We are excited to announce the launch of our new Instrument Rental website. What did we do? A complete rebrand, fresh new web-design and whole lot of new functionality to make renting instruments easier.
The aim with the new website was to streamline the process of renting instruments. We focused on improving user experience which included better product listing, better overall design, smoother e-commerce process and a lot more content. We also looked at how we could be better at providing pre-sale and post-sale support to our clients.
Opening of the new studio! Swing by for a glass of cava or for a free trial class!
The Shine School of Music in Barcelona opens doors to it’s new Space on Carrer de Pere Serafi, 23.
There will be music, drink and good people. And free classes! 😀
To reserve your free class in advance, follow the link below:
Our teachers will be imparting classes from 16:00 to 20:00. Click the link below (or contact us) to book a free trial lesson lesson in any of the subjects on display that day: Guitar, Piano, Ukulele, Singing, Bass Guitar, Drums, Violin, Viola, Double Bass.
So you have seen the light… After many sleepless nights you have finally understood what your soul was aching for: bone shattering lows and thick chunky grooves, earth shaking notes are what make your heart sing. Welcome to the wonderful world of bass playing. You are in good company, from Jaco Pastorius to Paul McCartney, from Victor Wooten to Pino Paladino, the bass is one of the most powerful and expressive instruments out there. Here we have gathered some tips from experienced bassists that might save you valuable time in your quest to master the instrument.
1. It’s all about the fingers!
Tone. Feeling. Mojo. These are words used to describe that elusive sound that separates the masters from the students. No matter how expensive your instrument is, no matter how many effects are plugged into your loop channel, no matter how much you turn that amp up to 11. It’s all about the tone, and as many masters have taught us, tone is in the fingers. Exploring the sonic possibilities is a life long journey, and there certainly is a lot of gear out there to keep you busy, just don’t forget that whatever equipment in your signal path it all starts with your fingers.
2. Use your ears (don’t rely on patterns)
Navigating a fretboard can be intimidating, thats why a lot of guitarists and bassists lean on scale or chord patterns they can easily move around to transpose. Although useful, you can start to rely too heavily on the “visual” part of the patterns, hampering your ability to develop your ears. Remember that though visual patterns are a great memorization tool, music is about listening, so don’t forget to open your ears.
3. Learn to play in the pocket
Maybe you have heard drummers and bassists talk about the “pocket”. The concept may sound foreign but you have certainly felt its effects. That feeling when the rhythm section is completely looked into groove? thats the pocket. Some people have defined it as a precise timing between kick drum and bass notes, others call it playing with perfect timing, others simple call it “groove”. Whatever you choose to call it, playing in the pocket is one of the elements that separates the casual player from the dedicated professional.
4. Play for the song
We’ve all been there. You’ve been practicing that sick slap riff all month and want to show it off the first chance you get. That slow flute solo in the middle of the song? perfect place to practice your finger acrobatics. The solo ends and the band looks at you befuddled. Remember that the best musicians never stop listening to each other, and always play for the song, and not for the instrument.
5. KISS (Keep it simple, stupid)
Besides being one of the most famous rock and roll bands of all time, KISS is also an acronym for Keep It Simple, Stupid. The sure fire way to distinguish between an amateur and a professional is, ironically, the notes that they DON’T play.
Ever dreamed of being a little bit like Bob Dylan, Beethoven or Janis Joplin? I believe most of us have, but find it difficult to know which instrument will suit us best. Yes, that’s the tough part for all amateur musicians. Sometimes you start out with an ukelele, then move on to a guitar, but end up singing or playing the piano. That’s what makes music magical, fresh and immensely creative. So many options, so many instruments, so many sounds. This is also why renting an instrument is usually the best way to find out if you finally found that “treasure” you where looking for. We always have time to experiment, try new things and change if we feel deep inside there might be another instrument that will fill our heart with joy.
If you find yourself at this point, wondering which instrument might bring a little sunshine into your life, you are more than welcome to come around The Music Room and try different instruments until you say “hey, I’ve found it!”.
Luckily, The Music Room has managed to keep reasonable prices, and you can also have a cup of hot sweet coffee or tea while you decide which one you want to take home. The price is the same for 3 days or 30 days, so why not take one home and give it a try!
We are now located at Pere Serafi 23 in the heart of Gracia, with a full range of instruments starting from guitars, acoustic guitars, guitaleles, ukeleles, pianos and more.
As Plato once said : “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything”
Shine Music School is offering a fun new music course for children.
For children between the ages of 3 and 5 are taught about music, through touch, sound and thought, all in a safe, creative environment focused on hands-on learning through play. Each group class is an hour long and hosted in our new location in Gracia. Mums and Dads are welcome to come along too. Our first Trimester begins this October and completes in December.
Contact the school to find out more and sign up your littlest to learn all about music. Read our interview here with Piano teacher Leandro to find out why learning music from a young age can be so important!
Shine School of Music is now offering group classes for the Ukulele.
One of the most popular instruments today, and easy to master, we are hosting group ukulele lessons with a professional ukulele teacher, right here in Barcelona. Group lessons are a wonderful way to make friends through music and learn something new! They are also affordable! Lessons are for all ages!
Study holidays have long been popular in Barcelona, where many people visit the city for longer periods of time on student visas. Barcelona boasts some of the top business schools, a respected Erasmus program and plenty of choices for studying Spanish. Study abroad is both a daunting and exciting prospect for young people, and often a right of passage.
Immersive study is a valuable way to learn and a good way to get to know the history, culture and people of Catalunya and Spain.
Shine school of music offers both extracurricular music lessons in Barcelona to students already in the city looking to expand their knowledge base and students wanting to do intensive courses on flamenco or classical Spanish guitar. Our guitar courses can be taught in Spanish, Catalan or English offering an alternative approach to learning the language. And we offer a host of other instrument courses from piano lessons to singing.
Barcelona is well suited as city for students. It’s generally safe with a large international community. The city is small enough to navigate easily and there are plenty of affordable accommodation options for students from home stays to shared apartments. Students can become involved in the vibrant meetup groups, and there are plenty of free, cheap and fun activities that won’t break the bank. Yoga in the park, jam sessions, exercise on the beach, the list goes on. Besides this, Barcelona has an action packed cultural calendar with festivals and fiestas planned throughout the year.
At shine music school we accept students of any age and welcome the chance to share our love and knowledge of music with the discerning learner. Why not study music in Barcelona with us. We offer tailored courses for individual study as well as group music lessons.
Study Music Barcelona
Classes At Shine Music School Barcelonawith A5 Preset
Has the ukulele just caught your attention? Are you considering taking lessons to learn the basic chords of the trending instrument? Do you want to be the fun friend who starts the happy-go-lucky sing-alongs at parties? First you’ll need to know which one to buy.
There are four main ukulele sizes, but the smallest, the soprano, is the most iconic. The soprano is the size that most people associate with the ukulele. A few practice strums will immediately produce that classic ukulele sound and bring a smile to your face.
Sopranos can feel very small to many adults, however, with their traditional tininess making them a bit trickier to play than concerts or tenors. A concert or tenor size uke are good middle-of-the-road sizes that work well for beginners and give off a warmer, more resonant sound than the sopranos.
Try not to obsess about choosing the right size. Chances are you’ll find yourself starting a collection and owning ukes of every size before long.
There are a ton of different woods used to craft ukuleles. The most common is koa, a type of wood from Hawaii. Thus, most ukuleles that come from their birthplace are made from koa. It has a beautiful grain and generates a very warm sound, but note that koa is used on more expensive ukuleles. If you’re not looking to break the bank, but still want a uke that will stay tuned, you’re probably going to get one made of mahogany. A mahogany ukulele sounds a little bit softer than one made of koa, but it’s still a good wood choice.
There’s a bewildering range of ukulele brands available today. The brand you choose really depends on what your local music store has to offer, and your personal preferences and budget. Some brands that come to mind are:
Ashbury—good quality, entry-level ukes from a UK company
Kala—hugely popular in the islands and elsewhere, but generally with a big price tag
Kamaka—the oldest surviving ukulele maker, family-owned and Hawaii-based
When it opened in 2008, the Barcelona branch of the Shine School of Music was the first specialised guitar school in the city, offering classes in all styles of guitar—from classic to flamenco to electric—with qualified and experienced teachers in English, Spanish and Catalan. Today, they continue to provide guitar lessons to all ages and levels, but have also begun training students on a variety of other instruments including piano, ukulele, cavaquinho, accordion, clarinet, saxophone and more. Understanding that most people study music for enjoyment, as a hobby, the school delivers a simultaneously structured, creative and fun approach to learning an instrument. At Shine, people feel comfortable socialising, collaborating with other musicians and showcasing their progress.
Shine is also one of two music schools in Barcelona that offer intensive flamenco/guitar/piano courses to tourists looking for an educational holiday, along with being one of the few music schools worldwide to give private online music classes in a coherent and organised fashion for you tech-savvy musicians out there.
When it comes to the ukulele, Shine is keeping up with that trend, too. Not only can their teachers melt your heart with a few joyous chords and teach you how to delight friends and family with some melodies of your own, but the school in Gràcia sells ukes, as well. They sell mostly sopranos because “it’s the most popular,” said Shine’s owner Miloš. “The soprano is what everyone plays, what’s all over YouTube these days.” You can also rent a dynamic ukulele from Shine for 30 euros a month.
Once you’ve bought your first (or maybe your tenth!) ukulele, go to our list of top 12 ukulele songs to play, some time-honoured classics but others you may not have previously associated with the uke.
Not long ago, the ukulele, no more than a comic prop to accompany your lei and grass skirt, was an endangered species. Now in its third heyday, the ukulele’s powerfully cheerful sound is permeating the pop charts, serenading us during TV commercial breaks and showing up in YouTube videos by the thousands. The uke can even be heard in jam sessions on Barcelona beaches and has infiltrated some of the city’s Meetup groups.
A Brief History
Based on several small members of the guitar family, the ukulele was first developed in Hawaii during the 1880s by Portuguese immigrants. Roughly translated as “jumping flea”, the ukulele’s popularity spread to the United States in the 1920s. Thanks to the production of millions of inexpensive plastic ukuleles, their presence in popular music surged from the 1940s to the 1960s, but interest began to decline after that.
Don’t worry. There’s a comeback in our story. The ukulele reclaimed centre stage due to the enthusiasm for Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s version of “Over the Rainbow”. Since its release on the album Facing Future in 1993, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World” has been heard so often on TV and in movies, young generations may not realise Israel actually redefined the beloved classic originally sung by Judy Garland.
According to the New York Times article “Ukulele Crazy” from 2011, “The trend, building for a decade and now reaching a saturation point, is being fueled by a mix of Hollywood directors, corporate advertisers, professional musicians looking for a new sound and amateurs who have discovered how easy the uke is to use”. Each group’s interest may be driven by different motivations, but they are all united in their belief that the ukulele, with its folksy sound, invokes joy and sincerity in an electronic guitar and auto-tune-obsessed age.
And why shouldn’t the ukulele be this year’s trending topic? Its dainty size makes it a great instrument to travel with. It’s easy for kids and adults alike to play. It provides players with instant satisfaction—being defined in some music circles as “idiot-proof”, anyone can learn to play in a short period of time. No matter how off tune you go, it never sounds awful because of the uke’s sweet-natured sound. Playing the uke will enlarge your circle of friends. And it makes you and those listening around you happy.
Even George Harrison was a ukulele lover, quoted as saying, “I love them—the more the merrier…So get yourself a few and enjoy yourselves”.
More recently, stars like Eddie Vedder and Jack Johnson have taken up the ukulele, and its featured prominently on the TV show Glee. It’s become a habit for Zooey Deschanel to strum one while crooning sweetly with Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Tony Blair disrupts Labour Party conventions with one. The ukulele creates intimacy to scenes in Her and How I Met Your Mother. There’s even an eight-member Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain—originally formed as a bit of fun—that has given thousands of sold-out concerts across the world. We’ve come a long way from mocking the uke after Tiny Tim used it in his 1968 novelty song “Tiptoe Through the Tulips”.
Despite its higher profile, the ukulele still plays its role as an everyman instrument quite convincingly. “The ukulele has always fascinated me because it doesn’t intimidate other people,” said Hawaiian artist Jake Shimabukuro, whose career skyrocketed when his elaborate, introspective variation of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” on a ukulele went viral on YouTube with more than 13 million views.
There’s no right or wrong way to play the ukulele, only your way. So get out there and start strumming!
Where can you find an open mic in Barcelona? Matt Kaplan scours Barcelona for the best places to find an underground jam session and explains why it’s a rare and often impromptu phenomenon in the Catalan Capital.
Spain has an unbelievably rich culture of music and with it, comes a deep appreciation for its affect. From flamenco tablaos, to classical guitar concerts in the Palau de la Música Catalana, or even jazz combos in the Harlem Jazz Club, the streets are filled with music around every corner. With that being the case, why is so hard to find venues to play live music as an amateur musician? These events usually happen on a weekly or monthly basis in a bar or café and are called open mic nights (micros abiertos) or live jam sessions.
The reason for the difficulty in finding a suitable location is due to the strict noise pollution laws and regulations in Barcelona. Another factor has to do with the amount of space a venue has to offer. As most people from Barcelona would know, space is a precious commodity and for bars and cafés, there are many safety regulations involved. According to Azucena Milcó, project manager at Sound Diplomacy, the legislation that permits live music was considering smaller music in the same light as the more famous clubs. Here we have a problem. It gives the venues extra taxes, occupancy limitations, and restrictions that are not relative; that is to say for example that a smaller venue would have to pay for the same amount of soundproofing that a larger club would. Even with some monetary grants from the city council, these types of restrictions have pushed a lot of very popular “underground” venues out of the live music industry.
The good news is that with all of this in mind, I have been able to find a handful of venues that still offer you the opportunity to get out for a night to show off your developing talent. Two that I would recommend are the open mics at Alfa Bar or Freedonia. If you are interested in any of these options, I have placed the information below. Alfa Bar requires that you sign up ahead of time and both events are free to participate. Keep in mind that if you attend, these events are sometimes not just for music! It is very common for open mics to be open to all types of artistry including poetry and spoken word, comedy, and more. Enjoy these opportunities to get out there and play!
EDIT – our Instrument Rental Website has updated the list, here are a few more places that offer jam sessions and open mic nights for those of you interested in playing your instrument! Don’t forget to jump over to the Shine Instrument Rental blog, to see other interesting events and happenings in Barcelona for Musicians.