It’s an exciting time for musicianship, aural skills and new methods of ear training. Here’s our top picks for the news you need to know.


New Musicianship Initiative Launched

An exciting new initiative has been launched, to foster discussion around the topics relevant to musicianship in the 21st century.

Loving and Living Music Initiative

It is natural to focus on the aspects of performance, such as playing the right notes, that are easily measured, rather than measure our success with more subjective indicators. However, such measurement is vital to a rounded musician, as it requires the player to have an opinion about the sound they want to make, as well as listening carefully to make sure that their goals are being reached.

Listening and forming opinions in this way not only raises a musician’s ability to make a good sound, but also transforms the act of music-making from one of the mechanical playing of pre- determined notes into one of active engagement with the music on an aesthetic and emotional level.

They’ve also published a recording of the panel discussion from the first official event, “The Future of Musicianship”, which I attended earlier this month. Listen to the panel on SoundCloud or read my impression (Christopher Sutton’s blog) or the official Loving & Living Music blog.

You can learn more about the initiative on the website and blog. They’re keen to hear opinions from all corners, so if you have something to say on the topic, be sure to leave a comment on their blog – or perhaps contact them about writing a blog post.

Theta Music at TEDx Tokyo Teachers (video)

Steve Myers, founder of Theta Music Training recently gave a fantastic talk at the TEDx event in Tokyo. He explains what drove him to create Theta Music and how effective online gaming can be for developing aural skills. Watch the 7-minute video below (and then go try out Theta Music Trainer!):

Bonus: Check out Steve’s great guitar jam!

How important is the silence?

A thoughtful blog post by singer-songwriter Annalie, on the subject of silence in music. Particularly those end-of-album trailing silences…………

The album was rejected because the final track on the album, “Silence,” has too much silence in it. The message I received was:

“Track 16 has an unacceptable length of silence at the end. Please remove this and resubmit the product. We can process tracks with as much as 4 seconds silence.”

[Read more]

Download new interval packs

We’ve recently released a couple of downloadable ear training packs, usable on any computer or MP3 player. They teach you the basic intervals which are key to a good sense of relative pitch. There’s a piano version and a guitar version, and you can download them right here:

Download interval practice MP3s Want to develop your ear for music? Compose more easily or play by ear? Studying intervals can be a great help. Get off to a good start with this free intro pack of training MP3s.

Dave Douglas on ear training for composers

Ear training for composers

Here’s an interesting blog post on about the value of composing to a jazz musician, and how ear training can be used for an interesting composition exercise:

When I wrote songs in the past, I’d typically noodle around on a piano, trumpet, or guitar to find ideas. Or, I’d sing something and then try to figure out the notes on an instrument before writing anything down. Regardless of where the ideas came from, I’d always rely on an instrument to help me find the notes. In the master class, however, Dave Douglas asked us to compose entirely by ear. This isn’t something I would have tried before, but it turns out to be a fantastic exercise for both composition and ear training. And based on what I’ve said above, that means it’s also useful for improvisation!

[Read more…]

It’s also well worth reading this ear training interview with Dave Douglas and a longer article he wrote on the practice of ear training.

Easy Ear Training on Soundcloud

We’ve recently set up home on the wonderful Soundcloud audio-sharing site. So far we’ve added out Bass Tone podcast but we’ll be adding much more in the weeks ahead. Be sure to bookmark it, and if you’re a Soundcloud user yourself, you can follow our account to stay up to date!

There are no mistakes on the bandstand (video)

We’ll let Stefon Harris play us out this week, in a terrific video about the dynamics and interaction of live musical performance:

If I really want the music to go there, the best way for me to do it is to listen. This is a science of listening. It has far more to do with what I can perceive than what it is that I can do. So if I want the music to get to a certain level of intensity, the first step for me is to be patient, to listen to what’s going on and pull from something that’s going on around me. When you do that, you engage and inspire the other musicians and they give you more, and gradually it builds.

Watch on

Thanks to Nick for highlighting this video!

What else?

As always, we want to hear all the news from you.

Post a comment below if you’ve come across some exciting ear-related news lately!

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