Music Teacher's Helper Blog

There is something that tends to happen with young students which is that they don’t stay within the limts of classical music which is the standard for music education, and they follow the energetic appeal of music such as rock and electric guitars, but there are some differences beyond just how to play this type of music and its instruments.

Electric Guitar Gear

For starters, there is some essential gear that is needed to be confortable making rock music, this ranges from pedals to amplifiers. First of all an overdrive or distortion pedal is a must, an overdrive being a more clean distortion. Rock is a genre that is known to have lots of distortion with guitars and even bass sometimes. Next would be a few complementary pedals such as a chorus, and a reverb. These two can help achieve a specific sound by playing a bit with the knobs, or use a specif effect for a particular moment.

There are many more effects that will eventually become a part of your arsenal as a guitarist but first, the essentials.

Electric, Loud and Messy

This article is mostly to help young musicians that started their journey in music school but are very interested in rock, this is a very common thing but it is a very different experience despite still being just music.

While in other musical genres acoustic is what matters in order to get the best sound possible, in rock music, amplifiers, volume and all sorts of equalization is essential to get the best sound possible.

Everything Works In Rock

Electric

If there is a genre that welcomes any genre and blends differents types of music is rock, and one of the biggest mistakes of young musicians is to believe that rock is “cooler” than the music they’re taught in music school. Rock is different, but it’s also a place in which they can be extemely creative without falling far from the genre.

This is one of the reasons why rock is amazing for beginners, because it allows a lot of creative freedom, but more than that, the sense of freedom and energy that young musicians have is very present in this genre.

The attitude towards rock excludes everything that could be boring about music and provides an experience that can be fun and educational, while at the same time connecting with the ones learning how to play. Imagine for example telling a student to use what they’ve learned from scales and classical interpretations in an original rock song. The idea would be that any restraints, either psichological or composition wise would be broken, allowing creativity to flourish in a way that music academies sometimes overlook.

In this sense the electric guitar is one of the easiest instruments to make that transition while also feeling a very strong difference in the overall feel of the music being played.

Controversial

While it is something that affected this genre for decades, it shouldn’t be an issue anymore.

Meanwhile, academic job listings around the country show an unprecedented demand for popular specializations. These developments result in a new kind of irony, for there is, as yet, no clear “discipline” of rock studies, no consensus on what might constitute its focus or its limits, as a field of study or set of approaches; and it is not clear that there ever will or should be. It is not that scholars have failed to attempt to address such questions. On the contrary, the interested reader is no longer lacking in stylistic overviews, encyclopedic histories, theoretical treatises, and college textbooks. But these manifold projects are beset from the outset by ideological and methodological controversies, while still lacking the solid underpinning of serious, close musical analysis that is needed if clear musicological understanding is to be obtained.

John Covach and Graeme M. Boone, Understanding Rock

Rock is an opportunity to blossom in many ways, and it is the best way to just go crazy mixing different styles of music, which will encourage a music student’s education.

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These days there is a lack of real human connection, and it’s important to build bridges to overcome this. Our world should be a very connected world because of the internet and all the different ways that space has stopped being an issue.

Hideo Kojima, the creator of the videogame Death Stranding says: “We’re in an era of individualism,” he said “Everyone is fractured. Even on the internet. It’s all connected, all around the world, but everyone is fighting each other.”

Without delving too deep on the plot of the game, the idea is to rebuiled a fractured isolated society, and in our world, while this is not a reality yet, it very well might be, and one of our strongest line of defense against this is music.

Music as Bridges

bridges

According to a research made back in 2013 by Stefan Koelsch, music psychologist at the Freie University, Berlin, there are four main ways in which music can help build a connection and strengthen bonds with other people.

It helps with learning how to work well with others, which is a very important quality to have since many things involve teamwork and knowing how to be confindent and confortable while working in large groups.

Playing music in a band or singing in a choir certainly involves cooperation as well—whether in preparation for the performance or during the performance. Arguably, cooperation increases trust between individuals and increases one’s chances of future cooperation—important factors in human evolutionary success and societal stability.

Bonding with other people is also encouraged by music at hormonal level, which is actually rather fascinating since most people don’t realize how much music can affect our bodies.

Oxytocin is a neuropeptide affiliated with breast-feeding and sexual contact, is known to play an important role in increasing bonding and trust between people. Now researchers are discovering that music may affect oxytocin levels in the body.

Also another study showed how music helps with relaxation. Being relaxed may not be a bridge but it is a state that allows us to be more open and easy going, and while being relaxed, building connections can be easier.

Though the study was more focused on the relaxation properties of music than on oxytocin specifically, it still suggests that music directly impacts oxytocin levels, which, in turn, affect our ability to trust and act generously toward others—factors that increase our social connection.

There is also a very reflective side to music, because it has been proven that music allows not only to make real person to person connection but it also allows our minds to make connections and understand things about ourselves.

Music has been shown to activate many areas of the brain, including the circuit that helps us to understand what others are thinking and feeling, and to predict how they might behave—a social skill scientists call “theory of mind,” which is linked to empathy.

Connection between different cultures and groups is also one of the bridges built with music. There is no denying that music is a universal language and this helps build trust and a sense of familiarity between human beings no matter where they come from.

Nowadays, music has the potential to make us feel connected to all of humanity. The more we use music to bring us together—literally and figuratively—the more potential for increased empathy, social connection, and cooperation. I, for one, feel more connected to my human ancestors just knowing that someone took the time to carve that flute, succumbing to the primal urge to make music. It’s an urge I share. Perhaps we all do.

It’s not just pleasure and entertainment, there is something deeper and more meaningful to what makes music so important for humanity, and although it keeps changing, it will always bring us these amazing consecuences as bridges.

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One of the toughest way to sing is to learn how to sing Opera, the strength and passion that the voice manages to have is almost unbelievable. There are specific ways to train the voice and be able to sing with such powerful sound.

However one of the most important things to understand about opera singers is that they don’t use microphones, so the way that the body has to work as an instrument needs to be as refined and polished as it can be, with of course, lots of care and training

Luciano Pavarotti

Luciano Pavarotti was one of the greatest and most famous opera singers to date, and while he is from the world of opera, he has been known to sing along with other artists like Elton John and Bono.

He was born in 1935 in Northern Italy, and while he was growing up, his big dream was far from music, he wanted to be a profesional football player as a goalkeeper, however, he eventually turned his attention towards music, and began his studies at the age of 19.

Music has an incredible value. Because I remember, myself, the Second World War. I was ten when the war finished, and the first thing everybody wanted was to have light – because during the war we cannot have light in the night. And secondly, to gather round the fire in the open air and to sing and play. Stupid things, but together. And singing and singing and singing. I think that music, art, is the bread of the soul. So we would like to participate to give nutrition to the soul.

Today Opera is not one of the most popular genres of music in the world, however it does retain a level of prestige and recognition due to its history and the technical prowess it requires. Pavarotti said about the music industry today that:

They buy records, but what they want is song and they want songs written today. If you make a record of songs of today you will sell more than if you record antique songs.

I am not pessimistic. I am realistic. It is an attitude of the audience. Audiences like novelty – they like new operas, they like new singers, they like everything new. [By new he doesn’t mean contemporary, but rather music that he and other popular classical artists haven’t done before.] I have almost recorded everything in opera that I can. One thing I am going to do which I have neglected recently is recitals with piano. It’s the most difficult thing of all because it is yourself up there, alone with the pianist.

Interview from gramophone.com

There are still however, many people interested in becoming opera singers, and the first step to get into opera is to know about the world of opera, on this note, Pavarotti has some recommendations for those who want to start the journey:

They always should go for a good drama. For example, Puccini is a good way to meet – ToscaBohème. Comic opera like Elixir Of Love [by Donizetti] is fantastic, Barber Of Seville [Rossini]. And then, little by little, they should go to Verdi, who is more important than all the other composers … For me, I like Mozart and Beethoven in the classic, I like Verdi in the operatic. If I have to choose one composer I will be a traitor of Italy because I will choose Mozart, because he has done classic and opera. In the way he has written, I think, he is the greatest genius of all.

Interview from Pauldunoyer.com

Why Should You Learn Opera Singing

For starters it’s not for everybody, meaning it’s not easy to get into, it takes a lot more time to adjust than regular singing (meaning, to sing with the help of microphones or any other genre). There is an amount of practice and devotion that will be needed in order to achieve a good level of understanding of what opera is. However this is an art that seems almost superhuman to most singers, and the tradition and history behind it is long and rich.

Opera can eventually find its way back to the spotlight, and with how musical genres are experimenting today, it just may be around the corner.

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