Music Theory

From the very beginning of music lessons, the voice is our first go to, tool to learn about notes harmonies and scales. This is an essential part of reading music and training your musical ear. However, the voice as an instrument is also the cause of many insecurities, such as not liking how it sounds, not having a wide range or just not feeling comfortable with others listening. The first step in order to overcome this, is to understand why it’s so important to control this natural instrument, what is vocal range and learning how to find your own voice through trial and error.

Why Sing?

There are two answers to this question, with the first one being the obvious one, which is that you want to be a singer. However if you are interested in playing instruments and don’t want to focus too much on singing, it’s still an useful instrument to have when getting involved with music. First of all, it’s the instrument you’ll always carry with you, to master this natural instrument is to carry melodies with you at all times. Secondly, singing is often an integral part of music education. Teachers involve students very easily by making them sing certain melodies or read sheets, not only does this improve the dynamic of the class itself, but it helps to develop a musical ear, remember musical structure of music writing, and reading.

Vocal Range

The vocal range determines roughly your range as a singer based on your lower note and your higher note,according to The New Harvard Dictionary of Music these vocal ranges classifications are:

soprano: C4 to A5
mezzo-soprano: A3 to F#5
alto: G3 to E5 (and contralto as F3-D5)
tenor: roughly C3 to A4
baritone: A2 to F4
bass: F2 to E4

The soprano and tenor are considered to be high voice, baritone and mezzo-soprano mid voice and alto and bass low voice.

This of course is not permanent, the vocal range can expand with practice and time, it can also be smaller if for example the vocal chords suffer some kind of strain, damage or not enough practice.

In order to know your vocal range, it’s as easy as playing notes to see how far can you go, and then find where you stand, this can help you know where you feel comfortable singing and what you want to improve. It also helps to know your vocal range so that you can look for singers with a similar tone to practice.

Finding your Voice

It happens many times to students that they want their voice to sound in a particular way, and they get frustrated because the only thing they find is something different than what they want, and something different than their usual speaking voice. This is important due to the fact that our singing voice is different than the regular speaking voice, because of this, some effort has to be put in order to find this new singing voice, and this requires patience.

Knowing your vocal range and listening popular singers will definitely help, however the best way is always to practice and record yourself, you may not like what you hear, but like any other instrument, you need to tune your vocal chords, and learn how to use them.

Even if you’re not very interested in being a professional singer, there is a chance that, while trying and learning the basics, you find a comfortable way to sing and you may discover an unknown talent, so long as don’t strain your voice, experiment with different techniques and get to know your voice.

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It’s common sense that music is something that is heard, listened, it goes through our ears, we are able to register sound and that way we can experience music, however there is a very important visual part of music, some are also a part of common sense or logic, others form part of aspects that aren’t very explored and could bring a lot to what music is to the world.

First of all, most people are generally more visually driven, this makes every experience begin with sight, and shortly after sounds. This is how classical music interpreters approach their art, they begin reading their sheets and then make the sounds through their instruments. Music academies are very visual in general due to the fact that there is so much emphasis on reading and writing music.

There is also a thing with beginners that is a very common and instinctively thing to do, which is looking exactly at what you’re doing, which is something that does not happen while singing, in singing you hear and you feel, playing and instrument, beginners see and hear, which is not a bad thing at all, it just happens. The thing is that as a beginner musician progresses, they no longer feel the need to watch every move every single time, while it works as support, it is no longer needed.

Visual Sounds

There is also a case that cannot be ignored, which is disabilities, this can change the way music is perceived as a whole, and if a person is deaf, you may think that, that person has no way to experience music but that is not true. A deaf person can still read and write music, and it’s not weird to feel music, when we go to a concert or we are in a party our body feels the vibrations of the rhythm, and this responds to another sense.

There is another way a deaf person can experience music, and while it’s not very common, it does happen, and this is to experience sounds, visually, this can be a bit strange to some but according to… amber Galloway Gallego this can be achieved.

She believes that music can still be expressed without actually hearing and criticizes many translators that just cue a sign that means “music” and just stand there while the sound of music is there, when you could actually do so much more.

This is not only a good effort to help disabled people experience music in a visual way, it is also a reminder of how complex and rich can music be.

While visual experiences can be a very good complement of the sounds themselves, such as going to a concert and seeing all the lights, fires, smoke, and breathtaking effects, music videos published along side the music to help tell a story, or even album covers; the visual part of music can also be the experience itself whether it is through music composition and reading or as a tool to interpret sounds and what the musician is trying to express.

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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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