By now, you’ve probably heard us shouting from the rooftops about our new and improved customized mentorship program, the Headliners Club — or as we like to call it, our “build-your-own-course course.”
At Soundfly, we care deeply about creating the most effective learning experience we can. For the past few years, we’ve been developing this mentorship alternative to the mentored-course model of our online courses with that exact goal in mind — building off research others have done around how people learn and what we’ve seen through our own experiments and experiences. But the question you may be wondering is: “Why?”
Why teach without a course lesson in place? Why is the program structured this way? Why does it work?
In particular, the overall aim of all of our programs is to promote active learning, where students are putting concepts into action, getting feedback, and making progress by doing, rather than passively ingesting information. We do that through intense personalization — by providing a personal mentor matched to your needs and a structure that supports your learning experience.
Therefore, in addition to providing a platform designed to operate around your own schedule, no matter your location, we’ve structured this program around six core elements that we think contribute to an effective learning experience that is both active and highly personalized:
1. Goal Setting
We help students take big-picture dreams and turn them into concrete goals. We see a lot of students who want to “make a living off their music” or “be a professional beat maker,” without a concrete plan or understanding of how to get there.
During this program, the initial conversations with your mentor allow you to articulate your targets and then make them explicit through your Learning Plan. You don’t have to adjust to generic goals — you’re setting your own objectives with your mentor.
2. A Focused Plan of Action
We love psychologist Anders Ericsson’s concept of “deliberate practice.” It describes an approach to learning in which we focus our activities on the areas that need the most work, steadily pushing ourselves to the edge of our comfort zone (you can read more about the science behind this method here). As learners, this kind of work can be tough to do because we often don’t know what we need to do next to improve.
In our program, your mentor works with you to break your goals up into specific weekly activities, designed to be constrained, relevant, and escalating in difficulty. They will provide an overview of these projects in your Learning Plan, but then adjust them as you go to make sure that they are meeting your goals and focusing on the areas of most relevance to you.
Feedback is an essential part of learning, but there are a couple of different types:
- Black-and-white feedback. (Did you play a wrong note?)
- Objective standards feedback. (Is your track up to the production standards that music supervisors are looking for?)
- Personalized feedback. (Is your music achieving your intentions?)
Our mentors can give you feedback in all three areas on a weekly basis during the program. They might offer a new perspective on your song based on your intentions, or give you honest feedback about where a piece falls short based on the expectations of the field, if that’s part of your goal. This can help you hone in on where to focus your efforts to make the most progress.
4. Social Accountability
We all have trouble staying on top of our goals sometimes. Our program is structured over the course of a month with weekly activities to help you stay accountable to your stated goals over time. Our mentors will check in with you every week to see how your activities are coming and whether you’re making progress toward your goals.
If you’re often writing or producing music alone, it can be really easy to lose perspective. Having a sounding board who is more experienced than you in a specific area can help you develop confidence in your artistic choices and build momentum for your musical journey. This is an essential part of your relationship with Soundfly and with your mentor — having someone in your corner who can help you develop the confidence to push yourself further than you thought you could go.
6. Answering Questions and Overcoming Hurdles
Finally, we all occasionally get stuck somewhere along the way. It’s easy to want to throw your computer out the window in frustration when your production software isn’t working right. Having someone you can reach out to in order to answer your immediate questions and help you overcome these hurdles is a critical part of making real progress.
These are some of the elements that set this program apart from a typical private lesson or online course. We also know that not everyone benefits from the same exact balance of all of these features. Some learners require more planning, while others may require more validation. Your mentor will help find the equilibrium that’s right for you.
At the end of the day, we want you to have a human connection and someone else committed to your learning — and everything that comes with that.
Ready to give it a shot? Tell us about yourself, and we’ll find you the right mentor. If you want to know more, just head over to the Headliners Club info page or feel free get in touch with us via email. Here’s a playlist we’ve created featuring all kinds of music created by our incredible Soundfly Mentor staff!