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But if you’re just getting started with plugins and don’t want to invest in stuff you’re not sure you’ll use just yet, why not go the free route? To alleviate some of the daunting stress of navigating the world of plugins, I’ve compiled a list of my 10 favorite free plugins available for download that are of competitive quality and just plain fun to try out. There’s something for everyone here, whether you’re exploring soft synths, learning to mix on your own, or trying to make your beats sound like what you hear on the radio.

First off, I have to shout out the director Zack Scott, as he deserves most of the credit there. Zack and I have been dear friends ever since high school, and when I came to him for help with that video, my ideas were very, very rough and unrealistic. He looked at the resources we had and came up with a great concept that was totally within reach, organized a crew of his friends in Austin, and even chipped in some money (no small amount, I might add!).

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When you compose, do you gravitate toward certain instruments? And how much of the composition is being orchestrated in your inner ear and how much of it are you playing while you write?

Get into the writing room with confidence and excitement next time you’re working with a total stranger on a co-writing song project with these 7 tips.

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Sure, total streams are a factor in determining your payout from streaming services. But assuming you’re among the vast majority of artists who aren’t quite making the big bucks from streaming royalties (or not yet, at least!), it’s much wiser to focus on quality over quantity.

The body art style is itself distinctive, and helps to convey the melancholic yet hopeful vibe of the song. This reflects on Gotye’s authentic lyricism as he is stripped away of his clothes, but it also makes a slightly less playful reference to the style of Peter Gabriel’s video for “Sledgehammer.”

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In addition to playing the built-in instruments, you can also use the aQWERTYon as a MIDI controller for any DAW or notation program. Just set the input to the IAC bus (Windows users will need to install MidiOX before this will work.)

Bridges usually occur after the second chorus and before the last chorus. They’re where you twist your concept one final time, or say anything you might not have had the chance to say up until that point in the song. intros and outros are the lead in and closing out of the song. All three of these things can be instrumental or space filled with some form of lyrics or motif melody. These song sections can add heavy hitting emotion and hooks to capture your listener, basically anywhere you place them.

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There’s something to be said for those memories and those feelings that we associate with cassettes. And for an emerging band looking to make their mark, release new music, and connect with their fans in a dynamic way (all while spending less than traditional CDs  cost or merch would cost to manufacture), the cassette is the perfect option.

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.

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Brant Wilson is an amateur musician and student based out of Indianapolis, Indiana with a special love for classical music and a goal to learn to play as many instruments as possible.

All of our mentored online courses come with six weeks of 1-on-1 professional coaching and feedback on your work. It’s like having a personal trainer, but for music! Share your goals with us and we’ll find a course for you, or create a custom mentorship session with a pro musician, engineer, educator, or music industry veteran, to help you achieve them. 

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Some musicians believe that if they make great music, everything else around their career will be taken care of; and this is a huge mistake. The truth is that no one should be more concerned about the non-musical aspects of your career than you. This means paying attention to things like song royalties, licensing agreements, and the details of every contract you sign. You don’t need to be a legal expert to be a musician, but having a passive attitude about the less flashy aspects of your music career can lead to devastating consequences.

I would consider the Roland RE-201, also known as the Space Echo, to be a marvel of engineering and musical acumen alike. It’s a perfect example of what I would call a “holy grail piece of equipment;” a piece of equipment that is universally respected and its sound is often cited as the very definition of what it’s trying to achieve.

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Wait, let me back up. Actually, I did know they existed because we put one in our 2018 Holiday Gift Guide for musicians recently. But, seriously, who knew that this was actually “a thing,” and that there are literally hundreds of different coloring books out there for almost every cultural fan community? It seems today’s biggest pop stars are out there eagerly awaiting to be colored in.

Picture the traditional scene of a “music creation team” in a studio — in attendance you may find the artist, the band, the manager, possibly the A&R rep of the label, the audio engineer, etc. Maybe you’ve hired a team of songwriters and curated a set of songs to record from their work. These roles are the traditional puzzle pieces required to produce good music.

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Producers will use this technique when they have a double chorus in their hands. If the second half of that double chorus will also be the final chorus, it can be a challenge to keep the energy at peak level. And, of course, nobody wants the final chorus to be one that loses its impact or gets boring near the end.

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Kaija Saariaho does not mess around. She creates powerful concert music and opera which often combines acoustic instrumentation and electronics to express her textural, spectral inspired compositions. Having spent her formative years studying in Helsinki, Saariaho’s earlier output was set within the strict confines of serialism, only moving to a spectral approach following a period of research at IRCAM. Saariaho’s complex, highly polyphonic, and richly textured music has been admired and recognized throughout the music community for many years, achieving some of the highest possible accolades including a Grammy Award for Best Opera in 2011, a Polar Music Prize in 2013 and most recently a BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Contemporary Music.

We look at Ligeti’s famous composition in order to decide how much, or how little, the use of music’s foundational parameters really matter in composing.