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Recently I came across the term Sonification when I stumbled upon a news article about how images and data from space had been turned into music. The Pillars of Creation in the Eagle Nebula were likened to an eerie sci-fi film score. My interest was peaked, and I had to find out more. Soon I found myself listening to a bunch of videos that mapped spacial discoveries using both images and sound. Each new element was introduced by a new sound, forming strange, complex, and perhaps somewhat random music.

‘Sonification can make cosmic wonders more accessible to people with blindness or visual impairments, and complement images for sighted learners. SYSTEM Sounds teamed up with Kimberly Arcand, a visualization scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., to create the new pieces.’ – Science News

Sonification Explained.

Turning data into music or sound is not a new concept. Off hand I can think of various day to day sonification instances where sounds have been used to indicate certain visual cues. The beeping of the Pedestrian Stop/Walk light, the tictocking and chiming of a clock…

Interpreting data with the use of sound or music for the purpose of conveying certain information or perceptualizing a concept has been used by man since the early 20th century. The Geiger counter, invented in 1908, is one of the earliest and most successful applications of sonification. Indicating levels of radiation with increased warning clicking sounds.

Nowadays new applications and systems for turning data into sound are being developed, and although there is still no exact method on how to do it, various scientists, researchers and musicians have been collaborating to interpret data through sound or sonification in various interesting ways. SYSTEM Sounds have been working on more space music and ICAD (International Community for Auditory Display) holds annual conferences and forums for people to come together to explore research in auditory display, the use of sound to display information.

Changing data is often shown by increasing or decreasing the pitch, amplitude or tempo, as well as with different notes or even timbre. Not only is the data producing unusual compositions in sound, but perhaps it can also inspire musicians to think outside of the box when it comes to arranging tones, or compositions for new music. Several different techniques such as Acoustic Sonification , Audification and Model-Based Sonification have been used. These methods can create various interactive musical pieces or even instruments and there are some open-source software tools that have been developed alongside, to facilitate them.

Sonification is still in its infancy and it will be interesting to watch its growth and application. Perhaps it may even spawn a whole new array of careers within the science of sound and musicology. Check out SYSTEM Sounds for more sonification videos and perhaps try your hand at creating your own sonifcations with tools like combining Arduino and Mozzi, perhaps you will invent a new instrument! Or visualise active data with sound in your own installation!

Piano can be a great way for small children to learn about music. It is a superb instrument for building a strong musical foundation, and with the right teacher can open up a new world for kids, filled with far-reaching benefits. At our studio in Barcelona, piano classes are one-on-one with a dedicated teacher, and can even be arranged online in conjunction with our handy instrument rental options. What could be better than doing a music lesson from the comfort of your home?

It’s all in the science! Music has long been touted as an important element in the development of our brains, and giving your child the opportunity to explore that can help them in a variety of ways outside of the music realm. Unlock their musical creativity, help them learn in a fun and engaging way with teachers who are adept at connecting music to games as well as learning. At Shine Music School in Barcelona we are also offer siblings the chance to form small group classes, which can make learning the instrument more dynamic and versatile.

Piano is an instrument which is fantastic for accompanying singing, as well as other instruments. Not only can learning piano boost your confidence, but also your serotonin levels. Music has been proven to improve our immune systems as well as provide a literal workout for our brains! If you can instil a love of music in your kids from a young age, you will be benefitting them in the long run, helping them to become well rounded humans as well as expanding their minds.

Finding the right teacher is key. A teacher that can share their love of music and actively engage their students can be hard to find! Teaching kids a musical instrument is a special skill that requires a good understanding of psychology as well as music. Our teachers at Shine encourage their students, and boost their confidence while teaching them their favourite songs. We do not follow a particular curriculum but goals are set by the teacher during the course of organically learning the piano. For older children, we have been training those that wish to, in the Trinity music exams, and each child can track their progress through the grades. Shine prides itself on matching the right teacher to your child to ensure that learning music stays fun and engaging.

Begin early! Children from the age of 5 are encouraged to start music, as at this age they are beginning to read. This ties in with being able to recognise and read notes. Although students younger than 5 can learn an instrument, we prefer to offer our smallest musicians our Music Awareness courses which introduce rhythm, notes, songs, and teach them to recognise tones through movement, dance and musical interaction. Students who have attended these classes are easily able to continue onto our private music classes with their preferred teacher.

Barcelona is a city filled with musical history and at Shine we encourage the continuation of this musical exploration with the youngest generation! Check out our online piano classes for kids!

The bass guitar is a key instrument in a band. It is responsible for keeping the other players in the band on tempo to adding new levels and depth to the music. Rhythm, harmony, and melody are the three most important parts of music and the bass player creates the foundation as well as provides support to these elements. The bass brings all the music together, and both holds and guides the performance, demonstrating the power of this vital instrument.

Shine Music School offers Bass guitar lessons in Barcelona with qualified music teachers. Bass classes can be held in our studio, one-on-one in a private class or online from the comfort of your home. Classes are fun and our teachers have years of experience sharing their love of music. If you have been thinking of picking up a new hobby or expanding your musical repertoire, then a bass lesson could be for you. Our bass lessons are suitable for both adults and kids, and each lesson is adapted to the student. Our bass classes from Barcelona are affordable and our teachers are able to teach in Spanish, English or Catalan. Check out our price guides, or read on to discover more about the Bass instrument.

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What is Bass Guitar?

The bass guitarelectric bass or simply bass, is a member of the guitar family. It is the lowest pitched instrument of all the guitars and typically has four to six strings. Since the mid-1950s, the bass guitar has largely replaced the double bass in popular music. In the 1930s, musician and inventor Paul Tutmarc created the first electric bass guitar as we recognise it today. The bass is a fretted instrument, played horizontally as opposed to upright and standing like the double bass. During the 1950s, Leo Fender and George Fullerton worked on manufacturing this type of electric bass on a large scale. The Fender Bass revolutionised the bass for gigging musicians. In comparison its large and heavy upright cousin, which had been the main bass instrument during the early 20th century, the electric bass guitar could now be easily transported to shows. The addition of frets enabled bassists to play in tune more easily than on fretless acoustic or electric upright basses, and allowed guitarists to transition to the instrument relatively easily. Electric bass guitars are played when plugged into an amplifier.

Why play the Bass?

It makes you a great musician

Like a heartbeat, bass plays the rhythm that we all respond to. This is more often than not the foundation to the harmony of the music. When multiple notes are played the bass rhythm ties them all together in a pleasing way, supporting the harmony. The bass can guide a song giving it both soul or funk and a consistent beat, this is the heartbeat of the band. Essentially the bass is what makes your audience tap their foot, or dance to the music. Learning the bass gives you a perfect in grounding in music as you study how to “feel” the music by playing the beat. It can also help in your composing and arranging, as studying bass gives you good knowledge of how the music works together in a combo.

It’s great for Shy musicians

Bass players are an essential part of the band, and a good bassist is a sought after element in any musical group. Without the added pressure of being the “frontman” they still make up the backbone of the music alongside the drummer, and popular music today would not be able to do without them.

Great Bassists know that their beat punches a powerful beat

But don’t only listen to us! Science can even back up how vital the bass is to any piece of music!

The bass affects listeners and how it helps them perceive the music other instruments play. Studies have indicated that more people respond to the rhythm when it is a lower-pitched instrument that plays it. This is because deeper bass notes have a unique effect on peoples’ minds and bodies. The actual beat of the bass can resonate through our bodies and we can not only hear it, but feel it as well. In fact the bass is what deaf people respond to when music is played to them, as they can feel the rhythm and beat of the music. It has also been shown that your heartbeat can even sync to the deeper bass beat of the music you are listening to.

Its clear that bass is a unique and important instrument and can be a great musical instrument to learn to play.

sources: wikipedia and mspot

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!

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: