This week we have some great new resources for musicians wanting to improvise, transcribe or figure out harmonies by ear, an interesting interview about the therapeutic benefits of singing, plus tips on making time for music and the importance of sleep for musicians.
If any of those areas intrigues you, read on and discover the resources you need to make new progress.
Becoming a Better Improviser
Improvisation is a highly sought-after musical skill but it’s intimidating to many musicians. That is why here at Easy Ear Training we are continually creating and finding new resources to help you develop your improvisation skills. This week we published 12 Ways to be a Better Improviser which includes some effective tips for all improvisers, whatever your instrument and genre might be.
You can get more tips in our previous Jazz Improvisation Experts Guide, this 12 Improvisation Tips article from Making Music Magazine and these clever improvisation practice exercises. Just make sure you’re always playing your emotions when you improvise!
Making Time for Music
Unless music is your full-time job it can be hard to find as much time as you’d like to practice your instrument or learn other musical skills. However, we all have pockets of time in our day-to-day lives which we can use for music practice – even without our instruments! Find out how you can use these extra minutes in this post on the Musical U blog, You Have More Time for Music than You Realise.
If you need even more tips for making “music time” a habit, check out their previous post 10 Ways to Find More Time for Music, and to organise your practice try following the Rule of 10s from Donna Schwartz Music. There are also some great tips for teachers and musicians alike in How to Skyrocket Your Music Practice Time.
If you’ve ever wondered how transcription can actually help you in music, check out this video which explains why it is important for all musician to learn how to transcribe:
And now that you’re convinced that transcribing is an important musical skill to learn, here are some resources to help you with this.
This week’s Solfa and the Score tutorial talks you through how to transcribe melodies using the pentatonic scale and solfa syllables. Don’t forget to check out the previous tutorials in the Solfa and the Score series to learn how to internalise the solfa syllables and use this skill for sight-singing and transcription.
Here are a few more great tutorials on transcribing music:
- Learning Music by Writing Down Your Transcriptions
- Video tutorial on how to organise a transcription
- Tips for Transcribing Music
Okay, that should keep your transcribing ears and hands busy for now – but don’t let them get so carried away they transcribe onto inappropriate surfaces!
The Importance of Sleep for Musicians
Whether it is pulling occasional all-nighters or chronic sleep deprivation, lack of adequate sleep can affect your ability to practice and perform music. Don’t underestimate the importance of sleep for musicians – learn about it in this Musical U blog post.
To learn more on this important subject check out these two great articles on sleep and music from TheMusiciansBrain.com and BulletproofMusician.com, and these two inspiring and illuminating TED talks: One more reason to get a good night’s sleep and Why do we sleep?
Finally, if you are reading this in a sleep-deprived state, debating whether to have a coffee or a nap this article is for you: Naps vs. Coffee: Which Is a Better Choice for the Sleep-Deprived Musician?
Learn to Hear Harmonies
Harmonies are fantastic! They can turn a simple melody into a full-layered hit song, but we don’t always take to the time to listen and appreciate them. Learn how to listen for harmonies in popular songs and work them out by ear in Learning to Listen: Harmonies.
One way to learn to sing harmonies is to pick out a note in the chords your hear being played. Here is a video tutorial which helps explain the process of picking out the notes in a chord with your voice, helping you get one step closer to figuring out harmonies yourself.
One of the examples in our tutorial above is Toto’s Africa: a classic song with some really effective harmonies. If you found yourself inspired, check out this video tutorial which teaches you how to sing each of the vocal parts, step by step:
The Therapeutic Power of Singing
Our voice is the one instrument everyone is born with, but did you know it can also be used as a therapeutic tool? This week we interviewed singing teacher and sound therapist, Patricia PE Janssen to find out more about sound therapy and its many benefits including learning to love your voice.
If you are interested in finding out more about sound therapy check out Patricia’s website Constig and The British Academy of Sound Therapy. Oh – and if you are thinking you need therapy for your voice rather than through your voice, check out this blog post from TakeLessons.com on vocal trauma and when to seek medical advice.
I hope that these resources have sparked new ideas and enthusiasm for your music practice this week! Remember, for all our latest tutorials and recommended resources, don’t forget to Like the Easy Ear Training and Musical U Facebook pages.
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