Student Spotlight, Volume 5: Listen to New Works by Student Artists

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Each and every month, we start a new Mainstage session, welcoming in a fresh batch of uniquely talented student-artists ready to step up their game and take their music further than ever before. Our team of Soundfly Mentors works with these creative artists, striving to help them reach their learning goals and build confidence in several areas of music. It’s an intense experience for both students and Mentors, and we inevitably end up wanting to shout about the amazing things they accomplish in the four-to-six week session.

This edition of Student Spotlight features work by a handful of both Mainstage and Headliners artists who have recently decided to invest in themselves in the areas of orchestral and hip-hop mixing, music theory for singing actors, advanced harmonic composition and lush ambient pop songwriting, working one-on-one with their Mentors to help them get there.

Check out the full playlist below. Scroll down to hear a little more about each track, how the student approached this work, and which course the student took to help make it. In addition to specific courses, we also offer a new, personalized program called Headliners Club, that pairs students with Mentors uniquely suited to help them build custom Learning Plans and reach practical, specific goals, outside of a traditional course structure. Learn more here.

“Two Lives”

Student-Artist: Tony (Tohne)
Course: Faders Up I: Modern Mix Techniques
Mentor: Sam Friedman

Sam: When Tony (Tohne) began his Soundfly mixing course, he already had a strong foundation of creative musical capabilities. His music is cinematic, intricate, emotional, and, most importantly, unique. However, the overall mixing of his music wasn’t quite there, which held back his artistic talent from really coming to life. We worked together on building his foundational mixing skills — from levels and panning to EQ and compression to time-based effects and automation. Each week, Tony’s gorgeous song, “Two Lives,” continued to become more animated and colorful, with more clarity and balance in the mix. After our six week’s together pouring over each detail of the mix, his final version of “Two Lives” soars to a much more powerful place, where the song is now ready for the world.


Student Artist: Doug Merlino (The Rashomon Effect)
Course: The Creative Power of Advanced Harmony
Mentor: Martin Fowler

Martin: Doug has been doing some awesome work throughout this whole session. Each week he came up with a creative approach to each compositional prompt, and each week he was able to voice his own artistic perspective while still perfectly satisfying the requirements of the assignment. This final project, however, really takes the cake. Not only does it go above and beyond the requirements of the assignment, it’s just a rad piece of music that is something I would totally dig if it came up randomly on a playlist. Doug has a clear vision of what he wants to achieve and has repeatedly stated how this course has deeply changed his understanding of these more advanced harmonic concepts. I’m stoked to hear what he puts out into the world next!”

“Untitled Final Project”

Student Artist: Jason Tanner
Course: Faders Up II: Advanced Mix Techniques
Mentor: John Hull

John: Jason was one of my students for the Faders Up I course, so it was great to have the opportunity to help him continue developing his mixing. This course is a big step up in terms of the size of the projects and the rapid turnaround times. Jason put a lot of effort in each week to get his projects done and asked some really good questions along the way regarding the intricacies of the various genres. For his final project, Jason chose to spend his time on the Orchestral Cinematic section. This is a huge undertaking, as not only is the track count extremely high, but this session also requires you to blend real strings with sampled strings. Jason and I went back and forth on some work-in-progress mixes over the course of the last week. One of the biggest takeaways for Jason, and one of the ways I could see him progressing, was how he began to focus more on groups of sounds which allowed him to work on the mix as a whole, rather than spending time on individual tracks. I’m excited to see how Jason applies all his new tools to his own projects in the future!

“Foreign Teen Flick”

Student-Artist: Maxwell Sebastian
Course: Headliners Club
Mentor: Martin Fowler

Martin: Maxwell and I worked on getting in the flow of making demos in Logic Pro, which was fairly new to him, in the hopes of moving towards writing and producing library music. We started by utilizing our Making Realistic MIDI Strings course as a frame of reference for basic MIDI editing and expressively controlling plug-in instruments. He spent a week working on a strings demo that went very well, before shifting focus to an original instrumental work of his own, “Foreign Teen Flick.” Maxwell spent a week making a demo, a week doing a mix, and a week revising his initial mix and cleaning up some of the live performances until they were much cleaner and tighter. The result is a funky, fresh, original track that I could see many libraries easily accepting into their repertoire!

“THE EDge”

Student-Artist: Lisa Reshkus
Course: Headliners Club
Mentor: Raven Katz

Raven: Lisa was an absolute joy to work with during our Headliners session. She grew leaps and bounds as a songwriter during our time together, due in no small part to her openness, willingness to try new things, and ability to travel outside her comfort zone. She did a fantastic job building two songs from the ground up. The second song even had her looking beyond her own emotions to gather inspiration from an outside source. She built a fabulous sonic and lyrical landscape based on a story that wasn’t her own, and made it convincing, haunting, and beautiful! Cheers to you, Lisa!

Kelly Patterson

Course: TheoryWorks: Music Theory for Broadway Actors
Mentor: Amy Stewart

Amy: Kelly was such a stellar student — deliberate, thoughtful, thorough, and curious. And, an incredibly kind and gifted actor to boot. I can’t wait to see what songs she writes for her upcoming projects!

Kelly: I learned so much! The self-conducting was huge for me — getting the music off the page and into my body was SO helpful. I felt challenged the entire course, but not so much that it felt impossible. I’ve already started applying what I’ve learned to my singing!

Ready to Reach Your Musical Goals?

Our Soundfly Mentorship program is built on our belief that accountability and guidance can have a huge impact on helping students reach their goals and develop their musical identities. We currently offer mentorship with nine courses, including those mentioned earlier, as well as the Headliners Club. Our mentors are passionate, experienced musicians with a shared love of personalized learning and artistic curiosity.

You can find more information on our courses here or by reaching out to [email protected].

*If you think you have what it takes to be a Soundfly Mentor, learn more about the program here.

Elijah Fox at the piano

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