Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Hungarian Minor Improv Advice from Mimi Fox, Renowned Jazz Guitarist

The cool thing about AceNote is the range of proficiency. We have members who are just starting to figure out major chords like G and D to members who have been playing instruments their whole lives. AceNote founder, Mimi Fox, is an internationally renowned jazz guitarist who sent over this post about Hungarian Minor Scale Improvisation. For more information on Mimi Fox, check out her AceNote profile:

Creative and intrepid improvisors!
This is a scale that is not used very often in jazz/rock circles that really has many fascinating applications.
Here is its composition in the key of C: C, Db, E, F, G, Ab, B
Interesting to note is the fact that although this scale has a B, or major seventh in it, it actually sounds fantastic used over a C7 chord! The B natural acts as a passing tone into the tonic. If you tape yourself playing a C7 chordal vamp you will see what I mean. The scale sounds great if you are vamping on the C7 or if you have a vamp going from C7 to Db7 and back again as in a song like "Caravan". If you start this scale on the 4th degree (F) you will actually be playing the F Hungarian minor scale which would work over an F minor chord (no seventh) or over an F minor/major seventh chord.
You can therefore make a vamp using C7 and F minor and the scale will sound great (this chord progression is most commonly heard at Bar Mitzvah's but this should not stop you from fully exploiting its unique properties).
I have also used this scale over a minor blues and it sounds fantastic. The addition of the B natural or blues tone to the scale is very cool. Very often, rock players will bend to this blues note automatically but they are doing it starting on the Bb. In this case, because there is no Bb in this F minor mode you are able to arrive at the B natural without bending to it.
To get comfortable playing this scale, you should harmonize it ascending/descending throughout the entire range of your instrument. You'll notice some unusual harmonic clusters that can be created from this scale. These clusters can be played in consecutive fashion and used to construct new arpeggios. For example, I could take the 3 notes, C, Db, and G and create a nice arpeggio from this 3 note grouping that could have wide applications. These 3 notes could be used over a Db Major Seventh chord, an Ab Major Seventh (with 11), a Bb Minor 6/9, A7 and Eb7 altered, etc. etc.
Tape yourself playing vamps and explore the new sounds! Have fun.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Better Than Skype?

AceNote LessonChat and the key advantage that makes it better than Skype

The built-in AceNote video conferencing function we call LessonChat has some unique advantages. Our integrated whiteboard feature for writing and sharing music charts and the audio-video quality sliders that allow you to optimize your connection - these are just some of the features that make our LessonChat better than regular video chat. 

But one of the things we hear most often from our teachers and students is how convenient it is that with AceNote, there is nothing to download - lessons on AceNote are totally web-based, easily accessible from any internet-connected computer.

And that makes getting started even easier than with other video chat programs like Skype, with less start-up time for teachers and students alike. Superior audio and video quality served right online, within your web browser - Nothing to download. We wanted to make it as easy as possible to log on and learn!

But the great thing is that as an AceNote member, you are free to use AceNote LessonChat, Skype or any video-conferencing system you prefer, while still taking advantage of all the other features in AceNote like your own My Studio home page, lesson scheduling, our integrated payment & tracking system and lesson requests to find new students or teachers. 

There are many things to like about music lessons on AceNote - and we keep working hard to make it easier than ever for great music teachers to teach great students, making better musicians.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Just Launched! AceNote Video Wall

As promised, our brand new Video Wall is now up and running!We've got 100s of great music teachers perfect for you. And now you can easily watch videos uploaded by teachers everywhere. The videos featured range from promo videos that show you the teachers' style and musical background, educational videos where you can learn a new technique or skill, and performance videos that will amaze and inspire. AceNote is bursting with incredible teachers just waiting to give you live lessons online to help you reach your musical dreams. Teachers can now record videos right from their own studio page with our AceNote Video Booth, upload pre-recorded videos or link to existing libraries of YouTube or Vimeo videos.
Start learning a new instrument or perfect your skills - Find a teacher you like and book a lesson today. Stay tuned for lots of new developments with in the weeks ahead. Log on today and make music happen!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

"My Experience with AceNote" - Mimi Fox

Before I sing the praises of AceNote, I will fully disclose that I am a founder and the Chief Education Officer of the company. I share my co-founders vision that the opportunity for the international music community to connect via AceNote has the capacity to revolutionize the way we experience/share music and as such can be a real force for beauty in our world.

On a practical level, for active teachers, the AceNote community is a great way to build your student base. For students, it's a great way to connect with tremendous educators/artists without ever leaving your home.

The AceNote experience has been wonderful for me. I have been able to connect with people as close as my home base (San Francisco Bay Area) and as far away as Brisbane, Australia. Students have contacted me from the AceNote site and their student profiles/requests are received instantaneously via my own AceNote mail box. We can then communicate easily and set up a lesson time. The student is then able to use the AceNote site to send a payment to me (secured through Pay Pal). The final step is the lesson itself which has been really easy to conduct. AceNote allows each student/teacher to adjust the audio/video quality to their own preferences. It usually takes just a few seconds to arrange the right line of sight to allow for the student to see my instrument and both of my hands. Once this is done, the lesson experience is easy and fun!

I have enjoyed working with everyone and they seem to have had a great time too!

I hope that if any of you(teachers/students)have any questions concerning how to get going with lessons you will feel free to contact me.

Yours in music,

Mimi Fox

Monday, August 25, 2014

Calling All Banjo Teachers

The great thing about AceNote is that you can access teachers for more unusual instruments. For example, if you really wanted to learn the harp, it would probably be pretty difficult to find a harp teacher in your area. With AceNote, you can connect easily to a great, accomplished harp teacher and start learning conveniently online.
Recently in the past few weeks or so, we've had a huge number of students looking to learn the banjo. However, we only have a handful of banjo teachers. So, we are looking for all experienced banjo teachers to sign up on AceNote. We will promote you to the students and get you teaching lessons as soon as possible so that you are successful, and our students are learning their dream instrument. If you are (or know of) a great banjo teacher, go to this link: and make a free profile! We would really appreciate the opportunity to help you promote your teaching.
While this post is directed to banjo teachers in particular, we are also happy to match teachers of any other instrument with students on Ultimately, we're here to help teachers create better musicians, and we can't do that without teachers in the first place. Contact if you have any questions.
Stay tuned for more posts from AceNote soon!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Q&A with an AceNote Founder, John Merkl

John Merkl is the chief marketing officer of AceNote inc. He's also played a role in product and web design, social media, and analytics. He is a musician himself and plays guitar and sings.

John's AceNote Profile

Q: What inspired your team to create AceNote?
A: We had been discussing the need for technology to make music education easier. To date, the web had only produced numerous prerecorded instructional videos, but we knew that nothing is better than a one-on-one experience, teacher and student, live lessons. We came up with the concept of a virtual music school and made our dreams a reality. It's a place where amazing talent could share their skills to students thrilled to learn.

Q: What sets AceNote apart from other competition?
A: It's funny to even use the word "competition." We started three years ago, and only recently, have there been other players in the market. We are a marketplace of education. We believe teachers are our artists and not employees. So AceNote is a place where teachers can succeed and do what they do best - sharing their gift for music. We keep our share down with a standard one dollar per lesson commission and let AceNote make it easy to give and take lessons.

Q: How is AceNote doing at the moment?
A: We're kind of on fire. Students and teachers are signing up daily and we're up to over 500 members. 140 of them are teachers, and many of them are extremely accomplished. It's an exciting time at AceNote as we see our vision come to life.

Q: What plans do you have for AceNote in the future?
A: We're in the process of streamlining our interface and adding video grids, allowing teachers to use their prerecorded content and lessons as a tool and a commercial for their teaching business. We've got a lot of things planned that will solidify AceNote as the place for improving your musicianship. Playing, practicing, learning, resources, it's all here.

Q: What is music in your life?
A: Music nourishes me and inspires me in all that I do, whether I am playing or doing something completely unrelated to music. At the moment, I'm in two different bands, performing in one and always working on solo material. I am the perfect student for AceNote, constantly wanting to learn more.

Q: Did you take music lessons? If so, who was your favorite teacher?
A: I've taken lessons in piano, guitar, drums, clarinet, saxophone, and voice. I've had some great teachers, but probably the one that led to the biggest breakthrough was my vocal teacher. She's the real deal. An amazing performer and has the ability to open your potential through her instruction. I also had an amazing Russian piano teacher for years as a kid - lots of cats! She had incredible knowledge and just lived and breathed a traditional, classical approach that permeated everything. It was infectious!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

How It Works

Getting Started

Welcome to AceNote - Our goal is to make taking and giving music lessons easier and more convenient than ever using live online lessons. The AceNote community has hundreds of amazing teachers available for online lessons in most instruments and every level and genre. Our custom video conference studio is tuned for music and adjustable for bandwidth, making for superior audio and video lesson performance right on AceNote. And with built-in scheduling and online payments, we make it easy and convenient.
From world-class jazz guitarists to neighborhood piano teachers, you can find a teacher that’s right for you on AceNote and take lessons when it’s convenient for you, from home. Make learning an instrument or perfecting your skills a reality - start learning today!

How It Works?

Create Your Free Profile
The first step is to sign up for a free profile page. Click join on the home page and let us know about you, your instrument, level and goals. The more we know the more we can find the right teacher for you. Teachers in particular will need to complete their profile completely, including a photo, to become a Teacher on AceNote.

Find a Teacher for You
Using our easy search function, review teachers for your instrument and level - teachers upload video, audio and bio information into their profiles allowing you to easily get a sense for their teaching style and potential match. Once you’ve narrowed it down, connect with the teacher of your choice to book a LessonChat. Scheduling and paying for the lesson is easy and built right in. Teachers set their own lesson rates and AceNote charges a simple $1 per lesson fee.

Live Video LessonChat
Your LessonChat is a 1-on-1 Live Music Lesson done online using our exclusive video conference module designed specifically for musical tone and audio quality. Log on to your account a few minutes before your LessonChat time and click on the teacher’s name. This will give you time to get set-up so your computers camera can see your instrument clearly. When your teacher is ready you’ll be prompted to join the Lesson. During the lesson you’ll have access to great sound and image quality using our audio and video controls, and the convenience of tools like a shared white board and notes. Your teacher will be able to share music charts and study materials easily through shared PDF libraries. Everything that we could think of to create a productive learning environment for making lessons easy and effective!

Learning Success - Make Lessons Count!
Your teacher will be able to set-up a custom program of lessons and learning that will help you to reach your musical goals. AceNote’s community of music education and lesson tools will help you to make it happen.

Technical Needs:
Musical instrument of your choice
A computer equipped with Webcam, Microphone, and Speakers or Headphones
Adobe Flash Player version 10.3 or higher
Broadband internet connection that support 300kbs upload and download speed, 650kbs for higher definition