At Soundfly, we’re really excited about our new model of mentor-driven learning. Yes, we have a ton of fun making high-quality videos and content, but having a human being there working alongside you to answer questions, offer feedback, and push you in the direction you want to go can make all the difference!
“Personalized learning” has become somewhat of an overused buzzword in education today, often being applied to tech algorithms that don’t really have that much personalization. Our model is different because it’s profoundly human. Our incredible team of Mainstage Mentors personalize our courses based on your musical goals so it’s more relevant to what you, and you alone, are looking to get out of them.
Skim some of their bios below, then sign up for the opportunity to work with a mentor that inspires you! You can feel free to preview the first lesson in any Mainstage course we offer for free, but remember… The next session starts in two days!
Shortly after graduating from Berklee School of Music in production, John headed to NYC to start an internship at a studio there. In his first week he was asked to chop up some 40 different mixes of existing tracks to picture for an advertising job — something he’d never done before and did his best with. A few days after submitting his work, he found a folder on his boss’s desktop titled “JH’s shortcomings,” and his heart dropped.
He went home that night committed to show everyone he could do it. He practiced editing songs relentlessly in all different ways, without a mouse, without the grid, etc, until he became one of the fastest editors at the studio — and eventually got a full-time gig there.
Since then, he’s been mixing and making music in all sorts of environments, from mixing film soundtracks to composing and producing music for commercials. The most memorable advice he ever got? “Stop EQing the snare drum. You’re mixing a song. Not a snare drum.” — a great reminder from his Berklee prof Susan Rogers to focus on the big picture, rather than getting lost in the weeds.
He’s excited to help students step up their mixing game in our newest course Faders Up: Modern Mix Techniques I.
One of Martin’s most memorable musical moments happened while working on the score to the indie film Experimenter, composed by Bryan Senti. During the recording session, Marty was asked to re-voice and notate a section that involved a lot of string harmonics — one of the toughest things to notate given all the math of matching which note works with which harmonic and which finger hovers where. Needless to say, Marty dove in headfirst and got it done, despite biting his nails the entire time — and in the process learned not to be afraid to put it all on the line for the music.
Martin now composes and produces music for aural and visual media. He’s composed for acclaimed podcasts such as This American Life, Limetown, The Spark, and written music for various artists and commercial music houses. He also has a myriad of other projects, including recording and performing with VÉRITÉ, the PLS.trio, Arthur Moon, Emel Mathlouthi, and other NYC-based artists. He produces original electro and house music and remixes as MDFX, and trap/jungle/bass music and remixes as WNNR, and will release his debut solo record early next year.
Martin hopes to help all of his students tangibly further themselves as musicians, as well as meeting the goals of the course. He says the most important advice he ever got was to only speak when you have something to say — a lesson he applies to music.
Raven wants to stretch students’ minds past the typical love song and past a melody that they’ve heard 1,000 times to help them access the magic of writing a song in their own unique voice, using universal tools and concepts as a starting point. With a love for lyrics, her own songs are influenced heavily by visual arts, fiction, nature and great songs of the past.
One of the most important experiences that has shaped her as a songwriter is cowriting with other musicians. Cowriting is a powerful teacher because it forces you to keep your ego in check, and to realize that the only thing that matters is not who’s idea it is, but how well it serves the song. As she says, “the fun part is recognizing that if your true goal is to write a great song, you are excited any time your cowriter improves on your idea with a better one!”
One of the biggest lessons Joseph learned at Berklee School of Music was that your peers are your collaborators, not your competition. The superstar artists on the Billboard charts are your competition. He’s endeavored to live that lesson ever since by helping others in their musical careers as much as focusing on his own.
Shortly after graduating Berklee, Joseph was signed by a publishing company for an electronic dance single he wrote called “Ignited,” which led to the track being blasted over the airwaves all over Europe, alongside such hitmakers as Avicii, Nicky Romero, Disclosure, and Tiesto. It’s still energizing festivals and dance clubs over there.
Since then, he’s had music placed with global networks, including NBC, ABC, MTV, E!, Oxygen, NHL, Hallmark Channel, global non-profit organizations, and more. He recently wrote the theme song for E!’s new docu-series, Reunion Road Trip.
Joseph hopes that all of his students leave his course confident in their craft and more interested in the subject matter than when they started. He’s mentoring Introduction to the Composer’s Craft and The New Songwriter’s Workshop.
Nick loves learning new instruments and has had to do it a number of times for different stage roles. He recently did a show where he was asked “Do you play the concertina?” Without thinking, he said “Sure!” before realizing that they intended him to play it on stage in front of a paying audience a week later. He figured it out, and made it work — and reinforced the lesson that sometimes the greatest risks lead to the most rewarding moments!
Having studied music education and drama in college with a M.A. in acting, Nick has performed and music directed a ton of shows across NYC, regional theaters, and even on TV. He is a specialist in stage combat and a cappella arranging, and loves bringing music into the roles he’s working on.
It can be tough going into a rehearsal room feeling like you’re depending on other people or not entirely sure what you’re doing. Nick hopes that all his students walk away from the Music Theory for Broadway Actors course more confident and self-reliant.
Nick mentors our course for auditioning actors called TheoryWorks: Music Theory for Broadway Actors.
A few years ago, Mahea was asked to write a hook for a hip-hop group, even though she’s never really done that before. After throwing out 30 different ideas that didn’t really work, she finally did the thing she should have done from the beginning — worried less about the genre and instead spoke to what the band was doing, and it felt so much better.
Mahea loves the way music, and composition specifically, helps us understand ourselves and each other better. During her time at Berklee School of Music, someone told her that “any chord can move smoothly to any other chord if you know what you’re doing.” Out of context, that sounds a little odd, but basically it gave her permission to bend and break all the musical rules she’d learned up til that point. Having studied classical music for more than 20 years, it was a lightbulb moment that’s allowed her to stop asking Yes or No questions in music, but How and Why, instead.
As Soundfly’s VP of Learning and Curriculum, she’d like all Soundfly students to walk away from their courses similarly thinking about music theory more as a toolbox than a set of rules, so that they can use those tools to say something powerful and unique in their own voice.
Ian’s first ever show performing original material with a group was completely inappropriate. He and his bandmates were booked to support Girl Talk at a showcase at Brandeis, and performed an experimental improvised set of music. Most of the audience was there to dance, not lose themselves in a cerebral reflection on life and loss. Whatever the case, the experience was actually incredibly rewarding and led to two projects that have since toured the world numerous times, proving that you never know what will happen when you say “Yes” to things.
Since then, Ian’s played all over Europe, North America, and Asia with his trio Sontag Shogun, performed with incredible musicians like Julia Kent, Matana Roberts, and Greg Fox, composed music for films and videos, including the award-winning short film Rosa: These Storms, and recorded multiple well-received albums. He also founded Soundfly along the way.
He hopes that his students will push themselves a little bit forward each week, and realize that the best outcomes are achieved in small steps.
Ian’s currently mentoring the Orchestration for Strings course.
Check out the rest of what Mainstage has to offer here, we hope to see you soon!