400 - Play It Like You Sing It (Dojo Conversations Episode 70)

Learning tunes can be hard, especially if you struggle with sight-reading. But there's a step that makes it much easier – and helps speed up a bunch of other skills too, including your ability to play the right rhythm and melody.

This week, we're discussing the concept of 'playing it like you sing it'. While some people can feel a bit silly or uncomfortable singing a tune out loud, there's a profound connection between singing and playing an instrument. And when you combine multiple senses and physical movements – like foot tapping, head nodding, and visually following the music – it can actually help you memorize and internalize the music much faster and more powerfully.

Got a question for a future episode? Leave a comment or email us at [email protected].

Here's what we cover this week:

00:00 Unlocking the Secret Sauce of Musical Expression
00:26 The Power of Singing in Music Memorization
05:51 Exploring the Mind-Music Connection
09:53 The Evolution of Musical Ideas
18:30 Singing vs. Playing: The Internal Melody
20:21 Exploring the Origins and Meaning of 'Chanter'
21:14 The Art of Singing and Playing: A Creative Convergence
21:51 Practical Musings on Musical Practice and Improvement
23:58 The Mental Model of Music: From Mind to Reality
27:26 Sharing Music: The Power and Limitations of Performance
28:46 AI and the Future of Music: A Philosophical Dive
34:47 The Evolution of Musical Ideas and Traditions
38:12 Balancing Creativity and Rules in Music Education


Dojo University is the longest-running and most successful online bagpiping and drumming school in the world. We teach thousands of students around the world how to play good music – mastering the art of learning and playing the bagpipes and drums in the process – in a highly accessible way that is completely unlike anything else you'll find online or in person, anywhere in the world. We created Dojo U because we noticed that too many pipers and drummers were struggling out there in the world. Bagpiping should be a joyful experience, each and every day you pick up your instrument. If it's not, we strive to fix that before it's too late. And whether you're a complete beginner, a parade or experienced player, a pipe major or drum sergeant, or a pro-level competitor... you can free yourself from musical frustration at Dojo U. At Dojo U, we do things a little differently to how you may have approached learning to play the bagpipes before. One of the key reasons for our ongoing success is that we're always evolving, improving, and growing. We'd love to welcome you back and show you around!

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