CASE STUDY

Today's Modern Music Teacher


Insight, Expectations & Challenges

Martina piano

Martina Albano

Atlanta, GA

  • Active singer-songwriter & performer
  • Private music instructor
  • Mastering engineer
  • Berklee College of Music Graduate, 2014
  • Piano teacher at Callanwolde Fine Arts Center
  • Creator of this YouTube Video — where she explains how she uses Capo as a way to learn and rehearse songs for live shows.

Finds Capo useful for…

  • Slowing songs so students can find the pitch & rhythm.
  • Quickly learning a song a student brings to class.
  • Identifying the chord progression and melody in songs.
  • Practicing songs faster than their original tempo as a performance preparedness exercise.
  • Transposing songs to best fit the vocal range of a student.
  • Providing students with a resource they can use to teach themselves.
Martina sitting

Martina Albano’s age is deceptive given her musical experience and impressive accomplishments.

Originally from Italy, Martina moved to the US to attend Berklee College of Music. Now, only two years out of school, she is a professional mastering engineer and an active songwriter in Atlanta’s indie/pop music scene. Some of her credits include Nate Butler, Theo Croker, Olivia Castriota and numerous albums from China and Italy.

Following Berklee, Martina assisted LA film composer, Nima Fakhrara, with a design project (game sound library) for "Resident Evil: Revelations 2". And outside the studio, she taught at the performance-driven School of Rock in addition to teaching her own private students spanning the ages from six to 50 years old. Martina is currently teaching at the Callanwolde Fine Arts Center in Atlanta, GA.

After discovering Capo, Martina began incorporating it into her own songwriting and performing but then quickly discovered the many ways Capo adds value when teaching.

Martina piano kid

Pitch and Rhythm

Since finding Capo, Martina tells us that she now uses it as a way for helping vocalists find the pitch and rhythm in songs. “When students are younger (or new to music) and their music ears aren’t so developed, I need to really slow songs down so the students can hear the pitch and rhythm correctly.”

She further explains, “I have students who sing out of pitch but really want to sing. They don’t take the time to hear the melody on their own. So, when I play a song in Capo and change the speed, they now begin to hear the melody that they were missing before. I then play the notes on the piano and they are able to sing it correctly because they have a good understanding of the notes and melody.”

Martina girl

Songwriting

Outside her busy schedule as a mastering engineer and teacher, Martina finds time for her own pop songwriting and performing—and Capo is part of that process in very clever ways beyond the basics of slowing down fast songs.

“With Capo, I don’t have to think too much about finding the harmony. I take a popular song I like, play the chords and try to write a new top line on it. Then, I adjust the chords and the harmony. In pop music there is already a formula. So why think too much about reinventing the chord progressions?!"

Capo shows students how to teach themselves.

Martina provides an example to illustrate her point. "I took the song, 'A Bridge Over Troubled Waters' by Simon & Garfunkel and wrote a whole other song over it! It’s 1-4-5, simple chords. By doing this, it took away the difficulty of coming up with a chord progression and melody. Usually after I write the melody, I change the chords around."

"Another trick I do is sometimes I take a pop song I know really well, throw it into Capo and change the key. This lets you hear totally different things. By changing the key and tempo in Capo, I hear new details, nuances to the music I didn’t hear before. I love it!”

Conscious Music Learning

Martina finds that all her adult private students and even her older-aged kids between 12 and 18 can use Capo on their own, consciously and actively.

She teaches them to be independent in finding the best key to practice, slowing down melodic riffs that are hard to learn or when the words are too fast to decipher. “The older students love Capo! I like Capo because it shows students how to teach themselves.”

Martina vanessa

"Capo is really good at helping you understand that there are major and minor chord types, and why you need to learn the difference. I started doing ear training with all students, intervals and major/minor chords,” Martina explains. “If they can see the chords with a song, it helps put together why they need to do ear training."

Capo is really good at helping you understand that there is major and minor chord types, and why you need to learn the difference.

Martina finds that for vocalists the original key of a song may not be appropriate for the student so they can’t sing with full interpretation and projection. “Maybe it’s a young girl given a David Bowie song. With Capo, you can easily transpose a song to experiment and choose keys that are good for them.”

“It’s impossible to not care about every one of my students. I go home and try to think of how to get through to them, to help them concentrate. Sometimes I give a song to them a little faster with Capo so they’re ready if the drummer starts the song a little too fast on stage. I’ll move the tempo up gradually, maybe up to 10% faster,” says Martina. “It’s also important to know the form of the song, and with Capo you’re able to create song sections and write in the section starts.”

Martina 3kids

The Modern Music Teacher

Martina describes the challenge of finding chords online. “The chords are not usually very accurate or you find the chords and lyrics online but you don’t know the rhythm. In Capo, you can see the recording and where the chords come in exactly!”

Kids think teachers know everything[...] Capo makes it easy!

The modern music teacher’s challenge goes deeper than developing online search skills. “A lot of kids come in and say to me, 'I want to learn this song.' So, I have to be able to learn the song in five minutes to be able to teach them. One student recently asked to learn 'Never Forget You' by Zara Larson, which I had never heard before! So we brought it into Capo to learn. The kids think you’re the teacher so you must know everything and every song they want to learn! Well, thankfully Capo makes it easy.”

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