Sunday, September 25, 2011

Something Old - Something New #edtech

A little known fact about this Geek is that I also enjoy making music.  In high school I dabbled with the synthesizer (let's face it the piano was just to low tech for me), I learned to play a few simple songs but could never figure out all the confusing chords and  timings.  Later in life I taught myself to play the guitar.  In fact, it's on the bucket list  to release a CD of irish folk music at some point.  But, I digress (what else is new).
So tonight, I'd like to share two sites with you.  Both will help you learn to play music (and in doing so I will also make up for the lack of post last Monday).

First up is Ultimate-Guitar.  Ultimate-Guitar is jammed packed full of user submitted tablatures and chords for just about every song on the known universe.  If you are unfamiliar with tab, it is a system that shows you where to place which fingers on the frets of a guitar in order to replicate your favorite songs without needing to learn all those pesky chords.  In addition to the lyrics and accompanying chords/tabs, there are often accompanying midi files and even some video lessons.  If the song is long enough to require you to scroll down to see the whole file, Ultimate-Guitar also offers an auto-scroll feature.  Often there are multiple versions of a song and they have been ranked by Ultimate-Guitar members according to accuracy.  Feel that key is too low? If you are on a chord file, you can even transpose the file up or down to meet your needs.

Second is a site that may just force me to pull out the old synth.  Online Pianist seems to be relatively new (within the past few years). But the have tutorials and sheet music for a number of genres ranked by difficulty.  What I like about the tutorials is that they are visual.  The placement of the fingers for the left and right hand are color coded and accompany a midi version of the song. You can also separate just the left and right hands with Online Pianist.  And here's the part I really like: Online Pianist allows you to slow the tempo to a crawl so you can learn those difficult finger placements.  Have a request for a song? You can submit one on their wall.
The only drawback I see with Online Pianist is they generate revenue with video ads that play automatically.  So be sure to close those before listening to the tutorials.

It's nice to be caught up again.
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