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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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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 (vii┬║7 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!

Mar 18, 2019

Just like any instrument, your voice needs a great amount of care and attention in order to perform at it's peak potential. If you're a singer, a public speaker, a bartender or a cheerleader, you have to use your voice at loud volumes for extended amounts of time. Let's find out how to best accomplish this while keeping your voice strong and healthy.

Mar 4, 2019

The augmented 6th (+6) chord is a very tense predominant chord. Like most chromatic chords, it can add motion and color to your chord progressions. In this episode we will discuss the 3 main types of augmented six chords: Italian, French and German.

Feb 18, 2019

It's about time to have a discussion about the blues! This can't be done, properly, in one episode. This episode will be the first of a few on the history of the blues. We'll go way back to origins of the African people, in America. We will learn of their struggles that resulted in this rich, emotional, honest and powerful music. This is the story of American music. We're going to take it back to the roots!

Feb 4, 2019

Continuing where episode 56 left off, this episode will review our previous discussions on diatonic chords and secondary dominants. We will now add the secondary dominants of the mediant and submediant (V/III, V/VI). Listen for the chord qualities and use your theory brain to find out how to decipher chord progressions. Use this skill to learn songs faster and know music better!

Jan 20, 2019

Playing an instrument and listening to music can have a variety of positive effects on children and adults alike. It can rewire your brain to better accomplish mental and physical tasks. What's a good way to get your children into music? What's the best instrument to start with? Let us discuss!

Jan 6, 2019

The Neapolitan chord and the Neapolitan Sixth chord add a very distinctive sound to a progression. You've heard it many times and you probably LOVED it. Now you're going to learn all about it! We will discuss how to build one, how it's used in a progression and we'll play a few examples you may recognize. This ain't just some boring ice cream favor. This is good music!

Dec 16, 2018

We wanted to end the year by letting us all get to know each other better. We're going to share some more of your stories and then a few of our own. We will also talk a little more about the genesis of this podcast, reveal some recording secrets and discuss where we want to go from here!

Dec 2, 2018

Composition is the art of simply creating music out of nowhere, from within, and organizing it into a finished piece. It can be an expression of what is going on with you emotionally. It can be an expression of something you've been inspired by, visually, sensually, socially, politically, or by other external sources. Either way, it all begins with you sitting down and taking the time to piece together a musical masterpiece. Let's talk about some of the processes involved, however simple or complex, with our own Matthew Scott Phillips!

Nov 20, 2018

We are bringing chromaticism to your doorstep! Today's special delivery? Mixed modes and borrowed chords! Learn how borrowing just two or three notes from a parallel key can allow for several new chords that can add intrigue to your progressions and help to smooth our your modulations.

Nov 5, 2018

Stringed instruments have a number of environmental and conditioning considerations that we need to be familiar with, if we want them to have a long and happy life. In this episode we will talk about the piano (really a percussion instrument but it does have many strings), the harp, the acoustic and electric guitars (along with other hollow-bodied and solid bodied, wooden instruments), the banjo and the symphony strings (bass, cello, viola and violin).

Oct 21, 2018

Continuing where episode 43 left off, this episode will review the previously discussed chords: I, II7, III, IV, V, VI and VII (in major and minor) and their inversions. We will now add some secondary dominants: (V/V, V/II). Listen for the chord qualities (major, minor, dominant 7th, minor 7th and diminished) and use your theory brain to find out how to decipher chord progressions. Use this skill to learn songs faster and know music better!

Oct 7, 2018

Just as you can use secondary dominant chords to aid in the movement to any diatonic chord, you can also use secondary leading tone chords for the same purpose. These chords can add intrigue, color and tension to any harmonic progression. We'll discuss how to identify them, how to spell them out and how to analyze them. Give them a listen. Give them a try.

Sep 23, 2018

The chord chart can be an essential tool for any musician, gigging or not. They allow you to get a lot more accomplished, in a lot less time, with your fellow musicians. In this episode, we're going to keep it simple but we're going to cover the three common types of chord charts. Get ready to learn about the lead sheet, the standard chord chart and the Nashville Number System.

Sep 9, 2018

In part one of our "Form and Analysis" series, we familiarized ourselves with the building blocks of a form, such as motives, phrases and periods. Now, we will begin our official discussion on small forms. We will cover rounded, simple, sectional and continuous binary forms. Then we will move into ternary and compound ternary forms. Finally, we will close it out with a brief discussion on theme and variations.

Aug 19, 2018

At this point, we've discussed the two most common diatonic 7th chords: V7 and II7. Now, we will discuss "The Others". These are the VII7, IV7, VI7, I7 and III7 chords. We will take a little time with each of these, give them a listen, discuss the way they sound and briefly discuss their functionality. Just because these are a little less common, that's no reason to not bring them up because they are often featured in great music!

Aug 5, 2018

Not every musician ends up on stage. One of our goals is to cover, in depth, the many career opportunities that can be available to a musician. In this episode, we will talk to Chris Knutson about how his music tech skills opened the door to a profitable career in stage and film production. This one's for all you music "tekkies" out there!

Jul 22, 2018

We celebrate our 50th episode by breaking the ice on the much anticipated topic of modulation. This discussion will include an introduction to the concept of modulation, or change of key.
We will first cover modulation to closely related keys and what makes a closely related key. Then will discuss the pivot chords that can help to facilitate this technique. Also included will be some tips on how to hear key changes in music and recognize them on paper. And, of course, we will share some advice and tips on how to write them!

Jul 8, 2018

Join us, as we continue to venture toward the coming mountain of chromaticism. We will approach the foothills as we resume our discussion of secondary dominants. We will talk about how these chords can be used in the tonicization of chords other than the tonic, with their dominant function. In this episode, we will focus on the V of ii (V/ii), V of vi (V/vi) and the V of iii (V/iii).

Jun 24, 2018

What exactly is sight reading? What is the difference between reading music and sight reading music? What are some factors that contribute to good sight reading? How can I improve my sight reading skills? Good questions, all! We shall address them in this episode!

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