Songwriting professor is the ‘GOLDEN GIRL’ of CPP

By Connie Lee, Sept. 20, 2022

After receiving her bachelors from St. Olaf College in Minnesota and being a part of additional training from the European American Musical Alliance at La Schola Cantorum in Paris, a Julliard program, Cal Poly Pomona Professor and songwriter Sonja Midthun started her song producing journey in 2020.

Professor Midthun, also known as Sonja Midtune, became an indie acoustic and indie pop artist in 2020 after acquiring a degree in music theory and musical composition at St. Olaf College in 2011. She is currently a professor in the music department at CPP and has been teaching since 2019. She recently performed at Ophelia’s Jump, a performance art theater in Upland, California where the black box theater was transformed into an indie artist stage.

Midthun’s level of experience within the music industry has allowed her to be aware of the different paths that are necessary for success. Having acquaintances in the industry who are building a name for themselves guides her to her own success according to Midthun. She aims to achieve artistry and stardom.

“I think in the beginning of your career, you try to gather all your friends to go to your shows and sometimes even feel better if your friends don’t show up,” said Midthun. “The more that you play the more that you realize that you don’t want your friends to be your fans and you want to make people who do not know you to be your fans.”

The first time Mithun recorded her extended play record, she rented out an expensive studio and bought in-session musicians. As one who studied music theory, she was able to write out parts of her own music which made her realize that it was possible to produce music without recording at a high-end studio.

Photo courtesy of Michelle Lanning

“My most recent music was recorded by a producer in his backyard studio,” said Midthun. “We did all the instruments together improvising them at the moment and for me it has been like moving from classic studio experience to more of a different organic experience.”

When finalizing a project, Midthun focuses on the vision made to produce her specific piece of music to which she still struggles to accomplish. In the event of producing her music, she focuses on a simplified version of her production versus it in its entirety. Her work is then passed onto a sound engineer who mixes and masters the track that she produced. By pressing the record button and beginning to write, making sounds is easy and a strong songwriting tool according to Mithun.

Her courses: MU 129 and MU 229 focuses on topics such as pop songwriting, in conjunction with studying different genres and how to achieve the right tune.

“One thing that I always like to emphasize in my class is that the chances of someone discovering you from the music industry are very low compared to your chances of a fellow classmate making it happen for you,” said Midthun. “Be a good vibe and a good person. Focus on making genuine connections because students are so young and over the next 10 years when those relationships bloom, that’s when your friends will become sync library agents. Focus on making real friends and the chances of a friend pulling through for you is higher than a music executive.”

Midthun’s new song called ‘GROWING UP (for you)’ released on Sept. 15.

To listen to Sonja Midthun’s songs visit Spotify, YouTube and Sonja Midtune on Apple Music.

Feature Image courtesy of Philíp Alexander 

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