Studio Management

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When teaching, there is an obvious difference of students and teacher, and it defines the space in which each of them operates, this is, a predominance of speaker on the teacher’s side, and a predominance of listeners on the student’s side, but what to do when this dynamic changes, and what is the difference on it being caused by a good thing or a bad thing? Creativity.

Of course is a bad thing if you as teacher, see the class being interrupted by a student who is just looking for some fun to alleviate his boredom, but when a student interrupts because he wants to learn or share his opinion, that is a whole other subject.

Creative Student

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Student’s minds are a roller coaster of thoughts when truly invested into the class, this sometimes end in confusion, sometimes boredom, interest, fascination, and something else, which is the topic at hand, creativity.

Creativity can come easily to some people while listening to other things, as if they use what they listen as bridges to create new paths in their minds, and this can happen with children, teens and adults. To have a somewhat balanced opinion let’s pretend we are talking about a 17 year old boy or girl which we will call “the creative student”.

The creative student sometimes can be a bit impulsive, because of the amount of passion there is for music, this has to be tamed, not stopped.

The importance of giving creativity the attention it deserves cannot be dismissed. Concerning this fact, Peter Webster from the Thornton School of Music says:

Consider for a moment how this might affect motivation.  With the rich opportunities to create music comes an inherent desire to learn more about technique.  Practice time is not based only on a teacher-directed and teacher-centered set of technical challenges, devoid of any student engagement.  Instead, there is added a personal investment in improving one’s playing or singing.  Listening to one’s recorded performances focuses attention on the need to improve sound.  Students asked to analyze their own musical performances, perhaps their own music, become more intrinsically engaged.

That is the ultimate goal in music education, students have to be engaged and inspired to make their own music, that’s why letting their creativity fly in class is crucial to their formation as musicians.

Classroom instruction for younger grades can continue to be defined by singing and moving but must also include attention to composition, improvisation, and creative listening. We need to completely rethink methods class to include more composition and improvisation and greater attention to technology

The Focus on Creativity

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If this is the focus, learning about technique will become a necessary means to achieve what they as musicians want, in other words, it has to be the teacher’s priority to make every student feel as comfortable as they can in class.

It’s also important to remember that some students may be more outgoing and more open to share their tastes than others, which is the different between the creative student and the rest of them. When we refer to a “creative student” does not mean that the rest of them aren’t creative, it just means that them as students are not showing that side of them, and the desired thing should be to make them all creative students. No one should be feeling left out or less than the rest, and in online lessons, where there are no classmates in the traditional sense, creativity should be more easily involved in each lessons.

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A huge part of music today is the story you tell, not only with the sounds and harmonies played, but the actual words that are sung. This aspect of music has been a part of its structure in many compositions since opera or minstrels, where words mattered.

In a way, lyrics and poetry are sometimes intertwined with differences such as melodies and musical context, because rhythm is already a part of what makes poetry so compelling. However there is another dimension of the rhythm aspect which is being in sync with the tone of the music.

Is Poetry the Same as Lyrics

 

According to Matthew Zapruder from bostonreview.net:

To say that this means song lyrics are less literary than poems, or require less skill or intelligence or training or work to create, is patently absurd (and, in the case of rap music, patronizing). But that does not mean that song lyrics are poems. They might sometimes accidentally function like poems when taken out of a musical context, but abstracting lyrics from musical information is misleading and beside the point.

While there are many similarities and artists sometimes present their lyrics as poetry there are some differences that make them both shine in their own way. Now, if you were to take poetry and turn it into lyrics for a song, it may not be that difficult, although some changes may have to be made, it would mostly be taking some words out more than adding words. However if you were to make the lyrics of a song into a poem, most of the times it would not work, because the whole structure of a song gives the words context, this can be from the way a singer sings certain words, the way silence is used to allow the music go through the words as sun light in the woods, and the overall mood and feel that embraces the vocals.

Writing a Song

 

Knowing these differences, it should also be noted that working through lyrics is sometimes a very similar process as writing poetry, but there are many ways in which we can approach writing them.

First of all is the order, when you think about making a musical composition with lyrics, you think about two dimensions: music and lyrics, but which one comes first when going through the process of composing. It can go both ways or at the same time, but the truth is, that the final product will be different depending on the focus, because if the idea is to write something and then add some sort of soundtrack to what’s been written, the focus is clearly on the vocals, however if you have a full instrumental song, and then add the lyrics, it’s most likely the voice will follow a pattern outside of its own.

It can also be made simultaneously, as if the voice and the lyrics were just another instrument, and go as far as to come up with words while playing the music. This does not necessarily means that the order will determine if vocals are more or less important, however it can be a factor in that outcome.

A good tip for a beginner songwriter is just to not be afraid to try things, to make mistakes, and always remember: it’s a work in progress, everything is malleable until you feel there’s nothing else that can be done.

Creative writing is never easy, specially when it has to fit a musical context, but with enough practice, translating words into another instrument, will become easier and will show a whole other part of music that can be very interesting and fun to play with; trying different orders, and rearranging sounds and words in order to make the puzzle work and feel natural.

 

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These days, a lot of the entertainment industry is all about movies, TV shows, video games and in between, commercials, ads and much more. The truth is that while the visual side of all these forms of art is essential, what would it all be without music? There is a different approach to music when the final product has to be in sync with the story or message that is being told visually, in this regard, music accentuates, adds or even complicates things to the overall experience.

It’s not hard to think about iconic soundtracks, with some very known and loved in cinema such as Star Wars, 007, Kill Bill, series such as Star Trek, The Twilight Zone and many more. There are also many iconic soundtracks that most people are able to recognize such as Super Mario Bros. and Street Fighter.

Of course, the approach is different depending on which type or art or entertainment the music is for, let’s dive into some aspects of each one of them.

Movies

The first movie ever to have a musical score was “Don Juan” which was released  in 1926, a year later with “The Jazz Singer” sound and music became part of what made these films so amazing. From that moment on, films were usually accompanied by music, even before actors spoke lines of dialogues. It was clear that music helped represent the story and deliver a more compelling experience to the viewer and now listener.

These days it’s such an integral part of the industry that awards are given to the best musical score every year and many talented musicians work most of their time giving life to the sound of the stories that movies tell, and sometimes being the story itself, as it is with musicals.

TV

While it’s very similar,TV shows work a little different, and a lot of this has to do with show’s intros and credits scene, because not only does it needs to represent the show and display a very defined identity, but it will also sound every single time the show is on air. This makes music divert a little from the art and more into the business side of things, since it has to be catchy and promote the show itself every time it’s music comes on air and through commercials.

This of course extends to cartoons such as Looney Tunes,and Hanna-Barbera productions, which have very memorable melodies.

Commercials

Commercials’ music or jingles, were all about being catchy and short, while giving a sense of happiness and drawing the viewer in through emotion, while the eyes see the real product.

Video Game Soundtrack

At first, video games featured very simple tunes, as the technology did not allowed a great quality to be included in the game, however as time went by, music in video games began to take a place similar to movies, with the difference of being more dynamic. What this means is that music didn’t just play at certain moments, it played when you made the moments happen. A good early example of this is with Sonic the Hedgehog, a game in which you had the general soundtrack of a level, but if you picked up a speed power up, the music changed to the tone of going faster, or if you started to drown, the music change to a more stress like, soundtrack, as well as more dramatic music when encountering more powerful enemies.

Being a musician actually has many branches,and there is no doubt that working on musical scores and soundtracks has a lot to cover nowadays, you just have to let yourself explore.

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