Music Education and Social-Emotional Learning

Our world is full of challenges. We worry about our health, our families, and money. 

Music education teaches leadership, self-expression, and creativity. Practising music is a rewarding, fulfilling pastime that builds self-confidence. Don’t make it into another worry. 

Incorporating Social Emotional Learning (SEL) into your musical education is one way to deal with your worries. SEL helps you become more self and socially-aware. Adding reflection from SEL to your practice time helps you make responsible decisions. 

SEL and Music 

You can develop SEL skills by: 

  • Setting your own musical goals.
  • Working out your problems individually or with your fellow band members if you play in a group. 
  • Examining your performance anxiety. What is holding you back from being your best?
  • Studying the history of music, especially how it affected social change

Your music will improve as your emotional awareness improves. Use these techniques to incorporate SEL into your music education. Discuss your answers with your music teacher:

  • “Fist to Five” — Use this technique to rate your late performance, measure, etc. Using one hand, make a fist to illustrate something that did work. Then use your fingers and thumb to illustrate five things you did perfectly. 
  • Emotional Vocabulary Building — Use an Emotions Wheel to find the correct expressive word to describe your emotions. Instead of using “fine” to describe your playing, say, “I feel confident.” A poster of facial expressions can help younger musicians describe their emotions. 
Photo Credit: Instagram
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  • SEL-Based Questions — Become more reflective about your motivation and self-awareness by asking yourself these questions during a music lesson or practice:
    • “What is my one musical goal this week?”
    • “What are my musical strengths and challenges?”
    • “How do I respond to constructive criticism?”

Music education helps us learn dedication, perseverance, and cooperation skills. SEL skills affect every aspect of our lives, both inside and outside of music. They help us confront our challenges with strength and skill. 

Contact the Brady Arts Academy today to discuss the benefits of music education.

Written by: Nicole Holas

How to Achieve Your Musical Dream

You are a dreamer with a musical fantasy. You are going to take a leap and aim high to achieve that goal. You’re ready to give it your all. 

But then someone says to you, “Get Real! You’ll never do it.” 

Maybe that person, is you? 

Dreams are powerful, but there is a barrier that stops us from achieving them. 

In today’s blog, we show you how to create your own musical fantasy by breaking through that barrier.  

Let’s begin by examining your musical fantasy and three reasons why it’s powerful. 

1. It defines our “true self” and ensures our efforts are aligned with our values.

2. It sets an ambitious target that brings out our best.

3. It motivates us! We approach our musical learning consistently and enthusiastically. 

But what is the barrier that keeps us from achieving our musical dreams? 

You might notice it in these examples from musicians: 

  • “I want to be able to play anything I hear! Actually, just managing a simple melody would be okay.”
  • “I want the ability to hold my own and create some interest in what I’m playing. Actually I’m not too bothered about creating the interest as long as the other stuff I’m doing reasonably well makes me happy.
  • “I want to learn to improvise. I don’t want to be a professional or anything

It’s simple. – We tend to downplay our dreams. We back off from our true goals and substitute an “okay” or “good enough” alternative. 

This is a natural and understandable reaction. We all do it. It may seem harmless, but it keeps us from achieving our goals. 

Two things cause this barrier: 

1. We are humble: Humility is admirable – we don’t want to boast too much about our own potential. But what if your humility is holding you back and stopping you from reaching your full capability? 

Set goals and aspirations purely for yourself, for your own guidance and motivation. Apply unlimited ambition to your goals without feeling guilty or ashamed about aiming high. This way, pride and humility won’t affect you. 

2. Our ego wants to protect us: We all have two voices in our heads – the optimistic, ambitious voice that encourages us to reach for the stars and shoot for our dreams – and the rational, conservative voice that says, “Don’t even think about it. That’s unrealistic.”

Don’t resent your rational voice because it’s trying to protect you. Adults fear failure, and our ego tries to keep us away from situations where we might fail. We need to risk failure to achieve our greatest potential. 

Tell your doubting voice, “Thanks for protecting me. I hear you, but I’m going to take a chance. The risk is small and I care more about the potential gain than a tiny amount of discomfort.” 

It takes courage to stand up and take a leap, but it’s also incredibly empowering, exciting, and impactful. The next time you’re defining a goal or envisioning your musical fantasy, acknowledge your pride and your rational voice. Then be honest about what you want and go for it.

When you’re ready to fulfill your musical dream, contact the Brady Arts Academy. Our instructors and programs will put you on the right track.

Written by: Nicole Holas

10 Ways to Practice Music in Your Daily Life, Part 2

Are you trying to find ways to fit music practice into your busy lives? In this week’s blog, we list five more ways to keep you inspired as you learn to play your favourite instrument.

6. Create Specific Goals: Reduce your practice time by setting a specific goal for each practice session. It doesn’t matter what you are working on – a new scale, playing from memory or maintaining your tempo – put your energy into one task. You’ll quickly accomplish your goal, and be inspired to keep practising.

7. Set Realistic Goals: As we said above, make your goals specific. But also make them realistic. Don’t expect to learn Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 in C Minor in one session. Setting an “ambitious” goal will lead to feelings of failure and discouragement. Keep your goals simple. Start with the first few bars and work up. 

8. Practice What You Love: Once you know the basics, cast your eyes near and far for new inspirations. Ignore the pressure to play what everyone else is playing. Follow your heart and play the music that moves you. Feel passionate about your music. 

9. Review Previous Materials: Don’t forget to go back and practice what you already learned. You can easily forget the music you played last month or last year. Revisiting pieces keeps them fresh in your mind and renews a sense of pride in your accomplishments. 

10. Take A Break: If today was really busy and you’re too tired to play, that’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up for skipping a day. Negative reinforcement will hamper your desire to learn. Remember, music is about enjoyment and self-expression. 

Use a combination of these tips to set a practice schedule that works with your busy life. These strategies will motivate you to learn your next piece and improve your musical skills without feelings of frustration and failure. 

Contact the Brady Arts Academy today to fulfill your love for music. Our various musical courses will satisfy any budding Beethoven.

Written by: Nicole Holas

10 Ways to Practice Music in Your Daily Life

A lot of us complain that we don’t have enough time for the things we enjoy. With our busy lives, practicing music is often dropped for more “important” tasks. 

Staying motivated to practice is also difficult, especially if you’re learning a new piece or struggling with a tricky movement. But there are ways to increase your musical knowledge and skills. 

Over the next two weeks, our blogs will share 10 ways to stay inspired as you learn to play your favourite instrument. 

1. Learn To Read Music: Reading sheet music is an important skill to master, as it opens a door to a wider variety of music. Find time during your day to practice your reading. You can read the musical piece’s sheet music while listening to it, or during a break from work while sipping your coffee. 

2. Listen To Music: This might seem obvious but listening to a piece of music while learning it helps you notice mistakes. The piece won’t “sound right” as you play. 

3. Visualize Playing the Instrument: Close your eyes and mentally see yourself playing the instrument. Just as an athlete visualizes winning a big game, you can see yourself playing the piece flawlessly. Practicing is as much a mental activity as a physical one. 

4. Break It Down: It can take hours of practice to learn an entire song, even short ones. Break down the song into smaller segments and work on them independently. This increases your success and encourages you to continue mastering the piece without the countless hours of practice. 

5. Set Shorter Practice Times: You don’t need to lock yourself in a room for days on end to learn to play music. This leads to “burn out” and discourages future practice. Instead, practice in 20-30 minute blocks, and then take a short break. If you feel good at the end of 30 minutes, it’s o.k. to keep going. 

Next week we’ll share the five other tips to help you practice music. For now, consider taking a course from the Belinda Brady Arts Academy. Our skilled, knowledgeable teachers can help you find your love for music. 

Written by: Nicole Holas