It’s official! Barrhaven Music Academy has a new home

I’m happy to announce that Barrhaven Music Academy will be opening its newly-renovated doors on Woodroffe Avenue in July 2012. We’ll be located in the heart of the community in order to better serve our growing student body.

I’ll be blogging regularly with updates about our progress as we move along! Follow BMA on Twitter (@BHMusicAcademy) for all the latest details.

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Best websites for music theory games

Here are some handy websites for students (and teachers) who are looking for fun, interactive games for learning theory rudiments:

MusicCards.net: MusicCards.net is an “ever-growing collection of highly customizable online music theory flash cards.” Great for beginner  students learning basic rudiments as well as advanced learners looking to go further. Incorporates both piano and guitar note naming exercises.

Music Note Name Flash Card Game: An interactive game of note-naming flashcards for bass and treble clef (including leger lines!). Grades you as you go and offers feedback and tips. Gives students the option to download the program as a .zip file right to their desktop, for future use.

Free Online Music Flash Cards: A fan favourite! (Make sure your Flash player is updated and installed) Highly interactive and animated; great for younger students.

Musical Flash Cards (WCU): A great user-friendly resource for naming notes and key signatures.

Music Quizzes & Games: Giant database of over 130 quizzes and games relating to music theory, note-naming, rhythms, terms and history.

By no means is this a complete list of everything that’s out there on the web, but it’s a good starting point.  If you have a site to add to the list, post a comment below!

5 Reasons You Should be Learning Music

Plato is famously quoted as saying “music is a more potent instrument for education than any other- and children should be taught music before all else.”  Why? Here are some reasons to consider:

1. It Does Makes You Smarter

Countless studies, research papers and projects have been performed to give weight to the hypothesis that music education increases intelligence; from sharpening the senses, enhanced emotional intellect, the ability to focus, and capacity for learning new languages. There are even studies that claim that continuous musical studies into adulthood can help prevent diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.  It’s no wonder there are books like this on the market.

2. It Teaches Discipline

Music, like any other academic subject, is something that takes time to learn and master. It requires students to improve time management skills, learn to organize, and practice properly and effectively. Learning this kind of discipline can no doubt improve studies in other areas as well.

3. It Relieves Stress

Strumming a chord, singing a note, banging a drum; it all alleviates stress in one way or another.  Playing (or singing) music has been shown to lower blood pressure, decrease heart rate and, quite simply, calm the mind. The whole concept and field of “music therapy” is based on these calming, relaxing benefits.

4. It Pushes You to Set Goals

As a music teacher, it’s important to have my students always have a clear goal in mind. That goal doesn’t necessarily have to be exceedingly ambitious –sometimes just learning that song off the radio is good enough. No matter, students who can visualize a goal will be more motivated and encouraged to get through tricky spots or plateaus, or do things they were always afraid to do (i.e. RCM exams or recitals). The sense of achievement afterwards is priceless.

5. It’s fun!

Of course, the most important reason to learn a music instrument is the enjoyment factor. Playing music is definitely a fun way to learn a new subject and open up to a whole new language of sound and symbolism, just like it can be when learning how to dance, paint or draw. It evokes creativity and allows students of all ages and level a way to express themselves.

Music Education Apps for iPhone or iPad

Music and technology have seamlessly integrated into one other over the past decade.  Nowadays, most musicians have a handful of digital tools to help them learn and play their instrument of choice. Here are 5 great picks for music education apps for the iPhone or iPad:

 

1. Nota ($2.99)
Nota is likely the most comprehensive music app out in the market today. And, for its small price, you get a lot of goodies in return: a 4 octave piano, scale and mode reader, chords, solfège, and note naming quizzes. My favourite part: an extensive Reference Library with over 100 musical terms and items.

2. Gibson Learn & Master Guitar (free)
I may be a bit biased for listing this as high as#2, but regardless, this app is great. The best feature, by far, is the tuner, which is my main use for it. It also houses a built in metronome, chord bank and hours of videos and practical lessons.

3. Metronome (Free)
This app is simple, easy to use, and effective. Just like having a real acoustic metronome in your pocket, this digital version allows you to select your tempo (up until 210 beats per minute) and your time signature of either 2/4, 3/4 or 4/4 time. While not extensive or packed with extra features, this little gem should be in every musician’s app library.

4.  Karajan Ear Trainer ($14.99)
This app is a one-stop-shop for everything ear training. It helps students recognize intervals, chords, scales, pitch and tempo, through quizzes and stats displayed on screen. A Multi-Touch keyboard is also available for playbacks and exercises (using the landscape view). While the price may seem steep, it’s unlikely you will ever need another ear-training app. If in doubt, however, a free, lighter version is also available.

4. Rhythm in Reach ($3.99)
Rhythm in Reach is designed to help students with their rhythm playing and reading by displaying on-screen notation phrases and asking you to tap it back. Bonus point: When you make a mistake, it will show you exactly where you did it, so you can correct yourself for next time. Great for percussion students.

Introduction

Hello and welcome to our blog! Thanks for taking the time to stop by.  Since this is our first post, let me start off with what I’m hoping this blog will create: a place for music education resources, tips & tricks, and news and updates from across the music education world. And along away, some personal anecdotes about my own musical adventures as well!

From someone who values music education tremendously, I hope this blog will be a great place for everyone to read and learn about why it is such a fundamental part of learning and growth, no matter what the age or level of the student.