Music has been in existence for thousands of years. The History and development of music can be broadly categorized. Prehistoric music, or “Primitive music” is music created before the invention of actual musical instruments. It is believed to have begun in Africa some 50,000 years ago, before the development of sophisticated social structures, national cultures and technologies.
Primitive music was “music” that resembled natural rhythms and sounds; humming, clicking, coughing, and whistling, using “natural” instruments such as sticks of wood or stones for syncopation. Traditional Native American and other tribal music is a good example of “prehistoric” music.
As humans began to develop unique cultures, the development of more sophisticated forms of music also developed. The unique cultures that arose in Europe and the Middle East around 1500BC developed what we still call “primitive”, but more sophisticated forms of music, using drums flutes and horns as instruments. The roots of modern music can be seen in what is called Biblical Period music;. The Hebrews invented what would we would recognized as the ancestor of European and Western musical forms during this period. The Bible records that, after crossing the Red Sea, Moses and the “Children of Israel’ sang The Song of Deliverance. Music used by the Hebrews in their religious rituals is what we consider to be the beginnings of “Western”, (European) music. It was used as a form of training and prophecy
Early music refers to music that was created in Europe from the time of the fall of the Roman Empire (ca 476 A.D to the end of the Baroque era (1500-1650 A.D.). Music by this time was culturally diverse involving and influenced by numerous cultural traditions. This “Western Art” music uses singing, chanting and various types of musical instruments was adopted by the Roman Catholic Church in its liturgy and services, and eventually evolved what is now the sophisticated and diverse music taught in schools all over the world.
Any number of factors influences music, however. One major influence is culture. The social orientation and economic status of a given community influences its music. While each society has a unique culture, and its native music differs from other cultures and ethnic groups within a culture, we also see that one culture or ethnic group can influence the music of other cultures. Music and the exchange of musical ideas attest to the influence of music in bringing diverse culture together.
Technology is another factor that influences music as well. From the primitive reed pipe to the electric guitar, new sounds and rhythms affect our senses and stir our emotions, and are used to symbolize and remind us of different occasions and events in life and history.
Music reflects the emotions of a situation or event as it occurs, or memorializes an event in the past. Music is uniquely human; it is both personal expression and a collective impression. .
Children are capable of learning to play a musical instrument at a very young age, but not all instruments are appropriate for certain ages. Starting a child out on an instrument that is within his or her capability will build confidence and make them eager to move on to bigger musical challenges. There is a natural order of progression in learning instruments that works best for most children, and will keep their enthusiasm for learning intact.
The easiest instruments for the youngest of hands are simple percussion instruments like hand drums, tambourines or rattles. Even very young children show a natural understanding of rhythm, perhaps a “sense memory” of the rhythm of their mother ‘s heartbeat while in the womb is what sets the stage for this natural ability. In any case, children as young as six months old can enjoy playing simple percussive instruments, and by age five they can be ready for moving on to more advanced percussion instruments such as a piano that actually produces a tune when a key is struck. The transition from just making a noise when striking a drum to making an actual musical sound when striking a key, and then discovering that different keys make different sounds, and that striking several keys in succession creates a “tune”, is a discovery that encourages a child’s natural sense curiosity and wonder; and the first step to “music appreciation”.
At the age of five, some children have developed the needed strength in their hands, along with coordination, to try out a violin, or child-sized guitar. By age seven, most children will have hands that are big enough for a regular sized guitar or perhaps a cello or viola. By seven, children are also old enough that they can begin learning how to read musical notation. At earlier ages, children can remember only simple tunes and rhythms. Only later can they attempt to master chords and harmonies.
Woodwind instruments like the trumpet, flute, recorder, trombone or saxophone require a larger lung capacity than a small child has, as well as the careful control of lips and mouth for producing sound. These skills are usually out of reach until a child is at least ten years old. Waiting until then will maximize the chances that the child will have success, and the desire for learning more complex music will be evident.
The guitar is an instrument with a long history. It descended from similar stringed instruments played in India and Asia over 1,000 years ago. Over the centuries, the guitar has evolved and changed, but all guitars are instruments with six, or sometimes twelve strings, which are strummed or picked. All guitars have a neck and a body over which the strings lie. Guitars have evolved into to related, but highly different forms of instrument, but all accomplish the same basic purpose, making sounds by plucking or strumming a a set of stings using some form of ampllfier to enhance and expand the sound. There are two main types of modern guitar: the traditional “Acoustic Guitar” and the more recent ”Electric Guitar” we used primarily in rock bands.
Acoustic Guitars (Resonate)
The classic guitar is the Acoustic Guitar. “Acoustic” is defined as “of or relating to sound, the science of sound” or “anything having the purpose to carry sound or aid in hearing“sound”. The classical guitar is most often used as a solo instrument. An Acoustic Guitar has a hollow body allowing the sound to resonate and amplify as the strings are strummed or plucked. The volume and tone comes completely from the structure of the instrument itself, producing a “natural” sound.
As the name suggests, classical guitars are the traditional guitars, it’s history and development stretches back thousands of years; and variants can be found in almost every culture with a musical heritage. The Hawaiians developed a similar, smaller variant of the guitar called the ukulele. The ukulele itself is a descendant of a Portuguese version of a guitar. The standard acoustic guitar is most often used for classical music solos , in traditional “folk music” or American “country music” as solo or as accompaniment. Today’s classical guitars are most often strung with nylon or steel strings. Steel string guitars have a louder and brighter tone than the mellower nylon strings. “Arch top Guitars” (see picture below) are acoustic guitars similar to a mandolin or violin, the purpose is to open up the sound. “Arch top” and steel string guitars are often used in playing blues and jazz .
Electric Guitars (Rock)
Electric guitars are modern variants to the classical guitar. The first electric guitars were developed in the 1930s, and originally had a hollow body like an acoustic guitar. It was soon discovered that a solid body worked better acoustically, and electric guitars are now all made with solid bodies.
Electric guitars, having no hollow “sound box” to produce and amplify sound, rely on an electrical connection to an amplifier, thus its name: “electric guitar”. The amplifier allows adjustment to both the tone and volume of the music; The electric guitar is the primary instrument of rock and roll and other types of modern popular music. often used in blues and jazz musical styles
Music is both an art and a science, and music and science are closely related. Both use mathematical principles and logic, blended with creative thinking and inspiration to arrive at conclusions that are both enlightening and inspirational.
It could be said that Science is the music of the intellect, and Music is the science of the heart.
Music composition is basically a mathematical exercise. From a basic source of sounds, rhythms and tempos, an infinite variety of musical expressions and emotions can be produced. It is the interaction of sounds, tempo, and pitch that creates music, just as the interaction of known facts and knowledge coupled with imagination, conjecture and inspiration produces new scientific discoveries. Both Science and Music use “formulas” and “theories” to solve problems, and to explore the intangible mysteries of life.
There are a number of scientific theories that try to explain music. This is a clear indication that music is as complex and varied as any scientific principle or theory. As mathematics is both a science and an art, Music is both an art and a science. In this way, the art of music and the science of mathematics are related.
Some have postulated that music is the father of mathematics. To make music, you must know how to break “sound” into elements of pitch, rhythm and tempo. Science teaches us that sound is vibration, and the frequency of vibration is what makes different sounds. Music then is the study of the sound created by those vibrations, and puts them into patterns that elicit emotion. Music is based on mathematics. And mathematicians view mathematics as “music for the intellect”. Their joy in a perfect mathematical solution or theorem is as inspiring to them as a Bach Cantata.
But music is not just an arranged set of noises pleasant to the ear. Music is a bridge that spans the gap between cultures and languages. Music is a means of finding compatibility within a society, as well as a link with other societies. Music has the ability to progress past science.
Music is the common human denominator. All cultures have it. All cultures share it. There are many scientific theories about music and it’s origins, but a purely scientific explanation of music misses the point. Music is emotion. Music is an unexplainable manifestation that is uniquely human. Birds “sing”, but do they weep or cheer as they march to war at the sound of it?
Music is a force that can unite humans even as they are separated by distance and culture. Science can explain many thongs, but science alone cannot create them. Science can explain music, but only intellect and emotion can create it.
If your child could use a boost with his reading skills, sign him up for music class.
Research shows that kids who participate in multi-year music instruction that grows increasingly more complex out-perform their non-musically trained counterparts in reading and language skills. While the idea that music makes you smarter is nothing new, a recent Long Island University study confirms this long-held notion and investigates how using music can enhance academic performance.
Researchers set out to compare vocabulary and verbal sequencing, critical reading subsets, in two sets of second graders – one exposed to music instruction and one not. They identified two schools located in the same geographic area with similar demographic characteristics and comprehensive literary programs so the groups were as similar as possible. Only, children from one school were given formal piano lessons during the three-year study, and students attending the second school had never received school-taught or outside music lessons of any kind.
Each participant was assessed both before and after the study. And wouldn’t you know it; when they completed fourth grade, children in the music group boasted significantly higher scores in both vocabulary and verbal sequencing than their peers.
Since we interpret music and language in similar ways, it stands to reason that there’s some overlap in how our brains process these things; so learning music can actually enhance linguistic capacity. These findings prove just how much music matters. But you don’t have to trust the experts. Enroll your child in music lessons, and the proof could be just a report card away.
From infancy, humans respond to music and rhythms. The ability to make music is wired in our brains as much as the ability to learn a language. Children are genetically programmed to absorb information and develop skills that will be used as an adult, and the same ability is evident when a child is exposed to music and learns to play an instrument.
The creative concepts of tempo, pitch, harmony and syncopation, as well as mastering an instrument, help a child develop related skills. Musical notation and composition is a form of mathematics; breaking musical notes and sounds into full, half and quarter notes give a practical lesson in math. The mental skills of concentration, comprehension, as well as refining motor skills and physical dexterity is learned by playing an instrument. Learning to play and instrument and read music also promotes self-confidence, discipline, and encourage creativity . These are the obvious by-products of any education, and a musical education enhances and refines these skills along with the additional benefit of intellectual growth and maturity. .
From the time they begin hearing and responding, babies naturally respond to the stimulus of rhythm and music. Between the ages of six months and four years, music lessons can help a child develop their sense of rhythm and musical expression. Group participation by singing and playing simple instruments like rattles and tambourines develop social and cooperative skills. Such simple percussion instruments are easily manipulated e by a child at an early age, and a three year old can begin to learn and repeat songs.
By the age of five, many children are capable of learning to play simple tunes on a piano or other keyboard instruments. Most children by then the dexterity, strength and motor control to begin piano or violin lessons. By this age, most children also have the patience, concentration and attention span to concentrate for a half hour music lesson or practice.
By age seven, most children will have the strength and coordination for lessons in drum or guitar. It is advisable to wait until age ten before starting lessons in woodwind instruments, as they require a larger lung capacity and control of the mouth and lips.
It is essential that parents and teachers encourage any child that shows musical ability, and most of all interest, to have an early introduction to music and musical instruments. The mental and physical skill and discipline required to play an instrument will be a great asset in their education and expand their skill, knowledge and a greater appreciation for learning and experiences as well.
We know all about how music boosts linguistic ability in students, but a new study proves that even infants too young to speak can benefit from musical training.
Canadian researchers conducted a six-month study of two sets of one-year-olds that had similar communication and social development. Both groups attended music classes during the study, and neither had previously participated in baby music instruction. One group’s class consisted of the infants visiting various toy stations as “Baby Einstein” played in the background. The other group’s instruction involved interactive music making; these infants learned songs, nursery rhymes, and lullabies, and parents and infants worked together playing percussion instruments and singing songs.
At the end of the six-month study, babies in the more interactive classes had developed larger and/or earlier brain responses to musical tones than those in the less interactive group. They also showed a bias to hearing music played in key, as opposed to toddlers in the passive listening group, which showed no preference between melodies played in key versus songs with out-of-key notes thrown in.
But the benefits from interactive lessons weren’t all music related. Babies from the interactive group were also better communicators – waving goodbye or pointing at far away objects. And socially, this group smiled more, was easier to comfort, and was more adaptable during stressful situations.
So, while playing music at home provides great exposure for infants, get the maximum benefit by going a step further. Sing songs, play interactive musical games with little ones, and sign them up for music lessons. If toddlers could talk, they’d thank you.
Learning to play a musical instrument can be one of the most enriching experiences in life. The pleasure of producing music for the delight of others, or for personal enjoyment, is a powerful gift. While teaching oneself is possible, having an experienced teacher who provides a structured program of advancement is the best way of achieving musical goals in the shortest time.
Music lessons can be a challenge, however. The cost and time commitment needed for getting to and from lessons can be as much of a burden as the lessons themselves. This extra burden of expense and can seriously detract from the enjoyment and progress of learning to play the instrument itself. And the time spent traveling back and forth from home to lesson could be much better spent practicing the instrument, rather than doing the commute.
The solution is finding a teacher who can do the lessons at your own home. For parents of children who are learning a musical instrument, this solution offers many advantages. The parent can be engaged with household tasks while the child is taking their lesson, rather than wasting time driving struggling with traffic and worrying about being late to the lesson , idly waiting for the lesson to end while chores at home are left unfinished, are all eliminated. At- home lessons can also be easier and less stressful on the child in the familiar surroundings of home rather that in a strange environment as well. Taking lessons at home means the child can associate music with his normal life and familiar things, making music a part of the family, as it were.
Eliminating the cost of travel, and time lost from other activities and needed chores at home lessons can be just more economical, and learning and practicing easier when music becomes part of the normal household routine, rather than the ordeal of a commute. At home lessons can make learning to play an instrument easier, faster and more enjoyable for everyone.
Best Electric guitar for kids
So, your child has her heart set on jamming out on the electric guitar. Now, you’ve just got to decide which one to buy. When you’re shopping around, one of the main things to consider is size. Kids have small hands, so they need guitars that are three-quarters or even half the size of an adult’s guitar. But it’s not okay to just settle on a toy instrument either. We’ve compiled a list of the top three electric guitars that will make even the youngest student feel like a rock star.
- Squier by Fender Mini Strat
The Squier Mini Strat is the highest regarded child’s electric guitar out there. It’s got 20 frets and a 22.75-inch scale, so it’s three-quarters the size of the full-sized version – perfect for beginners. It also boasts 5-way stitching, giving your young musician a multitude of various sound options from bright to muted. And, the Squier features a double cutaway body, 3 single-coil pickups, a maple neck, and a rosewood fingerboard.
You even get your choice of colors: black, pink, or Torino red. This is a quality guitar that’s perfect for small hands, and considering the hundred-dollar price tag, it’s almost impossible to beat.
- Epiphone Les Paul Special II
This is a solid guitar for any beginner. The slim taper neck makes the Epiphone easy for kids to handle. It also features wax potted humbucker pickups, preventing annoying microphonic feedback when the amp’s up loud. The Epiphone is well-known for it’s mahogany neck and body and signature Les Paul sound. It comes in Vintage Sunburst, Heritage CherrySunburst, and Ebony.
- Ibanez GRGM21 GIO Mikro
Featuring a 22.2-inch scale and a small neck and body, this is another great choice for a child. It has 24 frets, dual Powersound humbucking pickups, a hard-tail bridge, and an amazing sound. This Ibanez is lacking a tremolo bar, but comes in a host of colors, including yellow, jewel blue, and candy apple red. It retails for about $150.