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As for listening, I love heavy grooves, but I also love music with a huge sound and epic quality, which could be anything from a John Williams film score to Ella Fitzgerald singing with a bombastic big band, to massive EDM and other electronic tracks—I think they have more in common aurally than most might realize.

In this climate of increasing lawsuits, protecting your intellectual musical property is becoming an essential tool in the songwriter’s toolkit. Learn more.

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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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Modes and Key Signatures have a variety of different characteristics and are great for outside-the-box songwriting. Here’s a cheat sheet to remember them!

Hein almost mentions this in passing, but it’s an interesting concept to keep in mind these days. Our new “teachers” may in fact be the unnamed, unseen, un-interacted-with software engineers and designers who created the DAWs (as well as the plugins inside them) that we use for almost all things musical in the 21st century. Those folks shaped how we learn about engineering and production, recording, and even composition, and learning to use their software inevitably means learning about those concepts from the lens of the software’s interface and application.

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The first in our two-course series exclusively focused on mixing, Faders Up I: Modern Mix Techniques takes a macro-lens approach to the mix process, so you’ll get a well-rounded knowledge of every basic parameter used to create professional-sounding audio tracks, including referencing, panning, routing, signal flow, EQ, compression, reverb, and much more. You’ll also learn ear-training exercises to make sure you’re hearing your mix correctly and responsibly. Between the course work and mentor feedback, you’ll come away with priceless advice and insight on your personal mixing process.

The type of sample or synth you use will also determine how you shape the line. When you compose, focus more on getting the right feeling than on being harmonically “correct.” Instead of aiming for complex note choices, experiment with your sound choices and maybe try some distortion so things sound grittier.