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Music was born to be shared; to touch the hearts of the people who play and enjoy it. When we listen to a piece of music, we probably don’t think about how important the collaborative effort made by each different musician is, but focus on the how the music comes together. Playing in a group, and creating music together, is another very enjoyable form of social interaction.

The combination of several musicians or instrumentalists, who form a musical group is commonly referred to as a “combo, ensemble or musical ensemble or band”. Regardless of the style played, any combo could include vocals, drums, guitar, and bass. Often other instruments come into the mix too, and often certain instrument combos are used to play certain musical styles.

At Shine, the members of a band learn to create a relaxed musical environment with each other in which everyone contributes something. The main objective of a combo, we would say then, is to learn to play in a group, recognising the other instruments that are played in addition to your own, and always having fun. It is very important to know the role of each member of the group. Over time the musicians will create and consolidate a repertoire of themes in various musical styles.

Whether you are beginning to understand the instrument you are studying or if you have a little more musical experience, participating in a combo will always help enhance your skills, apply the acquired knowledge such as technique, reading music, musical memory and improvisation, and learn to work in a team.

Shine School of Music has vast experience in teaching various musical instruments to people of all ages and musical levels. The group classes, and especially the Combos, are coordinated by our teacher David Marroquín, who throughout his musical career has collaborated in various international orchestras. Today he offers us an exclusive interview about his musical origins and tells us about the peculiarities of studying in a combo.

David studied classical bass in Mexico, and later completed his specialisation in Jazz at the Conservatorio del Liceo de Barcelona. If you want to know more details about one of our most talented teachers, keep reading below:

What was the first thing that got you interested in music?

At home when I was little, together with my brothers and cousins ​​at family gatherings on Sundays we played “shows”. We would take rackets or baseball bats like guitars and put together a drum set with boxes and stuffed animals. The children “played” and the cousins ​​danced to the rhythm of the hits of the time.

Who inspired you to make music? Any famous musician you admire?

My parents. My mother played the piano. And my father played guitar and sang. When I was about 7 years old together with my older brother we were part of the children’s choir of the church. A few years later I showed interest in drums and my parents were able to sign me up for classes. At the age of 13 I discovered bass and… “I saw the light” hehe.

Musicians I admire… J.S. Bach among the classics.

If we’re talking about bassists… James Jamerson, the bassist for Motown Records.

Where does your passion for bass come from? And with whom did you study this instrument?

At school together with some friends we formed a band of which I was the drummer. We had no bass player. There was another friend who also played drums and I thought I could switch to bass “for the good of the band.” At first I didn’t like it at all, it seemed like a “simple and boring” instrument. But before long I fell in love with the instrument.

I studied electric bass with Carlos González, Azael Escobedo, Alejandro Reynoso, and Hernán González. Great musicians from my hometown (Monterrey, Mexico). And classic double bass with Boyko Nonov.

In Barcelona I studied with Jordi Ruiz and master classes with Garry Willis.

What is the musical style that you enjoy the most?

For Listening … various styles.
For Playing … what I enjoy the most is funk, soul, contemporary gospel, and Latin jazz.

What do you think is the great advantage of creating group music?

Well, it’s usually more fun. It’s a different form of social interaction. New friendships can be created. It’s motivating.

Where can we enjoy good presentations of small bands or jazz combos in Barcelona (and in Spain)?

Places like the Jamboree, Milano Jazz Club, Big Bang, Robardors, Marula Café, Soda Bar, Sinestesia, Harlem.

How would you define the Combos courses that are created at the Shine School of Music?

For most of the students who join the combo it is the first time that they play in a group and it is normal for them to feel insecure. First, the student has to be relaxed, without pressure, without fear of making mistakes. You try to create this atmosphere. Choose music that is to everyone’s taste, and not too complicated. This will depend on the level of the members of course. The goal in the end is to have fun. In English the word “play” is used to describe both playing a game and playing an instrument. When I play an instrument, I like to think that I am really going to play and have fun.

How important is learning to play in a group for anyone who plays an instrument?

Playing in a group reinforces learning. It is motivating. It helps build your confidence as well as confidence as a group. It is where you can “get out” what you have been practicing and trying to internalise alone, and then free yourself and enjoy playing. Try new things. Learn to listen and respect the other members of the group.

What positive experiences does the Combo class generate, taking into account that the students have not been playing together for a long time?

Teamwork and sense of accomplishment. A song is chosen. Students generally go to their instrument class (if that is the case) and teachers help them learn their part. Then for the next kind of combo, the song or piece begins to be assembled. The support and help of the instrument teachers make the ensemble easier.

Any advice or tips for those who want to enter the world of music, and be part of a Combo?

To be part of a combo, to play and have fun, it is first necessary to invest time in learning an instrument to the level that allows you to start playing with more people. Have a little patience and avoid frustrations. Enjoy the learning process. When you play with your first band you will see that it has been worth it.

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Here more information about David Marroquín and the music courses he gives at Shine, visit his profile page.

Go ahead and sign up for your favorite instrument classes or a group class here:

Our Music School Director and guitar teacher, Milos Sajin has been featured on the new website Pronto Pro. Check out the website here, and his interview.

Pronto Pro is a portal for finding professionals in Spain. If you require a teacher, service or even a technician, you can browse their listings, check reviews and find the right person for the job you require. If you are a professional you can also sign up to have a profile on the website, and offer your services. It’s a resource for finding what you need in your local area, and can be very useful in an emergency, especially if you are looking for a plumber, or handyman.

The website features professionals in many areas from photographers to nutritionists and by filling in a few prompts, you can find what you are looking for. If you live in Barcelona or anywhere else in Spain, check it out.

https://www.prontopro.es/

Shine Music School online will now be featuring a schedule of Masterclasses. If you are a musician who would like to perfect a certain technique or learn a new style in a focused and information rich session, our ninety minute classes are packed with useful pro tips as well as instruction and demonstrations.

Each class is live with the teacher, so students can interact by asking questions or with comments and queries. These unique workshops have limited capacity and are not pre-recorded. As a student you will be getting really practical tools that you can apply to your musical studies. Our classes are educational and entertaining. Our teachers are top-notch musicians, with professional experience in the industry as well as a love for music, the master classes will profile their favourite musical styles and no doubt you will catch their enthusiasm!

Keep an eye on our schedule and sign up for your favourite class. If you are curious and want to be kept up to date on when new classes are going live, you can sign up for a notification via email.

2020 has been a difficult year for many, so now is the perfect time to think of a thoughtful gift for the musicians in your life. As we move into the season of gifts and giving, start planning ahead. November also hosts the ever popular “Black Friday” on the 27th of the month, and it is a perfect opportunity to grab some great online offers for your family and friends. Or why not think of supporting some small local businesses with unusual gifts like a music class, hand made local guitar or artwork. Also remember there are plenty of places where you can buy sustainable gifts, like second hand instruments or equipment. Just make sure check the reviews or test the instrument. Without further ado, here are 20 ideas for fun festive season gifts…

Don’t forget to check out your local music stores, or second hand shops. Online, places like Gumtree or Facebook Market place often have listings for second hand instruments. Support your local teachers too. Many have valuable skills to share, and don’t forget that the internet allows you to have lessons in particular styles with specialised teachers from all over the world.

The first musical instruments

Music is known as the universal language. No matter where it comes from, everyone is capable of perceiving the feelings it evokes. Knowing for sure when our ancestors first developed music is still a matter of debate. What we do know is that the history of musical instruments goes back to the beginning of human culture.

Can you imagine then what could have been the first musical instrument created by man?

Although there is no exact date for the creation of the first musical instrument, archaeological finds suggest that there was music from primitive times and that percussion and wind instruments were the first to appear.

The voice was probably the origin of the man’s musical expression through the songs together with the accompaniment of hands and feet following a rhythm, such as a horn to signal success in hunting, or a drum in a religious ceremony. We know that the oldest known drum dates back 30,000 years when man used the stretched skin of animals to create sound.

From archaeological sites in Europe, bamboo flutes, whistles, brawlers and tubes made of short bones have been found that produced sound when blown through them. 

The discovery in the cave of Hohle Fels, Germany, of a flute carved from vulture bones more than 35,000 years old, could be the oldest musical instrument created by man. It also demonstrates the presence in Europe of sociable and creative humans, who preceded the Neanderthals.

Some consensus among the scientific community suggests that the first flutes date from about 37,000 years ago. However, most historians believe that it is impossible to determine the specific time of the invention of musical instruments, since many of the first musical instruments were made from animal skins, bones, wood, and other non-durable materials.

Over time, in each society new musical instruments were created and they were adapted to different areas of life. Here are some examples:

The Jewish shofar, a wind instrument made from a hollow animal horn, is still played on Rosh Hashanah (New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), and must be heard by the congregation.

Since the ancient Chinese empire, the instruments were identified with the cardinal points, with the seasons and with natural phenomena. The use of the bamboo flute or dizi in traditional Chinese music became very popular.

In medieval Europe, trumpets, long associated with military operations, had a ceremonial role in the establishment of European kings and nobles and were in fact considered a sign of nobility.

The harp is known to have been used from early times in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and India and was imported to China after the end of the 4th century AD.

In Greece, the standard plucked instrument was the lyre, known in its fully developed form as kithara (or sitara in India). Years later, the Arabs added a neck to the well-known kithara, and baptized the instrument as an alud (lute in Spain), which would later become a vihuela with the arrival of Romans and Arabs to Spanish lands. first musical compositions for guitar.

Drum ensembles reached extraordinary sophistication in Africa, and the small, hand-beaten drum is of great musical importance in West Asia and India. The native cultures of the Americas have always made extensive use of drums, as well as other beaten and shaken instruments.

Bowed instruments came to characterize Europe during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. By the 16th century, the European violin was already distinguished in two ways: the viola (leg violin) and the violin (arm violin). The violin or violin was the smallest of the family, the tenor was simply called viola, while the bass became known as violoncello (diminutive of violone).

Of all the oldest instruments, the organ showed the most remarkable development from the High Middle Ages to the 17th century. Created in ancient Greece in the 3rd century b.C, this instrument evolved from small portable designs for smaller churches to increase in size and carry overlapping keyboards, placing them in boxes like the way we know today.

The clarinet or “small trumpet” emerged in the late 17th century and, like the oboe, gave rise to a family that extended to a double bass clarinet in the 19th century and later to a sub-bass. Clarinets have been in the orchestra since approximately 1780.

In 1845, the Belgian instrumentalist and luthier Antoine-Joseph Sax, built a family of valve instruments called saxhorns, using the cornet as the basis for his invention. Sax invented the saxophone, a single reed instrument like the clarinet but with a conical tube.

By all historical accounts, the Rickenbacker Frying Pan (named for its resemblance to a banjo with a frying pan) was the first electric guitar invented in America by the German immigrant Adolph Rickenbacher during the 1920s. The problem for guitarists in those years was the volume, since the acoustic guitar could not be heard well when used in large bands and orchestras with singers. Years later, the development of the concept of electricity and radio technology facilitated the creation of the instrument we know today.

In the 60s different styles of music were created, as many artists began to experiment with the use of synthesizers. One of the first to appear was BUCHLA in 1963, by composer Morton Subotnick. Elements of piano and percussion were combined with electronic sounds, thus abandoning the traditional music of always.

It’s clear that humans and music have a deep and long connection that goes back through the centuries. Music is here to stay, and as people continue to play and invent, new and wonderful instruments continue to emerge.

If you are interested in music and learning an instrument, browse our menu and see what sort of sound interests you. Visit our teachers pages and get to know them too! You may be the next inventor of a new age of music!

Sources: 

Wikipedia, BBC Mundo, LiveScience, EuropaPress, Britannica, Lacarne Magazine