SUBJECTS & METHODS
Pitch Coding / Ear Training / Relative Pitch / Perfect Pitch (AP).
Often mistaken for 'good tuning', pitch coding is not about singing in tune - it is what musicians do to memorise what the 12 musical notes sound like so we can play what we hear in our mind. It means we know what our instrument sounds like before we touch it. Most of us have this abilty with our voice - we can sing a note that we can imagine. However, on an instrument we need to learn and connect some more skills to make this happen - it can seem impossible, but it's actually quite easy. You just need to know how. Pitch studies are vital for musicians and are age related - we know that the younger we start the better we get. Accurate pitching is equivalent in importance to rhythm in order to understand and reproduce music. Pitch coding makes music fun because it makes it easy and accessible, and tends to mean students will play for life because they hear how notes and chords are meant to sound and know how to create them by ear. There are two main systems for musicians to determine pitch - relative pitch and perfect or absolute pitch. We look at both systems. For absolute pitch we use our commercial pitch training iOS and Android application, Clear Pitch. Blake Kearney spent ten years researching the auditory phenomenon known as absolute pitch (also called A.P. or perfect pitch), and he created the application to teach and drill the principles he studied and developed. Clear Pitch is a chroma labelling system. CLEAR stands for Chroma Label Encoding and Retrieval. A chroma is the sound colour of a pitch, and a Label is it's name. Encoding means to learn, and Retrieval means to remember. Clear pitch results in an individual being able to identify the name of all chromas or pitches in the chromatic scale by sound alone without a reference tone.
Rhythm Training - Bilateral Cognitive Skills, Patterns, Maths.
Rhythm training is an essential skill for any musician or singer apart from drummers. We instil simple and easy to learn routines to increase timing accuracy and co-ordination, and we examine rhythm in its academic context for formal study. Rhythm and timing accuracy tend to engender confidence in playing. Musicians with poor timing tend to 'derail' easily and may sound weak or inexperienced, where someone with a good sense of timing, accents, meter, tempo and dynamics will tend to sound confident and relaxed in any musical situation. Simply put, rhythm is king in most forms of music no matter what instrument we use including voice.
Reading & Music Theory
Music theory is the scientific study of sound and music and is a systematic understanding of how music works. Reading music (music notation) is a component of theory and is the symbolic representation of music. Notation is sometimes confused with theory and that it equates to musical literacy and being musically educated. However, you can read music without being musically literate, but you can't be musically literate without understanding theory. This is an important distinction because while someone is learning theory, they are also learning the majority of what music reading actually involves - notes, chords, arpeggios, key signatures, time signatures, harmony, bass, melody, tonality etc. Consequently, learning theory correctly on a piano means you are literally 'reading' the piano, and this is easily transferable to a music score or chart. Many young musicians appear to be reading music as they play and look at a score, but from what we see they are often not genuinely reading but playing from memory and using the score as a memory cue. The reason for this is they tend to learn the easy part of notation - the name of the notes. The difficult part is the rhythm of the notes. We use advanced methods and software to train music rhythm reading. This not only helps develop reading but will also improve rhythm in general. A musician who understands theory can learn any instrument once they understand how the instrument physically works because sound and music are universal across instruments. Music notation will be essential to most serious musicians at some point. Some musicians play at a high level without reading music or understanding theory by developing the perception skills - pitch or rhythm, but then pitch and rhythm can be better understood by learning to read.
Technique, Motor Coordination
Music technique in playing instruments or singing crucially involves motor coordination, fine motor skills, and movement precision, balancing physical skills with artistic expression. Motor coordination is key for synchronizing body parts, like a pianist coordinating hands and arms, demanding significant neuromuscular control. Fine motor skills, utilizing small muscles in fingers and hands, are vital for precise movements affecting sound quality. Streamlining movements is important for efficiency and endurance, reducing the risk of injuries. Precision in music, linked to muscle control, ensures accuracy in pitch and rhythm, developed through muscle memory and active control based on feedback from the instrument. The brain, especially the cerebellum and motor cortex, plays a central role in integrating sensory-motor information and emotional expression. Regular practice enhances brain plasticity, improving cognitive functions and musical skills. Music technique thus represents a sophisticated blend of physical skill, brain-muscle integration, and emotional intellect.
Songwriting & Composition
Songwriting is a creative but also technical class and over the years students have created some incredible recordings. Songwriting implies original pop song writing including chords, bass, drums and lyrics, where composition implies an academic study in harmony & theory. We cover both polarities. Younger or less experienced students can use our fun, innovative systems (Robo-Didactics, One Minute Song etc) to work without technical obstacles allowing their imagination to flow and transform their thoughts into music. Students can also take advantage of the audio and video facilities and create professionally recordings and film clips of their work. If you are creative and have always wanted to write and record original music, or if you are a serious music theory student wishing to unravel the mysteries of chordal function, this is the course for you. We study compositional techniques, improvisation, harmony and theory, recording, mixing, production to a commercial level.
Studio Recording Band
Students can make recordings of their work which apart from being fun has a range of positive effects on music learning. Musicians who record and listen back to their work experience the self appraisal feedback loop. When we play music many cognitive processes are taking place that make objective listening difficult. In other words playing an instrument and listening to an instrument are different mental processes, and it is a musician's job to bridge this gap. This is obviously where recording oneself can help tremendously. After recording and listening back to ourselves we begin to hear music as others do while we are playing, and so we can edit or effect our playing in real time. Students love creating interesting projects for friends and relatives and have fun challenging themselves throughout the process of achievement. Children at all ages and levels make creative and rewarding projects. Technology allows them to explore these areas without limitation. We have worked with 1000s of children and all have created beautiful and incredible work. For career minded musicians, these days we are usually involved in audio and video as a function of our capacity, so just as a business person will use spreadsheets, a modern musician in jazz, classical or pop will benefit greatly from knowledge in multi media editing. Recordings can be used for your portfolio and as a future study motivation.
Digital Practice System
We developed the system to fast track music learning for young beginner musicians. It has been used in over 50 NSW public and private schools including schools in Coogee, Randwick, Malabar, Kensington, Kingsford, Matraville, and also at the Maroubra Music School. Students get a complete music basics course through our colourful engaging AVSS (Audio-Visual Study System), a step by step 'how to' designed to teach musical principles and sections quickly. Being a system we use in NSW schools there are many overlaps with the NSW school curriculum, naturally from music, but also from all the arts sectors (drama, dance and visual arts), and also from maths, English and science & technology.
DIGITAL PRACTICE SYSTEM
We developed the system to fast track music learning for young beginner musicians. It has been used in over 50 NSW public and private schools and also at the Maroubra Music School. Students get a complete music basics course through our colourful engaging AVSS (Audio-Visual Study System), a step by step 'how to' designed to teach musical principles and sections quickly. Being a system we use in NSW schools there are many overlaps with the NSW school curriculum, naturally from music, but also from all the arts sectors (drama, dance and visual arts), and also from maths, English and science & technology.