Just for Fun

Test Your Musical IQ

Now for something completely different... Musician and doctor Jake Mandell has developed four online tests that you can try:

  1. Do you think you're tone deaf? Take the Tonedeaf Test
  2. How well can you "hear" shapes? Test your Musical-Visual Symbolic Intelligence
  3. Are you rhythm deaf?
  4. How good are you at distinguishing subtle pitch differences?

They're trickier than going through the old Four Star books.

(c) 2008 by Musespeak(tm), Calgary, AB Canada. All rights reserved.


Online Music Games

One of my students reminded me that I haven't given him any new music websites to explore. Here are a few fun music-related sites for musicians young and old to play around with:

  1. http://www.iknowthat.com/com/L3?Area=L2_TheArts
  2. http://www.learninggamesforkids.com/art_and_music_games.html
  3. http://www.surfnetkids.com/games/Art_Music_Games/
  4. http://www.kidsites.com/sites-fun/activities.htm

Happy exploring!

(c) 2008 by Musespeak(tm), Calgary, AB, Canada. All rights reserved.


Game Sheet Music

After a hectic school year, it's nice to stop and catch my breath. One of the ways I've been relaxing is to play some video game music transcriptions. Yes, I know I really should be practicing for Piano Camp (and I have) but even music teachers need to play some fun stuff and yesterday, "fun stuff" for me meant playing Tetris Theme (Korobeiniki) and the theme from Zelda until my fingers gave out.

Hunting for game sheet music can be an adventure. Your local music retailer will tell you that it's cheaper to find it online. Oh yes, you'll find all sorts of sheet music online.

A few otakus have sat down transcribed their favorite themes and share them with other fans. You have to commend those with the patience and determination to listen to their mp3 player ad nauseum until they've picked out all the notes. And as far as I know, the transcriber can share their rendition with others.

On the other hand, one would like to smack those who have bought sheet music and have uploaded copies to the Internet for people to take for free.

Enough of that, here are a few places with video game music to explore:

  • Animenation - music from the Japanese anime and game Bleach to Final Fantasy (and everywhere in between). I bought the Inuyasha sheet music from them a while back when some of my students were on an Inuyasha kick. It looks like I'll be placing an order soon since there are a few good collections available.
  • Ichigos - otaku who have transcribed their favourite themes and share their arrangements as well as their own compositions
  • Josh's Anime Sheet Music Collection -Josh Agarrado shares his own arrangements/transcriptions of anime and games on this site.
  • Pianosquall.com - Game and anime pianist Michael Gluck performs at anime cons, game cons and charity fundraisers. He has published some of his arrangements here.
  • Risembool Rangers -A fan site dedicated to voice actor Vic Mignogna, best known for his portrayal of Edward Elric in Fullmetal Alchemist in the English dub. Vic plays an active role on this site and even shares his own sheet music. He's great with his fans. I um, er asked him to transcribe two songs from his Metafiction CD that I like. Still waiting but I know, he's a busy guy.

Happy exploring!

PS: Since it's summertime, I won't be posting as often as I strive to during the school year. Must go enjoy the sun!

(c) 2008 by Musespeak(tm), Calgary, AB, Canada.

Adding Passion to your Technique

Today, my student L came to her piano lesson a little on the grumpy side. Blame it on her homework and group projects. We tried something today that was rather fun - we added a bit of passion to her technical exercises. Image Source: http://kreshnik1231.deviantart.com/art/New-Boomer-Angry-Style-by-dogh-317503349 . Licensed for commercial use.

We focussed on two keys today - G major and its minor cousin E minor. We wound up staying in E minor since it sounds angrier. I asked her to play me some Angry Scales, Stressed Out Triads and Frantic Arpeggios. She was rather convincing in conveying her emotions of the day. The way she made her triads zigzag really sounded like a stressed out person running in one direction and rapidly turning to run the other way. Ditto for her arpeggios.

After venting her frustrations" through her technique, L's rendition of "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?" was sufficiently tender, "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" was perfectly boogie-ish, while Beethoven's "Ecossaise was positively perky.

Now I'm willing to bet that if I had her start with Can You Feel the Love Tonight?, it would have sounded like someone yelling.

I tried the same tactic with a few more students tonight to great success as I had quite a few students stressed out from homework. I think I'm going to give it a try with my own technical exercises.

At the end of L's lesson, I wished her well with her school projects and expressed my hope that within a few days, she'll be able to practice some Happy Scales, Excited Triads and Lazy Arpeggios.

(c) 2007 by Musespeak(tm), Calgary, AB, Canada. All rights reserved.