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Is Your Child Capable of Composing Music? Maybe the next Mozart?

We've all heard of them. Child prodigies who begin composing music at some ridiculously young age. For instance, history reports that Mozart was writing minuets by the time he was five years old. Amazing. At five years of age, I'm not sure that I knew the difference between my finger and my thumb and I certainly wasn't composing music.

Now there is no doubt that the fact that Mozart was composing music by the age of five does not prove that any of the rest of us ever could compose music, but a number of studies conducted over the past fifty or so years indicates that most children can begin composing music as long as they are given both guidance and opportunity.

True, in the vast majority of the cases the end product is not going to rival anything that Mozart put out, but just because you (or your child) may not be the best there ever was at composing music doesn't mean the attempt is not worth the effort. If we follow that reasoning why would a child learn to walk or run when he or she knows he could never walk or run as well as, say, Michael Jordan? Why would they learn to talk if they knew they could never speak as well as Bill Clinton or Ronald Reagan?

Similarly, imagine if Mozart's parents had not given him the opportunity to be exposed to music and then the formal training that gave him the tools to begin composing music. The world would be a poorer place without the input of this musical genius.

In Mozart's situation, he began formal training on the keyboard at the age of four and within a year he was composing music - though I'm sure that it wasn't of the caliber of his later works. In the case of the average child, however studies have shown that if given the opportunity and the education (i.e. instruction on an instrument, a little bit of music theory, etc) average children can begin composing music somewhere around the age of nine.

Give your child the opportunity and training he or she needs to begin composing music. In most cases it will develop their mind, round out their education, and give them a creative outlet. Eventually, however, of all the children composing music who might not have otherwise, the next Mozart will spring and if it's your child, the world will thank you. And if not, at least your child has been exposed to some good music and had his or her mind stretched a bit.

I am extremely thankful that my parents had the good sense to expose me to music by way of piano lessons starting when I was about 7. And even though it didn't "take" until I was an early teenager, when it did I had the background in music theory and technique to where I could progress rapidly from then on. And while I'm a country mile from Mozart's class, I do well enough to enjoy my self and make a living in music.


Ambient Music -- Nature's Sounds Put To Music

It's often playing in the places you go. Whether it's in an art gallery, a unique specialty shop, or a restaurant, ambient music creates a mood. This music genre has seen a growth in popularity in the last 30 years.

Ambient music relies on sound and sound patterns. It does not rely on formal, traditional musical elements in its composition. While it may include these, it is open to bending or completely doing away with any rules.

Ambient music is atmospheric in nature, in the sense that it creates an atmosphere of sound to arouse the senses. It often uses the natural environment as inspiration. A composer of this type of music may use a beautiful moonlit night as his or her basis for a sound sculpture that evokes this scene.

Ambient music has its roots in classical music. It uses elements borrowed from impressionism, musique concrete, avant-garde and minimalism. However, it is not any one of these styles more per se. It is its own animal. An understanding of these musical styles will give you a better understanding of the elements of ambient music.

Impressionism: This music draws from atmospheric effects and descriptive ideas. The sound of the wind is an atmospheric effect that can be part of a piece of music. A descriptive idea to base music on could be: "I love the way sand forms ripple patterns in a windblown desert." This word picture can inspire a composer to write an ambient piece using sound to bring images to listeners' minds.

Musique Concrete: This music relies on natural sounds from our environment. It also uses any other type of noise that one would not consider musical. Putting these sounds and noises into a composition creates a different, non-traditional music experience. For example, the sound of a jackhammer is a legitimate sound element to place into a sound recording.

Minimalism: This music is unadorned and pared down to its basics. It may use one sound pattern or an individual sound that the composer repeats continually. There may not be any complex arranging or orchestrations done to enhance this music. Often a listener hears the repetition of one entire sequence throughout a composition.

Avant-Garde: This music seeks to break through the boundaries of normal musical parameters. It operates at the extremes of conventional musical thought as it seeks to explore new territory. Avant-garde music knows the inherent rules of traditional music and then seeks to break, modify or expand on them. This is why much avant-garde music is experimental in nature. Composers of this form experiment with tempo, time, timbre, tone, and chord and scale patterns.

Therefore ambient music takes aspects of all of the above to create a hybrid music all its own. This music developed from the works of Erik Satie, Terry Riley, Phillip Glass, John Cage, Brian Eno and others. Satie's early form of this music had the unusual term, "furniture music," to describe its suitability as background music during mealtime.

However, some ambient music devotees reject the notion that ambient music is only unobtrusive, subtle, background filler. Adherents to this view see ambient music as viable music that one can appreciate and listen to as one would an intricate classical, jazz or popular piece.

Eno explained it best during his musical experimentations when he said ambient music could be "actively listened to with attention or as easily ignored, depending on the choice of the listener..." He said it exists on the cusp between melody and texture. He is credited with creating the term "ambient music."

Ambient music can be part of any environment. It's suitable as party music if you want guests to enjoy quality sounds and be able to converse with one another. It's suitable for sitting back with a drink while you're reading or just de-stressing and staring out a window. It's also music to listen to critically. One can study sound, both artificial and natural, and how they can co-exist in a composition.

If you desire to create ambient music, all you need is simple recording equipment and something to create or capture sound. You can record natural atmospheric conditions to put in your song. This could be the sound of rushing water or the cries of birds. You can record the sounds of the city: buses, children laughing, cars beeping, to inject into your music. You can play and record a musical instrument. You can modify the sound of an instrument and record its sounds. Put it all together to create the sound you desire.

Take the time to chill out and tune in to ambient music of different kinds. Explore the works of the pioneers of this musical form. Check out who's new and upcoming in the ambient music community. It's music that's adaptable, varied and able to create a mood for any occasion.


Through Cello Lessons Students Gain An Appreciation Of Arts And Sciences

The cello is an instrument that provides a deep soothing bass sound for a orchestra or quartet. An important member of the string instrument family cello mastery requires constant practice. With fingering techniques that resonate the soulful melody of a piece of music the cello has found its way from the classical setting of refined music into the jazz clubs where the bow has been left behind and the large instrument is referred to as a bass or bass cello. Similar in design to a violin the a number of children study music be investing in cello lessons. Teaching the rhythmic patterns of tempo and beat a cello instructor helps students to understand the principles of mathematics that are found in musical compositions.

The correlation between musical comprehension and the sciences has been found to have a profound effect on the individuals that are taking classes in science and math. While the discipline of the cello or any other stringed instrument requires an understanding of each note that is played the accompanying intellect of a child that studies music and practices an instrument often translates to a better understanding and comprehension of their traditional school work. For the people that devote their life to music the cello is an instrument that can provide career opportunities for them to participate in a professional chamber ensemble or maybe even a symphony orchestra.

Students that are taking cello lessons near Boston can not only practice on their own after being instructed by their teacher, but can listen to the full classical compositions that are played by the Boston Pops Orchestra and learn that many contemporary film scores are provided by the symphonic sound that appear in the movies. One of the most memorable pieces of music from the big screen is the throbbing tones of the cello that accompany a killer great white shark from the intense scenes of the late 1970's movie Jaws. Played slowly then building in suspense the notes capture the audience's attention as the impending attack of the shark is signified by the lone cello strings.

While not every student that picks up a musical instrument will become a famous recording artist there are many opportunities for children to play the cello at recitals and in concert. Performing in a string quartet or making their debut in the school symphony the cello lessons that are taken by youngsters can help them to excel in their educational studies and provide a love of classical and contemporary music that will stay with a person throughout their life.


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