Surviving, and Thriving, While Freelancing

Some people dream of being “their own boss.” I suffer the proverbial fear of the blank page, and I wish just one person would give me a place to work and a time to do it. The more you freelance, the more self-discipline and organization you need. Most freelancers report back to someone, but freelance…

How To Write About Music: A Definitive Method

This is a technique I learned in music school, from one or maybe two teachers who taught a class on musical analysis. It can work on any body of music in any style: I’ve used it to talk about “New York, New York” by Frank Sinatra, the sociological importance of A Tribe Called Quest (using the album People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm as an example), and a Ghanian folk song I had absolutely no background on, including a lyrical translation. The Music Map lets you dissect and diagram every part of a song and assign meaning to it. Then, when you’ve fully formed your understanding of the core essence you want to talk about, it gives you a chart of exactly how to write about it.

Whiskey In A Teacup: The Yankee’s Guide to Great Country Music

Originally published as the cover story of Tastemakers Issue #49, “Southern Comfort: Reconciling Yourself With One Of America’s Oldest Traditions.” (See link or scroll down for full spread.)   When country and western, formerly called “hillbilly” music, started its ascent into the mainstream after World War II, its listeners made up a full third of…

An Urban Tribe Called Quest

Tomorrow alternative hip hop legends A Tribe Called Quest will release their sixth and final alum, We got it from here… Thank You 4 Your service, featuring guests Kendrick Lamar, Jack White, Elton John, André 3000, Anderson .Paak, and Busta Rhymes. After thirty years and a shift to an increasingly neotribalist society, is A Tribe Called…

Easy Polyrhythm and Polymeter

I’ve had a lot of confusing conversations about polyrhythms and polymeters because they’re so difficult to hear. Stumbling over the verbiage doesn’t help. Here’s a very simple explanation of each, and if you find yourself wishing for background info on rhyhtm and meter, click here. Where are polyrhythms and polymeters found? These are techniques that…

Glossary: Rhythm and Meter

Introducing the Attunement Glossary. In an effort to make theory more accessible and less daunting to everyone, I’ve started a Glossary page to reference theory I mention in blog posts, or just feel like sharing. Any time I update the Glossary, I’ll post the same content as a blog post, to make it known that…

8 Practice Exercises for Any Kind of Music

Edit 06/13/16 1:20 PM: Added #7, now 8 total There are endless ways to practice a piece and they all depend on your own playing style and learning strengths. But if you hit a wall, it’s useful to have a repertoire of practice tricks. The following are some tips I’ve picked up in lessons that…