Marc Sabatella

Making it simple

published30 days ago
2 min read

Hello! FYI, this week is finals at the university where I teach, so my schedule is a bit messed up. I will not be able to be present as I normally would for my office hours in the Mastering MuseScore Community, but I will have a plan B!

Speaking of school, one of the things I will be working on during summer break is - more school :-). I've been thinking of ideas about how to capture the best parts of a more traditional music degree program and combine that with the things I only wish they taught in school. More on that below!

MuseScore Café

This week in the MuseScore Café with Marc Sabatella, we will take a look at what is involved in creating "simple" music, such as arrangements for beginners. I'll talk about the musical considerations in making the music simple to play or sing as well as the MuseScore features that can help make the music simple to read, too.

The MuseScore Café is live on Wednesday at 12:30 PM Eastern (16:30 GMT), and you can access past episodes in the archive.

Tip of the Week

Music for beginners often shows note names within the noteheads. Without getting into the pedagogical value of this - questions about whether people actually learn to read faster that way or not - it's certainly something valued by many. So, MuseScore provides multiple ways of doing this. Older versions required you to run plugins, but in any relatively recent version of MuseScore, you can set any staff to show note names within the noteheads automatically. Just right-click the staff (two-finger tap with most touch devices), then choose Staff/Part Properties, then Advanced Style Properties. There you can select from a number of notehead schemes including traditional pitch names, German pitch names (H instead of B!), solfege, and a variety of shape notations.

notehead schemes

Music Master Class

This week I will follow up on last week's discussion of collaboration. I'll give details on the challenge by Abraham Ben-Ze'ev, check on the progress of the Composition Round Robin started by William Halsted, and also the piano arrangement Megan is wanting.

The Music Master Class is live on Thursday at 12:30 PM Eastern (16:30 GMT), and you can access past episodes in the archive.

In Theory

I've always been bothered by the dividing line many schools put up between their classical and jazz curriculums, to say nothing of the marginalization of other forms of music. Most students majoring in a classical discipline never learn to improvise, and most students majoring in jazz never learn to write a fugue. And neither group typically learns any of the skills involved in playing in a cover band, or teaching music appreciation, or directing a church group, or arranging recorder music for children, or engraving a score for publication, or any of a hundred other practical tasks a working musician might be called upon to perform.

I'm starting to think in terms of what it would look like to create an environment where all those skills and more would be equally at home. I'm wondering, what are some important and/or practical skills you wish were taught more in music school? I encourage you to post your thoughts in the Community in the thread I started on the subject. Or start your own thread on the subject of music education if you have more on your mind.

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