Patton to lead ear training course

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BRATTLEBORO — Are there songs you love and wish you could articulate what is so great about them? Do you harmonize with your voice or instrument and wonder why some harmonies sound great - or weird or wrong? Do you write music and feel as though you always follow the same patterns, and wish you had more options?

A special course on Ear Training for Everyone (or aural skills, as it's called in music schools) will address these questions and more, beginning Thursday, Sept. 12, at 118 Elliot. The courses will be led by Anna Patton, a clarinetist who performs in a full spectrum of styles. She teaches vocal and instrumental ensemble classes and music theory. In 2006, Patton started the Soubrette Jazz Choir at the Vermont Jazz Center which performs her creative arrangements of historical and contemporary American music. In 2015, she completed her Masters of Music in New England Conservatory's Contemporary Improvisation program.

The 10-lesson course draws on her lifelong fascination with learning and creating music by ear, her studies in the New England Conservatory's Contemporary Improvisation program, and her experience playing folk music, world music, jazz and other genres.

The class meets at 118 Eliot Street on Thursday evenings from 5:30 to 7 p.m., Sept. 12 through Nov. 21. It is designed for students of many backgrounds: singers, instrumentalists, curious listeners; people with and without any formal training in music. Participants will learn to identify the harmonic gist of songs by listening, finding bass lines, and making educated guesses about chord progressions. Participants will do exercises to sharpen musical ears through harmonizing and re-harmonizing well-known songs. There will be group compositions, experimenting with harmonic options and stealing ideas we like from the songs we've studied. While vocalizing will be central, these skills are not just for people who consider themselves singers- they are also at the core of improvisation, composition, and general music appreciation.

The course is $150 for all 10 sessions, or $20 per class for walk-ins. (11 weeks between September 12 and November 21, so if no classes are canceled there will be a bonus class.) Advanced registration is not required, but participants are asked to show up a few minutes early to their first class.

Contact Patton for questions about the content or if scholarship assistance is needed: anna@annapatton.com

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