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#2255660 - 04/01/14 10:06 PM Coursera - Developing Your Musicianship
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3181
Loc: Maine
Developing Your Musicianship, online at Coursera. Taught by George Russell at the Berklee College of Music. Starts today (April 1), runs to May 13.

I'm enjoying it immensely already. Hope other PWers will join me.

Titles for each week:

week 1: major scale
week 2: major and minor triads
week 3: minor pentatonic scale
week 4: major and dominant seventh chords
week 5: song form
week 6: review


Edited by PianoStudent88 (04/01/14 10:08 PM)
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#2255674 - 04/01/14 10:33 PM Re: Coursera - Developing Your Musicianship [Re: PianoStudent88]
Sand Tiger Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 1051
Loc: Southern California
Thanks for posting this. A bit more from the intro page, the final project is:
Composing a Blues Riff Tune Using the Minor Pentatonic Scale

Recommended Background
The ability to play an instrument is helpful but not required. You should have a passion for music and a strong interest in developing your understanding of music and ability to create it.
>>

So it is a fine for beginners, no theory, no skill level is a prerequisite. Having an interest in blues would be suggested, because that will be the final project. That likely means half or more of the course material will work towards that final goal. I feel like I have too much on my plate to start on the blues at the moment, and I don't have much affinity for blues or R&B, so decided to pass on the course this time around.

Others on the forum have taken other Coursera on subjects such as Songwriting, Write like Mozart, Analysis of Beethoven Sonatas, and most report enjoying them, though only a fraction seem to be doing the assignments.
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#2255685 - 04/01/14 11:07 PM Re: Coursera - Developing Your Musicianship [Re: PianoStudent88]
N17 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/22/14
Posts: 19
Loc: Georgia, USA
I browsed around the page, watched the intro video, and read some of the info about Coursera overall. I've always had the goal of getting into some blues style playing after gaining a solid foundation of technique, ability, and theory and this seems like a great gateway or primer for that type of plan. I'm definitely interested but had a few questions for anyone who has followed a Coursera course.

-So is there one video posted per week for each lesson indicated on the syllabus or multiple videos throughout the week?
-What is the time frame throughout the week of sending in assignments and receiving feedback?
-It really is free? Or free to sign up with purchases/subscriptions required elsewhere?

That's all I can think of at this point, but this course, and the whole website really, seem very interesting. If it really is free, why not try to keep up and gain some valuable instruction and feedback
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#2255696 - 04/01/14 11:46 PM Re: Coursera - Developing Your Musicianship [Re: PianoStudent88]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3181
Loc: Maine
Each week has a series of videos. The first week has 10 short videos totalling about 40 minutes. Each new week, a new series of videos is posted. Once a series of videos is posted, it stays available for the rest of the course.

You can watch the videos on whatever timetable you want. Many people approach it by watching all the week's videos earlier in the week they're posted, and completing the quiz and assignment for that week, later in the week. There's a course calendar posted with deadlines for assignments. This is to help you keep on top of things in case you want to proceed at precisely the rate the professor is going, and engaged with the same topics as most students will be discussing on the discussion boards. You can also freely choose to go slower. You can't really go faster because the materials only become available with each specific week.

Generally, if you follow the course calendar as planned to stay together with most of the other students and with the new material as it comes out, you have about a week to complete a quiz or assignment. They're designed to be completed in that timeframe. Sometimes professors will announce more complex assignments early so you have more time to work on them; I don't know how this class will be. But there's no obligation to finish anything; it's all for your own learning, so although it can be valuable to finish things on time in order to solidify your learning, nothing bad will happen if you don't, and if it's better for your learning to proceed at a different rate, then you're completely free to do so.

It's completely free to sign up, and no purchases or subscriptions required; no flashing ads pushed at you, or whatever. It's fantastic. There is an option for "Signature Track" where you pay money, and it will be offered to you for the courses that have it as an option. (This course has Signature Track available as an option.) But it's completely optional, and can be completely ignored. Let me know if you're curious about what Signature Track is for.

You can freely unenroll at any time, so there's no cost to signing up, and a big benefit. The big benefit is that you can go inside the actual class, check out the videos, read the discussion boards, try the first week's quiz or check out the initial assignment, and generally come to a more informed choice about whether you want to continue.

There are no formal grades that are going to form a record that's issued on a transcript. There are assessment marks used to show you how you're doing, and electronic certificates are awarded if you reach a certain percent. And Coursera keeps track of that for you so you can refer to it if interested. But just ignore all that, and enjoy taking the course just for the fun of it. Some people get really anxious over the marks and the certificates, and I think that's buying too much into the conventional way most of us have experienced schooling, instead of exploring and enjoying this wonderful gift which is free Coursera courses.

The one place that money would be required is that this course is part of something called The Modern Musician Specialization. If you take all the courses in this set of courses on Signature Track (i.e., pay, and do assignments in an identify-verified way), then a final, capstone course for the track becomes available to you. Read at the link about that class, and the potential benefits, to see if it interests you.

I love Coursera classes, and think they're a fantastic resource.
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#2255707 - 04/02/14 12:10 AM Re: Coursera - Developing Your Musicianship [Re: PianoStudent88]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3181
Loc: Maine
So I just experienced something I have never ever ever experienced before. Something I thought I could never do. Something that was a complete mystery to me:

I correctly found and sang the tonal center for a song, purely aurally.

I had always thought that people who can find tonal centers just hear them without effort. Maybe they do. I don't. But I kept humming different notes as pedal tones alongside what Professor Russell was playing, and although nothing sounded awful enough that I could outright reject it, I finally came to a note that sounded quite mellow. So I hummed that.

I almost jumped out of my chair, and I definitely shouted out loud in astonishment, when the studio audience of Berklee voice majors hummed the same note!

For me, that alone is worth the effort of signing up and listening to the first week's videos.
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#2255889 - 04/02/14 12:09 PM Re: Coursera - Developing Your Musicianship [Re: PianoStudent88]
N17 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/22/14
Posts: 19
Loc: Georgia, USA
Thank you very much for the detailed reply PianoStudent. Sounds like a great organization providing access to education materials from great institutions. I think I'll give this course a try and see if I can keep up
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#2255934 - 04/02/14 01:50 PM Re: Coursera - Developing Your Musicianship [Re: PianoStudent88]
piano_primo_1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/25/09
Posts: 292
Loc: Pittsburgh,PA
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
Developing Your Musicianship, online at Coursera. Taught by George Russell at the Berklee College of Music. Starts today (April 1), runs to May 13.

Super thanks for the Information,. and passing it on, I just started studying blues from a mel-bay book and this fits just right at this time.
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#2256054 - 04/02/14 05:07 PM Re: Coursera - Developing Your Musicianship [Re: PianoStudent88]
newbert Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/02/13
Posts: 287
Loc: Upstate New York, USA
How long after the course starts can one join in? I'm fighting some health issues the last few days and aren't sure whether I'm up to this right now. But I am interested in the Blues and would consider joining in once I'm feeling a bit better.

This looks really interesting to me, but the timing may be bad right now for me....

Thanks for sharing the info on it!
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#2256093 - 04/02/14 06:16 PM Re: Coursera - Developing Your Musicianship [Re: newbert]
carlos88 Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 01/18/13
Posts: 92
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By: newbert
How long after the course starts can one join in?


I just joined today. Based on the syllabus, the first real deadline is the 8th, followed by the 11th for assignment 1.

Syllabus: https://class.coursera.org/musicianship-001/wiki/syllabus

I'd guess that you could sign up this weekend and devote a couple of hours to the course, and would be completely on track.
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#2256121 - 04/02/14 08:01 PM Re: Coursera - Developing Your Musicianship [Re: PianoStudent88]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3181
Loc: Maine
newbert, you also don't need to do things on the timetable they say. If you miss a deadline, you won't get an official mark for the assignment, but you can post your assignments in the forums and get feedback that way, which is the important part. I don't know when enrollment closes, so I would go ahead and sign up now, so you're in. Then ignore it until you're ready.
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#2256132 - 04/02/14 08:36 PM Re: Coursera - Developing Your Musicianship [Re: PianoStudent88]
newbert Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/02/13
Posts: 287
Loc: Upstate New York, USA
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
newbert, you also don't need to do things on the timetable they say. If you miss a deadline, you won't get an official mark for the assignment, but you can post your assignments in the forums and get feedback that way, which is the important part. I don't know when enrollment closes, so I would go ahead and sign up now, so you're in. Then ignore it until you're ready.


Sounds good! I just signed up.

Thanks!
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#2256138 - 04/02/14 08:57 PM Re: Coursera - Developing Your Musicianship [Re: PianoStudent88]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3181
Loc: Maine
Hooray! This will be fun.
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#2256149 - 04/02/14 09:41 PM Re: Coursera - Developing Your Musicianship [Re: newbert]
carlos88 Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 01/18/13
Posts: 92
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By: newbert
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
newbert, you also don't need to do things on the timetable they say. If you miss a deadline, you won't get an official mark for the assignment, but you can post your assignments in the forums and get feedback that way, which is the important part. I don't know when enrollment closes, so I would go ahead and sign up now, so you're in. Then ignore it until you're ready.


Sounds good! I just signed up.

Thanks!



This is all very true, Coursera makes that easy.


However... my personal rule at this point with Coursera courses is that if I don't sign up and accept the deadlines, I can't sign up for the course.

That's based on my 100% failure rate :-) with courses that I thought of as auditing, where a 1 week delay turned into 2 then 3, and 1 lonely opposing successful data point.


Thanks again for pointing this course out. The ear training and interval identification so far have been a lot of fun.
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#2256163 - 04/02/14 10:25 PM Re: Coursera - Developing Your Musicianship [Re: PianoStudent88]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3181
Loc: Maine
These courses don't have failure attached to them. You can make as much or little use of the resource as you wish.
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#2256190 - 04/03/14 01:35 AM Re: Coursera - Developing Your Musicianship [Re: PianoStudent88]
sinophilia Offline

Gold Supporter until Sept. 05 2014


Registered: 06/26/12
Posts: 984
Loc: Italy
I'm in too! The teacher is so cool, and an amazing improvisor. Having already taken courses on harmony I thought I would only be reviewing, but the ear training part is great and I need that a lot.
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#2256227 - 04/03/14 06:49 AM Re: Coursera - Developing Your Musicianship [Re: PianoStudent88]
johan d Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/20/14
Posts: 81
Loc: Belgium
Signed up, great stuff. In fact same as my teacher is telling me: major scale, intervals, listen, sing, recognize 2nd, 3rd...

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#2256229 - 04/03/14 07:03 AM Re: Coursera - Developing Your Musicianship [Re: PianoStudent88]
UKIkarus Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/05/13
Posts: 297
Loc: England, South East
Signed up out of interest, never heard of this before but I could certainly use it in other areas of life too!

I am confused by the mentions of certification, is that not only provided if you use that tracking? or do they offer recognized certificates/statements of approval for free shocked?



Edited by UKIkarus (04/03/14 07:17 AM)
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#2256240 - 04/03/14 07:58 AM Re: Coursera - Developing Your Musicianship [Re: PianoStudent88]
rnaple Offline

Silver Supporter until April 24 2014


Registered: 12/23/10
Posts: 2099
Loc: Rocky Mountains
Please keep posting about these Corsera's.
Work is using up lots of time right now. 3 days of snow. Doh!
Also very focused on my playing problems.
Something like this would work out great with the teacher I have.
Am getting more and more determined in learning.
I'll have more time this weekend to look into this Corsera.
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#2256252 - 04/03/14 08:40 AM Re: Coursera - Developing Your Musicianship [Re: rnaple]
Forstergirl Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/02/09
Posts: 60
Loc: Ontario
I started the course yesterday as well. As others have found, the ear training portion is very interesting. The homework portion of this lesson has a challenging segment for me - identify by ear alone the "tonal centre", i.e. key signature of 3 pieces of music. How to do so was demonstrated in the videos for the lesson - astonishingly enough, by the end, I got one of them right. Our ears know a lot more than we do!

About the Signature Track - this is Berklee's fee for providing a certificate of achievement for the course. The course is no different.

Forstergirl

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#2256258 - 04/03/14 09:07 AM Re: Coursera - Developing Your Musicianship [Re: UKIkarus]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3181
Loc: Maine
Originally Posted By: UKIkarus
I am confused by the mentions of certification, is that not only provided if you use that tracking? or do they offer recognized certificates/statements of approval for free shocked?

Hi Ikarus,

A bit of background: Coursera courses are offered in partnership with universities (or colleges). The university provides the professors and course materials; Coursera provides the platform. The university decides on the marking process that will be used, what marking level is needed to get a certificate, and whether Signature Track will be offered.

Now to your question about certificates:

A few Coursera courses offer no certificates of achievement at all. For example, Princeton offers no certificates for any of its Coursera courses.

Most Coursera courses offer a certificate (in electronic form: pdf file) for achieving a certain percentage of the total possible mark in a course. This percentage varies from course to course. However, there is no verification that it was actually you who did the coursework.

Some Coursera courses (and the number is ever-growing) also offer something called Signature Track, in addition to the regular track described in the previous paragraph. Signature Track offers a "verified certificate," meaning that you follow various identification-verification procedures when you submit your coursework. Then at the end of the course if you have the specified percentage marking level, you get a certificate that somehow indicates that it has been verified that it's actually you who completed the coursework. Supposedly this means that it's a credential that schools and employers are more likely to accept as legitimate. There is a fee for Signature Track, which varies by course. The coursework and the percentage required for a certificate are the same for both the regular track and Signature Track. If you want to take Signature Track in a course, you have to sign up and pay for it in the first two weeks of the course.
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#2256260 - 04/03/14 09:11 AM Re: Coursera - Developing Your Musicianship [Re: Forstergirl]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3181
Loc: Maine
Originally Posted By: Forstergirl
About the Signature Track - this is Berklee's fee for providing a certificate of achievement for the course. The course is no different.

Not quite. It's the fee for providing an identity-verified certificate of achievement. Regular certificates of achievement are offered for free. The free option is the original method; Signature Track is new.

In either case, you have to do the coursework to get the certificate. And you're right, the course is no different.

I'm not sure it's Berklee's fee. I think of it as Coursera's fee. Although it's possible that Berklee gets some of the money.
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#2256280 - 04/03/14 10:06 AM Re: Coursera - Developing Your Musicianship [Re: PianoStudent88]
UKIkarus Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/05/13
Posts: 297
Loc: England, South East
Will have to get to grips with how to use it all when I get home and the deadlines etc.

Should be fun none the less smile
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#2256439 - 04/03/14 04:54 PM Re: Coursera - Developing Your Musicianship [Re: PianoStudent88]
UKIkarus Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/05/13
Posts: 297
Loc: England, South East
Hmmm the tonal centres were fun, the teacher is great too... although with higher notes what I hear becomes one big mash and I really find it hard to pinpoint the "Anchor" note sometimes up there.

Interestingly I also have issues playing chords up higher on the piano, as it rings on my teachers piano and to my ears just becomes a blur between 2 tones.

(I'm deaf to high frequencies) frown

Looking forward to week 2 though smile


also D flat... for some reason any octave I find it hard to pick out.


Edited by UKIkarus (04/03/14 05:11 PM)
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#2256497 - 04/03/14 08:21 PM Re: Coursera - Developing Your Musicianship [Re: UKIkarus]
newbert Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/02/13
Posts: 287
Loc: Upstate New York, USA
Excellent start to the course - but I can't find the tonal center to save my life! 8(
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#2256513 - 04/03/14 08:56 PM Re: Coursera - Developing Your Musicianship [Re: PianoStudent88]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3181
Loc: Maine
There's a thread in the discussion forums in the course with ideas for finding tonal centers.

One idea I'm trying for myself would be to hum various notes, to hear or feel how they seem to fit. Just to listen, not to expect that anything will obviously sound wrong or right. If you're drawn to one of the notes, hold it and listen for if it matches the final bass note and/or the final melody note. I don't expect total success at finding THE! tonal center with this right away this week, or even this month or year, but it's something I've never tried to do before, so I will enjoy listening and finding out how things sound to me.

In the lectures, I mostly couldn't find the tonal center, but on one of the songs Professor Russell played, I tried humming various notes, and nothing sounded obviously bad, but then one note sounded especially mellow, so I held that -- and when the studio audience of Berklee students sang the tonal center, they had the same note! I just about fell out of my chair in astonishment. I haven't been able to repeat that yet wink but that one wonderful experience will feed me for a long time.

I think it can be a long, possibly years, process of paying attention to these things, of singing and playing and listening, and slowly slowly slowly ideas and skills take root and blossom -- unfortunately in my own experience at a glacial pace. For example, I've been working on various kinds of trying to improve my ear for about 15 years, and it's only in the past year or so that I've started to feel confident about certain aspects of carrying the alto part in my chorus (but only about some aspects, not all), and it's only with this Coursera course that I've started to be able to reliably sing and identify aurally major seconds and major thirds.

That may not be what you want to hear, but I want it to be encouraging: wherever your ear is now, is where it is, and just starting to listen and pay attention will change you, perhaps imperceptibly, until one day you discover that something has changed noticeably.

It's also OK for this assignment to google "songs in C major" and then find those on YouTube and check that a C at your piano sounds good with the song.
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#2256514 - 04/03/14 09:04 PM Re: Coursera - Developing Your Musicianship [Re: PianoStudent88]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7605
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
On one of the songs Professor Russell played, I tried humming various notes, and nothing sounded obviously bad, but then one note sounded especially mellow, so I held that -- and when the studio audience of Berklee students sang the tonal center, they had the same note! I just about fell out of my chair in astonishment. I haven't been able to repeat that yet wink but that one wonderful experience will feed me for a long time.

Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
I kept humming different notes as pedal tones alongside what Professor Russell was playing, and although nothing sounded awful enough that I could outright reject it, I finally came to a note that sounded quite mellow. So I hummed that.I almost jumped out of my chair, and I definitely shouted out loud in astonishment, when the studio audience of Berklee voice majors hummed the same note! For me, that alone is worth the effort of signing up and listening to the first week's videos.

grin
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#2256515 - 04/03/14 09:05 PM Re: Coursera - Developing Your Musicianship [Re: PianoStudent88]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7605
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
It's also OK for this assignment to google "songs in C major" and then find those on YouTube and check that a C at your piano sounds good with the song.

That's kind of defeating the purpose of the assignment, isn't it?
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#2256531 - 04/03/14 09:37 PM Re: Coursera - Developing Your Musicianship [Re: PianoStudent88]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3181
Loc: Maine
See, Polyphonist, it was so amazing that I'm telling everyone I know about it. Twice!

Regarding defeating the purpose of the assignment, googling for songs in C was part of the official suggestions somewhere for ways to approach it. As far as learning from it, I think I stated it wrong -- one could do the pristine method of listen to random songs, hum what you think the tonal center is, check it on the piano, if it's C add the song to your list that you'll submit for homework. But one is allowed to get a jumpstart on this process by googling for songs in C, in the hopes that one will find a lot of songs recorded in C in that list (it's not guaranteed). Then, I got the order wrong, I think, for if as as a self-studier you want to get at least some practice in identifying tonal center. Don't start with a C on your piano. Instead, try humming what you think the tonal center is. Then check on your piano and find out if that's C.

That way you're still getting some practice in listening for tonal centers. Although come to think of it, it would probably be good to listen to some other songs and try to find their tonal centers, in between each try at a song ostensibly in C, in order to reset your ear so you're not cheating your ear by thinking you know the tonal center.

Of course that won't work as a good reset for those people who have really good pitch memory in one way or another, or who at least have a good sense of about where a C is in their vocal range.

Hmmm. Crap. I think I've just talked myself into doing the exhaustive hunt. We have to submit links to three songs, so if songs were evenly distributed in keys, then on average I'd have to listen to 36 songs to find 3 that are in C. Good thing songs are not evenly distributed in keys. Anyway, it's probably good practice at listening for tonal centers to practice it for tonal centers that are at various places in my vocal range.

OK, never mind. I'll retreat to offering the bare observation that the official suggestions do include that you're allowed to start by googling "songs in C major", but if you do start that way, be sure you're working in other ways to be sure you're not cheating yourself out of any and all aspects of aurally practicing tonal center.

See, Polyphonist, it was so amazing that I'm telling everyone I know about it. Twice!
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#2256642 - 04/04/14 04:34 AM Re: Coursera - Developing Your Musicianship [Re: PianoStudent88]
UKIkarus Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/05/13
Posts: 297
Loc: England, South East
I'm just really appreciative of the fact you shared the site, I was completely unaware that such a site even existed... I am enjoying it very much right now I must say.

As for the tonal centres I managed to find each except the D flat, something about that particular key stumps me in all octaves, it just becomes a big blur of ringing notes and I cannot distinguish one from another. (hey, gives me something to practice though doesn't it? laugh )

Definitely going to continue to the end and see what other courses they have to offer, so thanks again for sharing and good luck with it all.

Well done on finding the tonal centre smile (you have no idea how confusing it is having center and centre and being English >.<)


Edited by UKIkarus (04/04/14 04:45 AM)
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#2256697 - 04/04/14 08:51 AM Re: Coursera - Developing Your Musicianship [Re: PianoStudent88]
angelsong Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/06/13
Posts: 81
Loc: NW England
This looked really interesting - so I checked it out and have signed up for 'Developing Your Musicianship', taught by someone from Edinburgh University - but it starts in July. Hope they remind me because I'll most likely have forgotten, though no doubt I'll be reminded when I read of others who are doing the course. Thanks for sharing this.


Edited by angelsong (04/04/14 08:52 AM)

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