Continuing in our series of ear training site profiles…
We’ve covered the Dallas School of Music‘s innovative “Discover, Learn and Play” online training program here on the site before, including a recent guest post by Eugene Cantara from the school. They’ve just launched a totally revamped version of their online music school, ‘DLP’, and we couldn’t wait to give it a try.
One of the biggest changes to the DLP program is how much is now available free! That’s right, you can zip on over there, create a free account, and dive right into a huge amount of teaching material. With very high quality material across a broad range of theory topics, this is a tremendous new resource for all music students, especially those trying to teach themselves or in need of supplemental material for their instrument learning.
As part of signing up, you select which instrument you’re studying. The core material taught is the same across instruments, but this means that the examples featured will be suitable for your instrument, making it easier for you to connect theory with practice.
The site offers two main courses, the general “Kore” course and a specialised “Jazz” course (launching soon). Advanced material in the Kore course is a paid option, but there’s plenty to keep you busy without that. The courses are based around the “Discover, Learn and Play” philosophy, which tackles each topic by first explaining it (Discover), then testing your understanding (Learn) and then giving you a real musical exercise to play on your instrument relating to the topic (Play).
How to use it
Of course, here at EasyEarTraining.com we’re most interested in the aural skills aspects of this new site. And while most of the other websites we’re profiling in this series are very specific to ear training, DLP can be seen more as a complement to your aural skills training:
There are listening exercises included as part of the “Learn” phase of each lesson, and if you keep the right mindset the “Play” phase can certainly also reinforce your aural skills. But the site is probably best used to target the theory topics and general musical understanding which provides the foundation for listening skills.
What you’ll learn
The Kore course covers the melody and harmony topics you’d hope for in a beginner to mid-level music theory course. Traditional notation is used, but the teaching style and musical content isn’t particularly classical. Naturally the Jazz course tackles topics more specifically related to the jazz tradition and style.
The topic list may give you the impression that rhythm is somewhat overlooked. The 20 lessons of the Kore course do focus mostly on melody and harmony (notes, intervals, chords and scales) but subjects like note durations, time signatures and syncopation are also covered.
In terms of aural skills, the first quiz of each lesson generally includes a handful of questions based on sound clips, such as “Is this a half or a whole step?” or “Are these notes played staccato or legato?”. Since this maps directly to the theory content for the lesson it’s a great way to connect the abstract ideas you’re learning with the aural skills required to recognise and appreciate them in practice.
The DLP team also maintain a library of shared resources (making use of the terrific Evernote software) for a variety of instruments, from recommended YouTube videos to interesting bookmarks and articles.
Our first suggestion is a simple one: Go sign up!
There’s so much excellent material available for free, and music theory is such a common stumbling block for ear training students, we have no hesitation in encouraging you to go give it a try.
Beyond that, it seems like the DLP site can serve as an excellent complement to our material here at EasyEarTraining.com. If you’re interested in aural skills, there are almost certainly some theory topics you know you’d like to brush up on. And having extra quizzes and instrumental pieces to put your knowledge and skills to the test is a great advantage.
Finally, whether or not the DLP program becomes part of your regular training right away, we highly recommend keeping an eye on their site – the team clearly have a lot more material in the pipeline and a fantastic approach to online music learning.
Here at Easy Ear Training we love to see innovative use of technology to bolster music learning, especially when it targets or complements the development of listening skills and musicianship. We’re excited to see this new version of DLP launched and can’t wait to see what gets added to the site in the months ahead.
Whether your music theory is in need of a boost, or you’re starting from scratch, DLP offer a great course to get you up to speed in an interesting and fun way, using your brain, ears and instrument. Don’t let music theory intimidate you or hold back your musical education – DLP can give you the helping hand you need.