Coursera – DYM Lesson 1 videos (9)
Video #9 is the last teaching video in Lesson 1 of Coursera’s Developing Your Musicianship class. In this one, Professor Russell takes about a minute and a half to discuss the first homework assignment and then plays that major scale song again.
9. Lesson Review and Assignment Overview (2:50)
The Professor begins by telling students what he wants them to work on during the week and about the homework assignments. He asks us to define ear training, harmony and intervals in our own words. I spoke about this a little in my post about Lesson 3, but basically, this is the definition that he provided us with:
Harmony: the study of chords, scales, melodies and how we hear them when music is played.
That doesn’t quite seem to be harmony to me. My understanding is that harmony is about notes being played together at the same time, and is mainly about chords. His definition seems to add in other items, like melody. The homework assignment is completed online. There’s a web page in which questions appear and can be answered, mainly through typing, although one question requires an image upload. I gave my definition of harmony in the answer box and added in my thoughts about the contrasting definition he provided. As the homework is peer-reviewed, I’ll have to see what other students in the class think about this.
One interesting thing, to me, is that we have to each peer-review at least 5 other students’ assignments. We can do more if we’d like. I intend to do more, because I’m curious about what everyone else is writing, and I want to see what I can learn from it. Students who took other online Coursera classes said that they did the same and were able to learn more this way.
Next, we’re asked to find and provide links for 3 songs in the key of C Major. We’re allowed to use online searches like Google to find these songs (like Googling “songs in C Major”). I don’t know if I did this right. I used a website called Song Key Finder and ended up picking Stairway to Heaven (Led Zeppelin), Don’t Fear the Reaper (Blue Oyster Cult) and Lovesong (The Cure). I’m unsure about whether these are in C major or A minor though. I learned a little about relative minor scales from reading online last week (basically, the 6th degree of every major scale can be the root of a new minor scale that uses the same notes as the major one that its related to). I found that I could play some of each of those songs starting on A and using notes from the minor scale pattern. I was also able to make other notes from C fit using the major scale pattern, so I’m undecided which it was at this point.
I think that I should probably test using chords from both scales to see what clashes and what doesn’t, but I haven’t made time to explore that just yet. The homework assignment is due on Thursday and should be peer-reviewed by Sunday, so I still have a little time to look into this before final submission of the assignment. That’s another interesting thing about the course – for the homework assignments and the quizzes, you can submit them multiple times until the deadline. Once its been received and the deadline passes, then peer review begins and your answers can’t be changed anymore.
The final part of the homework assignment was to write a C major scale on a piece of paper (there’s an option to download a file with ledger lines and use that) and then take a picture of it and upload it. I just used a short ruler and a notepad and did it using that. A link is provided which shows how to draw the treble clef, and the study PDF already has C major written out. We’re allowed to use any type of note, because note durations haven’t been discussed yet. I just used whole notes and drew out the scale. My drawing skills are as bad as my handwriting though. I type a lot.
The video ends with the Professor playing that major scale song again. I’m not a fan of it, but it seems to have helped other students.
Finally, another student posted a link to a video he found in which a student from a previous session showed how he went about finding songs in C major: