Friday, December 30, 2011
READ MORE Music is a pleasure that can be indulged into without guilt. It's mental and physical health benefits are unmatched in adults and in children the boost it gives to cognitive development is limitless. There are numbers of ways to bring more music to your life this year - - turn on the radio - go to concerts - learn a musical instrument - etc. Whichever way you choose, start today to do something positive for yourself and your family by giving the gift of music! Happy New Year! The Music Momma
Monday, December 26, 2011
We get these calls and emails every year! My Son/Daughter just got a musical instrument for the Holiday this year but now what do we do with it???? Never fear! We can help you! Contact us today to set up your convenient in-home music lessons! We come to you and bring everything you need: - the teachers - the music - the instrument (if you still need one...) - etc. Email or call today to get started! MORE INFO ON LESSONS PLEASE!!! CustomerService@LearnNowMusic.com 800-399-6414
Thursday, December 22, 2011
When thinking about our past experiences, holiday traditions are often some of the strongest memories that we possess. Think back to some of your fondest memories and you will probably conjure up some images and feelings related to holidays that you experienced as a child. Memory is our ability to store, retain and recall specific information and experiences. There are two types of cognitive memory, short-term and long-term. Long-term memory is the strongest of the two. It has the most staying power and oftentimes can last a lifetime. It makes sense that parents would prefer to give their children experiences that are retained and stored in long-term memory. Establishing a family tradition for Thanksgiving and Christmas is the most successful method of providing cherished long-term memories for your children. While most of us are unable to remember every detail related to our memories of Thanksgiving and Christmas from childhood, it is a good bet that we do remember the traditions that were established by our parents. Some of these traditions that were established may include the following: Was Thanksgiving a big family gathering at your grandparent’s house? Was the menu the same year after year? What was your favorite food? What was the normal course of events for the holiday? Were gifts at Christmas opened on Christmas Eve or on Christmas morning? Where were the Christmas festivities held? Was there a traditional Christmas dinner? Was there a long car ride or plane trip to reach your destination? Did the family help with decorating the tree? Was the Christmas tree real or artificial? As parents, it is vitally important that we ‘set the stage’ for our children’s memories of the holiday season by establishing holiday traditions. The details of these traditions should remain as consistent as possible from year to year. The Thanksgiving dinner menu should be the same. The place where the dinner is held should be the same. The time of opening gifts should be the same. The type of Christmas tree and the decorations should be the same. These events are so important to our children that they will often remember the specific course of events. Any deviation from this ‘schedule’ can be upsetting to a child as he or she builds their memory of these specific traditions. Children want and need consistency. Parents should strive to make these traditions as consistent as possible. Sometimes, these events can be traumatic for newlyweds and those beginning traditions for the first time for their new child. Each one of us has our own memories of the way Thanksgiving and Christmas should be. It is important that new couples and new families talk about their desires for these events. This gives the foundation for each individual family to use their memories to build new traditions that are particular to their new family. There is no right or wrong holiday tradition. Use what you know and build on it. Make it personal to your family. Make it special. Make it memorable. When you accomplish this, you will bless your children with wonderful memories that they will keep and treasure for a lifetime. READ MORE
Monday, December 19, 2011
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
History of Music and Musical Instruments
The word "Music" comes from the Greek word "Mousiki" which means the science of the composing of melodies. 'ilm al-musiqa was the name given by the Arabs to the Greek theory of music to distinguish it from 'ilm al-ghinaa' which was the Arabian practical theory.
The source of the Arabian theory of music was an older Semitic one which had an impact on, if it had not been the foundation of Greek theory. "Of course, the Arabs and Persians possessed a theory of music long before they became influenced by the translations made from the Greek at the end of the 8th and beginning of the 9th century."
By the Middle of 9th Century, the effects of the musical theories of ancient Greeks on music began to be felt. Among these treatises were Aristotle's Problems and De anima, the comentaries of Themistius and Alexander Aphrodisiensis on the latter, two works by Aristoxenus, the two books on music of Euclid, a tretise by Nicomachus and the Harmonics of Ptolemy, all of which had been translated into Arabic as we know from Al-Farabi.
The science of music now became one of the courses of the quadrivium, and was studied by most students at this period. The first to deal with the newly-found treasures of the "Ancients" was Al-Kindi (d.874). Seven treatises on music theory appear under his name. Four of them survived: three of them are at Berlin and the fourth is in the British Musuem.
After Al-Kindi, we have a gap of about a century in documentation. Following Al-Kindi was the great theorist Al-Farabi. His book "Alkitab Alkabeer" included immense and detailed information on music and musical instruments.
"Al-Farabi was a good mathematician and physist, and that enabled him to do justice to what the Arabs called speculative theory, even to not repeating the errors of the Greeks. Yet he was something more. He was a practical musician and could appreciate the art as well as the science, which was more than Themistius could do, as Al-Farabi himself mentions. As a performer with a reputation, he could bring the practical art to bear upon the discussions. So whilst he was more thorough than the Greeks in handling the physical bases of sound, he could also make valuable contributions to physiological accoustics, i.e. the sensations of tone, a question which the Greeks left practically untouched."
Al-Farabi (d.950) describes a musical instrument called Al-Tunboor Al-Baghdadi which was used in his time. The instrument's frets (dasateen, a Persian word) gave a "pre-Islamic scale." It was a quarter-tone scale which was developed by dividing a string into forty equal parts.
Al-Farabi also describes the scale of the Tunboor Al-Khurasani which was prompted by al-Kindi's speculations. "It became the parent of the later theory of the Systematist School."
Henry George Farmer in his book; "Historical Facts for the Arabian Musical Influence.", notes that "the influence due to the Arabian culture contact in respect to musical instruments was far wider than has been generally acknowledged. The origin of the words lute, rebec, guitar and naker from the Arabic Al-'ud, rabab, qithara and naqqara, is a well-known fact [see the Oxford Dictionary]"
Other words such as adufe, albogon, anafil, exabeba, atabal, and atambal are originally Arabic as well. They are from Ad-Duff, Al-Booq, An-Nafeer, Al-Shabbabe, At-Tabl and At-Tinbal. The adufe is a square tambourine. Another kind of tambourine mentioned in Farmer's book is a round type called panderete. "The word equates with the Arabic bendair." The Bendair resembles the Taar, but without jingling metal discs. Instead, there are "snares" stretched across the inside of the head, which give the instrument a tone like the Western side drum. The Taar is another type of tambourine with jingling plates in the rim. The albogon, resembles the Arabian al-booq, was in one case a horn, and in another a sort of saxophone improved by the Andalusian Sultan Al-Hakim II. Al-Shalahi (13th century) informs us that the Christians borrowed the instrument from the Arabs.
The anafil was a long straight trumpet. Farmer mentions that "it has been generally admitted by our musical antiquaries that the straight cylindrical bore trumpet came from the Arabs. Could this have been the particular feature of the nafir and anafil? We read in "Alf Laila wa Laila" (Thousand and One Nights) that a horn-player "blew" (nafakha) the booq, but that a trumpter "blasted" (SaHe, lit. "Split") the nafir. It is possible that these terms convey the distinction between the tones of the conical bore horn and the cylindrical bore trumpet."
Notice that Farmer's transliteration of the Arabic version of the word anafil is "nafir" while my transliteration is "nafeer". Both words are pronounced the same and are for the same instrument.
"The origin of the words atabal and atambal from the Arabic at-Tabl and the Persian at-Tinbal, is I believe, clear enough philologically", says Farmer; "It would follow in consequence that the former is the older word, and that the latter was adopted at the time of the Crusades."
At-Tabl is a big drum. At-Tumboor seems to be identical to the Tabl. It belongs to the military and processional music. It was adopted by Western armies for their military bands at the time of the Crusades. These bands before such adoption had only been served by trumpets and hornes.
In addition to the previous instruments, there are many others whose Arabic name or origin have not been well noticed. "Practically, the entire drum family came into Western Europe through the Arabian contact, or was popularised by this medium." For example, the Kittledrum (naker, timbale) which was called "le tambour de Perses."
The naker (originally naqqara) or the kittledrum is a timpanic instrument with a dual hemispheric body played with wooden drumsticks. It is one of the essential instruments used with Maqam and goes as far back as the Abbasid era (prior to the 12th century) when Baghdad became the capital of the Muslim World.
Dirbakka, dunbug and Tabla are various names of one kind of a drum. Tabla is an Arabic word while dunbug, a term used in Iraq and other Gulf countries, is a Persian word. The word dirbakka (or dirbakki) is a slang used in the Laventine (Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine.)
The Tabla is about 15 inches long and being played either loose on either legs or while being suspended by a cord over the left shoulder and carried under the left arm. It is beaten with both hands and yields different sounds when beaten near the edge and near the middle. The Iraqi Tabla or dunbug which is only used in Iraq today is about 3 inches in diameter and specifically used for country and gypsy style music.
The Kaithaar is an interesting instrument as to the origin of the flat-chested guitar in Europe. It has been argued that the Spanish word guitarra (with t) was derived from the Arabic qitara, rather than from the Greek ki0apa (with th). It seems that the Arabic words qitara or qithara, were only used when dealing with the Greek or Byzantine instrument, while kaithaar was given to the Arabic insrtument. Henry George Farmer says that "even Al-ShalaHi says that the word Kaithaar is post-classical. He quotes a short definition of it by Abu Bakr Al-Turtushi (d. 1126), who merely says that it is a "stringed instrument." More important, however, is a verse by Ibn Abd Rabbihi (d.940) in its praise."
Among stringed instruments, is the Arabian qanoon, which became the Euoropean Kanon, Canon and Canale at the same time. Al-qanoon is a trapezoidal instrument with a range of three octaves which is played by plucking with a plectrum on the tip and index fingers of each hand. The total number of strings may vary between 64 and 82.
Four theories are available to us by Arab and European scholars on the origin of al-qanoon: One states that al-qanoon is originally Greek, the other indicates that it has originated in ancient Egypt, the third says it has originated from a rectangular musical instrument used in ancient Assyria which had parallel strings on top of a sound box, and the fourth theory states that qanoon is originally Indian.
There has been various theories in regard to the origin of the word qanoon as well. However, the oldest recorded usage of the word qanoon as a chrodophone instrument was during the Abbasid era around the 10th century. It was mentioned in the stories of One Thousand and one Nights.
Al-'ud is a half pear-shaped with stripes of inlaid wood, the 'ud has 10 to 12 strings, is unfretted and is played with a small plectrum. However, a detailed chapter in a book titled "Studies in Oriental Musical Instruments" by George Henry Farmer indicates that the Arabian and Persian lute was Fretted. Mr. Farmer in The Legacy of Islam (1931) wrote: "The Islamic legagacy to Western Europe in musical instruments was of the greatest impor tance. There were many distinctly novel Arabian types introduced. With these instruments came several materal benefits. European minstrels, prior to the Arabian contact, only had the cithara and harp among stringed instruments, and they only had their ears to guide them when tuning. The Arabs brought to Europe their lutes, pandores, and guitars, with the places of the notes fixed on the fingerboard by means of frets which were determined by measurement. This alone was a noteworthy advance."
The origin of al-'ud is a complex one to deal with. There are six theories on the origin of al-'ud: One says it is originally Sumerian, the second is Persian, the third is Egyptian, the fourth is Arian, the fifth is Jewish and the sixth is Akkadian of ancient Iraq.
The word 'Ud comes from the Arabic word for wood. Pictures of 'Ud-like instruments have been discovered in the ruins of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. Persians and Indians played it in ancient times. However, it was the Arabs (during the Abbasid Era), who perfected the 'Ud, called it so and passed it on to the West.
Another stringed instrument is al-SanToor. The word as-SanToor belongs to the family of Semetic languages; Arabic, Hebrew, Aramaic and Amharic. In the Tourah or the Old Testament, the word "p'samterion" was translated into Greek as "psalterim" and to Latin, it became "psalterium". In the Arabic translation of Tourah, the word became "SanTeer". As-SanToor belongs to the family of chrodophones and consists of 72 (to 100) strings. It is trapezoidal and played by two sticks. Its origin is said to be from ancient Babylonia.
Al-jawza is nowadays only common in Iraq. It is one of the main instruments used with the Maqaam. Al-jawza is called so because it is made of Jawz Al-Hind or the Indian Coconut. It has four strings and a round soundbox.
Arab musicologists are able to trace their own folk forms back to the Bedouin of ancient times, whose caravan song-the huda- cheered their desert voyages. The two famous instruments used in the Bedouin music are the naay and rababeh or rebec.
Rababeh is a single string instrument with a square soundbox played with a single string bow. The rababeh was brought to Spain by the Arabs and spread from Spain to Europe under the name rebec. It is usually referred to Al-Farabi (10th century) as the first to have mentioned the rababeh. However, Ali of Isphahan mentioned that rababeh was used at the court of Baghdad two centuries and a half before that. "This instrument was counted as one of the precursors of the European violin."
Among the "wood-wind" instruments, the Arabian influence is as noteworthy as that of the family of drums. The medieval xelami is actually the Arabian Zulami. An instrument invented at Baghdad at the beginning of the ninth century.
The exabeba was a small flute resembles the Arabian Shabbabe or Al-naay. Al-naay is a Persian term. The Arabic words for the same instrument may be QaSaba, Shabbabe or minjara. Al-naay is a vertical flute and one of the oldest instruments employed in Arabic music. It is simply an open tube made of sugar cane whereby the instrumentalist blows diagonally accross the open end.
The wind-pipe goes as far back as the stone ages and was found all over the Eastern hemisphere in ancient times.
Friday, December 2, 2011
Music Education and Higher SAT Scores
DID YOU KNOW?
In addition to the pure joy of making music, training in music and the other arts prepares your child for life in many other ways. According to the College Entrance Examination Board, students with a four or more years of music study scored 34 points higher than their peers on verbal Scholastic Aptitude Tests (SAT) and 18 points higher on math SATs.
The U.S. Department of Labor issued a report in 1991 urging schools to teach for the future workplace. The skills they recommended (working in teams, communication, self-esteem, creative thinking, imagination, and invention) are exactly those learned in music programs.
Studying music increases the satisfaction students derive from music by sharpening sensitivity, raising their level of appreciation, and expanding their musical horizons.
Music Education and SAT Scores
"Music students continue to outperform their non-arts peers on the SAT, according to the 1999 "Profiles of SAT and Achievement Test Takers" from The College Board.
Students with coursework in music study/appreciation scored 61 points higher on the verbal portion of the test and 42 points higher on the math portion than students with no coursework or experience in the arts.
Students in music performance scored 53 points higher on the verbal portion and 39 points higher on the math portion than students with no arts participation.
Mean SAT Scores for Students with Coursework or Experience in Music
Music: Study or Appreciation
No Coursework or Experience
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
In elementary schools, children often learn to play instruments such as keyboards or recorders, sing in small choirs, and learn about the elements of musical sound and history of music. Although music education in many nations has traditionally emphasized Western classical music, in recent decades music educators tend to incorporate application and history of non-western music to give a well-rounded musical experience and teach multiculturalism and international understanding. In primary and secondary schools, students may often have the opportunity to perform in some type of musical ensemble, such as a choir, orchestra, or school band: concert band, marching band, or jazz band. In some secondary schools, additional music classes may also be available. In junior high school or its equivalent, music usually continues to be a required part of the curriculum.
At the university level, students in most arts and humanities programs may receive academic credit for taking music courses, which typically take the form of an overview course on the history of music, or a music appreciation course that focuses on listening to music and learning about different musical styles. In addition, most North American and European universities have some type of music ensemble in which students from various fields of study may participate such as a choir, concert band, marching band, or orchestra. Many universities also offer degree programs in the field of music education, allowing their students to become certified educators of primary and secondary school ensembles as well as beginner music classes. Advanced degrees can lead to university employment. These degrees come with the completion of varied technique classes, private instruction, numerous ensembles, and in depth observations of educators in the area. Music education departments in North American and European universities also often support interdisciplinary research in such areas as music psychology, music education historiography, educational ethnomusicology, sociomusicology, and philosophy of education.
The study of Western art music is increasingly common in music education outside of North America and Europe, including Asian nations such as South Korea, Japan, and China. At the same time, Western universities and colleges are widening their curriculum to include music of non-Western cultures, such as the music of Africa or Bali (e.g. Gamelan music), as well as even rock music (see popular music pedagogy).
Music education also takes place in individualized, life-long learning, and community contexts. Both amateur and professional musicians typically take music lessons, short private sessions with an individual teacher. Amateur musicians typically take lessons to learn musical rudiments and beginner- to intermediate-level musical techniques.
While instructional strategies are bound by the music teacher and the music curriculum in his or her area, many teachers rely heavily on one of many instructional methodologies that emerged in recent generations and developed rapidly during the latter half of the 20th Century:
Major international music education methods
Main article: eurhythmics
The Dalcroze method was developed in the early 20th century by Swiss musician and educator Émile Jaques-Dalcroze. The method is divided into three fundamental concepts - the use of solfege, improvisation, and eurhythmics. Sometimes referred to as "rhythmic gymnastics", eurhythmics teaches concepts of rhythm, structure, and musical expression using movement, and is the concept for which Dalcroze is best known. It focuses on allowing the student to gain physical awareness and experience of music through training that takes place through all of the senses, particularly kinesthetic. According to the Dalcroze method, music is the fundamental language of the human brain and therefore deeply connected to what human beings are.
Main article: Kodály Method
Depiction of Curwen's Solfege hand signs. This version includes the tonal tendencies and interesting titles for each tone.
Zoltán Kodály (1882–1967) was a prominent Hungarian music educator and composer who stressed the benefits of physical instruction and response to music. Although not really an educational method, his teachings reside within a fun, educational framework built on a solid grasp of basic music theory and music notation in various verbal and written forms. Kodály's primary goal was to instill a lifelong love of music in his students and felt that it was the duty of the child's school to provide this vital element of education. Some of Kodály's trademark teaching methods include the use of solfege hand signs, musical shorthand notation (stick notation), and rhythm solmization (verbalization). Even though most countries have properly used their own folk music traditions to construct their own sequence of instruction, America primarily uses the Hungarian sequence even though Hungarian folk music is completely different from American.
Main article: Orff Schulwerk
Carl Orff was a prominent German composer. The Orff Schulwerk is considered an "approach" to music education. It begins with a student's innate abilities to engage in rudimentary forms of music, using basic rhythms and melodies. Orff considers the whole body a percussive instrument and students are led to develop their music abilities in a way that parallels the development of western music. The approach encourages improvisation and discourages adult pressures and mechanical drill, fostering student self-discovery. Carl Orff developed a special group of instruments, including modifications of the glockenspiel, xylophone, metallophone, drum, and other percussion instruments to accommodate the requirements of the Schulwerk courses.
Main article: Suzuki method
The Suzuki method was developed by Shinichi Suzuki in Japan shortly after World War II, and it uses music education to enrich the lives and moral character of its students. The movement rests on the double premise that "all children can be well educated" in music, and that learning to play music at a high level also involves learning certain character traits or virtues which make a person's soul more beautiful. The primary method for achieving this is centered around creating the same environment for learning music that a person has for learning their native language. This 'ideal' environment includes love, high-quality examples, praise, rote training and repetition, and a time-table set by the student's developmental readiness for learning a particular technique. While the Suzuki Method is quite popular internationally, within Japan its influence is less significant than the Yamaha Method, founded by Genichi Kawakami in association with the Yamaha Music Foundation.
Main article: O'Connor Method
On November 16, 2009, Mark O'Connor released books 1 and 2 of his 10-book O'Connor Method - A New American School of String Playing for string teachers and students of the violin designed to "guide students gradually through the development of pedagogical and musical techniques necessary to become a proficient, well-rounded musician through a carefully planned succession of pieces." Pieces cover a wide range of genres, and include: folk melodies such as "Amazing Grace," "Cielito Lindo" and "Buffalo Gals," American Classical tunes such as Copland's "Hoedown," two themes from Dvorak's New World Symphony, and O'Connor's "Appalachia Waltz." The series also contains short essays about topics including famous American fiddlers such as Thomas Jefferson and Davy Crockett, the history of Gypsies and Mariachi, and various dances. Teacher training sessions based on the method take place around the country.
Other notable methods
In addition to the four major international methods described above, other approaches have been influential. Lesser-known methods are described below:
Gordon Music Learning Theory
This method is based on an extensive body of research and field testing by Edwin E. Gordon and others. Music Learning Theory provides the music teacher a comprehensive method for teaching musicianship through audiation, Gordon's term for hearing music in the mind with understanding. Teaching methods help music teachers establish sequential curricular objectives in accord with their own teaching styles and beliefs.
World Music Pedagogy
The growth of cultural diversity within school-age populations prompted music educators from the 1960s onward to diversify the content of the music curriculum, and to work with ethnomusicologists and some of the world's artist-musicians in establishing instructional practices relevant to the musical traditions. 'World music pedagogy' was coined by Patricia Shehan Campbell to describe world music content and practice in elementary and secondary school music programs. Pioneers of the movement, especially Barbara Reeder Lundquist and William M. Anderson, influenced a second generation of music educators (including Bryan J. Burton, Mary Goetze, Ellen McCullough-Brabson, and Mary Shamrock) to design and deliver curricular models to teachers of music of various levels and specializations.
Deriving influence from both Kodály methodology and Gordon's Music Learning Theory, Conversational Solfege was developed by Dr. John M. Feierabend, chair of music education at the Hartt School at the University of Hartford. The philosophy of this method is to view music as an aural art with a literature based curriculum. The sequence of this methodology involves a 12 step process to teach music literacy. Steps include rhythm and tonal patterns and decoding the patterns using syllables and notation. Unlike traditional Kodály method, this method follows Kodály's actual instructions and uses a sequence based on American folk songs instead of using the sequence that is used in Hungary based on Hungarian folk songs.
This early-childhood approach sometimes referred to as the Sensory-Motor Approach to Music was developed by the violinist Madeleine Carabo-Cone. This approach involves using props, costumes, and toys for children to learn basic musical concepts of staff, note duration, and the piano keyboard. The concrete environment of the specially planned classroom allows the child to learn the fundamentals of music by exploring through touch.
Main article: MMCP
The Manhattanville Music Curriculum Project was developed in 1965 and is an alternative method in shaping positive attitudes toward music education. This creative approach centers around the student being the musician and involved in the discovery process. The teacher gives the student freedom to create, perform, improvise, conduct, research, and investigate different facets of music in a spiral curriculum.
History of music education in the United States
After the preaching of Reverend Thomas Symmes, the first singing school was created in 1717 in Boston, Massachusetts for the purposes of improving singing and music reading in the church. These singing schools gradually spread throughout the colonies. Reverend John Tufts published An Introduction to the Singing of Psalm Tunes Using Non-Traditional Notation which is regarded as the first music textbook in the colonies. Between 1700 to 1820, more than 375 tune books would be published by such authors as Samuel Holyoke, Francis Hopkinson, William Billings, and Oliver Holden.
In 1832, Lowell Mason and George Webb formed the Boston Academy of Music with the purposes of teaching singing and theory as well as methods of teaching music. Mason published his Manuel of Instruction in 1834 which were based upon the music education works of Pestalozzian System of Education founded by Swiss educator Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi. This handbook gradually became used by many singing school teachers. From 1837-1838, the Boston School Committee allowed Lowell Mason to teach music in the Hawes School as a demonstration. This is regarded as the first time music education was introduced to public schools in the United States. In 1838 the Boston School Committee approved the inclusion of music in the curriculum and Lowell Mason became the first recognized supervisor of elementary music. In later years Luther Whiting Mason became the Supervisor of Music in Boston and spread music education into all levels of public education (grammar, primary, and high school). During the middle of the 19th century, Boston became the model to which many other cities across the United States included and shaped their public school music education programs. Music methodology for teachers as a course was first introduced in the Normal School. The concept of classroom teachers in a school that taught music under the direction of a music supervisor was the standard model for public school music education during this century. (See also: Music education in the United States)
Early 20th century
In the United States, teaching colleges with four year degree programs developed from the Normal Schools and included music. Oberlin Conservatory first offered the Bachelor of Music Education degree. Osbourne G. McCarthy, and American music educator introduced details for studying music for credit in Chelsea High School. Notable events in the history of music education in the early 20th century also include:
Founding of the Music Supervisor's National Conference (changed to Music Educators National Conference in 1934, later MENC: The National Association for Music Education in 1998, and currently The National Association for Music Education - NAfME) in Keokuk, Iowa in 1907.
Rise of the school band and orchestra movement leading to performance oriented school music programs.
Growth in music methods publications.
Frances Elliot Clark develops and promotes phonograph record libraries for school use.
Carl Seashore and his Measures of Musical Talent music aptitude test starts testing people in music.
Middle 20th century to 21st century
The following table illustrates some notable developments from this period:
Historical Importance for Music Education
The Child's Bill of Rights in Music
A student-centered philosophy was formally espoused by MENC.
The American School Band Directors Association formed
The band movement becomes organized.
Launch of Sputnik
Increased curricular focus on science, math, technology with less emphasis on music education.
Contemporary Music Project
The purpose of the project was to make contemporary music relevant in children by placing quality composers and performers in the learning environment. Leads to the Comprehensive Musicianship movement.
American Choral Directors Association formed
The choral movement becomes organized.
Federally supported development of arts education focusing on quality music classroom literature. Juilliard Project leads to the compilation and publication of musical works from major historical eras for elementary and secondary schools.
National Endowment for the Arts
Federal financial support and recognition of the value music has in society.
Establishment of a unified and ecletic philosophy of music education. Specific emphasis on youth music, special education music, urban music, and electronic music.
35 Objectives listed by MENC for quality music education programs in public schools. Published and recommended for music educators to follow.
The Ann Arbor Symposium
Emphasized the impact of learning theory in music education in the areas of: auditory perception, motor learning, child development, cognitive skills, memory processing, affect, and motivation.
Becoming Human Through Music symposium
"The Wesleyan Symposium on the Perspectives of Social Anthropology in the Teaching and Learning of Music" (Middletown, Connecticut, August 6–10, 1984). Emphasized the importance of cultural context in music education and the cultural implications of rapidly changing demographics in the United States.
Multicultural Symposium in Music Education
Growing out of the awareness of the increasing diversity of the American School population, the three-day Symposium for music teachers was co-sponsored by MENC, the Society for Ethnomusicology, and the Smithsonian Institution, in order to provide models, materials, and methods for teaching music of the world's cultures to school children and youth.
National Standards for Music Education
For much of the 1980s, there was a call for educational reform and accountability in all curricular subjects. This led to the National Standards for Music Education introduced by MENC. The MENC standards were adopted by some states, while other states have produced their own standards or largely eschewed the standards movement.
The Housewright Symposium / Vision 2020
Examined changing philosophies and practices and predicted how American music education will (or should) look in the year 2020.
Tanglewood II: Charting the Future
Reflected on the 40 years of change in music education since the first Tanglewood Symposium of 1967, developing a declaration regarding priorities for the next forty years.
Friday, November 18, 2011
Should I be in the room during my child's music lesson?
As a professional service, we see this a lot. Of course you LOVE your little Mozart-to-be to pieces and want to control every aspect of their lives to make sure it's just perfect. Unfortunately, you can't. Part of learning, a VERY important part, is learning to do it on your own. Navigating those waters and finding their way alone. Remember, your children will spend a larger time as adults then they do as children and our most important job is to create self-sufficient and confident, independent adult.
If you have chosen a professional service for your lessons that does appropriate background checks, etc. then be present in the house and within ear shot of the lessons but do NOT allow your child to see you. This is a time for them to make a personal connection with their instructor and it is a time to allow the professional instructor to do their job. When Mom and Dad are hovering in the room it is a distraction to not only the educator but most importantly the child. Who's in charge? Mom, my teacher? Who do I look at, look to when I have a question? Allow the teacher and student to form their own path and keep your personal opinions and expectations tabled for the time.
If you child is in a group learning experience this is even more important. Pretend for a second that you are a child again. Do you want your Mom and Dad hanging out in the room with you and your friends/peers during a fun activity? I am guessing not. Your child loves you but also wants and needs to be allowed to bask in the fun of the group learning experience without distraction, etc.
Beyond a situation which is dangerous, you should feel confident that you have done your due diligence in choosing the appropriate service and allow the process to take place without interruption. You just may be surprised about what your child is able to accomplish, on their own! :)
The Music Momma
Friday, November 11, 2011
Math and music have always been considered closely connected in many ways. It is widely believed that students who do well in music also excel in math. Some research shows that starting music lessons at a young age enhances math ability . One theory is that music strengthens the neural chords that transmit information between the two hemispheres of the brains.
It is interesting to know that each of the members of the first place winning team of this year’s Los Angeles County Chapter Math Counts Competition from Palos Verdes Intermediate School (PVIS), plays a musical instrument. Also, each of the eight team members placed in the top ten of individual competition.
Let’s take a look at some of the basic components of music such as rhythm, tone and pitch, and see what math has to do with them. Also, read this article about how math related to piano training.
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Choosing a Preschool: What to Consider
The moment has arrived. Your little baby has sprouted wings and is ready to leave the nest – at least for a few hours. Preschool looms on the horizon.
So how important is this? It turns out, very. Those crayons and pipe cleaners may look innocent enough, but how and where they're introduced can have long-reaching ramifications.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, preschool plays a large role in later academic success. "Children in high quality preschools display better language, cognitive, and social skills than children who attended low quality programs." They have longer attention spans, stronger social abilities, and better language and math skills well into their elementary school careers. In fact, 20 or 30 odd years after they've put down their wooden blocks and stepped away from the sand table, they're still reaping the benefits – they're more likely to graduate from high school, more likely to hold high paying jobs, even more likely to own their own house.
While most schools offer some amount of circle time and fingerpaint, they are not all the same. Here's how to sort through the preschool mumbo jumbo, and pick the right place for your child.
What to Consider
1.Credentials. Currently, only Georgia and Oklahoma offer free preschool to all the kids in their state. Most preschools are privately run. That means they make their own rules. Make sure the schools you are considering employ teachers that have earned early childhood education degrees. Ask if the school itself is accredited. For more information, go to www.naeyc.org, the website for the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
2.Hours. There's a difference between day care and preschool. Day care often offers more hours for kids of working parents, in a less scheduled environment. Preschool programs tend to be shorter, and more structured. Decide your needs and look for a program that correlates.
3.Discipline. We all hope to raise perfect angels, but let's get real – a major part of young development is testing boundaries. Ask how the school deals with behavior such as hitting or biting. Ask how they deal with conflict – do they believe children should work things out themselves? Do they believe in "time outs"? It's important that you agree with a school's disciplinary approach and trust their judgement – small children have a hard time with mixed messages.
4.Nutrition. One of the great things about preschool is that children are positively influenced by their peers – they may not touch fruit at home, but if everyone else is eating apples, they might be coerced to try them. Of course, they may also be negatively influenced. Does the school provide lunch and/or snacks or will you pack them from home? If they supply the goods, ask what they serve. Pretzels and cheese cubes, or cookies and milk? Don't choose a school with a teacher who loves to bake if you don't want your kids eating sweets. If your child has food allergies, make sure they can ensure their safety.
5.Look at the Art. A picture is worth a thousand words, so look at what's hanging on the walls. Does everything look the same? Is all the crayon within the lines? Some schools emphasize facts: "Trees are green." Others encourage imagination: "Interesting. I've never seen a baby growing on a tree before!"
6.Visiting. Does the school have an open door policy? Can parents visit at any time, or are there set days for observation?
7.Safety. How does the school ensure student safety? How do they keep track of pickups at the end of the day?
8.Philosophy. More brain development occurs in the first five years of life than at any point thereafter. Educators have different views and approaches, even as early as the preschool years. Some schools are completely "play based," others have kids as young as three or four tracing numbers and letters to prepare them for kindergarten. It all comes down to learning style.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Advantages of Public Schools
When comparing homeschools, private schools, and public schools, it is important to look at the pros and cons of all of them. This article reviews the advantages of public schools compared to private schools or homeschools.
When talking about the advantages of private schools, it is important to know what the public schools are being compared to. In this article, we will look at the advantages of public schools compared to homeschools and private schools, both sectarian and secular. Of course, it is possible to also look at things the other way and consider the advantages of homeschools or private schools.
Advantages of Public Schools Compared to Homeschools
•Public schools generally have a range of children from the whole gamut of socioeconomic classes and a wide variety of backgrounds. This is the type of community that most people occupy as adults, and public school is an opportunity to meet it and learn to negotiate with other points of view an understand people with diverse backgrounds and values.
•Public schools generally have students with a range of abilities and disabilities. As with ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds, the diversity introduces students to the communication issues and interpersonal issues that rubbing elbows with people who are different from oneself provides.
•The number of students in a public school classroom provides opportunities that don’t exist in most homeschools, from large-cale projects to team sports.
•The number of students and funding allows public schools to have facilities (such as a skating rink or pool) and/or purchase equipment, such as laboratory equipment and technology that would be prohibitive for most homesechool families.
•The number of students and funding often allows public schools, particularly at the high school level, to offer an array of advanced classes in the arts, technology studies, and the sciences, any and all of which might be difficult to conduct for homeschooling parents who do not happen to have specialized training.
•Public schools expose students to a variety of teachers: even in situations with one main classroom teacher, students may have additional instructors for foreign language, home economics, shop, physical education, drama, music, art, etc. This gives them an opportunity to learn with diverse pedagogies.
•Public schools often offer a wide variety of extracurricular activities, ranging from intramural sports to a range of clubs and other opportunities.
Advantages of Public Schools Compared to Private Schools
•Public schools don’t charge tuition, while private schools do. Even scholarships an other aid may not cover the difference.
•Public schools usually provide transportation for students who live more than a few blocks away, whereas private schools usually do not.
•With ninety percent of all American children in public school, public education is a uniting element and can be seen as an important factor in our democratic way of life.
•Because public school education now includes magnet schools and charter schools, as well as traditional public schools, there are - right within the public education system - choices that have many of the features of education that used only to be attainable in private schools.
•As a result of receiving Federal funds, public schools must follow strict teacher certification rules, which do not apply in many private schools. As a result, public school teachers may, in some cases, be better qualified than private school teachers.
•Researchers at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana found, when examining data from a standardized math exam taken by fourth and eighth graders, that if they excluded the influence of family background and socioeconomic factors, public school students did slightly better than private school students.
•Public schools often have more robust services than generalist private schools (i.e., those that are not focused on a specialty population with a particular disability) for assisting students with disabilities, both in terms of staff and funding.
•Pay for public school teachers is overall better than pay for private school teachers, though this differs by school.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
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Deals For Deeds
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
We get this question a lot!
Is it OK to switch instruments after they have been taking another for 6 months to 18 months?
The answer - of course! It all depends on what your goal and expectations are how you look at this. Is your overall goal that of musical enjoyment? Then the exploration of more than one instrument is completely understandable. Many times parents and the students themselves sometimes, place unrealistic expectations upon themselves as to where they should be and at what time, what the lessons "should be like" or how they "should go". These are usually based on minimal information and a lot of what they have created in their heads. Lessons should be enjoyable and can take many forms. The days of the piano teacher slapping your wrists when you make a mistake are gone. Here are the days of the modern music educator which teaches to the strengths and desires of each individual student.
Often, when choosing an instrument for their child to start, accessibility to an instrument plays a larger part than possibly necessary sometimes. Specifically, siblings want to differentiate themselves from their peers so it is very common after all 4 children have been playing piano for 6 months there are a few defectors saying, "...I want to try drums...I want to try guitar...etc." What they are really saying is I want to be different from my brother's a sister's and have my "own thing". Not that the cost factor of already having a piano sitting in the living room, or Uncle Joey's Guitar in the closet isn't important, etc. but it may not be the proper fit for each child in the family and may not be, in the case of the guitar, the proper size even.
When it comes to music education, be flexible. The student should be enjoying themselves in the lessons and if that takes exploration of a secondary instrument so they can find their "voice" than explore on!
The Music Momma
Thursday, October 20, 2011
By Paul Zollo
From "Portrait - The Music of Dan Fogelberg from 1972-1997" (4 CD box set)
It's one of his earliest memories: He's four years old, standing up on a box in front of his father's big band, baton in hand, conducting. Though his dad stood behind him, doing the real work, for Dan it was a foreshadowing of what his life would be -- following in his father's footsteps to become the leader of the band. "It was an amazing feeling," he declared decades later during a series of discussions for these notes. "To be immersed in music. It felt both very magical and powerful. And I was fearless."
That fearlessness has led him far, as he developed into one of popular music's most gifted and successful singer-songwriters. With an early genius for both melody and harmony, a soulfully angelic singing voice, and a natural gift for romantic expression, Dan Fogelberg has created songs that have become so embedded in our collective consciousness that they still resound with authentic magic and beauty years after they first emerged.
I was raised by a river
Weaned upon the sky
And in the mirror of the waters
I saw myself learn to cry
from The River
His story starts in Illinois. In Peoria, specifically, a little town that in the words of Charles Kurault, is in the middle of the state, in the middle of the country, in the middle of the world. Born the youngest of three sons, he was raised in a musical home. His father, Lawrence Fogelberg, was a "legitimate musician" as Dan refers to him, a bandleader who led the big bands long before Dan was born. His mother, Margaret Irvine, was born in Scotland and came to Illinois with her parents at the age of three. A gifted singer, she studied operatic singing throughout college, and it's she who Dan points to as the source of his innate vocal prowess.
Daniel Grayling Fogelberg was born in Peoria on August 13, 1951. His father taught music in local high schools and colleges, gave private lessons, and conducted school bands. Dan's early creativity surfaced in imaginative ways to avoid piano practice. " I used to fake injuries," he said proudly, "even taping up my finger and saying I jammed it playing baseball. But it wasn't a trick you could use a lot." Though he didn't like lessons, he loved the instrument itself, and would spend endless happy hours at the keys, sounding out the hits of the day.
In church, he loved the music but grew restless during the sermons. To keep him occupied, his folks provided pen and paper, thus fueling his love for drawing and painting that has extended throughout his life. He was a constructive kid quick to create his own fun -- At a cub scout jamboree where boys hurled baseballs at old records as a kind of carnival sport, he collected all the unbroken ones, a great bounty of old obscure fifties pop and college fight songs.
His maternal grandfather, a steelworker from Scotland who worked at a foundry in Peoria, gave him an old Hawaiian slide guitar. It had pictures of dancing hula girls engraved on it, as well as steel strings about a half-inch from the neck, tough for anyone, but nearly impossible for an eleven year old beginner. Yet he took to it naturally, forcing him to acquire a strong left hand as he taught himself chords from his Mel Bay guitar book.
In 1963, he heard the Beatles for the first time, triggering the realization that songs are written, they don't simply just exist. He started writing his own then, entirely in the Beatles' pervasive thrall, while also assimilating the rock and roll riffs of Chuck Berry and Carl Perkins, as well as the delicate melodic leads of George Harrison. He started performing by lip-synching with friends to Beatles records at a variety show before forming his first real band, the Clan, who played all Beatles songs at backyard parties and street dances. Their reign extended through Dan's junior year in high school, when the others fell away from music to get involved in the social matrix of school. While their connection with music diminished, his became more intense than ever, as did his need to express himself in other ways, from drawing and painting to acting.
By now the music that inspired him the most was the West Coast rock of bands such as the Byrds and the Buffalo Springfield, as well as the contemporary folk of Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell and Gordon Lightfoot. Having abandoned the matching black velour pullovers favored by the Clan, his attire now included moccasins, fringe and silver in the style of Neil Young. When he joined a new band, the Coachmen, he did so only on the condition that they abandon the Paul Revere & the Raiders outfits they still wore. He was a valuable asset to the group, bringing his repertoire of folk-rock to their mix of R & B and soul standards, as well as possessing a great ear, a miraculous voice, and like his father, an impressive versatility on a variety of instruments. "We would be doing 'Bluebird' by Stephen Stills," he remembered, "and I'd play 12-string for the whole song until the end and then launch into banjo. Pretty adventurous for kids from Illinois."
These were his river years, as he withdrew daily to a sacred spot between two ancient pines overlooking the Illinois River. "I was not feeling like a part of Peoria anymore. I was off in my own trip, deep inside myself. At the same time, I was terribly excited because I was discovering this whole person I never knew could exist, and this music and this creativity. It was an incredible awakening, the beginning of a great journey. And I knew the river was a conscious metaphor for my escape from Peoria. I was just waiting to leap on its back and ride it, down to St. Louis and New Orleans and out to the Gulf and on to the world." A Leo with Cancer rising, he understood even then the opposing astrological forces at work that left him feeling conflicted -- the extroverted entertainer who exists to perform, and the introverted artist who requires solitude.
After graduation, he felt he could have gone in many directions, and eventually decided to pursue acting at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. Finding the college acting scene to be more political than theatrical, he switched majors to study art, with aspirations of becoming a serious painter.
Yet music kept calling, this time in the form of a kindred soul, musician Peter Berkow, who ran a little folk music club called The Red Herring. Berkow invited him to perform, and before long Fogelberg was a cherished part of the burgeoning coffee house scene. "I started meeting like-minded people, musicians who were bright and well read, and I realized that I was finally free of the provincialism of high school." He started playing his own songs, and the spirit of the scene shifted from politics to music: "The Red Herring went from being a hide-out for pinko leftists who were plotting the overthrow of the government to a really creative musical scene. And it started packing people in."
Anyone back then who heard the sophistication of his songs, and the power with which they were rendered, knew that it was only a matter of time before his break would come. That break arrived late one night when a former high school sweetheart knocked on his door, urgently awakening him from a sound sleep to say that an important music agent wanted to hear him play. Though half-asleep, Dan followed her to a frat party at a funky little bar to meet Irving Azoff, a U. of I. grad now running a local booking agency. Azoff, who had already landed the regional band REO Speedwagon a record deal with Epic, was on the look-out for new artists. Onstage was a raucous rock band playing to a mostly drunken crowd, their songs punctuated by the rhythm of beer bottles crashing against the back wall. Azoff ignored the clamor which continued when Dan took the stage alone. Though the bar brawls failed to subside, in the soulful beauty of Fogelberg's songs, Azoff saw his own future. "Yeah," Irving said to him after his set. "You're the one. I'm ready for the big time. And I think you're ready for the big time, too."
Dan dropped out of school. Shocking his parents by showing up at home at midday in mid-semester, he told them his plans. His father, silent for a long time, finally said quietly, "Okay, I don't agree with this, but if this is really what you want, you go try it for a year. If it doesn't work out, you come back and go back to school." This support was the greatest gift his father could give him, inspiring Dan years later to write "Thank you for the freedom when it came my time to go" in his famous tribute to his father, "Leader Of The Band".
Azoff moved to Hollywood, setting up an office on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood directly across the street from David Geffen, who was in the first stages of establishing his own Asylum Records, and signing singer-songwriters such as Jackson Browne and Joni Mitchell.
Receiving $200 in traveling money from Irving, Dan rented a pickup truck in Chicago, and headed west. Running out of money in Estes Park, Colorado, he found what he felt was the most stunning place in the world. Remaining happily stranded there for a week, he befriended a local hotel owner who gave him free lodging. He spent his days hiking in the mountains, and writing such songs as the beautiful "Song From Half Mountain". Azoff soon wired him enough money to move on, but he never forgot the spirit of pure inspiration he felt in those mountains, touching him as deeply as his connection with the Illinois River.
Arriving in L.A., a few days later, Dan headed directly to Sunset Boulevard to meet Azoff in front of the famous Whiskey-A-Go-Go, where his idols from Buffalo Springfield first met. Azoff drove him to a little San Fernando Valley apartment dubbed "The Alley in the Valley" because of its alley entrance. They lived there together for months as Azoff shopped his tape around town. As Dan recalled, "Irving would come home one day and say 'Okay, the deal's done -- we're signing with Asylum!' Then three days later he'd come back and say, 'It's A & M. I got a better deal.' This went on for months. Then he'd come home and say, 'No, it's Capitol!" They eventually signed with Columbia Records, persuaded by Clive Davis in a Hollywood ritual held at a bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel: "Clive had everything laid out --caviar, canapés, the whole deal. He played me Paul Simon's first solo record, which had yet to come out, and kept talking about a kid named Springsteen and a guy named Billy Joel who he had signed. Clive said, 'I'm signing singer-songwriters, and I think you belong here too.' He talked us into it, gave us a nice check and we signed with Columbia." It was 1971.
With his career now soundly on track, Dan got his first advance check and moved to Lookout Mountain, in the heart of Laurel Canyon, where his neighbors included the Eagles, and Mark Volman of the Turtles. He lived there for a year and a half, during which time the sunny inspiration that had touched so many of his fellow canyon dwellers began to bring forth a torrent of beautiful new songs in him. He rented a grand piano and entranced nearby neighbors, such a famed photographer Henry Diltz, who heard Dan playing til dawn. " I remember hearing this incredibly beautiful music echoing through the trees," Henry recalled, "and I said to my wife, 'Who is this guy?'" They all soon became fast friends, with Henry taking famous portraits of Dan for many of his album covers.
Now it was time to record his debut album, and Azoff went off in search of the perfect producer for the project. They found him in Nashville. Norbert Putnam was the force behind Area Code 615, a group Dan loved. With Azoff, Dan flew to Nashville to meet Norbert, and instantly fell in love with the town itself: its green trees, lakes and river, and what was then a peaceful laid-back music community, worlds away from the showbiz glitz of Hollywood.
It was one of the happiest times in his life. Norbert found him a place to stay in town "up in the trees," and the future looked bright. Thanks to Norbert, he got a profusion of session work as a guitarist and singer, perfection then the dazzling studio chops which he's brought to all his albums since. "I was only 21 years old and I was part of the band, these maniacs who were amazingly good players. These guys were much better than me, and they pulled me up to their level." Often working from nine a.m. to midnight, four sessions a day, he acquired a fast and comprehensive foundation in the art of record making. "I learned that it's not what you play, it's what you don't play. That has formed the core of my guitar playing ever since. It's melodic, it's sparse."
The recording of Home Free for him was an easy, non-pressurized time. He and Norbert met every day at the studio, cut all the tracks live, and overdubbed the vocals. "It was great fun. There was no pressure. It wasn't New York or L.A." The resulting album was stunningly beautiful, opening with the now classic "To The Morning", a paean to nature that still stands as one of the most timelessly inspirational songs ever written. The album immediately established that he was not only a master tunesmith, but also a purveyor of harmonies so sweetly conveyed that they seemed miraculous, a soulful blend of perfectly tuned, heartfelt vocal harmonies.
Despite its abundant appeal, Home Free failed to generate any hit singles, a setback that Clive attributed to Norbert's Nashville production job, which he deemed "too country" for Dan's music. So for the next album, Joe Walsh, the hard-rocking guitar slinger from the James Gang, was enlisted. Though feeling initially that Walsh was the wrong man for the job, Dan was eventually convinced when he heard a solo album Walsh had recently recorded at Caribou Ranch in Colorado with members of Stephen Stills' band Manassas.
Dan came to Walsh with a handful of songs he'd written in Los Angeles, as well as a new one that emerged in Nashville called "Part Of The Plan". To choose players for the album, Walsh told him to write down a wish list of dream musicians. The first name he wrote down was that of the legendary Russ Kunkel, whose drumming he'd heard on James Taylor's records. When Walsh quickly enlisted Kunkel as well as other luminaries including percussionist Joe Lala, bassist Kenny Passarelli, the Eagles' Don Henley, Glenn Frey and Randy Meisner, and Graham Nash, Dan knew he'd arrived.
The making of Souvenirs in Hollywood was unrestrained fun as the spirit of sunny California combined with Dan's natural Leo radiance left him feeling fearless. In the studio he always felt at home, rising easily to the level of the L.A. studio cats as he did with the pickers in Nashville. Even when Walsh was on the road, Dan continued to craft the record, adding the guitar solo on "Part Of The Plan" on his own. When Joe heard what Dan had done, he loved it, and quickly convinced Graham Nash to drive over and sing harmonies. The resulting record went to the top of the charts. "That broke the whole thing open. In an instant I went from being an opening act to being a headliner." Souvenirs, with Walsh at the helm, radiated with Dan's melodic brilliance as well as proving, on burning tracks like "As The Raven Flies", that the man also knows how to rock.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Music Education Improves Academic Performance
Music educators have always believed that a child’s cognitive, motivational, and communication skills are more highly developed when exposed to music training. Now, study after study proves that music instruction is essential to children’s overall education because it improves their academic performance. The positive effects of music education are finally being recognized by science, verifying what music teachers have always suspected.
Music enters the brain through the ears. Pitch, melody, and intensity of notes are processed in several areas of the brain such as the cerebral cortex, the brain stem, and the frontal lobes. Both the right-brain and left-brain auditory cortex interprets sound. Feza Sancar (1999) writes that the right-brain auditory cortex specializes in determining hierarchies of harmonic relations and rich overtones and the left-brain auditory cortex deciphers the sequencing of sound and perception of rhythm.
Many studies have been performed to examine the affect of musical instruction on the brain. For example, researchers at the University of Munster, Germany, (1998) reported that music lessons in childhood actually enlarge the brain. The auditory cortex is enlarged by 25% in musicians compared to those who have never played an instrument. According to the study by Frances Rauscher of the University of California, Irvine, (1997) links between neurons in the brain are strengthened with music lessons. Dr. Frank Wilson’s study (1989) involving instrumental music instruction and the brain reveal that learning to play an instrument refines the development of the brain and the entire neurological system.
Curriculum areas that music instruction affects most include language development, reading, mathematics, and science. Music itself is a kind of language full of patterns that can be used to form notes, chords, and rhythms. Exposure to music helps a child analyze the harmonic vowel sounds of language as well as sequence words and ideas. Another curriculum area enhanced by music participation is reading. A child who participates in music activities experiences sensory integration, a crucial factor in reading readiness. Wilson’s study (1989) reveals that music instruction enhances a student’s ability to perform skills necessary for reading including listening, anticipating, forecasting, memory training, recall skills, and concentration techniques.
Mathematics is the academic subject most closely connected with music. Music helps students count, recognize geometric shapes, understand ratios and proportions, and the frameworks of time. Researcher Gordon Shaw (1993) found that piano instruction enhances the brain’s ability for spatial-temporal reasoning, or the ability to visualize and transform objects in space and time. This translates into a student’s heightened ability to understand fractions, geometric puzzles, math problems, and math puzzles. T. Armstrong (1988) reports that music educator, Grace Nash, found that by incorporating music into her math lessons, her students were able to learn multiplication tables and math formulas more easily. Teacher Eli Moar (1999) believes that arithmetic progressions in music correspond to geometric progressions in mathematics and that the relation between the two subjects is logarithmic.
At every age, exposure to music training effects academic performance. Susan Black (1997) reports that newborn babies have mechanisms in their brains devoted exclusively to music. These mechanisms help the newborns organize and develop their brains. Rauscher’s study (1997) indicates that just fifteen minutes a week of keyboard instruction, along with group singing, dramatically improved the kind of intelligence that is needed for pre-school students to understand higher levels of math and science. Her test results showed a 46% improvement in the spatial IQs for the young musician compared to only 6% for non-musicians.
Grade school music students also show increased learning in math and reading. The Public Schools of Albuquerque, NM, conducted a study (n.d.) which found that instrumental music students, with two or more years of study, scored significantly higher in the California Test of Basic Skills, (CTBS), than did non-music students. High school students also achieve greater academic excellence when exposed to music training. A study by Mission Veijo High School in Southern California (1981) shows that the overall grade point average of music students is consistently higher than the grade point average of their non-music peers. The music students achieved a 3.59 average while the non-music students achieved a lower 2.91 average.
Almost every college bound high school student must take the SAT college entrance exam. The College Entrance Examination Board at Princeton, NJ, (1999) reports that music students continue to out perform their non-arts peers on the SAT. The students with coursework in music study or music appreciation scored 61 points higher on the verbal portion of the test and 42 points higher on the math portion than students with no reported music coursework. Additionally, music majors have the highest SAT scores in all areas.
High SAT scores are necessary for acceptance into college, but according to Nancy Biernat’s study (1989), those scores do not necessarily predict collegiate success. Success in college can be more accurately predicted by individual levels of achievement in student activities such as drama, debate, and music. Also, the students with the least amount of participation in school activities such as music have the highest drop out rates.
The scientific evidence is abundant, obvious, and compelling; there are strong connections between music instruction and greater student achievement. Regardless of age, exposure to music helps to develop and fine-tune the workings of the brain. Music training, whether instrumental, vocal, or music appreciation, helps develop a child’s cognitive and communication skills. Music education is linked to higher test scores, grade point averages, and success in college. Franz Roehman (1988) tells of one researcher, Dr. Jean Houston, who goes so far as to say that children without access to arts programs, such as music education, are actually damaging their brains. After reviewing the scientific evidence, it is clear that music instruction is essential to children’s education because it improves their academic performance.
Monday, October 10, 2011
John Lennon biography
Pop star, composer, and songwriter John Lennon was born October 9, 1940, in Liverpool, England. Lennon met McCartney in 1957 and invited Paul to join his music group. They eventually formed the most successful songwriting partnership in musical history. Lennon left The Beatles in 1969 and later released albums with his wife Yoko Ono, and others. In 1980 he was killed by a crazed fan.
"The thing the sixties did was to show us the possibilities and the responsibility that we all had. It wasn’t the answer. It just gave us a glimpse of the possibility."
– John Lennon
Pop star, composer, songwriter, and recording artist. John Winston Lennon was born October 9, 1940, in Liverpool, Merseyside, NW England, UK, during a German air raid in World War II.
When he was four years old, Lennon's parents separated and he ended up living with his Aunt Mimi. John's father was a merchant seaman. He was not present at his son's birth and did not see a lot of his son when he was small.
Lennon's mother, Julia, remarried, but visited John and Mimi regularly. She taught John how to play the banjo and the piano and purchased his first guitar. John was devastated when Julia was fatally struck by a car driven by an off-duty police officer in July 1958. Her death was one of the most traumatic events in his life.
As a child, John was a prankster and he enjoyed getting in trouble. As a boy and young adult, John enjoyed drawing grotesque figures and cripples. John's school master thought that he could go to an art school for college, since he did not get good grades in school, but had artistic talent.
Forming the Beatles
At sixteen, Elvis Presley's explosion onto the rock music scene inspired John to create the skiffle band called the "Quarry Men," named after his school. Lennon met Paul McCartney at a church fete on July 6, 1957. John soon invited Paul to join the group and they eventually formed the most successful songwriting partnership in musical history.
McCartney introduced George Harrison to Lennon the following year and he and art college buddy Stuart Sutcliffe also joined Lennon's band. Always in need of a drummer, the group finally settled on Pete Best in 1960.
The first recording they made was Buddy Holly's That'll be the Day in mid-1958. In fact, it was Holly's group, the Crickets, that inspired the band to change its name. John would later joke that he had a vision when he was 12 years old—a man appeared on a flaming pie and said unto them "from this day on you are Beatles with an 'A.'"
The Beatles were discovered by Brian Epstein in 1961 at the Cavern Club, where they were performing on a regular basis. As their new manager, Epstein secured a record contract with EMI. With a new drummer, Ringo Starr (Richard Starkey), and George Martin as producer, the group released their first single, Love Me Do in October 1962. It peaked on the British charts at number 17.
Lennon wrote the group's follow-up single, Please Please Me, inspired primarily by Roy Orbison but also fed by John's infatuation with the pun in Bing Crosby's famous "Please, lend your little ears to my please." The song topped the charts in Britain. The Beatles went on to become the most popular band in Britain with the release mega-hits like She Loves You and I Want To Hold Your Hand.
In 1964, The Beatles became the first band to break out big in the United States, beginning with their appearance on TV's The Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 1964. Beatlemania launched a "British Invasion"' of rock bands into the U.S., which included The Rolling Stones and The Kinks. After 'Sullivan,' The Beatles returned to Britain to film their first movie, A Hard Day's Night and prepare for their first world tour.
The Beatles followed up with their second movie Help! in 1965. In June, the Queen of England had announced that the Beatles would be awarded the MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire). In August, they performed to 55,600 fans at New York's Shea Stadium, setting a record for largest concert audience. When they returned to England, they recorded the breakthrough album Rubber Soul, which extended beyond love songs and pop formulas.
The magic of Beatlemania had started to lose its appeal by 1966. The group's lives were put in danger when they were accused of snubbing the presidential family in the Philippines. Then, Lennon's remark that "we're more popular than Jesus now" incited denunciations and Beatles record bonfires in the U.S. bible belt. The Beatles gave up touring after an August 29, 1966, concert at San Francisco's Candlestick Park.
After an extended break, the band returned to the studio to expand their experimental with drug-influenced exotic instrumentation/lyrics and tape abstractions. The first sample was the single Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever, followed up by Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, still considered by many to be the greatest rock album ever.
The Band Breaks Up
The Beatles then suffered a huge blow when Epstein died of an accidental overdose of sleeping pills on August 27, 1967. Shaken by Epstein's death, the Beatles retrenched under McCartney's leadership in the fall and filmed Magical Mystery Tour. While the film was panned by critics, the soundtrack album contained Lennon's I Am The Walrus, their most cryptic work yet.
After the Magical Mystery Tour film failed, the Beatles retreated into Transcendental Meditation and the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, which took them to India for two months in early 1968. Their next effort, Apple Corps Ltd. was plagued by mismanagement. In July, the group faced its last hysterical crowds at the premiere of their film Yellow Submarine. In November, their double-album The Beatles (frequently called the White Album) showed their divergent directions.
Lennon had married Cynthia Powell in August 1962 and they had a son together who they called Julian, named after John's mother. Cynthia had to keep a very low profile during Beatlemania. They divorced in 1968 and he re-married Japanese avant-garde artist Yoko Ono, whom he had met at the Indica Gallery in November 1966.
John and Yoko's artist partnership began to cause further tensions within the group. Together they invented a form of peace protest by staying in bed while being filmed and interviewed, and the single recorded under the name of The Plastic Ono Band, Give Peace a Chance (1969), became the national anthem for pacifists.
Lennon left The Beatles in September 1969, just after the group completed recording Abbey Road. The news of the breakup was kept secret until McCartney announced his departure in April 1970, a month before the band released Let It Be, recorded just before Abbey Road.
After the Beatles broke up, Lennon released Plastic Ono Band, with a raw, minimalist sound that followed "primal-scream" therapy. In 1971, he followed up with Imagine, the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed of all John Lennon's post-Beatles efforts. The title track was later listed as the third all-time best song by Rolling Stone magazine.
Peace and love, however, was not always on Lennon's agenda. Imagine also included the track How Do You Sleep?, a nasty response to veiled messages at Lennon in some of McCartney's solo recordings. Later, the former songwriting duo buried the hatchet, but never formally worked together again.
Lennon and Ono moved to the U.S. in September 1971, but were constantly threatened with deportation by the Nixon administration. Lennon was told he was being kicked out of the country because of his 1968 marijuana conviction in Britain. But Lennon believed the true reason was his activism against the unpopular Vietnam War. Documents later proved him correct. Two years after Nixon resigned, Lennon was granted permanent U.S. residency in 1976.
In 1972, Lennon performed at Madison Square Garden to benefit mentally handicapped children and continued to promote peace while battling to stay in the U.S. That immigration battle took a toll on the Lennon's marriage and in the fall of 1973, they separated. John went to Los Angeles, where he partied and took a mistress, May Pang. He still managed to release hit albums, such as Mind Games, Walls and Bridges and Rock and Roll and collaborate with David Bowie and Elton John.
In the end, Lennon realized he really loved Yoko and he could not live without her. They reconciled and she gave birth to their only child, Sean, on Lennon's 35th birthday. John decided to leave the music business to raise his son
Saturday, October 8, 2011
What is Funk?
Along with R&B/Soul and Rap/Hip-Hop, Funk is one of the most enduring popular music forms to emerge out of the American black community. Although Funk predated the Disco revolution, Funk began to have a major impact on club music as Disco began to fade. Funk evolved from R&B but grew more earthy and rhythmic. A distinguishing feature is the beat emphasis of Funk. The primary accents are on the 1 and 3 counts (of 4). The guitar and horns often are used as primarily rhythmic and percussive instruments in Funk. As the rhythm became more prominent it also became more complex with extensive use of syncopation.
James Brown is the undisputed "Godfather of Funk." The "Hardest Working Man in Show Business" demonstrated the use of syncopation and scratching rhythm guitar on the influential hit Papa's Got a Brand New Bag. Over the years James continued to produce more rhythmically sophisticated Funk recordings, and he spread the gospel of Funk in his wild stage shows. In the 1970's, George Clinton and "Bootsy" Collins, a former member of James Brown's band, emerged as the leaders of the Parliament-Funkadelic conglomeration of bands. They brought Funk forward as a powerful force in popular music. Tear the Roof Off the Sucker (Give Up the Funk) and Flashlight brought Funk to the attention of mainstream audiences. Through most of the 1970's, Funk was rarely heard in discos. Parliament-Funkadelic concert events drew huge crowds that gyrated and danced for hours, but their audience was not a Disco audience. Disco presented a sound in which all four beats tend to be equal in accent. Some of the most intense examples of the disco beat are evident in the pounding bass beats of the work of Giorgio Moroder on hits such as Donna Summer's I Feel Love.
In 1978, Rick James laced his brand of Funk with a touch of Disco and produced the smash album Come Get It! featuring a brand of Funk that was palatable to dance audiences. He continued to have moderate success on the Disco chart until 1981's party anthem Give It To Me Baby became a #1 dance smash. Other performers helped bring the sound of Funk onto the dancefloor. The Gap Band's aggressive, bass heavy sound found a receptive audience. Songs such as Burn Rubber and Humpin' featured a sexual grind with a bit of bluesy attitude. Cameo carried the Funk standard onto dancefloors of the mid-1980's with the synthesizer-based beats of She's Strange and Word Up! Bootsy Collins - Ah...The Name is Bootsy, Baby! The Funk influence can be seen later in the 1980's in the work of superstars such as Michael Jackson and Prince. Billie Jean's heavy beat on the one is a testament to Funk's lasting influence. Wendy Melvoin's scratching guitar, the fuzzy bass, and vocals punctuated by grunts and moans on Prince's Kiss come together for a picture-perfect piece of Pop-Funk. The golden era of Funk is long gone, but the various elements introduced by seminal performers such as James Brown, George Clinton, and "Bootsy" Collins continue to be influential. Rap and Hip-Hop performers continue to sample pieces of Funk classics and celebrate the accent "on the one."
Thursday, October 6, 2011
Music Thought To Enhance Intelligence, Mental Health And Immune System
ScienceDaily (June 22, 2006) — A recent volume of the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences takes a closer look at how music evolved and how we respond to it. Contributors to the volume believe that animals such as birds, dolphins and whales make sounds analogous to music out of a desire to imitate each other. This ability to learn and imitate sounds is a trait necessary to acquire language and scientists feel that many of the sounds animals make may be precursors to human music.
Another study in the volume looks at whether music training can make individuals smarter. Scientists found more grey matter in the auditory cortex of the right hemisphere in musicians compared to nonmusicians. They feel these differences are probably not genetic, but instead due to use and practice.
Listening to classical music, particularly Mozart, has recently been thought to enhance performance on cognitive tests. Contributors to this volume take a closer look at this assertion and their findings indicate that listening to any music that is personally enjoyable has positive effects on cognition. In addition, the use of music to enhance memory is explored and research suggests that musical recitation enhances the coding of information by activating neural networks in a more united and thus more optimal fashion.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Jazz is an American musical art form which originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States from a confluence of African and European music traditions. The style's West African pedigree is evident in its use of blue notes, improvisation, polyrhythms, syncopation, and the swung note. From its early development until the present, jazz has also incorporated music from 19th and 20th century American popular music. The word jazz began as a West Coast slang term of uncertain derivation and was first used to refer to music in Chicago in about 1915; for the origin and history. Jazz has, from its early 20th century inception, spawned a variety of subgenres, from New Orleans Dixieland dating from the early 1910s, big band-style swing from the 1930s and 1940s, bebop from the mid-1940s, a variety of Latin jazz fusions such as Afro-Cuban and Brazilian jazz from the 1950s and 1960s, jazz-rock fusion from the 1970s and late 1980s developments such as acid jazz, which blended jazz influences into funk and hip-hop.
Jazz can be hard to define because it spans from Ragtime waltzes to 2000s-era fusion. While many attempts have been made to define jazz from points of view outside jazz, such as using European music history or African music, jazz critic Joachim Berendt argues that all such attempts are unsatisfactory. One way to get around the definitional problems is to define the term "jazz" more broadly. Berendt defines jazz as a "form of art music which originated in the United States through the confrontation of blacks with European music"; he argues that jazz differs from European music in that jazz has a "special relationship to time, defined as 'swing'", "a spontaneity and vitality of musical production in which improvisation plays a role"; and "sonority and manner of phrasing which mirror the individuality of the performing jazz musician". Travis Jackson has also proposed a broader definition of jazz which is able to encompass all of the radically different eras: he states that it is music that includes qualities such as "swinging', improvising, group interaction, developing an 'individual voice', and being 'open' to different musical possibilities". Krin Gabbard claims that "jazz is a construct" or category that, while artificial, still is useful to designate "a number of musics with enough in common to be understood as part of a coherent tradition". While jazz may be difficult to define, improvisation is clearly one of its key elements. Early blues was commonly structured around a repetitive call-and-response pattern, a common element in the African American oral tradition. A form of folk music which rose in part from work songs and field hollers of rural Blacks, early blues was also highly improvisational. These features are fundamental to the nature of jazz. While in European classical music elements of interpretation, ornamentation and accompaniment are sometimes left to the performer's discretion, the performer's primary goal is to play a composition as it was written. In jazz, however, the skilled performer will interpret a tune in very individual ways, never playing the same composition exactly the same way twice. Depending upon the performer's mood and personal experience, interactions with fellow musicians, or even members of the audience, a jazz musician/performer may alter melodies, harmonies or time signature at will. European classical music has been said to be a composer's medium. Jazz, however, is often characterized as the product of democratic creativity, interaction and collaboration, placing equal value on the contributions of composer and performer, 'adroitly weigh[ing] the respective claims of the composer and the improviser'. In New Orleans and Dixieland jazz, performers took turns playing the melody, while others improvised countermelodies. By the swing era, big bands were coming to rely more on arranged music: arrangements were either written or learned by ear and memorized - many early jazz performers could not read music. Individual soloists would improvise within these arrangements. Later, in bebop the focus shifted back towards small groups and minimal arrangements; the melody (known as the "head") would be stated briefly at the start and end of a piece but the core of the performance would be the series of improvisations in the middle. Later styles of jazz such as modal jazz abandoned the strict notion of a chord progression, allowing the individual musicians to improvise even more freely within the context of a given scale or mode. The avant-garde and free jazz idioms permit, even call for, abandoning chords, scales, and rhythmic meters.
There have long been debates in the jazz community over the definition and the boundaries of "jazz." Although alteration or transformation of jazz by new influences has often been initially criticized as a "debasement," Andrew Gilbert argues that jazz has the "ability to absorb and transform influences" from diverse musical styles. While some enthusiasts of certain types of jazz have argued for narrower definitions which exclude many other types of music also commonly known as "jazz", jazz musicians themselves are often reluctant to define the music they play. Duke Ellington summed it up by saying, "It's all music." Some critics have even stated that Ellington's music was not jazz because it was arranged and orchestrated. On the other hand Ellington's friend Earl Hines's twenty solo "transformative versions" of Ellington compositions were described by Ben Ratliff, the New York Times jazz critic, as "as good an example of the jazz process as anything out there." Commercially-oriented or popular music-influenced forms of jazz have both long been criticized, at least since the emergence of Bop. Traditional jazz enthusiasts have dismissed Bop, the 1970s jazz fusion era as a period of commercial debasement of the music. According to Bruce Johnson, jazz music has always had a "tension between jazz as a commercial music and an art form". Gilbert notes that as the notion of a canon of jazz is developing, the "achievements of the past" may be become "...privileged over the idiosyncratic creativity..." and innovation of current artists. Village Voice jazz critic Gary Giddins argues that as the creation and dissemination of jazz is becoming increasingly institutionalized and dominated by major entertainment firms, jazz is facing a "...perilous future of respectability and disinterested acceptance." David Ake warns that the creation of "norms" in jazz and the establishment of a "jazz tradition" may exclude or sideline other newer, avant-garde forms of jazz.