A couple weeks ago, I heard about a mobile app that tests your ability to hold a steady beat by having you tap the screen along to a metronomic bell sound for 30 seconds. It measures how accurately you tap along, and when you're done it takes your average accuracy and categorizes your score. The top category is called "Elite," and it requires your taps to be within 20 milliseconds of the bell. The app is called the Neurotiming Project (download it here), and it's pretty fun. Being the (overly) confident musician that I am, I figured I could easily rank myself as Elite on my first try...
In his book, Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell convincingly asserts that, "Ten thousand hours is the magic number of greatness." Many of us have heard this concept before: in order to reach a world-class level of expertise in a given field, you have to spend 10,000 hours working on it. There is one majorly overlooked caveat, though, that Gladwell writes about in his book: Not all practice time is created equal. This is huge for the growing musician. There are techniques, strategies, and thought processes that can help you learn what you are working on, faster. And who wouldn't want that?
So today we're going to focus on applying two of those efficient practicing techniques to the drum set. If your student doesn't play the drums, that's ok! These techniques can be applied to any instrument and can help you advance quickly during your practice time...
One of the most fascinating parts of my job as a music teacher is witnessing the different ways that the parents encourage and promote the musical development of their students. I’ve had parents who approach music lessons as a sort of “educational play-date” for their kids - not trying to overemphasize the work it takes to play music, and not seeing a need for any serious study or practice outside of the lesson itself. I’ve also had parents who have enforced strict practicing regimens on their students of an allotted number of minutes at the same time everyday. I’ve had parents request that I only teach their students music written by Classical composers. And I’ve had parents request that their students only learn contemporary pop music.
Some of these strategies have worked for the parents, and others have not. It is interesting to note that the success of these tactics have been based heavily on the tendencies of the students. There is no “one-size fits all” solution to helping a student engage in music. Over time, however, I’ve noted some common approaches that most parents of accomplished music students have used. So based on those observations, I’ve put together a list of 7 ways to promote a self-motivating love for playing music within your student...
We’ve all heard the fairytale before. The one about the four year-old child who picks up a guitar (or whatever instrument) for the first time, and in some magical way, beautiful music flows out as if the two were made for each other.
Well, that wasn’t me.
I was the kid who tried to quit band for years to no avail against the seemingly-ruthless authority that I called, “Mom.” And years later, I’m glad she didn’t let me quit. Turns out, the reason I loathed practicing was because I didn’t understand the benefit of music or how it related to my life. Then, one day a few years later, as if a light bulb switched on, I stopped thinking of myself as a music student and started thinking of myself as a musician...
The first VIbe Music Academy Blog post will be on Wednesday, April 20th.
Be sure to check back every Wednesday for a new entry. Some topics to be discussed will include:
- How music education affects students academically,
- Instrument recommendations for beginner, intermediate, and advanced students,
- What to look for in a music teacher,
- Practicing tips for aspiring musicians,
- How to write and arrange your own music,
- and much, much more!