Why I love Music and teach it ( part 2)
In this 2-part series, I want to share with you my reasons for loving and teaching Music. You can get to know me more in my About Me page. However, I want to share with you why I love Music and why I teach it. Click here to read Part 1 of this series.
Music is Science: Why is this? Music requires exact acoustics, specific and exact. Take for example the conductor’s score. The full score in scientific terms is a chart which involves frequencies, intensities and volume changes, melody and harmony all at once and with the most exact control of time.
I remember studying acoustics as part of my Music degree. Not being scientific minded, the first term was difficult learning about sound waves, and frequencies and the like. However, during the remainder of the year, the subject took on a more familiar bent in relation to music. That was a relief.!!
What I have come to appreciate the need to learn about these topics in a scientific way is the importance of acoustics and environment on performance of orchestra, solo piano, singing, organ and choir. The venue and its construction (walls, floorboards/carpet, height of ceiling, furnishings have an impact on the acoustics of sound from a scientific perspective, but from a musical perspective impact significantly on the performance. The environment makes a difference and it is musician’s duty to access these factors during rehearsals and know how to get the best sound from the venue.
After all, as musicians and teachers we need to be aware and teach our students that music is the art of communication in silence and in sound to our emotions. Music has the power to transform and heal our emotions. We need to know the science of Music to assist Music to have that power.
Music is Mathematical: It is rhythmically based on the subdivisions of time into fractions which must be done immediately rather than solving the problem on paper or through a calculator. It is often said that there is a strong link between Music and Maths and that musicians are often most competent with Maths also. I would love to say that is true in my case, but I think it fair to say that Mathematics was/is not my strong suit.!! However, when it came to learning Music, any rhythms that needed calculation were easily solved instantly. I think a lot had to do with mindset- this was music in my mind- not mathematics.!!
A common comment about Music and Musicians is that many of them are good at Mathematics. I cannot speak for the whole of the Music world, but only for my experience. I can safely say without putting myself down that Maths was definitely not my strong suit when I was at school. I have, I have to say improved over the years with life experience. Funnily enough, my late dad was an accountant who loved figures ( a real wiz with them and a nose for fraud) . Whilst I was power of attorney for him and not long before he passed away, he said to me” I could have made an accountant out of you’’. I chuckled to myself thinking of my school day maths, but it was the highest compliment from my father. He loved his figures just as much as I love my Music
So, if you are thinking of learning Music and Mathematics is not your strong suit either, do not fear. Although Music and Mathematics are linked, many musicians do very well without a PH D in Mathematics.
Albert Einstein connects this concept in this way”’ "If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music." ~
Music is a transcontinental language: The semantics of music is universal whilst many of the terms are in Italian, German or French. Even the notation itself is not English but rather made of symbols and signs to represent sound and silence.
Let me digress here and convey to you a true story of a young primary school child.
He had been labelled since day 1 at school as a’’ slow learner’’ ( as it was referred to in earlier decades). Sadly, every year the label went up with the child doing much damage to his self-esteem.
The parent did not tell me about the so-called learning difficulty and I taught the child as I had done many times before. I assumed the child had at least average intelligence. When he came to learn the Italian terms for music, he did not have any difficulty. His school teacher started to notice the improvement in his spelling. She monitored the situation for a few weeks and then when the child sat successfully for Music Theory Exam and shared the result with the teacher, she was not only pleased for the child, but realised that learning Music Theory and in particular, the terms and signs in another language actually helped this child enormously. This child who was labelled as a slow learner and who could not spell at last was given the chance to shake off the label that others had given him.
This experience is not a one-off moment. I have had similar experiences with children whose spelling of English is wanting and yet when they learn the terms and signs in another language have no difficulty learning and remembering them. They also improve their competency in written language when they learn music and in particular, Music Theory.
The other true story is from my own experience. I went to Taize in France in 2000. I wanted to experience the reflective, meditative atmosphere that the services provide in the chants. My French was unpolished, a lot of it forgotten despite having studied it during my university days. Obviously, language is communication. Yet when I was invited to be in the choir there during that week, the rehearsal experience was amazing. So many pilgrims from many different countries there at rehearsal, yet the language of Music was indeed universal. Once we started singing, we all knew the signs and symbols of notation and how to translate them into sound- the universal sound of Music.
Music is Physical Education:
It requires co-ordination of the whole body. Depending on the instrument or voice played, certain other muscles are required to be fully integrated such as facial muscles, lips, arms, hands, fingers and of course fabulous integration of back, stomach and chest for diaphragmatic breathing. All of our muscles in the body are used in different ways, but the ear responds to the sound heard and the mind interprets both the sound required, and the coordination required from the appropriate muscles.
Most musicians need to train their muscles to perform at peak level. These muscles do not just work at will. They need a regular workout. I know from my own experience of performing the physical demand it takes on the body. The next time you are at a concert, consider this factor whilst they are performing. As Luciano Pavarotti said once during an interview some years ago: “’ I go home by ambulance after every performance’’.
Musicians need to be aware of their muscles and how they use/abuse them. Health and safety for Musicians is critical if they are to not only perform at their best but to live their own lives as well comfortably. The Alexander technique used by some musicians is valuable because it is a way to feel better, and move in a more relaxed and comfortable way... the way nature intended. An Alexander Technique teacher helps you to identify and lose the harmful habits you have built up over a lifetime of stress and learn to move more freely.
As Musicians we need to be aware of our bodies and use the muscles in a way that gives us longevity and great performance. Teaching healthy habits and providing an opportunity for student awareness of physical and emotional problems, whilst teaching Music is, in my opinion vital to learning Music.
In this 2-part series I have outlined some of the factors involved in loving and teaching Music. In essence, Music is all of these factors/characteristics. It is the bringing together of them all to produce sound and silence (music) which creates the emotional connection.
Music affects the way we feel. Listening to music and/or playing/singing can lift us up when we are down, or can add another layer to our happiness and contentment. We can feel connected to some music- sometimes the lyrics touch us and other times it is the combination of the lyrics and the music combined that give it a sublime sense of satisfaction.
Sometimes we can identify how Music has transformed us, and at other times, we may not have the words to express how it has affected us, but we know in our inner being that we have been touched by it. Music therefore is good for our emotional well-being, especially and our spiritual well-being, but also for our physical well-being. For example, listening to 5-10 songs daily can improve memory, strengthen immune system and combat depression by 80%.
Music is life: What is the value of living unless you know how to live.
Music makes a person human. able to recognise beauty at a deeper level, be sensitive to self and other people through a stronger capacity for empathy, love, compassion, inner gentle spirit and joy. Music provides the sound and silence by which we connect to our real emotions.
WANT TO KNOW MORE?
Understanding Music is essential, so I always teach Music Theory from day 1. Being able to understand what is on the written page is important in being able to interpret and to put our own stamp on how it is played. Knowing its meaning and why symbols are there is vital, as these are signs/symbols which communicate more about the music. We cannot speak without knowing our alphabet nor can we read. In music, learning Music Theory is, in my view essential from the first music lesson. It opens the student up to the language of Music.
Are you interested to find out more? Check out my 5-week course called Love Music Theory 1 in Music Theory for beginners or for those who play/sing but have yet to learn Music Theory. You may also wish to check out my other 5 week course called Love Music Theory 2.
Some people in the past have had a negative learning experience when it comes to Music. Perhaps they loved to sing. but told to mime in the choir and never sang again, or perhaps they did not see music as important so tuned out in Music classes.
I am passionate about teaching Music and in particular Music Theory. So why enrol NOT today and be prepared to enjoy and to learn. After all, talkingmusic.online is a place love life and learn Music. .
I use rukuzu.com to host my courses so when you click you will be taken to my courses on their platform. I will look forward to meeting you there in teleconference calls, helping you with your questions through email support, online discussions and where necessary, through Skype. I always want to give my students the best opportunity to learn.
Luciano Pavarotti said ‘’ "I think a life in music is a life beautifully spent, and this is what I have devoted my life to."
I totally agree. I love Music and I love teaching It.
‘’Love life and learn Music’’.
Check out my Pin here on this topic and Feel free to share the links https://talkingmusic.online with friends, family, colleagues and on social media too. Let’s spread the word about it.
“ Love life and Learn Music”.