Arturo Riera

Arturo Riera

Delivering a message is one of the most important accomplishments in music, because it’s not just about saying something, through music you create something that is not just understood, it’s about something that can be felt, and in some ways establish a connection between the composer and the listener.

In the end this is one of the most honest goals of a musician, to be able to make something that will reach a good amount of people not for the popularity or the money, but just to be listened, after so many hours of isolation in practice, of trial and error, it all comes down to being listened and felt by other people, and this is no easy task.

Music is personal most of the times, when you sit down by yourself and start playing something, writing, composing, you are translating a specific feeling into sounds and melodies, and a lot of the frustration that comes from not being able to nail the song that you wish to make, comes from difficulties with this translation.

There are a few things that one must take into account when thinking about making music and achieving this goal.

Personality

Everyone is different, every approach to music is inherently different if done correctly however it’s easy to fall into a specific pre-made sound, because there is a feeling that so much has been done already, and some even go as far as to say that everything has already been done, but music is not really that finite, there are endless resources, combinations, inspirations and every musician out there has its own color.

Finding yourself is not easy but the only way to deliver the message you want, is to first find your own sound, which can take years. A good way to think about it, is as if you’re tuning your music sensibility to slowly get to a perfect note where it becomes a second nature to use creativity to make the most of strong human feelings.

Mind and Heart

As with every message, there is an emitter and a receiver, and while it’s a very logical thing, it can be easily forgotten, but sometimes you may understand something you are saying because you are the one doing all the thinking, and sometimes the person listening needs some extra thinking to make them be in sync with what you are trying to say.

This is a very difficult part during composition, because the message has to stay the same, it just needs some kind of filter to make it something that that the ones listening will understand.

Message of Connection

It’s all about a human connection, music gathers every feeling and makes it a celebration of what it is to be human, even at times when electronic music and technology make us be tangled in wires, music will always be a very human thing, sometimes a very complex one, sometimes a very simple one, but always a way to connect with people, with sadness, anger, happiness, or make people connect with each other through dancing and fun.

Music is another language, it’s a universal language that everyone can find to be a bridge between cultures and political barriers, sometimes music, is a common ground, or sometimes it can be used as a very bad influence, but regardless of the message, there is no denying that music has a lot power due to the reach and appeal it can have, besides, when are we not listening to music? Life has become a movie in some ways, and music is there to be the soundtrack of our lives. Will you be making music to send a message?

 

 

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If you are interested or involved in music in any way, chances are you’ve had to deal with others, whether it’s composing or just playing, teamwork is a very important part of music, even more so when many young musicians want to start bands and make great music together. This part of music is almost essential to learn how to play and facilitate a way to achieve chemistry with other musicians should be a priority.

Playing alone vs Playing with someone

Of course, playing by yourself also has a lot of merit since most of the practice will be alone, and a part of the musical growth can only be gained in an introspective kind of way, but there is also a huge amount of experience that can only come from playing with someone else, let’s review each pros and cons.

Alone

The beginning has to be by yourself, there is no way you can really make a deep bond with the instrument that your playing or your voice if you try with someone else, in the end music is all about expressing something, and if that connection is not made before playing with other people, chances are, playing will be very difficult and you’ll feel insecure about what you want to play.

In short, a beginner’s way is a bit lonely, because it’s as simple as having a relationship, you don’t get married if you yourself don’t have a defined personality and desires, and the same way works for playing with others.

The bad part about playing alone, is not so much about the fact of just playing or practicing by yourself, the problem comes when you as a musician become isolated, this can have consequences such as running out of ideas or getting stuck in a loop of inspiration. It can also make you a bit rusty when it comes to improvisation and playing long sets non stop.

With Others or in Band

As for playing with others, there are many advantages, starting with, learning from others.

No one is the same, everyone has its own tree of music influences and tastes.

The beautiful part of sharing this, is that you discover new ideas for yourself as well as get a good feedback on your play-style.

Of course this can be counter productive if your partners have personal issues or differ too much from your style.

The right people with the right chemistry will help you achieve a new level of musical prowess, and even affect the way you compose your own music. For example, in an improvisation, you exercise a lot of the tools you have on the fly, which is a form of creating and composing, just unpolished and fast, this can later be noticed in how fast ideas will pop in your head.

Playing with others can also bring satisfaction as a musician, because it’s not easy to perform synchronized with other people in harmony and following the same tempo. This happens on a great scale with orchestras where a great amount of people work together to achieve a perfect sound; although of course, there is a path to follow and more guidance than to say for example Jazz, or Rock bands, where improvisation takes the stage many times. In the end there has to be a balance in order to get the best of both worlds, and appreciate both ways of playing by what they are.

In music education, this should be a priority because while orchestras essentially become big bands,every member feels isolated from each other in a way.

This sentiment of sharing and playing with others is not quite present, and it should.

 

 

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It’s very hard to get into music without finding a link, something that attaches you sentimentally and technically as something to improve and use to express yourself. Unless learning how music works, this is reading, writing, and all of the structure of music, is just a hobby, there are always instruments, and or voice, but how do we know which in instrument is the one? Well it’s all about trying out every instrument you can get your hands on. Here are a few tips on how to approach some of the most played instruments in order to make the experience more entertaining and appealing.

Singing

While singing could be seen as something else rather than an instrument, this is the first mistake one can make. The voice is an instrument, and just like any other one has to learn how to use it, a good voice won’t come from a few days of practice, and because we use our voices everyday it’s easier to become insecure, listening to ourselves doing something different than speaking because it doesn’t sound like the usual speaking voice, but that is ok, because it’s not, it’s something else, it’s an instrument, so make sure to switch to instrument mode, and don’t pretend to have your everyday recognizable voice an expert singer so fast, find your instrument voice.

Guitar

One of the most common issues when starting to play guitar, is that the strings don’t sound as well as they should because they are not being pressed correctly. This is a very early stage but it can be quite frustrating because when trying to play chords or go a little faster it doesn’t sound good. The best thing to do is to let your fingers adjust to the pressure that has to be put, and be patient to try and play some scales in between chords as a warm up. But most importantly, experiment and have fun, because it’s one of the easiest instruments to get creative with.

Piano

Playing piano is one of the most precise experiences in music, that’s why it’s one of the “go to” instruments for teaching music. When approaching to a piano it won’t be very hard to pick up a few notes, memorize and play a tune and that is what you should do first, because it’s very welcoming in that way. The complicated part comes when using both hands, where usually one acts as the bass and the other does all the complicated melodies. The easiest way to use both hands at first is to start with one note on the bass in harmony with the melody, and after that play with octaves in the bass to give a real full sound while practicing with both hands.

 Bass

While it’s also a string-based instrument like the guitar, it doesn’t mean that the approach is the same, every string-based instrument has its own set of rules if you will, and a certain feel to it. When it comes to bass it’s less about fast mobility and more about precision, due to the sound and size of its strings. The best thing to do is to know when and where to play a certain note, since the bass gives a lot of what the body and rhythm is in a composition.

Drums/Percussion

Here all the attention goes to rhythm, although of course percussion requires tuning, and precision in its notes, the first approach should be to keep a good rhythm, and as you get more comfortable, add more layers to the overall body of it. Of course, it depends on the type of percussion being played, but the best most complete example are drums, since it’s a package of percussion types all being played by one person, that’s why developing limb independence while keeping track of the rhythm is the most important thing here. So, if planning on playing drums, work on that rhythm with your foot on the kick, and the hi hat, everything else has to fall into place after that.

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