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Improve your composition, arranging, and writing with this collection of Soundfly articles full of tips and resources on music composition. For more help, check out Soundfly’s course, Introduction to the Composer’s Craft.

Evan Zwisler is a NYC-based musician who is most notably known for his work with The Values as a songwriter and guitarist. He is an active member of the Brooklyn music scene, throwing fundraisers and organizing compilations for Planned Parenthood and the Anti-Violence Project. He started playing music in the underground punk scene of Shanghai with various local bands when he was in high school before going to California for college and finally moving to New York in 2012.

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Editing is the final, critical element that if done well, will make your podcast shine. Even if you have a stripped-back podcast with one simple interview or monologue, editing it properly will improve the flow and pace of the episode. When I edit a podcast, I like interviews to sound real, so I tend to keep breaths and some natural vocal blemishes. I do take out an incredible amount of awkward pauses, umm’s, ah’s, and repeated phrases. Conversational language is not always great. Even the most well-spoken people repeat themselves and say things in a conversation that doesn’t always make sense.

Mix buss compression is a great way to add a little bit of excitement and glue to your mix. Some people like to slap it on the master buss after they have mixed it (Ryan West for example, whose credits include Jay-Z, Eminem, Kid Cudi, Maroon 5, T.I., Rihanna, and Kanye West). And some engineers like to slap a little bit of compression on in the beginning and mix through it. I don’t think there is a right or wrong way when it comes to when to put it on.

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Give yourself a very clear sense of what you’re hoping to accomplish and discuss it with your engineer(s) ahead of time. For me, that looks like setting some clear “Must-Haves” (e.g. all the bass tracks for the entire album) and then a few “Nice-to-Haves” (e.g. a random track of all of us hollering like banshees). Accomplish the “Must-Haves” first and then allow yourself to go crazy on the “Nice-to-Haves” with whatever time you have left.

As a new songwriter, the many varieties of songform might come naturally to you, or it might be a goal that you’re shooting to improve on. But luckily, while there are a ton of models out there for how songs are made to function, there are no hard and fast rules — which means you’re free to learn what tools you need, and then bend them to suit your songwriting practice.