Solution: Create criteria. One of the biggest mistakes ambitious musicians make is overbooking just for the sake of playing out. I constantly hear colleagues complaining about gigs their bandleaders probably shouldn’t have taken in the first place. A band member once made me promise I would only take gigs if I could answer “yes” to at least two of these questions: (1) Is it lucrative enough to ensure that no band member is losing money (including the pay they would sacrifice if they had to turn down another show because of this one)? (2) Will it give us real exposure or positively build the band’s identity? (3) Could it be the most fun we’ve had all year?

I’m not so interested in figuring out whether the track is “good” or “bad.” Instead, I want to find out, given the student’s goal, how they could move closer to it.

The first chords of your song will set the emotional precedent that your lyrics should ultimately follow. Here’s a few suggestions for starting strong!

Old school rap artists

Does it give you a spark of creativity when you fire it up? Your gear should make you feel good when you plug into it. It’s possibly the most important factor when it comes to your equipment. If it doesn’t contribute positively — or worse, makes you uninspired — you don’t have to let it weigh you down.

Much of what’s popular today — from Mark Ronson to Kendrick Lamar to Anderson .Paak to Bruno Mars to Cardi B — seems to owe much of its funky swagger to James Brown’s crowd-pleasing, smile-inducing live recordings. Brown would go on to record several other live performances at the Apollo for decades to come. The appreciation for a well-orchestrated show with a god-like frontman singing songs that they themself wrote was increased tenfold by this album, leading to the success of other songwriter-performers such as David Bowie, The Rolling Stones, and Nirvana.

Endlessly acquiring gear is a habit that can turn into an obsession. Whether you’re stockpiling synths, pedals, guitars, or plugins, your collection can turn into a burden that weighs you down creatively. Ask yourself these ten questions to find out if there’s any gear you have that you could do without.

Albuquerque’s open air flea market is the best place to find vintage records in town, and ones that are in surprisingly good condition. It’s a big flea market so you’ll need to get there early in order to cover serious ground. Not to mention they always have roasted green chile and sweet lollipops coated in red-chili powder (don’t knock it, till you try it)!

This holiday season, consider giving the gift of positive support in the form of a donation to one of these ten important music-related community charities.

501c3 grant money

I was thrilled to see he had signed up for The New Songwriter’s Workshop. Though he was fairly new to lyric writing, Jeff jumped in with both feet and did a great job from the get-go. Raven is a fantastic mentor, who went as far as to sing some of his writing so he could get a vocalist’s perspective.” — Mahea (Soundfly Mentor)

If you’re planning your own campaign, you should highly consider taking Jay Coyle’s in-depth Soundfly Mainstage course, Crowdfunding for Musicians — the single best way to set yourself up for successful fundraising.

Vocals are the heart of almost every pop song. In fact, save for instrumental music, vocals should be the focal point of a song in any genre. Whenever listeners find themselves humming along to a song, it’s usually the top-line vocal melody they’re latching onto, so mixing that aspect of your song’s arrangement for ultimate clarity is of particular importance.

Find out once and for all how streaming and sales royalties work — and how to get the money you deserve — in Soundfly’s free course with Ari Herstand, How to Get All the Royalties You Never Knew Existed. 

Coffee has a diuretic effect and causes our bodies to actually lose water when having more than 500 mg at a time, but also note that not all caffeinated beverages are the same. Depending on the brand, sourcing, and cup size, a regular cup of coffee can range anywhere from having 58-281 mg of caffeine! You should also take into consideration how fresh a cup of coffee is, since water evaporation causes a higher caffeine concentration: The longer a pot of coffee or tea has been left out, the stronger it gets. (The more you know!)

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