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Hi, this is Christopher Sutton, the Founder and Director of Musical U, and I’d love to share with you what’s new in Musical U this month.

We had three major changes inside Musical U this month. The first was a complete overhaul of our getting started process for new members. The second is rolling out our new interactive quiz system to solfa recognition. The third is an easy way to buy Musical U membership as a gift for somebody else.

Let’s dive in! You can watch the video, or read the transcript below.

New “Get Started” Process

A lot has changed inside Musical U over the months since we launched, and it was time to take another look at the process for new members getting started at Musical U. Because we offer such a flexible draining system, it’s important to help new members figure out how they want to use Musical U to reach their own personal training goals.

We have a new four-step process that leads you through getting real clarity about where you want to go in music, creating a personal training plan to get you there, joining the community so you can get the help and support you need, and creating your personal progress channel, which will be the home for all of the training you do inside Musical U.

I won’t show you the whole get started process right now, but let’s take a quick peak at one part of it that’s particularly exciting.

Inside Musical U, we have a tool called the Training Planner, which helps you lay out a step-by-step plan for using the modules and other resources inside Musical U to reach your end personal training goal, and as part of the new get started process we created a new set of templates for these training plans to make it really easy when you first arrive at Musical U to get up and running in the right direction.

As you can see, we have a menu of Starter Training Plans for the different areas you might want to cover, and I should mention, of course, you’re free to do more than one of these in the months ahead, but we wanted to make it easy to pick one and get started so you can play melodies by ear or chords by ear.

You might want to learn to sing or we have a couple that are recommended for people who know they want to do everything and want to really make sure they get off to a solid start with a good foundation in place.

Let’s take a quick look. If we wanted to develop musical ears, for example, all you do is click “create plan” and it takes you directly into the training planner tool already filled out with a sensible plan for pursuing this topic. It’s set your training goal for you. You’ll have to fill in this bit about what you can currently do, and then it’s got a set of steps with modules inside Musical U that are going to take you step by step to achieving that goal.

It also automatically recommends a suitable target date based on how long this kind of training plan would normally take a musician, and that’s it. An easy template to get your personal training plan. Of course, you’re free to edit and modify this to truly personalize it.

As always, if you need any help figuring out the details, the Musical U team is right on hand to help you with that. That’s a quick glimpse of some of what’s inside our new getting started process that welcomes new members to Musical U.

New Solfa Quizzes

The next major update inside Musical U this month was that we’ve rolled out our new interactive quiz system to a new topic, which is solfa.

This is really exciting because solfa is such a powerful framework for playing melodies by ear and improvising and just understanding the notes in music, but up until now, we’ve been reliant somewhat on our interval modules to help you with the core training there, which works. It’s not a bad approach, but now we have a real dedicated quiz system to help you drill those solfa recognition exercises. All that means is you’re going to hear a note and you have to figure out what note it is. This is a dream for many musicians.

Let’s take a quick look at the interactive quiz that helps you learn this skill. Let’s choose lesson four, which teaches all the notes of the major pentatonic. We’ve got a couple of difficulty levels set up. The “easy” one, you’re going to hear the full scale before you’re asked to guess the note. In the “hard” difficulty, you only hear the tonic, the beginning note of the scale, which makes it a bit trickier to figure out the other notes. Let’s leave it in easy mode for now to hear the full scale.

Do, re, mi, so, la, so, mi, re, do

Once you’ve heard the scale, you have a sense in your head of the pitch context you’re working on, the kind of musical environment you’re in, and now it’s time to try guessing some notes.

Ah.

That’s our first note, and you have to guess which of the notes of the major pentatonic scale it was.

To help you develop a really flexible scale with solfa, every few questions, the scale changes, so you have a new root note. You get to hear the scale again, and then you’re on with the new questions.

If you get the question wrong, you get the opportunity to hear what you’re guess was and guess again.

Once you get the answer right, you can spend a bit of time reminding yourself what each of the notes sounds like, to really reinforce the sound of the scale and help you do better in future.

That’s a quick look inside the new solfa quiz system. This will be the basis of a whole new training module inside Musical U on scale degree recognition, which is going to fit beautifully inside our Play Melodies By Ear with Solfa Roadmap.

Musical U Gift Cards

The final update inside Musical U this month was to tie in with the holiday season. We had a lot of people asking, “Can I give Musical U membership to somebody else as a gift?” Up until now unfortunately, the answer was “no, not really!” But we’ve set up a new gift card system.

If you visit the public Musical U website, over on the sidebar you’ll see a new option for buying a gift card. If you click on that, it’ll take you to a page where you can give the gift of Musical U.

If there’s a musician in your life you think would benefit from the kind of training we offer, this is a great opportunity to give them membership of Musical U. It includes everything that’s normally part of membership and they get a simple voucher they can redeem for either three months or one year of Musical U membership. As you’ll see here, we’re running a special promotion at the moment for December, so this is a great opportunity to buy someone a special gift and save money on the membership.

That’s what’s new in Musical U this month. Thank you for joining me, and I hope to see you inside soon!


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