Musical Composition, Theory and Songwriting/Need Help Now!


Hi! I have some questions. First, how can I get to a point where I can play tunes by ear to a point that i can play a peice of music well? Also, I have an efficient way of memorizing music, but what do you do? Also, I want to be a band director for middle and/or possibly high and other school bands. How do I get started (I am a freshman in high school)? Finally, should I learn basically almost all music theory to help me learn jazz, (piano) chords, and possibly even pop music? One last thing: who were your musical influences growing up and what instruments did you play growing up?


P.S.-Sorry for all the questions, but I really need to know, and I love and am willing to learn music!

  It appears that you have 6 questions.... i shall not dwell on them but give you an overview of each question...
   (or i fear we'd be in ''term paper length'')

How to play b y  ear?  
    FIRST OF ALL you have to know WHAT YOU ARE HEARING / either being performed or what you ''hear'  in your head..
    so like ''colors'' on the color wheel, you need to be able to
identify scale steps when you hear them
identify maj. minor, dim, aug, 9th , dom. 7th, 6th chords (etc) when you hear them
identify chord progressions when you hear them,
hear and focus on melody line and bass line... when you hear them
identify WHAT INSTRUMENT is being played when you hear it (pick apart a 3 piece or a 7 piece group by instruments or hear the tenor/bass, baritone, etc)
idenfity so well, that you can write them down as you hear them performed... then instead of a BOX OF CRAYONS OF 10 COLORS you'll be using a box of 100+ colors to work with

HOW TO PLAY MUSIC WELL? practice it so much that it comes without thinking...

HOW TO MEMORIZE>>??? WELL, i visualize the notes in my head in a key when i hear them, and if sitting at a piano, can play along with the music i am hearing.... I see notes on the staff when i hear them, and the PICTURE is easy to recall.....

How to get to be a band director? in my case? as a choir director, orchestra director and band director , i went to college and got my major degree in music;... my dad was a music teacher and graduate of WESTMINSTER CHOIR COLLEGE, and i got my masters degree in music .. i have taught all these classes in public school before i retired and have since been active in orchestra, choir, and even formed a new orchestra in town, and formed a cello trio , for which i write arrangements. (now over 500 in the last 7 years)

i learned music theory from my piano teacher in jr. high, and then took a class in theory in high school.  I took classes in college in HARMONY, ANALYSIS, ORCHESTRATION, EAR TRAINING, THEORY, ETC....
I also learned fr0m other musicians that could play by ear, and learned more about jazz harmony and jazz notation and style...

MY youthful musical influences? were my wonderful teachers, and my many talented directors of the groups i played in and how they encouraged me to apply for musical awards an work for them...

   I hope that helps,,, these subjects could be lengthy but i know you are just getting the overall idea at this point... so let me conclude?    study, learn, watch, ask questions, glean all you can and continue to learn as you go on your way

chuck (thanks for the question)

Musical Composition, Theory and Songwriting

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I am a professional musician, I can play by ear, I arrange music write music, teach music in the public school system, and teach privately. My father was a school music teacher, and I have written three volumes for teaching beginning string players, taking them from scratch to high school level. I have performed in a local production of Music Man (musical) with celebrities John Davidson/Susan Watson and have my masters degree in education. I retired from the classroom in 2004 with 38 yrs. experience-now still substituting for music- and writing arr. for my cello trio(with two audio cd's and one dvd of a performance) I have directed church choirs and am principal cellist in our local community orchestra. I really love to arrange music for the groups I perform in and sing and have music in my life every day. A day without music, is a mistake, like having a day without sunshine.


Employment history: I have been employed by our local school district since 1967 as a music teacher from grades 1-12 Organizations: I play cello principal chair in the local community orchestra, and sing in a chorus,and perfom in a barbershop quartet

Education: My early life in high school and college was summer workshops in choral conducting with founder of Westminster Choir College (N.J.) Dr. John F.Williamson (in Who`s Who in Music) and summer workshops with Robert Shaw in San Diego Grad. of Sacramento STate Univ.and masters from Univ. of La VErne, ca

Awards: awarded the Bank of America award in my high school senior year for music

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