What’s New in Musical U: September 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.

Now normally in these “What’s New” videos, we’re sharing what’s new inside the membership site of Musical U, a kind of peek-behind-closed-doors. But this month actually, our biggest news is something outside the membership site, something that you can get involved with absolutely free. That is the Musicality Podcast, a new audio show where we’re interviewing some of the leading music educators in the world and sharing with you their insights and techniques to help you improve faster in music.

The second big development this month was inside the membership site and that’s our latest Resource Packs for guitar, bass, piano, and singing. This month, our topic was 1-4-5 chord progressions, which are the most common type of chord progression in music. Let’s dive in.

The Musicality Podcast

So our big announcement this month was the launch of the Musicality Podcast. This is an audio show that we’re publishing twice a week. You can listen in for free and it’s a podcast, which means it’s a bit like radio-on-demand. You can tune in with iTunes or Stitcher, Google Play Music and you can listen on your phone, on your tablet, on your computer. Wherever is convenient, there will be a way for you to listen to this free podcast.

We’re publishing two episodes each week. One of them is an interview with an inspiring and insightful educator and the other is a shorter teaching episode on a particular topic. Let’s take a quick look at the episodes that we’ve published so far.

So we launched about two weeks ago with an introduction episode by me, where I explain a bit about my own musical background and all about what this podcast is going to be and how it’s going to help you.

Then our first interview was with Natalie Weber, the founder of Music Matters Blog, which is maybe one of the leading websites for music teachers online. Natalie shared about her own journey learning to go from sheet music and learning each piece note by note to a much more free and creative identity at the piano. She shared some real insights into the mindset required as well as the practicalities. One of the topics that take up was lead sheets, which is where you’re given a sheet of paper that has just the chord names and melody notes on and you just have to somehow turn that into a full and compelling musical arrangement, so we followed up her interview with a teaching episode all about playing from a lead sheet.

Our next interview was with Jermaine Griggs, the founder of one of the leading websites for playing by ear, that’s HearAndPlay.com. Jermaine shared his own story of teaching himself to play by ear and then learning how to teach others to do it. What I loved most about this interview was that Jermaine shared some really juicy nougats, tips, and tricks that can help you play by ear yourself. One of the topics that came up there was whole and half steps and how they fit into melodies and chords and scales, so we did a short teaching episode all about half and whole steps and how you can use them in your own musical life.

Our next interview, published just this week, was with Shelle Soelberg, founder of Let’s Play Music, which is perhaps the leading children’s music education program in the United States. What’s interesting though is that this interview was barely about children at all, in fact. It was mostly about Shelle and how she learned two powerful tools as an adult that transformed how she experienced music. She shared all about those tools and how they could help any adult musician. One of the two tools was solfa, the “do, re, mi” system of naming notes. This is something that I personally wish I had learnt about a lot earlier in my music education. So we followed up her interview with a teaching episode, all about the power of solfa.

Now, if any of those struck you has interesting, if you want to get involved and listen to some of these episodes, just head to MusicalityPodcast.com and you can click the big orange subscribe button. That will show you where you can subscribe depending on your computer, or device, or where you want to listen. It will also make sure you get each episode as it comes out so that you never miss out.

If you listen to a few episodes and you’re enjoying the show, I’d really appreciate it if you could take a few minutes to just rate and review the podcast. This is something you can do in iTunes or Stitcher, really quick to do and if you just click this rate and review button, we have great instructions there to make it easy for you. That helps us get the show out there in front of more people and just shows other musicians that this is a podcast worth listening to. So if you’re enjoying the show, please do take a few minutes to rate and review it, I’d really appreciate it.

Resource Packs: 1-4-5 Chord Progressions

The other big development at Musical U this month was our latest resource packs, in our Instrument Packs for guitar, bass, piano, and singing.

At Musical U, we have a lot of chord training to help you develop your ears and your inner skills. But if you play one of these four instruments, we also offer an instrument pack that shows you exactly how to apply it on that instrument.

So, for example, our core training can help you learn to recognize 1-4-5 chord progressions by ear. But this month’s resource pack shows you exactly how to play through them and put that into practice on your guitar, piano, bass – or even if you’re a singer, how you can connect with 1-4-5 chord progressions and use it to help you be a better singer.

Let’s take a look inside the piano pack, where our resident pro, Sara Campbell is in there, chatting with other members, talking about their piano repertoire, answering questions they have and sharing each month’s new resource pack. Here’s the one for 1-4-5 chord progressions. Let’s take a quick look inside.

Sara: [Playing] Does that sound familiar to you? Have you ever heard that progression before? I just played a real quick 1-5-4, sometimes called 1-4-5 depending on the order of the chords that it comes in. This progression is absolutely everywhere.

Whether you’re interested in learning to play rock, or pop, or funk, or soul, or let’s see what’s some other, oh country, country’s another good one, if you’re interested in playing any of those genres, you need to know how to play 1-4-5 – or 1-5-4.

That was just a real quick peek inside but if you are interested in glimpsing more of what’s in these resource packs, we’re publishing little preview videos every month on our YouTube channel and sharing them on Facebook too, so do take a look there to find out more about these resource packs.

As always, it’s not just a tutorial video, we also have a quick reference guide that has all the notation and details you need to put it into practice. And a set of audio tracks that can be used, either to learn by listening when you’re not at your instrument or providing extra accompaniment and that kind of thing to help you put it into practice on your instrument.

So that’s what’s new at Musical U this month:

  1. Our brand new Musicality Podcast where we’re sharing insights and tips and tricks from the worlds leading music educators on the topic of musicality, and
  2. Our latest resource packs for guitar, bass, piano and singing on the topic of 1-4-5 chord progressions.

Thanks for joining me for this look inside what’s new at Musical U this month and I hope to see you inside soon.

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