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.
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: