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Mårten Falk´s work with a book in guitar teaching.

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Mårten tells us: - I worked with Gitarrmästaren on and off during 14 years and tested the ideas on hundreds of pupils.

The starting point was that I saw some particular common problems shared by many students: How to put right and left hand, note reading and feeling the rythm/pulse. I tried to find solutions to these problems. Gitarrmästaren 1 and 2 are the results of this search.

Mårten Falk is one of our most known artists and teaches at Lilla Akademien

Mårten teaches

In the first book, the student starts to play at the bass strings instead of at the upper ones which results in the correct positions of both hands and the teacher avoids nagging about this.

The notes are tought by showing the systematic logic: the notes are in alphabetic order and in an upward scale notes are in an alphabetic scale while in a downward scale the alphabet is backwards. The names of the notes are repeated by letting the pupil play words from "the secret guitar language" formed by the note names.

Mårten Falk is one of our most known artists and teaches at Lilla Akademien

Here is the Guitar book

The student also learns how to write notes. Much too often, they only learn how to read notes but to write them deepens the knowledge. (e.g. they write own compositions)

Feeling of pulse and rythm is trained by various exercises and interplay. The most important purpose of the book is to evoke the joy of playing. All tunes have been given very funny texts and with the help of these even the simplest new-beginner melodies are funny to play.

Blogg by Mårten Falk 2018-12-07


Are we taking care of our Swedish musical heritage?

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Similar to modern pop-texts, most Swedish romance texts are about unhappy love. Romances often express a Swedish melancholy but also burning passion.

Katarina is opera-singer and teaches at Opus Norden

Photo: Sara Arnald

When you start listening to Petersson-Berger´s and Rangström´s songs, they really grow and and you get more and more impressed to find so many expressions and musical aspects in them. That the texts are written by poets like Gustav Fröding and Bo Bergman makes them even better.

Why is it important not to loose this part of our history?

Well, there may be as many answers as there are listeners, but our understanding of real life in earlier generations make us more ready to understand today´s reality better. Nowadays, things are pretty good in our society but when these songs were composed, most Swedes lived under very poor conditions. Still, feelings are similar.

Opus Norden may teach you Swedish romances

Till havs is one of our most known classics. Here we see Gehrman´s fantastic edition of 115 Swedish romances. Photo: Katarina Arvidson

We at Opus Norden want to protect this Swedish musical treasure, and all our pupils are singing these romances suitable to their voices. The songs also help to develop one´s voice and give a full story in a few minutes. We encourage the children to think freely so that they can develop their interpretation. Each song may be read differently and everyone should be proud of their own version.

What does Swedish romance-art give us today?

To understand another person´s life situation increases one´s empathy and understanding of others. The musical sounds used by composers a hundred years back and more, were particular of their own time. To be able to enjoy this musical treasure develops and enriches us humans.

Blogg by Katarina Arvidson 24/10-2018

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Märta, only 17, was at her first Romance concerto

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Here, she tells us about the impact of the concert:

- First of all, many thanks for a very nice evening, to Ragna and to Nina who invited me. Both arrangement and concept were very good, above all the short and nice introductions of the coming piece and the artist. Further, super nice to see all performing children showing all they have learned and to listen to all these fine singers!p>

Nina studies singing with Ragna at Opus Norden

Nina and Märta at the Spring ball

I have never before been at a romance evening, meaning that I went there without expectations, but I was really and positively surprised!

My impression of Opus Norden is that it is a very good place to develop your singing, proved by all the good singers we heared, and a school where you enjoy and get support.

Blogg av Nina 3/12-2018


What are the points of joining a choir led by Ragna?

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To teach, to mediate old traditions, always demands new thinking. Children and parents nowadays have completely different schedules and prerequisites than back 45 years when I started my teaching.

To work with music and people is fun because I all the time find new ways to mediate knowledge.

During later years, I have been wondering why singing/choir pupils do not learn notes likes pupils learning to play an instrument. Even worse, in many schools and choirs, only the texts are distributed!? How than to learn notes?

If you can´t read notes, you cannot take in music with a deeper content and more complex nature. Sure, to learn by ear may be good, the ear is an important part of all education, even mine, but if they do not learn to read notes you take away knowledge from the kids that may help them muck in the future.

Just imagine how our society would look like should we only listen to stories at the campfire. To read is the basis for learning new facts and how to develop our society. It is also necessary when trying to learn music in various ways.

This is why I have written a new textbook in the subject and my first draft of this book is now used in two groups.

What do the pupils think? They like very much to write theis own notes, read them and make small compositions. I also realize how kids reason and how fast they understand. We have also started with avista-singing. The smallest kids are only 6 years old. The learning curve goes up, we learn songs more rapidly.

In these days, parents have a busy life to organize job, children, activities etc. Therefore, I do not give much home-work to the children but with my new book and 7-8 kids in group, it is necessary to give some home-work. The book also made me explain more of my methods for the parents making them more involved in the teaching, in another way. Time is sparse, but after a few weeks I had engaged half of them. About reversal, here is what one of the parents says:

"For me it was a valuable and mort informative evening! I am most grateful for your way of including us parents the way you did.

I got a large and deep respect for your warm engagement and empathetic pedagogy, also realizing that you have demands and high expectations on the childrens focus, presence and also preparations at home.

As a parent be challenged to take in and practice the same exercises as ones children (Följa John with funny sounds and voices, keeping tone wandering around the grand piano, practice various tacts, writing notes etc) was for me, not having sung since preschool, rather nervous, challenging, rather rusty but very very nice!!

After your detailed information about your thoughts and intentions behind all this, I clearly realized that choir singing as such and the possibility for the kids to really listen to themselves and others is a gift!"

Why join a course in choir-singing with Ragna?

Ragna has an intens curiosity to find out how every individual can develop their voice. She is very meticulous and does not give up until everybody has achieved whatever they can until the lesson is over. Ragna is effective and very well prepared with notes to everyone, and still has a large portion of humor and often laughs.

Spring 2019 we will perform Sound of Music

Ragna prepares Sound of Music

We humans must dare to enter an unknown world when we start singing and Ragna has a good understanding of how this may feel. To feel safe and understood is very important when one enters something very disclosing like singing.

With Ragna you are both seen and listened to.

Choir-school for kids 6-18 years old

Ragna conducts during the Music School´s spring concert.

Why is this so good? Most importantly, Ragna has two educations. She has a complete conducting exam for both choir and orchestra and full education as teacher of singing. This gives a true understanding of singing and playing music otherwise difficult to achieve.

There are many kinds of singing schools. Ragna has been educated in a classic school with opera singers where the purpose is to make the whole body engaged.

In the choir school also adults and pensioners are singing

Ragna with one of her note-books.

In order to learn how to sing simple and freely over one´s whole tone register, without pressing the muscles of the throut and vocal cords, one has to find the body´s own way of supporting of every tone level.

And how is the body supporting the singing?

Simply explained the balance achieved between the muscles for breathing in and out helps you to sing at different levels.

This is a system of reflexes that takes around seven years to learn. Ragna has gone through all this and her empathy also counts!

Blogg by Katarina Arvidson 9/10-2018

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