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A 'Poche Music Lesson'

A 'Poche Music Lesson' for my English speaking friends.

To thank everybody, I want to share some ideas about music. The title is a bit deceiving. I want to share some ideas that have had great impact on students in my 16 years of teaching all ages, all levels. The main goal is to expand our ears and minds to new music with simple exercises. I'm also using this post to promote my upcoming releases, one song a week and I thought this 'lesson' would benefit everybody.

The following are very personal ideas, completely refutable and not a correct way to teach music at all. So make sure you attack me as much as needed on the comments.

To understand the ideas I'm sharing, you must accept this premise: My tastes in music do not matter. Keep all your views and tastes about music intact, we are going to add a whole new approach and way to appreciate music. It should not change anything you already hold dear. Music is after all, something that makes us feel free to choose, escape, dislike, cry, share or do whatever we want with it.

Around the world many people have an incorrect notion, a generalization about people in the US that thinks Americans are not 'open' to knowledge and culture outside its borders. There are reasons for this. Referring just to music, think about Michael Jackson at the peak of his career. The whole world would dance and sing to his songs. How come do non-english speaking countries sing in english? Do people in Latvia or Bolivia understand what his words meant? 'Heal the world' sounds like this: Hill de war.

Now, with no judgement whatsoever, think about how much music do you listen to in other languages. Why do you do it? Why do most people don't? My answer is very simple. Its not that you don't care about the rest of the world, there is just soooo much amazing music in this huge country. Who has the time? Also, thousands of bands have international members and cultural mixes and most of all, the most amazing music (in my opinion), jazz, has a language that most people don't understand at all.

In my experience touring the US, the people I met love music and are very knowledgeable in the styles they like. So I'm trying to open a door for you, hoping you will give a chance to some music in other languages.

1. You won't understand the lyrics. If you insist and search for music you may like in other languages, you will end up choosing something where the music (the melody, harmony, rhythm and feeling) will become the lyrics that YOU will give to it. This is a great exercise because it removes the ego of the artist to an extend, where his views about life are now being interpreted thru the inexplicable power of music itself, not the lyrics; no political statements, no visions of the world put into words, no cliche love song words.

2. New sounds, new textures. This can be challenging. Music from other countries can sound so different that our ego wakes up and we forget the premise. You may say: 'I don't like this'. But remember, do not listen to that voice. It's very similar as trying food from a culture you have not been exposed to yet. You don't always like it first time around. But you are already deep in the understanding of another culture.

3. Education and general knowledge about the world. Sure, people that like history and geography know a lot about other parts of the world, but most people forget or don't know. But if you know artists around from 10 countries let's say, you will have a huge portion of the understanding of the deepest levels of the human condition. What I mean is that knowing that Rome is the capital of Italy is just information. But listening and maybe even humming along to a song by Pino Daniele will give you a much better idea of the feelings inside Italy and their culture than knowing something from a history book.

4. Love for art. Sure, you have your tastes in music. If it's really hard for you to 'listen outside your confort zone', then try listening to music in other languages the way you would see a movie or a painting. You are just exposing yourself to a great activity. So even if you don't end up 'getting it', or 'loving it', you used your time on the infinite beauty of art.

5. Nature soundscapes. Do you enjoy the sound of the river stream? What is your favorite bird song? Do you understand those sounds in english? You get my point. So much of the music created around the world is for the sake of music, our ability to put sounds together and create a connection. This happens already with no lyrics.

6. Pretend you know it. A great trick to learn to like or at least understand the feeling of any song, is to hum along, pretending you know it. Listen to it a couple of times, dance or tap along, be part of it.

So, with that said, I'm sharing a little playlist of some music I don't understand the lyrics to. I would love to write in the comments if you have any favorites yourself. Also share if you don't listen to another language for any reason, if you rather connect to the words or just disagree with my 'lesson'.

Follow YouTube link to find the playlist. Hopefully after that, I can get to your hearts with my music, one song a week until I present the whole album album. Mostly in Spanish, some instrumental, but most of all, a connection between our hearts in the most beautiful language of all: MUSIC

Thank you so much!

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