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Your mentor will then take the results of that phone call and put them into a personalized Learning Plan (LP) — and yes, we do get a kick out of calling it an LP, thank you very much. This includes your big-picture goals and activities that you plan to work towards in your four-week session. Your LP may evolve during the session, but it’s intended to provide an initial roadmap to ensure you’re on the same page with your mentor.

“To B, or not to B.” That is… not a question this year, because none of our songs were in the key of B! It was E♭— minor, specifically — that was our huge winner this year (black keys on the piano in general, really), with low showings for the keys of D and E, once again proving that nobody writes Top 40 pop songs on their guitars anymore.

Once you’ve got something you like, try shifting it out of your normal speech pitch pattern by using steps (one note up or down), skips (a third up or down) or a leap (a fourth or more) between words.

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Sometimes days seem to end up where they first began     A

Writers like Scheibe attacked Bach’s in-depth use of musical theology, along with his general style, accusing him of “too much art.” Writing in Bach’s defense, his friend Birnbaum countered that “God is a harmonic being.” For Bach, composing was “not an act of free creation but… imaginative research” leading to a “musical science that seeks ‘insight into the depths of the wisdom of the world’” (Wolff, Bach: The Learned Musician).

Take a look back at television shows that were geared towards young children throughout the decades and listen to their themes. I’m a ’90s kid myself, so I watched a lot of shows on PBS Kids, especially Arthur, and I watched a lot of Disney movies like The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and Hercules. When songs and musical pieces mimic scale degrees from these shows and movies and focus on notes 1, 2, 3, and 5 in a scale, they bring me back to my childhood just a bit.

Frances Katz began her career writing about MTV and Napster. Now she writes about technology, music, business, and culture for a variety of publications including The Week, The Atlantic, Paste, The New York Times, Ploughshares, and others. She lives in Atlanta, but you can keep up with her on Twitter.

Everyone can sing this tune off the top of their heads! Listen to “Frosty the Snowman,” and focus on when the lyrical syllables move from “fros” to “ty” at around 0:12.

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I’ve learned this tip from experience. I’ve compared myself to other more successful (“better”) musicians and gone into a deep hole. The type of hole where I’m discouraged all day and don’t get very much done at all. So instead of wishing you had some other musician’s success or opportunities, put your blinders on and remember that you are you. Your story of success will look different than every other artist’s.

Sometimes days seem to end up where they first began     A

+ Pursue your dreams faster with a Soundfly Mentor! Share your musical goals with us and we’ll pair you up with a professional musician, engineer, educator, or music industry veteran who will help you achieve them in a customized four-week session.

“Nice For What”: Okay, what the heck kind of tonal Rubik’s Cube is this? So after a noncommittal B♭m and Cm chord in the intro, we get a main loop with three chords in dizzy order: D♭  E♭  Fm, with the singers using the traditional do-re-mi notes of an A♭ major scale. And at first I heard it in a Lydian tonality because whenever it got to the D♭ chord, it just felt like the home chord to my ear. But when I started to break it down on paper, I realized that the basic loop was: E♭  D♭M7  D♭  Fm  E♭  Fm  D♭  Fm, and wait: don’t tonic chords usually begin or end loops most of the time? I mean, am I right?

Open mics make lofty promises about what they’re able to offer songwriters of all levels. I’m here to tell you that they’re still a waste of your time.

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