Learn Now Music, Inc.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Need a New Years resolution? Bring more music to your life this year! Music affects us in ways that are more direct and substantial than just about any other stimuli. But how, and why is music so meaningful? Furthermore, can the unique status of music be leveraged for the betterment of our health? 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

Got an instrument for the Holiday but not sure what to do with it?

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

The Importance of Holiday Traditions

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.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

History of Music and Musical Instruments

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

Music Education and Higher SAT Scores


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
Verbal: 538
Math: 534

Music Performance
Verbal: 530
Math: 531

No Coursework or Experience
Verbal: 477
Math: 492"