To find out just how important, I interviewed two experts: Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Lethbridge, Bryn Hughes, and PhD student at Queens University, Anja Cui. Both actively research music cognition, drawing from music theory and behavioral science as well as cognitive psychology, and as Cui puts it, “Basically how people listen to music and what happens when they’re listening to music.”
The main takeaway here is that you don’t have to follow a typical form if you don’t want to! There’s so much great through-composed music, and sometimes, it can be really freeing to embrace this kind of writing.
We spoke to NYC bands Pinc Louds and The Living Strange about how they’re able to create some of the most exciting, innovative live music performances ever!
Music and youth initiative
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.
Following some standard doubling of the main guitar riff during the song’s introductory chorus, Jameson erupts with some root-octave slapping in the verse. He follows this with a couple high pops up on the neck and a slide down to the relative minor. The pulsation of F# with the fifth below it and alternating with the A just above it generates a funkier feel than you’d ever expect from a hard rock song with a simple three-note guitar hook. The sequence is repeated several times in the verse and, in spite of all the other cool riffs in this song, leaves you wanting to hear more.
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.
If you’re anything like me, your practice routine is something you do intuitively. It often involves sitting down with your instrument, playing a few scales, banging around for 20 minutes on a few songs or improvs, maybe working on something specific for 10 minutes in a repetitive manner, and then bowing out. Basically, it’s casual, repetitive, and thoughtless.
This tip is especially useful if you’re super strapped for time. When you sit down to do a thing — something that will move your career forward — set a timer. Whatever time you have. Fifteen minutes, an hour, two hours; set a timer to help you focus 100% on the task at hand. For some people, this may sound like a stressful idea. I get that. But maybe this tip can help you break through that stress and get stuff done.
Fender music foundation grants
There are a lot of puppy playlists out there, and if you have a low-stress dog who doesn’t require a ton of paw-holding then it’s possible these playlists will work to calm your pup. After all, if the point is just to have on background music so your dog isn’t stuck listening to absolutely nothing all day while you’re gone, these are good options. But if your dog is guilty of loving you too much and cries when you leave, then my guess is that these playlists aren’t going to do much for them.
One of the best things you can do as a working producer is to analyze music by the artists who inspire you. This will help you understand how they build their tracks, and develop their ideas for when you start working on how things are arranged and orchestrated.
Major platforms like Spotify, Pandora, and Apple Music have begun rolling out robust dashboards for artists to not only track and analyze how your songs are performing, but also to provide you with invaluable streaming data that can help you understand who your audience is, where to tour, how to most effectively spend your marketing dollars, and much more.
If all this talk on tensions is a little overwhelming, relax. I’ll dig deeper into them in the next article and show how they can be used to create some beautiful melodic content. For now, perhaps the most important lesson is that there is something to be learned musically from every artist, even perpetually teenaged Canadians.
It may sound corny or cliché, it may sound like bad advice at first, but “fake it til you make it” is one of the core tennets of visualizing your success.