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?
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!
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.
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