Teaching Piano, Online Music Lessons, Tension/Release and Singing “Sweet Spots”

So much about music and learning it is about finding the right “fit”. Finding the right song for your voice can be the difference between good and bad singing and, of course, finding the right music teacher for you is of the utmost importance. The way in which you learn music depends so much of what suits your lifestyle and goals.

Even music notes even have to find the right fit with one another to create harmonic or dissonant sounds, depending on the mood you’re trying to create.

This week we have a range of resources to help you find your perfect fit in music. But first, an exciting bit of news and a project that might boost your music career…

The Gray Lady Sings!

Learn to Sing with SingTrueYou want to know what’s a great fit? Easy Ear Training and The New York Times! Our SingTrue app—recently featured on iTunes’ front page—got a lovely shout out in the Personal Tech section. According to Kit Eaton,

“The app’s minimalist design and interface make it easy to use. Through a variety of exercises, it helps you understand how to make the most of your voice, offering great visual feedback when it analyzes your singing. You just have to get over the embarrassment of singing to your iPhone. (I’ve sung all my life, and though SingTrue showed how rusty I’ve become, it was still fun to use.)”
— Kit Eaton, The New York Times


Thank you, Kit, we’re glad you enjoyed it!

Under 25 and looking for music success?

Are you a young “Musicpreneur“? That magic combination of musician and entrepreneur who can make a creative career for themselves in the modern world?

Or do you know someone who is?

tommy-darker-u25-projectIf so, Tommy Darker (the originator of the term “musicpreneur”) has an opportunity for you that’s not to be missed…

We are looking for 25 young Musicpreneurs under 25 who are determined to build a long-term career and grow through music, who are open to receive guidance by established mentors, and who are not afraid to pitch their ideas to music industry stakeholders. Artists from all over the world are welcome to participate.

The deadline to apply is the 22nd September – so act fast! You can apply right here.

Improvising with Symmetrical Scales

Symmetrical scales—meaning scales which equally divide the octave—have been around for a long time, including being found in Indian traditional music. They gained attention during the Impressionist era with composers such as Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy in their sonic experimentations. When it comes to jazz, they started coming into their own in the 1950s when musicians found that they fit well with the newly evolving harmonic concepts.

Los Angeles-based musician Alexander Poe, who writes about electronic music and appreciating diverse music genres here on EasyEarTraining.com, recently penned an article for Free Jazz Lessons about how to improvise with symmetrical scales, specifically whole tone and symmetrical diminished scales.

Tim Topham Teaches Creativity

tim-tophams-tools-for-creative-teachingWe were pleased to feature piano teacher Tim Topham again this week as his outlook on teaching is a great fit for our own! Tim’s unique approach to teaching piano students—and teachers—recently caught our attention as he captures in his teaching philosophy the essence of what we believe at Easy Ear Training. In this second part of our interview with Tim, we discuss his creative tools for teaching including chord progressions, the importance of listening skills and understanding the pulse.

Tim mentioned that he likes to introduce his students to pentatonic improvisations, something which we are also big fans of. If you want to know more about this, Take Lessons can explain how pentatonic scales can help with piano improvisation and Steve Nixon of Free Jazz Lessons has this video tutorial designed to help you learn pentatonic scales quickly and easily:

Tim also mentioned that he is an exponent of Dr. Gordon’s GIML music learning theory. To learn more about Dr. Gordon’s philosophy, take a look at their page on audiation, a subject which is fundamental to our beliefs and to musicianship in general.

The Pros and Cons of Online Music Lessons

online-instrument-lessonsThanks to the internet, there are now more options for learning to play an instrument than ever before: pre-recorded video lessons, Skype lessons, training modules, and online exercises are just a few of the many ways music students can develop their skills without leaving their computer.

There can be great benefits to studying music online such as convenience and choice. However, there are drawbacks too, such as the lack of physical guidance and personal motivation. This week Musical U balanced up the pros and cons of online lessons. In the end, what matters most is finding a learning style that’s the right fit for you.

Are you wondering if online lessons are right for you? For more on the pros and cons of online music lessons, we turn to Music Teacher’s Helper for their input and Sharmusic has a blogpost geared towards online violin lessons, but with ideas that apply to all instruments. If you are a teacher looking to get involved in the world of online lessons, have a look at what Studio Helper has to say.

Tension and Release in Music

tension-and-release-play-the-dance-of-scale-and-chordYou know that feeling you have when you relax after a hard day at work or jump into a cool pool after sunbathing? Life is all about tension and release. So is music!

One of the best ways to start ear training is by learning to listen for chord tones in a chord progression and how the melody fits into those chords—or doesn’t.

The more you listen, the more you hear the relationship of the notes to the chord. Sometimes they fit and sometimes they don’t. This week Brad Mavin shared exercises designed to help you hear tension and release in music with chords. This feeling of tension and release will guide you when playing by ear and when improvising.

Lukas Biewald of Crowd Flower, explains further about why and how notes sound good together in this blogpost and Andy Timmons of True Fire really drives it home in this online video lesson:

Singing a “Sweet Spot” Song

find-your-singing-sweet-spot-with-these-7-song-choice-tipsSinging may seems like it ought to be the most natural thing in the world for us, but sometimes it really doesn’t feel that way. One of the most important things a singer can do is find the right song to sing, yet so many singers make the mistake of singing what they like to listen to, not what suits them vocally.

This week we shared seven tips for choosing songs that are in your singing “sweet spot”. As you focus more and more on “sweet spot” songs, you’ll sound better and better.

Singwise has an excellent in-depth two page article about choosing the right song for your voice, including consideration of technical points, feedback from others and song lyrics. Dr. Dan’s Voice Essentials highlights the idea that you ought to love to communicate what you are singing in this video:

The Same Film Scene Scored Five Ways

Over at Midnight Music, Katie Wardrobe runs a number of film scoring workshops. In this lesson she cleverly designed a way to score a short film five ways, and then tested it out on some of her grade school students to see how they reacted to the music. (They were even able to find the one song that didn’t fit!) If you’re interested to see how Katie did it, have a look at her video:

If you would like to teach your students this lesson or explore it more yourself you can download the worksheet on her site.

 

Sometimes it takes time, trial and error to find the right fit for your needs. Ultimately, it comes down to what resonates with you personally and what you will stick with for the duration of your musical pursuits.

Even Lady Gaga seems to know how to put the right notes together! Did you know she’s a music theory genius? Neither did we.

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