Captured…….

A couple of days ago I went to Walibi Fright Night with my cousins. The entire month of October the theme is Halloween and there are Haunted Houses and various scare zones where people scare the hell out of you.

We were planning to visit a Haunted House called Jefferson Manor. According to their site it’s the least scariest house on the premises.

I’m not a fan so I’ve been nervous ever since I knew we were going there. Ofcourse the park is packed and people are excited, you have those who are scared and those who are playing it cool.

Throughout the park creepy music is playing and eventhough it’s playing softly in the background, it does add this extra feeling to the whole vibe.

Waiting in line for the Haunted House was already an adventure, cause everyone is nervous, having no clue what to expect. Entering the unknown makes your imagination run wild and the scary music plus the actors doing their best to intimidate you is not helping you make you feel at ease.

Once you’re inside the house there’s no turning back. People dressed up as ghosts and demons popping up everywhere, people screaming, but we also laughed a lot cause of the way we react to things. If people could only see us jump, scream, crawl.....o boy. Of the entire day this was the best experience and I’m happy that I did eventually enter that house.

But what made the experience scary? Ofcourse the influence of our own imagination and the setting plays a big part, but just like in the movies it’s the noise, the sounds, the scary music is what makes it more thrilling. But what is scary music?

We associate certain sounds and melodies with situations or experiences and when we connect those factors it creates an emotion. It can cause, happiness, sadness, excitement, fear.

There’s a group of people who researched this topic and after examining more than a 100 movie soundtracks they discovered that nonlinear sound (a brand of physics and acoustics dealing with sound waves of sufficiently large amplitude) is an important part of scenes that are meant to stir up fear and negative feelings. It can cause emotional distress and it is disturbing and harsh to the ears. Think "Psycho," "Jaws," "The Shining," "Halloween."

Noise doesn’t necessarily mean loudness, but can be described best as a disturbance in sound. As a result it evokes strong feelings.

Ever heard of the Tritone? It’s two notes that are three whole steps apart (like F and B), also known as diabolus in musica (devil in music) in the Middle Ages. Certain combinations of notes, like the tritone, have been carefully avoided throughout history so as not to be associated with any kind of negative emotion.

It proofs again the strong influence music has. Most of the times those “scary” tunes are the ones that stick in your head. I bet each one of us once took a swim in the sea and in our heads the Jaws theme was playing. The combination of sounds/experience/feeling is what creates the memories and what can also trigger your imagination. Music can take you back to a certain time in your life.

So tell me....what piece of music made an impression on you? Leave your comments below.

 

 

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Learn languages through music…

One of the most effective ways to learn a different language is with the help of music.

My mom learned Spanish by listening to artists like Julio Iglesias and Gloria Estefan. She would write down the words and translate it. I can still see her in front of me with her dictionary and notebook. And when she found out what Julio was singing about she would say, he’s so sweet.....lol

Listening to the music paid off cause my mom was fluent in Spanish. Her husband and kids were at that time not so happy with “Amor, Amor” playing in the car and in the house. But guess what? Somehow I picked it up and can sing along with it. I was surprised how many Julio songs I actually know when I visited his concert with my mom a couple of years ago. Besides it did help me with my Spanish.

Stevie Wonder sings “Music is a world within itself with a language we all understand”.

He is right. Music is a universal language. Despite the diversity of music influenced by countless cultures somehow the various musical structures transcend cultural differences. No matter what culture, people (mostly musicians) can read the same piece of music. Some say music is a byproduct of our language evolution. Both are forms of social bonding and besides that music helps your grammar and vocabulary. There are even teaching methods where they advise you to listen to music in the language you want to learn. You can actually learn a language faster this way, cause it helps us to remember words in a fun and creative way.

Most of the times we may not understand the lyrics of foreign songs, but we all share the same emotions when we hear similar chords and melodies. To understand music, we need to understand emotions as well. The same components that make up music which are: pitch, rhythm, and tempo, are also present in everyday speech no matter what language you're speaking. With these patterns present in spoken language, we can interpret emotions from music using the same signals.

So how does it work? This last weekend BTS was in Holland for a concert. The show sold out in less than 30 minutes. They are one of the reasons that K-Pop is up and rising. I’ve been listening to their album and the tunes are good, but what is the strength of this group? They sing in Korean and I have no clue what they’re singing about. Somehow the language doesn’t seem to be a problem at all cause they draw big and diverse crowds with their performances, sell out stadiums and have a fanbase who call themselves A.R.M.Y. and the beauty of it is that the fans can actually sing along with their songs in Korean. I admire the fact that somehow they can touch millions of people with their songs in a language that the biggest part of the western world doesn’t understand.

What makes this group successful? Is it their looks, their style, what they represent or is it the music, the lyrics? Maybe it’s the complete package? Somehow they found a way to leave a big impression in the world of music. 

I’m trying to look at it from a music point of view. What makes them unique if you take away the visual image and you just listen to the tunes?

Let me know, cause I really wanna know your thoughts.

 

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When it’s no longer about the music.

In my previous post we talked about the impact music has on the work environment. Music has a certain kind of power that can actually have an influence on our every day life.

Recently I read an article about Taylor Swift. She posted her personal opinion about her political preference on instagram.

I was stunned when I read the reactions on social media. There were those who backed her up and  then there are those  throwing all kinds of negative messages and certain “wishes” towards her that I will not repeat. There were even “groups” who were “hating” on her, cause according to them society polluted “their girl”.  

And my question is, why? What’s going on?

I respect the fact that after being silent about it for so long she feels  a certain urge to speak out. Especially when it’s a topic that everyone has their own strong opinion about and when you look at the state of the world we’re in today, it’s not strange at all that she did this. She’s a big role model for a lot of people and she’s trying to “use” her voice for the better. Speaking up and telling your mind, your truth, should never be a bad thing.  So regardless which party she’s supporting, she’s also showing us that it’s ok to speak up and have an opinion. She’s not telling you who you have to side with, no she’s sharing her concerns, her thoughts, her beliefs, her choices and that you have the possibility and power to change things by voting. 

What I don’t get is that people start attacking right away. They don’t really read what she wrote, they just pick out the words that they wanna see. Get your facts straight, cause honestly what the hell do we know? That’s the danger of social media. We assume we know and “throw” stuff at each other, cause it’s a “safe way” of telling what we are really thinking without having the person directly in front of our face. We tend to act before we think more and more.

What is sad however is the fact that because of this “storm” a lot of people immediately comment her music like: ”I’m not going to buy her music anymore, her songs suck anyway, let’s boycott her”, etc.

If the music is good and you’ve always enjoyed it, just because in this case the artist has an opinion about a certain subject that’s more based on their personal life why suddenly does the music sucks? So this means you’re going to stop singing and dancing to “Shake It Off” when it’s playing on the radio even though you were always grooving to it? Whenever the song “Love Story” is on are you really going to put the volume off?

How does that work? Do we associate the music with the way the person that’s executing the song thinks/feels/live their life? If you have a strong and negative opinion about the LGBT community does this means you’re going to stop singing along with “La Vida Loca”? 

Can you imagine when we start boycotting artists cause of their opinion, sexuality, religion, race and so on? It would be a damn quiet and boring world don’t you think? Ofcourse every artist has their own fanbase. And the next question that pops up is are you a fan of the music or a fan of the artist? (We’ll discuss that in a future post)

Cause of the internet and social media and our curiosity it’s so easy to peek in the private life of the artist. The focus is on their love life and the clothes they’re wearing and the people they have beef with while the reason why they are in the spotlight in the first place, which is music, falls completely to the background. And to be honest the artists don’t always mind the “extra” attention.

Artists are the real storytellers about what’s going on in our world, in our society. They are the ones who speak up and paint the picture through their art when no one else is, to be the voice of the voiceless, cause that’s the beauty of the arts. Doesn’t matter if you are a sculptor, painter, singer, actor. In a way they are creatively documenting our history. When it comes to music there are those who really listen to the words and can associate with what’s being sung, while others pick up the beat at first and don’t even pay attention to what the person is singing about. I mean I bet each one of us experienced messing up the lyrics of a song while singing along. Years later you realize you were singing something completely different and the song wasn’t about what you thought it was about. You notice that the words are “Most of all” and not “Monster Love”...lol (I think that’s a good topic for a future post.) (I’m referring to the song by Melee “Built to Last” my mom messed up those lyrics everytime) Sometimes we don’t even know what the artist is singing about, remember MacArthur Park by Donna Summer? Did we care? Not really cause the beat was on and we could dance to it..lol

Anywayz, nowadays it seems like it’s becoming more difficult for the next generation to put the focus on the music, to really understand the message and the story behind it. Especially when the first question the artist get asked while walking the red carpet at an award show is “What and who are you wearing?”. Somehow what they’re wearing is more important than what they’re sharing artistically.

And now there’s the uproar of Kanye (excuse me..I mean Ye) visiting Trump. You don’t have to agree with either of them, but they both got the attention they probably wanted and also in this case it’s no longer about the music, but about “using” your fame and popularity to get to your next goal, to gain more power, more attention. Each agenda is different and it’s like there’s a shift in the intentions of the artist which is getting bigger.

Yes music is universal, it connects, it unites, but does it really? Study says it does and that it is a social glue, notably for the electronic dance community and the instrumental performers.........uh huh....exactly......NO LYRICS......which means no opinions, just feeling and your own interpretations of the sounds. But then again it’s really nice to be able to sing along with songs who do have lyrics isn’t it? Regardless the message behind it.

So whatever opinion you have, whatever your beliefs, don’t take it out on the music. Instead use music as a tool to speak up!

Let’s start the discussion, what’s your opinion about this subject? Are we in any position at all to judge artists? Should the artist stick to their craft or do they have a much bigger role than just music? And....is it possible to put the focus back on the tunes?

 

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Music @ work……Yay or Nay?

How does music impact your everyday life? I don’t know if it’s just me but how many people nowadays still have the radio on at home? I remember the radio would be on every day in our house, actually that’s still the case. I don’t like the quietness in the house and music is a good remedy to fill up the room. Most of us only listen to the radio when we are in our car, but how does it work at your job?

We spend a huge amount of our time at our workplace. Somehow having music in the background makes time go faster, well atleast that’s my point of view. Although there are always people who say they can’t focus with all that “noise”. (“geez”)

There have been multiple researches about music and what it can do to people and there’s a lot of discussion about whether it’s true or not. Ofcourse there are those who remain skeptical eventhough results show differently. There are doctors who recommend listening to soft music when a person is in a depression or feeling sad. According to them, music can have a really positive impact upon the heart of the listener and can revive the spirit. Music can help express those emotions which are otherwise hard to put into words. It can actually trigger a range of emotions.

Besides doing this blog I also work at an office. My workplace has a radio which is always on and then there are those spaces where there’s no music at all. The silence makes me restless. One of my colleagues once said that she DOESN NOT like music and never listens to music at all!!!!! WTF? Do they still make people like that?.....lol. Really how can you not like music? There must be something you like to hear. Music unites and can bring joy, maybe that’s why this person is grumpy most of the times and doesn’t really interact socially. That’s one of the powers within music cause it really can enlarge your world and trigger curiosity. Listening to music with lyrics can interfere with your ability to learn new information.

When you’re not exposed to certain things in life, you have little or no knowledge about it’s existence, this way you don’t know or you don’t allow yourself to experience the feeling.

American musician Billy Joel once said. "I think music in itself is healing. It's an explosive expression of humanity. It's something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we're from, everyone loves music." (I think my colleague would disagree, maybe she doesn’t have a soul...lol)

Music releases dopamine in the reward center of the brain which can help improve focus.

So if your work requires deep focus, the advice is to listen to familiar songs. Try it and see what it does.

Research says impact of having music in your work environment has the following benefits:

- It can be therapeutical

- It can boost productivity

- It lifts moods

- It increases endurance

- It improves memory

- It forms good habit

Anything else missing? You agree with these outcomes or not? How do you experience music at your workplace? Maybe it’s not even an option in your work environment. Let me know.

 

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Now what?

It’s been awhile, I’m sorry. 🙂 I’ll try to post as often as I can.

For awhile I’ve been following various music students and graduates. I keep in touch with them to see what they’re up to and where they’re at the moment. It’s interesting and sometimes surprising to see the different paths they follow. 

What I witness a lot during my talks with students is that the ones who just started their program have this positive attitude and confidence that they’ll have a job for sure in the area that they wanna be at, while at the end of the school year they get a bit less confident and a bit more nervous. Why? Cause it doesn’t always turn out the way you expect it to be. 

You graduate, you have your diploma and now what? That’s a ❓ that comes to mind and not only to those who study music. You gained all this knowledge (hopefully) during your school years and now it’s time to go out there which is not an easy thing, cause where do you start and what is it you really want? Most of the time you’ll eventually work in a place that doesn’t even match the career you had in mind. And then you ask yourself what the heck happened? Well in most cases LIFE ❗ that’s what happened. It makes you wonder if you are in control of choosing your path or has it already been drawn out for you.

Eventually it’s up to you to take the next step.

When you graduate, it’s done. The school has done their job and now you’re the one who needs to make the next move. I hear stories from students telling school doesn’t assist them after they graduate. Exactly! You know why? ....... Cause they don’t have to. If you want to get something done, make sure you do it during your school years. You paid for school to learn something. You go to school for 1, 2, 3, 4, years, maybe longer. During that time gain all the knowledge you can and ASK your teachers to advice you. Never stop asking questions. Ofcourse there are the exceptions, but keep in mind as soon as you’re out the building, you’re OUT and on your own. Some of us do ask questions and attend as much classes possible, while others tend to not do that, cause somehow we feel like we’ve got this.... Well, we don’t.

Trust me I was surprised at first when I heard about the lack of “aftercare”. Somehow we expect the school to help us further after graduation. Although the school is not obligated to do so, it would be nice if they would create some kind of service that could offers some of assistance after you leave. There are a couple of schools who do have some “aftercare”, but what they created is more of a portal where you can get in touch with former students. This could of course be useful, but in the end you’ll notice it’s up to you anyway.

My opinion is, that when schools do invest in the “aftercare” it’ll only be in their advantage. The feedback students give them will help develop the schools program even more and for the better. This way they can shape and form their information to the current state of the business and prepare the new students for what’s out there. Somehow schools don’t tend to invest much in that part, cause they think more about what they can gain financially right now, at this moment, instead of looking further into the future. Not being aware of what’s really going on. When students leave school a bit clueless, it could have a negative effect on the future of music, cause there’s always a group of students  who don’t continue their path in the world of music. I’ll be publishing interviews I had with students in Future of Music section soon and how they experienced life after graduation. Some struggled and decided to do something completely different, while others didn’t have any problems at all.

What is important to know is that you need to be prepared and don’t expect anything. That’s the most important lesson, expect nothing! This way you won’t be disappointed. Most schools don’t really teach you or tell you what happens next. They expect that now they gave you the tools (the once that they think you need), you know how to apply them. You start searching the internet and you respond to the jobs listed. In most cases they ask for people with experience, which is pretty impossible when you just finished school? The search can be a very long process with ups and downs and it takes a lot of effort, commitment, determination and persistence. There will come a point that you feel like you’ve lost all hope, but somehow something always happens. It may not have the outcome you were hoping for, but it doesn’t just stop.

There are so many factors that can influence your path but when you’re driven and focused enough, you’ll eventually find a way to get to the destination you had in mind.

I recently had a talk with someone about my path. The question WHAT IS IT YOU WANT? made me self reflect on everything. I knew what I wanted my goal to be, somehow along the way I stopped in the middle of that road, cause I lost sight of my goal. I was in my own safe-zone and why would I leave that zone? I liked the security, but what did it really add? You get so used to this zone, the chances are you become too comfortable and get stuck in that zone.

The big problem is taking that leap of faith. Some are more daring and just jump in while others are more satisfied with the safe-zone they’re in, which is also understandable, but to be honest it doesn’t really get you anywhere and it isn’t really exciting when you think about the dreams you really have.

It’s not that easy in getting that dream job in the music business. The competition is pretty high and nowadays it’s difficult getting an internship. I mean there are no record companies like back in the days and there are less studios, cause most people can record their own stuff just at home. Not to mention the possibilities within social media like YouTube. And another thing, what are the possible jobs within the music industry? Not a lot of people are aware of all the options available in this business and are too focused on the performance area. Keep in mind that to be able to perform you need other people to assist you (manager, wardrobe, producer, musicians, etc.). There are so many music related jobs, the possibilities are endless and I feel it’s important that we become aware of that, but I’ll discuss that in a future blog post.

What does come in handy is when you have “connections” in the business, but how does it work when you don’t? Start networking!! You can never start too early with that. And with networking I mean meeting people FACE to FACE.

Someone once told me if you look for your “WHY” things will fall into place.

Education is one of those basic needs in life. In order to get something done, you need to know how to do it, WHY you’re doing it and what will it take to get it done.

A diploma is not the guarantee you know it all and that you get the job you had in mind just like that. Does this means we shouldn’t even put in the effort? No on the contrary.

Stay focused, follow your heart and use all the resources you have around you to get the answer to your WHY.

It may not succeed the first time, or the 2nd or 3rd or 37th time, but eventually it will.

There are multiple paths to take and along the way you too will find your comfort in the safe-zone, from that point on it eventually is up to you to see what’s at the end of that road. But if you’re driven and committed enough you will get to the destination you had in mind, even if it means that you have to take a detour.

I want to know your experience and your thoughts. Maybe you have good advice or a complete different experience. Please share. Cause in the end we are all here to learn something.

 

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