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When you’re a musician, it helps to have a job that you can take off every now and then when you go on tour or into the studio, here’s a few of our faves!

Sure, it may not be a fully produced radio-ready single, but you will end up with a great-sounding demo that could save you a lot of time and money if or when you eventually bring your tracks to a professional studio. And the best part is, you don’t even really need a keyboard. Of course, it helps to have one, but a MIDI controller or even your laptop keyboard can work just fine.

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If it turns out that Twitter mentions are where you are consistently getting the most interaction at scale, consider focusing in on Twitter and running some tests in the coming months to see what kind of increased participation you can drum up from that community.

Ethan Hein is a Doctoral Fellow in Music Education at New York University. He teaches music technology, production and education at NYU and Montclair State University. With the NYU Music Experience Design Lab, Ethan has taken a leadership role in the creation of new technologies for learning and expression, most notably the Groove Pizza. He is the instructor of the free Soundfly course series called Theory for Producers. He maintains a widely-followed and influential blog, and has written for various publications, including Slate, Quartz, and NewMusicBox.

Vocals are the heart of almost every pop song. In fact, save for instrumental music, vocals should be the focal point of a song in any genre. Whenever listeners find themselves humming along to a song, it’s usually the top-line vocal melody they’re latching onto, so mixing that aspect of your song’s arrangement for ultimate clarity is of particular importance.

Personally, I’ll be going with C major, because of two small details. First, the song ends on a C chord, which gives us a clue as to how the writer hears the song. Next, Halsey is singing “blue notes” from the C blues scale, which is something you can trust. But because the melody notes and loop notes make an A minor chord in first inversion, you could also hear that as an Am chord, and so an A minor tonality.

The Dorian mode is commonly used to solo over minor 7th chords, applicable to the ubiquitous II–7  V7  I progression, and a creative substitute, or expansion, of the minor pentatonic scale used in blues and rock. (This article assumes a basic understanding of the theoretical fundamentals of scale modes. To brush up on your knowledge of scale types and modes, you can always join Soundfly’s free online course, Theory for Producers.)

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You can try looking in the mirror and telling yourself: “You are amazing, you are the best singer in the world, Sia has nothing on you!”, or, you can wake up, smell the coffee, perhaps drink it too, and take a more substantial approach to building your confidence.

The eleventh edition of our student work sharing series, this one’s a summer blockbuster jam. Get ready to add some new tracks to your favorite playlist!

Mentor: Ryan Lindberg

When applying the Dorian mode to “modal” music, or soloing over a single chord, like many jazz improvisers tend to do, it can be helpful to include arpeggios in our lines. Here is a Dorian arpeggio (Dm6).

These days, the concept of a mailing list may seem antiquated and, to an extent, it is. Everyone with an inbox gets bombarded with offers and unsolicited invites each and every day — most of which are promptly deleted without even a glance. Still, despite the high chance that most of your newsletters are going to be deleted, it is worthwhile to get everyone’s emails at your show for a couple of reasons: