A Learning by Ear and Transcription Project for Intermediate Band

Contrary to popular belief, I enjoy coaching large ensembles. These groups are really good at facilitating the practice of reading European staff notation, but something these ensembles have historically not been good at is facilitating the practice of learning by ear, arranging, and composition. I know, ear training is part of the training, but ear … Continue reading A Learning by Ear and Transcription Project for Intermediate Band

3 Podcast Episodes You Might Actually Need

Podcasts have become popular, and it seems today that everyone and their dog has a podcast worth listening to. I often think about starting one of my own but am in awe of the shear amount of work it is to find good guests, topics, and to keep a steady schedule of recording. Regardless, I … Continue reading 3 Podcast Episodes You Might Actually Need

13 Things You were Led to Believe are True in Music School that are Actually False

Bach is the epitome of composing. His methods are the only way. Sure, he's good, but there lots of other ways to sound good, and his was only one way to sound good in the 1700s. Music learned outside of school is lesser. It's not, it's just different, and much more relevant to how music is made in society in general. Band is everything. It's not. It only really exists in schools and the military, so why would you think that? And community bands only exist because they exist in schools. Classical is a higher form of music. Nope, it's mostly just old. And prescribing classical theory to other musics is inappropriate. Popular musicians aren't real musicians. In a lot of ways they are actually better musicians in the deepest sense of the word. They all tend to be able to read some form of notation, improvise, compose, and learn by ear with relative ease.

MIDI for Music Teachers: Using MIDI in the Music Classroom On and Offline

Musicians across all genres of music have heard of Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI). What is interesting, and rather mind-boggling (to be honest), is that music teachers (myself included) trained in university classical music programs either never heard of it or have heard of it but just don't really know what it does. Music educators graduating without modern musician skills and knowledge is an issue discussed in another blog post. Those who have had experience with making music electronically or have dabbled in a bit of recording would possess this knowledge, but mostly those training to be general music or secondary music specialists may not ever embrace this versatile computer protocol.

Italian Words, Form, and Dynamics in Modern Music

The Italian words that we use in music only exist because of the classical canon and the dawn of standardized Western staff notation. The Italian counterparts of these straightforward words are only relevant in a classical or jazz setting where sheet music is the staple. Outside of that, say in a popular setting, there is no need for them. Speed up, and slow down are pretty clear and need no explanation. In fact, in popular musics, these Italian terms are just simply not used. Many times there are other words used to replace these Italian ones, but there are also terms that are exclusive to popular styles.