Robin Frederick

[TAXI Music Books]

While Robin Frederick isn’t a household name, she certainly has the street cred to call herself an authority on music acquisition for film and television. Starting her career as a New Age artist in the early ’90s, she segued into a long and fruitful career as a writer and executive producer for countless kids’ TV shows and albums (working on such varied projects as a Ronald McDonald sing-along and Bugs Bunny covering the Beatles) before moving up to director of A&R for Rhino Records.

Her 344-page, exhaustively researched tome never gets too rudimentary (if you’re not a practicing musician or songwriter and are looking for shorthand on how to get started in those areas, look elsewhere), instead diving right in with a brief overview of the film and TV industry and from there leaving no stone unturned. Of course, with two to three pages devoted to each of her 114 distinct “shortcuts,” a few here and there can’t help but bleed together. For example, there’s not much difference between “Create a Melody That Expresses Emotion” and “Take Your Melody to the Next Level,” and even referring to some of these hints as “shortcuts” is a bit far-fetched. (“Put Together a Basic Home Studio” and “Make Broadcast Quality Mixes” aren’t exactly smoke-break endeavors.) Shortcuts to Songwriting may or may not get your name in lights. But with a focus on independence and productive exercises tacked on to each chapter, it at least provides a guiding hand to getting your name in the credits. —J. Thompson

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