Writer’s block can be a burden on any songwriter or artist’s progress. There are no hard and fast rules to songwriting and there are certainly no surefire ways to break out of writer’s block. If you are experiencing a block in your creativity, these steps may help you to rediscover your muse or ignite a creative spark that you’ve never had before. Whatever the case may be, the most important step in breaking out of a songwriter’s block is to keep writing and never give up despite your frustrations. The more you write, the easier it is to write. Share your own methods for breaking out of a creative block below.
The right book, or set of books, can play an enormous role in your development as a producer and audio engineer. Be it a book meant to be a reference text in case you ever run into a stumbling block or one meant to inspire you with stories and perspectives from the pros, having a stocked shelf in your studio will ensure that you’ll never be alone to figure things out.
“Dancing in the Street” is not a Bowie/Jagger original. It’s actually a cover of a song that was originally performed by Martha and the Vandellas and was written by Marvin Gaye. This version, however, is without a doubt the most famous modern rendition and representation of the old song. (Fun fact: It was also covered by Van Halen shortly before Bowie and Jagger did it.)
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Focus: Further develop production abilities in the trap style.
By now, your vocal should be sounding great — nice and punchy with just the right frequency balance and the perfect amount of space. But people have short attention spans these days, so you’ve got to shake things up if you want to keep them interested for three whole minutes.
This song is a great example of how music theory and psychology can help the songwriting process. In essence, you want to try to structure how listeners bring their sense of joy through the song, with the ultimate high point being in the chorus where lyrics and melodies are all repeated for better recall. Now you’ve got a tonal hierarchy to work with to make that section, and the others leading up to it, even stronger.
“I worked with Jeff in earlier sessions of Introduction to the Composer’s Craft and the Headliners Club. He has a beautiful perspective and really seems to look at his music from multiple angles. In addition to writing music, Jeff is a gifted photographer, and that comes through when you listen to his work. In the composition course, we discussed the foundations of writing music — things like form, tonality, etc., and then went on to develop his artistic voice during a follow-up session of the Headliners Club.
Because of their long, curvy waveforms, low frequencies experience phase attenuation more profoundly than other areas of the spectrum. You may want to high-pass your square wave so that it gives the bass line that extra grit without stepping on the feet of your sine’s big clear lows. Additionally, many producers like to make low-end seem fatter by using stereo widening effects. Use these carefully as the phase interactions between the low end of each stereo side can cause destructive interference. Use the mono/stereo switch on your DAW’s master track to check whether your low end survives when everything’s running through the center channel.
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Not every house show needs to be strictly acoustic, but most don’t provide the space or gear for earth-shattering volumes or fancy sound effects. These limited setups sharpen an artist’s performance skills and often lead to new creative interpretations of their music, and more comfort in one’s ability to make do.
If you waited around for inspiration to strike you, you’d have to watch each pitch opportunity, co-write, and artist session pass you by in the dark until that light bulb in your head finally turns on. That’s not a very effective way to make a living off of your craft, is it?
Learn how to write music for strings and help your string arrangements shine with these tips for orchestrators. For more help, check out Soundfly’s course Orchestration for Strings.
Megastar Ed Sheeran is no stranger to music copyright infringement cases, and unfortunately, neither is his plaintiff. In the latest claim, “the battle of the Eds,” Sheeran is being accused of copying, yet again, Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” in “Thinking Out Loud.” He is currently being sued by two different parties: Ed Townsend’s estate (co-writer of “Let’s Get It On”) and Structured Asset Sales, who claim to own a part of Gaye’s song.
But keep in mind that no matter how much data these platforms offer, none of it really matters unless you actually make an effort to track it, analyze it, and then turn it into tangible action steps to grow your music career.