There are as many ways to approach music as there are musicians.

Do you want to become a piano virtuoso? Get signed to a record label? Write some unforgettable songs?

No matter what your goal, this week, Musical U has something for you.

Learn about one teacher’s own learning journey in music, and his fresh take on learning an instrument as an adult. Read the fascinating story of a woman who went from an underage club-hopper at New York’s legendary  CBGB to fronting her own bands and enjoying a successful solo career. And, give your songwriting a kick by learning the 12-bar blues in all their beauty and versatility.

The Art of Learning Music

Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference: it may sound cliché, but in the case of learning music, it is very true and definitely worth remembering.

This week, the Musicality Podcast interviews a man with a very refreshing attitude towards learning and teaching music. Bill Hilton may have started in classical piano, but his scope has expanded to cover everything from pop and rock to cocktail piano. His open attitude to genres and to styles of learning music are evident in his book, How To Really Play The Piano, and his YouTube channel of helpful music tutorials.

Bill Hilton learning musicRead a truly eye-opening interview that reveals one piano teacher’s own learning journey, the hidden advantage adults have in learning music, and the secret to playing creatively and expressively over at How To Really Play Music, with Bill Hilton.

Bill is fascinated with cocktail piano and has learned to change any piece of music into this gorgeous, loungy style. Ready to learn the secrets of musical transformation? Bill has created a tutorial to set you on your way – no alcohol required!

One of the difficulties that musicians face during their journey is frustration at their progress. This can be especially true for adult learners. If you need some motivation to get your musical passion back, My Music Masterclass has some fantastic advice to get you back in the practice room.

Even the most inspired musician can have difficulty fitting in their practice goals. Life seems to get in the way and redirect us towards other things. 10 Minute Jazz Lesson shows how to schedule your practice throughout the week.

Bill expressed his frustration with music education and how some teachers approach the musical journey. If you are like many of our readers, you’ve already likely experienced both good and bad teachers. With so many resources online, it is easier to find a teacher who is the right fit for your musical needs. Merriam Music shares some helpful tips for assessing an online music teacher.

At the end of the day, remember that making music is supposed to be fun! To branch out your musical expression, you may want to try picking up the… Melodica?

Sit back and enjoy this exploration into this unique instrument from Melodica Men.

A Musical Life

CBGB – the birthplace of New York’s rock, folk and punk music. Imagine hanging out there as a teenager, then as a punk singer, landing an international modelling contract, getting a degree in dance, starting a band, having a successful solo career, and becoming a prolific songwriter in multiple genres – all in one lifetime.

Diane Mozzone has done all this and much, much more. In a detailed interview with Musical U, she details her incredible career, her songwriting process, and her newfound love for metal music. She also shares her revelations on succeeding in a cutthroat industry, and the key to effective self-promotion as an artist.

Diane Mozzone musicThis is one interview you won’t want to miss. Head over to Carving Out a Career in Music, with Diane Mozzone for a fascinating story of music scenes, band dynamics, and a solo career spanning everything from punk to house music.

During her career, Diane experienced a situation that many vocalists will face: the effects of too much strain on her vocal chords. While she was able to get the help she needed, there are regular news stories of famous singers that never fully recover. If you sing, you need to take care of your vocal apparatus – let Vocal Splendor teach you how!

Success as a singer can be a difficult path for any musician. Taking your music out of the practice room and onto the stage can be intimidating for even the most confident musician. If you need some practical tips to take the next step, the Gig Gab Podcast discusses gaining confidence in front of the microphone.

Throughout her career, Diane expressed herself in many different genres of music. However, she also discussed the importance of focusing in on one genre when composing a collection of songs. Youbloom explores specializing in a genre of music as a songwriter… and what to do after you have your songs ready to go.

Diane left us with the advice of defining what success means to you. It certainly is not the same for every musician, nor should it be. Ari’s Take discusses how to define your own success in your musical journey.

Getting the Blues

Not only are the blues a rich, fascinating genre in their own right, but their enormous influence is heard in today’s pop, rock, country, folk, and more.

So, what do many of the earliest blues songs have in common with the bluesy rock tunes we have today?

The 12-bar bluesThat would be the 12-bar blues, a simple three-chord progression that turns out to be a very effective musical storyteller.

To learn how to play the 12-bar blues and explore what makes this simple progression so powerful, head over to About the 12-Bar Blues for your introduction!

One practical outcome from learning the 12-bar blues: it’s a great tool for helping you to develop confidence in a new style of music. Many even use this chord progression to help with their improvisation skills. If you want to develop confidence as a musician, Donna Schwartz will show you how!

It’s no secret that the Musical U team is particularly enamored with the ukulele. For such a compact instrument, there’s so much that it can do! While we typically think of the piano, bass, or guitar for playing the 12-bar blues, perhaps it is time to consider the seemingly endless possibilities of the uke! Explore the 12-bar blues on your uke with Ukulele Underground!

After you are comfortable with the structure of the 12-bar blues, it’s time to spice it up with some variations. One way to do that is by using approach chords to add interest and variety! Swift Lessons talks about approach chords and shows how they can add new life to your chord progressions.

We’ll wrap up this exploration into 12-bar blues by incorporating a staple of blues music. The harmonica can be a fun tool to expand your musical exploration! Even famous players like Neil Young and Billy Joel made steady use of the instrument during their storied careers. Bring the harmonica to your 12-bar practice with this lesson from Tomlin Harmonica Lessons!

Learning and Creating

Whether Bill’s interview made you want to try out cocktail piano or Diane’s story has inspired you to pursue songwriting, we hope the unique musical journeys and achievements of these two individuals will serve to motivate you.

Diane Mozzone is currently learning interval ear training with Musical U to help take her musicality to the next level. What musical skills do you dream of acquiring? Sign up with us and make them a reality!