Hi, this is Christopher Sutton, the Founder and Director of Musical U, and I’d love to share with you what’s new in Musical U this month.

This month, we added a new quiz system to our chord recognition module. We also have a new active listening challenge for our members to test their ears with. One of our members started a fun new solfa game, and we had two interviews with members of the team, so you can get to know them a little better.

Let’s dive in! You can watch the video, or read the transcript below.

New Chords Quiz

We’ve been developing a new quiz system at Musical U to help training be more interactive and fun, and we introduced it last month for our interval modules. This month, we added it to our Chord Recognition: Triads module, which is one of several modules that help you learn to recognize different types of chord by ear.

We’ve always had a quiz on this module to help members learn to recognize types of triad chord, but this new system is a lot more fluid and it gives you better feedback along the way, so it’s just a lot more effective and enjoyable for learning these chord types.

Let’s give it a look. It’s a simple quiz. It plays the chord for you, and then you have to answer, in this case, whether it’s major or minor. If you get the answer wrong, you have the chance to compare the right and wrong answers, so in this case, major was right, and we can click to hear what the major version would sound like, and then we can compare it with the minor chord. This is a fun and flexible way to gradually train your ears to tell the four types of triad chord apart.

Active Listening Mini-Challenge

The next new thing we introduced at Musical U this month was a new mini-challenge. We organize these regularly for our members as fun ways to apply the skills they’ve been developing.

Our Community Conductor, Stewart, decided that this one would be an active listening challenge, so the aim was to test your ability to really listen to music. Not just hear it, but to pick apart what’s happening in the music by ear, and he chose a classic Beach Boys song, and challenged members to identify just how many different instruments, and vocal parts there are on this particular Beach Boys recording.

We had some good entries from members, and a lot of discussion behind the scenes of what people could, and couldn’t hear in this track.

Solfa Puzzle Game

Lots of our members at Musical U are developing their relative pitch using the solfa framework, the “do-re-mi” system where each note has a name.

This month, one of our members, Roger, posted a fun game – a challenge for other members, which was about trying to figure out what song that he was giving the solfa for. So he provided the solfa, and he asked members, “What song is this?”

This was great fun, and we had lots of members guessing, and posting their own little puzzles, and challenges, and I think this is one that we’ll continue week by week, because it’s just a great way to test your solfa skills in a real world kind of way: to try and look at just the written down solfa, and imagine in your head how it should sound.

That’s a great way to really bring the solfa to life, and develop the other side of recognizing notes by ear, which is to be able to look at sheet music, or written solfa notation, and vividly hear in your head how that music would sound.

Team Interviews

The final bit of news this month was the continuation of our Meet The Team Series.

We kicked this off last month, actually with an interview with me. All about my musical background, and how I can to start Easy Ear Training, and Musical U, and this month, we published two new instalments.

One with Marisa Balistreri, who is our Communications Manager. She’s responsible for all the great stuff you see on Facebook from the Easy Ear Training Account, and on Twitter, too, and she’s a formal professional opera singer, so she has a fascinating story of her musical experiences, and her career in music before joining the Musical U team.

The second was with Stewart Hilton, who I mentioned earlier because he’s our Community Conductor inside Musical U. He’s a guitar player by trade, and has a background in Christian Rock, as well as Metal.

Both interviews are just really fun ways to get to know our team a little bit more. They’re passionate musicians, just like me and you, so do dig in if you haven’t already – head over to the Musical U blog, where you will find those two interviews with Stewart and Marisa.

That’s what’s new in Musical U this month. Thanks for joining me, and I hope to see you inside soon!

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