Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Singing Lessons Teach the Value of Dedication, Receiving Constructive Criticism and Perseverance

Singing Lessons Teach the Value of Dedication, Receiving Constructive Criticism and Making Something the Best It Can Be

When learning to create music (both playing an instrument and singing), we learn the art of critiquing something, breaking it down to isolate what needs to be perfected and building it back up to make the 'perfect' phrase or performance of a piece.  This attention to detail is a very valuable trait not only in music but in our everyday life.  Attention to detail makes us good editors, scientists, engineers, doctors, in the workforce.  Being dedicated to the end product and perfectionism makes good lawyers, doctors, teachers, in the workplace.  These characteristics that can be taught through music as a youth carry through to create who we become as adults.

The ability to focus to perfect something is very valuable to create quality music.  It is also essential to create a quality product in the workforce as adults- a perfect presentation, website design, product design makes us a reliable and essential employee to a business or company.

In our youth and as adults we are subjected to the desire to have everything be perfect as well as to listen to others tell us HOW something would be better or 'perfect'.  Think about it, mom always wants the toys put away in the right bin to keep things orderly, the math teacher wants the math equation used to be just so, your boss believes 'X' should be added to the presentation to really sell the idea to a client.  What do all of these things have in common?  LISTENING to the advice or demands of another person is another lesson in life that we need to learn.  Whether as a child or adult, we listen to the constructive criticism of others.

In music, we learn how to listen to the constructive criticism and use it to create a better performance of the music. Learning to do this in music carries over to the business world and workforce.  We already know how to receive the criticism and apply it to what we are doing to make the product better.  By interpreting the information we are given, we show that we value to input of others and can use to improve the end result.  We already learn to work as a team through making music as a soloist or member of a musical group.

This too carries over to being a 'team player' who takes in the advice of fellow employees - more important qualities in a mature, working adult.  What a wonderful way to get your child (or you) started on some of the most important qualities in an adult- take music lessons to facilitate learning those lessons!

By receiving constructive criticism and learning the value of perfectionism, we follow through and persevere.  This is imperative to a beautiful final performance of a musical piece.  It is also true in everyday life.  Perseverance and follow through to the end of a project in the work world is essential.  We learn not to give up but to problem solve to achieve a goal.  What another wonderful benefit to musical study!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Singing Lessons are an EMOTIONAL Outlet

Find an Emotional Outlet- Taking Music Lessons (especially singing) helps you to find an emotional outlet. Another extra benefit to music! 

Understanding and appreciating art is so helpful when it comes to processing the hard stuff in the world.  Music is a safe place to let out emotions.  An outlet for times you feel powerless and it can be invaluable in your emotional survival.  Art can be such a powerful tool for children to express themselves.    Jennifer Nettles,Sugarland

Music is such a wonderful outlet for our emotions and plays a role in how we deal with the ebbs and flow of life.  We all have tough times and need a way to help us get through it.  We may have a favorite angry song we listen to and it helps us through it.  Or we are so excited about something that we listen to our favorite 'up' song or have to sing it to the world.   

Music is a comfortable way to express our emotions whether it is a song we listen to, play or sing, or write ourselves.  What better way is there to express yourself than through music and singing?  It is an emotional outlet which can replace spoken words that may be so hard to express. 

When a teenager is having a rough time in school and with friends, there is no better place to turn to than music.  It is a safe place to turn and sing tor play through the pain, indecision, frustration, or love of something.   Sometimes we are overwhelmed with emotions and music can help us to figure it all out.

Studies show that being involved in music reduces risky behavior and increase the involvement in volunteer activities. http://teenink.com/opinion/all/article/18053/The-Music-in-Children/. Knowing how to help yourself can help you to assist others.  Having the outlet to express yourself helps you to process the emotions that you are going through.  This is a true for everyone of all ages.  

Singing can also be a release of tension which often builds with the academic stresses in school.  It releases endorphins to make us feel better and then we can focus on all the things we need to get done with a much clearer head. 

I sing or listen to music based on my mood.  When I am happy, I sing a happy song, when I am angry, I have my favorite angry song, when I am sad, I sing or listen to a sad song.  When my son is angry, he plays his drum set or turns on his favorite CD and sings along.  It is human nature to find a way to connect to our emotions.  We need to soothe ourselves in times of trouble and celebrate when we are happy.  Music is a part of all of our celebrations (weddings, graduations, parties) and all of our times of troubles (funerals, ceremonies for tragedies). 

Music holds a special place in our hearts that can mend you and raise you up. Isn't it even more rewarding to make the music yourself by singing or playing an instrument?  The ability to create that music yourself is an irreplaceable and wonderful thing.  You can express yourself with your own song!  Embrace it and encourage it by improving your singing or learning to play an instrument.  Or sign your child up for music lessons now!

Listen to the words of
"Sing Your Own Song", sung by Rebecca Stern.  This is a true testament of how music is an emotional outlet.  How do you use music to explore your feelings?


Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Singing Lessons Help Increase Communication Skills

Increase Communication Skills through Singing Lessons.

Singing lessons can help improve communication skills.  In today's world, so many of us rely on the computer to communicate all of our needs.  Why not just send an email or text a message?  These are wonderful advancements that allow us to communicate at a time that is convenient for us and the person you are interacting with can get back to you right away or at a time that works for them.  BUT, what does that do for real face to face interaction and communication?  If we always have our noses in our technology, we start to lose the ability to communicate by simply TALKING to someone.  Take a minute and look at the flip side.  How comfortable is the younger generation LOOKING at an adult when talking to them?  Do they speak to them with confidence?  Singing lessons can help facilitate this and many other aspects of communicating by bolstering confidence and giving them to tools to express themselves face to face.

Look them in the eye and tell them is something I frequently say in voice lessons with my students.  When you are expressing the emotions of a character sometimes it is easier to express yourself than when you are trying to communicate your own emotions.  Study of the lyrics enables the singer to see a new and different way to say something and how to show it in song.

Not only do you learn to communicate with more confidence in singing lessons, you also spend time exploring the vocabulary of the English language (among other languages).  What does the poetry really mean?  What are the lyrics really saying?  Is it symbolism? Or it may be a different way of saying the same thing.  Exploration of the written word helps to expand someone's vocabulary.  Knowing how to analyze lyrics helps you to also express yourself better.  How can YOU say something differently to express yourself?

When looking at lyrics to a song, we often see repetition of words.  How do we express those words differently when we sing them to give them extra meaning or truly express what the character is trying to say?

There are so many elements of singing that impact our overall ability to communicate-  not only can you learn how to express songs with agility and ease, but can improve your ability to really connect with others and share your thoughts at a new and profound level.

What do you think about how singing lessons facilitates communication in other aspects of life?  Stay tuned for the extra benefit of singing lessons- An Emotional Outlet!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Build Confidence in Yourself and Your Abilities Through Singing Lessons

Build Confidence (In Yourself and Your Abilities)

Do you love to sing, but are you afraid to sing in front of others?  Scared to share your voice?  Do you have a shy child who likes to sing and can carry a tune, but afraid to sing out in chorus or audition for that solo?  Yes, you want to make your singing (or a child's) better by taking singing lessons, but how will that help you to be more comfortable in front of others or more confident in yourself?

By taking singing lessons, you are spending time with yourself and working on a part of you.  It's similar to when you spend that time at the gym.  You are working on the overall person that you are and fine tuning a part of YOU!  The endorphins created when you workout make you feel better about yourself, control stress, and affect how you interact with others.

When you take singing lessons, you are also focusing on your body and what it can do for you as a musician.  You not only improve your singing voice, but your confidence level in singing and yourself.   The concentrated time spent with yourself and improving your instrument creates those same endorphins.  This makes you feel good about you and enhances the music that you make.

Singing lessons involve time spent on posture and poise.  This increases your confidence level.  Read more about it: http://www.healthyandconfidentsingingvoice.blogspot.com/2013/05/posture-and-poise.html

When you have more confidence in your skills, you perform a song differently.  Look them in the eye and communicate what you (or your character) have to say! Being someone else for a little while in a play or opera often makes it easier.  Being comfortable enough with yourself to let the inhibitions go and try to sing the song and be the character from Guys and Dolls or convey the meaning of Danny Boy in a performance can unleash a different part of a person.  Once you can do that, it affects YOU in everyday life.

(Remember that quiet girl who had a hard time talking at the party because she was too shy?  Once a student has sung a song in a performance, the quiet, reserved person may start to come out of her shell, be confident enough to look a person in the eye in a conversation, or speak up in class!).

Have you ever had this experience or know of someone who has? I would love to hear about it!

Does a more confident singer and person communicate more effectively? Let me know your thoughts and tune in next week for how singing can help communication skills.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Increase Concentration and Focus through Singing Lessons

Increase Concentration and Focus (Quality and Length of Time) Through Taking Singing Lessons

Musical study requires the ability to focus on details for periods of time.  How do you sing that phrase with a long, smooth line?  What is that rhythm?  From reading music on the page to creating the music with our bodies,  music making involves concentration and focus.  Do you or your child have difficulty focusing on academic tasks?  Singing lessons may help.

Your body is your whole instrument so it requires a lot of focus and concentration to sing.  You work on getting your body physically in sync with your brain thus really concentrate.  It is not easy to make beautiful music, phrasing, and sing the right words at the same time, so your concentration skills are challenged! 

When singing, another form of focus comes in to play- what is my body really doing?  Not only does your brain need to interpret the notes and words it sees, but it needs to multi-task and tell your body what to do.  It sends a message to your vocal cords to vibrate at a certain speed to create that specific note.  It also sends a note to inhale, fill our lungs with air, and control the exhale.  We are not consciously aware of all of the messages, but learn to help our body control the messages more clearly.  We can think, 'breathe slowly and deeply on the inhale and control the exhale so I can sing the whole phrase' or 'I want to sing this phrase in one breath, let me see how I can stretch my breath to accomplish that.'

These are complex thoughts when put together in a long strand in a sequence.  This helps us increase our focus, concentration, and multi-functioning brain capacity! 

Those notes are small on the page.  To interpret and read them, a student must be able to block out other influences and concentrate on the task at hand.  No one else can do it for them as they cannot hide in a big class.  The singing teacher helps each student to process the information on the page.  Then their brains must interpret the notes and tell their bodies what to do.  Repetition of the process to play or sing the phrase as it is written is necessary.  Repeat, repeat, and the body and brain remember it.  Repeat and add another command such as 'make these 4 measures one phrase and sing it in one breath' and one must really focus.  Concentration to do these things carries over to other parts of your life!

Just like when reading aloud as a young child, someone learning to read notes must learn to interpret what they are singing as they go.  Remember the days that we spent following the words on the page with our fingers to help us to keep our place when we read?  Were you ever asked if you understood what you just read?   Learning to read can be a challenging task. Learning to read music facilitates reading words as it uses symbols that need to be interpreted just like words do.  Eventually reading and reading music gets easier and you DO understand it the first time.  The process of the eyes following notes (words) left to right gets easier with repetition and processing.

What great qualities to learn to help us to create beautiful music and accomplish so many other things in our lives!!  Get involved in singing lessons at the beginning of the school year and watch how concentration skills in music and your other studies grows!

What are your thoughts about how musical study increases concentration and focus?

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Singing Lessons Improve Academic Skills

Studies show that students who study voice or a musical instrument, perform better academically.  In musical study, we learn problem solving, perseverance, and are continually using multiple intelligences at the same time.   Artistic creations cause us to try to figure out how to sing or play that phrase with good support or more musically, answer questions such as  ' How would the character in the musical Guys and Dolls react in the situation?'  or 'How can I help the orchestra perform this piece successfully- what is my role and how can I play my part accurate?' Students are consistently being challenged to solve problems such as these.  This helps to develop important problem-solving skills necessary for success in any career (All Catholic Orchestra Program). www.teacherweb.com/PA?AOP/HSArts

In solving problems in music, one learns perseverance and also develops musical intelligence, a separate trait in the 'theory of multiple intelligences' (both to be expanded up in future blogs).  Music study increases the academic (and musical) functions of the brain!

A few specific examples:

Many of the concepts of music and making music are based on math:  time signature, beat, and rhythm are just a few examples.  By learning how to organize the beat into measures and the rhythm within beats, we are teaching valuable mathematical skills.

Most of the instructions given in music are in Italian.  Piano (soft), mezzo-forte (medium loud), Allegro  (quickly).  Understanding their meaning increases our language awareness.  We start to look at the roots of words to find their meaning.  Since our language is devised from Latin as it Italian, students learn roots of words and prefixes which help their vocabulary and may even help in their success in language study.

In voice lessons we also analyze the words of the song thus working literary skills.  What is the poet really saying with these lyrics from the 16th century?  Put it in your own words.  How does the character feel at this part of the song when you say 'I love you although I can no longer be with you'.  How do you translate this line to English from Italian?  Singing lessons go one step further to not only interpret the written word just like you would in English class, but addresses other languages, and how do we communicate those words while we sing?

In voice lessons, we also learn to organize time and dedication to a craft.  Organizing time to practice and attention to detail in what and how we practice carries over into academic organization and improved study habits. 

We study music for the music itself and the joy it brings us, but the academic benefits of musical study are astounding.  Why not encourage lifelong study?  Read more later in the month on how music study helps impact concentration!

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Why Should You (or Your Child) Take Voice Lessons in an Independent Voice Studio?

Why should you take voice lessons in an Independent Voice Studio?  What does it do for you? Can’t everyone sing? 

Almost anyone who can speak can learn to sing, but most people don’t use their voices to their full potential. Voice lessons teach singers how to control their breath and find vocal resonance to create a fuller, healthier, and more beautiful sound. Lessons also teach general musical skills and build more confident singers.  
The average singing student needs weekly guidance to establish a solid technique.  Through solid technique you can find the capabilities of your singing voice, not merely imitating those that you hear on recordings.

What we hear while we’re singing just isn’t true, so we are always dependent on someone we trust to take the role of our ‘outside ears’. Renee Fleming 
We don't always hear ourselves as others hear us.  Think about when you hear yourself speaking on your voicemail greeting.  It sounds different, right?  The same is true with our singing voice.  

In an independent voice studio, the student gets guidance on their own individual voice, not the overall sound of the choir. This individualized attention helps develop the voice in a unique and powerful way.  Together teacher and singer explore a variety of styles of music based on what the teacher hears in the potential of the voice, students' interests and how the voice starts developing.  You gain confidence in your own sound.  Also, there is so much music out there than many of us have never heard!  There are also many styles of music which we particularly like which may or may not be suited to our voice type and range.  Exploring your voice from a solo standpoint can help you find your potential and uncover beautiful things!

What about the fun of the choral experience, singing with others?

Add to your choral singing with voice lessons and keep having fun in choir!  Other opportunities arise too which give you more confidence and enhanced singing skills.  In an independent voice studio, the singer not only gets access to a voice teacher and vocal coach, but to the camaraderie of belonging to a group of people who enjoy singing.  Most voice studios provide opportunities to perform musical repertoire one or two times a year.  Some also give the opportunity to work on the repertoire in front of and with others in the studio (please see more information on my studio at www.susanandersbrizick.com).  With more opportunities to share music with others, a student has a higher drive to perfect the craft of singing, builds a higher confidence level in their singing and themselves, and the better music we create!