Music is one of those creative outlets that non-musicians view as magic.
They see the result, but they don’t understand the technical aspects that went into the music itself. So many parts go into the whole. The truth is, music is much more than simply the sounds or the beats. Let’s look at a few of these necessary parts.
One of the most crucial aspects of music is the rhythm.
If your timing is off, it can ruin the performance. Furthermore, if there are multiple performers, one person’s mistake can affect another performer’s concentration and timing. It’s just a disaster if everyone is following their own beat, rather than the beat determined by the piece.
Because timing is crucial to any type of music, having the right tools is helpful. This includes everything you need to keep your instrument or voice in great condition.
For both voice and instrument, a metronome is necessary.
It’s amazing how that simple tool keeps you on track. Its steady beat is constant and provides the foundation for the music.
If you’re thinking of those old school metronomes, you’ll be happy to know that technology has come a long way. Some of the new metronomes are portable, wearable, and connected to apps that allow you to customize various preferences.
Check out Kickstart Your Drumming for an in depth look at one of these metronomes. It’s particularly helpful for drummers, but any musician can benefit from it.
Besides the timing and rhythm of the music, it’s obvious that the pitch has to be there as well. No matter how great you are at keeping the beat, if you’re not playing or singing the right notes you’ll create a cacophony of sounds rather than a melody that’s pleasing to the listener’s ear.
Pitch has to do with truly listening and deciphering the correct note.
If your ear can’t tell the difference between a right or wrong note even after lots of practice, then it’s most likely that you are tone deaf.
How many of us know tone deaf people? They may sing the correct lyrics of a song at the right rhythm, but the pitches are all over the place. It’s difficult to listen to someone like that. It’s also a source of entertainment if you’re able to withstand the noise.
Another instance of needing to hear yourself is when you’re wearing headphones. If the music coming through the headphones overpowers your ability to hear yourself, what you sing more often than not sounds awful, even if you’re normally a great singer.
But what about deaf musicians, you ask? That’s beyond the scope of this article, but I can say that Beethoven’s ability to feel the vibrations enabled him to compose his music. His intuition played a role in that; plus, his understanding of music helped as well.
Besides the beat and notes of the music, the last aspect is the magic part.
This is the part that differentiates a good singer from a great one, a mediocre drummer from a fantastic one. Both parties have the basic down, but the musician who performs better includes a piece of themselves.
This may sound silly, but performing with your heart, mind, and soul will move your audience. Opening yourself up in this way is scary. In other words, making yourself vulnerable like this is where the magic happens.
What you feel as you perform is communicated to your audience. If you’re holding anything back, your audience will know. The people may not have specific words for it, but they’ll express disappointment in some way.
In order to master a piece, you’ve got to intuitively feel the beat and the notes. It has to sound effortless, which is why the most powerful parts of your piece need consistency and a deliberate delivery.
Think of the best voices of our time. Sure, their voices are powerful, but if you take the time to evaluate their performances, you’ll realize the manner in which they belt out certain parts of a song are deliberate.
These singers have mastered the timing and the technical aspects of voice, such as understanding where the sound must come from in their body and how to control and open up the airways to allow the release of that sound. Once they’re able to create these sounds, they have to practice this until they’re able to produce this at will.
Music is magical because it’s complex, but with the right coaching and training anyone can become competent at it. For those who want to go to the next level, a commitment to the training and learning all aspects of music are necessary.