Posts Tagged melody

Amazon Asks Personalized Music Lessons to Join Forces!


People shop at Amazon for just about everything. It is like the world can run on Google, YouTube and Amazon. Right?

The one thing that Amazon wasn’t offering in their gift card department was music lessons!

So they found me, and and we’ve joined ranks!

Now… I’m sure that you have a special someone who really deserves some good musical enhancement. Right?

Well, click on the gift card and do a little shopping! This gift will enhance their life. :-)


Marty B.

(818) 517-3164







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The Arrangement is Not the Song (Different Ways to Play Songs)

A common problem when learning a new song is whether to learn an exact rendition of a recording or to play your own version. And if there are many versions of the song available, which one should you learn?

An experienced player has a better chance of copying it exactly how it is recorded and choosing which version to play, whereas a beginner should play a song in the easiest playing-style possible.

Here are some guidelines to clarify this area:
Read the rest of this entry »

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Metal and Classical (Music) Analysis Blog


Check out my new blog about analyzing metal and classical music. Short but possibly informative!




Avenged Sevenfold


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Glossary of Musical Terms

Check out my new Glossary of Musical Terms!

It is an expanding list of musical and music-business related terms. It has brief, yet concise definitions of important words. Not everything will be here as we already have dictionaries for those terms.

There are often many definitions for a word and I will mainly list a musically-oriented, simple definition or two for each one. Sometimes simple is good! (As time goes on I will be adding more involved and more in-depth definitions that you can access by clicking on words that are hyper-linked.)

The main focus is musical terms that are commonly mis-understood, or should be known by anyone playing or studying music.

I just started this project in March or 2010 and it will be expanding over the next few months. If there is anything you need a definition for let me know.

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Favorite Music Quote #5

Yehudi Menuhin

“Music creates order out of chaos; for rhythm imposes unanimity upon the divergent, melody imposes continuity upon the disjointed, and harmony imposes compatibility upon the incongruous.”

Sir Yehudi Menuhin

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Singer Success!

Shannon Win 1 MySpace

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The Language of Music – Part 2

An interesting part of teaching has been getting the idea across to students that you can’t experience something until you actually experience it; and you can’t experience it until you can actually do it. As you don’t know what it’s like to sit on a horse until you sit on a horse, you don’t really know what it’s like to play something well until you actually play something well! And until you actually hear something, recognize it and play on it on your instrument the first time you try you haven’t experienced “playing by ear.” To learn these things, calm, relaxed and efficient practicing is necessary. There’s no way around this.

On a physical level, the purpose of practicing is to work out the kinks and hesitations to develop control over what you’re playing. To play with a tense body is like driving a car with the emergency brake on. Practicing too fast is like speeding through the mountains and screeching around the corners—you will most likely end up in a tree. You need to develop relaxed control before going fast—even with playing one note. Learn to relax when you play!

For ear training, practicing achieves a familiarity with sounds and what they are called. It’s similar to knowing what words mean verses being able to say them without understanding their definitions. An infant most likely doesn’t know what “green” is until someone points to something green and says “This is green.” It’s the same thing with ear training. You take some sounds, learn what they’re called and how to play them, then drill listening and identifying them. Then as you can know and recognize a few different colors or many of them, you learn to recognize a few musical sounds or hundreds of them: small vocabulary—large vocabulary.

A major part of learning the language of music is practicing at the right speed; the speed in which you can actually DO what it is, then through repetition gaining control and certainty. (And some things need to be repeated hundreds of times before you get it so be patient!) Then once you can do whatever it is you can get it faster and more fluid. Practicing too fast is probably the number one boo-boo students make.

There are many elements to the language, and until the pieces are put together the puzzle remains unfinished. When I teach I spend a great deal of time simply filling in the holes that people have in their puzzles and creating sequences of things to do to complete the picture: small picture or big picture.

Whether you are learning your first songs, learning to read or filling in the holes, find something you want to improve and create a realistic practice routine. Put your puzzle together piece by piece and eventually the picture will appear and you’ll speak more of the language of music.

Play on!

Marty B.

Personalized Music Lessons

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The Language of Music – Part 1

After teaching one-on-one for more than twenty-five years I have a good understanding of the successes and difficulties people have with learning to play music. Everything I have ever played, studied or taught boils down to some simple facts; and the most basic of these is that music is a language. This is not a new idea to mankind, but it is something I want to point out because its relevancy is often missed.

As in speaking, one communicates with words, in music one communicates with notes and sounds. There are only so many symbols, sounds and words to understand and when you learn them you can speak, read and understand what it’s all about. Then one either develops a small yet functional vocabulary or a large and involved one. And as people learn to speak before learning to read, learning to play music before learning to read music is an efficient first step. (And did you know there are only six little shapes that make up most of written music?)

You could break down the musical language into three categories: melody, harmony and rhythm. Melody is a series of single notes (note: a specific musical sound), Harmony is combinations of notes and Rhythm is the placement of sounds and notes. Besides physical technique and lyrics – that’s all there is to the mechanical fundamentals. The mechanics of music are finite. The creative application is unlimited.

To get more out of your playing, or get re-started if you’ve stopped, you can address your understanding of these elements, increase your vocabulary and clear up any confusions you’ve had. Start by looking up these words in a simple dictionary, as music dictionaries can get extremely involved. Also look up any related words you think of, then take your new understanding and listen to lot’s of music. Within that music find some melody, find some harmony and tap out some rhythms you hear. Get some “ears-on” application.

Speaking of “ears,” you’ve heard of “playing by ear”? This means to hear or conceive sounds and duplicate what they are on your instrument. Some people naturally do this to a certain degree, whereas most people have to work at it. But all this entails is gaining some understanding of the language — the relationships of the sounds to each other.

As the intention behind the words you speak are actually the true communication, when the sounds you play parallel the sounds in your “inner ear” the music is truly alive and meaningful. This is easier to learn then one might think.

Two additional things you can do to increase you musical vocabulary are to: 1) Play single notes on an instrument and match them with your voice, and 2) Create some simple sounds in your head and sing them: try and match what you create in your inner ear with your voice.

These are main entrance points to learning the language of music.

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