On Confidence

I have the pleasure of hearing lots of talented young musicians every day. One of my greatest challenges is convincing them that their talents stand on their own unique merits. It’s good to respect and admire other musicians, but not at the expense of your own self esteem. Music is meant to be enjoyed, not judged. I can’t count the number of musicians I love to hear, and I don’t compare them or wish one had some particular skill that another has. I enjoy each for who they are, period.

Folks, if you enjoy listening to a musician and have the opportunity to tell them so, please do. It might be just the encouragement that person needs to get up and perform the next time.

Consonance and Dissonance in Music

Beware: Science and Math Ahead!


A Facebook friend posed the following question:

Here’s a bit of music theory to dabble with…

The fifth in a scale is called the “perfect fifth”. The ear loves it with a passion: So much so that it has a vile hatred of the diminished fifth, or tritone. The fifth is even called the “dominant”. Musical tuning and key signatures revolve around the fifth…literally. (circle of fifths)

But why is that? I wondered about the underlying math. The ear accepts an octave as the same note because it is double the frequency. A4 is 440 Hz. A5 is 880 Hz. A3 is 220 Hz. The chromatic scale has 12 progressive semitones (minor seconds), and the fifth happens to be 7 semitones above the tonic. (12 and 7 are Divine numbers.) What’s 7 the number of? Divine completeness. Six is the number of man. The tritone is only six semitones above the tonic.

Does your ear really understand that? It might. But what is the fifth in terms of actual frequency?

Well, a minor second is 2^(1/12) Hz above its tonic. So it stands that the fifth is 2^(7/12) Hz above. And that power is almost exactly 1.5. (It’s actually 1.49something). Incidentally, the tritone, being six semitones above tonic is exactly root two. That’s right, the square root of two times tonic. Since A major has 3 sharps (F, C, G), and the fifth is E natural, it stands to reason that E4 is just under 440 x 1.5 Hz, or almost 660 Hz. The ear likes that interval.

My answer follows:

You don’t ask simple questions, do you? First of all, consonance (the opposite of dissonance) is entirely subjective. Yes, we have centuries of study that show harmonics are pleasing to the ear of the average person, but that’s still only the average person’s opinion. Consider that different rules apply across the world; we are mostly familiar with Western music. Also, consonance would be boring without dissonance, which gives us the ability to color our music with emotion and expression.

Nonetheless, the perfect fifth is considered pleasing to the ear by general consensus. Mathematically, the perfect fifth has the simplest frequency ratio (see “pitch ratio“) except for the unison and octave intervals. If you would like to conjecture about the spiritual basis for the consonance of the perfect fifth, I certainly enjoyed reading your theories. I can only add that if you believe that God made all things beautiful and all things unpleasant, then it follows He is responsible for the design of audio frequencies and their relative consonance or dissonance. I find it entirely believable that He would have a sense of humor or at least irony about the whole thing.

In your question, you correctly stated that the pitch ratio of the perfect fifth is 1.5, but consider it this way instead: 3/2. The octave is 2/1.The perfect fourth is 4/3, also considered a highly consonant interval, and the major third is 5/4. The augmented fifth, according to this chart of pitch intervals, is 25/16.

When multiple audio frequencies are heard together, they do not remain independent. They interfere with one another. So the relative frequencies, and how simple or complex they are with respect to one another, will impact the resulting frequency that you hear. For the perfect fifth, independently, the fifth oscillates three times for every two oscillations of the root. This is why we consider pitch ratios in whole number fractions instead of decimals to evaluate their simplicity (where “simplicity” is an indicator of consonance.)


MTMS is currently hiring evening receptionists for both Polaris and Gahanna Campuses.

For consideration, please complete the employment application on our Careers Page.

The Receptionist at Michelle Tuesday Music School (MTMS) is responsible for scheduling students, providing friendly and helpful customer service, light cleaning and organizing of the reception and lobby spaces, and clerical duties. Part-time opportunities for evening and daytime hours in our Gahanna and Polaris locations

SPECIFICATIONS: Entry level position; weekly evening hours 4 – 9 two to five days per week; subbing opportunities when other receptionists are unable to work; starting pay $9.00 with opportunities for incremental raises based on performance.

Employment as Receptionist for MTMS requires good phone, customer service, multitasking and problem solving skills, as well as basic computer literacy. Experience with Google Drive and QuickBooks Online are a plus.

• Schedule lessons, classes, and computer lab according to teacher and facility availability.
• Greet students by name as they arrive and say goodbye as they leave.
• Perform administrative functions such as printing and photocopying for teachers and preparing nametags for class students.
• Assist teachers, lab attendants, and other employees with the smooth operation of the school during lesson times.
• Maintain calendar, website, Facebook, informational postings in the lobby, and other client information on a regular basis.
• Assist with planning of recitals and events, and help prepare related programs and marketing materials.
• Treat clients, students, and employees with respect, courtesy, professionalism, and friendliness.
• Take payments and perform accounts payable, accounts receivable, and bookkeeping functions as required.
• Meet daily with manager to discuss priorities of the day.
• Assist in the upkeep of the MTMS facility.
• Make process improvement suggestions whenever feasible.


Please complete our application on our careers page for consideration.


Preference is given to candidates with music education degrees and the ability to teach a variety of instruments at the beginner or intermediate level (at least two high-demand instruments: piano, guitar, voice, violin, drums) in addition to at least one advanced specialty.

JOB DESCRIPTION: Studio instructor teaching private music lessons and classes in music and the arts, and/or providing band, choir, and/or ensemble coaching/direction. Specific duties depend on qualifications and experience as well as customer demand.


A degree in music, music education, or related, and/or
At least three years’ experience as a professional music educator and/or
Status as a current university student working toward a degree in music, music education, or related, and
MTMS Teaching Certification, as follows:
Pass one-time written exam in music theory, and
Pass one-time practical tests to demonstrate proficiency in subjects taught.
PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITY: Demonstrated development of students’ musical skills and aptitude over time.


Reliability and Punctuality
Interpersonal Skills and Teamwork
When the goals and vision of employees align with the goals and vision of the company, then the company is more likely to succeed. Success means job security, compensation improvements, and happy, stress-free employment for all of us! Employees who go above and beyond to help the company achieve its goals and vision will be recognized. Each employee will receive an annual performance evaluation from his or her manager once per year.

Employment as a music instructor for Michelle Tuesday Music School (MTMS) requires:

A degree in music (or related), or
At least three years experience as a professional musician or music educator, or
Status as a current university student working toward a degree in music (or related), and
MTMS Teaching Certification.
MTMS Teaching Certification requires:

Pass a one-time written exam in music theory, and
Pass one-time practical tests to demonstrate proficiency in subjects taught.
Ideal candidates for the music instructor position at Michelle Tuesday Music School will demonstrate interpersonal skills, good communication, strong rapport with children, technical music knowledge, practical music knowledge, leadership, integrity, passion for music, dependability, teamwork, and organization and planning skills.

Valentine’s Party at MTMS Polaris to proceed as scheduled!

Delaware and Franklin Counties are still reporting Level 1 Snow Emergencies, so please give yourself extra time to get to the event and drive carefully. The Valentine’s Party will be cancelled if the Snow Emergency Level is elevated in Delaware County to a Level 2.

Musicians: Wear gloves and scarves! It’s difficult to play with cold hands and sing with a dry, cold throat.

Pay for Music Lessons with Tax-Free Dollars

Did you know that you can use tax-free dollars to pay for music lessons?

The Federal Flexible Spending Account (FSAFEDS) program allows you to set aside pre-tax salary dollars into an account. You can use the funds to pay for out-of-pocket health care and dependent care costs. According to the website, citizens participating in the program save an average of 30 percent on these expenses.

The FSAFEDS website ( can provide answers to your questions about how to enroll in the program and establish accounts. But here’s a fact you may not already know: you can use the funds in your Dependent Care (Day Care) Flexible Spending Account (DCFSA) to pay for music lessons for children under the age of 13 or any dependent who is incapable of self-care due to a physical or mental handicap. The DCFSA can also be used to pay for other activities in lieu of day cares (e.g., swimming lessons, arts & crafts), summer day camps (but not overnight camps), and babysitters both in and out of the home.

Don’t forget the “Use or Lose” rule. All Federal Flexible Spending Accounts may only be used during the Benefit Period, and any funds not used to pay for eligible expenses will be forfeit after the Benefit Period, so plan your saving carefully.

Also be aware that the Dependent Care Tax Credit may be more beneficial to you than a DCFSA. Check out to determine which option is better for your tax situation. Either way, make sure that you are taking advantage of tax benefits related to dependent care if you qualify.

To submit music lessons at Michelle Tuesday Music School for DCFSA reimbursement, use our Federal Tax ID# 27-2942983.

Michelle Tuesday