When I do attempt to sing, my mind's ear says I'm way off (even when I've never heard the hymn before). I'm not hitting the notes. So now I need to learn solfège and music intervals.
Doing the "real thing" requires having the tools and basic skillset first. I suggest the opposite of this article: break the goal down into manageable parts and work the periphery. Get some small wins. Then you can realistically take on the "real thing". There may be no other way.
I find it is a lot easier to learn in the pursuit of something I actually want to accomplish rather than studying in a vacuum.
So your approach, for example, is better than if you had just picked up a book on key and time signatures and started reading. You first tried to do something, ran into something you didn't know, so started to learn that thing.
The basic idea is to make it much easier to sight-read songs in different keys. With shape notes, the "Do" in solfege is always the same symbol, regardless of the key signature. So it'd be a "C" in C Major, but the same shape appears for an "F" in F Major. Once you can recognize the 7 shapes, you can suddenly do two things very easily:
- Find "Do" and feel your way around the song using it as an anchor, without any risk of losing it
- Re-pitch the song so that the melody is in a more comfortable range
The first point helps out a lot with interval training, as it short-cuts the key signature translation steps. You no longer have to remember that a C -> an E (or was it an Eb in this key?) is a major third, you just look at the "Do" shape and the "Mi" shape following it, and hear what you should do.
The second point was especially useful as a song leader in my youth. Some of the composers had an optimistic idea of how high our tenors could comfortably sing, so over time I learned to nudge the key up or down a few steps to keep the voices comfortable. (This was a congregation of worshipers, not a trained choir.) Shape notes made that easy to do, since everybody in the audience could still follow the music and often without realizing that I'd changed the reference key on the fly.
It is different because the business model of the magazine is to create some content that people enjoy, so that they will tolerate the ads that come with it.
Here, the content itself is an ad in disguise. That is the business model of SEO, "content marketing" etc, and this is why it keeps flooding the web with mediocrity.
FWIW I am useless.