Music · Music Learning · Writing

The New Age of Musical Learning

Music is something that flows through all of us. Though it may be a seemingly random abstraction of vibrations reverberating within the ears and into the brain, it speaks to our inner most souls. But there are a few in this world, whose souls speak back through the creation of music of their own.

While the discipline of learning musical craft may seem impossibly daunting and illusive, the call to create will always outweigh these anxieties, especially for those touched by the feverish talent of musical creation. It’s an urge, a thirst, sometimes a struggle. but always a thrill. But in the breakneck pace of 21st century life, with all of the chaos of movement and immediacy, the fine tuning and life-devoting practice of music may seem out of reach to the amateur musician seeking to break into the realm of combining their passion with their profession.

Enter MasterClass, a clean-cut, exclusive online course website, collaborating with top-tier professionals of the trades in order to give you the inside scoop not only on their process but advice on the curation of your own. While there are currently a fair number of classes advertised on offer, ranging from writing, cooking, chess and comedy, there are several unmissable musical related courses to explore.

1. Hans Zimmer Teaches Film Scoring

Trying to stay objective about how exciting the prospect of Hans Zimmer imparting wisdom is a personal physical impossibility and therefore, any pretense at this will now be thrown out the window.

Hans Zimmer is a composing God, a modern legend of musical creation. If film scoring or writing any kind of soundtrack music in general is your professional dream, you will already have a shrine to this man and he will therefore need no introduction. For those who need a little more persuasion, go check out the soundtracks for grand epics like The Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception, Interstellar (actually, almost any film made by Christopher Nolan), Sherlock Holmes, Gladiator, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Lion King and my childhood favourite, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron. (There are so many more but I have to try and keep the fan-girling to a minimum).

His understanding of the raw emotion which sound contributes to these films is unparalleled to such an extent that to simply hear a few notes of his melodies can eternally seal those images in your mind’s eye. Basically, if any one who is anyone wants to make a monumental movie, Hans Zimmer is the music guru you need to get you there. To learn from this musical icon through an online class would be yet another reason to be grateful to live in the internet age.

2. Herbie Hancock Teaches Jazz

Yes, I am still talking about composing. And this musician embodies the fact that composing, specifically Jazz, is certainly not a topic which is going to die any time soon.  Herbie Hancock is a musical prodigy, a child genius who grew to sprinkle more than a dollop of influence on jazz and musical evolution in general. His smooth and funky infusion adds a spice signature to each of his compilations. Plus the man just oozes cool.

Much like Hans, his achievements are so diverse that it’s hard to clearly illustrate his fluidity in one swift shot. Don’t know what I mean? Go sneak a taste at some of best work.

It’s hard to believe this kind of ear and intimate relationship with sound can be taught, but if any man is up to the task, it would be him.

3. Deadmau5 Teaches Electronic Music Production

Composing of a different kind is taught under the passionate guidance of Deadmau5 (pronounced Dead Mouse), a multi-Grammy nominated international DJ. One of the most coveted progressive house artists of the genre, Deadmau5 takes his synthesizer- infused beats to a new level in a world where the ease of computer generated music is steadily rising. With added elements of trace and electronica, his best work is easily recognisable.

Deadmau5’s laid back attitude, blended with his serious passion for his craft makes him a valuable teacher for the budding DJ or modern music producer. His understanding of the uphill climb that is the conquering of the music industry is an insight which itself alone is worth a taste.

4. Christina Aguilera Teaches Singing

Ever had that dream of being one of the best vocalists the world has ever heard? Yeah, well this power house woman owns that dream. And who on Earth would be better at teaching how to sing with such emphasis and gritty emotion than Christina Aguilera herself. Whether you have heard of her or not, whether you enjoy her brand of music or not, there is no disputing the fact that she is the vessel of a massively elaborate and powerful voice and she sure knows how to use it.

From the very first note of her rendition of Something’s Got A Hold On Me (Burlesque), her outstanding talent packs a full punch. My personal favourites to exhibit her range would be songs like Hurt, Beautiful, Bound To You and Say Something. Her clear control of her instrument has been finely tuned over the years. Plus, it’s obvious she is comfortable and successful in her abilities and techniques in terms of vocal training, in her repeat appearances as a professional coach on The Voice.

5. Reba McEntire Teaches Country Music

Country music is a lifestyle. Not a genre. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. It’s a style of music which is largely popular all over the USA and indeed internationally, and Reba McEntire has played a big role in the genre’s success. Known as The Queen of Country, this redhead power player has devoted her life to the creation, experience and performance of country music and her efforts have truly paid off. With 28 of her albums (yes, I said 28) having gone gold, platinum or multi-platinum over the years, she has comfortably set herself up as one of the best selling artists of all time. She is very much worth the listen to so check out a glimpse of her stuff here.

It’s clear that hardship and harvest, heartbreak and honesty all inform the country music life and Reba McEntire is no stranger to any of these things. She fully understands that while country music may sound simple and perhaps even cliche to the untrained ears, it takes true guts to connect in such a raw and clever way to the situations life sends your way and to channel those feelings into songs.

Last but not least we have…

5. Usher Teaches the Art of Performance

Again, whether you like Usher’s music or not, you cannot fault the man on his successes. His concerts are the stuff of legend and it’s not just the vocals, choreography, stage production or instrumental talent that goes into it to make it perfection. And Usher understands that.

At the end of 2009, Billboard named him the second most successful artist of the 2000s decade and the number one Hot 100 artist of the 2000s decade. His hard work has proven to keep him adaptable as he has managed to evolve his hip-hop style to suit the present markets, maintaining his status as one of the best-selling artists of all time. He has also shown his training abilities through his successes coaching on The Voice. And I mean, come on…the guy has just got bucket-loads of swag. Don’t believe me? Go track his progressive rise to stardom through these hits.

With the attractive allure of such incredible talents from all over the music industry, it’s encouraging to see how technology can help foster the growing relationship needed between the current superstars of music, to the budding amateurs who could one day become icons through these revolutionary online courses.