The great thing about the holiday season is that whatever you are doing, music can be a part of it! This week we have two active listening tutorials from very different musical genres: Burmese folk music and a cappella Christmas music. Also, new helpful tutorials for guitar players and song writers.

Not yet convinced that the holidays can help your ear training? Check out this Music Theory Song, set to the tune of Chestnuts Roasting to get you in the mood.

If you are a fan of winter holiday music, don’t miss this article on the history of the Christmas hit song.

The Clouds of Burma

Open your ears to the clouds of Burma smListening to new genres of music is a great way to improve your ears and get inspiration for improvisations and compositions of your own. Burmese folk music isn’t something you hear every day, which is why we were so interested in this EP of 3 traditional songs arranged with a Western interpretation for piano, guitar and voice. Open your Ears to the Clouds of Burma and find out about the making of this EP “Clouds” from musicians Josh Htet and Nathan Williamson. If you are looking for a last minute Christmas gift, this is perfect for the musician who thinks they’ve heard it all. All the proceeds will support Prospect Burma, an education charity helping the young people of Burma to get access to higher education.

Master the Guitar

learning-guitarLearning any instrument can be frustrating, and it often feels like progress is slow. However, there are lots of things you can do to learn more efficiently. This week the Musical U blog published Learning Guitar: 6 Tips to Play Any Song you Want. It explains how to practice with purpose and master any song!

Yuletide A Cappella

Open_your_ears_to_some_Yuletide_A_Cappella_smIf you are looking for a soundtrack to sitting by the fire and drinking hot chocolate, look no further than The Swingle’s new album Yule Songs Volume II. A combination of re-arranged classics and original compositions, this album is a definitely a treat for all ears. Join me for an exciting journey to unravel the musical complexities of this album and open your ears to some yuletide a cappella.

Speaking of holiday ear training: Congratulations to FB fan Jane M. who won last week’s giveaway of Amber Staffa’s workbook “All I Want for Christmas is Ear Training”. We hope that you enjoy using the workbook with your children, Jane!

How to Write Songs – Without an Instrument

How to write a song without an instrument smAmong the countless books, courses and websites available to learn music, technology such as computer software and apps are quickly becoming invaluable resources to many musicians. This is especially true if you don’t play an instrument. This week’s Songwriter’s Secrets tutorial focuses on how to use technology while songwriting, along with other tips on how to write a song without an instrument.

I hope that all of these help to answer your songwriting and guitar playing questions, and open your ears to some new inspiration for your own musical creations. And if you need a last-minute Christmas gift idea, the Clouds EP and Swingles albums above are both excellent choices!

Speaking of gifts did you hear that The Beatles have (finally) made all their music available on streaming services? There really is no gift as special as the gift of music.

On that note we’ll wrap things up this week with a George Harrison quote from the Musical U Facebook page. Before that though, the whole team here at Easy Ear Training would like to wish you a very happy and musical holiday weekend!

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