Ah, the life of a composer! An existence devoted solely to writing music and hearing one’s creations brought to life by a devoted orchestra for adoring fans!

Well, even those big names of the past had to hustle. Romantic Era rockstar/entrepreneur Franz Liszt owed a good part of his wild success to his unselfish generosity in promoting and supporting his fellow composers, performers – and giving his all to his audiences.

Contemporary composer Kangyi Zhang is doing just that: growing a strong community of wonderful new composers and performers reaching out to new audiences.

Composers and other professional musicians also support themselves and others through their teaching. The Musical U team is made up of avid musicians reaching out to share their gifts with others, as Musical U member Hoomam can attest. Our friend performer, composer – and session pro – Dylan Welsh has gone in big for music education, and shares some student-centric tips for teachers.

But even if music is not your main thing, the benefits of learning music are immense! In fact, Musical U’s creator Christopher Sutton was originally a professional computer geek just moonlighting as a passionate amateur musician…

And it’s never too late to start! Simply put, learning music gives you a…

Better Brain

Maybe she didn’t know why, but Mom knew that learning music is good for you. Now the research is in, the facts are clear:

There are at least 9 ways that learning an instrument strengthens your brain.

Music can be an exciting part of your life at any age and it’s never too late to start. Here are 5 artists from takelessons.com that you may know that didn’t start their musical career until later in life.

Do you already play one instrument? Have you thought of perhaps learning another? Reverb Lessons discusses several benefits of learning a second instrument that may surprise you!

So, you’ve decided that music is right for you. What now? It’s time to pick an instrument, of course! This fun flowchart from Credomusic will tickle your funny bone as it helps you on your path to selecting the instrument that fits your unique personality!

An Unexpected Twist

member spotlightBusiness major “HoomamN” loves music, especially the passionate, lyrical melodies of anime and some game composers. In his quest to play this music on the piano, the virtual breadcrumbs lead him down the path to Musical U.

As he completed more and more ear-training, he realized that for him learning to sing would have great benefits – something he never suspected when he began his musical journey. Find out more about the twists and turns of learning music in this Musical U Member Spotlight: HoomamN.

When talking to friends about his musical desires, HoomamN learned about the importance of aural training during his music education. JustinGuitar has great advice and resources for those wishing to learn more about ear training and how it can benefit your progression.

Relative pitch can be a very powerful tool in your arsenal as a musician. This great video from VA Music Ministries talks you through some of the basics of starting this part of your education!

 

Musical training is not just about the notes, but the rhythm as well. Internalizing and developing a great sense of rhythm will send your musicality in a new direction. Bill Plake Music provides 3 steps to improve your time in this article.

The Trifecta

Once classical music concerts were filled with enthusiastic audiences hungry for new music. But for almost 100 years now, audiences have preferred older music of the 18th, 19th and earlier 20th centuries to the riskier and often edgy music of new composers.

As he found his passion and his true voice in music composition, seamlessly blending modern concepts with a traditional love of melody, Kangyi Zhang sought to remedy this situation. He began cultivating what he calls “The Trifecta”: composer, performer, and audience. Learn more about A Composer’s Path, Part 1: with Kangyi Zhang.

Writing great melodies is one of the most precious skills that a composer can develop. But, how can you get started? The Music Composition Blog shows us how to use singing to develop fantastic melodies.

There are so many different paths that a composer can take in their musical journey. Midnight Music has the goods on how to compose and arrange music specifically for video games. So grab your joysticks and dig in!

All musicians at some point will reach that “creative block” that prevents them from continuing with a piece of work they are composing. How can you go about overcoming this? Here are 14 tips from Get That Pro Sound to help you push through the dreaded block.

Student-centric


When multi-instrumentalist/improviser Dylan Welsh decided to take control of his musical career, he realized that teaching was an essential aspect. Himself the product of a self-directed learning path surrounded by super-helpful mentors, Dylan seeks to encourage students to take a greater role in choosing their trajectory. He shares his successful approach with other teachers in 4 Things We Learned from Dylan Welsh.

Dylan discussed that improvisation is difficult for many students, but something that they can overcome with the right tools from their music teacher. Play Jazz Now has a “Beginners Guide to Improvisation” that is sure to be useful for your music education!

When teaching, Dylan recognizes the passion his students have for their favorite songs. Accordingly, he likes to start with the songs they love – and then use those songs to teach the music theory. Here is a cool video from 1564 Studios that talks about 9 music theory reasons that songs are catchy to our ears:

Your next (or first!) step in music…

Since when did we get this idea in our culture that playing music was only for a select group of professionals? In reality, the great gift of music-making is available to all, and we live in a rich tapestry of many levels of musical involvement – from full-time composers, performers, and teachers to passionate amateurs and listeners. In fact, the divides between these “categories” are really artificial – many of us wear some or all of these musical hats.

And it’s never too late to bump yourself up from one level to another, even from “just” a listener to a full-fledged music maker. Who knows? You might even emerge with a better brain in the process!

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