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Playing for Change supports local music programs worldwide, including L’Ecole de musique de Kirina in Mali; Bizung School of Music and Dance in Tamale, Ghana; Imvula Music Program in Gugulethu, South Africa; and Joudour Sahara Music Program in M’Hamid El Ghizlane, Morocco. PFCF also partners to support the Music and Sports Program at Star School in Masaka, Rwanda.

As a general rule, I think comparing your work to other artists can be a pretty unhealthy practice, especially if you have a competitive mentality. But when it comes to duplicating marketing activities and online strategies, learning from them and their tests mean that you aren’t always starting from scratch.

But here’s what’s even more exciting: When you sign up for Modern Pop Vocal Production, you’ll get 1:1 coaching and feedback from one of three expert Soundfly Mentors: The course instructor herself, Sırma; South African producer, touring multi-instrumentalist, and composer, Sulene; or podcast composer, remixer, and touring multi-instrumentalist, Martin D. Fowler.

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And we’re back to the “family.” Mkwaju was an ensemble of Japanese percussionists led by Midori Takada and Yojo Sadanari and features keyboards and production from Joe Hisaishi (popularly known as the composer of the scores to all of Hayao Miyazaki’s films) and Hideki Matsutake, who has also collaborated with the Yellow Magic Orchestra. Obviously, Takada’s signature African marimba rhythms and synthesizer sounds are on full display here.

Mentor: Sırma Munyar

These are just examples, but you get the point. Find the free time in your calendar, pull out your phone, and put stuff in your calendar app (or a paper calendar if you still use one of those). And don’t forget to set a reminder on your phone. This way, you’re holding your future self accountable to be efficient with your music time.

Making a hasty decision to open your wallet can leave you feeling like you have to stick with it. But you might have to swallow your pride if it’s just sitting on the shelf getting dusty. Even if it wasn’t the greatest financial decision you’ve ever made, you might still be able to get some money back for it on the used gear market.

Open mics make lofty promises about what they’re able to offer songwriters of all levels. I’m here to tell you that they’re still a waste of your time.

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Taking more than a little inspiration from the 1970s bestseller Zen & The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, this might be the best all-around volume written on audio engineering we’ve seen yet. Mixerman’s gift is his ability to meld his personal experience in recording and mixing with useful practical advice and thought-provoking philosophical musings. He moves easily from the big picture to the small details (and then back again) meaning that this book is just as useful for a relatively experienced reader as it is for a beginner. It’s really got something for everyone.

Touring is great. But it can very quickly turn into exhaustive, monotonous work. Here are 10 great tips to keep things interesting and fun on the road.

Well, here’s what I discovered: Basically, holiday albums have been somewhat merrily immune to the decline in album sales that’s plagued the music industry since iTunes took over. Quite probably, a lot of people purchase holiday albums as low-cost gifts for people they don’t know what to get. Or because sales are driven by the nostalgia and communal values of Christmas: A house without a Christmas album is not a house that comes together for the holidays.

The integration of music into fundamental community practices (as opposed to sectioning music out as a separate subject area) may contribute to how many African musical traditions have gone largely unstudied by foreigners. In other words, music is daily life in many parts of Africa. But as a result, many African music educators do not permit or encourage written documentation of their work, as it is understood to dilute the lived experience. This in itself contributed to Afrocentric music continuing to be undervalued in the canon (largely upheld by traditions in the West), despite prominence across mass populations worldwide.

Knowing your audience is a crucial aspect of marketing your music, but it is also important to consider your audience when writing your music. What kind of people (outside of your friends and family) do you want your music to appeal to? What artists do people in your target audience listen to? Which moods and lyrics does your audience relate to?

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