Sunday, February 2, 2014

Skype Ear Training Lesson with Nick DiSebastian

I've been working with music transcriber Nick DiSebastian to notate the entire Bonne Humeur album by the Etcetera Stringband as well as some other songs.  I'm fond of the transcription work he did for me, so when Nick said he could do Skype lessons and offered to do a special ear training oriented lesson with me I took him up on it.  It was the first time I had ever done a Skype music lesson.

Nick studied at the Berklee College of Music with ear training as a main focus.  He took Ear Training level 1-4, Advanced Harmonic Ear Training, and Advanced Ear Training.  Nick believes that having that connection between hearing what’s happening, understanding it, and being able to play is the most important skill as a musician.  I agree and it's those same skills that I am trying to nurture so I definitely wanted to see what someone with this area of expertise had to teach.

Nick DiSebastian
The lesson essentially boiled down a semester's worth of music theory and ear training into one hour of teaching.  It was a lot to take in, but I took good notes and recorded the audio from the lesson to listen to later.  I found Nick to be a very patient, detailed and competent instructor able to adapt his methodology based on my level of expertise and understanding.  I was a little hesitant about doing this type of lesson over a webcam instead of in person, but it was basically the same as being in the same room, and it worked for what he was going over.

Some of the points covered were:
How melody and harmony relate - how the notes relate to the chord of the moment. 
Singing/humming root notes at chord changes to better hear where the motion is happening.
Writing out the scale degree for each note in the melody.
Chord inversions - singing descending and ascending triads in all inversions.
"Voice led" chord progressions in different places on the neck.


It'll take a long time and a lot of work to fully realize these conceptual practices, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  I plan to take additional Skype lessons from Nick DiSebastian once I've had time to let some of this sink in.  To schedule your Skype lesson with Nick, check out his contact page or email.

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