Spotify is a wonderful beast, offering an almost unlimited access to music at less than the cost of a couple of coffees each month.
Combined with youtube and google you can guarantee that any song you want to listen to is at the tip of your fingers. It certainly enriches teaching, giving us the ability to show a student how a song sounds and offering us a variety of interpretations and performances.
But something else is happening too.
Even though we have access to more songs than ever, people are listening to less. It used to be that everyone listened to the radio and regularly bought cds/records or even cassette tapes. Kids were exposed to a range of different musical styles and were quite vocal about what they liked.
Now if you ask them, many kids don’t have an opinion. They aren’t listening to the radio and they have a few songs they love on repeat on their iPod and that’s what they listen to.
In some ways it’s made life in the studio easier for us as there are no preconceptions about songs and students are happy to give new music a go. But they also don’t have a musical understanding to interpret a style or determine how a piece should be performed.
In the same way students who have been read to are better readers because they recognise patterns in sentences, students who listen to a variety of styles are better performers because they recognise the patterns in the music.
If I could suggest one thing to you, its to get your kids to listen to some different music. It could be as simple as putting on some ABCfm, trying some Beatles, maybe a musical theatre album from Andrew Lloyd Webber, some Jazz or even your favourite rock songs from when you were young.
Put it on in the background and let them listen, you will find they absorb it like little sponges!
Ian Williams, Principal of the ExitLeft Performance Academy
The ExitLeft Performance Academy offers an outstanding performing arts program that gives students from 0-18 years the skills to shine, make great friends and build confidence in a place that feels like home. www.exitleft.com.au
Image: Academy students creating actions to the quirky title song from 2007 TV Series ‘George of the Jungle’.