All posts tagged music

Pianos are one of the most loved and popular instruments in the world. Their wooden cases and keys romantised in films and popular culture, their unique sound can be heard in concert halls, schools and on the radio. Besides being instantly recognised, pianos are also quite cumbersome. They take up room, are very heavy and solid instruments, and when they are not taken care of, they tend to fall out of tune. You would think that with modern living in smaller and smaller apartments that expensive pianos worldwide would be gathering dust in corners and forgotten about.

(photo credit: Gavin Whitner )

But with technological advances the piano has been making a comeback in the form of the digital piano. Just imagine! An electronic keyboard that has been developed to both sound and feel like a real acoustic piano. A keyboard that you can travel with, a keyboard that could be stored in a corner of a room, taking up far less room than it’s older cousin, the acoustic upright piano.

Indeed with innovations such as weighted keys, DSP and “sampling”, digital pianos are able to mimic acoustic pianos so well that they are now sought after by professional pianists. You can even practice with headphones and plug your piano into a speaker or computer to record your musical progress or share your playing on your social media accounts. The digital piano has taken pianos into the 21st century, and with piano proven to be the leading instrument to build cognitive and emotional skills, piano playing is here to stay!

At Shine we offer fantastic courses for the budding pianist, and our skilled professional teachers are ready to encourage your musical journey as well as guide you through different techniques and skills. No matter what level you are, we can offer you new and challenging ways in which to enjoy your piano and music! At Shine we sell and rent both Digital and Acoustic Pianos in Barcelona. Feel free to get in touch with us!

 

Register as a student for piano lessons or rent a digital piano in Barcelona!

Music is one of the most complex and engaging human expressions. Ever since the first humans started experimenting with rhythmic patterns, the art of mixing sound and silence has managed to cross cultural and language barriers, and has become an essential part of the human experience.

Although music tends to feel as an emotional and even magical creation, there are very real and measurable scientific reasons behind a lot of its effects on humans.

1. Dopamine release

Those chills you feel when you are listening to a song that just “makes your heart explode”… well, scientists have made studies proving that a dopamine release in the brain is behind this feeling. Incidentally, dopamine is also released during sex and when eating chocolate…so, next time you’re feeling moved by a love song, remember to thank your brain chemicals for the ride.

2. Music can change your heartbeat

No, we are not talking about your heart skipping a beat when the radio plays that song you used to dance with your first love. Studies have shown that the human heart beat tends to accelerate involuntarily when listening to fast paced music (trance/techno) and tends to slow down when listening to minimal house music for example.

3. Music can be addictive (addictive as in drugs)

Can’t wait to charge your phone so you can listen to your new favorite track over and over again, itching to hear your favorite band play live? Well, turns out the dopamine release in the brain related to our musical experiences means that besides the emotional cues we get from the experience, our bodies also become accustomed to the chemical rush elicited by sounds. So, next time your guitarist claims to be addicted to his new riff, you might have to take his word for it. It’s not him, it’s the dopamine in his brain.

As it turns out, science and music are not as unrelated as you might think. In fact, regardless of the genre, music can affect our bodies as much as it affects our minds and soul.

5 tips for bassists

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.

If you want to improve your bass guitar skills find more information at Shine Music School.

Or rent a bass guitar at Instrument Rental Barcelona.

Music and the brain

brain

If you’re looking for an exercise that’s fun, interesting, and will work out your entire brain, grab an instrument and start playing.

When you play music, the entire brain lights up because you’re using almost every region of the brain. Specifically the regions dedicated to audio, visual, and motor functions. Naturally, those regions are strengthened as you practice and play your instrument more and more, and that leads to many benefits outside of music. These benefits include a better attention to detail, stronger planning and strategic skills, and a better memory.

Researchers at Northwestern University found that people who play a musical instrument generally have a greater memory, attention span, and ability to convey emotions. Such activity can also help develop enhanced speech and language skills. According to the researchers, the brain builds new neural connections (paths for information to travel through your brain) while learning to play music. This increases the brain’s ability to adapt and change.

The influence of music on society can be seen clearly from modern history. Thomas Jefferson played the violin for hours at a time while in the process of writing The Declaration of Independence to help him relax enough to write. Albert Einstein, recognized as one of the smartest men who has ever lived, was very fond of music as well and played the violin and piano. Not only was music relaxing to Einstein, but it also helped him with his work on his theories. He would go back and forth from working on a theory to playing a few chords on the piano, jotting something down and then returning to his study. In both cases, music has influenced these well-known people in history, specifically helping them to focus and relax when trying to perform a task.

So why not give it a try?

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.

study music abroad
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.

classes at shine music school barcelona