Arturo Riera

Arturo Riera

There is a big difference between teaching children and teaching adults, this changes the dynamic of the class whether  it is online or in person. There is a reason why some people prefer to work with children and why others prefer to have a more mature class, and it’s because the experience is almost completely different. It could be very helpful to think about these differences and how it should affect the approach from the teachers side.

While it’s impossible to be perfectly accurate, a range of ages and categories could definitely help organize the way we approach different types of groups.

Very Young Children (from 4 to 7)

At this age the most important factor is to have their attention with something fun, and through this, give little doses of knowledge. This applies to every area of education, however with music, it tends to be a little more dynamic friendly. Music can be very fun without any problems at all

Children (8 to 12)

This is when discipline starts to be a very important thing to focus on, because it’s very easy for children around this age to run wild and find distractions, it’s not as simple as making it fun for them, it’s also a matter of keeping them interested. At this age real preferences and interests start to come out, they begin to test the waters and guide themselves with their taste in music, sports, games, or any other activity.

Because of this the students will become varied, and with different orientations, but without much discipline or disposition to be in a class and learn. This is the time for questions,

Teenagers (13 to 17)

At this point bigger words are said, bigger meanings are found, tougher music is played and understood, and there is a growing sense of determination towards learning, in this case, practice music in order to achieve their personal goal as musicians.

This is also the beginning of their lives being more independent, making more decisions and exploring different parts of their lives, trying new things. This will show in a class room or in an online class, as students will be eager to apply the things they learn into their own ideas.

Young adults (18 to 26)

These are the students that are closer to have university type of experience or probably with a regular job, clear aspirations and a sense of responsibility. For some, this is the ideal moment to start learning music in an academic sort of way, because everything they learn will be taken with more attention and maturity than to say an 8 year old. This does not mean that children shouldn’t learn, it just means that the overall experience may be more complete if have the experience and discipline for it.

Adults (27 and more)

They can range from a very passionate musician that didn’t start very young but nonetheless aspires to do great things with music, to an older person that always wanted to learn about music and takes it as a hobby. Still, both types are the kind of people that can almost be equals to the teachers in terms of life experience, this doesn’t mean the student can question the teacher, it means that in terms of communication they share a common ground through experience.

These are just some characteristics of eras in a person’s life that can be a soft general rule most of the times, and in a way it can help organize how music should be taught depending on the age of the students, and why it’s better not to mix it up too much when it comes to the ages of the students.

 

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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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