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Writing lyrics is a form of storytelling, and writing “good” lyrics is a lifelong pursuit. Your personal catalog of themes, styles, references, and influences will continue to develop throughout your whole life and career. Lyrics are similar to poetry, but are intended to be sung rather than spoken or read. Because of this, we can learn not just from other lyricists, but also from writers and poets.

The second of two articles on time management, we switch gears today to focus on workflow tips and strategies, based on the writer’s years of experience.

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That was the beginning of my journey toward understanding the complexity of audio work and, more specifically, about the role of mastering in the recording process. Having performed music live for years and having dabbled in the studio, I understood that both used mixing; but I had never heard of mastering. How is it different than mixing? Why is it needed? Why didn’t my mixing engineer just do that work for us? I went looking for the answers.

Do you have a two-minute number that somehow feels like it’s dragging on without going anywhere? Maybe you need to add a bridge. Does the move from your verse to your chorus feel overly sudden, leaving things disjointed? Consider using a pre-chorus to ease that transition. Do you want a place for the audience to clap along? Sometimes doubling up the last chorus can accomplish that nicely.

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Sometimes days seem to move just like a big fat man         A

“The Luv Pack, Vol. 1,” is comprised of samples created by producer, drummer, bandleader, and author of Soundfly’s The Art of Hip-Hop Production course, Charles Burchell. As a bass player, I have been lucky enough to play a little with Charles over the years, and it has always been an instant hook up for me. His pocket is on another level and given that his raw playing features heavily in the source material for these samples, I knew I could get inspired by digging into the drum loops first.

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Shoegaze music has a way of sticking around in our heads for a while — that familiar but distant sound of the guitar echoes endlessly in our memory. There are so many ways to create this kind of soundscape with your guitar. In my last article, “How to Create Dreamier Guitar Chords,” I started to investigate various chord structures that lead to signature shoegaze song crafting, so here I’ll be looking into affordable effects pedal combinations that can achieve that shimmering wall of sound.

Many microphones also feature built-in “roll off” switches, which filter out unused bass frequencies to prevent unwanted noise. Another common feature is a pad, which lowers the input volume of the microphone. This can be very useful when dealing with particularly boisterous speakers who tend to clip the microphone even at low gain levels.

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All this is corroborated by an intensification of dynamics, which grow gradually into fortissimo (1:05 onwards). A first climax is reached in the Prestissimo section: (d.) is now played by both hands and the staccato articulations are now accented, longer (and therefore heavier) notes (1:58).

Ellisa Sun cuts out her heart and leaves it on the stage — which is why she never wears white. Currently on her first national tour, Ellisa is showing she has what it takes to make it on her own. Just a guitar, a 30-foot RV, and an insatiable desire to perform. Raised in Los Angeles and (until recently) based in the San Francisco Bay Area, her sound is honest, heartfelt, and textured, combining elements of jazz, soul, and pop.

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In fact, the 3:2 rhythmic cell is at the base of so much sub-Saharan and West African polyrhythmic and cross-rhythmic grooves, which can extrapolate out in a dazzling array of variations once the pulse has been established.

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! Whether you’re interested in diving deep into a production-related topic like Modern and Advanced Mix Techniques, Songwriting for Producers, or Making Music in Logic Pro X, or just in working with a Soundfly Mentor directly to achieve a musical goal specific to you, we can help you get there!

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A great example of this technique comes from P!nk. At 2:03 in “Walk Me Home,” she sings the chorus an octave below, accompanied by nothing but an acoustic guitar, which makes the final chorus that returns later all the more impressive and memorable.

“FEFE”: Welp, almost none of the section lengths here are standard. The bridge is really like some kind of early outro that incorporates the refrain, and then the outro-outro also mixes in the refrain, just in a different way. Who even knows anymore?

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The chorus is also not what most would consider a traditional “hook” (though, that’s probably the point). Plus, the pre-chorus is doubled, and it precedes (I mean, “abuts”) no chorus the second time, making it seem like maybe this section should be called the chorus instead — but yeah, he didn’t name the song “Get Your Money,” did he? So there. The guitar plays solid chord types I and ii, and you can hear the I, IV, and V chords in what the choir is singing as well, but whether they’re fully there is somewhat subjective since they’re only harmonizing thirds and not whole triads.

By paying close attention to your playing and constantly giving yourself feedback, you can focus in on the moments that give you the most trouble and work at those specifically. One additional way to give yourself feedback might be to record yourself. If I record myself playing my Errol Garner tune, I can even compare it to the original, and make notes about the spots where I’m not quite getting it right!

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Using whatever format you want (spreadsheet, notepad, stickies) write down the things you want to get done, say, this month. That way, when you sit down to write songs, record music, email a music industry pro, or whatever, you know exactly what you need to do next. Plus, as you cross things off the list, it’s a little encouragement that you’re making progress.

Explore Soundfly’s wide array of free online courses and expand your musical skills over your lunch break! Here’s just a few free courses you can choose from: Music Theory for Bedroom Producers, Touring on a Shoestring, How to Get All the Royalties You Never Knew Existed, and of course, How to Create a Killer Musician Website.

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Lisa Occhino is the founder of SongwriterLink and the Director of Marketing & Communications at Soundfly. She’s also a pianist, award-winning songwriter, and graduate of Berklee College of Music.

+ Pursue your dreams faster with a Soundfly Mentor! Share your musical goals with us and we’ll pair you up with a professional musician, engineer, educator, or music industry veteran who will help you achieve them in a customized four-week session.