music advice

anonymous asked:

I'm thinking I don't want to go to college and want to pursue a career in music, I've been writing songs for a while but idk what to do or if I should even pursue a musical career. Any advice ?

i think u should always do what u love… do something that makes u feel good and doesnt make u dread the day when u wake up in the morning. and if thats music then u should pursue it

i’m bored, so let’s talk yeEee

5sos blurbs and shit like that, boys in general, life, music/bands/music recs/playlists etc., advice, be my friend, i havent been online in a few days and im v bored

I was really obsessed with a band called Babes in Toyland—they were a popular female punk rock trio. I was like ‘I am Babes’ number one fan, I understand them in a way that no one else does, I’m going to write about them.’ So I called this paper [and left] a message saying ‘Hi, I want to write about Babes in Toyland. Please call me back.’ They called me back and they’re like, ‘How old are you?’ and I was like ‘I am 16,’ and they’re like ‘Have you written before?’ and I was like ‘No.’ But I had the fire of conviction, like why should that stop me?
—  Jessica Hopper on her early days as a music writer. Read her advice to young music journalists, and enter to win a copy of her new book.

hey!! so I started an art journal not so long ago and I found some really cool/inspiring resources that I’ve found v helpful and I thought and I’d share them with all of you!! whether you’re familiar with art journaling or you’re just getting into it, I hope you find this masterpost helpful and good luck!! (ib: artpricot)

the basics 

why you should keep a journal

how to journal

what is an art journal (and how to start one)

DIY moleskine journal

must-have supplies

themes for your journal

how to collage in your art journal

art journal techniques

journal ideas/prompts

journal inspiration

50 art journal prompts

the sketch book of oliver jeffers and friends

random art prompt generator

my art journal tag (updated)

180 journal writing prompts

100 ideas (keri smith, creator of wreck this journal)


how to press flowers in a journal

playlists for making art

the sketchbook project

feel free to add on any resources/ask me any journal related questions! 

(reminder: there is no such thing as messing up!)

Audition Advice #4

You do not need more than a half hour to warm up.

Usually, you’re at your best after 30 minutes and you’ll most likely be tired if you warm up for longer by the time you get to the audition room.

Alls you gotta do is run through a few scale exercises and parts of your piece, and you’ll be good to go.

Break Away
  • Break Away
  • John Mayer
  • Live / Unreleased


I’m very sorry. Last week, I spoke about choosing some obscure b-side as a favorite song from an artist, and this week, I’m doing it again - and worse. John Mayer’s ‘Break Away’ was never released. He played it live in his early years, but never recorded the song. Which is a shame, because it might just be his best.

If melody is my destiny
Then what’s left of me, I’ll give to you
And if next to me is all that you need to be
Would you settle for fantasy
If it’s the best you could do?

John’s singing about himself. There’s this cliché that when you marry a musician, you’re marring his music as well - and you come second. The first verse is just that ('What’s left of me I’ll give to you’). The second verse continues this trend:

Can I have my cake?
Can I have you too?
Would you follow me?
Could I ask you to?

Would the world between us break these ties
We worked so hard to realize?
Can a postcard say what I see in your eyes?
Could I ever break away?

It’s asking a lot from a person, to be with someone who’s away for long periods of time. Who’s in the spotlight. Which is also a great point of debate in the song: will he be ever truly happy with what he NOW thinks will make him happy, or will she make him truly happy? The truth is: you’ll never know until you actually choose one.

Would I be satisfied
And find peace inside
Rolling half my life
Over broken white lines?

The song is actually the second of the Marie-trilogy: three songs written about the same girl: ’Your Body Is A Wonderland’, 'Break Away’ and ’Dear Marie’.

I did some research on the song for this blog, and came upon an interesting blogpost here. It seems that last song prompted the aforementioned blogger to do a search. Here’s what she found:

“Her name is possibly Marie Hoover, since there’s a county judge in Ohio by that name (as he sings in the song -Coen). Also, if you type in ‘marie hoover fairfield high school’ (Mayer’s high school -Coen) you only get a handful of results, and one of those is about the county judge.”

“In a 2006 Ellen interview, [John] said that he had a high school girlfriend that was attatched to his hip for three years, but she was married now and her husband’s 'life’s goal’ was to keep her from seeing John 'ever again’.” Interview here.

“And, in the 2010 Rolling Stone interview: 'At the age of 14, he fell in love with the girl who would inspire 'Your Body Is a Wonderland’ and without whom he would not be where he is today. He recently got an e-mail from her. “It was a beautiful e-mail about what it’s like to hear me on the radio,” he says. “She said she smiled. I started crying as I wrote her back. This woman is precious. She can vouch for me not as a celebrity. She carries with her information of this 14-year-old boy she knew. She knows the truth. She hadn’t written me in a long time. I think she was trying to forget me because she has a husband and kids.'”

I love the fact that these songs are connected in a way, and get heavier as years pass: 'Your Body Is A Wonderland’ is lovely, 'Break Away’ is thoughtful, and 'Dear Marie’ is just plain sad. But then again, nobody ever said growing up and growing old was going to be easy. 

Will I wake up one morning and see your face?
And the streaks on the window that the rainstorm makes?
Could you bear all the waiting
And the strength that it takes?
Could I ever break away?

More Friday Inspiration? Click here!

Don't Sweat the Technique Pt. 1

If one studies hip hop production diligently one will discover a set of passed down and copied techniques for hip hop music production.  In part 1, we’ll briefly take a look at some of these timeless techniques I use regularly in an attempt to make artists and listeners crave the beats they hear from me. 

First we’ll start with the intro.  Paying close attention to music production one can gather that the most successful beats have short intros.  Listeners want you to get to it quickly.  Unfortunately, this takes a lot of the creativity out of music today.  If we venture back to the pre-1980 era of music we see that artists took great liberty to express themselves in music and they were respected and celebrated for it.  Isaac Hayes for instance was known for long beautiful intros (i.e. Walk On By).  Short intros were reserved mostly for pop music designed for radio airplay.  However, most listeners have come to expect all songs to “get to the point”.  So if you find yourself wanting to create 30 second to 1 minute long intros think again.  Shorten it to no more than four bars.  Now, that doesn’t mean the drums have to drop in four bars, it just means that the bed for the artist to begin the song should come in no later than four bars.

Now that the intro has passed what should you do next?  Hook or verse?  I believe this starts with the vision you have for the song, not just the track.  Either is acceptable.  However, I prefer to create anticipation in the listener.  I like to delay the joy of the listener to get the most out of the moment so the majority of my beats will start with the verse.  Now, many producers waste great opportunities by not taking the verse bed seriously.

The verse bed is a great place for producers to set themselves apart from other producers and begin to develop a noticeable and distinguishable style.  There are two schools of thought when creating the verse bed.  I’ll give my least favorite first.  First, a producer can create simple semi-static verse bed that doesn’t stand out and just provides a nice bed for the artist to rap on and be the sole focus of the song.  I see plenty of this in production today.  This style typically has very little changes in the verse, is usually filled with simple melodies and/or chords just meant to give the artist a comfy place to rap or sing.  I’m not knocking this style but I honestly find it quite boring to listen to.  Some artists love it because they don’t have to “compete” with the beat and it allows them to shine with minimal effort…to each his own.

Secondly, and my favorite, is actually adding timely changes, tricks, and techniques.  This emphasizes what the artist is saying at different points of the verse and gives the listener something else to listen to should they choose.  I am a firm believer that musically the verse should be interesting and keep the listener engaged just as much as the hook does.  This does take time and thought but not much when you make it apart of your beat making methodology.  Let me give you an example of how I do this:  9.5 times out of 10 a verse should be 16 bars.  When I make a beat I split the 16 bars into 4 parts and my main focal points are the 4s, 8s, 12s, and 16s of every verse.  This means 4 bars into the verse, there should be some sort of change in the beat to let the listener and the artist know that we are now headed into the next for bars. 

This can be done with a drop/change in the drums/drum pattern or a drop/change in the instrumentation.  It can also be done easily with some sort of transitional effect (i.e. The Just Blaze rising effect that’s been massively overused and brutally abused for the last decade…I’ve made a pact with myself to never use it again).  Now, that we’re heading into the 2nd set of 4 bars, we now have the end of the 8th bar to look forward to.  Typically, I make the end of the 8 different than the end of the 4 because we’re now half way through the verse and that’s a major point of the verse.  I may also take the start of the second half of the verse to introduce a new instrument.  Most listeners love to be surprised and it shows patience and creativity on the part of the producer.  Heading into the end of the 12 I may just end the 12 the same way I ended the 4th bar.  I may also just drop the bass-line during the 3rd quad of the verse.  You’d be amazed how dropping the bass-line then bringing it back can really add versatility and power to a certain part in the song. 

Now, the most important part of the verse is the last 4 bars or heading into the 16.  If I’m feeling really creative the last four bars will be completely different than the rest of the verse in preparation for the what should be the most exciting part of the song: The hook.  The best producers create the greatest anticipation for the hook.  There are dozens of ways a producer can do this musically.  You can have a musical build up leading to a climax, even totally dropping out all sound for a short count and bringing in the hook with power depending on the type of song it is.  I can’t list them all, but this is where the beauty of music comes in to play and you have the liberty to be as different as you want to be.  There are no rules at this point of the song. 

What I’ve just described are called transitions and they are extremely important to the emotional aspect of a song.  Great transitions take a lot of practice.  If you listen to your favorite producer you will notice them.  In fact, I can’t think of any well-known producer that doesn’t do them well. 

In closing, you should study, study, study and practice, practice, practice.  Don’t be lazy as a producer and settle for mediocrity.  The beats in CHH should be better than the beats in secular hip hop because we are at a disadvantage.  Most people are going to be alot more critical of our music than the music of the world.  We should seek to astonish, and amaze every listener of our music.  In part two, I’ll go into more verse techniques and dive into what makes great hooks.  For examples of the techniques I’ve spoken of here, visit

God bless,

Jimmy Natural


twitter: @jimmynatural000



after playing around in Ableton Live some more, I’ve finally wrapped my head around the workflow. 

and with that, I’ve thought of a better comparison than before.

so here is my updated quick visual guide to DAWs, based on my experience. 

Downward facing musician...

I’ve seen lots of people ask for advice at various stages of their lives as musicians… and generally speaking, most of the advice given is the same…

Practice every day.

Find a good teacher.

Don’t get discouraged.

Drink heavily.

Maybe that last one is just me…

But here’s some unconventional advice for musicians.

Take yoga.

I don’t mean super crazy Cirque-du-Soleil in a sauna yoga. I just mean a gentle yoga practice. Because honestly… it really does wonders for your mental discipline, your breathing, and your personal awareness your body.

For one thing, I did not have the “breath support revelation” because of voice lessons. I had it because of yoga. It’s so much easier to access those muscles and learn that control when you’re being still and concentrating on just that, and not pitch and dynamics and articulation and pronunciation and vibrato and and and and… you’re just concentrating on your breath for its own sake.

But far more subtle than that is yoga’s underlying principle of connectivity. It’s sort of easy to agree with the idea of everything being connected, but to see and feel the implications of that is a whole new ballgame. I’ve learned a lot of cool tricks for releasing tension and bettering my posture, and they’re all about awareness of how one thing in your body connects to another. 

And another thing… understanding how smaller gestures, movements, and ideas can fit into larger ones. Again… it’s sort of a tough thing to be able to think about when you’re trying to keep a billion other kittens in the basket. In yoga, you’re able to be still and really focus… it’s pretty powerful.

So yeah… find a gentle and positive yoga practice. Not only will you be in better shape, you might find answers to some of your nagging habits or holdups like shoulder tension, flagging breath support, or anxiety.