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We know that 2020 wasn’t the best year for many of us, but it was also a year that brought some good things in terms of music.

Being isolated and making us step back from the fast paced day to day, can change our perspective quite a bit, and in music it has made both teachers and students explore new things, making the most out of their creativity.

It’s important to remember that even if it was a hard year, there were so many things we could learn from it that will stay with us even when there is no pandemic to worry about.

Did 2020 Bring Good Things?

There was no lack of time to explore and find something to get attached to, something that kept the spirits up and the hope for a better tomorrow.

This was the case for music teachers as it inspired them to make new and creative things during the pandemic.

Some teachers even learned to enjoy teaching online a lot, and this is because of a few reasons:

  • More family time
  • A change of pace
  • Learning new things and familiarizing with new tools
  • Review goals and strategies
  • Realizing that online lessons have no bounds
  • Online teaching has its own set of good things and bad things, it’s not just a worse alternative

According to the data from colorfulkeys.ie

Overall, teachers have an average of about 22 students.

The youngest ages which teachers taught skewed younger than we expected, with nearly 90% taking on students under the age of 7.

Over 60% of teachers teach 30 minute lessons as their standard format which mostly varies up to 45 minutes.

Only 3.4% of teachers said that they were not interested in composing or improvising with their students, and this is a very good thing, because most traditional music schools don’t give enough attention to composition and improvisation.

More than 90% of teachers taught online in 2020 which makes sense, and Zoom was the preferred platform.

More Personal Approach

In music education, sometimes creativity is put to the side in order to focus on performance and technique, however being in lockdown has been an interesting test.

This without a doubt gave many musicians around the world something to write about, while dealing with their own issues, this includes music students and beginners.

What happened was that many students couldn’t resist the fact that they have the skill to play an instrument and there is a lot of time on their hands. This can fuel their passion even more as it is a more personal approach to music, one that doesn’t rely on just attending classes on a tight schedule, and as consequence, students enjoy their lessons even more.

Education Through New Technologies

This has been one of the hardest things to overcome, for both teachers and students, since it’s a very different environment and learning process.

The idea of a classroom and sharing the same interests with other students it’s very important to stay motivated and invested in every lesson.

However despite the harshness of 2020, there was always a way to maintain that human connection through a virtual classroom as teachers got creative and less traditional in order to adapt.

There were many things we learned about relying on the internet and many apps such as Zoom and Skype. One of them is that these new technologies have great potential, but there are some things to overcome.

The most notable issue is that the internet, while it has no bounds, some places in the world don’t have a really good connection.

Still, even though the world will eventually get back to normal, this was a big reminder that these tools exist, and they are meant to be used.

Better Tools

Most music teachers hadn’t been able to get an”upgrade” when it comes to the tools that new technologies offer, and can in fact improve and widen the possibilities when teaching.

Making room for a home office to teach online lessons was both a useful and encouraging part of 2020 for music teachers.

Maybe redecorate a room a little, or just using an old storage that wasn’t really being used that much.

Investing in a good pair of headphones, a mic and maybe a new computer was also a big part of adapting to this way of teaching.

Parents Role

It’s true that students have to learn how to be responsible and organized on their own, but at the same time, it’s also true that parents have been very absent in general when it comes to their children’s education, and this shouldn’t be the case.

This is also a good thing if schools and teachers manage to engage with parents in creative ways.

This is definitely one of those things that doesn’t seem to hard but it’s very easy to overlook, thankfully 2020 was a step in the right direction when it comes to parents support.

Learning Experience in 2020

Most of us can agree that in many ways, 2020 was a year that made us reflect and put ourselves to the test on various areas.

For musicians in any area whether it was teaching, composing, learning as a student, it made staying at home a bit of a strange exercise, as music became a window to breathe and meditate.

Just like any intellectual process, music offered a cathartic element from its art and sounds either directly, by making or playing music, or performing another task with music to help keep a positive mind.

This was easier due to the fact that students were at home with a lot of free time.

There is a lot to have in mind moving forward to 2021 that could improve the way musicians teach and learn music, making the most of  every tool possible.

We hope to keep offering the best content and support at MTH, and we thank you for choosing us to help you with your lessons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It is commonly known that babies tend to react positively to music in many ways, and sometimes it’s a way to make them relax and fall asleep as well as have some fun, however there are other lasting benefits that might interest some parents, uncles or any person who has an important little family member.

Learning with Music

In a study made in 2016, at the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS) it was proven that music improved 9 month old babies’ brain processing of sounds.

“Our study is the first in young babies to suggest that experiencing a rhythmic pattern in music can also improve the ability to detect and make predictions about rhythmic patterns in speech,”

Christina Zhao

“This means that early, engaging musical experiences can have a more global effect on cognitive skills,”

During the experiment a group of babies along with their parents were assigned to a control session in which a group listened to music and tried to follow the rhythm while the other group played with toys and interacted with other activities.

The results where very interesting, and showed that the babies that were listening to music, presented a higher brain activity when it came to detecting patterns and rythms than the other group.

In both the music and control groups, we gave babies experiences that were social, required their active involvement and included body movements — these are all characteristics that we know help people learn

Christina Zhao

The key difference between the play groups was whether the babies were moving to learn a musical rhythm.

Christina Zhao

There is so much that can be learned only by listening to music, in the end not all of these babies are going to be professional musicians when they grow up, but it will enhance their ability to learn new languages and develop a healthier sense of hearing.

This research reminds us that the effects of engaging in music go beyond music itself. Music experience has the potential to boost broader cognitive skills that enhance children’s abilities to detect, expect and react quickly to patterns in the world, which is highly relevant in today’s complex world.

Patricia Kuhl

Babies and Music

The author of This Is Your Brain, Dr. Daniel Levitin baby’s brain is prewired to learn how to understand music, just as it’s prewired to learn how to speak different languages. He compares the way babies learn how to understand music and understand rhythm, the same way the learn how to speak, like some sort of musical babbling .

Dr. Levitin says:

Your baby may make up little songs and train himself to hear and create various musical ideas

There are also more straightforward ways to help babies learn some new things through music such as catchy easy lyrics, this will help the baby learn words and assiciate them with the music. Even more so if the parent is singing to the baby will doing gestures and dancing, it’s even better as it stimulates more than just the hearing.

music note wallpaper Luxury Music Note Backgrounds Wallpaper Cave 2019

Of course, it’s also a good way to connect, as we all know, music can say a lot of things without using words, so what better way to bond with a baby than music.

Music is just another language, and it’s going to be a while before a baby begins speaking, before that, as any other human being, a baby will crave human connection, and what better way than to stimulate him or her with music and make it so that the world around is a place they can interact with.

Remember: ” “Infants’ hearing is well developed soon after birth, so they can respond to music very early on,” according to Dr. Diane Bales

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Music is actually a lot more than playing, and knowing how to write and read, there is a whole history that grows with each passing day, meaningful past creations, cultural movements, places, and people. Music teachers should always pay attention to these things as it contributes to the general knowledge and inspiration towards making music.

There is a problem about knowing how to do something but not completely knowing how or why, nor knowing how to explain it, this can be an issue that blurs the goals and inspirations as musicians.

History

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Music history is something that can help in various fields. First, you get a look at hundreds of artists, composers and bands with a wide arrange of genres, inspirations and styles that will surely be a great influence in future creations.

History also teaches about the musical evolution in terms of the similarities between composers from each era and context, and the evolution of technology, this sort of musical progress or change is an important part of human history as a whole as it shows quite a bit

In an article by Scott Huntington from the Oxford University Press’s
Academic Insights for the Thinking World, he talks about David Gonzol, who was his teacher at the time, and on the importance of learning about music history he said:

“All the best professional and amateur musicians, from Ella Fitzgerald to Paul McCartney, Adolph Herseth to Johann Sebastian Bach and Clara Schumann to Jean Ritchie, all made sure to know their field thoroughly and well. They knew their own performing skills, other performers, the repertoire, the history, the theory, the business, the culture, the people, everything. One can sing a melody or play a harmony, only if one really understands how those melodies or harmonies have been valued in their particular culture. How they have been performed, thought about, composed, improvised, listened to, danced to and worshipped to. Truly successful musicians understand all their music because they worked hard at becoming terrifically well-rounded. As cellist Lynn Harrell once said to a sixth-grade boy, ‘There are no shortcuts.’”

Dr David Gonzol

Culture

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The cultural impact of music is without a doubt one of the most important parts of its history, from Beethoven’s nine symphonies, which have been considered the cornerstones of Western civilization to Elvis and the Beatles in the 20th century.

Music can be one of the purest ways to express oneself, and this a lot of times comes in times of anguish, turmoil, fear, rage, sadness and very strong joy. Therefore music has been the main event for many counter culture movements, such as jazz, blues, rock, punk, electronic music and hip hop. While some of these are now established genres and made a partial transition into the pop culture, their origins came from a place of disagreement and incomprehension.

As Sheila Whiteley says in her article, Countercultures: Music, Theory and Scenes:

Music played a major role in the way that the counterculture authored space in relation to articulations of community by providing a shared sense of collective identity.

Sheila Whiteley

Music is a lot more than just performing, as every creation and performances are in a way representations of human emotions in different contexts, which then become signatures, time machines, and inspire people beyond borders and time, even more so now with the internet. Music connects people, and the only way to truly understand this is to learn its history.

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