Ep. 140: Intervals are all around us! How these Lego blocks of music inform our everyday experiences; with Rob Gronemann & Aaron Moe

Intervals are all around us

Photo by Sticker Mule on Unsplash

Whether we realize it or not, intervals inform our perception of the everyday sounds of our lives. It is an interval that makes our national anthem unique, lets you know you’re in trouble with your mother, and gets your attention through a train whistle or siren. And then there’s that interval that was banned during the Renaissance…


It’s a pleasure to have a LOCAL guest today, joining from right here in the Twin Cities. Rob Gronemann is a music instructor at Normandale Community College. He is a pianist, composer, and a self-proclaimed terrible singer.  He is constantly seeking ways to diversify music education for students, especially with listening. Rob thrives on setting up challenges for students to solve and enjoys the improvisation required to work in the moment. Rob has developed a curriculum based on his studies and observations showing that people of all abilities and interests can experience music through hearing melody, rhythm, harmony, and form. Rob has said that “people are often unaware that musical training happens whether you like it or not. We are surrounded by music and sound and perception of vibration.”

Rob Gronemann

Also sitting in with us is jazz faculty member Aaron Moe from Normandale.


We discuss:

  • What is an interval, and what is its significance in music education?
  • How intervals are used in human communication.
  • How intervals affect our perception of the everyday sounds of our lives.
  • Common sounds that intentionally utilize specific intervals for specific effects (e.g., the train whistle, sirens).
  • How intervals interact with harmony, melody, rhythm, dissonance, consonance, and other musical components.
  • Why interval especially lend themselves to STEAM/STEM projects & discussions.

Connect/Other Resources

Rob recommends these resources for improving auditory perception and ear training:

Other episodes we mentioned or that you may enjoy:

In-Episode Promo

The Business Side of Music podcast


Rob shares: “My grandmother had only one musical request for her remembrance – that it include joining the 1968 Navy Wives Choir in song to “Eternal Father.” My sister insisted that this must happen.  Of course, I implored that community singing of hymns is best conducted from a cantor with piano.  No.  Using some basic technology I did a workaround using various methods of recording and editing, added a piano introduction, and a coda for the sing-along. The result was a trainwreck. Oddly, that experience inspired a composition for choir, trumpet, and piano. Canned music, like food, is to be used responsibly, but it is not a replacement for live performance. I can’t imagine a future with only canned food.  Support all efforts for live performances, encourage those that want to participate in music, and be stewards of the arts.”

Closing Words

Thanks so much to Rob & Aaron for joining us today! I hope this discussion gives you a deepened understanding of the common sounds that make up your everyday life.

I hope the next time your doorbell rings, you’ll recognize that major third interval; and if you notice another common sound in your life formed by an interval, record it and send it to me! You can reach me on email (mindy@mpetersonmusic.com), Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn. As always, all the resources we mention in our conversation – as well as a transcript of this episode – can be found in the show notes. A link to the page is also in the episode details right in your podcast app.

Thank you so much for joining me today. Until next time, may your life be enhanced with music.

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