More Things To Learn

So the classical music course I’m doing at the moment is going well. I’ve learnt lots and have still got lots to learn. But classical music is pretty restrictive, even the course leader mentions this in one of the first video lessons. He shows the notation for a chord and mentions that it is pretty common to see that type of chord in jazz music, but that a classical composer would look at it and say it was wrong, and then they’d correct it. However, I don’t actually want to write classical music, I just thought it was a great place to start, and it has been. But there are now a few other music courses on Coursera that I think are quite relevant to me.

The first of which is “Introduction to Music Production” which teaches the different stages of recording and producing music. This is obviously very handy as it’s one thing being able to write music, but it’s a completely different thing recording and producing it, so that’s a skill I’ll definitely need along the way.

The second course is “Jazz Improvisation“. This is pretty much a direct contrast to the classical music course, but that’s exactly what I want. This way I can learn what there is to know about classical music and jazz music, and then take what I like from both and apply it to my own music. At least that is the plan anyway. I know that improvising with chords will be pretty difficult, but then that’s what the course is for. If I can learn it, then it’ll be a very handy skill to have.

Lastly there is “Songwriting“, another handy skill to have. This is the one I’m least interested, but still feel there could be some valuable lessons to learn.

The trouble with these courses is that they all start on the same day, 27th January, run for 6 weeks and need 5-8 hours work per week each. So add this to the classical music course I’ll still be doing for another 3 weeks and the work load will probably be a bit extreme. But I think I’m going to try it for the first week and then come the second week I’ll have a better idea of which courses I’ll want to carry on with.

Learn To Play Piano with GarageBand

Check out my soundtrack for the short film Friend Request and download your free copy – Friend Request (Original Short Film Soundtrack)


I’ve been getting on pretty well with teaching myself piano using the series of books/cassettes that I have. But whilst I was waiting for my cassette player to arrive from the 80s, I had ago at the Learn To Play function that comes with the new GarageBand.

If you own a Mac then you’ll also have GarageBand pre-installed on it. GarageBand now comes with Learn To Play. Learn To Play will teach you the basics of how to play the Piano or the Guitar. Both come with one lesson instantly accessible, but the other lessons are easy to download and also free. Basic Piano has 9 lessons in total. Each one has two parts: Learn and Play. In the Learn part you are taken through different steps for that lesson with your teacher, Tim. It’s fun and easy to understand even for a complete beginner, so I’d definitely recommend giving it a try.

GarageBand Review 1

The second part is Play, here you are given the opportunity to play what you learnt in the lesson and you even have a full band backing you up to make you sound even better. You play along and practice a few times before hitting the record button where GarageBand will track your playing and tell you how well you did at the end and even where you can improve. If you find the piece too fast then that’s no problem as you can easily slow it down and have another go. Each lesson only takes about 10-15 minutes so it’s really not very time consuming. The last two lessons could take up a bit more of your time as the pieces of music you play at the end of the lessons are a bit more complex, but just keep practicing and you’ll be well on your way to becoming the next Lang Lang.

Once you’ve done the Basic Piano lessons then GarageBand has 6 Pop Piano lessons, 4 Classical Piano lessons and 8 Artist Lessons, the latter being where famous Artists will teach you to play one of their hit songs. The Pop Piano and Classical Piano lessons are all free, but you will have to pay £2.95 for each Artist lesson that you download. All in all it’s a great little addition to GarageBand that is well worth taking advantage of, so get learning and get creating.