The queen of jazz has a beautiful point here and it’s such a great reminder that “love is the thing.” Isn’t that why we play music? We freakin’ love it and it makes us feel alive. We play to empty clubs, bare our souls, and write about our broken hearts for the love of it. And isn’t it amazing that you’ve found something you love? There are a lot of people out there who have no idea what their passion is — who may work dead-end jobs or feel lost. I used to be one. But when I found music, it was like finding God. I’m not religious, but I can see how people get into it. It feels amazing to have something you love, something nobody can take away from you. And to me, that’s the key to a happy and successful life.

So normally with this series we look at lectures and videos that focus on a single artist, but today we’re throwing both of those concepts out the window and zooming in on a recent panel held at the annual Ableton Loop Conference featuring educators, not artists, and not one, but three of them. The panelists: Ethan Hein, Doctoral Fellow in Music Education at NYU, adjunct professor of music technology at NYU and Montclair State University, and Soundfly instructor; Melissa Uye-Parker, British songwriter, performer, and educator based in London; and Jack Schaedler, software developer at Ableton who has worked on Ableton’s microsite for learning music fundamentals. And the panel was moderated by none other than Dennis DeSantis, composer, sound designer, percussionist, and author, who is also Head of Documentation for Ableton.

Music data has a similar problem. As such, it’s impossible for any digital catalog owner, to know exactly what music they have in their database. Without knowing what music you have or what new music you’re adding — your recommendation, discovery, and curation will always suffer.

Grants for pianos

It was at that point the bankers usually went pale and stared at me like I had three heads. I’m exaggerating, but only a little. They asked about job security, something they all uniformly seemed very grave about. I told them I had been doing this for nigh on two decades and didn’t plan on firing myself anytime soon.

It’s been a crazy journey, and the indie touring scene can be both amazing and awful. Stressing out about your next meal, tank of gas, or whether you’re gonna get kicked out of that Walmart parking lot is not always fun. But we’ve had some good times too, so here are a few ways to have more fun on tour (even if your livelihood doesn’t depend on it!).

Take your time. Pick out the sound you think will create the best base layer for your music. But keep in mind that you can always go back and track other instruments and sounds once everything is laid down. Now you’re ready to record your keyboard to the click.

Tying your motifs together in musical phrases also allows you to link with lyrical phrases.  If a four line verse has a rhyming pattern like AABB — the first two lines’ ends rhyme with each other and the second two lines rhyme differently but again with each other — then making your melody do something similar can really lock in the idea for an audience.

House concerts are often built around local musical and friend communities, so there tends to be a healthier audience circuit than at most venues. Whether you’re passing through or playing in your own town, you might not have to hustle as hard to gain access to these communities and share your music with them. Knowing whether anyone is going to show up or not is always a worry for unestablished touring bands playing regular venues, but house shows usually offer small yet reliable crowds.

Call for curators

The course goes deep in guiding students through the methods of learning how to sight sing more fluidly by mastering intervals and grasping harmony and chord theory, and offers tips and surefire strategies for making audition cuts (or dealing with cuts when they’re made on the fly!).

In 20th and 21st century music there is a lot of imagination and experimentation, and strong interest in spirituality in general. But there isn’t much of this kind of intimate interweaving of specific sounds with concrete theological symbols. Composers like James MacMillan are exploring this sort of theology-based musical practice, as one writer describes his work, “giving the symbols and signs of Christianity their own flesh-and-blood physicality.” Others like Arvo Pärt use related methods in a broader sense. And surely there are other creative musicians working in this vein today.

Song Facts is an excellent blog to get inspiration from — its focus is around interviews of writers that many of us pros look up to, talking about songs they’ve written, and often through a historical lens.

This idea has changed my life as a part-time musician (I’m not exaggerating): Do one thing today that will move your career forward, even the least little bit. Don’t think of all the things you want to be doing — all the things that could boost your career. Just think of one of those things. Then do it.

Once you’ve written a percussion part on a kit with isolated instruments, you’ll be able to add different effects for each instrument. For example, thick reverb might not work when it’s applied to an entire organic drum kit, but can bring out a compelling new character when it’s only added to your snare for example. This is a crucial step you shouldn’t skip.