When you’re playing shows, tell your audience you’re looking for fun stuff to do in town, ideally stuff that doesn’t cost a lot of money. Yelp and Google are great, but getting recommendations from the locals is always the best way to find things to do. For example, when we were in Oklahoma City, a guy in the crowd happened to work for the biggest venue in town. He got us into a Hozier concert for free that night — win.

Soundfly courses are interactive, practice-based, motivational, and inspirational, and these are just some of the reasons why our students have continually come back to us with positive feedback, even more positive results, and often to take more courses in other fields.

This is a two-part course series dedicated to sampling found sounds at home and turning them into all kinds of beats and tracks in Ableton Live. The first part is taught by Ableton Certified Trainer Brian Jackson, and concerns how to capture sounds using a simple microphone setup at home, and warp them into useable raw materials in Ableton. The second part follows famed YouTuber, beat maker, and educator Andrew Huang as he makes an incredibly compelling song out of nothing but sounds from a kitchen pot — and explains his process step by step on camera.

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Touring is great. But it can very quickly turn into exhaustive, monotonous work. Here are 10 great tips to keep things interesting and fun on the road.

The best syllabic recontextualization that I know of is DJ Premier’s use of a Biz Markie vocal in “Nas Is Like” by Nas. When Biz raps the line, “I’m highly recognized as the king of disco-in’,” he pronounces “recognized” as “recogNAAAHZed” with a loud and nasal emphasis on the last syllable. In “Nas Is Like,” Nas ends the first verse, “And of course, N-A-S are the letters that spell…” Then Premier scratches in Biz seeming to say “NAAAS.”

+ 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.

+ Learn how to crowdfund like a pro with Soundfly! Check out our course, “Crowdfunding for Musicians” and learn how to raise money while developing your core fan community.

Sometimes the solution is obvious. Maybe the student has a clear goal in mind, and they just don’t know how to get there. Maybe they wanted to make a bumping club track, and the beats are weak — beginner producers usually don’t know how to layer or mix drums. A lot of the time, there are some good ideas but they’re strung together without any particular structure. That’s understandable; structure is hard! Or maybe there was a misguided attempt at “realism.” Every semester, someone takes a piece they composed or arranged and outputs audio straight from their notation software. The result consistently sounds like garbage. I want them to think of the sound coming out of the speakers as the “real” music, not a placeholder for an eventual performance by humans — nothing against live performance, but my class is about making music in the box. Rather than settling for terrible fake strings or brass, we try to figure out what software instruments might sound unapologetically cool.

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And yes, it’s a masterwork. This isn’t just Japanese new-age hindsight fetishism at play here. Takada’s brilliant suite for marimbas and synthesizer brings Asian timbres and African polyrhythms in perfect contact with the minimalist language of composers like Steve Reich, Terry Riley, and Brian Eno. The fact that this record never made it out of Japan was a cultural crime that needed to be rectified.

New Artist Model member Saskia Griffiths-Moore used a music video to share a bit of her narrative. She started with nothing but a dream — a desire to sing and create music — and was busking on the streets to make money after quitting her job cold turkey. Now that she’s realized her dream and is supporting herself fully with music, she revisited her old busking spots in London in her music video “Joy of Defeat.”

All of our mentored online courses come with six weeks of 1-on-1 professional coaching and feedback on your work. It’s like having a personal trainer, but for music! Share your goals with us and we’ll find a course for you, or create a custom mentorship session with a pro musician, engineer, educator, or music industry veteran, to help you achieve them. 

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

As you probably already know by now, Logic Pro offers dozens of electronic and organic percussion instrument options, but songwriters and producers working with this DAW often struggle to keep their drum parts from sounding lifeless and conventional, without strategies to put life back into these out-of-the-box samples. Logic has a dynamic range of percussion instrumentation available, but the samples are still essentially blank sonic canvases on which the producer needs to paint.