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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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Now displaying: 2018
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!

Jun 10, 2018

Song writing is different for everybody. Sometimes we can be inspired by the experiences of others. We will talk all about it with our friend and colleague, Colin Soniat. We'll dig deep into his musical background and find out how his songwriting has evolved alongside. Hear some great original music examples and enjoy an in depth, yet light-hearted, discussion on creating something from within!

May 28, 2018

The overtone series is alive and well in every note you hear. Within the vibrations of a tone, or a note, there are other smaller vibrations that are occurring. We will start with the fundamental and look deeper into the overtones, or harmonics, that occur and at which order they appear. We will also discuss timbre and other things that are influenced by and, likewise, influence certain overtones.

May 7, 2018

Join us as we venture toward chromaticism with this 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 V (V/V) and the V of IV (V/IV).

Apr 22, 2018

Transposition, the act of changing a piece of music to a different key or mode, can be one of the most useful tools any musician can have in their kit. In this episode, we will discuss diatonic and chromatic transposition, as well as when and why we use them. We will also have a discussion on transposing instruments, instruments that sound out different notes then what is written on paper. It's time to change it up a bit! It's time for transposition!

Apr 8, 2018

Continuing where episode 39 left off, this episode will review the previously discussed chords: I, II7, IV, V7 and VII (in major and minor) and their inversions. We will now add the III (the mediant) and VI (the submediant). 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!

Mar 25, 2018

The guitar is an extraordinarily expressive and versatile instrument. From it's roots in 15th Century Spain to it's current prominence in jazz, rock, pop, folk, funk and blues (to name just a few genres), there is much to be said about the guitar. We're going to say as much as we can in one episode with our good friend Carlos Pino. Get ready for some great sounds because he brought his guitar! Get ready for another great episode because he really brought his "A" game!

Mar 11, 2018

As we near the end of the theory 101 sequence, we decided to dedicate a couple of episodes to the purpose of reviewing all of the topics we've covered up to this point. Part 1 covered episodes 1-19. This episode, part 2 of "The Big Recap", will cover episodes 20-39. We humbly thank you all for your support and for the community we are building. Help us celebrate our 40th episode by enjoying these two episodes!

Feb 26, 2018

As we near the end of the theory 101 sequence, we decided to dedicate a couple of episodes to the purpose of reviewing all of the topics we've covered up to this point. This episode, part 1,
will cover episodes 1-19. Part 2 will cover episodes 20-39.
We humbly thank you all for your support and for the community we are building. Help us celebrate our 40th episode by enjoying this episode!

Feb 15, 2018

Continuing where episode 31 left off, this episode will cover the previously discussed chords: I, II7, IV and V7 (in major and minor) and their inversions. We now add the VII and it's inversions. 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!

Jan 28, 2018

Pentatonic scales are five note scales that span the length of an octave. Major and minor scales, along with their respective modes, are all considered "heptatonic" or "seven note" scales. These scales also have five note subsets that are easier to learn and recognize. They are also more universally used across the globe. In this episode, we will discuss the major and minor pentatonic scales of the west and several others from the east, including the Hirojoshi, Mongolian, Iwato and Yo scales.

Jan 14, 2018

Continuing our discussion from episode 35-Counterpoint Pt.2, it's time to tackle 3rd and 4th species counterpoint! We have already built our cantus firmus and tried it out with 1st and 2nd species counterpoint. Our trilogy now comes to a satisfying end with melodies that coexist and commingle, all the while, maintaining their independence!

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