The world of today has a big problem, which consists in blurring the line between a person’s work as an artist and their personal lives, which in turn begs the question, do we judge artists by their deeds and who they are as a person or their work.

Sometimes even actors suffer the consecuences of actions that are not their own, but characters they portrayed, which seems nonsensical but it does happen. However we will focus on musicians, and if it’s ok to judge someone because of something in their personal lives and stop listening to their music just because of that.

Of course there are crimes, there are personal opinions and there are little mistakes, but as listeners we have to ask ourselves where we draw the line between the artist and the music.

This is a very delicate subject nowadays and it’s amazing how fast a person’s career can get completely destroyed just because of one bad thing, and an apology just won’t do it.

There are many little things that contaminate how people perceive famous figures such as musicians, and as time goes by their exposure to the world gets more and more private, this combined with the feeling of power that social media gives to its users, as in, saying what their truth.

Political Opinions

One of the most common scenarios is when musicians express their political opinions and preferences.

The idea that musicians should have an obligation to speak truth to power is problematic. It is not only naïve, but unfair to those who choose musical entertainment as their way to put food on the table.

Fraser G. McNeill, the

This is something that should be avoided sometimes, while musicians tend to occupy a stage, they also have a metaphorical stage where their opinions have more influence than others.

My research has pointed to another, perhaps unpopular, fact. Many musicians simply do not care about politics. They class themselves as entertainers and actively avoid politics.

Fraser G. McNeill,

It is possible to just steer away from politics and just make music for everyone to enjoy, the thing is which subjects to touch and how to handle them.

Private Life and Music

Respecting a musician’s private life and his opinions seems such a simple idea but it often becomes the “real person” and the place where people judge them. The thing is in the end, musicians make an alter ego, not just because it’s fun, but because it’s necessary when engaging with so many people. The most important thing is also forgotten sometimes, which is the music.

It is easier still to separate artist from art in the case of purely instrumental music, which further removes the influence of the artist’s beliefs. Furthermore, it’s worth considering that many singer-songwriters portray themselves as a character different from themselves. I doubt all of the ‘sad’ lyrics in songs by bands such as Slipknot, Metallica and Nine Inch Nails are directly reflective of the lyricists’ lives. This is certainly the case in hip-hop. Tyler the Creator, Eminem and N.W.A are all rappers who operate under guises, or at the very least exaggerate their own character.

Fred Savage

This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t condemn serious crimes or any wrong behaviour, but try to separate the music from the artist as listeners. Of course there is a connection between the music and the person who made it, but as it reaches its listeners it aquires new meaning and interpretations.

In the end we just have to understand that famous musicians are only human, they are no saints or sinners, you may like them as a person or not, but the music is another story.

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It’s always healthy to feel like there is some competition in every discipline, this includes music. These “competitions” however, are not exclusively with another person, it also involves ourselves and surpassing our past selves.

This kind of motivation is sometimes thought to be unhealthy or unnecessary, but the truth is that it can be fuel for motivation. The thing is not to make it something bigger than it really is, what this means is that if there is someone that you feel is better at singing than you, you shouldn’t try to imitate him and win at his own game, but rather find the best that your voice can be, in order to feel like you can be as good as any other singer.

With students this can be a delicate situation sometimes, because there is always an unbalanced pool of students that teachers have to deal with. This of course doesn’t happen in online lessons, unless there is some sort of interaction between the students of one teacher which could be a good a idea.

Online lessons sometimes lack this competition between students due to the nature of the class dynamic, and in order to see if it can be possible, let’s see the flaws and benefits of these competitions, and how it could be integrated into online music lessons.

Class Room Competition

There is always that one student that is extremely talented and focused, and there is always that one student that gets frustrated because he’s not as good as the other students.  One is proud and the other frustrated. These are two profiles that often arise in a classroom, but this is not all bad, while it may cause some trouble, in the end it works as some kind of filter, where the frustrated one can go two ways, one is getting bored, slowly losing interest because it’s too difficult or not worth their frustration, or it can become an obstacle to overcome, in this case, a competition against the one with the amazing talent, and against himself in a way that pushes him to be better. However as teachers, it must be reminded to students that self satisfaction is the most important thing when it comes to competition, nothing good comes from being better than someone else as a goal, competition is the means to achieving a personal goal.

Competition in Online Lessons

The whole idea of the internet is to stay connected, to be connected with other people even though a physical connection cannot be possible, that’s why online music lessons shouldn’t be isolated one on one classes, at least not always. It’s a good idea to establish a connection between students and let them know that they can share their ideas, help each other out in a way a teacher can’t and make bonds that sometimes will end up in competitive attitudes. Another very clear way to make this competition spirit arise is to start music contests involving prizes and recognition for their work.

There are many ways to start a competition, the teacher’s job in this case is to make them remember that a competition is not a bad thing if it can be channeled into energy to learn new things and practice.

Whether it’s online or in a class room, interaction with several students in a teacher’s plan is important to develop a fuller learning environment in which students can surpass their own expectations and feel like they are closer to their goals as a musician.



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Henry 1 Divorced, beheaded, died; divorced, beheaded, survived! Is that what comes to mind when you think of the famous Tudor King of England? I imagine that his chat up line should have gone something like this: “Don’t worry; I won’t keep you for long!”

On a more serious note, probably a lesser known side to this colourful character of history was his ability as a musician and a composer! Born in 1491, Henry received an excellent education from the leading tutors of the day. As was expected of children born of the nobility, Henry was to become proficient in many skills such as hunting, fencing, jousting, archery, hawking, wrestling, dancing, writing poetry, singing as well as learning to play several musical instruments.

Henry 2A Very Long iTunes Playlist!

Henry developed a life-long love of listening to, performing and composing music. He built an extensive collection of musical instruments over the years including some 78 flutes, 76 recorders, 10 trombones, 14 trumpets, 5 bagpipes and many others! He was well respected as a competent musician and singer, doing much to actively encourage the very best musicians of the day to attend court. Many of the finest musicians and composers were attracted to this centre of musical culture with some coming from faraway European countries! During his reign, much experimentation in combining different musical instruments together in ensemble playing contributed greatly to the developing Renaissance era. At the height of this musical community, Henry had almost one hundred musicians and composers at his beck and call! They were highly organised, taking shifts to provide the King with an almost constant soundtrack to his day. From his waking moments, appropriate instruments would entertain his seemingly insatiable appetite for music.

Henry 3

Who Needs a Barry White CD!

Perhaps rather shocking is King Henry the VIII’s requirement for musical accompaniment whilst he entertained the ladies in his  [···]

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