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A common misconception is that 808s have to be low and boomy, even when you’re writing. You can often make things easier on yourself by writing them in an easier-to-hear octave, then shifting them down once you’re happy with your note choices.

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Many of the acts that you’ll reach out to will have a booking agent or manager responding on their behalf, and while this may seem daunting at first, it actually makes everything much easier. Booking agents are typically more responsive (and more professional!) than musicians so don’t be scared off by their very official websites and emails.

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From her 1997 live album, right before she launches into “Tyrone”, Erykah speaks to my artistic heart. It took me a long time to admit that I am an artist. The word has a bit of stigma attached to it, usually that artists are needy, too sensitive, too fragile. But I believe we’re all artists in some capacity, and it’s important to embrace it. As Julia Cameron (The Artist’s Way) teaches, your artist is similar to your inner child — creative, unafraid, free, and incredibly passionate. It’s so important to nurture that part of you and be honest about your humanity. No one is made of steel.

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.

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. 

Eric Dickstein is a NYC-born musician, currently studying at Georgetown University. He plays keys, sings, and writes music for the soul-pop group Melt. Eric is also the Associate Editor of The 11 Contracts That Every Artist, Songwriter, and Producer Should Know by Steve Gordon, a book on how to navigate contracts in the music industry.

Going on tour soon but don’t know how to get the word out? Here’s a list of amazing strategies to put your band on the map and make your travels count!

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This is not what happened with my dog. Instead, I actually think it made him more anxious. Now to be fair, part of this could be that I tried this solely as I was going out, and the association became “uh oh, dog music means mom is leaving!” but I think there’s more to it than that.

Instructed by composer and producer Martin D. Fowler (This American Life, Limetown, etc.), this course is an all-encompassing boot camp in one of the most widely used and most multi-functional DAWs out there: Logic Pro X. It’s used by pro-level producers, songwriters, engineers, and composers of all types to achieve the sound they’re searching for. Logic is also extremely affordable as far as DAWs go, making it perfect for the home-recording musician.

Here’s a curveball for you! Even though at this point, Pinterest has gotten so big I’m not technically sure it can be considered a blog anymore, it remains an excellent place to get inspired on almost every level. Whether hunting for beautiful imagery for your tour poster or album cover, or a quote to boost your idea generation, it’s definitely worth visiting when you’re wracking your brain.

Another common issue is sibilance — or excessive “s,” “t,” and “z” sounds — often exacerbated by cheap condenser microphones. Sometimes this issue can be solved using an equalizer to remove the offensive frequencies in the 5-10 kHz range, but this approach often leaves the vocal sounding dull and flat. A much more effective solution is to use a de-esser to attenuate the specific frequencies causing the sibilance. This way, the frequency is only attenuated when it becomes excessive, leaving the vocal sounding bright and clear the rest of the time.

Everyone has their own tastes, so it’s difficult to pin down what makes some lyrics better than others — but still, there are many lyricists who are widely regarded as particularly masterful. A good starting place is to identify our personal favorites, study their work closely, and focus on developing our own skills.