Beginning with lessons at Gisimba Memorial Centre, Turi Kumwe has fully constructed a music studio in the former orphanage and is currently incubating a growing community record label. Each summer, up to 300 children participate in a fully subsidized arts camp led by local Rwandan and international artist educators, and the studio is open year-round for community use.

In fact, any one item can be a costume: a funky, customized necklace, a big, bold hat, or even some sort of prop that helps you get into character on stage and channel a new identity. The one important thing to keep in mind is how everyone on stage interacts together visually; it’s essential to be unified somehow. If you have one person showing up in a suit, another dressed like a punk, and another wearing a neon bodysuit all you’ll be saying is that you don’t know what to say.

+ Learning to record and mix at home? Soundfly’s intermediate and advanced mixing courses combine video content with 1:1 coaching from a pro engineer, so you can improve your skills and get critical feedback on your work. Or, work with a Mentor on your mixes in a custom month-long session.

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This course is instructed by nine top sound engineers who have worked with artists such as Beyoncé, D’Angelo, Solange, Sia, Mark Ronson, the New York Philharmonic, the Dirty Projectors, and many more, and it’s navigated by our in-house hip-hop producer, Nyle Emerson.

But if you’re just getting started with plugins and don’t want to invest in stuff you’re not sure you’ll use just yet, why not go the free route? To alleviate some of the daunting stress of navigating the world of plugins, I’ve compiled a list of my 10 favorite free plugins available for download that are of competitive quality and just plain fun to try out. There’s something for everyone here, whether you’re exploring soft synths, learning to mix on your own, or trying to make your beats sound like what you hear on the radio.

Now that you’ve got a nice, loud vocal sitting right up in your face, it’s time to add a little space with reverb and delay. Stereo effects are great for creating width, while mono effects work better for pushing the vocal back in the mix and adding depth.

In this edition of “Talking Points,” influencial composer Igor Stravinsky shares his thoughts on composition, creativity, craftsmanship, and other topics.

“Sicko Mode”: Wow! So this song is basically three songs in one. Part one is Drake singing in B♭ major pentatonic over a digi-cricket-wahwah-fog of harmonies that broke my brain so hard I had to use a lifeline. Thankfully, Martin Fowler on the Soundfly staff pegged it for me as Cm9 to B♭Maj7, which then switched the voicing just barely to E♭Maj7 and a D7♭13 without the C. What a thick mess!

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If you’re a regular Soundfly visitor, you probably already know how much we love chiptune music. Richard Lewis is the founder of the British music blog Chip! Bit! Sid! as well as the annual 8-bit music festival Chip Bit Day held in Manchester.

Music is the beautiful communication of vibrations in space, as perceived by our ears and interpreted by our brains, and the ultimate aural expression of our existential experience of life. In the words of E.T.A. Hoffman, “Music discloses to man an unknown realm, a world in which he leaves behind him all definite feelings to surrender himself to an inexpressible longing.”

+ Learn the ins and outs of pro songwriting with Soundfly’s variety of mentored online courses, such as The New Songwriter’s Workshop, Songwriting for Producers, and Unlocking the Emotional Power of Chords. 

Once you’re on board with knowing that venues and club promoters aren’t charity organizations chomping at the bit to help you promote your music, learning how to describe your sound and successes is the next vital step in making your band more bookable. This is essential for creating an engaging pitch designed to tell venues why you’re worth booking.

“No Tears Left To Cry”: There’s so much tonal candy here, we had to have a whole public hearing about it when the song came out: the Kabalevsky-esque interplay between major and minor scales in the melody, the Vsus chord, and these yummy jewels-in-the-necklace add2 chords that make up the main chord-riff. It’s the add2 in the major tonic chord (I) that softens and disguises the tonal change between major and minor, by the way. The intro to this song is really two intros that use chorus material — first as is, then she slows it down from 122 to 100 BPM. Then the second intro is an odd 14 bars long, before we finally get to the verse.