Beat Stage Fright, Rediscover Lydian, Tune In, Tone Up!, and Teachers vs. Coaches

Who has played a role in making your musical journey happen? The immediate thought goes to that beloved piano teacher, choral director, or singing coach.

But what about the inspirational fellow musicians that you’ve picked up a few tricks from? The YouTube channels that have helped cement your understanding of music theory? The coach who helped you beat your stage fright?

Music education is so much more than just your regular lessons. In every musician’s path, they will have musical mentors, idols, collaborators, and teachers of all kinds – both real and virtual, in the form of podcasts, apps, YouTube tutorials, and, of course, online music learning communities like Musical U.

This week is an ode to the teachers behind your musical journey. We interview Andy Wasserman – first a student and then a long-time associate and collaborator of master music theorist George Russell (the creator of the musical framework known as the Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization). The creator of the Tune In, Tone Up podcast, a show featuring live guitar lessons, discusses the merits of learning through podcasts. This week’s teaching episode on the Musicality Podcast discusses the roles of teachers, coaches, and mentors in your musical journey, and the specific things each can do for you. And finally, we talk about that harsh, often unforgiving teacher – stage fright – and the lessons you can learn from this anxiety to ensure better performances in the future.

July’s Masterclass

Lisa McCormickRemember! July’s Masterclass with Note2Self’s Lisa McCormick is coming up fast this Saturday, July 21st, at 3 PM UTC (click here to see that in your timezone).

In her hourlong tutorial, Lisa will be sharing the Note2Self Method for Mindful Practicing, a skill that will help you make the most of your practice time so you can see the results of your hard work faster.

Register here, and we’ll see you this Saturday!

Beating Stage Fright

The bad news about clamming up: those performance-related nerves are a part of human nature, something that will never quite go away.

Beat stage frightThe good news: with some mindfulness and preparation, you can minimize those anxious thoughts, and give the performance of a lifetime – whether it’s your first open mic or a big, long-awaited concert.

In 10 Tips for Conquering Stage Fright, we discuss a mind-and-body approach for making sure that your nerves never ruin a gig for you again – with advice on self-care, preparation, logistics, and everything in between.

If we can simulate space flight, we should be able to simulate anything! Live performance is one of the most frightening things that many new (and seasoned) musicians have to become more comfortable doing. Learn more about a performance simulator that helps you prepare for live performance with

We don’t often talk about how physical playing a musical instrument can be. Just like athletes, we need to incorporate some basic exercises into our routines to loosen up our muscles so that we can perform at our highest levels. Cello Bello demonstrates with some stretching exercises.

Imagine having to play two very different gigs in a very short amount of time. That’s exactly what R.J. Ronquillo found himself having to do when playing both a country show and heavy metal show. So, how did he prepare for these two shows? Learn more about his process, which can be used by any musician on the big or small stage.

Rediscovering Lydian

In recent times, we’ve done quite a lot of discussion on the fascinating topic of the Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization.

Andy Wasserman interviewThis week, we’re excited to release our interview with Andy Wasserman, a pupil and long-time associate of George Russell, the creator of the Lydian Chromatic Concept.

In Growing Into A Mighty Oak, with Andy Wasserman, Andy talks about his music mentors, the concept of “talent”, and of course, the Lydian Chromatic Concept, a fascinating framework for understanding and teaching music that will change the way you approach your practice forever.

If you are anything like us here at Musical U, you may want to dive further into the Lydian Chromatic Concept to learn more. There are so many things that we can learn from the work of George Russell. Adam Neely recently sat down with Rick Beato, another student of George Russell, to explore the concept and its role in music education.

If you want to know more about music, music theory, and the music industry, there is almost no bigger authority than Rick Beato. Much like Andy Wasserman and Musical U’s own Andrew Bishko, Rick also studied with George Russell and has first-hand knowledge of the Lydian Chromatic Concept. Rick explores how the magical Lydian mode is used in modern film to create a sense of wonder and epicness.

There are so many great examples of how to use Lydian in your music, it’s hard to pick just one! We scoured the internet and found a fantastic lesson from Geeky Guitarist demonstrating a solo by the great John Petrucci of Dream Theater. Enjoy picking apart this solo and getting this new tonality under your fingers.

Tune In, Tone Up!

Podcasts have done wonders for how we learn, when we learn, and how much. It is now perfectly possible to finish off a slew of household chores while listening to an interview with your favourite musician, or learning about that new-to-you theory concept through a podcast episode.

Podcast to performanceGary Shilladay and Dan Davies are the guys behind the excellent Tune In, Tone Up podcast, a show that focusses on Gary’s guitar lessons with Dan and the practical and performance-related skills learned along the way. In Podcast to Performance, with Tune In, Tone Up, Gary discusses the vast benefits of podcasts, recommends some excellent shows on everything from theory to improvisation, and talks about the behind-the-scenes of his own show.

Gary shared some great podcasts that he listens to as part of his music education. We wanted to do something a little different and list a couple of different podcasts that you may enjoy as part of your musical journey.

Hack Music Theory is a fascinating podcast which goes into all elements of music theory, explaining it in ways that are both easy to understand and can be implemented during your music practice. You’re going to love Kate and Ray Harmony (a. k. a. Revolution Harmony) and their no-nonsense approach to music education.

An increasingly popular musical instrument in the past years has been the ukulele. Musicians can’t seem to get enough of this fun instrument, and enjoy arranging popular songs to play on the uke. Ukulele Undergrounds has a live podcast every Thursday where they answer questions about the instrument and help new and seasoned Ukulele players expand their abilities.

Podcasts cover pretty much any topic that you can imagine – there’s even one that discusses the music of one the greatest bands of all time, The Beatles. Dive deeper into your knowledge of the Fab Four with this show from Beatles Examiner.

Teachers vs. Coaches

Throughout your musical journey, you will have many people who play an inspirational and educational role in your learning progress – often in very different ways. One might help you brush up on your instrumental technique, one might guide your professional development, and a third might help you overcome stage fright.

Teachers, coaches, mentorsIn About Teachers, Coaches, and Mentors, we will be discussing the distinction between the three roles, how each can benefit your learning journey, and how you can determine which you need in certain junctions of your musical path.

This way, you will know what to expect of your teacher, coach, and mentor – and can decide whether you are getting the support you need in your musical journey.

Music teachers have typically stuck with the 30-minute music lesson, but that is often just not enough time to get into some of the topics that students need to really develop. The Full Voice criticizes the 30 minute lesson, and discusses why teachers should extend the time in order to touch on the finer aspects of musicality.

One thing that many professionals have come to love about coaches is that they give you a direction: the motivation and roadmap for how to get to where you want to go. Coaches don’t tell you what to do, but they provide the direction for how you can get it done. Music coach Mark Desvaux provides some great tips for achieving your best year as a musician in this guide.

There is something really special about the relationship between a mentor and mentee, and there have been many articles written about the impact that this relationship has had on the professional development of the mentee. However, finding a mentor in your area isn’t always easy. Fortunately, the internet provides a seemingly unlimited number of resources. Angela Mastrogiacomo discusses two excellent ways to find a mentor online.

The Many Teachers of Your Musical Journey

Your body of learning experiences as a musician will not come from a single source – rather, you will have a multitude of teachers, both real and virtual, one-on-one and in a group setting.

Embrace the alternative and supplementary learning that technology can give you – whether through podcasts, apps, and videos – and integrate it with traditional learning, whether through teaching, coaching, or mentoring.

More teachers equals more perspective, knowledge, and insight – an invaluable tool for giving your musical journey purpose, direction, and excitement!

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