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Remember, you can break words up with a motif, like in “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”  “Some-where” gets split in half by an octave because the songwriter wanted to really draw our attention to the idea of longing for this magical place, reaching up to the next octave like it’s up in the sky.

It’s scary to be vulnerable, but I believe it’s necessary to get to the root of your artistry. Singing your own songs in front of people is one of the most vulnerable things you can do, and embodying what makes your songs and your stories unique will light up your art. Don’t be afraid to make others uncomfortable, because once you start creating art you don’t believe in, simply to please others and their needs, you will lose yourself.

The bass tone is played by hitting the center of the drum with your open hand. You want to bounce your whole hand against the skin to get that deep, low pitch. Also, by bouncing your hand off the head of the drum, the tones are left to resonate. Start by practicing this bass tone a few times — this is your core.

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So, as you can see from these experiments of mine, I believe that this line of inquiry can help retrieve powerful and beautiful ideas from a venerable worldview that is strange to us, having gotten the short end of Enlightenment thinking. I think this perspective can ground us in deep cultural roots, offering us immense creative potential for our current moment, and I’m curious to see what others working in this capacity will bring to the table in the future! Perhaps it’ll be you.

Alright, this one is another melody you’ve definitely heard before, whether you think you have or not. Francis Lai’s theme song to the film Love Story actually opens with two notes ascending a minor sixth, but if you skip ahead to 0:24, just after a short horn fanfare, those two notes reverse briefly before entering the meat of the run. Either way you play those two notes back, it’s a minor sixth interval, but train your ears to hear it as a descending melody to recognize the gap as such.

+ Learn more on Soundfly: Create more powerful, emotional experiences in your music by understanding harmonic theory. Our brand-new, mentor-driven course, Unlocking the Emotional Power of Chords, can help you get there quicker!

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.

It’s like going on a camping trip. You can just strike out into the woods anytime, but you’ll probably do a lot better if you have a route planned out, know how to store your food to keep bears away, and have a vague idea where the shortcut you’re taking is going to send you.

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Sometimes, I’ll mention “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and someone in the room will just start singing the chorus immediately. Part of that has to do with this melodic context stuff and the tonal hierarchy of certain notes that dominate that section, but it also has to do with other stuff like lyrical repetition in the chorus, tonal resolution, the rhythm and meter, and even with personal memories we might attribute to that song. Cognitive science can explain a portion of this, but not all of it, as Cui is sure to mention.

Some bands (like Avenged Sevenfold, for example) use isolation boxes containing their guitar cabinet during their live performances to maintain consistency in their tone across every show on their tour, no matter the room — since the acoustics of each venue are always going to be different. Using isolation boxes live also allows guitar players to block out any venue noise that could be captured through the mic.

This autumn, we’re launching a brand new mentored online course teaching you how to get your home-recorded vocals sounding like the pros, check it out!

It’s also important to show vulnerability. We all have things we’re dealing with. And if you can open up to your fans about something and show a little genuine vulnerability, you’ll find yourself building a much deeper connection with them.

I found a MIDI version of the piece and brought it into Ableton Live. The MIDI file put the left and right hand of the piano on separate tracks, so I used separate instruments for each one: a palm-muted guitar for the right, and a synth pluck for the left.