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Online Piano Lessons: Zoom Pointers

So, you have decided to tackle piano lessons and are concerned about what to expect when it comes to the first online lesson. The digital world has graced us with many options and possibilities for use in our daily lives, like online piano lessons. We see more and more benefits of the video conferencing service “Zoom” in our education, work, and social lives. There are plenty of advantages to taking a lesson online, but it can be confusing for those who do not have much experience using online video services. 

A piano lesson requires lots of focus, and worrying about what to expect during your online classes can hinder your concentration. We’ll go over all the pointers to prepare you and fill you in on everything you need to know before going into your Zoom lessons:

Internet 

First and foremost, you should ensure that you have stable and reliable internet access before you hop on your first Zoom lesson. Without the internet, you won’t have access to an online piano lesson. 

Connection 

You’ll want to check your connection to the internet. There are accessible services like Speed Test that allow you to see your download and upload speed. Some people prefer plugging their laptop or computer into their modem or purchasing Wi-Fi boosters that will strengthen their connection, making for a better Zoom session. 

In case you run into any difficulties connecting your laptop or desktop to the Wi-Fi, there are other alternatives you can take. Many devices can run Zoom, so if you own a mobile phone or device, you will be able to connect that way. 

Equipment

Devices

To be able to proceed with online piano lessons, you will need either a desktop computer or a laptop, such as an Apple or Windows, or a mobile device that is an iOS or Android. These devices will be able to run Zoom, so your teacher will be able to communicate with you. 

Video & audio

While cameras are not always required to use Zoom, you will most likely need to have one to appear on the screen. The piano teacher will need to see you and how you play to be able to give you tips and informative instructions. An HD webcam will suffice for these lessons and are quite accessible and affordable to find in stores that sell electronics. If you own a laptop or a mobile device, then you’ll already have a camera that is built-in. 

The audio aspect of your online lesson is perhaps the most essential part. Along with your teacher being able to see you, they will need to hear you and vice-versa. Most laptops and mobile devices will have a built-in speaker and microphone. Desktop users need to have speakers and a microphone hooked up to fulfill the audio aspect of their lesson.

Headphones

Headphones are a useful alternative in case you don’t have speakers. You can plug them into the audio jack and hear your piano teacher a bit more clearly. Headphones and earbuds are widely popular items and can be found at many electronics stores. Keeping a pair handy is a good idea when going into a lesson.

Setting Up

Before setting up for your online lesson, you have a couple of options when it comes to Zoom. You can download the app onto your computer or mobile device, which may make things a lot easier and more convenient for you. You can also use Zoom through your online browser, which will save you some space on your hard drive if need be. 

Lesson space

Once you have the proper equipment needed for your online lesson, then you can figure out your space and set it up. Make sure you and your piano are in view, as your teacher will want to see you. Depending on what time of day your lesson will be, be mindful of the lighting situation in the room. You will not want to be learning the piano in the dark, so make sure you and your piano keys are visible so your teacher can see you on screen.

Make sure your lesson takes place in a quiet place where you will not be disturbed or pick up any background noise. Having an outlet nearby is recommended to ensure your device is charged. 

Using Zoom

The process of using Zoom for your online lessons will not be hard to figure out. However, anyone who hasn’t used the service might be wondering how to go about it. We’ll break down the step-by-step process so you will not run into any issues on your way toward mastering those lessons: 

Step-by-step process

As you set up Zoom on your device of choice, you’ll be met with some important prompts and features:

  • A link will most likely be provided for you by your piano teacher. Clicking the link will bring you to the lesson at your designated time. 
  • If you have not already, you will be asked to enter your name. This way, the teacher will know who you are.
  • Zoom will ask if it can access the camera, to which you will click OK. This is important to get the visual part of the lesson going. 
  • You will be asked to join the call with video. Click that prompt. 
  • Zoom will ask if it can access the microphone, which you will allow. Then your teacher can hear you.
  • Zoom may ask if it can send you notifications, which you may want to allow. This will be useful in knowing when your lessons have begun or ended, as well as knowing if there has been something entered in the chat portion. 
  • You will have access to advanced settings by choosing “enable original sound.” This way the music will come through more clearly for your instructor, as well as for you.
  • You may find that there is a recording option on Zoom. Using it may be helpful to you when you want to go back and recall some crucial tips in the lesson. 
  • Once you’ve finished the lesson, you or your teacher may end the call. 

It’s as simple as that. There’s no need to feel stressed or worried about your online lessons; you may find that you actually prefer their convenience. 

If you are interested in enrolling in Zoom music lessons, nothing is standing in your way. By following the above tips, you’ll see that learning how to play piano online is a highly accessible and comfortable opportunity. Don’t let the inability to meet in person deter you. Your piano lessons are waiting for you today!

The Dorian Mode: What Is It?

As a musician, you will come across many types of scales in music. While some may appear to be more familiar than others, there are a series of scales called modes. Modes are a type of scale based on one major scale, and of those that you will see is called the Dorian mode. 

The Dorian mode has become a very popular seven-note scale that has been put to use by many musicians. To help you get a better understanding of what it is, we will go over the important details.

What Is a Scale?

A scale is what a mode is created from. There are several intervals in a major scale:

  • 1. The root of the scale
  • 2. A whole step up from the root
  • 3. A whole step up from the second
  • 4. A half step up from the third
  • 5. A whole step up from fourth
  • 6. A whole step up from the fifth
  • 7. A whole step up from the sixth

There is also a natural minor scale, which is similar to a major scale, with some half steps where the whole steps used to be, making it an octave higher:

  • 1. The root of the scale
  • 2. A whole step up from the root
  • 3. A half step up from the second
  • 4. A whole step up from the third
  • 5. A whole step up from the fourth
  • 6. A half step up from the fifth
  • 7. A whole step up from the sixth 

 Because of the seven intervals, seven modes can be built off of it and can start in any degree of the scale. 

What Is a Mode?

A mode features a series of seven-note scales that are based on the major scale. They are put together by playing a major scale but starting on a different degree of the scale. 

Modes

  • C Ionian Mode: C D E F G A B. This major scale pattern starts on the root. It shares the same set of notes as the C major scale. 
  • D Dorian Mode: D E F G A B C. Starting on the second degree. This mode is a cousin to the minor scale and has become quite popular due to being used by musical artists like The Beatles in their song Eleanor Rigby, Michael Jackson in Billie Jean, and Miles Davis in So What.
  • E Phrygian Mode: E F G A B C D. In the third degree. According to Master Class, it features a minor tonality used to produce Arabian, Spanish, and North American music. 
  • F Lydian Mode: F G A B C D E. In the fourth degree. This mode creates an inspirational and uplifting sound popular in films and from composers like John Williams.
  • G Mixolydian Mode: G A B C D E F. In the fifth degree. This mode can be heard among the rock and blues scenes. 
  • A Aeolian Mode: A B C D E F G. In the sixth degree. Features the same note pattern as a minor scale. 
  • B Locrian Mode: B C D E F G A. In the seventh degree. This mode is rarely used, as it is considered dense and does not sound very pleasant. It is often used by musicians over diminished chords. 

Name Origin

Interestingly enough, all of the modes are named after cultures and religions found in ancient Greece. When looking at Homer’s Odyssey, “Dorian” is referred to as a group of people found in ancient Greek culture. 

The Dorian Mode

Often referred to as the Doric mode, the Dorian mode is the second of the seven mode scale. If you were to play all the notes in C major but started on D, you will have successfully played the Dorian scale. 

A combination of sad and brighter-sounding music can be made by using these scales, which other minor modes don’t have. 

Why Learn It?

If you are planning to write music, you will have more options by learning about modes. Each mode can be utilized to create different sounds of music, which is perfect for anyone wanting to play around with different genres.

Each of the modes can create a specific kind of mood. For example, the Lydian mode is quite effective in creating the improvisational intervals that are found in jazz music, while the Ionian mode creates a more upbeat feeling that is found in pop songs. The Dorian mode is known for its ability to produce both a melancholic and optimistic range of music, which provides more opportunities and fun for a musician to have. 

How To Learn?

Learning how to use the Dorian mode, as well as the other six, is not too difficult to achieve. Once you know a major scale, you can take the same notes and just start on a different scale step, and you will have successfully played in a different mode. 

If you have any confusion or questions about how the modes work or how to use them, you can find numerous resources like online music lessons that can equip you with everything you need to know. 

Practicing your listening skills can be an asset to understanding how the Dorian mode works. The Dorian mode can be tricky to track but can be found in many rock or metal songs. Songs that you can listen out for are Another Brick in the Wall by Pink Floyd, Get Lucky by Daft Punk, Blue Jeans by Lana Del Ray, and Wicked Game by Chris Isaak. By actively listening for its use in other musical arrangements, you will be training yourself to know when it is present in a song. 

Not only can learning about the modes of music help you strengthen your understanding of music theory, but it can also improve how you play. There are countless instruments that something like the Dorian mode can be utilized on, from guitar to piano or violin; the choices are endless. Look into Academy of Music today to begin the betterment of your musical ambitions.

5-String Violin: What It Is & Exactly How It’s Different

You may be familiar with the violin: A wooden 4-stringed instrument that follows the G-D-A-E pattern and is commonly chosen as the first instrument for musicians everywhere. There have been many different engineering capabilities with the instrument, like the evolution of the electric violin and the acoustic-electric violin. 

However, you might wonder if there is much difference between a standard violin and a 5-string violin. They are, of course, part of the same violin family, with one main difference being that the 5-string has (you guessed it) an extra string known as the C string.

This may lead you to want to pick up and learn how to play the 5-string, but maybe you want to know more about it and its differences. Here’s some info:

 

What Is a 5-String Violin?

As stated, a 5-string is exactly what it sounds like, but why the extra string? Here is a little information as to why this came to be. Instruments like violins, violas, upright basses, and cellos were created to be able to cover a wider range of sound. A violin features and projects a fantastically sharp E string but is unable to match the lower sounds of a viola. But why if you took the lower C string on a viola and added it to a violin? What does that get you?

C String

The C string is placed right before the G string on a violin, so you will see it in this order: C-G-D-A-E. By adding another string, you are giving the player more range and possibilities to play different parts and produce sounds that a regular violin is incapable of. Now you have an instrument that is capable of going beyond the violin’s usual range. 

 

The Differences Between a 4 and 5-String Violin

Necks/Strings

A 5-string features a wider neck to accommodate for the added string, whereas a 4-string has a narrower neck. Its narrowness means narrower string spacings. A 4-string will feature more space in between strings because it does not have to make room for the additional string.

The addition of the lower C string may have its player experience string crossings. To clarify, string crossings can occur when a bow hits any other neighbouring strings as opposed to playing on a standard violin. 

However, according to 3D Varius, there are numerous tests in the works to correct the issue of string crossings and spacings to create an overall better experience for the player, even in the 5-string electric violin realm.

Abilities/Sound

As a performer, you will have wider access to more notes while playing a 5-string violin. The added benefit is that you can get the full sound and range of both the violin and viola.

A bonus for any musician is that playing double and triple stops becomes a lot easier and means that there will be more possibilities to play around with different genres, like jazz, swing, and country.

 

Why You Might Want To Play a 5-String

If you already have a background in playing the violin or simply want to pursue the 5-string through taking online music lessons, you might want to know some information about the possibilities of pursuing a career or interest in this instrument.

Possibilities

If you are someone who enjoys arranging, writing, and composing music, the 5 strings can be extremely helpful to you, as it boosts the possibilities and ranges that you, as a musician, can reach. If you extend your lower range with an added string, you will gain access to several extra notes, including half steps.

With the addition of the 5th string, you can find your overall preferred timbre, which is essentially the tone of music you want your instrument to create. You may find that a richer and darker tone can be achieved when you play on a 5-string. 

You do not necessarily have to stick with a wooden 5-string violin, as we live in a world that has progressed to 5-string electric violins. These violins may provide a better sound if you are going for a lower tone across the range, especially with a 5-string acoustic-electric violin, as it can produce better sound quality.

A great added benefit of using a 5-string violin is that you will find the ability to cover parts that a guitar can typically play. This will give you the ability to cover guitar solos and rock songs and can all be achieved with the addition of that string. 

Along with the guitar parts, you will also be able to cover parts that the viola can play as well. While it will be an octave higher, you will be able to cover more ground and become more versatile when it comes to playing in gigs or music shows. 

 

Are They More Expensive?

If you are serious about pursuing this instrument, investing in a violin will save you a lot of time and hassle. It will, however, cost money. There can be a difference in price when looking at a 5-string, but the same can be said about a 4-string as well. They can go anywhere from $1000-$3000, but that is not to say you cannot find less expensive methods. Renting instruments or buying them second-hand may be an alternative to you, but when it comes down to quality, you will want to make sure you are choosing wisely. Local music stores can be a huge help in aiding your instrumental needs.

 

How Much Work Is required?

If you are already used to a regular violin and want to make the switch over to a 5-string, you may be concerned about how much more work it would be for you to adapt. The same can be said for anyone who has never touched a violin at all. 

Challenges 

Because of the size of the violin and its neck, the addition of another string is something a violin player will have to be aware of, especially with their bow placement on the strings themselves. As stated before, the placement of the strings is much closer together than they are on 4-stringed instruments like the violin or viola. You may have a few slip-ups when you first learn how to play by accidentally rubbing against or hitting the accompanying strings. It will take some time, but it is an issue that can be corrected and avoided. 

You may want to consider what strings and bow you want to move ahead with. Some musicians may decide to use viola strings on their – string violin, which are thicker and may require more pull from the bow. However, a regular violin bow may not be strong enough to create the full sounds that a 5-string can produce. Some opt-out for viola bows instead, as they are heftier and can give the player more control over how they play. 

Practice

Like any instrument, your 5-string violin will require a great deal of practice to perfect and get the hang of it. The only added difference of practicing when it comes down to a 5-string violin is just the extra string. The more times you play, you will come to find how quickly you can adapt to a new instrument. 

Do not let more strings be a concern of yours when it comes down to practice. Just look at the guitar or other musicians that make the switch from a violin to a viola. Additional strings and size will not affect how you learn to play your instrument as long as you take the time to practice. 

Lessons

Luckily for aspiring musicians everywhere, you will not have to go about learning any stringed instruments on your own. There are many resources and places in your community that you can seek out for violin lessons. Learning about string theory, the history of music, and your instrument will boost your understanding of the instrument. Many courses and methods can aid you in playing and practicing.

The 5-string violin is a magnificent instrument with a lot of potential and possibilities to find. If it is something you want to seriously consider, then sign up for lessons, as they can be the first stepping stones toward conquering a new instrument.

Keyboard vs. Piano: What Exactly Is The Difference?

For most music lovers, the idea of playing an instrument can be exciting but difficult. There are many options to choose from, but starting on the piano is an excellent choice for a first instrument. While there are advantages to be had with the piano, you might run into some confusion about where to start. There are differences to factor in when choosing an acoustic piano or a digital/electric keyboard. Here are the perks of each side to help in your curiosities: 

What Is an Acoustic Piano?

Acoustic pianos are made of a wooden or metal exterior that features hammers and steel strings built within them. The piano has weighted keys connected by the steel strings to the wooden hammers so that when you press a key, the hammer strikes, creating a vibration, which creates sound. 

What Is a Digital Piano?

Digital pianos are not acoustic instruments. When the keys are pressed, the sounds are produced electronically.  The speakers will play back high-quality recordings from an acoustic piano and/or other instruments, like violins and drums.

Sound

Quality

The sound quality and options will vary between these two instruments, considering what options you like when it comes to the possibilities of sound. 

  • An acoustic piano produces sounds that are amplified physically. According to Liberty Park Music, it gives you a more authentic sound with better control over the articulation of the musical notes. 
  • A digital piano will copy the sounds an acoustic can make, as well as a variety of other sounds like the organ, synthesizers, sound effects, etc. The keyboard is installed with digital files that have different options for sounds, but you will lose the authentic sound of an acoustic. 
  • You get volume options when sticking with a digital keyboard, as well as an output to plug in headphones. This way, you can practice in private or use the volume knob to decrease the sounds. 
  • Some keyboards have a recording function, so you can record what you play. This is beneficial for anyone learning how to play piano and convenient for online music lessons.  

Feel

There will be a difference in feel when it comes down to playing these instruments; acoustic pianos vibrate.

Touch

  • An acoustic piano has weighted keys which require a little more finger strength than a keyboard. 
  • The strength and movement of your fingers on a piano will determine what tone of sound you will get, giving a different range of sound on a key. 
  • An electric piano may lack touch sensitivity when it comes to playing, which is why some manufacturers have created weighted keys to mimic the same feel of an acoustic. 
  • A standard piano has 88 keys, as do many keyboards, but not all keyboards feature 88 keys due to the size or model you choose. You will want to make sure you have 72 keys at the very least to ensure you have the ability to play many popular piano songs.

Pedals

Acoustic pianos have foot pedals to alter the instrument’s tone, whereas electric pianos might not.

Sustain Pedal

The right pedal on a piano is also referred to as the damper pedal. The player has the ability to string notes and chords together in a smoother fashion, effective for transitioning between notes. 

Sostenuto Pedal

Located next to the damper pedal and will work as a selective damper. When pressed, the sostenuto rod will engage and hold up the dampers that have been raised when the keys are pressed. This sustains notes that are depressed when the pedal is engaged. 

Una Corda Pedal

Located on the left side next to the sostenuto pedal and is referred to as the soft pedal. This thins out the tone of the piano, as it shifts the keyboard and action to the right so that the hammers do not strike all the strings. By doing so, the hammers will strike a string with a different portion of the head, resulting in a softer sound. 

Digital Pedals

Most keyboards will not come with pedals, but some models will include them. For those without, an input jack can be found on the digital keyboard where you can plug in a sustain pedal that you can purchase at any local music store.  This will be the only pedal you can add to your keyboard unless you find a digital upright piano that comes with the three-pedal arrangement. 

Size/Portability 

Pianos are always a good choice, but most musicians will learn quickly that the size and portability of your instrument will play heavily in which kind of piano you buy. A full-size piano can reach a weight of 454 kg (1000 lbs.) or more, while smaller-scale pianos, like an upright, can still be 227 kg (500 lbs.). This type of piano makes for an interesting and challenging move, not to mention the deciding factor of where you would place it in your home. 

Digital keyboards are much more lightweight and portable in comparison, making for easy mobility. These keyboards can come with a portable stand, which help for quick setups. Portability is good for any travelling musicians who want a light load. 

Maintenance 

Like anything you love, it is best to ensure your instrument is well taken care of. Acoustics, as well as digital or electronic pianos, need some TLC too.

Cleaning

  • Steinway recommends disinfecting your piano keys with over-the-counter hydrogen peroxide, as it is safe for piano keys. Make sure to use a cotton pad or soft cloth when doing so, followed by drying with a towel. 
  • An acoustic piano has more surface area to cover when wiping it down. When using a clean cloth and minimal warm water, make sure you don’t let any liquid in between the keys, as it can cause swelling within the piano. 
  • A keyboard requires the same treatment but with less surface area, making for a quicker clean. 

Tuning

  • You will have to know how to tune your acoustic piano, as it will require tuning every six months or so, depending on how often it’s played. 
  • Some musicians may need the assistance of a professional when it comes time to tune the instrument. 
  • Seasonal changes, temperature, and humidity can contribute to your piano being out of tune.
  • Keyboards do not require any tuning, although the quality of their speakers can go out over a period of time. 

Price Difference 

When choosing your piano, the topic of the price will surely be a concern for you. When looking at an acoustic piano, they can be thousands of dollars. A digital piano, on the other hand, is much more affordable, hanging in the low hundreds, although higher-end models can be much pricier. 

Regardless of what decision you make when looking at the differences between keyboard and piano, online keyboard lessons are always beneficial to anyone looking to learn. The techniques you’ll learn will help you excel in your musical ventures and assist you when it comes time to making the decision: Keyboard or piano.

The Best Ukulele Songs To Play For Any Occasion

So many musicians have featured the ukulele in their works through many decades, making the instrument an instant classic. With its soothing and satisfying sounds, it is no wonder that many music lovers decide to choose it over the likes of an acoustic guitar. Just four strings and easy to tune, the uke is a great instrument to pick up for any beginner with an interest in playing.

As you begin to experiment with different ukulele songs, you might consider taking ukulele lessons in order to get a basic understanding of the instrument. After you have done so, you might then wonder which songs are the best to play for anyone on any given occasion. 

Where To Start?

Traditional Hawaiian 

You can’t go wrong with music from the origin point of the instrument itself and some great ukulele songs from Hawaiian culture. Hawaii is what people typically think of when they hear or see a uke because its ties to Hawaiian culture are very deep. The last monarch, Queen Lili’uokalani, wrote one of Hawaii’s most famous songs, titled Aloha’Oe. It became one of the most popular ukulele songs and is a great song to play for a relaxing mood and a great introduction for beginners.

Another one of the most fun ukulele songs is Somewhere over the Rainbow, covered by Israel Kamakawilo’ole. It is a classic song from The Wizard of Oz which has garnered many renditions. Israel’s ukulele-based version is really lovely, extremely recognizable, and features a simple strumming pattern and chord changes that are easy to learn. 

Pop Music

Pop songs of the 20th century are some of the most played and most well-known to the public, so you can’t go wrong with playing one. There are so many that feature the uke, with a wide variety to choose from. 

A go-to song that many beginners flock to is I’m yours by Jason Mraz, which is a ukulele song at its core. According to Consordini, the song is pretty simple and exemplifies that you don’t need to be a prodigy to learn how to play something on a ukulele. It features a basic strum pattern and easy chords, so it’s perfect for a beginner or a quick learner. This widely popular song is romantic and joyful and one of the best ukulele songs for weddings.

Riptide by Vance Joy is also considered another of the best ukulele songs to learn. It’s fun and can get people singing, as it is super catchy and a more recent ukulele song of the last ten years. Perfect for parties and get-togethers, the song is a real crowd-pleaser. 

One of the most iconic songs that everyone is sure to know or recognize is Can’t Help Falling in Love by the great Elvis Presley. This song has easy lyrics to memorize and is great for a challenge, as it can be played in many different ways. It is tender, comforting, entertaining, and in some cases, somber. This song can be played on virtually any occasion and can fit the tone and mood of the room instantly. 

Cover Songs

Covering any popular songs is always a good move, as they can be transformed into great ukulele tunes almost instantly. A very well-known cover that features a uke is Dream a little dream of Me by Gus Kahn,  famously covered by The Mamas and Papas. The song has been covered so many times and in many different ways, making it highly identifiable. 

Learning a different variety of songs that you can cover is a good choice in preparing your song toolbox; this way, you’ll be ready for any event that requires a specific kind of ukulele song.

If you are serious about pursuing the ukulele as your instrument of choice and you wish to get more information about lessons, visit Academy of Music. You will find everything you need for fulfilling your musical needs and be put on the right track toward learning the best ukulele songs that you can play for anyone, anywhere, anytime.

Cadences In Music

Cadences are an essential factor in understanding music theory. Learning about what they are and how to utilize them will save you a lot of time when it comes down to playing or reading music. You may have several questions, which is why we are here to break down everything you need to know about cadences in music.

What Is a Cadence?

A cadence acts like punctuation but in a musical sense. It is typically made up of at least two chords that are next to one another at the end of a phrase.

Phrase?

When we speak or write, we tend to group words into phrases to create sentences. In music, we do the same with notes, to create rhythm and melodies. 

Cadences assist in making the music feel complete, like a period in a sentence, or create a sense that there is more to come, like a comma. They help build the music up or wind it down, giving it a sense of direction. 

Types of Cadences

As you begin to come across cadences, you might notice that there are some that sound complete while others do not. The reason for this is that there are four main types of cadences that you will hear: 

The Authentic Cadence  

The authentic cadence, also classified as a perfect or imperfect cadence, moves from the dominant chord V and the tonic chord I. Of all the cadences, this is the one that sounds the most finished. 

  • Perfect Authentic Cadence: The chords will be in root position, which means they will be placed in the bass, whereas the tonic will be the higher voice in the final chord. This will produce a stronger type of cadence found in music.
  • Imperfect Authentic Cadence: There are three different kinds of imperfect authentic cadence. The root position IAC is where the highest voice is not featured in the tonic area. An inverted IAC is similar to an authentic cadence, but one or both chords will be inverted. A leading tone IAC is when the V chord is replaced, but the tonic will still end on the I chord. 

The Plagal Cadence

A plagal cadence consists of the chord progression IV and I and is used at the end of a phrase in music, creating a sense of finality. It is often referred to as the “Amen cadence”, as it was commonly used to end Hymns. 

The Half Cadence

The half cadence is when any cadence ends on a V chord despite whatever chord comes before it. It will usually sound incomplete and sometimes suspended, resulting in it appearing weak and calling for more. Half cadences are not typically used to end a piece of music but can be found in the beginnings of choruses or verses. 

The Deceptive Cadence 

The deceptive cadence (sometimes called an interrupted cadence) is the progression in which the V chord will move to a chord that is not the I chord. It is called “deceptive” due to the listener expecting to hear the resolution with the I chord but receiving an incomplete feeling instead.

Other Factors

Rhythm and Melody 

As cadences are crucial in putting music together, other elements such as rhythm and melody play accompanying roles in producing a cadence. There are numerous possibilities and important aspects to remember when piecing it all together:

  • The top notes in a phrase impact how an authentic cadence works. 
  • You will get a better sense of finality when a tonic note sits on top of a tonic chord.
  • A strong or weak beat can impact the effect of a cadence. You may want to consider having the final chord fall on a strong beat instead of a weaker one. 
  • Keeping both chords in a root position can create a stronger cadence. 
  • If the chords are inverted, the cadence ending will be reduced. 

How To Use Cadences

Understanding cadences is a helpful tool when it comes down to composing or arranging music. By knowing the basics, putting together different types of musical phrases will feel a lot easier. You can have anything from phrases that finish with a grand sense of finality, like with an authentic and plagal cadence. You can get a sense of continuation or of idleness in a phrase, like with a half cadence or deceptive cadence. 

By combining different types of phrases, a bigger section of music can be produced, which can be identified as a “period.” A period is two or more phrases that go together. 

When structuring music, a cadence should be at the end of every phrase, with the last cadence of a period being the strongest in the group. Phrases will usually come in groups, sometimes two, three, or more, but the last one will always be the strongest. 

Music Radar suggests that listening to other songs by acclaimed musicians can aid in understanding and spotting cadences. Songs like I Will by The Beatles or Guilt by Nero are a couple of examples of a deceptive cadence and a perfect cadence. Listening is a useful tool in discovering how music works, especially in cases where cadences are involved. 

Common Misconceptions 

  • Not every cadence has to act as a moment of rest in a song, nor does it need to end on a long note. You will notice many cases where this is present, but it is not a requirement in writing music. 
  • A cadence does not always need to end a song, as some of them are designed to create tension or bridge different parts of the song together. 
  • Some musicians may ignore their relevance, but cadences continue to influence music even today. Understanding the differences of plagal cadences and how to use a half cadence will be useful in composing music. 

Anyone can access information about cadences through online music lessons provided by Academy of Music. We strive to ensure that your music knowledge expands and that any needs will be met with our lessons and information. Sign up today to improve your understanding and strengthen your musical talents.

How To Stay Focused While Practicing Piano

The piano is one of the most universally iconic and enjoyable instruments, appearing in countless forms of entertainment. It is no surprise that it is a go-to instrument for many who wish to master music. However, learning piano requires a great deal of concentration, time, and practice, which is why so many individuals do not go through with completing their piano journey. 

To stay focused in an age where your concentration can be broken by so many distractions is no easy feat. Piano practice has to be met with dedication, and that can often be thwarted with temptations from our devices or hanging out with friends, etc. Despite how much you may love the piano, it may always seem like something is pulling you away. Here are some helpful tips to assist you with practicing: 

Tips

Create Goals

Taking on the piano can be intimidating at first. Creating goals for yourself in a journal or agenda can help you maintain concentration and organize how you go about practicing, ridding you of any unmotivated feelings. You can even be competitive with yourself, which will result in you putting in more effort and having fun. 

Take a Break

Practicing for a lengthy period can be exhaustive and could indirectly halt your progress. Feel free to take breaks when appropriate or set an alarm for five or ten-minute breaks, but use that time wisely. Get a drink, a snack, walk around or give yourself a rest to improve those energy levels. Pianist Magazine highly recommends taking a moment, as it can increase your learning retention and effectively keeps you focused. Use your break effectively and wisely to avoid any distractions.

Designated Time

Choosing one designated time each day can help in creating an organized schedule. You will not be as tempted to make plans when you know you have a piano practice session. Pick a time of day that works for you. Other pianists may have an ideal time to practice piano, like in the morning or the evening. Choosing a time can be beneficial in the piano learning process.

Warm-Up

The idea of a warm-up before practice may seem time-consuming. Warming up is wise for many reasons, from preventing carpal tunnel or tendonitis to simply improving your flow when playing. You will spend less time being rusty during practice which is always a bonus for developing playing skills. 

Slow Down

Putting pressure on yourself to learn specific songs that require a lot of work might not be good for you. Learn them at half speed and when you feel comfortable, play faster. Use a metronome and pay attention to the speed and listen to the notes; you will notice a difference in your piano performance. 

Enjoy the Music

As a pianist, you want to enjoy the music you play. If you are playing music that you don’t like while you practice, you’ll find yourself unable to concentrate and may begin to feel unmotivated. Choosing tunes you enjoy will boost your interest and help you stay interested.  

Be Positive 

Making mistakes and having trouble learning the piano is perfectly okay, as it is a part of the journey. Most musicians and composers found difficulty mastering their instruments, whether piano, guitar, or saxophone. Make sure to keep playing and continue your practices, as you will find that it will only be a matter of time before you start to sound like a focused and professional pianist. 

Signing up for piano lessons can help further your training and strengthen your musical understanding. With classes and practice, you’ll definitely hear significant improvements.

Why You Should Learn At Least A Little Music Theory

You may be someone who has formed their life around their love of music. Whether it is by playing an instrument, like guitar or piano, or simply the enjoyment of following musicians and their musical works, there are so many ways to enjoy it. 

If your appreciation of music has led you to the desire of wanting to learn how to play an instrument, carry a melody, or form a basic knowledge of how music is created, then understanding music theory is a fun and fantastic first step to begin your musical journey. 

Some musicians may tell you it is as simple as picking up an instrument and learning your own way, but a basic understanding of how it all works is extremely helpful to develop your listening and playing skills. Here are some reasons as to why you should study theory if you want to go down the right course toward music knowledge: 

How Does It Help?

Comprehension

The great thing about music is that there are so many different instruments you can pursue and different approaches you can take as you begin. A great asset to possess when you begin your journey is forming your music theory knowledge. There are many ways music theory helps a beginner:

  • It is like learning a new language, and doing so will help you read music notes and develop how you begin writing music.
  • Once you understand it, you will be able to communicate with other musicians.
  • You will comprehend what scales are and be able to clarify information like the difference between a major chord and a C major chord.  
  • Music theory helps you understand different techniques and styles of playing.
  • Becoming familiar with music theory can assist in speeding up the learning process.
  • Understanding how music works will give you a better sense of right and wrong, as well as ease you closer toward performing and playing your instruments of choice. 

How Can I Learn?

Lessons

You do not have to go on your journey to learn music theory alone. If you are looking to be taught about music theory, there is a convenient way to go about doing it. 

  • The ability to learn music theory online is available to anyone who wishes to take lessons.
  • Learning music theory from a professional can make life a little easier for you.
  • Your teacher will be able to give you notes and information that will guide you down the right path in discovering how music works.
  • Good music theory books can be found online that will help you understand the language of music.
  • Just like playing guitar or any other instrument, you need practice. Test yourself on the knowledge needed to understand music, and you will begin to master your instruments in no time.

Are There Other Benefits?

Besides forming an understanding of music theory, you may wonder how else it can benefit you as a musician. 

Creativity

  • If you study theory, it can play a big part in your overall creative musical endeavors.
  • Your creative process may be hindered if you lack the required technical knowledge to adapt to other forms of music.
  • It will assist you in trying different things when you write sheet music. 
  • You will have improvisational skills when you play instruments like piano, guitar, drums, violin, etc. By understanding how notes work and what goes into writing a song or a melody, you can freestyle and be more adventurous as you play.
  • It can assist you in understanding, as well as playing music in other genres. 
  • According to Liberty Park Music, understanding the basic rules of music can help you determine when it is appropriate to break them and try something new. This informs creativity rather than deterring it. 

Sound

  • You will sound a lot better when you begin to play.
  • Theory can help how you listen and perform and can be a bonus when you want to know if what you are playing sounds good. 

Performance

  • Music theory will help you play and write more professionally.
  • A strong understanding of music theory will add to your immersive experience on stage and in front of an audience. 
  • If you are playing in a band or an orchestra, music theory will help you understand what role everyone else plays.

Patience and Discipline 

  • It is a lot of work to study theory, but you can form a great deal of patience and discipline by learning. 
  • You will be able to attribute it to how you go about playing and will eventually make the job easier as mastering instruments themselves require a great deal of time. 

Independence

  • You do not want to always rely on others to guide you.
  • Music theory can help in the long run as you will know how to create pieces without the assistance of others. 

Versatility 

  • If you study theory, you will be able to become more versatile as you begin your career or venture into music, as this is widely important in the music scene.
  • Some musicians do not always get to play what they want, and general knowledge about different styles and techniques can help you gain more experience. 
  • You may become someone who can do a variety of different jobs that require different instruments and genres.

Is It Fun?

Learning to do anything music-related can be hard work, but it can be extremely satisfying. Figuring out a major chord or chord progression, as well as performing and writing your own songs, can be some of the most fun experiences you can have in your life, especially if shared with others. Many musicians have made wonderful memories and incredible music and most definitely had an eventful time along the way. 

If you are deeply passionate about music and everything that goes into making it, visit the Academy of Music, where you will be able to find any lessons you require or wish to try. You will have the opportunity to learn all there is to put you on a course toward your musical triumphs.

Are Online Drum Lessons A Good Alternative To In-Person Lessons?

The world we live in is always expanding and modifying how it operates on a day-to-day basis, which requires us to adapt to the way things are progressing. The same can be said about music, specifically learning how to play our favourite instruments. 

A treasured instrument that is loved by many music enthusiasts is the ever-expanding drum set. The mastering of this incredibly fun instrument takes time. You have to learn every bit of this instrument, from snares and tom drums to the cymbals, and eventually increase beyond a four or five-piece drum set. That is where lessons come in, and luckily, we now have the option of taking lessons from the comfort of our own home while being connected to a variety of instructors online. 

For some, you may want to begin your drum education, but this may not be an appealing option to you. Perhaps you are not tech-savvy, or maybe you just learn better by being with one teacher. You may wonder, are online drum lessons a good alternative to visiting a teacher? What are the perks if you plan to learn how to play the drums through online lessons, rather than private lessons? Here are the advantages any students can benefit from if you are interested in online drum lessons:

 

Advantages

Convenient/Productive

  • You will not have to worry about the commute to a drum teacher studio or home, as you would if you were in person.
  • No stress over being late for a lesson.
  • Weather conditions will not be a factor in deciding if you have to cancel a music lesson.
  • Being at home may be a more comfortable and convenient environment for you to learn drums, as you can go at your own pace. Whether it is a few months, or a few weeks, you will notice a difference. 
  • You’ll have more time for practice and warming up before and after lessons. This way, you will not be rusty before a lesson, and you will have more time to go over what you have learned.
  • You can always record a lesson; this way, you can go back and give yourself a refresher which is helpful as a student. 
  • Your stress free drum lessons can be watched as videos on whatever device works for you.
  • Teaching may come through clearer when you are able to view it online. Not everyone can learn as well on the spot.
  • Sheet music is easily accessible online which may prove beneficial for you. You can take the sheet music in printed form, or have it directly on any device.
  • Not everyone gets a feel for it right away. Due to how lessons can be filmed or displayed, you may get a closer look in videos, such as how drummers hold their drumsticks while playing and an overall better sense of hand placement. 

Affordable

  • Online lessons are less expensive and more affordable than private lessons.
  • In person lessons may require more money due to whether the drum teacher would have to meet you or consider the charge for a studio space. 
  • There are many teachers out there that will have different rates for you to choose from.
  • If you are planning on taking lessons, you will either already have a drum kit or anticipate purchasing one. Owning your drum kit will assist in the learning process quite a bit; however, there are many options you can take into a cost-effective mindset. 
  • You can always rent drums or invest in an electronic set that has the option of plugging in a headset, minimizing any noise in consideration for your neighbours or loved ones.

Flexible 

  • You will be able to make your lessons work around your schedule. Many other students will most likely do the same, which can open up more opportunities.
  • Private lessons may not be as flexible as they can be when you are practicing social distancing. 
  • The teaching process can be shorter or longer due to not having to worry about whether or not another student is outside waiting for their turn.
  • If you have to miss a lesson, rescheduling availability may be easier with online lessons.

Safe

  • Due to the state of the world, you will be keeping yourself, your instructor, and any other students and drummers safe by staying home and avoiding group lessons. 
  • Classes can be a lot harder when you are distanced or wearing a mask in person.
  • No germs or viruses can be spread on the drums or with the teacher, like you would if you had to sit across from them. 

Feedback/Encouragement

  • You may have your drum teacher look over and listen to what you have been working on by recording yourself.
  • Your teacher can watch your recordings, see what you are doing, improve anything you might be doing incorrectly, and give you positive feedback. 
  • The rate at which you can receive and answer questions can be done promptly online. 
  • According to Music House, drum teachers may be able to give you tips and recommendations on techniques and other experienced drummers and drumming techniques to look up online.

It is very fun to take on a new hobby, especially when you want to learn drums, and there are clearly plenty of advantages to be had by taking online drum lessons. If you are passionate and motivated by drumming and want to get a start on the learning experience, sign up and start seeing progress. With the way we are excelling with technology, there is virtually nothing that can stand in your way to becoming an experienced drummer and getting a good drum education.

Piano VS Organ

At first glance, an organ and a piano may not seem that different. But once an organist or pianist sits down to play, they’ll notice that the type of music these instruments produce is quite unique. What’s the difference between a piano and an organ? Is an organ just a piano with 2 or 3 extra keyboards? Not exactly. These instruments sound different, have varying mechanisms to produce their tones, and require distinct training to play.  (more…)

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