Ever felt emotional listening to your favourite tunes? You are not alone. Music has been a universal feature of the human society, with the power to evoke primal feelings from our cores. Silent films, one of the milestones in the history of film-making, make use of music in this precise manner. Recorded without a synchronised audio track, these films do not contain any audible dialogue, making use of title cards to convey its plot and live music to add more drama to the films.
Music has always played a pivotal role in complementing the creative arts such as theatre, film, and dance. A creative director’s process involves thinking about the function of the sonic arts in a performance - how music might enhance a show, inspire new choreographic heights, or even how sound effects might add to the effectiveness of humour in a show. Over the years, music has established its place in theatrical conventions. Specifically, music shared one of its greatest moments with comedy through the conception of Vaudeville shows.
Mark these dates on your calendar! With a variety of acts such as G.E.M’s Queen Of Hearts World Tour (05-06 Apr 2019), Ed Sheeran’s Divide Tour 2019 (13 Apr 2019), Jason Mraz’s Good Vibes Tour (13 May 2019) and A-Lin Show Live in Genting (20 July 2019) happening within the year, we are fortunate to get to enjoy these wonderful concerts live in Malaysia. However, do you ever wonder what goes on behind the stage for these large-scale performances to be executed flawlessly?
Have your heard of instrumental hits such as Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Strauss’ The Blue Danube, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5? Did you experience a certain feeling after listening to these hits? It’s fascinating how these instrumental pieces that do not contain any words have the capacity to evoke certain feelings within us. What causes one to experience those feelings? Music practitioners explain this phenomenon by regarding music to be a universal language - one that conveys primal feelings shared at the core of the human experience.
What is deliberate practice? Defined as a special type of practice that is purposeful and systematic, deliberate practice differs from average practice in that it requires focused attention, and is conducted with the specific aim to improve performance. Practice of such a nature, as opposed to mindless practicing, can help musicians at all levels to improve by leaps and bounds. Here are a few ways to keep things in check!
Since the invention of the radio, chances are you probably heard the “4 Chords” more frequently than you would have expected. The “4 Chords” is a series of chords played after one another to form a chord progression which is then looped repeatedly to form the ‘backbone’ of a song. A very popular example of the “4 Chords” would be the I-V-vi-IV progression. The roman numerals correspond to specific scale degrees depending on key that is currently being played. In the key of C Major, the corresponding chords would be C maj - G maj - A min - F maj.
Music takes its listener on a journey with every note, changing a listener’s response at every junction, through the highs and then to the lows. Ever wondered how composers and arrangers achieve this? And how music endings let you feel at peace after a joy ride through the past few minutes? One of the tools composers commonly employ is the use of dominant chords. Dominant chords are used in every piece of music, as it is an effective way to signal a cadence or a change in mood. To understand this, we must first discuss the conception of tertian harmony in the common practice period.
Parents are often said to be the first teachers of their children. A parent’s role in a child’s musical journey is one that is very influential, and there are many ways in which parents can help their child with their music learning. Some parents who have little to no musical experience might feel uncertain about their role and what they can do to help their children. The good news is, there is a lot that parents can do, musical or not, to help their children achieve success in their musical journey!
The second music exam season of the year is here! So fast?! I am not ready! Parents and students alike start to panic at any looming examination. Fret not, your music teachers are here to help you present your best selves for optimum results.
We must always try to prepare as much as we can for any exam. With the ABRSM exams commencing March 2019, D-Flat Music Academy outlines some tips and tricks for candidates to have a smooth and positive exam experience.
Love is in the air this 14th of February!
One of our students over at D-Flat Studios Singapore planned for Valentine’s Day well in advance this year. A few months ago, Dr. Thomas Anthony approached one of our teachers, Teacher Lydia with a mission in mind - to prepare a special song performance for his wife as a 50th birthday gift to her.
The rapid advancement of technology has not only made e-learning an extremely viable platform for education, but also popularized digital play as a mode of learning. Phone apps and games have burgeoned over the years as developers continuously race to construct the best apps and games to teach each and every subject.
According to Statista, there are 2.8 million apps available on Google Play and 2.2 million apps available on the Apple App Store as of March 2017. As the teachers and students here at D-Flat Studios prepare for the imminent ABRSM practical exams, we’ve found a couple of apps that have been greatly effective in spicing up a practice session!
The first time I realised I had perfect pitch was during a routine piano lesson, during which my teacher was going through aural training with me in preparation for my ABRSM exam. When I was able to reproduce a verbatim repetition of a short melody she’d played earlier, she looked at me with wide-eyed merriment. As a young child who barely understood much about music back then, I was confused by her reaction - I’d thought that this ability was one that everyone possessed.
Did you know that the popular Chinese New Year song, “Gong Xi, Gong Xi” was not originally written for the festivity? With a history of over five thousand years old, this ubiquitous household favourite actually has a background far richer (and darker) than one might expect from a Chinese New Year jingle.
Have you heard of the KonMari method? Pioneered by Japanese tidying expert Marie Kondo, the KonMari method is a Japanese system of simplifying and organizing one’s home by discarding physical items that do not bring joy into one’s life. Kondo proposes a simple criteria on deciding which items to get rid of and which to keep - whether or not the item “sparks joy”. Intrigued by what became one of the biggest trends that ushered in the new year, I decided to create a new composition using the KonMari method, using only musical elements that sparked joy within me.
"This is challenging! I played this passage everyday last week, but I am still not getting it! How do I practice this?"
Practice and rehearsals are critical to anyone picking up any instrument or sport. Some skills are harder than others, and require a more thoughtful and dedicated approach. Here are a few suggestions which may help you maximise your practice sessions!
Purchasing a piano is an important decision. It brings so much joy to the family, bringing music to the household, creating a lifetime of musical enjoyment. There is a vast variety to choose from - acoustic or digital, upright or grand, black or white - choosing a suitable piano may seem like a tough choice. D-Flat Music Academy is here to provide some quick tips before you make that decision
It has long been said that learning to play the piano, violin, trumpet or trombone - engaging in music lessons, has always been associated with better cognitive skills and improved brain power. Many would agree that it is a great skill to have, and in one way or another improves one's perspectives and senses. What does the science say? We list some known studies and uncover other observable benefits of music!