Growing Up Happy – What do Teenagers Want?

Happy Teenager

Happy Teenager + Happy Parents = Happy Home

Lots of people are searching for happiness, at any age! There so many sites, books, courses and workshops all dedicated to finding health and happiness. Here are some practical points for you, that I have taken from the wealth of information out there!

  • To be happy, you need to feel in control of your own destiny.
  • Shape your life and environments to make the most of your personal strengths.
  • Figure things out yourself wherever you can, pursue your interests and passions, make choices for yourself and plan your next steps.
  • Simple things in life are the best.
  • High standards of well-being are related to good habits: healthy eating, physical exercise, plenty of sleep, moderate use of media/ internet rather than excessive use, regular quality family time and friend time.

Happy Teen

When I read about the pressures on the young people of today, this resonates with me and I want to help!

I think all of us can think of times in our lives when we were trying to decide upon our purpose and identity.  If your happiness is completely dependant on other people it will feel uneasy…Constantly checking the phone for messages, fretting over every line of a text, wondering why a certain person seems to be ignoring you.. doesn’t sound like a recipe for happiness does it?

If I could change anything about myself, I would like to be stronger in myself. To know better when things are not good for me, or not quite right, and to trust my intuition more. Ultimately, to be more confident in myself and not reliant on other people’s approval for happiness.

To be honest, this has happened more and more with age! I would even go so far as to say, I’m pretty strong in myself now, but there’s always a part of us inside that still feels like a teenager! Now I’m more interested in how to help my children grow up with self confidence..

So whether you are a teenager, a parent of a teenager or neither, this might be relevant to you?! Take steps towards gaining a sense of self belief and building your confidence, irrespective of whether your friends think it’s cool! I can promise you, you will NOT regret this!

Self Help Books for Teens

I love a self-help book! These are a couple that are worth a read:

  • The Art Of Being a Brilliant Teenager by Andy Cope.
  • The Self- Esteem Workbook for Teens: Activities to Help You Build Confidence and Achieve Your Goals – by Lisa Schab
  • Blame My Brain: the Amazing Teenage Brain Revealed by Nicola Morgan. This explains the physical changes in your brain and helps you make sense of puzzling situations that you might be experiencing. It’s packed full of examples, advice and most importantly it’s designed to give you information about what happens to you during your teenage life. Information is power my friend!!
  • Who Moved My Cheese – Dr Spencer Johnson. A quick, easy read providing a metaphor on accepting change. You might even come across it in school. This message can make you think about life in a more positive way!

You will be able to get at least one of these at your local library, or if you are super-keen you can click on the link to buy it.

 

 

 

Angry Teen

Why do Parents Suck?! – Teenagers Guide to Parents 😉

Ever wondered why your parents say all the wrong things, ask annoying questions, stick their nose in your business when it’s not wanted, try to get you to do things that you don’t want to do, criticise your bad behaviour, ask you to help around the house and remember your manners, make you get home at a certain time, eat your greens, go to bed, get up for school… the list is endless, but I am sure you are beginning to get my drift. And you know the answer deep down right? They do all of these things because they want what is best for you. They want you to have the best life you can have. Because they love you.

I know, I know! You were hoping this would be a little rant about how annoying your parents are, how they should leave you alone etc. But hopefully they are trying to get better at knowing how your life is changing, and maybe they need a little help to understand! Maybe if you forgive your parent for not getting it right occasionally, they will forgive you too when you mess up?! The best thing is if you can manage to talk about this without turning it into an argument. Your parents are actually, believe it or not, on your side!… Good luck!

Naughty Step Blues

If you are a parent, maybe you are looking back at the “naughty step” with fondness for a time when your children were little, that now seems easy by comparison?! I’m hoping that the fact you are here to read this article means that you are keen to connect and understand more about how to be a parent of teenage kids.

Why are we Stereotyping Teenagers?

I would hate to feel that any negativity or reluctance on my part, would have an impact on my children’s happiness, and this is partly why I am researching all of this now! I guess we are all a little guilty of using stereotypes, and having been teenagers once ourselves, I suspect we sometimes feel that we know what our children are going through, but of course they are becoming young adults and are individual, not simply following in our footsteps! As with every generation, the pressures and the world we live in now, are both very different to the world we grew up in ourselves.

It is quite a hard step for us as parents to take a little step back, but sometimes that might be what is needed. Our teenage children, want to be taken seriously and I suppose at times, given the respect of an adult, as they are beginning to have strong feelings and emotions, views and desires of their own. On the other hand, there are probably just as many times when we should be taking a step forward again, to be there and support through times that seem hard for our kids!

Precious Children

 

As I have said before, we all could do with a little self-help now and then! If you have any issues of your own that you think might relate to when you were growing up, it might be worth trying to deal with them now! Inadvertently, I suspect at least to some extent, we can pass on our bad as well as our good traits! So if there is stuff you know that could come up with your teenage children, think about it now!

– relevant parenting/ self books

  • How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk – Abele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. This has some useful exercises to fill in, which really get you thinking about your own parent-child relationships, as well as some funny cartoons to give you examples. There is another version specifically aimed at teenagers, however the concepts in this can be applied to any child really. It is about how to communicate effectively, and most definitely worth a read.
  • No-Drama Discipline: the whole-brain way to calm the chaos and nurture your child’s developing mind (Mindful Parenting) – Daniel J. Siegal and Tina Payne Bryson. This is great! I love a bit of psychology and it is applied perfectly in this book. I think this book really helped me to stop, try to pause before reacting and to re-connect as often as possible. I learned a lot from this book, and I certainly have reduced my shouting since!! Can’t say I never shout, but I hardly ever do. This can most definitely be applied to older children, and I think I need to read it again in a couple of years.
  • Girls Uninterrupted: Steps for Building Stronger Girls in a Challenging World – Tanith Carey. This is a must-read if you have daughters. Prepare yourself, it’s not all stuff that you want to think about, but I certainly learned a thing or two about the modern world, and I highly recommend.

Following the above recommendation, try this one to take some positive steps towards helping your girls.

Steve Biddulph has a number of really good Parenting books, including Raising Boys, but this one is different in the sense it is almost like a workbook for you to personalise your development on your way through the book.

  • Sane – Emma Young. This one is just for you to enjoy, it’s a personal account of someone trying to make herself feel just a little better in everyday life. It’s an enjoyable read and for many of us who take an interest in health and well-being, there is plenty to relate to.

 

Conclusion

I have touched on a few different aspects related to family health and happiness here, but I hope there is something that inspires you to work on your own well-being, your family bonds or even just making sure you give yourself a little more “me-time” whatever your age!

If you have any thoughts about what we have touched upon here, I’d love to hear from you, so please leave a comment below.

 

 

 

 

Can Music Help You Study? Exam Studying Tips from teensdomusic

Studying with music

I can’t believe it’s that time of year again! When students at varying levels are preparing to knuckle down and immerse themselves in the world of exam revision and stress.. Well at least that’s how I remember it!

It comes with memories of terrible hay fever, missing out on fun, trying to study whilst sunbathing, and ultimately peering at books for hours on end.. Am I making you feel worse?! Well it was worth it in the end, as I got to University, did an amazing course and became a Chartered Physiotherapist. In the process, made and kept some excellent friendships and basically had a ball! None of which, in my case, would have happened without some seriously hard work..

So I’m interested to find out more about how music can help the art and skill of studying with success.

Boost Exam Revision Motivation

Sometimes the subject we are trying so hard to learn, is not something that thrills us! Especially more so at school, when a broader range of subjects are still compulsory. Anything that can help make the process a bit more enjoyable has got to be good surely? It certainly would improve your mood?! Perhaps alleviate boredom?! However, there seems to be a growing trend to believe that if selected well, listening to music while studying can be beneficial.

Music to help you study

Certainly there were subjects that I really found a chore, and often they were the ones I found most difficult as well! But work has to be done, and personally I found that having music on, as well as my devoted mum bringing me endless snacks and drinks, helped to get through the revision process. If you are not careful, it can become a distraction instead, so choosing the playlist wisely is important! It has been said, that listening to music while trying to learn something new is not a good idea. But theoretically studying for exams, and even most homework/ coursework, should be a revision of concepts already learnt in lessons.

Selecting Playlists for Studying

However, listening to music without lyrics is thought to be least distracting, especially for English language subjects, involving writing and reading. If your mind starts following the lyrics of a song, then I think this applies to you!

What we need here, is music to help you work!

Instrumental music may be less likely to distract or take up valuable “brain-space.” When trying to memorise things in a certain order, it may be better to switch off background noise to maximise the short-term memory potential. I cannot argue with the fact that silence may well be the best scenario for some and particularly for when new and difficult concepts need to be learnt, but there has to be a little give and take around revision periods. It can be a tough-time for young people!

 

Ideas for playlists:

Teen focus on music

  • Classical music is an obvious choice for instrumental music, picking something more on the quiet side like Debussy, Chopin, Mahler or a collection such as Smooth Classics.
  • Modern day composers might interest you more, as they might use recognisable “classical” aspects in terms of instruments and overall sound, but often with electronic edge it just has a more current feel to it. We used to call this Ambient Music, I get the impression this is not the term now, more electro-acoustic? Try Olafur Arnalds or Michal Jacaszek for this. When studying or trying to focus, I enjoy Ambient music with a slight bias towards Chill-Out in reference to my Ibiza-loving days. For this I recommend not getting too “dancey” as you will be literally getting out your seat and turning up the volume instead of working! If you are streaming music then look for playlists under focus or concentration, and even soundtrack for study.
  • Soundtracks to TV shows or films are popular.
  • Pop instrumental playlists might work for you. Personally I can’t get on with the lack of vocals, and I’d prefer to listen to something that was written as an instrumental.
  • If you just can’t get on with the above suggestions, it might be worth trying some acoustic albums by your favourite bands or singers, asking your parents if they can recommend anything that is not too stimulating, but might inspire or motivate you to keep going? You might be surprised that they have some good ideas to offer! After all, the majority of the world’s successful artists would report to have been influenced by their own parent’s music collection. In the days before the internet, this was often all that people had access to!

Music and Maths

Music has long been rumoured to have links with developing Mathematical brains, but disappointingly, there is not a vast amount of evidence to prove this.

There are approaches out there for developing musical skills, which can be modified to help children learn and understand fractions and other mathematical exercises. The Hungarian Kodaly Method, for example, features a system whereby students learn how to speak and sing rhythmic patterns using sounds/ syllables of words. It is possible that we could turn this around and use mental pictures of the musical notes to work out fractions too. I suspect that this requires a dedicated teacher, but if you are struggling with maths, you might be able to fall back on some of your musical training, or vice versa?!

Exam Stress Relief

I think that both listening to music and playing musical instruments have a tremendous role here.

I recall that on exam days, my method of controlling my nerves (terrible nerves!) was to play music in my bedroom, really loudly, just before I left the house. I would dance or sing along and it served to lift my mood, relieve some adrenaline and somehow set me up to march out the door with my head held high! Don’t tell your parents you got the idea from me 😉

A few classics that stick in my memory for this kind of feel-good stress relief, are:

  • The Doobie Brothers “Listen to the Music” – get up and sing along, feels so good!
  • Fleetwood Mac “Go Your Own Way” – AMAZING drumming!
  • Nirvana “Smells Like Teen Spirit” – no comment required
  • The Fatback Band “Spanish Hustle”  – my eardrums were almost bursting this was so loud! WAIT for the bongo solo! And the trumpet solo with the theme building underneath is just SWEET, like jazz-trance music before it’s time!

 

Happy Teen

I also enjoyed my band practices during this time. Sometimes practicing pieces at home helped, but since I was studying music, this was also very much linked to my exams and perhaps didn’t give me the mental break that playing with other people did. My friend and I used to load up one of our trusty second hand cars with instruments and sheet music, and head off to the practice sessions on a Friday afternoon/ evening. It was good to get away from the books for a bit. Not only that, all our fellow band members were going through exams too, as well as University applications etc. We got some comfort from each other, but mainly just enjoyed playing some awesome music and having a laugh! A little of freedom, during a time that was mostly scheduled towards passing exams, was both necessary and loved by all!

Use it as a reward!

It’s known that regular exercise boosts concentration, so maybe schedule in a favourite song to actually get up and dance every hour or so, get the blood pumping! Or maybe before a difficult task, treat yourself to a really good song, jump around and get the endorphins releasing to boost your mood. Again, if you have time for a little walk, I find that listening to some what-I-call nondescript music, really helps my imagination and creative brain come into action.

Keep going for your dreams

Studying and getting through exam-times can be really hard. It’s good to remind yourself of the things you are good at, and what you are hoping to get better at. These exams might be the very thing that lead to you towards your ultimate goals, and they might end up being totally insignificant. We’ve all been there, and I think I would advise looking after yourself, get good sleep, eat well, take breaks and exercise and as a Physiotherapist, I would like to add that you should sit at a proper desk and suitable chair with back support too! If you don’t know what exercise to take, do a little yoga or Pilates sequence from You Tube! It is really good to stretch out and exercise your muscles to prevent aches and pains from studying.Good work space for study

Keep doing fun things with family and friends to keep you grounded and calm. Never compare yourself to others because we all have something unique about ourselves and to offer the world, and as long as you try to do the best that you can, you will ultimately have no regrets in life.

Good luck!

If you have anything to share about keeping on track with your studying, and beating exam stress, or thoughts about music in general, I’d love to hear from you, so please leave a comment below.

 

 

 

Best Guitars for Younger Children – and Big Kids too!


I have two young children who are requesting guitars for their birthdays this Spring! One of them has never picked up a guitar in his life, and the other has a little experience of the electric guitar from playing at school in a Rock Steady group. I don’t want to get them toy guitars, but at soon to be ages six and four, I don’t think that they are quite ready for the top of the range instruments on the market either!

Since I need to research all of this myself, I thought I would share the information I have found to help out other parents. While this isn’t strictly relevant to teens, some of you may have younger children and siblings who are keen to join in with the music madness with you! We are still in a position to select birthday gifts ourselves, and presenting them as a surprise! I’m making the most of this, as I’m sure it won’t be long before they are insisting on choosing everything themselves!

Child Size Acoustic Guitar

I am looking for an acoustic guitar that can see my children through lessons and perhaps become a treasured favourite for easy playing when they are older.

1. YAMAHA JR1 3/4 SIZE ACOUSTIC GUITAR & BAG
This is my personal favourite because of its beautiful tone and the quality of the instrument. Although it is smaller than a normal acoustic guitar, I can still picture it being used as a practice guitar when they might have moved on to other things. My concern with some junior sized guitars is that they will be treated as a toy, and sound just as bad! With this, I feel that I am getting something that will last the test of time.

While there are a few others on the market, I am going to leave this here for now. If I come across another great acoustic guitar for kids, I will recommend immediately. I am sorry to say that I haven’t yet!!

I will be researching on the full sized acoustics though, so if you are getting near to adult size watch this space!

Child Size Electric Guitar

What I’m looking for is a 3/4 size guitar, or kid’s guitar, that looks nice and sounds good too.

1. FENDER SQUIER MINI 3/4 ELECTRIC GUITAR

Having found this one, I’m really finding it difficult to move away from it, and I think this is what I will be buying for my daughter (don’t tell her!)

Any music lover, such as myself, has grown up with a fondness for some icon names such as Fender and Gibson, and there is a certain romanticism in the thought of buying my children a 3/4 size beautiful, Fender Stratocaster. It does cost a bit more than some options I’ve seen, but I have fallen in love with the tone, the rosewood body and the fact that I know my daughter is familiar with it already has sealed the deal for me!

It comes in a few colours as well, and can be used until the age of around eleven. I can’t help feeling that this will be much loved and never parted with though. Many adult guitarists still use it as their travel guitar, as it weighs a little less and is easier to transport around.

We will be going with the red, as it’s appealing to everyone and still nice to have a splash of colour on what is essentially quite a grown-up bit of kit! Have a look for yourself by clicking the link above.

 

2. STRETTON PAYNE 1/2 SIZE ELECTRIC GUITAR with amplifier, padded bag, strap, lead, plectrum, tuner, spare strings.

Now, who could argue with this for good value?! It’s essentially based on the design of the Fender Strat (only smaller), without the name, and quite a few extras thrown in as well. This even includes some online guitar lessons.

I very much doubt whether most beginner guitarists would know the difference between this and the above guitar, so if you have a slightly smaller budget, and want to get all the needed accessories in one buy, then this one is a great choice and would have you set up to play immediately.

“Teen” (full) size Electric guitar

1. ROCKJAM FULL SIZE ELECTRIC GUITAR SUPERKIT with Amp, Strings, Tuner, Case and Cable.
I have included this because it is a fantastic package, although please bear in mind that it is full size and therefore you would only buy this if you are reaching adult size yourself!

This really would set you up to performance level with a superb 20 watt Amp, and a carry case for attending all your practices and gigs. With the bonus of a tuner, even the neighbours shouldn’t complain, and the stand means you can show off your new pride and joy even when you are not playing. Pretty awesome!

 

Musical instruments are an investment worth making

Guitar dreams

If you too are a parent, you will no doubt be familiar with the slow, or speedy, drain of financial resources as your children grow up, and need more things, attend more classes and events etc.! But I know from experience that music is totally worth that investment of time and money. Having some quality kit will last a lifetime and provide them with what they need to grow their newly found skills! And if you want to be a little less soulful about it, the decent stuff also has a better resale value should you need to part with it at any time too!!

 

 

 

 

How to learn the Saxophone – Getting set up to start

Saxophone Love
I feel like a complete beginner, but I used to love playing the Saxophone at school, so I do have some experience and hopefully a little technique stored away somewhere!!

So I’m going to dig out my Saxophone from the loft and see if I can re-learn how to play. I will try to share this experience with you so that I can work out what you also might need to know as a beginner.

I’m using an Alto Saxophone (E flat). It is most often used to begin learning the Saxophone, and some Saxophonists stay with the Alto throughout their career. The Tenor is also very popular as it has a deeper and more raspy sound. It has the same fingering as the Alto but produces sound in a B flat key. It is also significantly heavier, and so for most people, I would certainly recommend learning the basics on an Alto first.

Don’t worry about the different keys I mention, I will explain about that when we come to producing some notes on the Sax!

Picking up the Pieces

What do you do first when you want to get good at playing an instrument? Well I look for inspiration. When I used to play in a Jazz band, I absolutely loved playing some funk numbers. Back then we were doing “Chameleon” by Herbie Hancock, “Pick up the Pieces,”by the Average White band, although I secretly liked Candy Dulfer’s version more! “Night Train” in the style of James Brown, “Moanin'” by Art Blakey and the Messengers, “Birdland” by Weather Report, “So What?” of course, Miles Davies, “Quintessence” by Quincy Jones and his Jazz Orchestra, and the playful “Watermelon Man” by Cannonball Adderley.Inspiring Saxophonists

I love jazz music of today, but I’m taking time to get to grips with it! In my day, we were carefully respectful to the jazz masters and in fact, the music I list above was played as only a slight variation and funked up version of the original jazz pieces and much of what we played in lessons and band practices were more like pure jazz numbers by Charlie Parker, Miles Davies, Sonny Rollins, Theolonious Monk, Cat Stevens, Dave Brubeck, John Coltrane, Stan Getz and Horace Silver.

Now, there are no limits as to what can be mixed up and with what! And I love it! It seemed as though we were playing music of the past, something that really belonged to an age gone-by and somehow although we were all teenagers playing it, we didn’t totally own it! Of course, when you perform music and improvise on a piece, you are adding your own creative flair, but like I said, it wasn’t quite our own.

I’m excited to discover what’s out there, and I hope that you are with me on this?! The first thing I would say is, watch out for some bad language!! Hopefully I can find some tracks that are not filled with expletives to share with you on my future posts!

Try before you buy!

Of course, you will need an instrument available to you for this process to happen! You might be able to rent one from your School or College, or even borrow one from someone like me, who has one stored away in their loft! Ultimately, it is nice to buy your own, but you need to see how you get on with playing for a bit first. It can be quite an investment!

One thing you will need is to get a few reeds of your own. I will go into this more in a moment. As the Saxophone is a wind instrument, it requires a certain level of hygiene to keep, especially if you are borrowing someone else’s Sax. Some might even suggest that you purchase your own mouthpiece. It is worth getting some alcohol wipes or Sterisol germicide solution to clean any wind instrument that is shared. You can use a flexible bottle brush or tooth brush to clean inside the Saxophone neck (Crook). The reeds are thought to be the most likely part of the instrument to host bacteria, so it is important to take them off and clean the mouthpiece in warm soapy water, if using a shared instrument. Once you have decided that you want to pursue the hobby, it is worth investing in your own instrument! But it is still important to keep your Saxophone clean and take care of it once you own it too.

Saxophone Reeds for Beginners – keep it simple to begin with

There are many types of reeds out there to buy, with varying prices. Of course, a professional musician might well prefer to use a superior quality reed than a beginner would need. The main thing that you need to be aware of is that the lower the “size” of the reed, the easier it is to produce a sound. If you are having lessons already your teacher might have some reeds that they prefer or recommend for you to start with. It is quite common for you to get through a fair few reeds in the early stages, as from experience some do seem to ‘feel better’ than others! It is a sensory feel partly, how it feels against your tongue, and also a “feel” of how it sounds in tone, and how easy or difficult it is for you to produce a nice tone.Choosing Sax Reeds

It appears that the majority of Saxophonists begin on a size 1.5/ 2 beginner reed. If you can get yourself maybe a couple of each to try out. I would advise to have more than one reed in your kit at a time, as occasionally they can split and are then unplayable. It is also quite nice to switch them around, especially if you are having a particularly long session of playing, your mouthpiece can almost feel like it needs refreshing with a different reed.

Stand Tall!

It’s worth mentioning at this early stage that you need to think about your posture when playing a musical instrument. Saxophones are quite heavy instruments, and it’s essential that you wear a “sling” around your neck to hook the saxophone on in front of you. The Saxophone is quite heavy, and should come with a neck sling. However, I remember using the standard sling for a year or two when I started out, and suffering with a lot of shoulder aches and pains. Not to mention the heaviness of the instrument when you are carrying it around to and from lessons etc. I highly recommend investing in a decent Saxophone sling, once you have decided to pursue the instrument. I literally could not believe the difference in comfort levels once I bought a better sling! The one I bought years ago, and still have, is a neoprene/ elastic strap, but there are loads out there to choose from.

Conclusion

This started out as an article about picking up the Saxophone for the first time. Having started this I realise you need a few bits of practical advice and equipment, so I have decided to break this up into stages.

Part Two – Lets Make Some Noise will go into further detail about making a good sound through the Saxophone.. Exciting!!

Saxophone Inspirations

Teenagers Smash TV Show – The VoiceUK 2018

Mic and Lights
With so many teenagers performing and proving themselves up against a whole variety of ages and genres on The VoiceUK 2018, I couldn’t help but be inspired to say a little about it on TeensDoMusic. The live final was aired last night, Saturday 7th April, but the whole competition has showcased a wealth of young talent.

This is my reaction to the show, not meant as a piece of journalism per se!

The Winner is Ruti!

Congratulations to Ruti Olajugbagbe (18), who has such a beautiful, innocent sound to her voice. It’s a sound of pureness and as her coach, Sir Tom Jones said on the show, that she is a “sincere singer.” It’s quite an unusual compliment, but I know exactly what Sir Tom means. There really is an honesty to her voice. In a world where so many people are pretending to be something they are not, it was truly refreshing, and I can’t wait to hear her single. I have to admit that Ruti got my vote.

I loved Ruti’s duet of “What a Wonderful World,” performed with Tom Jones. His incredibly rich, and soulful older voice, was as always fantastic. But when Ruti began her verse, it was the contrasting clear, warmth, youth and innocence in her voice that really touched me. It was a beautiful duet. And I don’t think I remember ever seeing Sir Tom being so proud of one of his team members.

Ruti’s rich, yet clear voice was perfectly suited to many of her chosen performances, my favourites included “Budapest,” “Dog Days are Over,” and of course the haunting rendition of The Cranberries “Dreams.”

 

The Runner up is Donel

We can’t forget Donel Mangena (16), with his fresh, school-boy good looks, neat performances and dance routine, and of course the emphatic backing from his coach, Will.i.am. He certainly has some talent, and I feel that we will see him again in the future.

Belle Voci – bringing Opera to the Masses!

I loved Belle Voci too. They have absolutely exquisite voices. I have to admit that I felt that they were also capable of winning. It’s always a difficult decision with so much talent to choose from! They brought something very different to the competition, with their flawless voices, and fantastic presentation as a unit. Stunning! It was great to see the public also voted for them to stay in the competition, showing that Opera really can be appreciated by everyone when it’s presented in the right way. Who could argue that their voices are anything but amazing?!

Other great acts..

Of course the other finalist was Lauren Bannon, who performed well on the night. I felt that her previous week’s performance of “In the Air Tonight” was her highlight. I loved hearing the song albeit without the memorable drumming we all expect from Phil Collin’s original!

I was also a big fan Lucy Milburn (20) and Gayatri Nair (16), who were also unbelievably young and incredibly talented. I was disappointed to see them knocked out before the finals.

Throughout the show other teenagers featured were Harri Oakland (19), Bailey Nelson (18), Ross Anderson (17), Saskia Eng (16), Eliza Gutteridge (17), Anna Willison Holt (17), Kirby Frost (17), Tai (18) and Kade Smith (17). I have to say that there were some great artists as always, not mentioned here too.

Mic and Mixer

Keep Real Music Alive!

I love seeing shows where actual musical talent is showcased and appreciated in this way. The show’s own orchestra and bands are also fantastic and deserve a mention! This year was particularly good at allowing the younger talents come through and thus giving them opportunities to develop. I hope that this kind of display will help to inspire other teenagers, and anyone who loves to sing, to keep working towards their dreams.

Keep up the good work all of you, we love to see it and look forward to hearing some recordings!

After seeing 2017’s deserving winner, Mo Adeniran and his incredible journey to now release his single “That Feeling” and appropriately named album “Evolve,” it is looking like a promising future for Ruti!

 

 

 

 

Music for Introverts – Inspiration for Teenagers

Music for Quiet Time

“In a gentle way, you can shake the world” – Mahatma Gandi

I’m writing this for some of you quieter folk, who might just need a little reassurance and encouragement to try something new! Music can be a great hobby for introverts, because you will need to spend fairly long periods of time alone practicing in order to get really good. But as a little bonus, you basically can do whatever you want with your skills. If you would like to become a little more socially confident, or whatever you want to call it, then of course you can ease yourself into more and more public performances as you feel comfortable. But you can gain a great deal of enjoyment from playing for playing’s sake and never making a public appearance at all!  Music can be a tool towards any amount of opportunities!

“People inspire you, or they drain you – pick wisely” – Hansen

It’s one of life’s lessons, that there will always be some annoying people around, though you won’t recognise this initially, your parents will! Some of us are more aware of this than others! If like me, you don’t always feel comfortable being the centre of attention, and prefer to step back and observe a little before diving into something, you become aware that there are other people who are quite the opposite and relish having people’s attention on them. This can have some negative impacts on the quieter person of the two, because they are inevitably forced to listen, and observe a great deal of what the louder person wants to say and do! It can lead to an imbalance in friendships and a case of dominance versus passive nature’s emerges. Guitar break

Research has shown that in a typical meeting, three people do 70% of the talking! Have a look at Quietrev.com for a fantastic source of articles and inspirations for people who are not the loud members of the group! I love this quote by the founder of Quiet Revolution, Susan Cain, “There’s zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.” It’s so true, and worth bearing in mind throughout life!

It seems like we are somewhat groomed to feel like we need to be a part of everything, on everything, and seen to be having so much fun in order to be popular, or at least feel popular. But actually a huge number of us, actually feel more comfortable when we have a little time-out here and there. Much is it can feel bad to be ‘left out’ of something, there is some part of you that didn’t want to do the activity anyway, because if we don’t take time out from one thing to the next, we can end up feeling thoroughly drained, and lethargic. Learn to recognise this in yourself, and don’t be afraid to say ‘no’ occasionally. If you politely excuse yourself from something once in a while, people aren’t going to think any less of you. It takes some confidence in yourself, to be yourself, but life feels so much better when you take this approach!

Get a new hobby – and new friendships might grow

As I said, unfortunately, you can’t expect other people to change! Don’t let anyone stop you from doing things you want to do, or knock you down simply as a way of making themselves feel better. If you are a little more introverted, as I am, you have a very important role in the world, and you need to be yourself! The best thing you can do to protect yourself from your least favourite peers is try to see their silliness for what it is, and immerse yourself in different things and with people who bring out the best in you! I’m not suggesting that everyone you meet in the music world will be on your ‘wavelength’ and in fact you might go on to meet even more annoying people! But the chances are that you will meet some great people too, and have the advantage of a shared interest. Keeping true to yourself is the best thing that you can learn as a teenager. If you live your life, doing things because of other people’s opinions, you will never feel truly happy. Everyone has to fit in with the crowd to a certain extent, in order to fit in with society, and to follow your journey in life you do need some social skills to get you through! Just because you might need some peace and quiet occasionally, doesn’t mean that you can’t be friendly and polite. But what you might also need is the ability to ‘take a break’ from situations, an escape where you are not required to listen to or read social media comments, messages and so on. A slightly delayed response to a message is NOT a bad thing! In fact, it can be a good thing, as you give a more considered reply. It also gives the impression that you might actually have a life outside of social media!

Get over it!Happy friends

Who’s guilty of over-thinking things? It’s good to think over situations, but when it starts to turn into brooding and stomach-churning, not being able to stop thinking about a conversation or a situation, it’s not good for you. Somehow you need to stop it from ruining your life, and let it go. If you have more interesting things going on in your life, some of these friendship issues can be put into perspective. You literally have less time to spend thinking about them for a start, but also might come to realise that life goes on! It is not the end of the world, if your friend wants to hang out with someone else for a bit, or you have to have an awkward conversation with a friend, because you want to hang out with someone else. Life is full of little challenges, and as much as it feels sooo important at the time, when you look back on a situation, very often you realise that it was not actually a life changing event after all! Building some resilience to the crap that life throws at you from time to time is probably good for us. But I vote for finding other good things to fill our lives with too!

Broaden Your Horizons

So if any of this resonates with you, it might be worth taking up an instrument, taking some singing lessons, or having a go at writing some music yourself.Deep in music

How music might be good for you:

  • “Time-out” from other stresses, and people
  • Providing escape, but also providing an outlet for emotions
  • Relaxation; When playing it is easy to ‘live in the moment,’ as with Meditation
  • Confidence building, as you can see and hear your progress
  • Producing recordings and writing pieces of music, songs, lyrics can all provide a sense of achievement and can be a way of connecting with others, or simply conveying emotions through an art form
  • Opportunities to meet other people and learn other skills
  • Having a hobby makes you more interesting to other people, and gives you a method of entertaining yourself without relying on social media, TV, internet etc. This can be liberating as people have lived happily for centuries without all of this in their lives, and sometimes it can be good to just be yourself without having to give or receive digital information for a while!

 

 

 

 

Hobbies for Teenagers – Make Music Work for You

You know you have music within you somewhere. You know you do, or you wouldn’t even be here reading this post!

Have you been bitten by the musical bug, and are just looking for more information and articles to keep growing your passion for music? Or are you beginning to lose interest lately?

Maybe you have had some musical tuition over the years, and you are getting a little tired of the lessons now? Maybe you find the practicing for exams increasingly difficult to fit in, and the scales frankly just dull, and irritating?! But, there is a part of you that knows you are good at music?

Piano boredom

There are many benefits to keeping up musical involvement while you are growing up, and I’m hoping to motivate you with ideas in how to keep music alive! Having a hobby is known to benefit our psychological health and help teen stress, as it provides a method of relaxation. If you have any serious mental health issues, then of course I would recommend seeking help from a professional, but sometimes once talking and goal setting has been done to deal with the stress as much as you can, it can be helpful to have an outlet to turn to, such as a hobby.

Don’t give up!

DJ Funny – Music fun

Music is meant to be fun! Of course, you can take it seriously and I’m all for that too, but ultimately it is a creation, an art form, an expression of ourselves in some way. What I’m finding is, that once it becomes yet another task to be completed, another form of homework to fit in, something to be nagged about, we are falling out of love with learning instruments and teenagers quite commonly “give them up.” Yet music is real..it’s something which we can all relate to in some way, no matter what age we are or where we come from. Music is created by people, played by people, and listened to by people! It’s a way of connecting with so many other people without even needing to speak! Being involved in the creation of something that sounds really good, is a wonderful feeling, especially when you have some friends with you to experience it too. It’s far more enjoyable to produce music together with others, than it is alone, but both have their positives.

What I’m suggesting is that we don’t give up, and ditch our musical talent, letting it all go to waste! But consider a different angle, avenue or way of utilising your talent. Just because you are bored with what you are doing right now, doesn’t mean you should waste other opportunities to have fun.

Parents want to see you happy..

If you are worried that your parents might not agree with your decision to have a break from classical lessons for example, in order to join a band, learn to sing, pick up riffs from You Tube, teach yourself how to mix or use a drum machine, or whatever that alternative musical road is that is calling you, the best thing to do is to simply talk to them about it! On the whole, parents are only looking out for whatever is best for you, and want you to be happy. They don’t always see things the same way as you, but hearing from you about what you want from life, what sparks your interest and how they can help, is quite literally what every parent of a teenager wants! Keeping up a good relationship with your parents is worth the effort and talking is the easiest way to keep a good connection between you. However hard it might be for both parties at times! Maybe you can come to a compromise, or a trial period, to see if things are going to work out with the new venture? If this is proving too difficult, perhaps another relative or a good teacher at school can provide a sounding board for you? And potentially help initiate that discussion. Point your parents towards this website, as it is aimed at both teenagers and your parents, in an effort to keep that connection and understanding of both our worlds, using music as a link.

Sadly, there are always critics out there too! But I’m guessing we are all becoming used to that with the freedom people have to comment, however cruelly, on anything and everything. But to push forward in life, you sometimes have to be brave! And for every critic, there’s always someone else who appreciates what you do.

One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” – Bob Marley

I’m going to be writing about different ways we can easily keep involved with music, and helping parents to have a little insight into how music can help boost self-esteem and combat stress in teenagers.

Keep Listening to Music

Some easy ways to stay involved in music:

  • Listen to the radio. If you don’t like what you hear, try different stations. You might discover that you really enjoy other styles of music that you wouldn’t normally listen to. Music has so many genres besides the mainstream pop! Try streaming music from different playlists than the most recent, or most popular.
  • Ask your parents what they used to like as a teenager. Maybe have a look with them at some of their favourite songs, chances are there will be a few you like! You could ask to have a look through their iTunes library and try a few songs out, or put the library playlist on shuffle so that any random stuff will come up. A great deal of modern music uses riffs, parts of other songs or are re-mixes of hits from the past. Even the greatest artists use cover versions. So you might get inspired by some old stuff, even if it sounds a little dated at first.
  • Remember music can be part of your life in different ways. For example, I love to dance to Hard House and Trance when I’m in a club, but I wouldn’t want to listen to it when I’m making my breakfast! Classical music can be beneficial to listen to when working, and I love to play classical music on my flute, but I rarely choose to listen to it in the car.
  • Look out for events and workshops, local performances and so on. These can be great to attend, and to be a part of. I remember so clearly when I attended a day workshop run by the Guildhall Jazz Band. I already enjoyed playing jazz on the Saxophone, but witnessing the talent and outstanding performances by the band, led by Scott Stroman simply blew me away! Being so so inspired and learning so much from the improvisation workshops, which helped me to build on a musical phrase until, between us all in the small group, we had “written” a complete piece of music, which we were able to perform. It was such a highlight for me and my friend, that we lived through it for days or weeks afterwards, taking the experience into our jazz band made up of like-minded sixth former s (mostly) from the local schools at which my Saxophone teacher worked.
  • Keep music live! While I love listening to music in any situation, nothing compares to when you see a performance live! It can be expensive to see mainstream artists, and often require travelling into cities, but why not look out for local bands. This is where you can get parents, family and friends involved too. When you see that people are performing and putting themselves out there, it can really motivate you to go and learn how to play a bit better. Or ask for tickets to see an artist you love as a birthday present, or offer to save up and pay for some of it, if your parents will take you?! More time together can only be a good thing!?
  • Get some different sheet music, or find some chord sequences for a song you love online.
  • Go to a music shop. There are still a few around. At one time, nothing would make me feel better than wandering around a music shop, hearing people trying out keyboards, guitars and so on, seeing the brass instruments new and shiny on the walls, and choosing myself a new book of sheet music to buy. My friend and I would venture into London as teenagers, and go to Chappells in New Bond Street (now relocated to Wardour Street, Soho). We also went to the enormous HMV Store on Oxford Street, and any other record shop we could find. It would keep us going for ages afterwards, listening to new CDs together! Now it’s so easy to buy online, but don’t forget the individual shops out there!
  • Talk to your own music teachers. Tell them what you are bored with, and what you are enjoying. They should be able to recommend ideas for you, and give suggestions or what is around in the local area.
  • Don’t make practicing a chore. Give yourself a goal, and perhaps a small reward for doing it? Remember why you are doing it, and by practicing you will sound better, have more skill and more ability to go and play the music you really enjoy! You can’t pick up an instrument and expect it to be easy from day one. Everything in life that is good, deserves a little effort!

Music touches us emotionally, where words alone can’t.” – Johnny Depp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Understand Teenagers – Listen to their music!

Family times

We all need a decent amount of self-confidence and self-esteem in order to really enjoy life. If we try, we can really work towards understanding teenagers better, and keeping in touch with the way things work in “their world.” I’m not here to scare-monger, and we are all probably quite aware that there is a rise in teenage mental health issues, and also perhaps aware that the current world we live in, is contributing towards these problems. Social media seems to have a huge impact on self-esteem as it drives us to rely on other people’s opinions as a measure of self-worth.

#improveself-esteem#teenagers 

“Parents can you help?”

I am a parent myself, and I’m looking for ways to guide my children through this era of their lives. I know there are ways of educating and safe-guarding our children in the digital world, and that’s another very important discussion to have. I am hoping to facilitate a trend in young people to think about the bigger picture. To take part in life, beyond the “selfie”, and I believe that music is an example of an activity that we can all get involved in.

Maintaining interests and hobbies, and keeping involved in group activities with like-minded people can help to prevent teenage mental-health problems and put friendship problems and relationship problems into some perspective. Social media is placing unbelievable stresses on our young people, as they constantly compare images, post updates and feel obliged to respond to messages without delay. Activities which allow a little space to breathe, to quit being judged for a bit and just enjoy the experience for what it is, need to be encouraged. But not only that, as with team sports, music allows us to “be a part” of something.

I’m sure some people will prefer their own company. Maybe happy with writing, playing and even producing from their own bedroom. But eventually they might feel brave enough to share their talent and find other individuals to connect with. After all, music is made to be heard. Again, as parents perhaps we can help to gently encourage our children and help them assert themselves in order for things to progress as they would like it to.

If you want to understand teenagers better, it’s more of a case of trying to fit-in with their lives, rather than expecting them to fit around yours! I wonder if sometimes as parents, we are still recovering from the all-encompassing early years of having our babies, and caring from our children while they were tiny, that we almost get used to revelling in a little more freedom as adults again. It might take a concerted effort to stop what we are doing ourselves, and really give our kids some quality time with us again. They might be more than capable of doing things for themselves, but it doesn’t mean they wouldn’t like your help every now and again! It means learning what really interests them and what they enjoy, spending time with them, but remembering to take a back-seat when appropriate. The fact that you are reading this probably means that you are an interested, well-meaning parent! We can all improve awareness of what is actually going on now, rather than relating it to our own life experiences and expectations.

 

Keep focused on now

We might have issues of our own that are deep-rooted, and actually affect our behaviour today on a daily basis! Seemingly small arguments between you and your child, can actually have a tremendous impact on the way they continue through their own lives. It’s a frightening reality for us to accept as parents as it puts added pressure on us to accept responsibility, rather than dismissing our own behaviour or harsh words as being down to tiredness, or a ‘bad day’ or any number of excuses. After all, your teenager might be looking more and more adult like, and behaving less like a child in many ways, but they are still developing and essentially still dependent on you. Arguing and fighting back, testing the boundaries and so on, are all part of the process for most of us to find our own place in the world. And as the adults in this, we need to be the bigger person. By that, I mean exerting patience, controlling our own tempers as much as possible, thinking about the situation from our child’s point of view and taking time to resolve conflicts. Simply expecting teenagers to conform to your rules is not going to do much for your relationship!

 

Blocking out unwelcome events (to us, not necessarily unwelcome to them!), and issues simply doesn’t work and most likely leads us and possibly our children, towards a break-down in communication. This might even contribute towards a future of mental health problems, such as depression. All of us I’m sure have subject matters that make us a little uncomfortable. Talking about sex for example, is not always easy, but again we need to get over it and get on with it! Talking about it I mean!! It is a typically awkward area for parents, as we would really rather not think about our children becoming sexually active! But the fact is, that teenagers need our support and advice about this probably more than ever! We need to be strong enough to be strong for our kids, and not effectively force them to struggle through issues like this alone.

Aside from this idea of communicating with our kids more, there is a case for continuing to do things with our kids. As I said earlier, knowing where to step back is important, but for example, taking an interest in their hobbies, facilitating progress within them perhaps in the form of helping them to purchase equipment, providing a sounding board for them to show you what they’ve been working on, or giving some loving support and gentle suggestions when asked for advice. Simply telling them what you used to do, or what you would have done will not always go down very well! It might be of some interest, but most likely, not so much! Our kids don’t realise at this age that they will one day quite likely be a parent and go through life experiences and possibly feel these exact fears and worries as a parent with their own children! They feel like they are different and to give them all credit, they are different! Everybody has a unique set of DNA and set of gifts and talents unique to them, and we are really in a position to allow that to flourish in its own right.

Parents of musical kids..

Parents of teenagers who are continuing to pursue musical interests should be proud! There can be many benefits that set you are apart from other “non-musical” people. (Having said that, I do believe that all of us have some elements of musical talent hidden away, but don’t have the confidence to try!)

Musical hobbies

Anything that can potentially set us apart from the crowd can be off-putting for some teens. It is a time when they are experiencing huge physiological and physical changes, and with the well documented turbulent moods and hormones, it can take courage to do something that makes them stand out. They may feel open to criticism from their peers, teachers and even from you, as their parents. It is helpful for us to be mindful of this, and gently encourage them to keep doing things that they are good at. Not pushing or pulling them in either way.

Music is a lovely way for you to stay connected with your kids. It helps if you make an effort by taking an interest in what they are listening to, what they are saying within the music and in a practical sense, helping with the to-and-fro from practices, equipment, lessons and so on. Whilst teenage children are learning how to be independent from you, they ultimately still want to have your approval and support. They want to feel like you “get them” and the only way to understand them is to continue to spend time with them, and if possible their friends as well. Music is something that often bonds people together in a time frame. I’m sure we can all remember specific events, people and places simply by hearing a song that takes us back! The same will happen for your kids, and wouldn’t it be quite nice to have a few memories with them? Or at least, have an idea of what will become musical icons when they look back over their own teenage years? Why not try it?!

Ideas to help you and your teenagers (via music)

 

  • Ask what they like listening to, and if there’s anything they recommend.
  • Ask what they are playing, and if there’s anything they would like to change or improve on. Use this to generate conversations about what other avenues there might be, or options you could maybe help them with.
  • Ask what their friends like about music, and if they agree or disagree about any of it.
  • Find out whether they enjoy their music lessons. Is there anything they could do more to make it more fun?
  • Find out about available groups and bands, orchestras and choirs that could be of interest. Find out about anyone who might provide a good connection for your child, should they be interested in joining.
  • Go to music events together. You needn’t spend the whole time together, nor love the exact same music. But it is great when families take part in outings together and share experiences.
  • Provide financial help where appropriate; if you can help get the ball rolling in a new area you could be opening up a wealth of experience and ultimately a method of relaxation/ stress relief for your teenager. If we only focus on grades at school, there is not an awful lot to look back on!

 

 

About Teens Do Music

Thanks for visiting Teens Do Music. This is a site dedicated to young people who love music, and to their parents, who might need a little guidance in keeping up!

Music love

Music was my first love….

I would say that I was generally very happy at school. This was partly because I had a happy home life and some good friends, but also quite largely due to the influence of music. As I reached the awkwardness of teenage life, I was able to escape. Yes you could have said I was a music nerd, but I can’t have been too nerdy as I can honestly say that I never got bullied at school.. I realise that this is almost a rarity for young people these days!?

Friendships were made and strengthened because of music. My best friend at school, Sarah, deserves a shout out here! I doubt that I would have had so much fun escaping into the world of music alone. I think jamming in the back music room during one summer lunch-time is one of my happiest memories from school.. Total escapism! Thank you Sarah 😉

I had a huge love of all kinds of music, and I think it actually helped me to bond with a few of the “cool kids” who I otherwise had nothing in common with.

Funnily, it was our common love of 60s and 70s rock that created that particular bond. This was influenced by my Dad’s amazing record collection (Dad’s can be cool!). My family was very supportive of my interest in music. They always took an interest in what I was doing, and bought me whatever equipment was needed, took me to gigs and so on. Thanks Mum and Dad! 🙂

I learnt classical music via learning to play the flute, jazz via learning to play the saxophone, loved (then-current) grunge music, and later learned that I even loved Hard House and Trance which I had always thought was not real music…oh it certainly is when you find yourself in Amnesia, Ibiza! I’d like to point out that I was older by then, well into my twenties before I went there!

Later on, my younger brother John, took up the guitar and taught himself how to write and record his songs, all within his room at home and using fairly minimal equipment. (Too good not to mention you, John 🙂 x ) The quality was fantastic, maybe I will persuade him to tell you his story on here one day…

Music is within us all..

Now, as a parent myself, I think that having a safe hobby to escape to, can also be an asset to help us get through difficult times in our lives. Making that transition from child to adult is full of highs and lows. I would like to recommend using music as a type of safety-net. We all need to enjoy life, even while we have stressful exams, friendship problems and so on.. With more and more reported cases of teenage mental health issues, it seems like we need to work a little harder to help our teenagers.

I admit that unfortunately there are some risks of bad influences linked with music. There are some appalling lyrics too, music videos verging on hard porn, even songs glamourising suicide… I could go on! It’s sad, but true. I think the world is generally full of all of this and the internet makes it all the more accessible. When and if issues of this nature come along, we need to communicate our feelings about it and deal with it together, not alone. Perhaps even strengthening family bonds in the process.

I just want to point out that, of course, all artists have a whole life outside of what they portray to the public. As a fully fledged adult, we know this. However, it is not always recognised when you have less experience behind you. It’s important that we stay a part of our children’s lives to act as a beacon of light, even as they take on different views, likes and dislikes to our own.

I want to talk about this and many other related subjects on my site, and in doing so help teenagers and their families too.

We might not all love each other’s music, but I’m sure that every person on this planet can relate to music in some shape or form. Let’s use that shared enthusiasm to our advantage. Make music part of your everyday life and feel good for it!
If you ever need a hand reaching something music related on the site or have any questions, feel free to leave me a comment and I will be more than happy to help you out.

All the best,

Joanne Loch

teensdomusic.com