Tuesday, 11 December 2018

4 Ways to Understand Music Examinations


It is one of those question which has multiple right answers and one of those where it is important to understand what it is clearly, before you delve into it. Grades would give you a parameter to judge your knowledge abilities, however, it doesn’t tell you a lot about one’s musicianship. By musicianship, we mean one’s ability to perform and create one’s own identity in music. Music, in the end should be played from heart, which gives you joy and your emotions spoken by your abilities in your instrument.

So, Why does so many Music School encourage Music Examinations? What can a student take away from it? In this blog post, we aim to give you insight about how music examinations work and help you take an informed decision about whether it is right for you.

1. Examination Evaluation Criteria
Most of the Music Exam boards such as Rockschool, Trinity, ABRSM, etc. organize grade exams from basic levels till the higher grade that is the 8th Grade. The evaluation criteria depends on the content that a student needs to learn at a particular level. The difficulty level in the techniques and other factors related to their instrument increases as the grade ascends. The main purpose of these exams is to give a sense of achievement to the students as they complete their particular level in their respective instrument. It is almost like a final report card of your performance in that level. They evaluate you in various sectors like your theory knowledge, general musicianship knowledge, application of techniques etc. So these examination can help you evaluate your progress in the instrument.

2. Reasons of Taking the Exam
These examinations can be taken by anyone, ranging from school students to young adults to the old. So, each age group might have different reasons to be taking the exam. For instance, in most young children learning the guitar, it is a way of evaluating their progress and earn the sense of achievement as they go through various levels of difficulty. Young adults might be looking to be enhancing their techniques, listening skills and musicianship under a structured curriculum or maybe appearing for grades to make their CV look better. But in the end of it all, it gives you that motivation you need to keep learning and the confidence of executing the knowledge you have gathered through various grades. All these different curriculum are created by a team of qualified professionals, so you really will learn and advance your skill and knowledge.


3. UCAS Points
All the major Music exams are internationally recognized and schools like Rockschool offers UCAS points as you pass their higher grades. These points can be accumulated and be used to meet the requirements for getting admitted in undergraduate degree programmes at UK universities and colleges. Every eligible university has a certain requirement of UCAS points and if you have plans to join one of them, doing examinations and accumulating those points along with your skills can be a factor as you pursue admissions in higher education universities abroad.

4. Learning to perform vs Learning Music for exams
Now lets answer this beast. Which one is better? Well, even if there are benefits to taking an exam, there are various ways of succeeding in those exams without trying your hardest and that can be one downfall to your learning. Even though we come across theories and techniques along the way, we never understand how to use them in real situations or other than the examination songs. Whereas, when you are learning to perform, all those dynamics become an important part of your learning and you utilize them more efficiently. In the end, it comes to the point where you have to learn with consciousness and a plan, playing the instrument should become a passionate hobby. Learning and applying them go hand in hand, otherwise there is no use learning theory and techniques if you can’t utilize them in real live performances.

So, in conclusion, it all depends on how you approach music learning. Music Examination can help you get better and really good if you consciously practice the techniques and learn them to utilize it in your playing and in the end of it all, you have an evaluation which gives you the picture of your progress that can be a huge motivating factor in your learning curve.


BlueTimbre is a unique Music Company that provides Music Education and  Recording Studio services.
BlueTimbre also works with schools to provide end-to-end Music Education solutions for schools. 

The BlueTimbre team comes with decades of cumulative experience in running Structured Businesses, Music Curriculum Development, Music Education and Performance.


References : 


Monday, 3 December 2018

5 Reasons You Should Learn to Play the Guitar


Guitar is an instrument that can be carried around easily and give you the perfect accompaniment while you sing away your favourite songs at a campfire or on a stage! Guitar is a really responsive instrument that can assist you to deliver your emotions in various ways and finally, it looks cool on anybody! However, it also has other benefits that can really liven up your personality, here are some reasons we think you should learn to play the guitar:

1. Accompaniment
There is nothing better than guitar to company you, especially if you like singing and have to carry around an instrument to help showcase your talent. It is portable, lighter than most of the other instruments and the environment it can create compares to none. It can give you the sense of rhythm as well as assist you perfectly if you want to sing along the tune.

2. Building Personality
As you go further into learning the guitar and tackle each lessons, it makes you a better, smarter and a well-rounded human being. The techniques and the concepts you have to learn to be able to play the guitar to your favourite tunes requires you to improvise and enhances your concentration level, memory power, listening skills, analytical skills and your reactions. All of these nurtures your body language which helps you to feel more confident about yourself and build a personality that others and you yourself respect. Amazingly, it also teaches you to manage your time better and more effectively as you start balancing your busy schedule along with the time you want to give to yourself.



3. Incorporating Fun in your life
With the ever growing fast paced living culture of today’s world, we often forget to leave some time for ourselves, to lay back, relax and have fun. Playing the Guitar can be the perfect getaway from the busy schedules that constitutes our life. Find some time, say 15-20 minutes to practice your Guitar in the day’s schedule, and you will see a vast difference in your mood as well as progress in your playing. With the right instruction, you can be playing and singing your favourite songs in only a month or so.

4. Learning Life Enhancing Skills
It improves your coordination skills, cognitive abilities and also enhances the capability of your brain as you keep learning the guitar and move to advanced stages. It prepares you to be multitask which you can apply in your day-to-day life. You can test and shape your creativity as you start learning to improvise on guitar. It can completely change the way you think, process and analyse certain aspects in your life, allowing you to ‘think outside the box’ and producing more effective results from you.

5. Medium of Expression
Guitar is an instrument that can talk for you, or for your emotions. It gives you an outlet to express your feelings or a mood you are trying to convey to the audience. This is the part where all musicians strive to get to as they mould their music into self-expression which appeals to the audiences’ emotion and form a connection. All instruments has their own capacity to be able to express, however a Guitarist can somehow talk through those emotions in a subtle manner. If you are someone who has a lot to say but somehow can’t, Guitar is the instrument you are looking for which will express your thoughts.

All of these benefits come through stages in your experience in the instrument. If you are curious about the Guitar and feel the interests growing in you, you can easily learn with just a little commitment from you. Nothing is hard, it is only unknown and you just need to familiarise yourself with the unknown to get to know better with every meeting until you understand it completely. The instrument needs time from you but you can be guaranteed a really fun and quality self-developing time under the right instruction and the right learning.



BlueTimbre is a unique Music Company with Music Education spaces, Jam Room and Recording studio based out of Whitefield, Bangalore, India. 


BlueTimbre also provides complete end-to-end Music Education solutions for schools. The BlueTimbre team comes with decades of cumulative experience in running Structured Businesses, Music Curriculum Development, Music Education and Performance.

Monday, 26 November 2018

4 Things to do Before You Record Vocals In A Studio

Recording in a studio can be sometimes intimidating as the whole process of doing it is quite different from how you would approach when recording at home. Especially, for vocalists, they can end up sounding completely different from what they might have imagined that they sound like. But one can always prepare to get the best out of your voice and studio time and here is how: 

1. Preparation
You must practice a lot before you head to the studio. Try to understand and correct the mistakes you have been doing while singing your part. You can record yourself (even on a phone) and listen to itfiguring out the mistakes and parts you need to work on and certain pronunciation that you might be struggling to get it out on the record. Clarity in your delivery of the song plays an important role in the quality of the output. Also, practice on delivering your phrases with emotion as it can give colour and weight to your voice which will help you get the sound you are looking for in recording. Also, it is vitally important that you do vocal warm-ups before you start recording as you want your best voice to be recorded.

2. Understanding your voice
Voices have different qualities, textures and ranges. You must have heard the terms like Soprano, Tenor, Alto, Bass which basically tells the voice type you have.Then there are other factors like the raspiness or the hint of nasal in your voice. All of these has its own charm, thus to get the best out of the type of voice you possess, there are different approaches you can take in the studio. So, understand the type of voice you have so that you can give an idea to the sound engineer - this also allows him to do what he must to get the best vocal recording out of you. Do a rehearsal and brief them about the type of sound your want to get out of your vocal range.


3. Knowing the Microphones
There are different type of microphones which functions differently due to its build. For vocals, there are mainly Condenser and Dynamic microphones. 

Condenser microphones usually captures the room sound and subtle nuances of vocalist’s voice, making it sound organic. Most studios prefer condenser microphones as it does the work of recording voices very well with defined high and low ends. However, there are certain rules one must follow when using a condenser microphones, like the distance of your mouth from the mic should be around 15-20 cms. Eg. Neumann TLM 102

Dynamic microphones pick up lesser room noise and cuts off the sibilance. They work well with voices that have brighter tones in their upper range or those who tend to use their nasal voice. Dynamic microphones are flexible and durable as compared to condenser microphones. Eg. Shure SM57, SM58. Sometimes, if there is raspiness and lot of lows in a voice, we can also use the combination of both the microphones. But it always helps when you know and understand these microphones and confidently use your voice on it. 

Even under these types, there are different models and brands of microphones that respond differently to different qualities of voices, however all that depends on their availability in the studio. All the good studios would keep the best options of microphones and provide you with the one that will work best for you. It also helps to call ahead or check out the studio's website for more information on their equipment. 

4. Preventing Vocal fatigue
Your vocal cords are a sensitive instrument. You can quickly lose your voice if you overdo certain things. Vocal fatigue is common issue amongst singers but there are techniques you can learn to preserve your voice. 

Stay hydrated with water, avoid fizzy and sugary drinks, don’t overdo your vocal exercises and most importantly rest your voice regularly. If you have a recording scheduled in a day or two, make sure you don’t strain your voice too hard, just ease into warm-ups and vocal exercises, make sure you have a light meal before you are entering the studio and always keep a bottle of water with you. 

Live a healthy schedule, and give yourself a sleep of at least 7-8 hours, keep your oral hygiene clean - all of this will help you develop your voice in the right way.

In summary, studio time is precious and expensive. Make sure you are well prepared before you go into a studio so that you get the most bang for your buck and the best sound out of your voice.

BlueTimbre is a unique Music Company with Music 
Education spaces, Jam Room and Recording studio 
based out of Whitefield, Bangalore, India. 

BlueTimbre also provides complete end-to-end Music Education solutions for schools. The BlueTimbre team comes with decades of cumulative experience in running Structured Businesses, Music Curriculum Development, Music Education and Performance.

Monday, 19 November 2018

4 Ways How Learning Music Makes You Smarter

There are numerous evidences that imply that Music education can play an important part in child’s development and an adult's mental health, especially in their academic performance as well as life lasting communication skills. Let us look into how can music education really make someone smarter.

Heightened Brain Development : When playing an instrument , it requires the attention of our brain which opens up several neural path in brain that helps in developing the brain. It undergoes various mental activity that keeps the brain active and drilled for complicated arrangements so that it can solve and react to  the things as quickly as possible. Somehow the architecture of the brain changes in a way that it starts perceiving tasks in a broader, smarter and emotional way. Thus, regularly reading and practising music heightens the processing ability of our brain and it tends to decipher complex activities with ease and efficiency.

Stronger Memory Power : Music education pushes you to understand certain capabilities of our brain, most effectively, the ability to memorise in most innovative ways. It can teach you to analyse the task in hand and process the data in a way that you can connect them with relation to its purpose. This way, when you can connect the dots it helps you remember things better. It also enhances your spatial, auditory and visual capacity that helps you comprehend things much better.



Enhanced Cognition and Co-ordination ability : Playing an instrument requires concentration and conscious attention to details. It also requires a lot of coordination to be able to execute the playing accurately. So, with regular practice you can develop your coordinating abilities that will enhance your skills in the instrument, but also it will help you tackle other activities that you come across in your daily life that requires you to have some type of coordination. Practicing music is like a workout of your brain, so you are building muscles which will store more information as well as react more efficiently to the tasks given. Thus it also improves your cognitive abilities which helps you retain things better, plan effectively and focus your attention to the necessary.

Faster ability to learn : As we have seen from above discussions that music really plays a vital role in the development and enhancement of our intelligence, it is safe to say that ultimately, if one has successfully done their music education, it can help them in the long term. They have higher sense of conscience, consciousness, enhanced cognitive and spatial capacity and a broader sense of how things work. It prepares you for all the challenges that may come your way, you tend to learn about your surrounding faster and take the reasonable action necessary. It provides you the ability to learn things faster and use them to benefit your skills.

Music does not only make you smarter, it supports you emotionally as well. It can be one of the most supportive bases that you can rely on and yet it provides you with so many benefits that can enhance your lifestyle or can be used to improve the literacy standard in school education. So the reason one should consider learning music is not just all because of their benefits but also for the joy you get listening and playing them which sub-consciously moulds your personality for better.


BlueTimbre is a unique Music Company with Music Education spaces, Jam Room and Recording studio based out of Whitefield, Bangalore, India. BlueTimbre also provides complete end-to-end Music Education solutions for schools. The BlueTimbre team comes with decades of cumulative experience in running Structured Businesses, Music Curriculum Development, Music Education and Performance.

Monday, 12 November 2018

5 Ways to Carry Out An Effective Practice Session


How do we get the best results from our practice sessions? Does only practicing improve you as a musician? “Practice makes perfect” is a very common term , however it does not present you with the whole concept.  In this blog post, we look at some of the crucial elements required, to have and carry out effective practice routines which will guarantee your progress with every sessions.

1. Set an Environment for your practice
Everyone can work better in familiar surroundings. Similarly, an organised place for practice encourages right state of mind that is required to execute all the exercises and drills we are about to go through. Find the right setup and environment that enhances your practice sessions so that every time you step in for practice, it creates the mood needed for you to concentrate on your instrument. Also, you should make sure you are in the desired state of mind to practice because if your attention linger around somewhere else, it will hamper the quality of the output that you are aiming to achieve through the practice sessions.
2. Have a goal for your practice sessions
Have a flexible routine for your practice sessions. You should have a plan before you sit for practice sessions. Set realistic goals, then work out what you want to achieve and practice in a particular session so that it helps you track your progress. Don’t keep a constant time table for your practice, you should vary the exercises every practice session so that it keeps you excited and familiarise you with more technicalities of the instrument as well as equip you to be able to play your favorite songs. Although, warming up before you start your technical exercises is important as you should not harm yourself in the name of practice. Do simple, repetitive warm-up exercises for 10-15 minutes and then proceed to your more difficult exercises.


3. Take reference to learn how to correctly play a part
Always understand the goal of your exercise. Do research or ask your mentor on how to correctly execute the exercises because if you keep on practicing the wrong way, you will only get good at playing your instrument badly. Every drill you are attempting to execute through your instrument has a purpose of improving your playing skills, so take some time to interpret the technicality of your exercise. Once you are doing them correctly and giving your time, it will produce great results which will in turn enhance your knowledge on your instrument.
4. Record your practice
It is very helpful if you record yourself doing your exercises or trying to play a part of a song because it gives you a reference to look back and provide yourself with an honest feedback. Listen to yourself play and analyse if there is a part you can do it better or if you are executing your task correctly. Once you can identify  your mistakes and practice on getting them right, it will improve your skills drastically on the instrument. This really encourages effective and fast progress to your playing ability.
5. Rest
Playing an instrument requires a lot of movements and stress on your body muscles. Thus, it is important to incorporate rest between your practice routines, especially when you are practicing for long hours. You can best execute your skills when you are the fittest, thus it is very important that you rest the muscles used in playing your instrument.


In short, Practice sessions should have a structure, a goal and conscious attention from you to actually make it effective. Practising without a goal is like traveling without a destination! So, roll up your sleeves and set up your space and time for effective practise.


BlueTimbre is a unique Music Company with Music Education spaces, Jam Room and Recording studio based out of Whitefield, Bangalore, India. BlueTimbre also provides complete end-to-end Music Education solutions for schools. The BlueTimbre team comes with decades of cumulative experience in running Structured Businesses, Music Curriculum Development, Music Education and Performance.



References

  1. http://musicaladvice.com/tips-for-developing-a-music-practice-routine/
  2. http://www.effectivemusicteaching.com/articles/students/how-to-develop-a-practice-routine/
  3. https://www.classicfm.com/lifestyle/wellbeing/musician-practice-tips/