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Why You Shouldn’t Worry About Musical Trends

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Everyone loves being trendy.

The clothes we wear, the slang phrases we say, even the social networks we’re a part of.  Not too long ago, it was very trendy to be on MySpace. Since then, that has completely shifted to Facebook, so much so that many people started thinking it was even a little uncool to still be on MySpace.

I remember as a teenager in the ’90s when baggy pants were the “in” style. And I’m not talking loose, I’m talking really, really baggy. Today, skinny jeans and other generally tight-fitting jeans are the trend.

Music follows trends as well. All sorts of them, in fact. Certain styles of music will blow up in popularity, sometimes for a short period of time, sometimes for a long while. One artist will come along and start the trend, then a whole ton of bands who sound similar get to come along for the ride while the movement booms.

It can be tempting to change your style to fit in with the current trends in an attempt to catch a ride with that wave while it’s rolling. In some ways it’s a great skill to have as an artist if you can adapt. For example, while you want to establish your personal fashion style, you also will look more “in” if you adjust your image to the trends. Some artists even successfully adapt their music as trends come and go. Think about people like David Bowie and Madonna who have enjoyed long, successful careers by constantly changing, becoming musical chameleons.

But that’s really difficult to pull of, which is why so few people have done it. There are also plenty of examples of artists who tried to adjust their style to something that was popular at the time, but it was just painfully obvious that it wasn’t them and nobody took them seriously. Anyone remember when MC Hammer took a stab at gangster rap? That didn’t work out too well for him, because everyone knew it simply wasn’t his style.

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Writing a Music Bridge

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

A music bridge is a new section of a song that differs from the verses and choruses.  A great bridge can really take your song to the next level, but sometimes we’re so focused on the verses and the choruses that we forget how powerful an amazing bridge can be.

A memorable song bridge can break up the monotony of simply switching back and forth between verses and choruses. It can be a great place to bring the dynamic level up or down in the song. It can fit nicely along with the feel of the verses and choruses, or it can throw the listener into unexpected new territory. There’s no one way to write a bridge, but here are some opportunities that you might want to capitalize on when it comes to writing the third section of your next song.

Introduce a new chord progression

A bridge allows you to bring a new chord progression into your song that hasn’t been heard before. Since the verses and choruses should generally stay consistent with each other, a bridge allows you the freedom to introduce something new. You might draw inspiration from (or use chords from) other sections of the song, or you could go the daring route and try something completely different. The sky’s the limit!  A good example is ”Pretty Woman” by Roy Orbison

Change keys

Sometimes artists will modulate to a different key for their bridge. This can really make the section stand out from the rest of the song, and it keeps the listener interested in hearing more of the song. After you change keys, you have the option of getting back to the original key when the bridge ends, or simply staying in the new key for the rest of the song.  An example of a key-changing bridge is “Summer of 69” by Bryan Adams.

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Hit Songs Need Clean Music Production to Be Heard

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

So many talented songwriters and composers love melodies and harmonies so much that they layer as many into their song as they possibly can. They want the best music productions for their songs, but think that adding more and more instruments and parts will make their production sound great.

Unfortunately, it won’t!

Less is more

Have you ever noticed that some of the biggest hits of all time only have three or four instruments on them? Lots of classic Beatles songs just have a couple simple guitar parts, bass, drums and vocals. Nirvana and Green Day have had monumental hit songs, and neither group is more than a power trio. Even “Billie Jean,” one of Michael Jackson’s biggest hits, is a simple production with few instruments.

If you have too many parts, melodies and counter-melodies, it can prevent your song from being catchy and memorable. If you try singing two melodies that are played together in a song, it’s pretty much impossible… And if you can’t do it, neither can your potential fans.

Don’t let too many parts get in the way of your song’s catchy melody

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Music Image: Why You Should Care

Friday, July 30th, 2010

Have you ever been standing in line to get your morning coffee when someone walks in wearing a zipper-laden leather jacket, skin-tight jeans with ripped holes, visible tattoos and a perfectly “messy” hairdo?  Of course, the first thing you think is, “that guy is definitely in a band!” If a scene similar to this has ever played out in your life, you’ve been introduced to the world of image. And like it or not, it’s one of the most important aspects of today’s musicians.

I know what you’re thinking–but my music is most important. It’s the music that’s gonna take me to the top. Don’t get me wrong, your music is definitely important. And if you look like a rock star but sound awful, you may have your priorities a little out of whack. But the fact remains that image is a huge aspect of being in a band, and it’s only the image-conscious artists that stand a fighting chance in today’s cutthroat music industry.

Band image has always been around

Image is by no means a new concept for musicians. Back in the ’60s, the Beatles shocked everyone with their “long” hair (mop tops that are tame by today’s standards), “mods” like The Who were wearing tailor-made suits, and Eric Clapton cared about two things: the blues and fashion. In the ’70s, every musician had a shoulder-length hairdo and Led Zeppelin was making open-shirt fashion statements on stage. The ’80s brought us tight leather pants and so much hairspray the ozone cried for mercy, and the ’90s saw the popularization of flannel shirts tied around the waste and baggy jeans.

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How to Tell if Your Demo is Good Enough

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

When it comes down to it, we all want to know the same thing about our music: Is my demo good enough to get me signed or placed in TV/movies?

In the last post, I talked about the artist press kit–all of the things you need to include, what they should look like, and why they’re important. And of course, I stressed the fact that the demo is far and away the most important part of the package. You might have the fanciest, most exciting looking press kit in the world, but it won’t amount to much if the music doesn’t live up to the hype!

So let’s talk more about the demo… You know it has to be great, but how do you know it’s great? Here are a few pointers that should give you a better idea of whether your demo will make the cut.

Your demo MUST have great songs!

First things first: the songs on your demo should be great. Making a professional demo will be easy if the songs are strong and memorable–but if they’re not so good, it won’t matter how much polish you put on the production. So spend a good deal of time crafting your best music, and remember that getting outside opinions can help you hone your craft. If you’re not sure if you’ve written a great chorus, for example, ask a friend or fellow musician for their honest input. To get professional feedback on your song, call for a free project consultation from Studio Pros today!

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