Venezuela!

Venezuela's Flag

I ran across some cool information about the country Venezuela recently during some cultural exchange event, and I thought it would be great to share those info with you, although I have never been to it.

You can say Venezuela is a coffee corner;  it’s located in the north of South America, it’s a blessed earth for the sowing of the noble seed of coffee. In the plantations, big trees serve as homes to hundreds of migratory birds and provide the shade required for the bush of the coffee.

At one time, Venezuela ranked close to Colombia in coffee production, but as petroleum turned Venezuela into the richest country in South America, coffee was relegated to the economic back burner. Today it produces less than one percent of the world’s coffee, and most of it is drunk by the Venezuelans themselves. Now that petroleum has failed to bring lasting prosperity, the Venezuelans government is attempting to promote coffee growing and exporting again as a means of diversifying and stabilizing its economy.

Venezuela Map

Venezuela Map

The best Venezuelan coffee comes from the far western corner of the country, the part that borders Colombia. Coffees from this area are called Maracaibos, after the port through which they are shipped. Coffees from the coastal mountains farther east are generally marked Caracas, after the capital city, and are shipped through La Guaira, the port of Caracas.

The best-known Maracaibo coffees, in addition to Cucuta, are Merida, Trujillo and Tachira. Merida is the most distinctively Venezuelan and most likely to be found in specialty stores in the United States.

The most characteristic Venezuelan coffees, in surprising contrast to the neighbor coffees from Colombia , are strikingly low in acidity. At worst they are spiritless, at best sweet and delicate.The finest, such as the Meridas, have fair to good body and an unemphatic but pleasant flavor with hints of richness. Venezuelan, if you can find it, is a good coffee to balance sharply acid coffees in blends and a comfortable coffee drunk straight.

The combination of the grain harvested in the Andean mountains, the central valleys and the coasts of the Caribbean sea , are in a rich unique mixture in aroma, flavor and body characteristic of the best coffee.

The work of the coffee properties is carried out in an essentially handmade way, from the preparation of the land and sowing until the gathering of the grain. In the small parcels the manpower is mostly family and journeymen are only hired for the crop.

Coffee Harvest

Coffee Harvest

ManOf Venezuela:

Popular music in Venezuela emanated from a meeting of three cultures: the five-thousand-year-old musical traditions of the indigenous peoples became mixed with the Arab-Andalusian songs and dances of the Spanish conquerors and the complex sound patterns of the music of the African slaves forced to work along the Caribbean coast of Venezuela.

These manifold ethnic and multicultural melting-processes turned Venezuela into a country of Mestizos. The complex tones, the numerous rhythmic variations and the virtuosity it demands of the singers of its folk poetry, have made Venezuelan folk music one of Latin America’s most attractive.

Prominence is given here to the national instrument, the cuatro, a small, multi-stringed guitar that requires a high degree of musicality and dexterity. Other string instruments included on this recording are the guitar, the mandolin, the bandola, the Harp, plus drums and maracas.

Perhaps the most typical Venezuelan music is Joropo, a rural form which originated in the Llanos, or plains.

The word Joropo encompasses a tradition which includes village fiestas, poetry, singing, music and dance in a form of a popular expression which is constantly evolving. Improvised creativity flourish on existing structures and defined patterns of style.

Joropo music has become a genre for great solo virtuoso performances on the leading melodic instruments: harp or bandola, which is a four-string lute, while the accompaniment is with the cuatro, which is a Four-string strummed small guitar, and the maracas.

Singers improvise rhymed verses which refer to historical or daily events; the instrumentalists search for new percussive sounds and textures through constant variations, improvisation being at the heart of Joropo music.

Joropo Fiesta

Joropo Fiesta

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Teaching Kids to Play the Piano “A perfect therapy!”

My Niece and I
My Niece and I

Dealing with kids was never my favorite thing to do. As I didn’t have enough patience in general, and for them precisely. But with time my patience stretched itself to become wider than before. Kids are indeed the small versions of adults, but in a vulnerable way. They are smart, open, sensitive, joyful, playful, cheerful, curious, considerate, and positive. Unlike adults they learn faster, whether academically or socially, and their tempers are also shorter; not necessarily in a bad way, a child’s action and reaction are quite fast and short lasting. Which means it’s easy to deal with. Kid’s have their own worlds of imagination, they do create their own fantasies and they do like to live in their own bubbles when they have a chance to, and this is absolutely beautiful, since imagination helps them understand people and things around them, and of course themselves better.

It is very important to look at any child as a very important investment, and to take in mind that whatever input they get now ,the output in the future will be reflected, sooner than we expect. What I like about kids, besides being innocent, is their observation skills, and how their brains are made like sponge, they absorb everything they hear, see and notice. Therefore we should be careful around them, seriously careful.

Noticing a child’s talents and skills is their parents huge responsibility, and whatever skills and talents they have must be taken in consideration, in order to expand them and help the child reach out for something new, and something they can benefit from either in the present time, or in their future or both.

So how’s dealing with kids a positive necessary experience?

I’m  not saying I’m ready to have a child but for me, my work obliges me to deal with adults on daily basis, which means massive amounts of stress, headache and pressure, sometimes for a reason and sometimes for nothing. Not everyone you meet at work is a sweetheart! right? So when comparing dealing with kids and dealing with adults, kids do relief stress with their spirit as children, with their joy and laughter, besides their problems and worries  are relatively small and can be solved in no time. Unlike adults, since some adults like to live their problems and worries as a never ever ending drama movie, or maybe they do have serious problems and issues that actually cannot be easily solved.

I disagree with parents who say children and demanding and needy! STOP here for a second! You either spoiled them too much, or they need you because they are helpless and without you they cannot be or do, and being a parent it is your responsibility to help them in certain subjects to a certain extent, plus being a parent means you wanted to bring these kids to life not that they asked you to, so please? On the other hand, adults are needy and demanding while they are capable of doing everything by themselves, of course we are talking about healthy adults here.

Children have no hidden agendas, and they don’t have bad intentions, I’m talking about the majority of kids. And in case you hurt a child with or without intention you’ll soon find it out, as they are open and cannot hide their feelings. So again kids are easy to deal with, because it’s easy to understand what happened to them and what they want and what they don’t want. While adults in general do have hidden agendas, bad intentions and are able to hide their feelings; either to protect themselves or hurt others.

Kids are curious in a good way, not that they can control it, it’s part of their nature, and this is why they learn and absorb info. That means if they like a certain person they consider them their prefect reference. How cool is that? So If you are cheerful and happy, even if you have to fake it or pretend it for their sake to keep them happy, and have something new to say or show they do listen, process and apply, and take you as a role model. This by itself helps you learn how to behave, decide what to say, and what not to do, and it does affect you positively to feel like a super hero for a child. And that is not what you may get from adults, as every adult believes they are a super hero (lol) and so they do not need other super heroes around (double lol)!

The more you live the more you miss your childhood days! Yes! I have noticed that. And yes I do know and understand that today’s children have complete different childhoods than we had. But still they are still inside their childhood zones, so keeping in touch with them means keeping in touch with your own childhood in a way or another, which is very very cool and interesting.

And so, how’s teaching kids to Play the Piano ( or any other instrument or skill) a perfect therapy?

Well, during the piano class, I chill and relax, I explain things in so many ways until things are clear. You may wonder how can someone chill and relax while teaching a class of anything? Well If I compare what I do at work and what I do at home for the kids, then yes I do have a chance to chill and relax during a piano class, unlike when I teach a class at the gym! makes a difference right? So the piano class is a physical relaxation therapy session. Plus I keep the atmosphere friendly during the class, because I don’t want students, I want students who are my friends, even if they are maybe decades younger than me.

During my piano classes, I keep in mind all the things that I hated when I was a piano student and I don’t apply them in my class. Example, I hated so much in summer school holidays the fact that I couldn’t use any nail polish because my piano teacher back then forbade us from using such things, saying: YOU MUST LOOK ELITE LIKE A LADY. Ok well-done! I agree! a pianist is an elite person who looks well and behaves well. BUT!! school kids don’t have a chance to do things like nail polish, let hair loose, use fake tattoos on arms and shoulders, wear jeans pants or shorts. And this goes on almost the whole year. So if I had a student coming to play the piano with their slippers, I do not mind, because these are kids, and maybe they were swimming before they came to me, so I’m cool cool with that. One of my piano students is 5 years old, and she doesn’t notice how she sits down properly at the beginning of the class, and as time passes by and her concentration level goes up her feet automatically lay underneath her, or she crosses her legs and plays the piano. If I did that when I was a child I would have been scolded biiiiiig big time! But hey! That is just a child who is trying to focus, why make it harder? So here I’m breaking old rigid rules from my past that I hated and I smile while I let those rules break one by one! SET OUR KIDS FREE! Yes please.

Listening to kids hitting the keys trying to make the thing they are playing sound like proper music is fantastic and fascinating. Their little hands and fingers can actually do so much, they do impress me a lot to be honest, I haven’t been around kids for so long, up until I decided that I want to teach how to play the piano again. I actually did in the past and I stopped since I had no patience for kids.That does make me think deeper of a human’s physical and mental structure and PRAISE THE LORD! 😀

Looking at their facial gestures changing as they get excited by being successful or unsatisfied by making mistakes helps me each day see behind their faces, and that helps me know how to let them get over their weaknesses. That leads to understanding adults through children. And it is indeed a necessity.

Teaching a kid something they want to learn, helps you motivating yourself to get up and go learn something you’ve always wanted to learn, or to do something you’ve always wanted to do. How? Because when I sit for an hour motivating a child to do what they came for, I realize that yes I’m a motivator so why not to motivate myself? Nothing stops me!

Life sometimes can be rigid and boring, the routine can be a killer, and running in a hamster’s wheel is something I refuse to do for long periods. So teaching kids to play the piano is something that breaks my routine, and for that reason, I try my best not to make the class rigid, lame, pressuring or boring; for my sake and for the children’s.

The fact that you teach a child something (good) and them being successful doing is a very big reward for you! If they succeed it means you also succeeded. So that is also another good reason why adults should teach kids something good and wait for the results, to evaluate themselves as successful or unsuccessful creators.

A note to adults!

Keep your kids busy with good and useful things. I hear adults on daily basis complaining saying they are bored. Boredom is destructive for the body, the mind and the soul. And teaching people since childhood to get busy will guarantee them being busy their entire lives.

I might have sounded sarcastic in some parts of this post, but I’m sorry that is my personality. At least I hope you enjoyed reading.

Katia 🙂