Music and education

I have always had a regret that my mother didn’t beat me into having piano lessons as a child. I have always had a view that listening to, and participating in the creation of, music is beneficial to humans on many levels. At my (considerable) age guitar playing engenders body / brain coordination both physically (to do my chops) and mentally (to remember my scales), which I hope will ward of dementia for a bit longer, but this is surely something valuable to all, for any physical instrument. At the other end of a broad spectrum of benefits of music there is the more philosophical question as to why music can have such an emotional effect on the human pysche - I’m not sure the academics have quite bottomed this out.

Anyway, I thought it would be useful to get some feedback from Scaler users, all of whom in one way or another aspire to creating something musical.

1 How many of you had any formal musical training on an instrument ? If not, and looking back, do you feel that (like me) you would have benefitted from that?

2 How many of you complement the effort of physically clicking a mouse with actually pressing keys, twiddling bows, or puffing into something ?

3 [One for Ed] What’s the level of penetration of Scaler into the education / schools market.?? The benefit from whatever little formal music education I had at school would have been transformed beyond measure if I had had Scaler in front of me, and would have inspired me to go out and seek training. It just seems a no-brainer for schools and colleges in any way involved with music - and cheaper than a plastic recorder (flute thing).

I’m curious …


IMHO, a great set of questions and discussion theme in general…especially in the context of a piece of software like Scaler.

1 - A little guitar when very young but not enough discipline to stick with learning scales every week. Music was a big deal in our home but mainly from the perspective of dance and my ballerina mother. Now, looking back from my mid 50s, yes, I wish I had stuck with it or maybe been exposed to other instruments.

2 - A little keyboard but more and more due to recent interest in learning a bit about music theory and Scaler’s ability to assist along the way (or at least make things more interesting and engaging). What started as basic chord progressions for EDM and Urban style beats, is progressing almost daily into slightly more complicated patterns.

3 - While I’m not Ed. I can’t agree more with your statement regarding the impact of having a Scaler like tool when I was 1st exposed to music.

To your philosophical curiosity…this is a great question and one that I appreciate much more now than I would have before I started playing with Scaler. I’ve been in software my entire adult life and yet I’ve asked myself repeatedly why I’ve gotten so interested in this product and more interestingly in this little community. My emotional attachment to both of these things is completely atypical for me (at least as it relates to software).

A conversation with a fellow user shed some light on this for me and it came down to something fundamental. While it may sound a bit corny, it basically comes down to profound enjoyment, or quite simply, joy. Without a doubt, when I’m exploring my ability to create a little music thanks to Scaler’s direct or indirect assistance, it is very enjoyable…period. No one will likely ever hear it and no onw will ever care, but for me in those moments, it is pretty special and no database, no spreadsheet or ERP system will ever create that feeling. So that is probably why I got sucked in…I have a ton of fun with this little piece of magic software and I get a kick when others do as well.


1 How many of you had any formal musical training on an instrument ? If not, and looking back, do you feel that (like me) you would have benefitted from that?

I studied music 3 years at the Italian scuola media
Then nothing up to the eighties when I learnt basic guitar accompaniment to regale my friends

2 How many of you complement the effort of physically clicking a mouse with actually pressing keys, twiddling bows, or puffing into something ?

I stopped playing guitar at the end of nineties, after having had my best guitar covered with dust and spider nets :rofl:

I currently tickle the (plastic) ivories of my Alesis Q49 with a wealth of plugins, but I have a clarinet at home, and I am tempted here and there to blow some life into it

I like music and singing since I was a child. But I didn’t study music.
But my parents don’t know about it.
I want to thank computer music, the Internet and scaler

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Music schools in many countries rely on chord basic knowledge to teach.
It’s better to use Scaler for three minutes than to study for three years,
Scaler saves a lot of time for people to learn music.
The next step is to make music quickly.
The focus of Scaler is to help friends who like to make music to make music quickly.

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We had “formal” music training in public highschool, which comprised in having to learn to play the recorder, read sheet music along to listening to big reel tapes of classic music, and learning to “interpret” the composer’s intentions. All taught by teachers who firmly believed in their role in Darwinian evolution in sorting out “useless” students. They succeeded with me, I didn’t pick up a personal interest in making music until 30 years later.

One of the modes of interaction with musical instruments not explicitly mentioned but greatly appealing to me and supporting my artistic intuitions is that of MIDI controllers. My music/sound tools of choice (“instruments”) are software based and leverage all the flexibility and complexity of computer based music making, while the user interface is hardware with tactile qualities, such as pressure and velocity sensitive pads, knobs, faders. I particularly like these “virtual” faders, like on the Maschine Jam, where you can make data points jump from one extreme to another, the merging of pluck & glide dynamics. Additionally, the implied modularity of the virtual instrument plugins ecosystem gives me a sense of “building my own instruments”, so I am not just a musician, but also an instrument builder :slight_smile:

I find in hindsight that the user interface has been my greatest inhibitor to finding joy in making music, experimenting with sound, jamming. The vast eco system of modern DJs producing live on the fly with similar MIDI controller interfaces speak to my preferences not being as absurd that the teachers of yore proclaimed.

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Interesting topic and great questions…

  1. I started playing guitar when I was about 12, signed up for music school, I did about 3 months, and the amount of theory I had to do before I could actually play my instrument was just stupid. This pretty much made me hate anything and anyone who wanted to tell me how to play guitar. I ended up just playing my own things and learning new chords from tabs/charts.
    It’s hard to say if it was a good or bad thing in retrospect because even though I still don’t know the scales on the guitar neck which can be limiting to play with other people, I ended up building what would later become the chord detector in Scaler to figure out what I was playing. :crazy_face: :thinking:
    I think it would have been way easier to learn all this as a kid…

  2. I still play a bit of guitar almost every day, I am pretty average at it for the reasons stated above. I use a MIDI Keyboard every day as well, I am pretty bad at playing but quite good at controlling Scaler with it. :smiley:

  3. There are definitely music schools using Scaler. Usually for more “modern” course types that teach music production as a whole. When it comes to the more classic courses, there are a couple of things that are still missing in Scaler to make it fully compatible with schools. The lack of classic staff visualization is a big one. There’s also the fact that some schools can’t use teaching tools in a foreign language. Scaler would need to be translated but also adapted according to each country’s accepted names for notes/timings etc…

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Hi all, my first post so please be gentle :joy:
1, when my dad retired he got himself a portable keyboard, a Yamaha PSR something and then went on to various other more involved keyboards. This got me on the road to trying to create some sort of tonal listening. As much as I thought that I was playing along ok, unfortunately my timing was all over the place and I’ve never really mastered it.l did take piano lessons and managed Grade 1 and that was as far as I got with formal training. I do wish I had stuck with it.

2 I still try to use to use a keyboard for input but I still have problems with timing so a lot of editing in Daw required :rofl:

3 Scaler would be great for education, I couldn’t grasp music notation when I was younger, trying to sight read and play the right notes at the same time is a multitasking thing, me as a male struggles with that​:rofl::rofl:

Finally this is a great group and I’m learning a lot more now at the age of 66 than I ever did when I was younger.


great!!Thank you for sharing your story

@bernd makes a good point about other performance devices than the ‘conventional’ ones, and it was remiss of me. The increasing sophistication of combination of other controllers plus software and the emergence of MPE is changing what ‘performance’ means.
If you have never watched her, check out these two

which feature various controllers, but including Push and the Roli. I guess many with a more classical idea of music might poo poo controllers as not requiring any skill, but Neon Vines blows this idea up.

@Ed1 highlighted some of the issues in winning more penetration in schools. On the staff notation point I agree, but software always faces a challenge as whether to do everything in a mediocre way or do some things very well and interface with other things that do their bit very well **. Scaler already has the interfacing / integration piece , e.g. you can drag and drop into Sibelius for notation, which just about every UK school will use, for example. Planned development lists for software products always exceed the amount of time/money to do them by a factor of 10.

I’ll sure you might get volunteers to do the translation for Scaler, but that would be helped if have applied a ‘no text’ rule in the code and put all external dialogues in message catalogues.
Ed also make a really good point on guitar learning. I have 9, yes nine, DVD’s on theory and application of ‘modes’ (A whole DVD on the Locrian mode :face_with_head_bandage: ) It just seems to me that they make it too hard work and approach the assimilation of what is needed to be known in the wrong way; I devised my own ideas for visualising the neck and getting on top of scales - but that’s another story.

PS: ** I took this route with my own software development and stuck rigidly to a ‘vertical’ application approach, instead seeking to forge alliances with other vertical vendors in adjacent functions, to try and avoid the “mile wide and an inch deep” trap of not doing anything well.


BTW @Ed1 , I hadn’t realised but the entry level of Sibelius is free Music Notation Software - Sibelius - Avid

This girl is wonderful. I want to, but it’s hard… Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

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Great, another humorist!
You are welcome @swingmix in the Band Of Humorists, the new Scaler collaborative project created here and further developed here a few days ago

I forgot to mention that all family members of my mother was able to play instruments, and in those times all pupils where taught music, solfeggio included, in the middleschool

great-grandfather: clarinet in the railwayman’s band
My mother and her 4 brothers and sisters: accordion
My uncle: started playing the vibraphone in the Fred Buscaglione’s orchestra and other jazz bands, then gone to player-piano, electric pianos, and other kinds of keyboards, playing on cruise liners and elsewhere

I also had a band, playing just for friends, and I attended a blues guitar course in the eighties, but unfortunately I was always unwilling to exercise scales all day long ( :crazy_face:) that is essential to learn to play blues solos, so I gave up quickly

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Looking at my electric guitar, I feel the monkey on my back whispering

It’s better I go back to work

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What a happy family. Music, love, fun, perfect. Thank you for sharing! It’s wonderful

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Yes, I can say the meetings with my mother’s family (my father’s family was boring, disturbing, ugly :crazy_face:) were always a lot of food & fun, notably when my uncle was just came back from an adventure in some part of the world bringing exotic gifts for everybody

I remember for example a full-scale fluffy Koala from Australia, Red Indian moccasin from the USA, a wreath from Fiji Islands, etc.

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The face of satisfaction of my children when I returned from playing a few months in Germany forced me to go to the shopping centers to buy toys and children’s clothes (even diapers, which in Spain then could only be bought in pharmacies).
I started studying music in my town, at the band school. The music band from my town was in Paris, invited to the great universal exhibition, shortly before the beginning of the 20th century. There they bought 2 Buffet Champron bassoons. And, in 1970 I started to play one of those instruments
I have noticed all the bad pedagogy that musical teaching has had (I suffered it in my own flesh). However, I will always be grateful that I had the opportunity to be there. I always try to teach my students in a different way, in the way my dearest teachers taught me: my uncle Pepe was the principal clarinet of the Madrid Municipal Band for more than 30 years, and Igor Markevich’s woodwind advisor. at the founding of RTVE, but he never boasted of anything. When he came to town on vacation, he would look for me … he would tell me that he really wanted to play with me (right now I’m crying to remember it). I played with him and learned. After playing with him (after receiving the most wonderful master class), my grandmother’s cousin called his wife: María !, is the chocolate and the churros ready? Juanito and I are hungry after playing so well! "
Apart from finishing my bassoon studies, and being a professor of music since 1981 (who will catch the 21 years I was then), I will tell you that when I was 15 years old I played the Mozart concerto for bassoon and orchestra as a soloist with the Chamber Orchestra of the Mozarteum, in Salzburg. Today after my surgery for cancer of the mouth and lymph nodes, I am just a poor imitation of myself. It is old age, too. Now I am working to compose. My life was always with music, and so it must continue
I always give the best of myself to the students (as my uncle Pepe did with me), but I will tell you that there are many times when I think that many of them are not interested. Nowadays, the study of the harmony, the counterpoint, the composition, the analysis of the works to direct them is much easier with the resources, Scaler included, of course. I am very happy to use it. Also to be in this forum in which people say what we would like the program to have more. It’s fine for me like this. Being able to experience chord changes in a progression, build the progression, hear the effect that it produces immediately is something very great for someone who studied piano on the train, on the way to the Conservatory, with a cardboard on which I had drawn the keys, because not there was money at home to buy a piano. More or less, like writing music in Sibelius or Musecore when I always remember that I started with a pen and inkwell.
Everything will get better, but we always have to do something of our own. Don’t expect the show to do it for us. That would be a mistake.
Thanks for always being here


Thinking to my uncle’s clarinet I googled the technique and found I always put the reed on top instead of below :woozy_face:

Maybe this is why I’ve never be able to use it
I must try again with the reed correctly positioned

@jjfagot you’ll have flunked me for that

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What a wonderful experience that must have been, and in such a memorable venue.

Your background shows what a divers set of this sample of Scaler users are; music is a common language whose effect largely ignores country boundaries, or at least in the Western paradigm based on harmony.

I found Salzburg interesting, but very crowded on all 3 times I was there. On one trip I visited the “Hanger 7” Red Bull museum, which was quite empty, which I found surprising - I thought there would be more motorsport fans there.

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