Music & Technology

Classical music education is the most traditional form of musical education, however these days there are two ways to go with that kind of knowledge, the first is to stay true to its roots and perform as they would a few decades ago, the second way to go is to take all of that knowledge and bring it to 2019, where electronic music, computers, remixes and samples are a thing, and mixing rock, pop, and rap with orchestras is not a weird thing. These days, as a musician, you need to learn all you can, that way, creativity will blossom in a way it has not before, therefore bringing innovation.

Classical in Modern Rock

While there are many examples to choose from, Radiohead, David Bowie and Muse are some of the names that should be mentioned whenever of talking about classical influences in Rock these days. Whether it’s the influence of Chopin and grandiose feeling that draws Muse, the dissonance and beautiful blending sounds of Radiohead, or the electronic dark new sounds that we hear in David Bowie’s Blackstar, it’s clear that the classical sound is here to stay.

While in not the traditional way, all of these artists have used orchestras and classical inspired melodies to fuel new sounds and ideas which cannot be ignored when studying music as it shows the potential of strong traditional influences.

Gabriel Prokofiev: Remix The Classical

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Gabriel Prokofiev is the grandson of Sergei Prokofiev, the famous Russian composer, and he has been making classical music with a twist, as if the organic was imitating the artificial. On his electronic music influences he said in an interview:

GP: That came first, actually. When I was eleven or twelve years old, it was the 1980s, when you had the birth of electronic music. I liked synth-pop and electronic dance music when I was a teenager. I bought a synthesizer and was very interested in using a computer for music. So, it was something I was always interested in. When it came to studying classical music, I had a real passion for composition and I went to university to study music. In Birmingham University, where I first studied, they had a very good department for electroacoustic music, the classical electronic music, and I studied it further there. This was a very good way for me to discover my voice as a composer, with some disconnection from my classical roots. There was no connection with the symphonic work of my grandfather, when I was using electronics to make a big piece of music, therefore, I could develop as an artist.

However, ultimately, I got frustrated with the electronic music, mainly because the live performance of electronic music is often unsatisfying, because a lot of it is prepared beforehand, there is less of communication between the performer and public. When you see an orchestral performance, you can feel the incredible sense of community, energy. Also, as a composer, I felt even more exhausted, because you have to finish the whole electronic piece in the studio. You become the composer, the performer, and the producer, and you have to include a nuance of a live performance in the studio recording. It is great, but I think there are some brilliant musicians out there – why not to write a score and give it to them, so they could bring a new life into it. I am a sociable and communicative person, and I love the interaction between the composer and a performer. I would like a performer to give their contribution to the work; it should be a conversation.

While these are just a few examples, they are departures of the traditional way of making classical music, in the sense that in order to make something new, classical influences can help achieve that.

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It is no secret that playing a musical instrument not only bolsters a child’s physical and emotional development. It can also help in the more systematized development of his or her brain which can have a significant impact in the child’s academic activities and social endeavors. But just how can playing music benefit a child’s brain? Let’s learn more.

Improves Math Skills

We’re not talking about turning your child into a math wizard. What we’re talking about is the ability of music to help children better appreciate simple concepts in math that they can use to understand more complex numerical concepts in algebra, trigonometry, and calculus. The thing is that even a simple activity as playing the drums can teach children about the concept of measures as exemplified in musical rhythms or beats.

Studies show that children who played musical instruments fared a lot better in math tests especially on estimation and computation than those who aren’t musically-inclined. You can always start your child on any music instrument, but one of the easiest to master so far is playing the drums. You can also learn from a website how your child can play such a musical instrument and start his or her way to becoming skilled in numbers.

Enhances Memory

Did you know that memorizing music pieces can help improve the brain’s ability to process and integrate information in a process we call memory? Researchers have found that children who played musical instruments and had to memorize their piece demonstrated better working memory. It is believed that music challenges the way the child’s brain processes and integrates new information, allowing for more efficient neuronal activity.

This improvement in memory can also translate to a host of other benefits. Children who have better-functioning working memory will fare a lot better in academic pursuits that require such skills. It also lays the foundation for the brain’s ability to solve complex problems.

Facilitates the Processing of Language

While it is true that playing music doesn’t necessarily involve the use of words, it nevertheless helps the child’s brain in the development of language-related skills. Learning the different parts of a drum set and how each component can bring about a wonderful rhythm can improve the vocabulary of children learning to play the drums. The same is true for those who will be uttering the words that they have learned while learning to play these musical instruments. They can process phonemes a lot better.

Neuroscientists have discovered that music has a very unique way of improving the manner in which the human brain integrates and processes parts of everyday spoken language. When this is applied to children, music can potentially benefit those who are having a more difficult time with reading and language. This can help them in their academic activities.

Develops Spatial Reasoning

Several studies show that playing music can also enhance a child’s spatial reasoning or the ability of the brain to understand, remember, reason, and interpret the unique relationships among objects in space. This is all the more evident in children playing drums as they get to move not only all of their limbs but also the rest of their body. Knowing the distance of the drumstick relative to the surface of the drum is a function of the brain’s spatial reasoning abilities.

Children playing music will do well in activities that require spatial-temporal measures. This allows them to function a lot better and more efficiently across any activity that they choose. For instance, if they engage in sports, their spatial reasoning will allow them to shoot the basketball with greater proficiency or perhaps even aim for the bull’s eye in a game of darts. Whenever objects in space are involved, one has to rely on the brain’s spatial reasoning.

Protects against Dementia

Dementia is known as a degenerative disease that affects the elderly, but can always present in young to middle-age adults. It is degenerative, meaning it is a very slow and insidious process. Studies show that playing music can be a protective factor against the development of cognitive impairment and dementia.

One can never be sure if one’s child will grow to have dementia, given the fact that this condition is very common among the elderly. Because music can engage different parts of the brain at the same time, it can help prevent the disuse of brain cells enabling them to retain their optimum functioning a lot longer.

Playing music can be greatly advantageous to a child’s brain. Starting them today even with as simple as playing the drums can pave the way for better cognitive development.

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I have learned a lot from my dog, and I realized recently that some of it ties right into teaching music!

There are the stern dog trainers, intent on reducing the dog to an obedient creature paying as little attention to other dogs and the world as is convenient for the owner. But then there are the dog whisperers, the ones who know their dog so well that they know the right time to ask the right thing of them, knowing that dogs want to please when they love their owner.

In my case, I learned that if every single interaction with my dog was positive, she was open to anything I wanted her to do.

If you apply that philosophy to teaching music, you end up with a very observant and carefully crafted system of working with students. When a student doesn’t do things you want — practice, follow your advice, or even do what you just asked them to do, for example — what do you do? Intimidate? Stress that you know what they should do and they don’t? Lay down an ultimatum?

There is certainly a place for challenging students and seeing if they can rise to the occasion. However, if they don’t do what you want, there are more interesting and constructive options than applying force (repetition, punishment, intimidation, contracts, etc.).

If you decide you are going to make every interaction a positive one, this does not at all mean praising where no praise is due. What it really means is   [···]

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