This blog was written by SMT’s very own Mari Carlson in anticipation for her upcoming Swedish fiddling workshop on May 16th—click here to sign up now! If you’ve ever heard Swedish as a spoken language, you’ll recognize the pronounced diphthong — the sing-song lilt and melodic cadence of the language. Similarly, the polska is a Scandinavian type of dance that is as Swedish as the diphthong. The polska is a dance tune, or, rather, an overarching term for various subsets of polskas from different regions. Its rhythm defines its melody and also gives it direction, drive, and an invitation for the listeners to MOVE! Characterized by its 3/4 meter, it bobs along with heavy emphasis on 1 AND 3, and...
  • April 25, 2021
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What, exactly, is arranging? How is it different from composing and production? And why should songwriters care about it? In short, it is your secret weapon for making songs more powerful. You don’t have to be a veteran songwriter with a library of original material under your belt to write your own arrangements, either—you just need the motivation to get creative with your music. Want to get started? Well, SMT teacher and composer Ethan Foote will be teaching a weekly “Arranging for Songwriters” workshop on Wednesdays from February 17th to March 10th. In the upcoming workshop, Ethan will give you the tools you need to enhance your music and songwriting through the process of arranging. In addition to exploring your...
  • February 1, 2021
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Learning all the notes on the guitar fretboard is a daunting task; six strings against a fret-studded ebony fingerboard can seem like an abyss of chaos and mystery. Just kidding! It’s not actually as difficult as you might think—all you need is the CAGED system. The CAGED system refers to the geometric shapes that 5 basic chords/scales make (C, A, G, E, and D) and how they connect to the next shape up the neck. I was first introduced to the CAGED system through a series of YouTube videos—and once I got the hang of it, everything clicked into place. Here’s an example of the CAGED system in action: if you move from the C major chord in open position...
  • January 20, 2021
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