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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.

There are a ton of pitch corrector plugins out there to make sure you’re fully in tune and sounding great — and no, you don’t need to go full Auto-Tune. If you’re a bit of a perfectionist though, you may want to hand tune them yourself. Head into the Audio Editor to find an option called Flex. From there, you’ll be able to tune any of your vocals by dragging them up or down to the correct note or fine pitch, or even flatten out the vibrato.

Julia Wolfe is an American composer whose music has been described by the Wall Street Journal as having “long inhabited a terrain of its own, a place where classical forms are recharged by the repetitive patterns of minimalism and the driving energy of rock.” Need I say any more?! Only perhaps that she too has won a Pulitzer Prize! Her incredible work Anthracite Fields picked up the award back in 2014. A founding member of the internationally renowned contemporary ensemble Bang On a Can, Wolfe has won more awards to mention and has worked with icons such as John Cage and Colin Curry, among countless others in performance. Julia Wolfe is a serious household name and continues to create ground-breaking work.

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Speaking of international recognition, while they may not be an electronic group, per se, Kokono No.1’s approach to technology is reminiscent to early Suicide records, and they exist in a world of their own. At the core of their sound is three electric likembé combined to make a single instrument that is then amplified through home made speakers that illuminates its sound with cracks, pops, and hisses. Their frenetic energy and multitude of singers on each track makes you feel as if you’ve stumbled across them on the streets of Kinshasa.

The short answer is: I don’t. I grade for effort, in a very coarse-grained way. If the student completes the project, following all the guidelines and requirements, they get full credit, regardless of the quality of the resulting music. (My assignment guidelines are always technical in nature; I don’t put any restrictions on musical style.) If students don’t follow the guidelines and requirements, or hand the assignment in late, or obviously half-ass it, I deduct points accordingly. I don’t give any consideration to the music itself when grading because then I’d just be grading on how closely the student’s musical taste is to mine, which would be arbitrary and unfair.

The Scottish duo of Michael Sandison and Marcus Eoin known as Boards of Canada is one of the most influential production teams in electronic music history. The sounds they conjure from their synthesizers and samplers are nothing if not evocative: of half-remembered childhoods, warbly analog recording mediums, reality-bending psychedelic experiences, and so on.

Take a look back at television shows that were geared towards young children throughout the decades and listen to their themes. I’m a ’90s kid myself, so I watched a lot of shows on PBS Kids, especially Arthur, and I watched a lot of Disney movies like The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and Hercules. When songs and musical pieces mimic scale degrees from these shows and movies and focus on notes 1, 2, 3, and 5 in a scale, they bring me back to my childhood just a bit.

Music is such a volatile and unpredictable market. You never know when a song will take off or not. Why risk taking a one-time work-for-hire fee for a few hundred dollars when you can have X% ownership? Owning and registering a publishing percentage ensures fair compensation if the release sells well. (For a quick crash course on royalties, rights, and publishing, check out our free course, How to Get All the Royalties You Never Knew Existed.)

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To change your tempo, double-click the tempo box and type in the tempo of your song. Follow the same instructions by double-clicking the time signature or key to change them.

Dean Olivet received a Music BA in Duluth, MN, but he’s more proud of his French Horn Trophy, Jug Band Trophy, and his plaque that reads “Best Musical Act at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival.” He has fun putting out recordings of his music, but these days he finds making videos about other people’s music to be just as fun. He keeps a record of his guitar curriculum online for a quick reference when he spaces out and can’t think of anything to teach his students.

I do give students my opinions on their music, during our in-class, art-school-style critique sessions (and sometimes also as timed SoundCloud comments.) I consider this subjective group critique to be the actually valuable form of feedback. As a group, we listen to each person’s assignment and then talk about it. We try to figure out:

The first chords of your song will set the emotional precedent that your lyrics should ultimately follow. Here’s a few suggestions for starting strong!

The Cardigans’ “Lovefool”’ is one of my favorite songs of all time. It features such a fun bass line, and you can’t help but sing along to that top-line. But the lyrics are begging someone to love them back. All of Lizzo’s lyrics are about her not giving a f*#k about someone loving her back because all that matters is that she loves herself. That’s a message that resonates with me more now for sure.