One year ago today we launched Musical U, introducing it as the next generation of ear training online. After several years developing mobile apps, eBooks and training courses, we had a new idea for what modern musicality training should look like. One year on, how has it worked out?
This year we’ve had over 500 musicians join Musical U. Their experiences training inside the site have been encouraging to watch!
Musical U looks very different today than it did a year ago. Based on member ideas and suggestions we’ve added and changed a lot about the site. Through all that though, the core principles behind the site haven’t changed…
Why Musical U?
A year ago when we introduced Musical U here on EasyEarTraining.com we said:
Musical U has been created based on our years of experience helping people to become more musical.
We’ve learned was that even with the best tools and resources, most musicians still fail to reach their true musical potential. In fact, many get bored or frustrated, feel isolated and stuck, and often end up giving up on ear training – or even quitting music altogether.
We were determined to fix this problem, and we knew that just creating more training material or better apps wasn’t going to be enough.
It was clear that despite the huge variety of backgrounds and aspirations musicians have, there were a few core problems which caused them to stumble and fall short of their potential:
- They didn’t know how to set truly effective goals.
- They never created a step-by-step plan to reach those goals.
- They lacked the support and guidance they needed to follow through.
When we built Musical U we took all our best material on ear training and musicianship, but instead of packaging it up to sell as the “ultimate ear training course” we spent months developing an interactive learning environment which would solve the three problems mentioned above.
Today I’d like to look at the results of this innovative approach and how has panned out for our members. I’ve also invited the Musical U team to share their perspectives.
Musical U: The Results So Far
There are a number of things which make Musical U different from the traditional courses, CDs and apps for musical ear training:
- We cater to all instruments and genres
(not just rock guitar or jazz piano, for example).
- We provide a full suite of training modules covering a broad range of topics
(not just relative pitch or playing by ear, for example).
- We provide multimedia training
(not only video tutorials or text).
- Our training system is fully flexible to suit you
(not one-size-fits-all courses enforced from above).
- We pair our training system with a friendly, supportive community
(no feeling alone in your training).
- The Musical U team are in the site every day providing personal support and guidance to all our members
(it’s not just “Do-It-Yourself, and hope for the best”).
- We provide a friendly, positive, encouraging environment
(no elitism or intimidation here)
So how have each of those worked out, one year later?
All instruments and genres
This was a contentious decision! It’s easy to find a “play by ear” course for most instruments, and it’s true there are advantages to learning the listening skills in a hands-on way.
However, the true inner skills of musicianship are the same, no matter what instrument you play. We believe it’s better to focus on teaching the true underlying skills as clearly as possible rather than teaching just a narrow perspective that suits a particular instrument.
For that reason, we designed Musical U’s training modules to work for all instruments, and we provide additional exercises to help you connect your skills to your regular instrument practice.
There’s still room for improvement in this area but the results so far are solid.
Members representing over 25 different instruments (from piano, guitar and bass through to banjo, ukulele, tin whistle, harmonica, violin, classical harp, and more!) and all kinds of genres (from classical to rock, metal, blues and jazz) have used Musical U’s modules and succeeded in developing their “inner” skills and applying them to their instruments.
Many members particularly enjoy this because they play multiple instruments. The way we’ve designed the training modules means it’s easy for them to see how the same skills can be applied across a variety of instruments.
For example member Fermin A. told us recently:
“Musical U has helped me to feel more comfortable improvising leads on guitar and more confident singing. I’m also slowly transferring these skills to ukulele, harmonica and piano!”
Another advantage of not going instrument-specific is that we can provide a broad set of modules which teach valuable skills across a range of useful topics&