As promised we will be hosting our second online concert this year! 2020 has been one for the record books and we invite you back again to enjoy a repeat of our successful first ever online concert!
On the 19th of December we will be streaming a collection of work from many of our students live. Students from both our Barcelona and South Africa music schools will be coming together with our online students to perform in an extended music festival. The show will begin at 16.00h CET and is expected to go on for 3 or 4 hours! So sit back, relax, and tune in to an evening filled with music!
As the festive season approaches, lights are lit across the world, and December revolves around many different celebrations that span various cultures. From Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa to New Year celebrations in Japan called Omisoka. Different cultures celebrate these holidays with various traditions, in America Santa Claus comes slipping down the chimney to deliver gifts, while in Iceland, there is not only one Father Christmas but thirteen, named the Yule Lads, each one is celebrated over thirteen nights. Here in Barcelona, Catalans celebrate the coming of the Tres Reis (three kings), and on the 24th of December, Christmas eve, a traditional meal known as escudella de galets is served as a starter. It is a soup containing big, snail-shaped pasta shells, and made from a special meat broth. The meat is removed from the broth and served separately as the main course. The family will take the opportunity to present one another with small gifts, usually giving the children instruments which they use to serenade their relatives with Christmas carols.
Music plays an important role during December and the winter season, and Christmas Carols can be heard in winter markets and shopping centers across the world. Much of the music played has pagan roots, or were originally songs sung in pubs or popular folksongs. This resulted in many odd or hilarious lyrics which have slowly changed over the years.
“Hark the herald angles sing”, used to to be “Hark how all the welkin rings” and was created to fit Mendelssohn’s “Gutenberg’s Cantata” which was actually written to celebrate the printing press and had nothing at all to do with Christmas.
Here is the original, can you catch the similarities?
Carols were first sung in Europe hundreds of years ago, but these were not Christmas Carols we are familiar with today. They were originally sung to celebrate the Winter Solstice as people danced round stone circles. The Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year, taking place around 22nd December. The word Carol actually means dance or a song of praise and joy! Carols used to be written and sung during all four seasons, but only the tradition of singing them at Christmas has really survived. (source)
As we move through history, the practice of singing in praise or joy continued but evolved, songs became more associated with religious celebrations, and minstrels would take the songs from place to place, singing them for various people, retelling the nativity story in song. Singing Carols outside peoples doors around Christmas time slowly appeared and the idea of the Carol Service at church on Christmas eve was popularised when many would gather by candlelight to sing hymns together.
It is interesting how music is so evocative of certain times of the year, and Christmas time is perhaps the one that stands out for most people. Everyone has their favourite christmas song, and many famous musicians have released Christmas Albums where they sing theirs. If you enjoy Christmas Carols, you can find a list of the 30 top Traditional Christmas Carols here.
Our favourite music for the winter Christmas season however, has got to be Oscar Peterson’s Jazz Album AnOscar Peterson Christmas. This is perfect for any winter evening, and will certainly get you in that festive spirit.
Music is a fantastic hobby, and playing an instrument can be a great source of entertainment and joy. But times are tough and every budding musician can use a freebie every now and then! Even if you are taking lessons and have invested in a great instrument, having free extra musical resources in your pocket is recommended and useful!
We have put together a list of freebies for you to browse. From free software for editing music, to free tabs and backing tracks.
FREE GUITAR TABS
Ultimate Guitar has about a bazillion guitar tabs that you can browse by genre or difficulty. They have an easy search bar, so finding the tab you are looking for is not at all complicated. Guitar Tabs has tabs listed alphabetically, and you can even submit your own. Acoustic Guitar Tabs has a great archive of free tabs as well as free lessons, so you can learn how to read the tabs too!
FREE BACKING TRACKS
If you are struggling to play your music at home, perhaps a backing track will help. Not only does it help you with improvisation and timing but also fills in all the other instruments! Many websites provide free downloadable tracks so that you can practice anywhere, both online and off. Guitar backing tracks has loads of tracks created specifically for guitarists. Backing Tracks has almost 100 000 tracks that you can download! Karaoke Version has a number of free backing tracks that come with variations, for example instrumental versions, or ones that include backup vocals. You can browse and find the tracks you like, and download them. Each track includes useful info such as Tempo and Key. And if you cannot find what you are looking for here, Youtube has loads of free backing tracks available online too.
FREE MUSIC EDITING SOFTWARE
Audacity, while it might look a little complicated, can be mastered through some trial and error. It has been providing one of the best free music editing tools for over 20 years. If you can get past the intimidating look of the program, and figure out how to use the plugins, you can master the art of music editing for free! TIP: Watch some tutorials online! Ocenaudio is far simpler to use, and may be a better place to start if you are just beginning to set up your home studio! This software also lets you listen to the changes you make to your audio files as you make them. Wavepad has some very useful features, like editing audio tracks in a batch (ie more than one at a time!) which can save you a lot of time! It has plenty of handy features like noise removal, compression and reverb as well as audio scrubbing! And if you need more free editing tools, check out this list which also includes a free lesson on getting started on music editing!
FREE ONLINE MUSIC LESSONS & COURSES
You can find plenty of free lessons online for every instrument. Most of them are introductory, but a free tutorial can really help if you are a bit stuck! MakingMusicFun has some free lessons for kids in everything from Recorders to Guitar and Trumpet! Alison offers full courses in music and music theory, all it requires is a sign up, which you can do easily with your email address. Learn how to write your first song for free with this online course from Future Learn! Study how to play the Jazz piano with The Jazz Pianist’s free courses! Udemy is well known to provide great lessons! If you are a serious musician and want to make a business out of your music or band, why not try the free Band as Business, Musician as Entrepreneur course.
FREE DOWNLOADABLE MUSIC
Perhaps you need some music for your video or school project. If you don’t have time to make your own, there are plenty of places where you can legally download free music without any copyright issues. The Free Music Archive is a wonderful resource full of all kinds of different music that you can use free of charge! Jamendo also offers music for free. Soundcloud is not only a fantastic place to listen and discover music for free, but many artists allow you to use their music under the creative commons usage rights. Youtube now also offers free music to use in making a video, logging in grants you access to loads of royalty free soundbites and background music.
The Christmas lights may already be up and your jackets and scarves have been pulled out of the closet. The evenings are getting darker and a winter chill is in the air. It’s the perfect time to get cozy at home. Invite a few close friends or family over for some dinner, and enjoy this winter soundtrack. Or perhaps you can curl up on the couch with a good book and some great winter tunes.
What are your favorite winter songs? There’s nothing quite like putting on your best track, and baking up some cookies for winter! Music goes with everything and baking is no exception. Here is a fun recipe for some nice cinnamon spicy cookies that will “go down a treat” this winter!
¼ cup sugar 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon 1 cup butter, softened 2 teaspoon vanilla 1 cup sugar ⅓ cup brown sugar 2 eggs 3 cups flour 1 tablespoon cinnamon 2 teaspoons cream of tartar 1 teaspoon baking soda ¼ teaspoon salt
PREPARATION 1. Preheat the oven to 375˚F(190˚C). 2. In a small bowl, mix together sugar and cinnamon until evenly incorporated.
3. In a large mixing bowl whip the butter with vanilla until light and fluffy. 4. Add the sugar and brown sugar and mix until well incorporated. 5. Add the eggs and stir until thoroughly incorporated. 6. Using a sift add the flour, cream of tartar, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt and sift into the dough. Combine until evenly mixed. 7. Using your hands roll dough into ping pong sized balls. 8. Dip the dough into cinnamon sugar mixture and roll around covering the dough ball completely. 9. Place cookie dough on parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes. 10. Enjoy!
Shine Music School has a host of impressive and talented teachers. Many of whom are working on new music. Our teachers are often recording albums or performing, and continue to practice and learn everyday. They bring these talents and expertise into the classroom and each of their students can benefit from their knowledge.
Check out some of their new work!
Gian Carlo Scevola is one of our brilliant guitar teachers. He has been teaching with Shine since its humble beginnings in Barcelona, almost 10 years ago! Visit his profile to learn more about him, or sign up for lessons with Gian Carlo. Gian Carlo recently made it to the final of the International Music Competition of Cambra d ‘ Andorra, Amics Cambra Romànica with the Trío Desconcierto. Here is some of his new music with his Scevola Ensemble:
A new album by the accomplished César Munera titled Wood Mirror is out now. Cesar teaches guitar, specialising in fingerstyle guitar, classical guitar and flamenco guitar at Shine. Follow him on Instagram and enjoy frequent videos of his playing or contact us for a lesson. You can purchase his album on amazon or listen on Spotify.
Sebastian Pan, another of our superb guitar teaches plays in collaboration with Antonio Monasterio Ensemble in the video below. Sebastian frequently shares great videos performing on his really cool travel sized electric guitar on his Instagram. He teaches electric guitar at Shine. Contact us if you would like to do some lessons with Sebastian.
The Shine School of Music offers music training with qualified and experienced teachers. The school provides quality music education for students of all ages and all levels. Now, students all over the world are learning music with the Shine School of Music. Participate in guitar classes, piano classes, bass classes, ukulele classes, and more through our Online Classes.
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