Creating music is a liberating way of expressing yourself, but it can be overwhelming to know how to get started and develop this process. This week we interviewed modern composer Adam Scott Neal for an insight into his composing process. We also actively listened to three bands with unique sounds and learned lessons which will enable you to create your own signature sound.

Also, don’t miss our “101 guide” to chord ear training, exercises to test your ability to find the tonic in minor melodies, tips on how to find a music mentor and the universal importance of clapping in time…

Composing by Buying, Building and Breaking

Composing by buying building and breacking with Adam scott nealIf you are curious about modern classical music, don’t miss this week’s interview with composer, video artist, and improviser Adam Scott Neal. Adam features a range of instruments in his compositions from the traditional, to household objects and “hacked” electronic toys. Learn more about his inspiration and techniques in Composing by Buying, Building and Breaking.

Are you wondering what a laptop orchestra as discussed in the interview sounds like? Have a listen to Concordia University’s Laoptop Orchestra (a.k.a. CLOrk) play a composition using everyday objects. For more on how laptop orchestras and computerized music got started, read this interview with Professor Ge Wang, assistant professor in the Center for Computer Research and Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) who has worked to develop countless numbers of instruments as part of that endeavour.

And if your parents ever told you that you can’t play with your food – the Vegetable Orchestra founded in Vienna begs to differ!

Define Your Own Signature Sound

How to define your own signature sound-800There are so many people creating and sharing music these days that you may feel a lot of pressure to develop your own unique sound to prevent you from blending in with all the other bands in your genre. Join us in listening to three bands and breaking down their music to discover how they create their unique sound and how you too can define your own signature sound.

Is creating a signature sound is really necessary? Beat Tips explains in this blogpost why it is essential. To find out what it takes to develop your own sound and what should you be wary about along the way, head on over to EDM Prod who guide you through finding your own sound or try these five tips from Jay Josh Rocstar:

Chord Ear Training 101

chord ear training 101-800Recognising chords and common chord progressions is essential if you want to learn to play by ear. It can seem like a big topic and you may not know where to start, which is why we have started from the beginning in Chords Ear Training 101. Find out what chords are, which are the most common ones and the simple secret that can dramatically accelerate how quickly you learn to play chords by ear.

To help you along your way recognising chord progressions check out this this free online chord recognition skills test from Fachords and this video quiz from Pat David Music:

Finding the Tonic

Finding the tonic in minor keys part 2-800If you have been following our previous Find the Tonic articles, don’t miss the latest. Now you have all the theory of how to find the tonic in a minor key, test your ability with real music examples. Plus get some tips on how to avoid some common pitfalls when trying to identify the tonic in minor keys.

As you’ll learn in these tutorials, finding the tonic of a minor key often depends on hearing the cadence. Have a listen to these minor cadences from True Piano Lessons. And if you need to brush up on the chords used in minor keys, you’ll want to check out this lesson from Music Theory Guy on how to calculate the primary chords for minor keys based on the tonic.

Musicality means… Clapping in time

Musicality means clapping in timeClapping in time might be something you take for granted or for many people something that you are embarrassed that you can’t do effortlessly. It can seem like child’s play, but being able to clap in time is a good indicator of your sense of rhythm. Like all other musical skills it is something that can be learned. Find out why clapping in time is important and how you can develop your musicality by improving your sense of rhythm today!

How good are you at clapping? Alan Cross invites you to find out with Steve Reich’s Clapping Music App based on research from my own alma mater, Queen Mary, University of London.

As we led in with this week: friends don’t let friends clap on 1 and 3! So clap along with Fullerton College Jazz Band’s version of “Happy” and learn how clapping is meant to be done:

Find a Music Mentor

findingamusicmentorAchieving one’s musical goals requires determination and motivation, and it can be difficult to keep these up if you are working alone. One way to grow and improve musically is to find a mentor to guide you on this journey. The Musical U team published a blogpost this week on the importance of mentors and how to find one that suits your needs in Finding a Music Mentor.

For more guidance on finding a music mentor check out these five tips from Find My Song, and learn the benefits of a music mentor from Bill Worrell, lead guitarist for the band America, as he explains why musicians need a music mentor in Reverb Magazine.

Now you should have some great inspiration for some new musical compositions, be on the road to finding your dream music mentor, playing chords by ear to all your favourite tunes and clapping in time – on 2 and 4!