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High-Level Song Arrangement Tips: From 'Meh' to Masterpiece

Updated: Music Theory
song arrangement tips

So you've written a great song. Now what? Most songs call for more than simply the original skeleton of voice and piano or guitar. But just how do you arrange when you're starting with these bare bones? What do you add to the orchestration and where do you add this to the song? Here we'll offer some tips to help you create a quality song […]

Managing Stage Fright: Does Practice Make Perfect?

Updated: Gigs & Live Performance
performance anxiety

Anxious music students and seasoned performers are often asked, “How long do you practice every day?” Having treated many performers with stage fright, it is important to take a closer look at this question. The answer is not a simple number of hours (or, in some cases, minutes) that one practices, or even how carefully one practices. Yes, careful and mindful practice is important. Nervousness […]

Beginner Jazz Guitar for Non-Jazz Guitarists

Updated: Guitar Guru
learn to play jazz guitar

Learning to play jazz guitar might seem like rocket science to some, and while there is a world of information and approaches out there, taking things in small steps will yield the best results. Remember that music is not a competition. It is art for its own sake. In this lesson, I'll attempt to give a general overview of the basics while being as comprehensive […]

How to Soundproof a Room for Studio Quality Recordings

Updated: Studio Recording
soundproof rooms

With advances in technology driving the cost of music recording microphones, interfaces, and computers down, everyone is building their own home recording studios. Why not, right? Why pay $500 for a 5 hour time block in your local studio when you can buy a really nice mic for the same price? Double that and you've got nearly everything you need to record vocals, guitar, keyboard, […]

Fletcher Munson Curve: The Equal Loudness Contour of Human Hearing

Updated: Mixing & Mastering
the fletcher munson curve

Working with studio headphones and monitors that feature the flattest frequency responses is important. They reduce the possible variation our listener's will hear due to their own stereo systems, equalization preferences, and the influence of their listening rooms. Untold hours and billions of dollars have been spent in research and development in these industries alone. Then two physicists stepped into the game and changed everything. […]

How to Build Guitar Calluses: Take Care of Your Fingers!

Updated: Guitar Guru
guitar callus

Forget about the tall tales, the marketing schemes, and the urban legends. Nobody wants their fingertips raw and wounded from playing guitar. Mainly because that means you have to stop playing until you heal. As a beginner, it's bad enough to need to restrict your practice time because your fingertips are tender and squishy. You might only play for 30 minutes but the next day […]

EQ Cheat Sheet? Frequency Charts for Mixing Hurt More Than Help!

Updated: Mixing & Mastering
frequency response charts

They're designed well and make nice posters for a school classroom. They get a lot of re-pins on Pinterest. Halfway interested amateurs pass them around because they seem profound and packed full of useful information. Except they aren't. Your first clue that these abominations suck are the instrument frequency charts that purport to show the fundamental frequency ranges as well as the harmonics of every […]

What's the Difference Between Mixing and Mastering?

Updated: Studio Recording
mixing and mastering difference

We've all heard the difference between an amateur recording captured in your buddy's garage and a professional recording tracked in a recording studio equipped with all of the best gear available. But that only affects the clarity of the song in general. Those differences in recording environments and access to gear is like the difference between working with a puzzle where the pieces were cut […]

What is Guitar Tone? Understanding & Dialing In Your Sound

Updated: Guitar Guru
guitar tone

Depending on who you're talking to, you'll get various definitions on what tone is and where it comes from. Many purists will even tell you where it should come from, too. The reality is that various genres of music and guitar playing are accepting of more and more layers of signal processing and effects, and the more that they use regularly the more forgiving and […]

DIY Studio Desk Plans - Custom Fit For Your Needs

Updated: Studio Recording
studio desk plans

What you'll discover as you browse the internet is that there's a whole ton of people who have built their own studio desks, but very few ever documented the process meticulously in terms of isometric engineering sketches or even your typical carpentry blueprints on a dirty napkin. This is the same conundrum we face in the world of computer desks and essentially every other kind. […]

How to Achieve Low Audio Latency While Recording

Updated: Studio Recording
low latency audio

Let's say you're an accomplished guitarist who has been playing live for nearly a decade, ripping improvised solos alongside your band mates in your city's most celebrated cover band. You realize you don't want to pretend to be a member of Talking Heads for the rest of your life, so you bring it up to your crew and they all confess the same. But rather […]

How to Sell Beats Online & Work Your Way Up to Pro Placements

Updated: Beat Production
sell beats online

By virtue of being able to make beats, the instrumentalist in the rap and R&B community brings a boatload of skills to the table that provide a sharp advantage to being seen and earning an on-going passive income. The producer must do everything the vocalist does in order to gain success, but they get the compounding benefit of the vocalist doing it a second time […]

Go Global! Distribute Your Music Online

Updated: Careers & Marketing
distribute music online

Most musicians want an audience, and many people would love to hear their music (if only they knew it existed). Classically, that's where music distribution came into play, but in the new millennium, that means digital distribution across the internet. Let's look at reasons every musician should be distributing music online. Online distribution is easy to do: It's shockingly affordable It can make you money […]

Gain Staging - Levels are Everything for High-Resolution Recordings

Updated: Studio Recording
gain stage

It's hard to blame musicians for not having a perfect gain stage... Most have never even heard of this aspect of signal processing. Ignorance won't save you though. It's either done right or you've compromised your ability to have the highest quality song at the end of the day. Your gain matters at every step, from the preamplifier, equalizer, compressor, converters, and even when printing […]

Understanding Mix Bus Compression

Updated: Mixing & Mastering
mix bus compressor

There are very few topics and techniques that amateur mixing and mastering engineers will avoid out of the sheer complexity and thus confusion. One of them is stereo bus compression and auxiliary bus compression. Today our goal is to remove this shroud of mystery so all of us can enjoy the fruits of this advanced mixing technique. It's not nearly as complicated once you understand […]

Instrument Miking Techniques & Tips to Capture Your Best Sound

Updated: Studio Recording
instrument miking

There's a danger to studio recording and mixing the results. We all fall prey to using our eyes instead of our ears. It's simply a part of how our brains are wired and how we survived all this time. But the beasts of the recording jungle, your clients and audience, will eat you alive if you listen with your eyes instead of your ears. It's […]

Guitar Inlays - All About Those Fretboard Markers

Updated: Guitar Guru
guitar inlay

“Playing guitar is easy, just follow the dots!” Playing the guitar is that easy, huh? I guess that explains why my grandma shreds like Steve Vai, right? I guess that's why nobody rage quits daily... There may be some truth to that "dot" statement, but we can’t always follow the dots these days. Sometimes we have to follow the diamonds, vampire bats, roses and thorns, […]

The Best Music Business Schools & Colleges to Launch Your Career

Updated: Careers & Marketing
music business schools

Lots of musicians take a strange path through this life of musical hardship. While they work their craft and attempt to gain exposure they fund their low income lifestyle by waiting tables and other measly day jobs. That's not a judgement statement. You've got to do what you've got to do and are willing to do. But why not play on easy mode and work […]

Music Business Jobs & Careers - Get Paid Doing What You Love!

Updated: Careers & Marketing
music business careers

Just because other people sell out to some corporation and are willing to hate their life for the off-chance they might retire one day doesn't mean we have to live like that. You can put off what you love until you're too old to do it, or you can live for the present. Of course you'll need to be responsible enough to consider the future […]

Music Business Degree - Major & Masters to Industry Career

Updated: Careers & Marketing
music business major

Have you ever wondered why musicians will hit the big time and immediately start their own record label? They begin to arrange and market their own tours, hire a team to run their merchandise booths, and focus on the business itself as opposed to the art. Why? Because trends come and go within the industry, but the industry stays the same. And if you want […]