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!