Go for the Gold!

publishedabout 1 year ago
3 min read

Hello! Today, I'm excited to share the first in a series of new offerings that I think you are going to love!

Actually, it's the first and the second: a pair of ongoing cohort-based courses, one entitled Music Engraving Workshop (covering the finer points of music notation and how to achieve professional-quality results with MuseScore) and the other entitled Musicianship Skills Workshop (covering ear training, arranging, composition, and improvisation). You will be working along with everyone on specific weekly or monthly projects. I will provide video lessons to get your started on each project and keep you on track, and there will be plenty of opportunity to receive feedback.

If you're the type of person who learns best when you have something challenging to work on and other students to work with, these are for you!

Both the Music Engraving and Musicianship Skills courses are available as an exclusive benefit of Gold Level Membership. This is the new and improved version of what I previously called All-Access Membership. As always, it includes access to all my traditional self-paced online courses (MuseScore, theory, and more) as well as my weekly Office Hours - and now, it includes these two new ongoing workshops!

We'll get under way in earnest next week. Be sure to join now so you don't miss out on these - or the other new resources I'll be announcing soon! :-)

MuseScore Café

This week in the MuseScore Café with Marc Sabatella, I introduce the new Music Engraving Workshop. You asked for help in notating music more effectively, and I intend to deliver!

The free MuseScore Café is live on Wednesday at 12:30 PM Eastern (16:30 GMT, or 17:30 during the winter months), and you can access past episodes in the archive.

Tip of the Week

While I'm usually a fan of optimizing my style settings to reduce the need for individual manual adjustments to the position of elements, sometimes these adjusments can't be avoided.

I know many people drag things to position them, but to me, this tends to produce sloppy results - elements moved in this way don't align well, and there is little consistency from measure to measure. Instead, I normally recommend using the cursor keys (Up/Down/Left/Right) to move elements in precise increments of 0.1 sp. Or, if you hold Ctrl (Cmd on macOS) while moving an element, the increment is 1 sp. Note that for some elements, you might need to double-click before moving them via the cursor keys.

The other method I favor is using the Offset fields in the Inspector, which are great for moving a group of elements and keeping them aligned well:

Music Master Class

This week in the Music Master Class with Marc Sabatella, I introduce the new Musicianship Skills Workshop. Ear training, arranging, composition, improvisation - we'll work on it all together!

The free Music Master Class is live on Thursday at 12:30 PM Eastern (16:30 GMT, or 17:30 during the winter months), and you can access past episodes in the archive.

In Theory

Last week I shared some thoughts about ear training as it relates interval identification. I suggested this was perhaps not as useful as it is often assumed, but I didn't really offer alternative things to work on. Here's one: learning simple melodies by ear. I've advocated this a number of times before, because I think it's one of the best things you can do to develop your ear - and you learn tunes while you're at it!

I'd love to be able to offer a step by step process, and I do have some pointers I'll be offering in the Musicianship Skills Workshop. But this is one of those fundamental skills that defies attempts to break it down objectively. Everyone will have different aspects of this they are good at, different aspects they will struggle with, and different aspects they will learn via trial and error.

But I do find the biggest stumbling block for many people is correctly identifying the first note relative to the key - or the key relatve to the first note. For example - spoiler alert - "Happy Birthday" does not start on the tonic (scale degree 1). If you try playing it starting on C, you will eventually find you are not actually in the key of C.

There are other reasons why this song makes for a particularly interesting challenge, while "Yankee Doodle" is generally easier for most people.

While you wait for the Musicianship Workshop to get underway, try your hand at playing or writing out these melodies like these by ear! Use whatever instrument is convenient, or just use MuseScore playback - whatever feels most comfortable for you. Then we'll talk about our experiences!

Mastering MuseScore

My name is Marc Sabatella, and I am the founder and director of Mastering MuseScore. I am one of the developers and chief ambassadors for MuseScore, the world's most popular music notation software. I have been teaching music online since the dawn of the World Wide Web, and I have been teaching in person for even longer. From the publication of my groundbreaking Jazz Improvisation Primer back in the 1990’s, to my years on the faculty at major music schools, and culminating in the Mastering MuseScore School and Community, I have dedicated most of my life to helping as many musicians as I can.

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