Teach the Children Well…

kids playing music

Learning music at an early age is an important part of a child’s development. The act of making music affects learning and cognitive skills on multiple levels. At first, children are intrigued at the sounds coming from various instruments. They bang on them, or blow into them which creates a noise and gives them a thrill. After a while, they will grow tired of hearing the same sound over and over, and will explore other ways to use the instrument. Soon there will find that by playing it in different ways, it makes different sounds, and thus starts the learning process.

Kids will remember the first sounds that it makes as they learn the new sounds. In most cases, they will develop patterns of playing the same number of notes back to back. Over time, they will build on these to a point where they have created their own little song. While they think they are just having fun, they are actually learning very important tools, that they will use in the future. It starts with sound recognition, and associating a specific action to create that sound. Then they develop memory skills when they have to go back and play the first notes again. Compounding on that are pattern recognition skills where they are learning the patterns of the sounds they are producing, and how to go back and play the same patterns again.

children learning music

While to a child he/she is just having fun, they are developing parts of the brain through these exercises that can be used in every aspect of their lives. Of all the developmental skills a child can learn, music is one of the quickest and most enjoyable for the kids. It is important that parents nurture these activities not just to provide enjoyment for their children, but to help them learn as well. While all of these sounds can be annoying at times, they are truly beneficial in the long run.

So what can we do as parents to help? There are many types of children’s toys that are adapted for musical use. Small pianos, xylophones, and even small guitars can bring hours of enjoyment to a child. Once a parent sees that their child has interesting music, they should take the next steps in encouraging their kids to continue and to give them positive reinforcement. Once the child becomes proficient enough, parents can invest in learning tools or even instructors to help get their children to the next level of play. Music is a wonderful part of our lives, and if children show an interest in it, we should help them develop their talents. Not only does it nurture their soul, but it helps in their overall learning process.

Music Mastery

There was an old joke at one time. A woman stopped a man on the street in New York and asked how to get to Carnegie Hall. The man replied, “practice, practice, practice”. Of course, the meaning of that was if you want to get good enough to play at Carnegie Hall then you must practice. There was another famous situation where a woman approached a musician after a performance and said, “I would give anything to play like that”, in which the man replied, “no you wouldn’t”.

So what to do these two have in common? The first is the idea that you must put in a ton of practice to master a musical talent to be able to play in front of a large audience. The other, is that most people don’t have the discipline to go through with such a task. Many would love to be great at music, but only a few have the determination to do so.

The first thing about music is to realize that it is just like any other activity. You have to learn the physical techniques, and then practice them over and over until they become a habit. When you can perform an exercise without even thinking about it, you have mastered that technique. Then you build on that one and get to the next level. It could be compared to playing a sport. You have to learn the techniques and skills, and then practice them until they become second nature.

Of course the prerequisite of all of this, is that you must love music. If you do not love what you do then you will get no joy out of the endless practice you will have to put forth to get good at your craft. Many musicians have to play the simplest songs over and over until they can get them just right. After that is over, they can take the confidence that they draw from that experience to move to their next skill set.

Some are easier to master than others. Percussion, for example, is one of the more difficult musical instruments to play. On top of learning the music, it requires a lot of strength and stamina in which the body doesn’t normally have. Many of the muscles used in playing the drums, have never been used before, and have to be trained.

One of the best drum instructors in the world, teaches drum lessons online. Knowing what it takes to get from the beginning level to an advanced level, he starts his lessons with the basics and builds to more advanced techniques. All the while, using exercises that will help strengthen the students arms as well as build confidence in their new craft. It is important for all music teachers to create a scaleable curriculum so their students will have success at every stage of their learning. When music apprentices get frustrated, they are more likely to quit.

When novices start to get better and better at playing, they need to be commended on their performance. This gives them psychological feedback that they are doing well, and that the techniques they are working on are correct.

learning music in classroom

While learning music can be a very heartbreaking and frustrating journey, the rewards of mastery are overwhelming, and it gives those who experience it a purpose to continue with. Music speaks to everyone’s heart and soul, and being able to participate as an active player is very rewarding to many people. They feel like they are able to contribute to the arts, and to help enrich others’ lives.

The Wonders of Movie Soundtracks

soundtrack made by symphony

Of all the movies that you watch, do you ever think about the soundtrack? What exactly is the soundtrack? It is the music that accompanies the film. Whether it be the song that plays in the opening credits, the songs that the characters may sing in a musical, or the background music that plays behind the scenes, it is the lyrical structure that makes up our favorite films.

Now you may think, how hard could it be to put some music behind a movie? On the contrary, is one of the most challenging aspects of the film that directors face. Not only does the music have to set the mood for the film, it has to be an active expression of what is going on right on the screen. Conductors and musicians have to watch hours of film footage to get the feel for what is truly going on, before they can even think about writing score for what they see.

When soundtrack music is done well, it allows the feelings of the movie to live on after the patrons have left the theater. Good music will bring the feeling of the big screen back to a person’s mind as soon as they hear the music. One of the most famous examples is John Williams scores on the Star Wars movies. Just hearing the music that accompanied some of our favorite scenes brings back exciting feelings even if are just listening to the music. It takes great skill to be able to put the film and the music together in such a way that they become one.

john williams star wars

To this day, when I hear any Star Wars music, I can recall the exact scene it came from and the warm feelings I got from watching that very scene. I can be walking down the street or even doing laundry and I will feel as if I was right back in the theater.

Many established musicians try their hand at soundtrack work and find it is much harder than just playing for an audience. A song by itself has its own meaning and feel, but a song that goes with a film has to synchronize the mood, feelings, and emotion of what is happening in the storyline. They find it is much trickier than they had imagined. But, it can give a musician a chance to broaden their horizons and try something new. Many people that are played in bands for years start to feel a little stagnant, and this gives them a chance to explore their creative boundaries in another element.

If an artist is lucky there will be a crossover affect. Their music will work seamlessly in the film and be a success in that aspect, but the song may also do well on its own and be a hit as a standalone song.