Did you know you can increase your musicality by honing your sense of rhythm, or learning a second instrument? Read on to find out how. We also have a guide to developing your “jazz ear” and five ways you can recover from a musical mistake! And for all the song writers and composers who may be suffering from creative block: we’ve got great advice on where to look for musical inspiration.
A couple of things before we dive in:
- If you are a guitar player wanting to play by ear, don’t miss our guest post on GuitarCoachMag.com this week about learning intervals on the guitar.
- Do you live in the New York area and are looking for a music workshop to attend this summer? Ithaca College are holding a week long “Modern Band workshop”. No previous experience with popular music or popular music instruments is required, and they will provide all the instruments! Find out more here.
Seven Reasons to Learn a New Instrument
It can be tempting to focus on mastering one musical instrument, but in fact learning several different instruments can improve your musicality in many ways. Find out more in Seven Reasons to Learn a New Instrument and be inspired to become a Jack of all trades and a master of one.
If you are still not convinced, Normans Musical Instruments has ten more reasons why you should learn to play an instrument. Hint: do it for fun! As if there weren’t enough reasons to start learning a new instrument, Artist Works gives you one more: Learning a new instrument makes you smarter!
So, you’ve decided to learn a new instrument but haven’t decided which one is right for you? How about choosing a instrument based on your personality? Joy Tunes has a few suggestions for helping you find the right fit.
Jazz Improv Ear Training
Have you ever been intimidated by the thought of improvising jazz? If the answer is yes, you are not alone. Jazz improvisation is notoriously complicated – but it doesn’t need to be. We asked 13 of the top jazz improvisation educators for their advice in How to Start Jazz Improvisation Ear Training: Experts Guide. This week have summarised their top tips and five master tools emerged. Read The Jazz Ear Startup Guide: Five Master Tools to find out what they are and how they can help you get started with Jazz Improvisations today.
For more on the different schools of thought on how to learn to improvise check out Learn Jazz Standards’ discussion on the various approaches to tacking improvisation or watch this great video tutorial from Walk That Bass on how to how to improvise in jazz, focusing on creating tension and resolution and what sets jazz apart from other genres:
Musicality means… Having Good Rhythm
We’ve all seen them: crazy drummers who play contrasting polyrhythms with each limb, the jazz pianist whose magical hands can turn a beat inside and out with fluid perfection, or the orchestra conductor who keeps eighty musicians playing together no matter how maddening the tempo. They are just talented, right? No, they are just like you and me but have learned the skill of “good rhythm”. This week on the Musical U blog the team explain why it is important to have good rhythm and how you can learn it.
Once you’re introduced you to why rhythm is important to musicality, you may want to to have a look at some beginner rhythmic exercises. Guitar Hub has an introduction to rhythm and some practice exercises.
Want to take it further? Midnight Music has a great free music tech lesson plan for Chrome Music Lab.
Aside from musicality it turns out there is another advantage to rhythm training: you can get a workout all at the same time! Why not kill two birds with one stone?
Solos and Syncopation
Speaking of having good rhythm, our rhythm bootcamp tutorial from this week tackles two common rhythm problem spots, with helpful tips and exercises to help performers keep in time during their solos and when playing more complicated syncopated rhythms. If these sound like familiar problems check out Common Rhythm Problem Spots: Solos and Syncopation.
- If you are interested in learning more about syncopation, Global Guitar Network explores a few of the different types of syncopation and provides some useful exercises.
- If you are interested in crafting the perfect solo, Jazz Advice shares a lesson with jazz great Herbie Hancock on how to create the perfect solo.
We know it’s hard to keep practicing when you get stuck on tricky rhythmic passages. The Bulletproof Musician explains how rhythmicity is built into everyday life and why you should keep practicing those difficult rhythms.
Listening for Musical Inspiration
If you are a songwriter or composer then you would have experienced a creative block at some point when working on a new piece of music. This week we have an article discussing the use of reference tracks to help you find some musical inspiration. With six tracks as examples, this is not to be missed by anyone involved in or thinking about creating music.
If you’ve tried all of our advice on overcoming writers block and are still stuck, these additional tips from New Music Box may help and for the music producers among you who can’t seem to get that next track started, follow these tips from Ear Monk. They have 101 of them!
Recover from Musical Mistakes
The fear of making a mistake when performing is familiar to all musicians. Learning to overcome that fear is as important as perfecting the technicalities of the piece you are going to perform. If you feel that fear of making a mistake is affecting your ability to perform, don’t miss this weeks Musical U blogpost 5 Ways to Recover from a Musical Mistake.
For more helpful advice read Making Music Mag’s article how to recover from a mistake onstage with quotes from professional musicians, or Elissa Milne’s helpful tips on what to do – and what not to do – if you make a mistake.
I hope you are now prepared to develop your musicality in new ways, pick up a new instrument and listen out for new musical inspiration. Remember you can always get the latest, or share these resources with a friend via our Facebook pages: Easy Ear Training and Musical U.
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