The first time I brought home a tuba, I was in middle school. I wanted to play the trumpet, but my band director convinced me to consider the tuba. He even offered to get me a stand to hold the tuba since he felt I was too small to wrangle the behemoth. I briefly imagined what the other kids would say, and I quickly dismissed the offer.

The tuba had a copper, brass, and new instrument smell. If you ever played an instrument, you know exactly what I’m talking about. I pulled it out of its case. At this age…


Correct clarinet embouchure enables a player to enhance tone and improve flexibility on the instrument. Avoid bad habits and incorrect embouchure placement from the beginning of your studies to ensure that you learn to play effectively and correctly. Correcting an improperly trained embouchure can be very difficult. Learn proper clarinet embouchure as soon as possible to avoid issues later on down the line.

Clarinet

The clarinet should be pointing toward the ground at a 35- to a 45-degree angle. The exact angle will change slightly among players. Players with an extended lower jaw will need a greater angle, while those with…


Triads are the basic building blocks of music harmony. Triads consist of a series of three notes separated by an interval of a major or minor 3rd. A musician must know these two intervals to build triads. A minor third spans three half steps, while a major third spans four half steps. Determining an interval requires knowledge of the chromatic scale, which consists of the following notes: C, C#(Db), D, D#(Eb), E, F, F#(Gb), G, G#(Ab), A, A#(Bb), B. The notes in parentheses are called enharmonic notes, having different names but the same pitch. …


“Taps” plays in military services to honor soldiers. It has long been associated with soldier funerals and solemn ceremonies in the military. The story of Taps is full of romantic accounts and legends, even if many of these accounts have no basis in historical fact.

Overtones

“Taps” started partially because of the limited notes available to buglers. Bugles are capable of playing tones that exist because of a natural phenomenon called overtones. The bugle call “Taps” uses these natural overtones to create all of the pitches in the tune. A bugle player can play taps without the need for valves, which…


Voice lessons are invaluable for singers who want to study effective techniques, improve their range and extend their vocal longevity. A vocalist should be aware, up front, of costs associated with these lessons. When deciding to take lessons, vocalists must weigh all factors in determining the actual cost of vocal coaching.

Tuition

As of 2021, according to CostHelper (costhelper.com), a typical studio will charge $10 to $35 per half-hour lesson and professionals with advanced degrees and performing experience may charge upward of $100 or more for this duration. Vocal tuition will vary among studios and will be based on the teacher’s…


Regular music theory and jazz music theory have similar goals but use different terminology. This can be confusing, but even within traditional theory, different terms exist depending on what side of the world you live. The process of learning the difference involves learning the terminology for both styles. Breaking it down to the simplest elements, jazz music is just shorthand for classical theory. This is important in jazz because performers have to improvise and don’t have time to think about Roman numeral relationships and extended analysis. Learning the terminology for both styles will make you a better musician.

Triads

Jazz musicians…


You’ve got a great melody, nailed some vocals, and now you need to set the background music to make your song come alive. If you don’t have the necessary skills to notate your music, you can get a composer for hire to help you with writing your background music. You could also use various ambient music composition techniques to create music that works with your song and vocals. The best option for a songwriter that has an idea of what they want the song to sound like is to hire a professional to help with the background lyrics, and in…


Heavy metal riffs combine small musical motifs to create melodic fragments. A motif is the smallest identifiable musical idea that consists of more than one note. A melodic fragment is simply a chunk taken from a potentially longer melody; fragments are not complete musical ideas and serve only to ornament, enhance, or develop the music. Heavy metal riffs used in songs help create additional interest and intrigue in the songs. Basic knowledge of key signatures, note names, and basic chords will make it possible for you to create your own songs and riffs.

Creating the Song

Write or hire someone to write the…


The trumpet is the highest-pitched member of the brass family of instruments. Trumpets have a range of about three-and-a-half octaves, from F below the treble clef (F3) staff to C two octaves above the treble clef (C7). Some trumpet players have the ability to play even higher or lower. The trumpet is capable of playing these pitches because of the acoustic principles and mechanical construction.

Vibrations

Vibrations are the basis for the trumpet’s sound. The trumpet player creates vibrations by pressing their lips together to create a buzzing sound. Trumpeters can buzz specific pitches by creating additional pressure with the lips…


The act of composing music requires years of training, experience, and knowledge of some basic theory to be a professional composer. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t learn to be an effective composer without putting in thousands of hours of composing time. Anyone can learn to write music, but how far you go down the rabbit hole depends on your goals. While there are people out there who can compose music without learning all of the intricacies of the craft, you’ll go much farther if you take the time to learn a few necessary skills.

The good news? This post…

Kevin Ure (UreMusic.com)

Teaching the Craft of Music Composition since 1996. Articles on popular music- and art-related topics. Check out our Lists for more in-depth composing articles.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store