What’s New in Musical U: July 2017

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.

You can watch the video below or read on to learn more.

This month, we implemented a fantastic new member dashboard to help you find the most important stuff within the site for you and also released the new Resource Packs for our instrument packs, this month on the topic of singing and audiation. Let’s dive in.

New Member Dashboard

Inside Musical U, there is a wealth of training material, discussions and all kinds of exciting stuff. After a week or two as a member, it’s easy to feel a bit overwhelmed and you remember all kinds of interesting stuff that you’ve seen – but it wasn’t always easy to find your way back to the most important things.

So this month we totally revamped the member homepage and replaced it with more of a “dashboard”. The idea is to try and fit all the most important stuff on just one screen.

We have our member profile. If we click through, we can view or edit the information that’s shown to other members about us and our musical life. On the profile page, you can see what instruments someone plays, what kind of skills they’re working on, their favourite genres of music, and all of the training they’ve done inside the site, as well as finding a link to their progress journal, where you can learn a lot more about how their training is going.

Then we have the news section, which is where we put any important updates about the site, as well as linking to our most recent weekly updates. Our community conductor, Stewart, always does a great job of making these fun and interesting every week. He has a real knack for pulling out fascinating music trivia and music history that brings life to these weekly updates, but it’s also a chance for us to just celebrate all of the member accomplishments in a given week.

Then over here on the community box, we have links to all the new discussions since you last visited the site. That’s quite a handy one if you just want to catch up on what’s been going on. You can also go straight to all the discussions you’ve started, the ones you’re following, or the ones you’ve just been involved with. If I take a look here, I should get a list of all the discussions I’ve contributed to inside the community.This is an easy way just to get back into the discussions you were having with other members. You can also see the recent activities, what members have been up to. Here’s one of our team members, Andrew, getting involved in the discussion for the Approaching Improvisation module, for example.

New Member Dashboard Example

We also made it super easy to just pick up with your training. This part shows the most recent module you were working on and the most recent lesson. So you can go straight back into the last lesson you were working on inside Musical U and pick up where you left off.

Then just down below, we have links to your training plans. We have a very flexible planning system inside Musical U to help you figure out which training modules to use and how that integrates with the rest of your musical life. Here are easy links to view those training plans and edit them if you need to and then a link to your Progress Journal. As I said before, this is kind of your home to keep track of how your training is going, share with other members any insights or questions you have along the way, or get help from the team should you need it.

Then here we have the modules list. This is handy because you can take a quick look and see how you’ve done on the quizzes for a particular module and just at a glance see which ones are in progress and you can click to resume that module and finish it up.

Then finally, we have a box for the Instrument Packs. If you’re on an Instrument Pack membership for guitar, piano, bass, or singing, this is where you’ll find a link to that. That leads neatly onto our next big update in Musical U this month…

Resource Packs: Singing and Audiation

Our Instrument Packs in Musical U are a way to bridge the gap between the kind of core listening skills we really focus on and the day-to-day instrument practice you’re probably already doing. They give you an easy, concrete way to connect up those two worlds and put into practice the kinds of skills we teach at Musical U, such as playing by ear, improvising, and having freedom and creativity on your instrument. Here in the guitar pack, you can see there’s various discussions going on but there are also the Resource Packs released every month.

The latest one is for audiation and singing. Audiation is the skill of imagining music vividly in your head. Obviously, this is powerful for improvisation, so that you can just imagine something and then play it directly on your instrument. It’s also great for playing by ear and memorization and all kinds of other musical skills. The topic of this pack was “audiation and singing” and how you can use those two to really connect to your inner instinct for music with what you’re actually doing with your fingers on the guitar.

Audiation and Singing

As always in our Resource Packs, we have a tutorial video of about 10-15 minutes. Then we have a quick reference guide with the top-line important stuff from the video to remember it by and any tab or detailed instructions you might need for the exercises. Then we have a few audio tracks to help you practice those exercises.

We won’t dive into the videos now but we do publish preview videos for every Resource Pack now on our YouTube channel. If you’re interested to get a peek inside and see what’s been going on in these Instrument Packs, please do head on over to YouTube where you can take a look at the Resource Packs for audiation and singing that came out this month.

Thank you for joining me for this look at what’s new inside Musical U this month. We have our new snazzy member dashboard, which, based on feedback so far, is really helping people feel more organized and find their way around the site a bit more easily and goes straight to stuff that interests them most. We also have an exciting set of new Resource Packs for our instrument groups on guitar, piano, bass, and singing to help you use audiation, the skill of imagining music in your mind, to be a more free and creative musician on those instruments.

Thanks for watching and I hope to see you inside soon!

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