When we marked our 2-year anniversary last month we made a big announcement: a new membership option that provides more instrument-specific training for guitar, bass, piano and singing. These Instrument Packs would be led by four Resident Pros with extensive experience and expertise teaching the creative skills of musicality on their instrument.

We wanted Musical U members to be the first to hear more about these Resident Pros and meet them, but now the time has come to officially announce our line-up. I’m proud and excited to be able to introduce you today to our Resident Pros!

First though, let’s do a quick recap of what these “Instrument Packs” are all about…

Recap: About Instrument Packs

Instrument PacksAt Musical U we don’t teach you how to play an instrument. Instead we focus on the core “inner skills” that let you express yourself freely and easily in music: playing by ear, improvising, creating your own music, and more. With 40+ training modules, we help you to learn these skills and train your musical ears step-by-step.

With the introduction of Instrument Packs for Guitar, Piano, Bass and Singing we’re bridging the gap between these “inner skills” and the instrument skills you’ve probably been learning already with a teacher. Every month we release a new Resource Pack created by our Resident Pro for that instrument, which helps you apply your core Musical U training directly on your instrument. Instrument Pack members also get access to an exclusive forum where you can discuss your instrument and get direct help from our Pros.

Introducing… our Resident Pros

Over the last month since launching our Instrument Pack memberships we’ve been introducing our Resident Pros inside Musical U and releasing their first Resource Packs (more on those next week…)

We’re excited to now officially announce our team of Resident Pros!

Singing: Clare Wheeler

Clare WheelerIt’s no secret that I’m a huge a cappella fan, having been a barbershop singer myself, created the official app for the London A Cappella Festival two years running, and written on several occasions about the benefits of a cappella music for ear training.

What draws me to a cappella is the deep musicality required to sing it well. It pushes the boundaries of improvisation, harmonic awareness, pitching, tonality and timbre in a way that no other vocal style does, and that’s why I couldn’t be happier to have a true a cappella superstar joining us as our Resident Pro for singing!

Clare Wheeler is one of The Swingles (a.k.a. “The Swingle Singers”), arguably the most revered and respected a cappella group in the world.

As well as her extensive performing background in The Swingles, Clare also has a passion for teaching. She has run workshops, directed choirs, and taught one-on-one, and she specialises in the two major areas we focus on for singers at Musical U: helping beginner-stage singers master pitching and gain confidence, and helping singers of all levels develop their musicality and ability to improvise and be creative in music.

Clare has recently been busy with the production of a new BBC singing show and will be joining us soon. In the meantime, I must give a special shout out as well to our Guest Pro for Singing for the month of May: Nina Rosenberger. NIna performs as Anin Rose, and likewise has a passion for the creative side of teaching singing. She produced a fantastic Resource Pack on Creative Warmups for our singers this month.

Piano: Sara Campbell

Sara CampbellPiano can be particularly challenging instrument to be creative with, but ultimately a hugely rewarding one – a wide world of melody, harmony, and rich arrangements are available to you even as a solo performer. We’re delighted to have found a Resident Pro for piano who really understands how to break it down and make it simple – and fun!

Sara Campbell is a rising star in the world of piano teaching, helping to lead the popular Upbeat Piano Teachers community, contributing regularly to Piano Bench Mag, and regularly running workshops as part of her own music studio in Pennsylvania.

Trained as both a singer and a pianist Sara brings a deep understanding of how to nurture musicians’ creativity and provide interesting and modern ways to develop the inner skills needed to feel free in music.

Guitar: Dylan Welsh

Dylan WelshWhen I interviewed Dylan Welsh last year I was struck by how much he had accomplished at a relatively young age and his insightful focus on listening skills in the way he teaches his guitar students.

As someone who regularly performs live and records in the studio, he understands both the practicalities of being a working musician and the importance of investing in the bigger-picture skills of musicality. Through providing online guitar lessons he is continually honing his own skills as a teacher and finding new ways to help students learn faster using the music they personally enjoy most.

Guitar is an instrument where it’s easy to get stuck in a rut, relying on tab or chord charts and the same old fretboard patterns any time you need to play something. I’m excited to have Dylan on board as our Resident Pro for guitar to help our members ditch those crutches and learn to express themselves creatively and confidently on guitar.

Bass: Steve Lawson

Steve Lawson. Photo: Steve Brown - stevebrownphoto.co.ukAlthough it pains me to say it, bass isn’t an instrument that is particularly renowned for creativity. Aside from the odd bass solo here and there, bassists are often relegated to playing formulaic lines and tab-learned riffs.

The bassists inside Musical U are different: they’re seeking to understand and master their instrument in a way that lets them break free from those assumptions and express their own musicality on bass.

Fortunately, there is one bassist who is renowned above all else for his creativity and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible on the bass.

Steve Lawson has published over a dozen solo albums, regularly performs live, is a respected thought-leader on the future of music education, and is currently doing a PhD on the topic of improvisation. It’s hard to imagine someone better suited to head up our bass Instrument Pack!

Although he’s performed every kind of bass playing imaginable, Steve is known worldwide for his pioneering work in solo bass, employing techniques and technology to create fascinatingly rich recordings and live performances that sound nothing like you might expect from a bass guitar.

Steve is truly the embodiment of “Musicality + Bass” and we are absolutely delighted that he agreed to join us as a Resident Pro.

Are you inspired to learn from one of our Pros, with monthly teaching and access to personal help with your own training? An Instrument Pack membership could help you to reach new levels of musicality on your instrument. Next week we’ll be sharing a preview of our first Resource Pack for each instrument… Stay tuned!