Monthly Archives: September 2017

Music Education

A comprehensive music education begins early, in childhood. A music education must consist of not only repertoire knowledge, but theory, composition, history, and people. Professor Zoltan Kodaly, a Hungarian composer and teacher in the early 1900s, found that young Hungarian children were unaware of how to read and write music fluently, and also unaware of their musical heritage. To know Hungary now, one would not know that this was the case in the 1900s. Hungary lives and breathes music. Currently, Hungary has 800 adult choruses, and numerous professional orchestras. Hungary is a country about the size of Indiana, so music penetrates the country. Kodaly introduced a method, the Kodaly Method, which systematically teaches children, or beginning adults, music. The learning is based in folk music, of one’s country of origin, and uses the music to teach theory, composition, and history. This method has infiltrated the world with it’s easy to understand concepts and time lines.

In the United States music is taught in most schools. However, as funding and music teachers have become unavailable, music programs have been cut. This lack of education in the public school system leaves music education up to the parents, which unfortunately many parents do not have the knowledge or tools to teach their children appropriately, let alone fluently. In Hungary children obtain an eight year program devoted specifically to music which is separate from the children’s regular studies. In North America, schools have music once, or maybe twice per week, if at all. Although music programs in North America aren’t as intense as other countries, a comprehensive teaching method, such as the Kodaly Method, enables children to receive the basic skills of music literacy.

Recognize Musical Hearing

Music is an integral part of our existence, from the moment we are created. By the 14th week as embryos, our hearing is developed to the point of sensing sounds, much earlier than our sight, which only develops after four months out of the womb. The embryo senses his/her own heartbeats and the mother’s as well, along with other sounds which penetrate the shelter of the womb. Moreover, both Oliver sachs in his book Musicophilia and Shinitzi Suzuki, the renowned violin and musical teacher, conclude that every person is musical and can play an instrument. Music has a special meaning for each of us, but many of us don’t get any training which can develop our musical potential.

Sachs describes in his book several of the rare people who don’t feel anything when listening to music, but perhaps the most famous unmusical person is Zigmund Freud, who was appreciative of many art forms, such as literature and sculpture, but could not observe the value and significance of music. The generations which followed him corrected this error in judgment.

So here are several tools for developing musical hearing:

1. Expose your child to music as often as possible, the more the better. Listen with your child to music any chance you have. Share your critical thinking and opinions about music you like and dislike.

2. Ask your child which music he/she likes and dislikes and why. It is very important to help your child develop a musical taste.

3. If you like a certain kind of music which allows it, don’t hesitate to start dancing and let go. Enthusiasm is infectious.

4. When your child is ready, at age six or seven, let him/her try an instrument.

5. Don’t pressure your child to play, but create a natural musical environment at home, through Youtube, radio and TV channels and, of course, the music you own.

6. Take your child to a music store which has a large selection of classical music recordings and choose together the music which your child wants to listen to.

Country Music

Country Music, in the form that we know it, has been going strong for over three hundred years in the Southern part of North America. It was not until the 1920s that it started to gain traction though. So, where did it all begin? It began with a group of Irish immigrants who decided to settle in the Appalachian Mountains. Obviously North America is an incredibly long distance from Ireland. The boat journey was horrendous to start with and of course, space was limited. Those that headed to America could only take their most prized possessions with them. Everything else was left at home. Many Irish cherished their instruments and it was those that they took on this boat journey.

The Irish preferred to use the fiddle, the sounds of which are heard in country music to this very day. The reason why they loved the fiddle so much was because it had such a dynamic range. One second you could be playing the most upbeat music possible, and the next second you could be creating something that was almost mournful. In its history it was not just the Irish fiddle that played a roll though. The banjo got in there (from West Africa), the Mandolin (Italy) and even the Dulcimer (Germany). You got a nice blend of instruments.

It was sort of born out of a clash of cultures. Many people do not realize this, but it has a number of its roots in African music. It was born out of the white and black musicians in the southern areas of the country starting to play together. In fact, country music history shows us that back then Country Music tended to be a great deal more ‘African’ influenced than European influenced. The style has meshed too much nowadays to really tell though. It just grew from here. As the music style started to spread around the area more and more people started to introduce new elements into it. This is a constantly evolving form of music. What we regarded as country all those years ago is nothing close to what is regarded as country music right now. That is why it is so exciting. We never know where the music is going to take us next.

Music Licensing

The music industry revenue has encountered steadier growth for the past decade and the experts projected it will stay in that course for the foreseeable future. The numbers may spike up with the growing popularity of streaming among the younger generation. As the physical sales wane in the turn of 2010, other means of sales had emerged and millions of independent musicians turned to licensing their music in hopes to monetize their work. The internet paved the way for more business opportunities and almost all of them require music content. There are more music revenues to be collected compared a decade ago as we have more TV show, ads, commercials, campaigns, video games, movies, films, establishments and companies today. Every single industry needs music content to operate in order to appeal to the public. It is part of their marketing plan and these industries require the services of music licensing companies to facilitate such needs.

As a matter of fact, the US music industry revenue for 2015 rose 0.9% to haul in $7 billion dollars. The RIAA also announced that streaming has overtaken the digital and physical sales of music for the first time, rising from 27% in 2014 to 34% in 2015. The streaming sales went up by a mere 29% in 2015. Digital sales fell from $2.58 billion in 2014 to $2.33 billion in 2015, a 9.6% decline. With the rise of streaming, the physical sales suffered the most downward spiral as it only accumulated $1.9 billion sales, 10% of sales in the US. This was not the case 10 years ago as physical sales dominated the music industry. The big chunk of those comes from performing rights organizations and music licensing companies. These companies license the music of their members and distribute it to different industries across the country. There are three performing rights organizations for musicians across the US and they are ASCAP, SESAC and BMI.

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is a not-for-profit performance rights organization which protects its members’ musical copyrights by monitoring the public performances of their music. This organization was launched in 1914, making it the oldest among the three. They compensate their members basing on the live and public performances of their music of other sectors. As of 2015, ASCAP has licensed over 500,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers. In the year 2014, it has collected over $941 million dollars in licensing fees and distributed $828.7 million in royalties to its members. ASCAP is charging $50 fee as a writer and $50 fee as a publisher to become a member. In order to collect your publisher’s share of royalties as an ASCAP member, you need to have an ASCAP publishing company.