we often don’t know what we need to do next to improve.

Gorgeous though the chaconne is, my enjoyment has been hampered by my inability to figure out the rhythm. All classical performers insist on doing extremely expressive (read: loose) timekeeping. I don’t have the sarabande rhythm internalized well enough to be able to track it through everybody’s gooey rubato. Bach’s rhythms are complicated enough to begin with. He loves to start and end phrases in weird spots in the bar (the very first note of the piece is on beat two) — so, I needed some help finding the beat.

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This more complex view of phase interaction is more applicable to the real-world scenarios we encounter as musicians and producers. You might be struggling to record a drum kit with multiple mics and losing that precious oomph in the process. Your studio monitors could start sounding a bit odd, because each side is interfering destructively with the other while their sound travels through the air. You may find that a certain parallel processing hack or sample replacement makes your sound thinner rather than awesome-er.

Jake’s tone, phrasing, and ability to build tension and land it so elegantly took this track much farther than I thought it would go. His opening phrase at 0:43, laid way back on the end of the beat and contrasting beautifully against the frantically paced drums, is such an incredible statement. And Jake’s solo gave me so many additional ideas, like using some additional harmony to frame what he was playing and chopping up some of his phrases to set up the new section — directions I wouldn’t have pursued had I not reached out to him to collaborate.

Looking to build confidence and muscle memory when playing the guitar? Look no further! These practice tips will help you gain dexterity and fluidity fast.

We want to connect with a performer, and that’s maybe what James Brown does best on this album; he connects with his audience in a way that over 50 years later we can’t deny feels absolutely great to listen in on.

If you have been writing songs for some time and find yourself feeling creatively stifled, consider listening to your older songs for inspiration. Map out those songs and identify elements or themes that you can expand upon, improve, or alter. If you are new to songwriting or don’t have music that you previously released, take a trip down memory lane and listen to music that you enjoyed two, five, or even ten years ago. Identify the elements of those songs that you enjoyed and try to incorporate those ideas into your own writing.

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The first two lines are matched with the same repeated musical phrase and end rhyme, and the second two lines have a new rhyme and a new melodic phrase.

All of Soundfly’s mentored online courses come with six weeks of 1-on-1 professional support and feedback on your work. It’s like having a personal trainer, but for music! That means you’re not just getting the course content, but a coach to bounce ideas off of and someone invested in your success. Check out our courses such as Songwriting for Producers, Beat Making in Ableton Live, and The Art of Hip-Hop Production, and preview any or all for free!

There is no rule saying that “the producer gets this percentage and the artist gets this percentage.” All of this is negotiable. What is important is that all creators understand and take advantage of what publishing rights have to offer. This involves having a conversation with your collaborators about the publishing percentage owned, and properly registering your share with a collection service like Songtrust. Alternatively, you could be the sole creator and automatically own and register at 100%.

Scott Wiggins is a touring recording artist, singer/songwriter, producer, recording/mix engineer, and music lover. He’s written and recorded multiple songs which have made it into the top Ten on the TX Music Charts. He runs The Recording Solution blog.

Soundfly is a new kind of music school for today’s musician. We create creative courses and daily articles for the curious musician. Meet the whole Soundfly Team here.