We’ve got some great new resources this week for anybody wishing they could play melodies (tunes) by ear, arrange their own songs, improve on piano, or become a more expressive musician. Also, a discussion of which is more important – lyrics or melodies – and a YouTube round up of some of the most creative cover songs. But first, a seriously inspiring musical story:
How many people do you know who think they can’t sing and won’t ever be able to sing in tune?
I have come across countless in both my personal and professional life, as has George Bevan, Director of Music at Monkton Combe School. He started a choir of teenage boys who couldn’t sing in tune and taught them how, using solfa. Watch the choir perform and read an interview with George below.
If this has inspired you to learn how to sing in tune check out our tutorial on how to learn to sing in tune.
Piano Fun and Mastery
Are you currently learning or thinking about learning the piano? If so, don’t miss this week’s interview with Melanie Spanswick, a prominent voice in piano education. She talks about her book So You Want To Play The Piano? which reviews different piano learning methods, what to look for when buying or renting a piano and much more. She also shares her thoughts on the importance improvisation and slow practice.
Travellers passing through St Pancras train station this week were surprised with a musical gift from you wouldn’t have guessed, Elton John! He donated a piano to the station and played for the lucky passengers.
Whatever instrument you play, covering your favourite songs is a fun way to practice and progress musically. The internet makes it incredibly easy to share your recording, however if you are looking to go viral you’d better check out the competition first.
This week the Musical U blog has collected some of the most creative covers on YouTube. If you want to hear the bagpipes as you have never heard them before and “Bohemian Rhapsody” on ukulele you’re going to love this post!
This week marked the end of the Songwriter’s Secrets series. If you have been following the series you have probably got a good set of lyrics and a melody with a catchy hook, now it is time for the final step, arranging your song. Explore the impact that a particular arrangement can have on your song using the example of Disney’s “Let it Go” and get practical tips on how to arrange your latest creation.
While we are the topic of songwriting, have you ever wondered whether it is the lyrics or melody that makes a song a hit? And, why are some songs with non-sensical lyrics so successful? Find out the answers in Learning to Listen: Lyrics and Melodies.
Play Melodies by Ear
Following on from last weeks preview of Musical U’s Play Chords by Ear roadmap this week we are taking a look at how to play melodies by ear using intervals. If this is a skill you are interested in learning, study up on this sequence of 5 phases to help instrumentalists of all levels learn this important skill.
How to be a More Expressive Musician
Expression in musical performances is key to keeping the audience engaged and communicating the feeling of the song or piece your are playing effectively. I’m sure all musicians would agree that it is an essential part of performance. This being said it can be challenging, and being expressive is much more easily achieved in the comfort of your own home than in front of a venue full of potential fans. If you need some guidance in this area check out How to be a more Expressive Musician and discover four ways you can bring new life and power to your musical performances.
If you know someone who thinks they are tone deaf or can’t sing in tune share the video of “The Choir Who Can’t Sing” with them. You never know, you might help them take the first step of their musical journey! On that note I will leave you with my favourite quote from the Easy Ear Training Facebook page this week.