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Archive for Songwriting

Studio Basics From The Universal Audio Web Site

Great Production Tips from the Universal Audio web site. Having a boatload of UA plugins myself I should review this page more often.

Thunderbolt Explained — What Does it Mean For Your Studio?

Posted by Craig Anderton on October 18, 2012 3:20:58 PM PDT
Intel’s new high-speed serial protocol provides ultra-fast data transfers for audio and video data streams. Read on to learn more about this groundbreaking technology and the potential it holds for studio workflow improvements, data transfer, and more.

Ready, Set, Mix! Tips for Prepping Your Mixing Session

Posted by Bobby Owsinski on July 10, 2012 11:45:30 AM PDT

It’s time to mix, so let’s start to move some faders! Well, maybe not right away. If we really want a mix to go quickly and smoothly, there’s some preparation that needs to be done beforehand. Here's a look at the technical prep, session prep, and personal prep needed before diving into your latest mixing session.

Instrument Tuning Tips for Better Recordings

Posted by Daniel Keller on May 18, 2012 3:53:08 PM PDT

While you’ve been working hard and paying attention to the songs, the parts, the sounds, and all the other big-picture stuff, maybe something’s just ever so slightly out of tune. Tuning is one of the little things that can end up making a huge difference in the final quality of your recordings, so here are some final things to listen for before you start your first take.

7 Ways To Stimulate Your Capacity For Creativity

 

Google's creative office space in Zurich, Switzerland seems very stimulating.

I pulled this list from an article on Fast Company online. It was written by Don Peppers, the author of Extreme Trust: Honesty as a Competitive Advantage

In it Don writes:

"If you want to generate more innovative ideas, then you should purposely expose your mind to radically different facts and unusual, often conflicting concepts."

This is great advice for musicians stuck in a creative rut. Try some of the Don's ideas on the list and let me know if they worked for you by commenting below.

  • Move to a different apartment, or a different office location, or a different job. Change your environment, for no reason other than to make the change.
  • Drive a different route to work or school, or to church, or to the club. Take a long cut, on purpose.
  • Spend 30 minutes a day for two or three weeks with a language course from Pimsleur or Rosetta Stone in order to learn how to ask directions and order food in a new language.
  • Brainstorm different ways to use a common tool (like a hammer, or a Phillips screwdriver).
  • Go on a physical-fitness campaign. Work out until you break a sweat at least one time every day. Seriously. Every single day.
  • Memorize something useless but ambitious, like pi to 100 digits, or the names of all the major chess openings, or all the U.S. vice presidents and the presidents they served.
  • Meet one new person a day for a whole month. Talk to them, converse with them, get to know them. Talk with each of them frequently in subsequent days. You can easily do this online.

You can read the entire article over at Fast Company magazine.

The basics of time and tempo for musicians.

I came across this great series over at GuitarWorld.com by Mark Bacino from Intro.Verse.Chorus. In the article below he talks about how tempo is so rudimentary that it is often overlooked, yet it's an essential part of setting up every song.

As a music creator I (try to) use a metronome on every project I produce. Some are harder than others because many young musicians aren't formally trained so using one is not standard practice (pun intended). When I do use one my metronome of choice is the one included with the iPhone and iPad app, Guitar Toolkit.  The app has a lot of features for guitar players, but the metronome itself is very easy to use and it's tap friendly.

 

 

Songcraft: It’s About Time

by Mark Bacino

As songwriters, we think of tempo as the most basic of basics. Tempo, or the speed at which we perform a song, is sort of the quiet engine, the driving force behind all our tunes; yet, because we consider it so "Songwriting 101," tempo can sometimes become songcraft’s sadly neglected middle child.

The hard, cold facts are these: Perform a great song too fast and you’ve lost the race. Play a great song too slow and the only animal left in the barn when you finish will be the turtle you rode in on. Your audience may never intellectualize your tempo miscalculations, but they will certainly feel them and sense something’s "off."

Recording

Before you begin to record those new songs with your band, have all your tunes' tempos decided upon and documented via the BPM (beats per minute) standard of tempo measurement.

This is great advice. Along with figuring out the tempo there are three other bits of advice I have for you. They are:

  1. Rehearse
  2. Rehearse 
  3. Rehearse. 

Rehearse these set tempos constantly. They should be second nature to the entire band because once recorded and your fans have a feel for them they will expect them come showtime.

Another tempo-finding hack I’ve employed goes like this: Think about your new song and try to recall a favorite tune from another artist that might have a similar vibe or feel. Dig out that artist’s track and try and figure out what tempo their song lives at. You can do this by using the "Tap" function in your DAW or app.

Live

The same thoughts apply. Before leaving that dingy rehearsal room and stepping on stage, try and get your tempos in place. If your drummer is tempo-challenged (and a bunch of good drummers are, believe it or not), they make a lot of tempo-keeping gear for live application that can be used as an on-the-fly reference. If you can, use these tools. They will stop you from playing that 45-minute set in 15 (Been there, done that).

For more on the subject of tempo see Mark's article at GuitarWorld.com.

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