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Music Student 101

We are musicians, composers, engineers, teachers and students alike. The path through academia, as a musician, can be challenging and uncertain but it can also be enriching and great fun! This is the path we chose and we are here as your resource. Explore theory, history, ear training, technique, special topics and overall musicianship.
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Music Student 101
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Mar 23, 2020

It's time we had a chat with some more musicians! Most of our bumper tracks for this show have really come together thanks to the efforts and talents of Brian Maloy (drums) and Jerome Chapman (guitar). Let's get to know them as we discuss their beginnings, some of their favorite bumper tracks and what music has done for them.

Mar 8, 2020

Having covered the origins of the blues, in Pt.1 of this series, it's time to dig in to the genres that emerged from these origins during the early stages of the blues. Join us, as we discuss country blues and delta blues, the styles involved and the musicians that continued to make this such a popular genre.

Feb 25, 2020

Dive with us, face first, into chromaticism with this discussion on extended and altered chords. We will make sure we're well acquainted with the concept of suspended ("sus") chords and added ("add") chords. This will prepare us for an ongoing exploration of altered chords. We will also compare the use of these chords, in classical theory, to their rolls in the jazz and pop music genres!

Feb 11, 2020

For some reason, creative types are often drawn to mind altering substances. Musicians have been no exception. In this episode we will discuss the lure towards nicotine, alcohol, marijuana and hallucinogenic influences. We will discuss their effects and some of the risks involved. We will also share some stories of those who have fallen to, and those who survived, some of the dangers that come along with this lifestyle.

Jan 27, 2020

It's time to get a little out of step with time! Syncopation is a technique that can add more color and interest to your rhythms. In this episode, we will define syncopation, give some examples and share some stories where we've been challenged by this composition technique.

Jan 13, 2020

In episode 65, we discussed the Italian, French and German augmented sixth (+6) chords and their main functions. In this episode, we'll dig a little deeper into these chords and talk about some other functions and placement options that can really add color to your chord progressions!

Dec 23, 2019

When you learn or write a melody, you may want to add some harmonic textures to it. In this episode, we will learn a melody. We will write harmonies that move along with it in parallel motion. We will then find the chords that suit it best. Get ready to know harmony better!

Dec 8, 2019

We talk a good bit about theory, ear training and history. But let's talk about you and your craft. The only way to get better at playing your instrument, ear training and theory is to practice like crazy! In this episode, we will focus on how to practice more efficiently and effectively. Let's get to work!

Nov 25, 2019

Melodic dictation, the act of transcribing and notating a melody by ear, is an important skill for a musician to cultivate. In this episode, we will focus on the Mixolydian mode. It has one small difference from the major scale, or Ionian mode. Let's listen!

Nov 10, 2019

Our discussion on the significance of women in music history is well overdue! Join us on this series as we highlight some of the notable female composers, from the advent of recorded music history!

Oct 23, 2019

Everyone enjoyed our last listener compositions episode so much, we decided to make this a regular thing. Our listeners have bared their souls. Let's listen! This episode will feature the original music of: Cody M. Gibson, Ray Parker, Alex O' Hagan, Seth Hammonds, Paul Olsen, Chris Waite and Scott Jackson.

Oct 6, 2019

Picking up from where we left off on episode 71, we will now further our discussion on modulation to distantly related keys. The focus, on this show, will be the use of chromatic mediants!

Sep 16, 2019

Melodic dictation, the act of transcribing and notating a melody by ear, is an important skill for a musician to cultivate. In this episode, we will share some tips and get right in to some examples. Ready your ears and get ready to explore the major scale!

Sep 2, 2019

In part 1 of this series, we heard an original song (by one of our own listeners) for the first time. By the end of that episode, we put "Dewey and Dora" (by Keith Andrews) to paper with key and time signatures, tempo and a chord chart! Now it's time to round it out with lyrics and a melody, in proper lead sheet fashion!

Aug 19, 2019

It's time to talk about transcription. This is the process of translating what you can hear to something you, or another musician, can read. In part one of this series, we will break down "Dewey and Dora", by Keith Andrews (one of our talented listeners). We will figure out the key, the meter and the tempo and chart it down, in "lead sheet" fashion. We have a great song to work with and a great process to take you through as we put it down on paper!

Aug 4, 2019

Middle Ages music occurred roughly between the dates of 500-1400 CE. In this episode, we will mainly talk about monophony. We will discuss plain chant, Gregorian chant and the antiphon, as the common types of vocal music within the church. We will also cover some of the secular music, made popular by the troubadours, trouvères and Minnesängers. Climb inside our time machine!

Jul 21, 2019

Solfege has been used for centuries to help vocalists and music students acquaint vowel sounds with certain notes. In this episode, we will discuss solfege in major, minor and chromatic terms. We will also cover the two different kinds of solfege ("fixed do" and "movable do") and the advantages of these systems. Finally, we will address the Curwen Hand Signs and try some exercises that you might find useful.

Jul 7, 2019

Continuing where episode 63 left off, this episode will review our previous discussions on diatonic chords and secondary functions. We will now add the secondary seven of V and seven of ii (iiº) chords. Listen for the chord qualities and use your theory brain to find out how to decipher these chord progressions. Use this skill to learn songs faster and know music better!

Jul 7, 2019

Continuing where episode 63 left off, this episode will review our previous discussions on diatonic chords and secondary functions. We will now add the secondary seven of V and seven of ii (iiº) chords. Listen for the chord qualities and use your theory brain to find out how to decipher these chord progressions. Use this skill to learn songs faster and know music better!

Jun 17, 2019

It's time to try something different, though "music-adjacent"! The Schumann resonances are the vibrations of the Earth's atmosphere. Some believe that if we tune our instruments to these resonances, using 432Hz as our tuning standard, our music will be more satisfactory and enhance our well being. Let's talk a little about the physics behind this and why it has become a topic of controversy!

Jun 3, 2019

Picking up from where we left off on episode 69, we will now learn how to modulate to distantly related keys using chords that are diatonic, or chromatic, in either key (or any combination thereof). Some pivot chords we will use to pull this off will include the German augmented 6 chord (Gr+6), the Neapolitan chord (N) and secondary seven diminished vii chord (viiº7 of ?). Let us invite a few more accidentals to the table, shall we? Join us!

May 19, 2019

We've long dreamed of having an episode dedicated entirely to showcasing the composing and songwriting talents of our listeners. Finally, the dream is alive! This episode will feature the original music of Marc McDowell, Eamon Kelly, Nancy Mitchell, Chris "Tex" Owen, Andersonlane, Don Ferguson, Jason LaRay Keener and Jon Magnusson Monreal.

May 5, 2019

Picking up from where we left off on episode 50, we will continue our discussion on modulation to closely related keys. We will talk about modulating to relative keys. We will discuss chromatic modulations, with and without pivot chords. We will also take on sequential and phrase modulation and we may get blind sided by a direct, or abrupt, modulation or two. Finally, we will take a moment to harmonize some modulating melodies!

Apr 21, 2019

When we compose for film or television, we have many considerations at hand. We want to accent the mood and the emotions involved in the picture. We want to do our part to tell the story. But we also have to make our client happy. Our special guest, Craig Brandwein, is here to answer some questions and share his experiences in the world of film composition.

Apr 7, 2019

The hexatonic scales are six note scales. In many cases we are simply adding a note to a pentatonic scale or deleting one from one of the seven modes. But there are other interesting possibilities: the blues scales, the whole tone scale, the augmented scale, the tritone scale and the elusive Prometheus scale. We will also create some of our own by combining triads. Let's listen!

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