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It’s like how they say “we eat with our eyes first” when we go to restaurants — presentation matters. Some bands and musicians feel that this can cheapen their music, or they don’t like “playing those games.” I call those people naïve.

To really understand why, let’s look at one song where the verse and chorus really do act differently and serve different functions, and look at how they interact with each other; let’s take a look at “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by late great Whitney Houston.

So, the Institute has collected and kept enormous records of French radio and television broadcast archives since since the 1960s. These archives are available online and are viewed and listened by people of all ages and walks of life every single day. The archives are currently only available online, and the majority of this collection remains unexplored.

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For example, a kick-driven house track needs to be shaped much differently than a lo-fi song with drum parts you want tucked somewhere in the background. Experiment with different EQs and compressors and resist the urge to lean too heavily on preset options. Purposefully muddling certain instruments in your kit while keeping others sharp and focused can also create an interesting contrast to build on.

“I thought the course was really well designed and helped me get a grip on concepts I’d heard before but had never really gotten my head around. A lot of things really clicked in, and working 1:1 with Martin was great. My goal was to introduce more complex harmony and dissonance into my music so have been really pleased with the results and the new material I’ve been working on over the last few months.”

Evan Zwisler is a NYC-based musician who is most notably known for his work with The Values as a songwriter and guitarist. He is an active member of the Brooklyn music scene, throwing fundraisers and organizing compilations for Planned Parenthood and the Anti-Violence Project. He started playing music in the underground punk scene of Shanghai with various local bands when he was in high school before going to California for college and finally moving to New York in 2012.

+ Learning to record and mix at home? Soundfly’s intermediate and advanced mixing courses combine video content with 1:1 coaching from a pro engineer, so you can improve your skills and get critical feedback on your work. Or, work with a Mentor on your mixes in a custom month-long session.

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.

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From a musical standpoint, these kinds of bass lines can be a bit busier and more melodic since they exist in a range that’s “singable” (at least by the baritone section of the choir). We can learn a lot about what makes a great line by dissecting classic bass performances from blues, rock, funk, and disco. A classic example of bass guitar in early hip-hop is The Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight,” which samples the bass line and beat from Chic’s “Good Times.”

Music theory is a useful feather in the cap of any music producer. Learning a bit of theory will help you fundamentally understand the music you record, the emotional power that can be achieved by it, and how to mix and arrange everything so it comes out more clearly. Check out Soundfly’s popular free course, Theory for Bedroom Producers, to get a sense of how learning just a bit of music theory can do wonders for your songwriting and production practice.

Dre DiMura is a professional guitarist, songwriter, and author. While his friends were studying for the SATs, Dre was already touring the world with Gloria Gaynor, Dee Snider, Palaye Royale and Evol Walks. He’s a musician and he’s played one on TV too. You may see him at your local enormo-dome on tour with Diamanté.

At the beginning of your four-week session, you and your mentor will lay out your goals and aspirations, what you’d like to accomplish, and/or what you’d like to improve upon. It’s our job to get you to that place, and give you the tools you need to move even further than that.

To get inspired, check out these eight music crowdfunding campaigns going on right now. Learn from their success and think about how you can apply their tactics to your next venture.

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