Update from Leon

Free Webinar: 5 Keys to Music Skill Development

Hi One Minute Music Lesson Fans, I will be hosting another episode of OMML-Live! on Sunday.

This episode will be a free webinar on the 5 Keys to Music Skill Development this Sunday, February 9th @ 5pm EST / 4pm CST / 3pm MST / 2pm PST.

This webinar will be geared toward piano players and we will discuss a software that I have been using to teach piano students called Piano Marvel.

During the webinar I will be answering your music questions live and also I will be offering a special limited-time offer.

You won't want to miss this edition of OMML-live! so be sure to join me for the webinar on this Sunday.

Hope to see you there,

Leon Harrell

Goal Setting vs. New Year's Resolution

Never Too Old**** Special New Year's Discount Coupon at the end of this post ****

Hello One Minute Music Lesson community,

A new year often triggers a shift in our mind to re-evaluate our life and the current path that we are on. Often this is done in the form of making new year's resolutions.

I make a new year's resolution most years, but often fail at them because I don't assign goals that are specific enough to achieve the resolution. This year I want to change that.

I want to get more specific about the goals I set for the One Minute Music Lesson and other areas of my life.

Before I dive into the goals for this website I want to share something personal with you. Lately I have experienced some changes in my health. Recently I found out, after having a lot of pain, that I have a problem with a disc in my back. Currently I am feeling a lot better but it has been a real struggle for the last month.

My new diagnosis has made me realize that I must do something to help with my recovery. One of those things is to lose a few pounds. If you have ever struggled with weight loss you know how hard that can be, especially when you cannot exercise the way you need to.

I am going to achieve my weight loss goal by tracking my daily calorie intake with a fitness tool called MyFitnessPal.

MyFitnessPal is a very successful fitness website that offers a free app to help people gain control of there fitness by using several key elements from the psychology of goal setting.

By combining the ability to track personal goals and progress daily, as well as provide support from a large community of like minded people in similar situations, MyFitnessPal helps people to set and achieve laser-like specific goals.

My goal for the One Minute Music Lesson this year is to provide a very similar proposition as MyFitnessPal but for musicians. I plan to begin teaching some courses via online webinars to connect with you personally and provide you with more concrete goals and the best tools to achieve them through measurable assignments.

5 Psychological Triggers for Goal Setting

Before I tell you about the first upcoming webinar let's dive a little deeper into some of the ways to use psychological triggers to set better goals and reach them more successfully.

To achieve a goal you will need 5 key ingredients to set your self up for success: Inspiration, Daily Tracking, Progress Reporting, Emotional Support and Community Engagement.

1. Inspiration is necessary for the initial spark that makes you want to set a goal. My back injury was the inspiration that lead me to take action to lose weight.

2. By using the MyFitnessPal app on my phone I am able to easily track my calories and exercise daily. This daily tracking helps me to be more accountable to myself and to break the larger goal into small manageable pieces. Also by using the daily tracking method I can easily project into the future what my weight will be based on the data I currently.

3. Progress reports can provide a similar effect as daily tracking. By checking my weight once a week I can gauge how effectively I am reaching my goal. This steady progress feels good both physically and mentally. In the MyFitnessPal app you are given a progress bar that moves every time you check-in with your current weight.

4. Emotional support is one of the most important ingredients for success because without it you can easily revert back to old habits that keep you from reaching your goal. I am blessed to have a wonderful wife who supports me in my life and health goals and that has empowered me to do things that I never thought were possible.

5. Community engagement is similar to emotional support, but has the unique difference of placing your into context with your peers. By being an active participate in a community of like-minded people you can compare your own success to others and learn how others got over the hurdles that your currently face. The MyFitnessPal community is one of the best online and really is the "magic" that has helped thousands of people lose weight and regain their health with this tool.

Using These Psychological Triggers to Become a Better Musician

In my next free webinar I am going to be using all 5 of these triggers to help you get better at reading music. I will be announcing this webinar through my email newsletter, so if you haven't already signed up, click here to subscribe to the free newsletter.

During this webinar I will be introducing a new interactive software tool that I will be using throughout this year that is designed especially to improve sight reading skills for pianists but can also be used by guitarists, bassists and drummers.

Take A Daily Action Right Now

I am a strong believer in the power of the motivational sign. I have written about it before in this post. So, before the first webinar I want you to download this motivational quote from C.S. Lewis as a PDF file and print it out. Hang it somewhere you will see it everyday. Click here to download the file.

Your New Year's Discount Code

Also if one of your goals this year is to learn to read music better and you have been on the fence about getting my book "How to Read Music Easily in 30 Days" I am having a 3 day sale for 25% off the current price.

To receive the discount use the coupon code 2014GOALS at checkout. You can learn more about the book here.

That's it for this post and stay tuned for more info on the upcoming webinar. Thanks for following the One Minute Music Lesson,

Until Next Time ... Practice Smart, Not Hard.


  Leon Harrell (about)

OneMinuteMusicLesson.com is dedicated to teaching the fundamentals of music to beginning musicians who want to grow their talents as quickly as possible with effective lessons and time management tips for practicing.

Leon's goal is to teach you musicianship skills by using highly targeted concept lessons that build progressively to teach you music theory, ear training and composition.

Wanna Hangout? Introducing OMML Live on Google Hangouts and YouTube Live

Hi One Minute Music Lesson fans,Over the past few months I have been searching for a way to offer the OMML community live video webinars to teach the fundamentals of music theory and ear training for free.

Let's hangout to talk about music!

Recently Google Plus has added the ability to broadcast live video via Google Hangouts and YouTube Live. This new ability will make it possible for me to be able to answer all your questions about music theory and ear training live.

This means there is no more waiting for a response in the comments or email. Also you will get a more detailed answer to your questions with live video and audio.

I'm eager to answer all your questions

I am so excited to be able to interact with all of you and I don't want to waste any more time before I begin my live shows. This may mean we run into a few technical bumps along the way, but I think it will be well worth any of the possible growing pains in this new technology.

I am fairly new to hosting live webinars but am ready to give it a try with my first live broadcast on this Sunday, March 17th at 4pm Central Standard Time.

To get an invitation to join the webinar be sure you have signed up for my free newsletter to get the invitation that will be sent on Sunday.

Currently I am calling these live webinars OMML Live. For the first live show I will be teaching all about my simple tool called the Pitch Wheel. Also I will be teaching you how to memorize scales, chords and intervals with this unique free tool that I have created.

During the show I will also be answering your questions live and offering tips, tricks and advice for building your musical talents.

Join me on Sunday, March 17th @ 4pm Central Standard Time

I know you must be asking "How do I signup?"

To participate in the free webinar you can use Google Hangouts in your free Google Plus account or watch the show directly on YouTube and interact via the comments section.

I will send out the exact link to the webinar to subscribers of my free newsletter later this week with full details of how to participate in the webinar.

Don't come empty handed

I am looking forward to talking with you all this weekend and I encourage you to come prepared with questions. Feel free to ask anything about music and especially music theory and ear training.

Can't wait till Sunday?

If you can't wait till Sunday to get in touch with me then let me know your questions or thoughts in the comments section below. You can also send me questions directly to my email at oneminutemusiclesson@gmail.com anytime.

I hope this new extension of the One Minute Music Lesson will bring you closer to achieving your musical goals and I am anxious to get started with the new live shows soon.

Thanks for following the One Minute Music Lesson,

Until Next Time ... Practice Smart, Not Hard.


  Leon Harrell (about)

OneMinuteMusicLesson.com is dedicated to teaching the fundamentals of music to beginning musicians who want to grow their talents as quickly as possible with effective lessons and time management tips for practicing.

Leon Harrell's goal is to teach you musicianship by using highly targeted concept lessons that build progressively to teach you music theory, ear training and composition.

My New Year's Resolutions for the One Minute Music Lesson

Happy New Year
Happy New Year

Hi One Minute Music Lesson Fans, Happy New Year! I just wanted to wish you a Happy New Year and I want to tell you about my new year's resolution for 2013. Before I reveal my resolution and how it will help you, I want to give you a little background on how my resolution came to be.

It all started when ...

I began answering questions and chatting with you and other fans of the One Minute Music Lesson over the past few months. I have been thinking of ways to increase our community, such as our forum, so that you can grow as a musician by using one of the key elements of musical growth  . . .  interacting with other musicians.

My 3 New Year's Resolutions

My resolution is to get to know YOU better and help you know EACH OTHER better. As this website has grown I have met many of you and interacted via emailFacebookTwitter and Youtube.

Through these various social networks I am meeting so many of you, and I see a common desire amongst you for more information to help you improve your musicianship skills.

The community of the One Minute Music Lesson is steadily growing and I want to introduce you to want I have been working on recently to further build this community.

This new project is being designed to give you more access to music education materials. This project will help connect you to each other and help further your development through interaction.

Over the past year I have been building content for my music theory and ear training academy and I have finally found the perfect platform to deliver this course content to you via the Udemy.com teaching platform.

This upcoming year I will be building and re-imagining my music theory and ear training academy, and I want to get as much feedback from you as possible over the next few months.

To do this I am re-posting all my One Minute Music Lessons in a free course on Udemy.com, entitled "How To Read Music for Busy People". This course is being used as a test classroom for you to test out how you like the academy platform.

Check Out The Course Now


Here's How The Course Works

Since this course is being built live (see it here now) you can chime at any point to give me feedback on it's design or ask questions.

Currently there are 26 lessons and each lesson has a video and will have an exercise or a worksheet. I am currently creating the exercises and worksheets and uploading them every other day or so.

So if you haven't already, go to the course page and sign up for the free class at:


After you've checked it out let me know what you think of the Udemy class setup. Let me know what you think about the look and feel of the classroom and how you like the interface of the course in the comments below or directly in the Udemy classroom.

That's it for today,

And as always, thanks following the One Minute Music Lesson. I hope you have a great year in 2013 and I hope to see you inside the free Udemy classroom.

Until Next Time ... Practice Smart, Not Hard.


  Leon Harrell (about)

OneMinuteMusicLesson.com is dedicated to teaching the fundamentals of music to beginning musicians who want to grow their talents as quickly as possible with effective lessons and time management tips for practicing.

Leon Harrell's goal is to teach you musicianship by using highly-targeted concept lessons that build progressively to teach you music theory, ear training and and composition.

Please make sure to follow us on Instagram, we have been getting tons of Instant instagram followers lately.

Why I Quit Piano Lessons

Hi One Minute Music Lesson Fans, As a child I began taking piano lessons at the young age of five. I loved playing music even then and I was always fascinated to learn more at each lesson.

I was encouraged by my parents and piano teacher and I truly enjoyed playing the piano. I would practice most days of the week, but I would often get side tracked by just playing to hear the sound of the piano. I really loved just hearing the timbre and liked the challenge of trying to play melodies by ear. Even as a young child I could slowly pick out the notes of a song through trial and error.

As time went on I progressed and began playing more complicated pieces and I began to realize the difficulty of being good at playing the piano. Reading music was not easy and memorizing pieces was really hard even though my teacher always encouraged me to memorize pieces for our recitals.

At the age of fourteen I stopped going to lessons. I began to feel like I was failing at learning to play better. I also felt guilty that my parents, who were not rich by any means, were wasting money on lessons for me because I was not practicing my music.

But I was still playing my piano almost every day just noodling around and making my own kind of music. I had even began to write down some of the melodies I was creating in a rudimentary fashion.

Then years later I was the piano accompanist for my high school choir. It was an experience that ultimately lead me to wanting to be a composer and go to college for music. I tried to begin piano lessons again so I could prepare for college auditions.

This second go round with lessons was very eye-opening and also emotional. I realized then, at 18 years old, that I had lost so much of my ability to read music since I had not kept up the skill. I also realized that I could have been so much better if I had kept going to lessons during those pivotal years in my musical development.

This really made me sad because I understood that I had lost some of my potential as a pianist.

A year later I was in college as a music student because I had been accepted into music school even though my auditions where in my opinion awful. I had forgotten 2 pieces halfway through playing them that I was to play by memory during the audition and I just did not have the confidence to perform that had when I was younger.

But I did get accepted and I was assigned a new piano teacher. This piano teacher was fantastic at motivating me to play. He was by far the best pianist I had ever see play live and I was so eager to learn from him. He taught me so much about my technique of playing and I grew as a pianist faster than I thought was possible. In fours years of college I has become better than I though was possible. But something still persisted that made me really still feel inadequate in my playing ability.

I was still awful at reading music. I still did not like to practice. I still felt nervous when I played in front of people and I still could not memorize music in a way that I felt sure that I would remember it in concert.

A few years later I had a piano teacher during my master's degree that I thought was a very nice person but was a horrible fit for me as a piano teacher. She was hyper-focused on my technique and the exact finger placement at all times. So much so that when I played for her in lessons we could not get through even 4 measures of music before she would stop me and correct something about my hands.

This teacher left me feeling a distaste for playing piano from sheet music ever again. Sure, I still loved classical piano and other genres that would require me to read and play from sheet music, but I had decided that it just was not possible for me to progress because there was just something I did not get and unfortunately I would never get it.

Then something happened that changed my life as a musician forever.

I was hired to teach music theory to undergraduates. I had never taught music theory before because this was my first teaching gig. I had understood theory in the context of a classroom setting as a student but I never had to understand it well enough to teach it to another person, let alone a class of 30.

But after a year of teaching I began to realize the potential for music theory with my piano playing. I began to see the structures from music theory in the music I was learning to play and using these skills to read music in a way I had never done before.

At the time I also worked as an organist and pianist for a church. I was now able to use the skills that I was teaching to my students to learn the music for the church services in under an hour. I was learning to read music in a way that I didn't know was possible.

The key difference was understanding the fundamental of music theory in a way that applied to the music I was playing directly.

I began analyzing the music I had to play each week for church before I sat down to play. Then I was able to play the music at-sight nearly and with a little bit of extra practice I was playing the music perfectly.

At that point I decided that I would never take another piano lesson again because I had learned music theory well enough to solve the problems that I had experienced in piano lessons since childhood.

Did you ever stop taking lessons? Let me know your experience in the comments below.

I will tell you the rest of the story about my time as a piano student on another day. For now just know that if you have struggled with music lessons because you could not read music well or just could not grow as a musician there is an answer to your problem.

Unfortunately most teachers are unable to teach you how to use music theory in your playing because they don't understand it all that well either. If you want to learn how you can take your playing to the next level, no matter where you are starting from, then you owe it to yourself to learn more about my new music theory and ear training academy opening on August 5th. Read more about it here.

That's it for today. I hope to hear about your musical journey in the comments.

Until next time: Practice Smart, Not Hard.

Leon Harrell

The Results Are In!

Hi One Minute Music Lesson Fans, Last week I sent a survey to my newsletter subscribers to get some input on what they wanted in the upcoming music theory and ear training academy I am building. You can read more about this academy here.

Here are the results of the questionnaire:

1. When asked "What order of importance to you are the following skills?" people answered with this order of importance:

  • Learn music theory (chords, scales, harmony etc.)
  • How to play music by ear
  • How to read and play chord charts
  • How to compose music and write songs
  • How to improvise on my instrument

2. When asked "Do you know how to read music already?" people replied:

  • Yes, but I need to improve my reading skills. (39%)
  • Sort of, just barely. (34%)
  • No, but I want to learn (14.6%)
  • Yes, very well. (12.4%)
  • No, I am not interested in learning to read music (0%)

3.  When asked "What style of lessons do you prefer? Check all that apply." people replied:

  • Self paced short modules (10 minute video, worksheet, interactive quiz) (62%)
  • Short Video (Less than 10 minutes long) (62%)
  • Textbook with exercises and worksheets (52.5%)
  • Audio with follow-along worksheets (52.5%)
  • Long Video (15 to 30 minutes long) (37.5%)
  • Live group lessons (requires you be present at certain time) (15%)

4. When asked "The first members of the academy will receive 12 live question and answer sessions as a group. What time frame should this be delivered in?" people replied:

  • 12 weeks, 1 live question and answer session every week. (48.8%)
  • 12 days, 1 live question and answer session every day. (36.6%)
  • 24 weeks, 1 live question and answer session bi-monthly. (9.8%)
  • 12 months, 1 live question and answer session every month. (4.9%)
5. When asked "The membership academy will include some of the following elements. Order them in importance to you." people replied with this order of importance:
  • A video library of lessons for each concept
  • A bank of worksheets and exercises to download
  • A printable document library of lessons for each concept
  • A forum for members to interact and ask each other questions and answers
  • Interactive quizzes to ensure you are learning the material
  • A page of all the previous questions and answer calls with Leon Harrell
  • Priority access to help from Leon Harrell

Does this sound right to you? Let me know in the comments below if the results from this survey sound about right of if this is not what you want from the academy?

I will be sending a second survey to further shape the academy's materials. I will send this survey to my newsletter members. If you want to receive an invitation to this survey signup for my free newsletter here.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts,

Leon Harrell

THE COUNTDOWN HAS BEGUN! 38 days until my members-only music academy opens!

Hi fans of the One Minute Music Lesson, I am extremely excited to tell you that I have something HUGE in the works.

Since I began the One Minute Music Lesson over one year ago I have been dreaming of opening an online music academy that is designed to be self-paced and focused on teaching the fundamentals of music theory and ear training in a simple and understandable way.

Well that dream is about to come true. Beginning on Aug 5th I will be opening the doors to the beta version of my members only music academy. This beta version of the academy will be available to a very limited number of students so I can design the most effective training material for the release of the full academy later this year.

This beta academy group will consist of 30 students who will be guided personally by me in a 12 week course designed to teach the fundamentals of music theory and ear training.

The course will include:

  • How to play music by ear with proven aural skills techniques.
  • Learning the fundamentals of music theory including chords, scales, modes and functional harmony.
  • How to read and play chord charts with ease.
  • How to put these skills into action by composing music and writing songs.
  • Techniques of improvisation that will make you sound like a pro.
  • And much, much more ...

You do not need to know how to read music to understand and benefit from this academy. In fact we will learn and discuss many music reading techniques throughout the 12 weeks.

Also, each self-paced module will include:

  • 10-minute video lessons.
  • Worksheets and exercises designed for each lesson.
  • Interactive quizzes to test your understanding of the materials.
  • A step-by-step checklist to ensure you are getting every detail in order.
  • A proven method of building upon each lesson to ensure mastery of the information.

Finally, and this is the best part, as a member of the beta academy group you will receive 12 weekly live video and audio group lessons.

In each of the 12 live sessions we will discuss:

  • Review the materials from the self-paced lessons for the current week.
  • An open question and answer session to ensure every student understands and masters the concepts of the lessons.
  • An opportunity to request any information you feel should be included in the modules.
  • Direct access to Leon via Skype during pre-planned "office hours" as well as an opportunity to schedule short meetings to clear up any questions during the week.

In order for me to make the academy as good and as powerful of a teaching tool as I possibly can, I will need your help. Please take a few minutes and answer a few simple questions in this survey:

Click here to take the short 6 question survey

After I collect your questions and comments I will release a preliminary course outline and syllabus on July 8th.

I can't wait to hear your feedback on this. If you have been struggling to comprehend and navigate the jungle of information on music theory and ear training let me know your most burning and difficult questions in the survey or the comments below.

Thanks for following the One Minute Music Lesson,

Leon Harrell

Free Preview of "How to Read Music Easily in 30 Days"


Hi Fans of the One Minute Music Lesson,

My new e-book How to Read Music Easily in 30 Days has been released and I wanted to share a preview of it with you.

In this 43 page preview you will begin the process of learning to read music beginning with the first 10 days of this 30 day course.

You can download the free preview as a PDF here or read it below in the scrolling document window.

Thanks for following the One Minute Music Lesson,

Leon Harrell

[scribd id=95313982 key=key-1dlbi4bimkput1b8l1yy mode=list]

My New Book is Coming on May 28th!

Hi One Minute Music Lesson Fans,

It's done!!! Well almost, anyway.

I am in the final editing stage for my book How to Read Music Easily in 30 Days which will be released on Monday, May 28th.

I am so excited to have completed this project over the past 60 days and want to thank everyone that contributed to the surveys I have sent out over these 2 months.

Here's a sneak peek at the Table of Contents:

  • Introduction
  • How to Use this Book
  • Part 1 – Introduction to Pitch and Rhythm
    • Day 1 – Rhythm
    • Day 2 – Pitch and the 1-line Staff
    • Day 3 – The 2-Line Staff
    • Day 4 – The 3-Line Staff
    • Day 5 – The 4-Line Staff
    • Day 6 – The 5-Line Staff
    • Day 7 – 1 Ledger Line Above
    • Day 8 – 1 Ledger Line Below
    • Day 9 – Simple Meter in the Eastman Counting System
    • Day 10 – The Grand Staff
  • Part 2 – Advanced Pitch and Rhythm Reading
    • Day 11 – Compound Meter in the Eastman Counting System
    • Day 12 – Rhythmic and Notational Proportion
    • Day 13 – A Closer Look at Compound Meters
    • Day 14 – Sub-division of the Beat Unit
    • Day 15 – Common Rhythmic Sub-division Patterns
    • Day 16 – Differences between Simple and Compound Meters
    • Day 17 – Articulations
    • Day 18 – Syncopation
  • Part 3 – Seeing the Hidden Musical Structure
    • Day 19 – The Art of Chunking
    • Day 20 – Understanding Chords
    • Day 21 – Keys and Key Signatures
    • Day 22 – Accompaniment Reading in Homophonic Textures
    • Day 23 – Scales
    • Day 24 – Accompaniment Reading in Polyphonic Textures
    • Day 25 – Tempo & Dynamics
    • Day 26 – Musical Form & Structure
    • Day 27 – Musical Symbols
    • Day 28 – More Musical Symbols
    • Day 29 – Understanding Triplets
    • Day 30 – Understanding Duplets

Stay tuned for Monday for the launch of the book and a chance to enter to win a free copy. Also new episodes of the podcast in iTunes and Youtube videos will begin next week.

Enjoy your weekend,

Leon Harrell