A new approach to ear training for the modern songwriter

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Doh! This course has already kicked off! But don't worry, there are more dates coming soon - Check out our course offerings for something you can grab right now! If you think you've reached this message in error, reach out to us ASAP at himself@garygrundei.com (we'd love to hear from you anyway.) Let's get writing! 🙂

Grab your spot now! Registration ends July 12th.

Listen Up! is an intro to analytical listening a musicianship skill-builder a tool to hear your inner songs a cohort of devoted nerds!

Listen Up! Module 3 ALL ABOUT RHYTHM dates: Tuesdays, July 20th, July 27th, August 3rd

1:30 PM EDT || Tuesdays on zoom for three weeks. Register today!

Welcome to LISTEN UP!

Have you ever wished you could pick out a song by ear more easily? Do you want a better ear for complex rhythms and meters or feel equipped to recreate them? What about discerning between a bass line and guitar chords in a song, does that trip you up? Perhaps it’s knowing how to or identify certain audio effects, “plug-ins”, or diagnosing what your song needs to reach its potential? Or maybe you just wish you could figure out what key your own original song is in with ease!

Listen Up! will help address each of these things and more.

This course is designed to help increase your capacity to analyze music while you’re listening and in turn it will deepen the toolbox you use while writing your own songs. We’re talking about expanding your musicianship through analytical listening.

You’ll leave the workshop with more clarity on what’s happening in all of your favorite songs and an increased capacity to hear and recreate complex musical ideas.

The third in a series of ear-training modules

Module 3: All About Rhythm!

This third module of Listen Up! will focus on all things related to rhythm: polyrhythms, odd time signatures, polymeters, metric modulation, syncopation, grooves, swing, and subdivisions. Subdividing refers to dividing the beat of the music into smaller units to make rhythms easier to digest, understand, memorize, and recreate. Our brains have an easier time with smaller or shorter quantities and thus subdividing enables us to more accurately embody rhythms. This is an invaluable skill that will forever change the way you listen to, internalize, and create music. If you’ve ever had a hard time keeping time, then this is the class for you! We’re going to break it down, slow it down, and get down. You feel me?! Come join us!


Future modules will cover:

  • Tone, timbre, and texture
  • Frequency spectrum ear-training
  • Harmony
  • Diatonic and non-diatonic chord progressions 
  • Audio effect / “plug-in” identification

What you get in just three weeks:

Three live and interactive 90-minute zoom calls guided by an instructor in a small cohort with no more than 4-10 students

direct, individual guidance and assistance from your instructor throughout the week outside of class

a private, exclusive online forum where you and your cohort can interact, ask questions, and receive direct support

weekly songwriting assignments to help keep you on track

ear training techniques that allow you to apply what you hear to what you create

a new analytical means of listening to music that you’ll carry with you for the rest of your life


– Hey, we’re all in this together! You can safely bet that there will be others in the same boat as you. There are zero expectations or prerequisites coming into this workshop – you don’t even need to have taken any of the previous modules as the course-material is non-cumulative. We are here to meet you where you are and help you grow and feel more comfortable. That said, if your listening skills are more advanced than your peers, there will be tiered homework assignments designed to challenge you to the degree at which you’re equipped!

– No! The best part about this course is that we get to do so much listening – and through listening is how we all got into music in the first place, right?! Being able to read sheet music is a great skill and comes in handy when needing to digest a large quantity of very particular musical information for the sake of precise recreation. But what we are working on in this course is strengthening our ears so that we can better grasp what’s happening in a given piece of music without the score in front of us (plus, lots of things that we can hear that aren’t present in a score)! And how often are you going to have access to the score for that song that just popped up on your Discover Weekly playlist anyway? You should know that there are many unbelievably talented musicians that famously don’t read music… but you know what they all have in common? They have GREAT EARS.

– Great question! Upon signing up, you’ll receive a welcome email that contains a recommendation for circumaural (around-the-ear) headphones. We’ll be doing a lot of analytical listening in this class and it’s important for you to hear as much as you can – earbuds and laptop speakers won’t give you the most accurate or enjoyable listening experience!

– As far as instruments go, feel free to bring anything you’d like to class if that makes you more comfortable – you never know when it might help! That said, all you really need is your voice and a voice recorder (like your smartphone) to record ideas and eventually your homework assignments.

– Yes you can! These 3-week modules will be offered every other month, so if you’re feeling committed to training your ears and expanding your musicianship, then please sign up now for all 5 at OVER 25% OFF!
– That’s great! Each one is a stand-alone workshop that will open your ears in a new way, so take one, take a few, take them all, and emerge a better musician! But the chance to buy all remaining modules in advance and SAVE some big bucks is only available for a limited time! So give it some thought!

– YES. And you should! But here’s what’s so great about this class and this series as a whole. We’ve worked hard to gather all the best material in one place so you don’t have to waste time searching. We’ve also refined a lot of tricks, tips, exercises, and assignments that are designed to push you in ways that you might not push yourself (but that we promise will be good for you!). And perhaps the most irreplaceable offering is a LIVE learning experience. Being able to talk things over with an instructor and classmates beats any head-scratching + late night googling combo.

See the value:

LISTEN UP! (module 3)

instruction, skill development, and practicum in 3 weeks
$ 179 3 weeks
  • 3 classes at 90 min. each guided by an instructor in a small cohort
  • Affordable
  • A specified introductory curriculum
  • Unparalleled individual support on your journey by the instructor and a close-knit community
  • Work and attend class from the comfort of your home!

LISTEN UP! (all 4 remaining modules)

instruction, skill development, and practicum for 12 weeks
$ 529 12 weeks
  • 12 classes (3/month), 90 min each, instruction w/in a small cohort
  • Great savings
  • An exhaustive and extended curriculum
  • Unparalleled individual support on your journey by the instructor and a close-knit community
  • Work and attend class from the comfort of your home!

Meet Your Instructor:

Donovan Dorrance

Donovan Dorrance hails from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where he trained as a multi-instrumentalist before moving to Brooklyn to work for his sister’s dance company, Dorrance Dance, and pursue his passion for music. As music director, Dorrance has had the opportunity to compose original music and tour internationally with the company for the last six years. Outside of dance, Dorrance composes for film, theatre, podcasts, commercials, and weird passion projects. He’s been with golden lotus studio since the beginning of 2020 and feels very privileged to get to share music with others during such a turbulent time.

Sign up below! Can't wait to start listening and writing together...

If you’d like to purchase Listen Up! as a gift for a loved one, please email himself@garygrundei.com with the subject line
“Gift enrollment in Listen Up!” instead of registering below.

golden lotus studio reserves the right to cancel this class if enrollment does not meet the minimum requirement.

*If are experiencing financial hardship, but are craving the songmaking offerings described here, please reach out and let me know because a modest amount of scholarship funds are available for folks in such circumstances. Please send an email to himself [at] garygrundei.com describing your situation.