Music Teacher's Helper Blog

There are many ways in which music affects sports, whether it is during training, special events, or cues about something related to the game, there is no doubt that music plays a big part in what makes sports such a great and exciting experience.

Rapper Kendrick Lamar commented on the big influence of music in sports, more specifically, hip-hop:

“Hip-hop and being a pro athlete go hand in hand. When they come together, it’s a win, not just for your business brand but also for culture. I always use the word ‘culture,’ because that’s first — everything else falls behind it. When they see that this guy loves rap the way he does, and this guy loves basketball like he does, the business is gonna flow behind it.”

Training and Before Games

Many athletes listen to music during training for a few reasons, but in general, it does make it easier to deal with the hard routine of someone who dedicates all of their life to a specific sport.

According to Ashley Samson there are a few interesting benefits from music and myths that deserve some attention.

“In general, people tend to believe that listening to heavy rock or intense rap music would pump up the individual and classical music would calm them down; however, it depends on the person and how she or he depicts the meaning of the song which would lead to either claiming down or hyping up,” said Samson.

“I do work with several student-athletes. Listening to music is sort of their pre-game or pre-completion preparation routine, and that is something they felt very strongly about in terms of having their headphones in while getting their clothes on,”

Sports Music

Everyone knows the organ that sounds in baseball, that famous tune that even if you don’t like baseball you can easily identify. This little tune had an interesting story.

The first time the organ was played at a baseball game was in

Baseball also has one of the most interesting music stories in America, which is a little song called “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”.

Katie Casey was baseball mad,
Had the fever and had it bad.
Just to root for the home town crew,
Ev’ry sou Katie blew.
On a Saturday her young beau
Called to see if she’d like to go
To see a show, but Miss Kate said “No,
I’ll tell you what you can do:

Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd;
Just buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack,
I don’t care if I never get back.
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don’t win, it’s a shame.
For it’s one, two, three strikes, you’re out,
At the old ball game.

Katie Casey saw all the games,
Knew the players by their first names.
Told the umpire he was wrong,
All along,
Good and strong.
When the score was just two to two,
Katie Casey knew what to do,
Just to cheer up the boys she knew,
She made the gang sing this song:

Take me out to the ball game….

It was inspired by a woman named Katie Casey, a fan who knew every single player and couldn’t miss a game. It’s interesting because at the time sports was “men’s territory”, yet the ispiration for a song that seeks to show the passion for baseball was a woman.

Popular Crowd Anthems

There are many songs that have become very popular due to being played and sung during games, these are some of the most famous anthems.

Special Events and National Anthems

Sports are filled with special events and celebrations such as finals, openings, world cups, and superbowls. Each of these events usually features a big artist to put a show for everyone, which tends to be very big and a big thing for the artist.

The biggest shows come from the olympics which can be quite long and involve many performances.

There is also the tradition of singing national anthems, whether it’s before a game in a world cup or a special guest invitation in a baseball game, it is something that to this day remains to be both emotional and encouraging for the people involved in the game.

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By now, most of us are familiar with all the benefits music can bring us, whether it’s mentally or phisically, there is no doubt that there are many ways we can respond to the sound of music, but that’s us humans, what about animals?

Animals can react to music in different ways as well, beyond the fact that birds sing to communicate with other species and mark territory.

The issue here is that is not that easy to see the effects of music on animals but according to some studies it has been proven that there are some changes in animal behaviour depending on the music they listen to, here are some examples.

Cats

Interestingly enough, cats don’t actually respond to any music we listen too, however, there is a type of music that they enjoy, you could call it “cat music”.

According to Charles Snowdon: “We are not actually replicating cat sounds,” he says, “we are trying to create music with a pitch and tempo that appeals to cats”.

Parrots

One common example of animals reacting to music is when it comes to parrots. There are many videos on social media of parrots singing famous songs

“Our data suggests that some of the brain mechanisms needed for human dance originally evolved to allow us to imitate sound,” said lead scientist Adena Schachner.

Dogs

Just like humans, dogs can also react to music as a relaxing thing, this has been proven with a study by the University of Glasgow, which showed that dogs were more relaxed in kennels when listening to reggae, slow rock music and classical music.

Cows

Cows can produce more milk when they listen to music that is under 100 rpm, in a way they produce more when they hear their favourite music

A 2001 study from the University of Leicester exposed a 1,000-strong herd of cows to music of differing tempos.

Music is a universal language and force of life, and it’s interesting to see how much does it affect every form of life on earth, as it not only affects animals and humans, it also affects plants and their growth.

Fish

In a 2013 study that was published in the journal Behavioral Processes, it was revealed that goldfish could distinguish between different composers.

In the experiment the idea was to train the goldfish to gnaw on a ball filled with food when the correct composer’s music was playing, surprisingly enough, they were able to react accordingly while identifying the pitch and timbre of the music they listened to.

David Teie

Composer and cellist, David Teie, has dedicated himself not just to play cello in the National Symphony Orchestra but also making music for animals, he says: ” “I know it sounds silly,” he says, “but what’s really silly is thinking that music could only be for one species.”

When asked about the inspirations he had in mind when making “cat music” he said:

I include a few instrumental versions of cat vocalizations like purring and the rhythm of suckling that all cats will have heard as their brains developed. The cello sounds are mostly for the human ears, to make the music palatable for the cat owners. The low tones are pretty much traffic noise to cats, so that’s where I include a layer of music for people.

I can’t say that I was inspired by any artists to create this music. In fact, when creating music for another animal, I regularly need to talk myself out of composing music that align with my own personal preferences.

insidetherift.net

It’s not something that is very common among musicians but it’s certainly a good thing to explore since we now know music affects animals in so many different ways.

As we humans ransack the place and take over the land, more and more species will be only viable in captivity. I believe that the least we can do is to try to bring some enjoyment and beauty into their captive worlds. Since beauty is in the eye of the species, it will not be the beauty that we enjoy, but beauty that is tailored to the perceptions and desires of each species.

insidetherift.net

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Sometimes signing can be taken to greater heights when for example the term “extended techniques” is used. This refers to inhaling as a method of producing melodies as opposed to just exhaling and just singing the notes.

In a way, Extended vocal techniques are advanced ways of singing that began around the 20th century, and it’s about exploring the potential of a singer’s voice going beyond just the singing part. Just like there are many techniques to play instruments, there are also techniques for singing.

Inhaling

It may feel very strange at first, but there is a way to sing by inhaling, not just exhaling.

According to Joan La Barbara, a professional singer, talks in an interview with musicguy247, about experimenting with this vocal technique by taking inspiration from how a specific instrument plays.

My piece “Circular Song” for example, was inspired by the circular breathing technique of horn players. Of course as a vocalist you can’t do that, so what I did was to vocalize the inhale as well as the exhale. A piece called “One Note Internal Resonance investigation” explored the myriad possibilities one can make with just a single pitch… putting it in isolated resonance areas in the head… doing reinforced harmonics and multi-phonics. From that point I began to develop a whole vocabulary of extended techniques that were an orchestra of voices in a way. Certain sounds were more percussive… more string like… or woodwind like. When I began creating pieces, I would draw on some of these extended techniques as well as more conventional techniques.

Falsetto

This is one of the most common techniques in singing, it’s popular and it’s not that hard to do it, although it is hard to master. This is a technique that allows to change pitch drastically. Some call this “head voice” because it resonates in the head rather than the chest. It’s a simple technique as it allows to go beyond a singer’s normal range.

Sprechgesang and Sprechstimme

This one is not that complicated but it is important to know about it. It’s basically a combination between speaking and singing, which can be often related to composer Arnold Schoenberg and it was first used in Pierrot Lunaire in 1912.

It’s all about singing in a lowet pitch and clear spoken words.

Yodelling

This is a type of singing that consists in alternating rapidly between chest voice and head voice.

it’s interesting that it’s not always used for music. In many places (mostly mountains) people used yodelling as a way of communicating over great distances. On the other hand others believe that regardless of the mountainous scenery yodelling was a very present vocal technique, Bart Plantenga comments on this by saying that:

“There are tons of yodelers in France and the Netherlands. It’s also in punk and contemporary rock. It’s coming back like crazy. Jewel is a big yodeler. A lot of African musicians use yodeling. That’s what my book tried to dispel, the idea that it’s limited to this one area of the Alps.”

Bart Plantenga

The origin of yodelling is often traced back to Switzerland, but there is no actually proof it originated there, in fact some say it actually originated way back in Africa.

“At the beginning of mankind, when man decided he could do different things with his voice. More practically, it probably began 10,000 years or so ago, when animals first were domesticated, [as] a way to keep the cattle together. It probably also had to do with people amusing themselves. The Pygmies [still] use it for many things, including feasts and playing. They have this method of singing back and forth between two voices, and it’s just pure pleasure at that level.”

Bart Plantenga

Overtone Singing

Harmonics and overtone singing are some of the hardest singing techniques, this can come in the form of overtones, undertones and multiphonics.

This technique involves singing in two different pitches at the same time. Singing in two notes at the same time is achieved by singing with double resonance by merging two resonance frequencies that come from the pharynx and oral cavity.

Distortion

Many singers today use distortion in their voice to have that rock raspy voice that sometimes confuses people, because it sounds like they are putting strain in their voice, but they are not.

There are however different types of distortion, some of them are: screaming, growling and just simple distortion for that slight raspy voice.

For me the term extended adds an extra element to make singers either feel that they have to be specialists to do it, that they need to take care (after all there are lots of yodelling related injuries in A&E) – instead of making it a divide, seeing as it used in most music nowadays except classical music, and it is a sound that a human can make at all – they will be able to do it in a healthy way. So don’t be afraid of the big bad wolf, have some fun and play around with your own voice.

jackiehole.com

These are just a few extended vocal techniques that you can learn, but there are more to be explored with near endless ways of making them your own, so if you’re interested in taking one step further, it’s time to start exploring!

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