The 3 Things That Transform Sound Into Music

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There are three basic components that make up the one all-pervading sound that we hear as music. For the sake of creating a visual concept of three ideas that make up one connective musical force, think of a wheel of a car. To make a wheel complete requires the tire to ride on the surface of the road, air to inflate and fill the tire with sustainable pressure, and a wheel to seal in the air and attach it all to the car. To make sound become complete enough to be deemed as music also takes 3 main components. We have Rhythm, Coordination and Self-expression. These three musical components combined transform ordinary sound into MUSIC!

Rhythm

Let’s start with rhythm. One must establish his/her own rhythm and attune that rhythm with the music we play. Technically we are speaking about rhythm in terms of the song tempo, speed, and time structure, but more importantly, rhythm in the purest sense means “the flow” of the piece or even more so the way YOU flow with the music and or musicians in any given situation. The rhythm of a song can change 1,000 times, but if your own personal rhythm is set and established you’ll always flow with the music.

Coordination

Coordination is the next component. Coordination, as we see it here, has several open ended meanings. Obviously we have, coordination of the hands for guitarists as well as an overall, coordination of our technique, phrasing, and all of our other expressive tools. If playing in a group or even with one other person, then coordination is needed between you and your musical counterpart. Most importantly we have to coordinate our musical ideas with our truest effort of self-expression. Let’s examine this point for a second. When you look at your instrument think of it as a tool of expression and think of the process. You learn a song and then you coordinate your memory with the movement of your hands and then coordinate that thought with feelings, and blend it all into an audible expression via your instrument.

Self-Expression

The other main component is self-expression. Self-expression is simply identifying who you really are and what you live your life for and then using all of your talents, knowledge, and intuitive feelings to convey ALL of your thoughts and feelings to others in the purest and honest sense. In most cases by expressing ourselves to others, we better ourselves and learn more about the person we are.

When my friends and students ask me how long I practice a day I say all day, everyday, meaning that everything in my life will eventually be brought out through my music. Or rather my knowledge of life’s experiences will at some point be expressed in my music. I also tell people when I was 17-19 I practiced 6 to 8 hours a day and sometimes would play from morning to late evening only stopping to eat & take care of all necessary bodily waste disposal. But these days with all of life’s responsibilities, it’s not so easy to fit in a solid 6 to 8 hours of physical practice, but now with a clearer understanding of the power of self-expression, I practice with the concept of practicing like a warrior preparing for battle. Two hours of pure, HONEST, self-expressive practice, is really much more valuable to your growth as a musician and artist than spending 8 hours half-halfheartedly practicing the same scale patterns over and over at 10 different speeds. This is not to say that the mechanics of music mean nothing. This just means that practice to be expressive as opposed to mechanical. Playing expressively will only further enhance your mechanical abilities.

By looking at what lies behind the sound we can further understand how Rhythm, Coordination, and Self-Expression when combined become music to our ears!

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