In all our efforts to become musically literate, it is important to maintain an element of FUN. Without it, we lose the enjoyment, devotion, and passion that make the practice pay off and turn out our best results. To keep the excitement of music alive, here are ways music students can tap into the fun!
Many people are aware of the effect music has on their mood. Athletes use it to prepare for games, academic students listen while they study, mothers sing their young ones to sleep, families jam out in the car together to keep the peace on long drives… There are many ways music, if chosen well, can improve moods!
To promote music for emotional maintenance, try putting together a few short lists for different occasions. You can listen to, dance to, or sing your chosen songs to help address your emotions and improve your mood. This connection with music not only builds a relationship with it, it makes music fun!
Music is not only meant to help us shape our day by shaping our moods. It is open to shaping from us. Part of the fun in music is taking a song and making it personal. It can feel monotonous to play mechanically, with stress on accuracy and perfection.
Rather than focusing on playing a song perfectly, try putting yourself into the song. Try different tempos and dynamics, starting with the ones provided by the composer. When playing for self-expression, YOU get to determine the interpretation of the piece! The opportunities this provides to choose what sounds good to you, adds an element of fun to repetition!
Alongside expression is the opportunity to experiment. Again, variance in tempo, dynamic, octave, rhythm, and touch, open the door to countless options! It is often in experimenting that a personal connection with music is made and a new level of self-expression becomes possible. Additionally, when music is practiced with this kind of excitement, it often leads to self-discovery.
What are you waiting for? Give it a try! Make a game out of it by making one to three categories of options to experiment with. Draw from each pile and apply the suggestions to a song you are learning. (One idea at a time is appropriate for beginners.) Categories might include:
- Dynamics (pp, p, mp, mf, f, and ff)
- Tempo (largo, adagio, andante, allegro, vivace, etc.)
- Touch (long staccato, short staccato, legato, tenuto)
- Rhythmic variations (long-short, short-long, long-short-short, etc.)
- Other (octave, pedal, tone, etc.)
At the end of the day, we tend to get the most out of learning when we make it fun. Music is no exception. We encourage you to connect with music and tap into the fun by using it to improve your mood, express yourself, and experiment!