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Back in the day, the ability to read sheet music was essential for composing, performing, and analyzing Western music.
The rise in popularity of alternative notations such as MIDI and tablature has changed this notion, expanding notation to be more idiomatic for musicians across different walks. That said, staff notation still remains as a universal standard, a common language that can be shared between any two musicians.
For this reason, even if you produce great music using solely MIDI scrolls, it never hurts to be able to read sheet music – one day you might have to transcribe a piano part to have it recorded by a pianist, and you wouldn’t want to have to learn for the first time then! This article will provide you a series of tips, tricks, and mnemonic devices to kickstart your ability to quickly identify some key aspects of a piece of music written in sheet notation. We’ll go through three cheat codes at three difficulty levels, spanning tricks helpful for absolute beginners as well as seasoned sheet music readers.
We’ve all heard stories of huge bands breaking up seemingly out of the middle of nowhere. For aspiring musicians, it’s hard to imagine why bands who experience so much success explode and fizzle out, but there’s always hidden dynamics and unhealthy patterns at work in the frayed relationships in these bands. Bands who haven’t achieved major success are often plagued by the same sorts of relationship issues on top of challenges like worries about money and whether their hard work will ever pay off.
So many of these problems are centered around trust and respect. You could be making incredible music, selling out shows night after night, and signed to the label of your dreams, but you’ll be miserable if there’s turmoil within the relationships in your band.
Tom Shawcroft is an indie-electronica singer, songwriter, and producer from Nottingham, UK. Over the past several years, Tom’s sound evolved from predominantly acoustic when he started making music as a teenager to a now unique style of production influenced heavily by his love for electronic music.
It’s that unique style that caught the attention of fierce panda, who he signed to after submitting to one of our opportunities.
“What we really like about the whole ReverbNation talent-spotting process is that it gives us a chance to think outside the A&R box. The fierce panda label is generally renowned for peddling shambolic indie noises but Tom comes from a totally pop background, and his finger-clicking beats and soulful vocals really made him stand out from the alt.rock crowd. It’s a modern sound in a world gone mad.”
Check out this interview with Tom Shawcroft below where he shares how being diagnosed with an illness as a child ignited his spark for songwriting, how artists should make use of every tool available to them, and what’s up next for him.
Unless the music you make is purely instrumental, the tone, felling, and narrative of the lyrical content in your songs is most likely going to be an important part of your musical identity. Depending on the kind of music you make, you might not think lyrics are all that important, but you’d be wrong. Yes, music speaks when words fail, but the stories portrayed in music often do a great deal as far as reaching out and relating to an audience. Approach lyrics with honesty, thoughtfulness, and poetic potency, and you’ll have a proven way to inspire real emotion and understanding from a listener. But all too often, songwriters rely on cliches to help tell the stories in their songs. Here are four lyrical cliches to avoid:
Eating meals exclusively delivered by gas stations and fast food restaurants on tour will make you sick after just a couple of days. But with profit margins on the road being so thin, buying three healthy meals from restaurants each day while touring just isn’t possible for most bands who tour consistently. We’ve got five tasty tour meal ideas that’ll do your body good. For some of these meals, you’ll need a cooler with ice, so prepare accordingly.
Making and performing music seriously is something bound to leave a person with some sort of emotional baggage at some point. The frequency and severity of disappointments an average musician routinely faces on the path towards making something meaningful happen with their music is so significant that it causes most songwriters to throw in the towel eventually, even if they’re capable of making great music. But letting go of emotional pain and learning how to not take your frustrations out on your audiences is paramount in helping you to become a successful musician, and the idea of giving your audience a clean slate during live performances is especially crucial. Here’s why:
Imagine you’re a new, independent artist looking to test the waters of the business they call music. You have a soul-sucking day job, but hey, gotta pay the rent, right? Soon you’d love to quit and make music full time, but first you need to get some momentum going. You bedroom-produced a handful of songs and you’re ready to get streamed. Got $50 to drop on digital distribution for those five songs? “Ayyyyyy, I haven’t even bought a nice microphone yet!”
Do you really want to begin your career hundreds of dollars in the hole?
You can’t catch your dreams if you go broke trying. That’s why we’re dethroning The Old Way with Select Distribution, the smart, budget-friendly way to get your music on the biggest streaming platforms in the world. The Old Way requires you to spend at least $10 per song and $50 per album to get on “hundreds” of streaming sites, apps, and stores. That’s a fine offer for the more established artist with thousands of fans. That guy is confident he’ll make his money back in a few months. But the up-and-comer, well, she needs to be a bit more choosy with her money. Want to do some quick math?
Even under the best of circumstances, moving on after the breakup of a band can be an emotionally devastating experience. And while extreme emotions can sometimes prove to be prime territory for making music in, that’s not always the case. After serious bands part ways, some musicians find a way to move on and keep making music, but others opt to throw in the towel in an effort to wash their hands of the experience altogether.