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Inspiration may strike like lightning, but just about as frequently, so go out and find your own stories, ideas, characters, and narratives in these blogs!

Patrick McGuire is a writer, musician and human man. He lives nowhere in particular, creates music under the name Straight White Teeth, and has a great affinity for dogs and putting his hands in his pockets.

When musicians set out to dominate the world with their music, they usually envision playing to sold-out stadiums and amphitheaters of screaming fans, not living rooms in front of only a handful of attentive listeners. But believe it or not, for lots of artists, house shows end up being more beneficial and sustainable than ones played at traditional venues, and organizations like Sofa Concerts are trying to connect more artists with even more opportunities to everyone’s benefit.

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Whatever the case, holiday albums do seem to be a great way for musicians to pull in a bit of extra cash, especially in a year when an artist hasn’t released significant new material. Holiday songs are mostly public domain, since their copyrights have lapsed, which means more royalties for the singer. These albums often “hit the shelves” (that won’t be a term for much longer…) as early as October, in order to give them a bit of time to build publicity and airtime. Labels will start ramping up marketing towards mid-late November, right as Black Friday and holiday gift fever starts to set in.

The verses of “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” contain those three top-tiered notes (1, 3, and 5) 57% of the time and the pre-chorus contains them 50% of the time. But the chorus uses these notes 85% of the time, meaning that it’s both pleasurable and predictable when it repeats and allows us to sing along in our heads (or in our showers).

Some house show hosts will have to take a percentage of the door cut to cover their costs, but in most situations, it’s the performing artist who ends up with the lion’s share. Playing a big ol’ fancy venue might be an impressive thing for a burgeoning band to brag about, but with all the staff and overhead costs, the bands won’t earn any money unless they’re able to fill it. At a house show, you’re not expected to bring in hundreds — you can even make the gig free to attract more people and ask for donations.

+ Learn more on Soundfly: Want to learn more about how streaming and sales royalties work and how to get the money you deserve? Check out our free course, How to Get All the Royalties You Never Knew Existed, and read up on the differences between getting paid as an “Artist” versus a “Songwriter” here.

Frances Katz began her career writing about MTV and Napster. Now she writes about technology, music, business, and culture for a variety of publications including The Week, The Atlantic, Paste, The New York Times, Ploughshares, and others. She lives in Atlanta, but you can keep up with her on Twitter.

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And all of this happened before Brown’s future mega hits like “Sex Machine,” “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag,” and “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” were even conceived. Live at the Apollo paved the way for Brown’s later successes, it was a jumping off point to reaching the black audiences and households to whom he really wanted to communicate. At this point, Brown was playing around 300 shows a year but was still mostly known by black audiences.

And what better way to kick off this revolutionary new television outlet than to air the newly minted music video for the Buggles’ song, “Video Killed the Radio Star” at 12:01 AM on August 1st, 1981, in all its glorious irony?

Learn more on Soundfly: Our new mentored online course Songwriting for Producers will help you push your songwriting skills closer to your production skills, and give you the ability to visualize commercial-market-ready versions of your tracks. Attack your production dreams today! 

Together, that’s D, E, F♯, G, A, B, and C♯ — all the notes in the D major scale! Consolidating all these notes within one four-bar progression firmly roots this song into the key of D major.

The bass tone is played by hitting the center of the drum with your open hand. You want to bounce your whole hand against the skin to get that deep, low pitch. Also, by bouncing your hand off the head of the drum, the tones are left to resonate. Start by practicing this bass tone a few times — this is your core.