Notes From The Arranger

The Robin Thicke / Marvin Gaye case sets a dangerous precedent

Posted by DannyFratina, 03.11.2015

Robin Thicke broke no laws or musical conventions in Blurred Lines, and did not steal anything from Marvin Gaye. Yet he lost his case. Here's why this sets a terrifying precedent that could affect every musician in terrible ways.

Why you need to talk about your failures in public

Posted by DannyFratina, 02.09.2015

We set unreachably high standards for each other when we only post our best achievements and never our struggles and failures. It's time to change that.

Chord Analysis - Flying Lotus - "Never Catch Me"

Posted by DannyFratina, 11.07.2014

Analyzing the harmony and functionality of "Never Catch Me", off the new Flying Lotus album "You're Dead!".

Introducing Price Sharing and Consulting

Posted by DannyFratina, 01.29.2014 is launching two exciting new features: Price sharing (matching two bands needing the same music to split the cost) and Consulting!

Remembering Al Porcino

Posted by DannyFratina, 01.11.2014

Al Porcino died recently ago at the age of 88. If you've listened to big band music, you've definitely heard Al Porcino at some point, and he may be the greatest lead trumpet player the world has known.

The Rise of Predatory Contests

Posted by DannyFratina, 12.07.2013

Music contests with higher entry fees, online voting, and image-based factors seem to be on the rise, just at a time when the jazz and general music community needs safer and more nurturing outlets of competition.

Genres in Pop Music, or Lack Thereof

Posted by DannyFratina, 12.06.2013

Genre is a double edged sword that gives the little guy a direct path to the appropriate listener and gives the industry at large a system to produce music by formula. Has pop music evolved beyond it?

Auditions, NFL "Culture" and Band Culture

Posted by DannyFratina, 11.11.2013

What new musicians need to know about working bands, and what older musicians can learn from recent NFL headlines.

The Immeasurable Legacy of Tiny Kahn, Part II: Over the Rainbow

Posted by DannyFratina, 10.18.2013

Tiny Kahn's contributions to jazz arranging are remarkable but not well-known. Let's analyze a little of his arrangement of "Over the Rainbow" to see if Kahn really was ahead of his time.

Remembering Sol Barzune

Posted by DannyFratina, 09.28.2013

Sol Barzune was not a musician. But often in a musician's life there are people who are influential in other ways.

The Last Ten Years

Posted by DannyFratina, 09.10.2013

It was almost ten years ago to this day that I started classes at Berklee.

The Immeasurable Legacy of Tiny Kahn

Posted by DannyFratina, 09.01.2013

Tiny Kahn was a self taught drummer and composer who died far too young but quietly made a huge impact on the musicians around him. Why is his drumming worth listening to?

Practicing Well, Part V: The 2-hour / 15-minute strategy

Posted by DannyFratina, 02.25.2013

Avoid practicing for too long and not long enough by breaking your practice session down into fifteen minute blocks.

Fear of failure and fear of success

Posted by DannyFratina, 02.09.2013

What is stops us from achieving big things? What keeps us from growing and becoming the artist we want to be? While there were many more positive moments in my career that influenced my life, it’s the damaging ones that stuck out and heavily skewed my perception of myself. However, success is inevitable, and hopefully this honest post about valid fears can be valuable.

Careers in music

Posted by DannyFratina, 01.14.2013

There are a ton of possible careers connected to music and all with varying degrees of income, so let's dispel a few myths and talk about what's out there.

Practicing Well, Part IV: Keeping a practice journal

Posted by DannyFratina, 01.09.2013

A practice journal will help you track your progress and stay focused, maximizing your efficiency with virtually no downside.

Remembering John Bavicchi

Posted by DannyFratina, 12.20.2012

If you ever attended Berklee School of Music in Boston and took any class with even a hint of composition, you can probably thank John Bavicchi, who taught there for almost fifty years until leaving us last week.

Practicing Well, Part III: Using a metronome.

Posted by DannyFratina, 12.03.2012

If you don’t use a metronome then i am sorry to say you have been practicing inefficiently this entire time. The good news is that It’s never too late to start using one!

Practicing Well, Part II: Warming Up

Posted by DannyFratina, 11.19.2012

Warming up a something that is often both misunderstood and neglected, so let’s quickly clear up a few misconceptions about this crucial component of effective practicing.

Transcribing 101

Posted by DannyFratina, 11.12.2012

A step-by-step guide to getting started with transcribing. Transcribing is the process of hearing something and figuring it out, and is a great skill to work on with many great benefits!

Practicing Well, Part I: Burning out and setting new goals

Posted by DannyFratina, 11.04.2012

If you are burned out and on the verge of "dropping out", building new goals will hopefully give you a second wind.

Three techniques to capture the sound of the Ellington 7-Piece

Posted by DannyFratina, 10.14.2012

Let's look at three arranging techniques we can use to reproduce the sound of the Ellington/Hodges band, for melodies, chord progressions, and voicings.

The Ellington 7-piece: A brief introduction

Posted by DannyFratina, 08.22.2012

Johnny Hodges was a major player of the swing era and was a key component in the establishment of the Duke Ellington sound. He was a master of the alto saxophone and had an incredibly distinct voice on it. His band forms the foundation of what on this site I call the Ellington 7-piece.