Virtual Accompanist Service

For Choirs and Ensembles

Some choirs find themselves without an accompanist for rehearsals or performances. We can produce recordings for rehearsal and performance purposes, along with the facility for members to practise at home, with everyone learning from the same accompaniment.

For Instrumentalists and Solo Singers

Some instrumentalists like to rehearse their own line with a recorded piano part, with the option to play it at actual or reduced speeds. This is particularly useful to those preparing for exams, auditions, or other performances. 

Music Matters is happy to record and produce high quality piano accompaniments as required, with files delivered either via download or on CD. All performed with a careful degree of musicality and professionally mixed and mastered to suit your venues acoustics.

Prices depend on the size and difficulty of the project. Please get in touch with us to make an enquiry. 

Oh no - not the scales...

"Oh no - not the scales..."

This is quite often the reaction of students who would much rather play pieces than learn scales. While it's an understandable reaction, maybe we don't spend enough time explaining why we need scales and arpeggios in our lives. So why should we bother with them? Here are 4 reasons - and there are plenty more. 

  1. They give us a sense of key for the pieces we want to play. If we can negotiate a scale and an arpeggio in G major it will make pieces in that key much more readily accessible. 
  2. All music is moving by step or it is leaping. Scales are about perfecting steps: arpeggios are about securing leaps. 
  3. Scales and arpeggios encourage us to play with even rhythm and with even tone.
  4. Help improve dexterity and refine playing technique.

So living with scales and arpeggios helps us to deliver both technically and expressively in pieces. At Music Matters we are now rolling out sets of films to assist with the learning of scales and arpeggios. Watch this space...!

Effective Development of Essential Aural Awareness

When entering for music exams most candidates put in a good effort with the preparation of their pieces. After all, playing pieces is the fun part. Pieces are also worth more marks than the supporting tests so investment of time and effort on the pieces is a good tactic. 

When it comes to the Aural Tests, candidates are often less assured and often say things like "I don't like singing", "My teacher doesn't play the piano so we haven't done these", "There isn't enough time in lessons to fit these in", "I'm not sure what I have to do". Yet those Aural Test marks can make the difference between passing or failing, or can make the difference between one category of outcome and another. 

At Music Matters, we have been working on a solution to all this. Videos can be downloaded that teach you all you need to know and give you plenty of practice on various different exercises, suitable for candidates preparing for exams. Have a look at Aural Test Tutorials to see how we can assist you. 

In the meantime here are 7 top practical tips that will boost your vocal confidence and remember, if you still don't want to sing, you can always whistle or hum.

  • Place your feet slightly apart, with one foot slightly in front of the other
  • Stand up straight and try to grow a centimetre in height
  • Lift your rib cage. If you're not sure how to do this put your hands on your head and push your elbows back - your rib cage is now lifted
  • Take a deep breath
  • Try to keep your throat relaxed
  • Hear notes in your head before you pitch them
  • Whatever you sing, sing with confidence

Good luck!

The Fully Rounded Musician

I have recently returned from a presentation tour in Hong Kong, Singapore and China where, as in the UK, thousands of candidates present themselves for music exams each year. 

The best players on both sides of the world achieve a remarkable standard. Sometimes in the UK we hear imaginative playing that is not always supported by disciplined technical preparation; sometimes in the Far East we hear remarkably well disciplined technical work that lacks musical imagination. The best players from all around the world play with both assured technique and with expressive insight. They are also usually the performers who have integrated their musical skills i.e. scales/ arpeggios, sight reading, aural work, grasp of theory, musicianship skills, understanding of style & musical context etc all inform their playing. 

At Music Matters we are working hard to build a solid bank of teaching films that provide all the support needed to equip the fully integrated musician. Take a look at our video tutorials to see the range of courses on offer to assist in that ambition. 

Good luck with all your music making. 

New EU VAT Rules Regarding Our Digital Products

What are the new EU regulations?

On the 1st of January 2015 the European Union implemented a rule change around the EU VAT place of supply of services, affecting the sale of digital goods and services from a business to a consumer.

Where digital services are supplied on a business to consumer basis, the supplier is responsible for accounting for VAT on the supply to the tax authority, at the VAT rate applicable, in the consumer’s EU member state.

What does this mean for us?

Until now European businesses selling to digital goods and services to European consumers have charged VAT based on where their business is located. Now the VAT must be charged based on where the consumer of the service/goods is located.

As a supplier of digital goods we now have to add on VAT to purchases of these products by law. This applies to all of our video and audio tutorial products. The amount of VAT added depends on the country you, the buyer, reside in. 

We have recently migrated all our digital products to a new service and payment provider Gumroad. They are responsible for collecting the VAT on purchases of our digital goods.

Example of added VAT at the checkout

How does this affect you?

If you live in a country that charges VAT on purchases you will now see VAT automatically for your purchase added at the checkout. The amount of VAT added depends on your countries tax rate.

For example a buyer located in the United Kingdom will have VAT added to their order at a rate of 20% (see image).

If you live in a country that does not charge VAT on purchases, for example the United States, you should see no additional charges added to your order.

The total price, including any applicable amount of VAT added, will always be shown at the final stage of the checkout process (see image). We are simply unable to show it earlier due to the fact that we do not know which country you reside in and so what rate of VAT to add until you reach the final checkout stage.

More information can be found on the following links:
European Commission /  EUVATACTION / UK Government