Theta Music Trainer
Theta Music Trainer is a website that uses computer games to teach basic musicianship. The Metropolitan Cantor Institute makes these games available for free to its students, and uses them as part of MCI classes. These games help you learn basic musical skills at your own pace.
You can use the Theta Music Trainer on
- a computer with an internet connection and a set of speakers (for games that involve singing,you will need a computer headset with microphone)
- a smart phone or tablet (download the Theta Music Trainer app for Apple or Android)
The Metropolitan Cantor Institute has a site license for Theta Music Trainer that covers all cantors in the Byzantine Catholic Church, as well as all students cantors in the MCI program. To obtain a user ID and password, send your name, parish, and email address to email@example.com. Then use them to log on to the Theta Music Trainer website and get started!
Learning Games for Cantors
We particularly recommend the following games for cantors. Play a few levels of each, or do the ones assigned as part of a particular MCI class.
The ability to hear small differences in pitch is an essential tool for singers. In the Pitch Compare game, you will have to decide which of two pitches is higher. For more of a challenge, play Speed Pitch, in which you hear a series of pitches and decide whether each one is higher of lower than the last.
In Dango Brothers, one pitch will be played, and you will adjust a second pitch to match. For cantors, this will help you match a priest's or deacon's pitch, or "tune" your singing to someone else's when you are not leading.
Use the Vocal Match game to test and improve your ability to sing back the pitch the exact same pitch you hear, in your own vocal range. This game requires a computer headset and microphone.
Paddle Tones teaches you to identify the degrees of the scale (do, re, mi, and so on), starting with just a few of the solfege syllables and adding more as the game continues. Solfege is an important part of the singing technique taught by the MCI, and this game will help you quickly learn to "hear" scale degrees. For more of a challenge, try Tone Drops.
In Melodic Drops, will you learn to identify intervals between pitches (seconds, thirds, and so on). If you are not sure what "a major third" or "a perfect fourth" are, play this game and find out! When you have mastered this game, try Flash Intervals.
The Vocal Degrees (Major) game teaches you to sing a particular degree of the major scale, given the key pitch (do). Like Vocal Match, it requires a headset and microphone.
Tonic Finder gives you practice in finding the key pitch or tonicf a musical except. This is especially important for church readers, since the prokeimenon or alleluia verse is usually sung on the key pitch or the prokeimenon or alleluia melody.
These games teach you to read rhythmic notation (half notes, quarter notes, and so on). In Rhythm Puzzles, you will select the musical notation that matches the rhythm of a short musical excerpt. For more of a challenge, try Flash Rhythms.
In the Rhythm Reader game, you will learn to read musical notation and tap out rhythms with the computer mouse or keyboard. Rhythm Repeat is a harder game in which you use the mouse or keyboard to repeat a rhythm that you hear played.
Finally, Vocal Steps (Repeat) has you put melody and rhythm together by singing back a short melody that you hear. Like the other Vocal games, it requires a computer headset and microphone
The Theta Music Trainer website also has games that teach music notation, harmony, and keyboard skills. Although these are not part of the Metropolitan Cantor Institute program (at leastr not yet!), you can use your Cantor Institute ID to play any of the games on the website. The are also computer-based courses that guide you through a variety of musical subjects.
If you have questions:
Contact Deacon Jeffrey Mierzejewski (firstname.lastname@example.org).