Here are a few recent developments in the world of music and sound which might help inspire or guide you in your ear training!

Jump to:

Music and the iPad 2

Apple recently unveiled their next-generation tablet, the iPad 2 – here’s a short overview of what the iPad 2 means for mobile music creation.

They also had a huge announcement for all iPad-wielding musicians – GarageBand, the easy-yet-powerful multi-track music creation tool, has now been released for the iPad -both the original and the new version. (Summary and video of the announcement)

The iPad has already been used for a variety of exciting new music creativity and music education using apps. Check out some examples of the iPad in the talented hands of musicians, ranging from school kids to professionals:

We’ve previously covered how you can use the Mac version of GarageBand for practising interval ear training, and also how to do rhythm training with this powerful music tool. We’re excited to see the two worlds combine now, and find out what possibilities the new GarageBand iPad app offers for the ear training student!

(Oh – and don’t miss the obligatory auto-tune Steve Jobs announcement song!)

Benefits of music in schools

It probably isn’t news to you that music education in schools is under threat in the US and the UK, so if you’re looking for information and evidence on the myriad of ways that music education and ear training can help you or your child in school, the find-a-degree site has put together a fantastic list of important benefits of music in our schools. They list 20 key benefits (including learning teamwork, relaxing, and developing fine-tuned auditory skills), each of which links to plenty more reading and evidence.

Exciting new animated opera, “Libertaria”

Site author and composer of our Unravelling Music training album Introducing Intervals, Sabrina Peña Young is embarking on an exciting and ambitious new composition project!

Over the next year she will write, cast, compose, record, mix, animate and produce a truly electronic opera, entitled “Libertaria”:

Libertaria: The Virtual Opera

Sabrina’s taking an innovative and cutting-edge route on funding the project too, using the collaborative funding site Kickstarter to gather supporters, who are then rewarded in a variety of fun and interesting ways for their contribution.

How the brain improvises music

As you’ll know if you’ve been reading around here on, most of ear training and learning aural skills is actually more about developing the brain than the ear. You’ll also be aware of important developing your aural skills is for musical creativity, improvisation and composition. This video is a fun overview of some recent research into how the brains of jazz improvisors and freestyling rappers light up when they’re doing their thing!

Charles Limb is a neuro-surgeon who’s been doing research into how the brain functions to improvise music and answer the question “How can the brain generate that much information, that much music, spontaneously?” He recently gave a talk at the TEDx Mid-Atlantic conference which is now available in full on YouTube (embedded below).

“We think[…] that to be creative, you have to have this weird dissociation in your frontal lobe: one area turns on and a big area shuts off, so that you’re not inhibited – so that you’re willing to make mistakes, so that you’re not constantly shutting down all of these new generative impulses”

A fun online experiment about musical mood

You may remember the previous BBC experiment we covered, on aural skills and musicianship. They’ve recently launched a new experiment entitled “Musical Moods”:
Take the Musical Moods test and help new music research

To help produce a new way of classifying decades of programmes within the BBC digital archive, we are asking the general public about their feelings towards a range of different TV theme tunes.

How does music on TV make you feel? Do drums and beats make you think of the news of your favourite soap? What tunes do you associate most with comedy?

We need to test your psyche in a pioneering online experiment.

No registration required, the questions are fun and varied, it takes about 5 minutes, and you get feedback at the end – why not give it a try?

Over to you!

Do you have insights to share about the importance of music education – or your mindset during improvisation or freestyling? Have you been using GarageBand on iPad, or using a tablet to create new music or improve your aural skills?

Let us know in the comments below!

Want more, every week?

Get the latest and best resources for modern musical training, direct to your inbox each week. It's free and you can unsubscribe at any time. Just enter your details below:

Spam-free, guaranteed.