Cover art for podcast Music Student 101

Music Student 101

110 EpisodesProduced by Burns/PhillipsWebsite

We are musicians, composers, engineers, teachers and students alike. The path through academia, as a musician, can be challenging and uncertain but it can also be enriching and great fun! This is the path we chose and we are here as your resource. Explore theory, history, ear training, technique, … read more

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106-Altered Chords Pt.2

December 28th, 2021


Continuing our discussion from episode 88, we will dig deeper into extended tertian harmonies from a theory perspective with the 9th, 11th and 13th chords. We will listen to chords with substituted 6ths and raised and …

105-Melodic Dictation Pt.4-Dorian Mode

November 30th, 2021


Melodic dictation, the act of transcribing and notating a melody by ear, is a crucial skill for a musician to cultivate. In this episode, we will …

104-Studio Effects Pt.1

October 28th, 2021


If you love to play music, you probably love the idea of recording. Once you plug in, or approach the microphone, you may find some of these effects to be a great help. With dynamics, such as compression, limiting and …


September 30th, 2021


Today's most widely used tuning system is equal temperament. It sounds great to our ears. But it is a compromise! Musicians and mathematicians have always struggled finding tuning systems that didn't compromise the pure …

102-Enharmonic Reinterpretation

August 27th, 2021


Follow along as we delve into enharmonic spellings and reinterpretation and the various reasons why they are necessary. We will also demonstrate some …

101-Listener Compositions Pt.4

July 28th, 2021


It is time for us to give a listener to another round of fantastic listener compositions! They work hard, that we may listen hard!
So let's listen! This episode will feature the original music of:
Michael Chapman, Pasi …

100-Episode 100

June 30th, 2021


This episode is truly a celebration of how far we've come on the show and how far you've come in the theory sequence! We will discuss songs we've …

99-The Fully Diminished 7th Chord

May 25th, 2021


We've almost said everything we can about the fully diminished 7th chord. ALMOST! In this episode we will explore this versatile chord and its many …

98-Harmonic Progression Pt.8 (viiº/III, viiº/VI)

April 27th, 2021


Continuing where episode 73 left off, this episode will review our previous discussions on diatonic chords and secondary functions. We will now add the secondary seven of III (viiº/III) and seven of VI (viiº/VI) chords. …

97-Women in Music Pt.2

March 25th, 2021


It's time to further our discussion of women composers! Continuing where we left of on episode 81, we will now cover several influential female composers from the Baroque and Classical periods.

96-Orchestration-Strings Pt.2

February 28th, 2021


On episode 95, we began a discussion on orchestration for the string section and it's instruments: the bass, the cello, the viola and the violin. We …

95-Orchestration-Strings Pt.1

January 25th, 2021


Orchestration is the art of choosing the right instruments, and the proper balance thereof, for a composition. Different considerations go into conveying different moods and emotions to better tell the story. The string …

94-Instrument Care Pt.3-Brass

December 29th, 2020


We don't show enough love to our good horn section and other brass players! We're going to start making that right with a discussion on the general care and maintenance for the tuba, trombone, euphonium, horns, trumpet …

93-Form and Analysis Pt.3-Sonata

November 30th, 2020


We've familiarized ourselves with the building blocks of a form, such as motives, phrases and periods. We have delved into small forms, such as binary and ternary. Now it's time to think a little bigger. It's time to …

92-Creativity During Difficult Times

October 29th, 2020


In this episode, we are going to take a moment to address an issue that many of us must reckon with: staying creative during difficult times. We are …

91-Listener Compositions Pt. 3

September 22nd, 2020


Once more, our listeners have bared their souls and shared their own original music. Let us listen! This episode will feature the original music of: …

90C-Music Students' Q&A Pt.3

September 9th, 2020


In this episode, we will be meeting more new listeners and discussing more music topics! We're going to give a little tease of an up and coming episode on form and analysis, by discussing the sonata form. We'll meet two …

90B-Music Students' Q&A Pt.2

August 11th, 2020


Continuing our “shelter in place video series”, the content of this 2nd video is now available for our good podcast listeners. We will find some good acronyms for the diatonic modes. We will discuss some of these modes …

90A-Music Students' Q&A Pt.1

July 14th, 2020


In efforts to keep this show going, while sheltering in place, we have decided to launch a mini series of videos to share on social media and other video platforms. But for you, our good LISTENERS, it seemed fitting to …

90-Meet The Area 47 Band

March 23rd, 2020


It's time we had a chat with some more musicians! Most of our bumper tracks for this show have really come together thanks to the efforts and talents of Brian Maloy (drums) and Jerome Chapman (guitar). Let's get to know …

89-The Blues Pt.2-Country and Delta Blues

March 8th, 2020


Having covered the origins of the blues, in Pt.1 of this series, it's time to dig in to the genres that emerged from these origins during the early stages of the blues. Join us, as we discuss country blues and delta …

88-Altered Chords Pt.1

February 25th, 2020


Dive with us, face first, into chromaticism with this discussion on extended and altered chords. We will make sure we're well acquainted with the concept of suspended ("sus") chords and added ("add") chords. This will …

87-Substance Abuse and Music Pt.1

February 11th, 2020


For some reason, creative types are often drawn to mind altering substances. Musicians have been no exception. In this episode we will discuss the …


January 27th, 2020


It's time to get a little out of step with time! Syncopation is a technique that can add more color and interest to your rhythms. In this episode, we …

85-Augmented Sixth (+6) Chords Pt.2

January 13th, 2020


In episode 65, we discussed the Italian, French and German augmented sixth (+6) chords and their main functions. In this episode, we'll dig a little deeper into these chords and talk about some other functions and …

84-Harmonizing A Melody

December 23rd, 2019


When you learn or write a melody, you may want to add some harmonic textures to it. In this episode, we will learn a melody. We will write harmonies that move along with it in parallel motion. We will then find the …

83-Practice! Practice! Practice!

December 8th, 2019


We talk a good bit about theory, ear training and history. But let's talk about you and your craft. The only way to get better at playing your instrument, ear training and theory is to practice like crazy! In this …

82-Melodic Dictation Pt.3-Mixolydian Mode

November 25th, 2019


Melodic dictation, the act of transcribing and notating a melody by ear, is an important skill for a musician to cultivate. In this episode, we will …

81-Women in Music Pt.1

November 10th, 2019


Our discussion on the significance of women in music history is well overdue! Join us on this series as we highlight some of the notable female composers, from the advent of recorded music history!

80-Listener Compositions Pt.2

October 23rd, 2019


Everyone enjoyed our last listener compositions episode so much, we decided to make this a regular thing. Our listeners have bared their souls. Let's …

79-Modulating to Distantly Related Keys Pt.2

October 6th, 2019


Picking up from where we left off on episode 71, we will now further our discussion on modulation to distantly related keys. The focus, on this show, …

78-Melodic Dictation Pt.2-Major

September 16th, 2019


Melodic dictation, the act of transcribing and notating a melody by ear, is an important skill for a musician to cultivate. In this episode, we will …

77-Transcribing a Song Pt.2

September 2nd, 2019


In part 1 of this series, we heard an original song (by one of our own listeners) for the first time. By the end of that episode, we put "Dewey and Dora" (by Keith Andrews) to paper with key and time signatures, tempo …

76-Transcribing a Song Pt.1

August 19th, 2019


It's time to talk about transcription. This is the process of translating what you can hear to something you, or another musician, can read. In part one of this series, we will break down "Dewey and Dora", by Keith …

75-Middle Ages Music Pt.1

August 4th, 2019


Middle Ages music occurred roughly between the dates of 500-1400 CE. In this episode, we will mainly talk about monophony. We will discuss plain chant, Gregorian chant and the antiphon, as the common types of vocal …


July 21st, 2019


Solfege has been used for centuries to help vocalists and music students acquaint vowel sounds with certain notes. In this episode, we will discuss …

73-Harmonic Progression Pt.7 (viiº/V, viiº/ii)

July 7th, 2019


Continuing where episode 63 left off, this episode will review our previous discussions on diatonic chords and secondary functions. We will now add the secondary seven of V and seven of ii (iiº) chords. Listen for the …

72-The Schumann Resonance

June 17th, 2019


It's time to try something different, though "music-adjacent"! The Schumann resonances are the vibrations of the Earth's atmosphere. Some believe that if we tune our instruments to these resonances, using 432Hz as our …

71-Modulation To Distantly Related Keys Pt.1

June 3rd, 2019


Picking up from where we left off on episode 69, we will now learn how to modulate to distantly related keys using chords that are diatonic, or …

70-Listener Compositions Pt.1

May 19th, 2019


We've long dreamed of having an episode dedicated entirely to showcasing the composing and songwriting talents of our listeners. Finally, the dream is alive! This episode will feature the original music of Marc …

69-Modulation To Closely Related Keys Pt.2

May 5th, 2019


Picking up from where we left off on episode 50, we will continue our discussion on modulation to closely related keys. We will talk about modulating …

68-Film Composition (feat. Craig Brandwein)

April 21st, 2019


When we compose for film or television, we have many considerations at hand. We want to accent the mood and the emotions involved in the picture. We …

67-Hexatonic Scales

April 7th, 2019


The hexatonic scales are six note scales. In many cases we are simply adding a note to a pentatonic scale or deleting one from one of the seven modes. But there are other interesting possibilities: the blues scales, the …

66-Instrument Care Pt.2-Your Voice

March 18th, 2019


Just like any instrument, your voice needs a great amount of care and attention in order to perform at it's peak potential. If you're a singer, a public speaker, a bartender or a cheerleader, you have to use your voice …

65-Augmented 6th (+6) Chords Pt.1

March 4th, 2019


The augmented 6th (+6) chord is a very tense predominant chord. Like most chromatic chords, it can add motion and color to your chord progressions. …

64-The Blues Pt.1-Roots

February 18th, 2019


It's about time to have a discussion about the blues! This can't be done, properly, in one episode. This episode will be the first of a few on the history of the blues. We'll go way back to origins of the African …

63-Harmonic Progression Pt.6 (V/III, V/VI)

February 4th, 2019


Continuing where episode 56 left off, this episode will review our previous discussions on diatonic chords and secondary dominants. We will now add the secondary dominants of the mediant and submediant (V/III, V/VI). …

62-Children and Music

January 20th, 2019


Playing an instrument and listening to music can have a variety of positive effects on children and adults alike. It can rewire your brain to better …

61-The Neapolitan Chord

January 6th, 2019


The Neapolitan chord and the Neapolitan Sixth chord add a very distinctive sound to a progression. You've heard it many times and you probably LOVED …

60-More About Us

December 16th, 2018


We wanted to end the year by letting us all get to know each other better. We're going to share some more of your stories and then a few of our own. We will also talk a little more about the genesis of this podcast, …

59-Composition 101

December 2nd, 2018


Composition is the art of simply creating music out of nowhere, from within, and organizing it into a finished piece. It can be an expression of what is going on with you emotionally. It can be an expression of …

58-Mode Mixture and Borrowed Chords

November 20th, 2018


We are bringing chromaticism to your doorstep! Today's special delivery? Mixed modes and borrowed chords! Learn how borrowing just two or three notes from a parallel key can allow for several new chords that can add …

57-Instrument Care Pt.1 (Strings)

November 5th, 2018


Stringed instruments have a number of environmental and conditioning considerations that we need to be familiar with, if we want them to have a long and happy life. In this episode we will talk about the piano (really a …

56-Harmonic Progression Pt. 5 (V/V, V/II)

October 21st, 2018


Continuing where episode 43 left off, this episode will review the previously discussed chords: I, II7, III, IV, V, VI and VII (in major and minor) and their inversions. We will now add some secondary dominants: (V/V, …

55-Secondary Leading Tone Chords

October 7th, 2018


Just as you can use secondary dominant chords to aid in the movement to any diatonic chord, you can also use secondary leading tone chords for the …

54-Chord Charts Pt.1

September 23rd, 2018


The chord chart can be an essential tool for any musician, gigging or not. They allow you to get a lot more accomplished, in a lot less time, with …

53-Form and Analysis Pt.2: Small Forms

September 9th, 2018


In part one of our "Form and Analysis" series, we familiarized ourselves with the building blocks of a form, such as motives, phrases and periods. Now, we will begin our official discussion on small forms. We will cover …

52-7th Chords Pt.2: The Others

August 19th, 2018


At this point, we've discussed the two most common diatonic 7th chords: V7 and II7. Now, we will discuss "The Others". These are the VII7, IV7, VI7, I7 and III7 chords. We will take a little time with each of these, …

51-Stage Production Tech (feat. Chris Knutson)

August 5th, 2018


Not every musician ends up on stage. One of our goals is to cover, in depth, the many career opportunities that can be available to a musician. In this episode, we will talk to Chris Knutson about how his music tech …

50-Modulation To Closely Related Keys Pt.1

July 22nd, 2018


We celebrate our 50th episode by breaking the ice on the much anticipated topic of modulation. This discussion will include an introduction to the …

49-Secondary Dominants Pt.2: V/ii, V/vi, V/iii

July 8th, 2018


Join us, as we continue to venture toward the coming mountain of chromaticism. We will approach the foothills as we resume our discussion of secondary dominants. We will talk about how these chords can be used in the …

48-Sight Reading

June 24th, 2018


What exactly is sight reading? What is the difference between reading music and sight reading music? What are some factors that contribute to good sight reading? How can I improve my sight reading skills? Good …

47-Songwriting (feat. Colin Soniat)

June 10th, 2018


Song writing is different for everybody. Sometimes we can be inspired by the experiences of others. We will talk all about it with our friend and …

46-The Overtone Series

May 28th, 2018


The overtone series is alive and well in every note you hear. Within the vibrations of a tone, or a note, there are other smaller vibrations that are occurring. We will start with the fundamental and look deeper into …

45-Secondary Dominants Pt.1: V/V, V/IV

May 7th, 2018


Join us as we venture toward chromaticism with this discussion of secondary dominants. We will talk about how these chords can be used in the tonicization of chords other than the tonic, with their dominant function. In …


April 22nd, 2018


Transposition, the act of changing a piece of music to a different key or mode, can be one of the most useful tools any musician can have in their …

43-Harmonic Progression Pt.4: III, VI

April 8th, 2018


Continuing where episode 39 left off, this episode will review the previously discussed chords: I, II7, IV, V7 and VII (in major and minor) and their inversions. We will now add the III (the mediant) and VI (the …

42-The Guitar (feat. Carlos Pino)

March 25th, 2018


The guitar is an extraordinarily expressive and versatile instrument. From it's roots in 15th Century Spain to it's current prominence in jazz, rock, …

41-The Big Recap Pt.2

March 11th, 2018


As we near the end of the theory 101 sequence, we decided to dedicate a couple of episodes to the purpose of reviewing all of the topics we've covered up to this point. Part 1 covered episodes 1-19. This episode, part 2 …

40-The Big Recap Pt.1

February 26th, 2018


As we near the end of the theory 101 sequence, we decided to dedicate a couple of episodes to the purpose of reviewing all of the topics we've covered up to this point. This episode, part 1,
will cover episodes 1-19. …

39-Harmonic Progression Pt.3: VII

February 15th, 2018


Continuing where episode 31 left off, this episode will cover the previously discussed chords: I, II7, IV and V7 (in major and minor) and their inversions. We now add the VII and it's inversions. Listen for the chord …

38-Pentatonic Scales

January 28th, 2018


Pentatonic scales are five note scales that span the length of an octave. Major and minor scales, along with their respective modes, are all considered "heptatonic" or "seven note" scales. These scales also have five …

37-Counterpoint Pt.3

January 14th, 2018


Continuing our discussion from episode 35-Counterpoint Pt.2, it's time to tackle 3rd and 4th species counterpoint! We have already built our cantus firmus and tried it out with 1st and 2nd species counterpoint. Our …

36-The Jury (Stage Fright)

December 31st, 2017


In the school of music, we have the "Jury". This terrifying moment occurs at the end of the semester when the student must display their progress, on …

35-Counterpoint Pt.2

December 3rd, 2017


Continuing our discussion from episode 34-Counterpoint Pt.1, we will now discuss species counterpoint. We have already built our cantus firmus. Now, we will add a voice, using first species counterpoint. We will then …

34-Counterpoint Pt.1

November 19th, 2017


Counterpoint, the art of combining two or more independent melodic lines, is a practice that has been around for hundreds of years. However, not a lot of musicians are familiar with the term. In this episode, part 1 of …

33-The Dawn of Music

November 5th, 2017


In the beginning, before written history, our ancestors left artifacts and paintings that gave us clues as to how they once lived. This being a few …

32-7th Chords Pt.1: II7, V7

October 16th, 2017


We've given the 7th chords a good listen. Now it's time to discuss the theory behind them and some of the conventions to consider while using them in part writing. This episode will focus on the ii7 and the V7 chords as …

31-Harmonic Progression Pt.2: I,ii7,IV,V7

October 1st, 2017


Continuing where Episode 18 left off, this episode will feature the diatonic chords I, II7, IV and V7 (in major and minor). Listen for those chord qualities (major, minor, dominant 7th and minor 7th) and use your theory …

30-Stuff You See On A Score

September 17th, 2017


You may be familiar with notes, key signatures and meter signatures. But, there's a lot more happening on a music score. Various markings, such as crescendo, forte, fortissimo and pianissimo, can tell a musician how …

29-Intervals 2.0

September 3rd, 2017


Just in case we haven't said everything we need to say about intervals, it's time we said a little more! We will have a quick recap on the basic …

28-Nonchord Tones

August 13th, 2017


Sometimes you will encounter notes that don't belong to the chords they are sounding over. These notes are just what they sound like, nonchord tones! In this episode, we will discover the main types of non chord tones: …


August 1st, 2017


We've learned about the major and minor scales. Now it's time to explore the 7 Diatonic Modes: Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian …

26-The Bass (feat. Aaron Branson)

July 19th, 2017


The bass has a special effect on the listener. The frequencies in the lower register can often be felt just as much as they are heard. The bass can tell us more about harmonic progression and it can also tie the rhythm …

25-The Circle of Fifths

July 2nd, 2017


When writing a song or a piece of music, it's good to know how certain chords and harmonies work together. An understanding of the circle of fifths …


June 18th, 2017


MIDI is one of the greatest things to happen to music and those who work with it. This music based language allows for the entry and edit of musical notes and their attributes. It also allows for the synchronization and …

23-Melodic Dictation Pt.1

May 21st, 2017


A melodic dictation exam is something you may or may not have to reckon with in your musical journey. Passing this course is essential for a music student working towards a degree. But for anyone, academia aside, these …

22-Voice Leading Pt.1

May 7th, 2017


One big goal in tonal composition is to have good counterpoint within your harmonies. To do that, we need to learn how to approach part writing in the proper manner. To do that, we must first learn the principles of …

21-Playing In A Cover Band (feat. Miguel Martinez)

April 17th, 2017


There's no better way to get your performance feet wet than playing in a cover band! The material is there. You just have to learn it and execute it properly. The crowd will immediately connect with your music because …

20-Form and Analysis Pt.1

April 2nd, 2017


An understanding of form and analysis can be a great aid in getting to know music better. Like an architect, a composer will structure their music on a foundation of building blocks. It's time to check out the …


March 19th, 2017


A piece of music is often laid out like a poem or a story. The sentences and paragraphs can be likened to motives and phases. The punctuations and ends of these thoughts can be likened to the cadences. Some ask …

18-Harmonic Progression Pt.1: I, ii, IV, V

March 6th, 2017


Harmonic dictation is an essential part of the music students curriculum. It can be a powerful tool for any musician because it will help to solidify …

17-The Piano (feat. Matthew Dutot Slocum)

February 19th, 2017


The piano is a complex and beautiful instrument. It's fairly easy to learn, but quite challenging to master. In this episode, we will speak to a man …

16-Diatonic Chords

February 5th, 2017


Many great chord progressions in tonal music are based on specific sequences of triads and chords. These progressions sound naturally fulfilling or …

15-Inversions and Figured Bass

January 22nd, 2017


When you invert a chord, you rearrange it's pitch order. This can serve several purposes. In this episode, we will cover inversions for triads and seventh chords, how they're built and how to listen for them. We will …

14-Being a Performer

January 8th, 2017


A musical performance should really be all about the music. But there is still a performance element that tends to engage the viewing and listening …

13-Ear Training-Basic Triads

December 26th, 2016


We've already given a good listen to the interval in episode 10. Let's add one more note to it and hear what the triad sounds like. We will discuss the sonic characteristics of the four basic triads: major, minor, …

12-Basic Triads, In Theory

December 12th, 2016


Triads are the building blocks of harmony. In this episode, we will introduce you to the 4 basic triads: major, minor, augmented and diminished. We will discuss the theory behind them, the moods they evoke and the …

11-Music Career Possibilities

November 27th, 2016


The career path of a musician can be a little unclear and equally uncertain. But have no fear!  We are here as proof that you can make a comfortable living in the field of music. We will discuss the technical path …

10-Ear Training-Intervals

November 13th, 2016


Perk up your ears and get ready for more ear training. Being able to hear and identify simple intervals is the gateway to ear training excellence! If you've been through our theory episode on intervals (Ep. 09), now you …

09-Intervals, In Theory

October 30th, 2016


Understanding intervals is an essential part of understanding, analyzing and critically listening to music. In this episode, we will discuss the theory behind intervals. Listen and learn the types of intervals and their …

08-Minor Scales and Key Signatures

October 16th, 2016


This episode is all about the minor scale. We will discuss minor key signatures and how to identify them by using the order of sharps or flats and a few other tricks we picked up along the way. We will discuss the …

07-Odd Time Signatures: Finding The Beat

October 2nd, 2016


In order to play with other musicians, you have to be on the same page as them, rhythmically and tonally. In this episode, we will tackle the rhythmic aspect of music and how to identify what time signature (or meter …

06-Good and Bad Study Habits

September 18th, 2016


This episode addresses the music student and their study habits. We will focus on how to make the best of your time, both inside and outside the classroom. We will also give you a glimpse inside your professor's head …

05-Major Scales and Key Signatures

September 4th, 2016


Listen as we dig a little deeper into the major scale. We will also discuss key signatures and how to identify them by using the order of sharps or flats and a few tricks we picked up along the way. The circle of fifths …

04-Ear Training Tips

August 21st, 2016


Ear training is an essential part of musical growth. In this episode we will discuss its process and some of our own ideas on how to develop it. We will also cover some great apps, websites and other resources you can …

03-Theory Basics Pt.2: Rhythm

August 7th, 2016


Welcome to part 2 of our theory fundamentals series. This episode will cover the elements of rhythm. Learn about note values and their durations. Explore time signatures and how to distinguish simple and compound meter. …

02-Theory Basics Pt.1: Melody and Harmony

July 24th, 2016


This, our first theory podcast, is elementary but crucial. In this episode, part 1 of a 2 part series, we will have a brief discussion on melody and harmony. We will also touch on scales, intervals and triads. Part 2 …

01-Intro To Music Student 101

July 17th, 2016


Welcome! Learn about us and our goals in this inaugural episode! Hosts, Matt and Jeremy, discuss their mission, their backgrounds and give a preview of the journey ahead. Though our target audience is the entry level …

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