Performing live is something most musicians aspire to doing, but it can be nerve-racking and test all your musical skills, especially your ear! This week we have some great resources to help in all areas of your musical training, whether you have always wanted to learn guitar, write harmonies, or need help with improvisation or playing by ear. We also have two great blogposts for those thinking of studying music at college and parents trying to decide whether to enrol their kids in music or sports.

First though, here’s a live performance to enjoy and be inspired by! Last week the Swingle Singers hosted the London A Cappella Festival and closed it by singing David Bowie’s Life on Mars with New Yorkers Naturally 7. Check out this recording of the awesome a cappella performance:

#MusicMonday – We cannot even BEGIN to describe how much fun it was to end the London A Cappella Festival with the…

Posted by The Swingle Singers on Monday, February 1, 2016

Learn Guitar… By Email?

A guitar course-Kaizen Guitar smHave you thought about learning guitar, but can’t decide on which course to take? There are so many options for how to learn an instrument: traditional lessons with a teacher, online video tutorials, and books are the most popular options. Recently we came across a “learn guitar” course which is delivered in small daily lessons – by email! We were curious about this novel approach so invited its creator Casey McCann of Eclectic Music to tell us all about it. Meet “Kaizen Guitar” available free until March 1st – don’t miss out!

The Road to Chords

How to play chords by ear a roadmap smHave you always wanted to play chords by ear, but are unsure where to start? As with any new skill you’d like to learn in music it’s important to take things step by step instead of trying to race to the finish line. Over at Musical U members have access to a range of roadmaps to help them design a route to their musical goals in different topics. This week we have a preview of their how to play chords by ear roadmap. This roadmap is a great framework for learning to play chords by ear, broken down into 5 phases from learning the fundamentals through to playing real songs using only your ear.

Writing Harmonies smWhile chords are on our mind, this week we published a new tutorial in our Songwriter’s Secrets series, Writing Harmonies. If you have been following the series you’ve no doubt made good progress with writing lyrics and melodies. Now it is time to add some sweet harmony to your tune. Learn about different chord progressions and how to chose which chords to use based on the genre and melody.

Being a Music Major

5 things I wish I knew music degree smFollowing on from 5 advantages and 5 drawbacks of taking a music degree, Jenny Green shares 5 things she wishes she knew when starting her Music Degree. A must-read for anyone already taking or about to start a music course.

Twelve Tips for Learning to Improvise Music

12 tips for learning to improvise smIn the past few months we have covered a variety of topics on improvisation for different instruments; guitar, piano, saxophone, and different genres: rock and jazz. As well as instrument- or genre-specific strategies, there is some advice that is valuable whatever instrument or genre you are improvising in. Our new post Twelve Tips for Learning to Improvise Music will help musicians of all levels continually improve and become more confident in their improvisation skills.

Music Lessons or Sports Teams?

should-we-put-children-music-lessons-or-sports-teamsTeachers and parents often talk about the benefits of children taking part in sports. They highlight all the benefits to skills, coordination, teamwork and discipline (to name just a few) they will develop if part of a sports team. But what about Music?

Can children benefit in a comparable way if they learn a musical instrument? To find out check out Should We Put Children in Music Lessons or Sports Teams? on the Musical U blog.

I hope that you found something here to help you with your musical training this week, and move one step closer to being the musician you aspire to being. I will leave you with one more live performance from the Musical U Facebook page which truly highlights how special collaboration in music can be.