Practice Tips

MusicGoals grew from the need to supplement music lessons with productive time spent with computer-aided instruction. The approach is based on three simple premises:


1) Put the minimum number of choices in front of the student at one time


2) Give extra time to areas of weakness


3) Employ multiple learning strategies.


The results are very predictable when coupled with necessary effort and desire to learn. MusicGoals is expansive and versatile. It includes material for both beginner and pro. It works for both groups because of its ability to tailor the amount and complexity of material included in the drills.


Here are some tips to get the most benefit from MusicGoals:


1)  Experiment with an objective see MusicGoals Terms before beginning a drill. This will help establish what is covered in the drill. For example, with Solfeggio a system of naming scale degrees with singable syllables, do re mi fa so la ti do by Ear, listen to the notes first to get your point of reference. Always click on the staff or instrument and see what happens before you begin a new activity or a new level. Be sure to know what is and what is not included in the drill. While the ”;Drill Help” button provides some of this information, playing notes or pressing interval 1) the distance between two pitches 2) two notes combine to form an interval or chord a group of three or more tones forming a harmony buttons when available will help establish the sound and lead to a better understanding of the material. This preliminary experimentation may also reveal an area of weakness in the understanding of the material. Use the "Hint” button to see notes included or for other musical examples.


2)  Use the Hint / Reveal button during the drill if you do not know the answer. You may start an activity even if you are not sure you understand the material. The Hint / Reveal button may help you understand. If you still do not understand, try to form a question about the material. You may be able to find the answer to this question by experimenting.


3)   If a level is too difficult, you may switch to practice or custom mode. This will help to review or focus on a troublesome element. You may also skip to another activity. Use Main Menu - Next Goal (F6) to move to the next objective in the cycle of current goals. In Goal mode, pressing Continue at the end of each drill will automatically cycle through the current goals. You will eventually cycle through all required objectives and return to the objective that was skipped.


4)  Adjust the tempo the rate or speed of the musical pulse slider to find a comfortable tempo. This will make the program more fun and more rewarding. If the material is too easy, move the tempo slider up. You will soon learn to not go so fast that you make too many mistakes. Remember - three mistakes and you are out. You will have to repeat the drill.


5)  For ear training developing skill to identify elements of music by ear activities, sing the examples. You may also adjust Options - Auto Replay to hear drills several times before answering. You may press Replay as many times as needed. This will give your ear time to learn the sounds. Long melodies are sometimes much easier at very slow tempos, but not always.


6)  Make adjustments when a goal level contains material that is just too difficult. The Scores page lists the mistakes made as well as the percentage and average time. If a mistake keeps coming up, set up a custom drill to focus on it. Use Main Menu - Pick Objective and select the objective in question. Then set up a Custom drill containing the area of weakness by changing the appropriate "Practice Settings.” In this manner it is possible to focus on any subset of the included material. You may also use Practice Settings - Set Practice Level to start at any drill level for extra practice. see also: Custom Drills


7)   If you come to a level that you cannot pass, use Main Menu - Next Goal and work on other goals. The program will eventually cycle back to this goal again. If this is the last objective of your Current Goals, use Main Menu - Pick Routine - Set Goals from List. If you are not sure which goals to work on, look at your Progress Report or Progress Chart. Setting your own Goals will allow you to work at your own pace, and thus, arrange the material to meet your own needs.


8)  Experiment with the different ways of giving an answer to find the most comfortable. Often there are several ways to give an answer, for example: the mouse, the computer keyboard, or your midi Musical Instrument Device Interface - A system that allows electronic musical devices to communicate. Numbers describing pitch, volume, on or off, etc. can be sent between devices. instrument.  The mouse may be the slowest way to respond. You can resize the MusicGoals Window to a smaller size to shorten the distance the mouse has to move. Do you know that clicking anywhere in a radio button box, not just on the dot, will make the selection? The computer keyboard spacebar can be used to start and stop a drill or to close a dialog box. This can speed things up. The computer keyboard shortcuts are shown on the screen with an underlined letter, for example, "m” or "Maj”. Press "m” or "j” on the keyboard to select the quality minor or Major. Use: Help - Keyboard Shortcut Chart. see also: Keyboard Shortcuts


9)  Use an external midi input device such as an electronic keyboard or a midi guitar. Many of the activity levels are based on hand positions on the instrument. Keep your eyes on the computer screen while playing your instrument. Go slow and feel all the keys. This will develop instrument memory and solid sight-reading skills.


10) Learn scale positions with solfeggio or scale degree names. They are useful for understand composition and for transposing. Note and dot colors before the drill begins reveal note scale positions and solfeggio syllables.  


11) Keep a folder of printouts to show continuing progress. Review your scores on the Scores page. This will give a good indication of progress made and areas of weakness. The progress page gives a complete listing of your accomplishments and can be printed. Keeping a file of scores and progress and watching it grow can be a real incentive to reach your goals. Refer to these printouts from time to time to refocus your goals.


12) Use or  We are dedicated to your success. Let us know of your comments, questions, and any problems.


13) Review - Review - Review. Sometimes you may pass a drill level and still need more practice. You can use practice or custom drills to go over the same material again. Extra practice leads to greater proficiency. Use Practice Settings &endash; Set Practice Level and choose a drill level lower than your current goal. In Practice mode you will repeat the same sequence of drills. If you want to repeat the same level and not advance, check Set Custom Drill Settings to this Level from within the Set Practice Level dialog box. Then use Custom mode (blue) to repeat the drill as many times as you wish without advancing. see also: Set Practice Level