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There are plenty of ways to have more fun on tour, but these were the first 10 I could think of that don’t cost a ton. Money does not buy fun, but it sure can help — so I tried to list the cheapest tactics. Thanks for reading!

All pickups have coils of wire wrapped around a magnet or magnets. Single-coil pickups have one set of these coils, while dual-coil pickups have two. Dual-coil pickups are typically known as humbuckers because they don’t pick up the hum noise that most single-coil pickups do, they “buck” it.

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Also, as our♭II chord types were technically diatonic (aka “regular”) to the Phrygian mode, our non-borrowed-or-secondary weirdo-chords this year were the viis (when it was once a ii/V/♭VI and once diatonic to Lydian) and also a I+ (augmented).

Here’s the thing about the bariolage section, then: Bach goes ahead and uses all the wrong notes. They’re all surprising, but the most surprising one is E♭, the most dissonant possible note in the key of D minor. That would be a bold choice even now. In Bach’s more conservative context, it was unheard of. But the bariolage doesn’t sound wrong at all. Bach carefully organizes all those chromatic notes so they all sound perfectly logical and inevitable. They sound richly strange, but certainly not wrong.

“Nice For What”: Okay, what the heck kind of tonal Rubik’s Cube is this? So after a noncommittal B♭m and Cm chord in the intro, we get a main loop with three chords in dizzy order: D♭  E♭  Fm, with the singers using the traditional do-re-mi notes of an A♭ major scale. And at first I heard it in a Lydian tonality because whenever it got to the D♭ chord, it just felt like the home chord to my ear. But when I started to break it down on paper, I realized that the basic loop was: E♭  D♭M7  D♭  Fm  E♭  Fm  D♭  Fm, and wait: don’t tonic chords usually begin or end loops most of the time? I mean, am I right?

I started doing these critiques to solve the practical problems of grading my classes in a meaningful way, and of keeping my early morning sections from staring silently at me with blank expressions. But I’ve noticed that the students take suggestions from the critiques seriously, in a way that they don’t always take the rest of the class. Some kids might blow off assignments and fail to retain technical information from one week to the next, but then they’ll reference a comment about how they should have longer sections in their tracks, months after hearing it.

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Hopefully you have some ideas for crafting your own narrative now. Remember, your narrative doesn’t need to be groundbreaking, and even if you think you have nothing to say, you can find a story to share.

A classic example is the LCD Soundsystem song “All My Friends.” The song develops extensively, without an obvious lyrical structure. There are certainly repeated melodies, various layers coming and going, and a strong lyrical narrative, but it never deviates from that repetitive piano part.

Whatever your opinions are on K-Pop, it’s awesome to me that the U.S. has gotten on board with an all-Asian boy band. Back in the ’90s (or, ever?) this was not a thing. But streaming platforms, social media, and accessible worldwide distribution of all types of music have globalized and changed our musical tastes — in this case, I think, for the better. We still have a long way to go in terms of representation in the music industry, but when I first saw BTS perform on the Billboard Music Awards, I was stoked!

Sure, total streams are a factor in determining your payout from streaming services. But assuming you’re among the vast majority of artists who aren’t quite making the big bucks from streaming royalties (or not yet, at least!), it’s much wiser to focus on quality over quantity.

For some unestablished musicians, the thought of going from making music in a bedroom or garage to playing on stage in front of strangers seems more like a Grand Canyon’s wide leap than a seamless transition. Even before the thought of potential nervousness over performing live for the first time sets in, there are things to consider like how to build your set, where to play, and who to get in touch with about booking. This can indeed be a tricky transition, but luckily, it’s one you’ll only have to make once.