Monday, January 31, 2011

reading drmfs

Follow the notation as you listen to today's lesson.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

dotted rhythms practice

Listen to the lesson as you follow the notation.  If you printed out yesterday's lesson, today's lesson is on the same sheet.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

dotted rhythms introduction

So far we've read and written rhythms using quarter, eighth and half notes.  This lesson will introduce you to dotted rhythms.  Follow the notation as you listen.  There will be lots of practice to follow.  Remember that, just like learning to read, learning to read music takes practice.

Friday, January 28, 2011

grand staff

This lesson reviews the names of the lines and spaces on the treble and bass clefs and their relationship to each other.  It also presents an explanation of a grand staff.  Use the worksheet from yesterday as you listen to the lesson.  Check your answers on the answer sheet.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

writing rhythms in 4/4 time

In this lesson you will write the rhythms for a song that I sing called "Old Hungarian Round".  Print out the worksheet and have a pencil ready as you listen to the lesson.  Here is the answer sheet.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

rhythm practice in simple meter

Today's lesson is a continuation of rhythm practice in simple meter.  The worksheet is the same one that you printed out for yesterday's lesson.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

rhythm practice in simple meter

Print out this worksheet and have a pencil handy as you listen to today's lesson.

Monday, January 24, 2011

natural minor

The sound of a song in a major key and a minor key is very different.  The notes are the same for a major key and its relative minor, but the tonic (the home tone and tone you end on) is different.  Print out the Tonal Ladders and Lesson 23 sheets to use as you listen to lesson 23.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

note heads and stems

This lesson demonstrates how noteheads and stems work together to indicate pitch and rhythm.  Listen to lesson 22 as you follow the notation.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

flags and beams

The stems, flags and beams on the notes tell the rhythms.  The note heads are only important in rhythms when the note is a whole or half note. Sometimes an x is used instead of a note head when notating rhythms for drums and other non-pitched percussion instruments.  Listen to the lesson as you follow the notation on the worksheet.

Friday, January 21, 2011

3/4 and drm practice

For today's lesson you will need to print out the worksheet and have a pencil handy because you will be doing some writing.  Have the answer sheet ready to check your work as you listen to the lesson.  If this lesson is easy for you, then you can try tapping the rhythm with one hand and the beat with the other hand.  It's not as easy as you might think.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

rhythm practice in simple meter

Follow the notation as you listen to today's lesson.  You will practice rhythms in 2/4, 4/4, 3/4 and 2/2 time.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

clefs and keys

Follow lesson 18 on the worksheet as you listen.  Note that I say Lesson 17 on the recording, but the sheet says Lesson 18.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

C major exercise

When music is notated on a staff there is a clef at the beginning to indicate the names of the lines and spaces.  It is important to know the names of the notes on the staff; however, it is not necessary to know the note names in order to read a melody if you know solfege.   All you need to know is where "do" is.  See what I mean as you sing this exercise with the C major scale while following the music notation.   The first "do" is indicated with a box around it.  You will notice that the exercise is written twice.  The first one is in bass clef for lower voices (tenor and bass) and the second one is in treble clef for the higher voices (soprano and alto).  You could follow the exercise on either staff.  The relationships of the notes are the same regardless of which clef is indicated.

Monday, January 17, 2011

C major scale with solfege

The name of a scale is its starting and ending place.  This note is called the tonic or home tone.  It is the note to which all other notes in the scale are compared.  Sing the C major scale using solfege syllables.  Use the Tone Ladder as a visual reference as you sing.  As you sing, notice where the whole and half steps are in the scale. 

Now sing the exercise again while you follow the notes on the staff.  You no longer have the reference for the whole and half steps.  All of the steps look evenly spaced on the staff.  This is why it is important to have the sound of the scale in your mind.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Recap of lessons 1 - 15

Each daily entry in this blog builds on the ones before it, so I thought it would be good to do a review to keep new people up with what we've covered. If you are unclear on any of the information, click on the links or go back to the previous lessons. I apologize for my late posting of today's entry.  My excuse is that it is Sunday. 

Music is notated on a musical staff that consists of 5 lines and four spaces. Each of these lines and spaces has a distinct name depending on the clef that is assigned to it. (There will be a lesson later on clefs and note names on the staff.) If you think of the lines on the staff as a ladder, the pitches of the notes get higher as you go up the ladder.

A scale is a stepwise organization of the pitches in a song. There are many different types of scales each of which has its own distinct sound related to the pattern of whole and half steps. Two common scales are the major scale and the natural minor scale.

Solfege is a system of reading music that assigns a syllable to each note in the scale. The syllables are do, re, mi, fa, so, la, and ti. Most people know these from The Sound of Music. In the moveable "do" system, "do" becomes the tonic (home tone) for the major scale regardless of which key you are in. Once you learn the system, this enables you to sing in any key as long as you are given the "do". It's a pretty amazing tool.

Rhythm is hard to define but easy to identify when we hear it. Rhythm is what we hear that moves the song forward in time. It is the sound of the song if you tap it out rather than sing or play it.  If the rhythms have an underlying feeling of a pulse, then we call this the beat. The way the beats are grouped is called the meter. If a song has the feel of two, like marching or walking, we call this duple meter. If it has a feel of three, like waltzing, we call it triple meter.  Read and listen to Lesson 14 for practice with rhythms in simple duple and triple meter.

When notating rhythms, we can group the threes together and count each group as a beat. This is called compound meter and has to do with how we notate music not how we hear it.  It is important to understand note equivalencies in order to notate rhythms.  You can print and cut out these flashcards to reinforce your understanding of note equivalencies.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

compound meter

Compound meter or time is when the beat is divided into three even parts.  "Pop Goes the Weasel", "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" and "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean" are examples.  These songs have a feel of two beats.  You could easily march to them, but they also have a feeling of three within each beat. 

Print out the worksheet and follow the instructions for some practice with compound meter.

Friday, January 14, 2011

meter and time signatures

First, the answer to yesterday's question: "Out of the Depths" and "Shalom Chaverim" are in a minor key and "Sing, Sing Together" and "Make New Friends" are in a major key.

Time signatures come at the beginning of songs and tell you how the beats will be grouped or measured, how the beat will be divided, and which note will get the beat or pulse. You can choose any number of time signatures when notating a song. Study the time signatures section on your music information sheet to see the particulars.

Meter is the feel of how the beats are grouped. There are really only two choices in meter: two or three. Waltzes have a feel of “one, two, three, one two, three" while marches have a feel of “one, two, one, two". 

Print out this worksheet and follow the instructions to practice rhythms in simple two and three meter.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

major and minor

Songs are either in a major key or a minor key.  You can usually tell which it is just by listening.  A scale is the notes that are in the key.  Watch these YouTube videos that demonstrate each type of scale. 

major scale
minor scale

Listen to these songs and see if you can tell which are major and which are minor. 

Shalom Chaverim
Sing, Sing Together
Make New Friends
Out of Eternity

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

musical alphabet

Today's lesson has two parts.  The first part teaches you the musical alphabet in relationship to a keyboard including the concept of sharps and flats.   Print out this music information sheet as a reference.
The second part teaches you what a chromatic scale is and the difference between a whole step and a half step.  The whole steps and half steps are very important in understanding major and minor scales which will be tomorrow's lesson.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

d,r,m dictation

Watch today's lesson on YouTube.  You will need your musical staff and notes (pennies) from Lesson 6.

Monday, January 10, 2011

active listening

Happy Snow day to those of you in the Charlotte area.  We have about 4 inches where I am. 

Listen to these songs and consider the speed of the steady beat or pulse. This speed is called the tempo.  Do the songs have the same tempo or different?  Is it fast, slow or in between?

"Out of Eternity"
"Shalom Chaverim"

Now listen again.  Do you hear any instruments being played?  How many voices do you hear?  Are the voices singing the same thing?

This time listen for the melodies.  Listen for the stepwise motion and for the skips?  Which song has more stepwise motion?  Which one has the largest skips or leaps?

This time sing along.  Here are the words:

Out of eternity the new day was born.
Back to eternity it will return.

Shalom chaverim, shalom chaverim,
shalom, shalom
Le hit raot, Le hit raot
shalom, shalom
(Peace, my friend, until we meet again)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Note Equivalencies

Pitch and rhythm are two essential elements of music.  Pitch refers to how high or low the notes are.  Rhythm moves the music forward in time.  In music notation the rhythm moves horizontally (left to right) across the page and the pitch moves vertically (up and down). 

Most songs also have a steady beat or a pulse.  The rhythms are notated in relationship to this beat.  It is important to understand how the duration or length of each note is related to other notes.  This relationship remains constant regardless of which note receives one beat or pulse.  Study the note equivalencies on this music information sheet

Optional: Print and cut out the self checking note equivalencies cards to practice.  For example:  Two eighth notes end to end are the same length as one quarter note.  Four quarter notes end to end are equal to one whole note. 

Echo the rhythms in this exercise.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

more rhythms

Watch Lesson 8 on YouTube.

Print out the flashcards for extra practice and for use in future lessons.

Friday, January 7, 2011

the musical staff

The musical staff is made up of five lines and four spaces.  Notes can be placed on any of these lines or spaces including the space below line 1 and above line 5.  Use your staff and notes (pennies) to represent the line and space notes as indicated in the picture.

When notating stepwise motion on the staff you will alternate between lines and spaces.  When the motion is not stepwise it is skipping. Here is what the notes look like for "Hot Cross Buns" . Sing the song as you touch the notes.  Notice that the notes move up and down with your voice.  See if you can find the only place in the song that does not move stepwise. 

Now try "Little Drops of Water".  Can you identify the stepwise motion and the skips? 

Practice singing "Frere Jacques".  Tap the steady beat on one leg and the rhythm (what you are singing) on the other leg.  It takes a little practice.  Don't try this while you are driving.  It would definitely be considered distracted driving.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

stepwise motion

Tomorrow's lesson will be about the musical staff.  Print two copies of this musical staff and tape them together end to end so that the lines match up.  Gather 25-30 pennies in a small container.  We will use these tomorrow to represent the notes. 

Before learning about the staff it is important to understand and be able to recognize stepwise motion in a song.  Look at the tone ladder you printed out in Lesson 1 and use it for reference as you listen to today's lesson.  Keep all of the information you print out for use in future lessons.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

steps and skips

Before you learned to read and write you had years of aural training as you listened and imitated those around you.  You learned verbal communication before you learned visual communication.  It is the same way with music.  You have years (some more than others) of music in your mind.  The goal is to be able to take what you know aurally and translate that into musical notation.  Once you can read and write songs you know, then you can take that knowledge and read unfamiliar music.  This all takes practice.  Remember that you didn't learn to read overnight, but you probably did learn to read over the course of a year.

Today's lesson will give you a visual representation of some songs in your mind from the last few lessons.  Open the pdf for lesson 5 and have it ready to reference as you listen to lesson 5.  It would be better if you printed it out so that you could touch the beats as you sing, but you could just look at it on the screen.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Hot Cross Buns

Watch today's lesson on YouTube.  You will learn how to write the rhythm for "Hot Cross Buns."

Use the flashcards you prepared yesterday to practice today's lesson.

Monday, January 3, 2011

do, re, mi

Listen to "Frere Jacques" and "Little Drops of Water."  Keep a steady beat as you sing or hum along.  It is helpful to alternate something when keeping a beat (marching, tap right knee then left knee, use two different fingers or toes) Sing an echo on this exercise using do, re, and mi in different combinations. 

optional:  Prepare the flashcards below to use with tomorrow's lesson.   Print them on 8 1/2" X 11" paper and cut along the dotted lines.
Flashcards for "Hot Cross Buns"

Sunday, January 2, 2011

steady beat

Listen to Hot Cross Buns. Memorize it. Sing it with the recording and without. March in place as you sing it. If you can't march with your legs, use your hands or two fingers or your two big toes. It doesn't matter how you do it as long as you get the feel of the steady beat.

Just for fun watch this YouTube of a flash mob in the Antwerp train station dancing to "Do, Re, Mi" from The Sound of Music.  It is quite impressive.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

a year of sight singing and ear training

Happy New Year!  Check here each day in 2011 for a new lesson on sight singing and ear training.  The sight singing exercises will help you sing a piece of music without having to have it played for you first.  The ear training exercises will help you learn to hear something and sing or play it back as well as write it out in musical notation.  Ear training also teaches you to sing and play in tune.  I will start at the very beginning and progress at a rate that allows you to internalize the knowledge through repetition.  The lessons will be very short.

Lesson 1:

As the song goes, "When you read you begin with ABC, when you sing you begin with do, re, mi."
Print out this tone ladder for use in many of the exercises. 
Echo what I sing on this do, re, mi exercise.