Connecting through music is an important part of the human experience. From the first moments that our ears develop in the womb, we are exposed to sounds. Heartbeats, breathing, and the sound of our mothers voice.
Music has been scientifically proven to benefit us in many ways, studying music develops a multitude of skills as well as actually “working out” our brains, making our synapses fire faster, and helping us to make faster connections. Humans use sound, music, and dance to communicate, and they are vital to developing our emotional abilities. Music is used in therapy, in expression, in connection. And you don’t have to be able to play and instrument or be able to sing to enjoy music, an to share it with others!
As a parent, we find ourselves responsible for encouraging development and facilitating experiences where our children can discover music. Starting early is fantastic but you can include musical activities from any age. Better late than never, just remember it’s all about positive reinforcement. If you are excited about music, your child will naturally develop a love for it too!
Musical Activities to do with Kids
Singingmay not be the easiest for everyone, and not everyone sings well. But singing is proven to be a huge health benefit, and singalongs soften any off-key voice! Take off the pressure! Make a fun and easy kids music playlist and choose a time of day to have a sing-a-long. Bath time is great, or perhaps if you travel by car, you can have a go-to car playlist. Another great way to include music in your day, is a nap time play list. Focus on softer, quieter music, you may even find that certain songs start putting your kids to sleep no matter where they are and can be a huge help in soothing kids if they are not feeling well, or are out of their comfort zone (in a holiday hotel, or needing a nap after a strenuous day)
Play musical games, or set up musical games for them to play with friends. Musical games are perfect for developing rhythm and listening skills. They are also great for getting moving and using up all that boundless energy that kids have. Make up your own games or add music to existing ones.
Have a dance party! This is a great way to expose your kids to different musical genres! You may be surprised by what kind of music they like! Try to include a range or make different playlists for different dance parties. Then for 20 mins or so, pick the smaller kids up and dance with them on your hips, or hold hands or just dance around the house or garden together!
Make Instruments or play on toy instruments. Bang pots and pans, plastic bowls or cups. Make shakers from rice and beans, try create a water xylophone. Play with sound and music. Facilitate an environment where the kids can create their own songs. If they are into videos, you can always incorporate the idea of making a music video. This activity can include other materials, drawing and painting, writing music, thinking about how the music video will look, and filming the whole thing. If the kids are older, it can be a fun idea to add in editing the video. Your kids will be making Tiktok or youtube videos before long anyway!
Take small babies and toddlers to a music sensory group. They will be exposed to different sounds and musical experiences. Repetition, like clapping is great for memory and helps with language development. You can then repeat these games and activities at home and incorporate music into your life. Make up songs for doing chores like tidying up or brushing teeth. It turns these otherwise boring activities into a fun game and can involve other learning like counting or movement!
Watch musical movies. Kids love tv, there’s no doubt! So pick out some movies with great songs that you can sing together, or series about music and bands. If they are older perhaps make movie playlists, have a family movie night, and watch a movie about their favourite band or singer, or even a movie with a great soundtrack! Disney has a whole host of musical movies for all ages.
Get out there! Experience music outside of the home! Take your kids out to the theatre to see a musical, expose them to music festivals or concerts from a young age. You can always buy sound softening headphones for the littlest kids, or choose more family oriented concerts. Not only will they be seeing how great music is in the context of the wider world, but going to a weekend concert is a great event for the whole family.
The guitar is a very versatile instrument, with which you can play songs from different musical genres. Flamenco, which is very popular in Spain and throughout the world, is one of them and flamenco guitar is one of the most popular varieties of Spanish guitar.
The origin of the word “flamenco” is inexact. It is believed to come from the cultural tradition that gypsies introduced to Spain during Arab domination since before the 15th century. However, it was during the 18th century when flamenco was recognized as a musical genre and elevated its artistic expression from the cultural fusion of Muslims, Gypsies, Spaniards, Africans and Caribbean that at that time coexisted in Andalusia.
The first historically documented flamenco guitarist dates from the year 1850 known as Francisco Rodríguez “El Murciano”. However, the oldest record of flamenco music dates from 1774 in the book Las Cartas Marruecas by José Cadalso.
In general, when we talk about flamenco we refer to the result of a harmonic mix of different cultures and musical styles that has an artistic expression of deep feeling through cante (singing), dancing and toque (the way the guitarist plays the flamenco guitar). Over time, other instruments such as the flute, cajon, and violin have enriched this music, which has allowed it to renew melodies and shape the flamenco that we know today.
The flamenco guitar is similar to a classical guitar but with thinner parts and less internal reinforcements. It usually has nylon strings and is used in toque.
This instrument is often equipped with a kick plate (pickguard), commonly made of plastic, whose function is to protect the guitar body from rhythmic beats.
Flamenco guitars are normally made of cypress wood, a material that brightens the sound and adapts very well to the characteristics of this musical style. In addition, it has a narrower box so that the sound is smaller and does not overshadow the singer’s voice.
Perhaps the main difference between a classical guitar and a flamenco guitar is that in the last one, the harmonic bars are located in a different way, which generates a more percussive and brilliant sound.
Regarding posture, the flamenco guitarist often crosses his legs and supports the guitar he is highest on, while the neck keeps it almost horizontal with respect to the ground.
Since 2010, flamenco has been considered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) as a masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity.
Some of our teachers offer recommendations for those who are interested in studying flamenco guitar:
César Munuera, graduated in flamenco guitar from the Conservatori del Liceu, assures:
“Paco de Lucía is the benchmark for any flamenco, but then there are Vicente Amigo, Gerardo Núñez, Tomatito, etc., who are from a later generation but equally great.
In my opinion, in flamenco there are no specific works that are essential … the most important thing, beyond listening to guitarists, is listening to cante and the more traditional flamenco to understand the rhythm and singularities of each palo. You have to listen to a lot and, above all, study a lot of technique in the most meticulous way possible … Since this genre develops specific guitar techniques that do not exist in any other style. “
The director of the Shine School of Music and expert in classical guitar, Milos Sajin, mentions some important works:
Our music school is located in Barcelona, a place historically recognized for being one of the first spaces where flamenco flourished in Spain between the 19th and 20th centuries.
Have fun studying music with us! The classes we offer are personalized and for all ages. Although you are a beginner or already have a more advanced level, do not worry, our music courses will always be adapted to your needs and interests.
Each year the Shine School of Music in Barcelona hosts a concert. It’s a unique opportunity for students to perform for a live audience, and get a taste or experience of performing for a crowd and certainly a chance to show off what they have accomplished with their teachers.
Our concerts have grown, from one small concert once a year to now a series of concerts during the year, and each one just gets better and better! As we get ready for our first online music concert, we want to take a look back at some of our student’s and teacher’s performances over the years.
We hope that you tune in with us for the concert this year. It will be a first for us, in that it will be streamed online. We really look forward to what our talented students and teachers have put together.
You may not think you are good at singing, but everyone can sing! Even if you sing on your own, in your room with headphones on and no-one around! There are some surprising health benefits to singing out loud! And just the same as anything, with a little help and training you can improve your singing. So if you ever wanted to enjoy singing even more, we can encourage you to take a singing lesson! If the following reasons don’t make you want to give it a go, at least keep on singing in the shower!
Singing strengthens the immune system
Research conducted at the University of Frankfurt, confirmed that singing boosts the immune system. The study included testing a profesional choir during a rehearsal singing Mozart’s “Requiem”. The researchers observed that the amount of Immunoglobulin A (a protein in the immune system that work as antibodies), were much higher right after the rehearsal. The same increases were not seen in the choir members who passively listened to the music.
Sounds are believed to improve specific aspects of your health and there are at least 5 different sounds you can sing to improve your bodies overall function:
Singing the short “a” sound (as in ahh) for 2-3 minutes will help you to stop feeling sad. It forces oxygen into the blood & brain, which in turn triggers a release of endorphins.
The short “e” sound (as in ‘echo’) makes the thyroid gland produce hormones that help to improve digestion & metabolism.
The long “e” sound (as in ‘see’) stimulates the pineal gland, boosting your alertness & learning. Try this before studying!
The long “o” sound (as in ‘open’) helps the pancreas and can regulate blood sugar after a meal.
The double “o” sound (as in ‘cool’) makes the spleen/immune system to boost infection-fighting white blood cells.
Let’s get singing to help our bodies fight off Corona Virus! We certainly need all the help we can get!
Singing is a workout
Have you ever found yourself tired after a good Karaoke session? Singing can be an excellent form of exercise, especially for those who are unable to like the older generation or those who are physically disabled. If you’re healthy, your lungs will still get a serious workout if you use the correct singing techniques. And you may be working muscles that you don’t generally use in other forms of exercise. Singing stimulates your overall circulation. And we all know that more oxygen benefits your whole body! Singing may even help to increase your aerobic capacity and stamina.
Singing improves your posture
The more you sing, the stronger your lungs become. As you work your chest muscles, your chest cavity expands, your shoulders and back align, and eventually it all works together, lifting and straightening your posture. Standing up straight is part of correct technique for singing. Your singing teacher will agree. And a good posture relieves back and neck strain!
Singing helps with sleep
Do you snore? Does your partner? Who can sleep with all this snoring going on? Well singing may be the answer to sweet dreams! According to a health article in Daily Mail Online, experts believe singing can help strengthen throat and palate muscles, which helps stop snoring and sleep apnea.
Singing combats Anxiety & Depression
As you sing, your brain triggers a release of endorphins. These help to alleviate depression, anxiety, and stress. Studies have even shown that singing can decrease our cortisol levels, which are responsible for stress. Singers often experienced improved mood and increased relaxation.