Happy New Year! I hope that your 2016 started with a musical bang. New Year’s music isn’t really a genre in itself, but there are some great songs that capture the unique feeling that welcoming a new year gives us. Check out this list of the top 10 songs for New Year’s.
Many people start the new year with a resolution or two, and what better resolution than a musical one? But before looking ahead, it is always a good idea to review the past year. We have two articles this week to help you with this. If you are past the review process and have decided you want to learn to improvise, write songs, play in a band or just need some inspiration from the worlds top musicians we have something for you too.
Looking Back to Look Ahead
When planning our lives, including what we would like to achieve in music, most of us can easily come up with several things we would like to be better at. However in order to come up with good achievable goals it is best to take some time to assess our past progress and evaluate where we are now.
This is especially important in ear training, and can easily be done by carrying out an ear training audit. This will help you assess how good your ears are now, and what you can do to improve them. This might sound like quite a daunting task, but we have simplified it into three easy steps: How to do an Ear Training Audit.
If you are looking for a structured way to do a more general review of your musical progress, the Musical U team have published a blogpost on How to Review your Musical Year. They explain the importance of carrying our annual reviews and have 7 questions with guidance for you, to work through your own annual review and plan for a successful year ahead!
Playing the Blues
Even though all instruments can be used to play any genre, there are some which feel like they belong to one genre more than another. The saxophone feels like it belongs to blues and jazz, and improvising solos is a key characteristic of both those genres.
Knowing where to start with improvisation can be a real challenge, so we have broken it down, step by step. Check out How to improvise on saxophone for some improvisation basics followed by three easy steps to learn how to improvise over blues. If you are looking to improvise on another instrument or another genre check out our other tutorials in this area. Also, stay tuned for part 2 where we’ll be taking you through how to improvise jazz!
On that note here’s a great sax quote from the Musical U Facebook page this week:
Write a Song
Sitting down to write a song can feel overwhelming. There are so many different aspects that need to be worked on. Lyrics, melody, harmony, rhythm… And where do you even start if you don’t have a solid music theory background? Luckily our song writers secret’s series is here to help.
This week we focus on how to write a song if you don’t know music theory. So, get out today’s newspaper out (“what’s that got to do with songwriting?” I hear you ask – read the tutorial and find out!) and start rhyming.
Speaking of lyrics, some artists are especially good at writing song lyrics which are either genius – or nonsense… The Red Hot Chilli Peppers are a band that perfectly fit into this group, and check out this great cover of one of their most successful tracks.
If you are in a band you probably appreciate the importance of practice sessions. Still, it can be frustrating to practice for several hours and not reach the standard you would like for your live performances. To help you make the most of your band’s rehearsal time every time, we have collected 5 active listening exercises to help you and your band focus your precious time and so become great live performers.
Advice from the Best
As with any art form a lot of musicians look up to and are inspired by the legends in their genre. Listening to the music of famous musicians can often teach us a lot, but so can listening to their advice. Here is a collection of 10 Famous Expressions from top musicians. May their words of wisdom inspire you in the new year!
Now that you are set to review your musical year and audit your ear training look out for next week’s articles where we will take on the next step, planning and making time for music. To be notified when the latest articles are published be sure to “Like” the Easy Ear Training and Musical U Facebook pages.
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