Tuesday, September 19, 2017

HARMONICAS: French Harps with International Appeal

The harmonica, also known as the French harp, is a small wind instrument held in hand while playing. It can be played by inhaling and exhaling through several air slots. Kids love playing these because they're easy to learn and provide fun entertainment and lively music. Also, harmonicas are small so they can easily be carried in a shirt pocket or pants pocket. Many adults love them for these same reasons!

Chromatic Harmonica Course
Photo  by Jay Phagan 
The most common key on the harmonica is C. Harmonicas that are played in the Appalachian South only play a diatonic scale, but not chromatic intervals that are between diatonic scale tones. Therefore, these harmonicas are typically sold in various models based on keys. For instance, there are G-harmonicas, D-harmonicas, C-harmonicas, and so forth. 


Harmonica Construction and Sound

In the past, harmonicas were usually made of wood. Today, many harmonicas are constructed from injection-molded plastic. There are also high-end harmonicas that are built from metal alloys, silver, or Lucite. The harmonica's sound is often based on the materials it is made of, with each material giving its own unique sound. For example, blues harps or marine band harps are made of soft wood that resists moisture and create a rich, unique sound.

Types of Harmonicas

Harmonicas come in many different types and styles. These are often chosen by players according to the type of music they would like to play. Some harmonica players enjoy performing at events as soloists or with a group or band. The cross harp is often used in blues music, but can also be used in many types of music. It is a diatonic harmonica that is played in a key that is actually seven half-steps up from the harmonica's main key. For example, if the harmonica were tuned in C, it would actually be played in G.

A diatonic major harp is the most common type of harmonica. It has all the "Major Scale" notes such as C, D, E, F, G, A, B. The chromatic harmonica has the same notes as the diatonic major harp, but with a half-step between each major note.

Common brand names of harmonicas include Hohner, Hering, Suzuki, Bushman, Lee Oskar, and BTI. Tremolo and octave harmonicas are offered by Hohner. Different styles of orchestral harmonicas are also available for those who perform with orchestras.



Find Harmonicas and Accessories Online

There are many harmonica resources online today that sell harmonicas and accessories. There is free tablature (with tabs and symbols) to help beginners and experienced harmonica players learn new songs. Accessories such as amplifiers, cases, sheet music, microphones, CDs, and more are available online at reasonable prices. Beginners can research online to find out how to care for their harmonica. From tuning to cleaning, there are a few definite "dos and don'ts" to follow.

The beautiful music that flows from the harmonica can never be matched. Harmonicas are so diverse that they can be played alone while sitting on a porch swing, at a family gathering for singing and fun, or in a professional concert. They can be played around the world no matter what the country. These hand-held instruments bring joy to any setting!




Monday, September 18, 2017

GUITAR TIP: The Power Of Big Picture Thinking

What would you think about someone who wanted to become an awesome finger-picker but most of their practice was focused on using a pick? You'd think they were crazy right? And rightly so! But believe me, it's more common than you think. Heck...even I've been guilty of this more than a few times! I think we all sometimes fall into the trap of practicing things without thinking exactly WHY we are practicing them.

So what's the cure for this? I can give you the cure in three words...

English: Picture from playing guitar with guit...
Picture from playing guitar with guitar pick by Babak Babali (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Big Picture Thinking

What's this? Put simply it means looking at the WHYs and WHATs before looking at the HOWs. It's looking at the overall picture before becoming focused on the details. Let's take a look at an example to make it clearer...

Let's say that you would like to learn to shred. Rather than just jumping in and practicing some random exercises, let's go through the big picture thinking process.


**Step One** Why

In this step, you write down exactly WHY you want to become a shredder. Think of all the reasons and write them down. This is really important. Your reasons why help keeps you motivated and enthusiastic about working towards your goal. In fact, I can almost guarantee that without a strong, exciting and compelling why you will give up before you reach your goal!


**Step Two** Big Picture What

Write down WHAT you want to achieve. In this case, you would write down a detailed description of EXACTLY how you would like to play. What type of shredder do you want to become?


**Step Three** Detailed What

In this step, you'll write down the specific things that you will need to master in order to achieve what you wrote down in Step Two. Here are some example questions that you would ask yourself...

* What scales would I need to learn?

* What songs would I like to learn?

* What techniques would I have to master?

* What guitar tutors who live near to me teach shredding?

* What licks and exercises would help me achieve my goal?

* What instructional books, videos or DVDs will I need to buy?

The aim of this step is to get a detailed list of SPECIFIC things that you need to master in order to reach your goal.




**Step Four** How

This is where you write down a detailed practice schedule. This schedule will help you systematically learn what you wrote down in the previous step. If you're not sure how to put together an effective practice schedule then you may want to hire a good guitar tutor.

Can you see how this works? Rather than just jumping in and practicing, you start with the big picture first then work your way down to the small details.I guarantee that doing it this way will speed up your progress drastically. The main reason why is you will only be practicing things 100% related to your guitar goals.




Sunday, September 17, 2017

Music-Instruments of the World - TIMPLE


Music-Instruments of the World - TIMPLE - Photo: Wikimedia



Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Geat Composers: Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy


Felix Mendelssohn - Bartholdy
(3.2.1809 - 4.11.1847)



Friday, September 15, 2017

Thanksgiving Piano Music - Simple Gifts Enjoyed by American Composer, AARON COPLAND

The beautiful melody, Simple Gifts, is from a book of songs published in the 1840s by the Shakers, a religious group who settled in areas from New England to Kentucky. The melody for Simple Gifts was used in American composer, Aaron Copland's ballet, Appalachian Spring. It's theme of simplicity, freedom, and humility are appropriate for a ballet, but for celebrating the spirit of our National Thanksgiving Holiday.

English: Aaron Copland
Aaron Copland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free, 'Tis the gift to come down where you ought to be, And when we find ourselves in the place just right, 'Twill be in the valley of love and delight. When true simplicity is gained, To bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed, To turn, turn will be our delight, 'Till by turning, turning we come round right.

This year at your family's Thanksgiving table take a moment to count the simplest of your blessings and feel the peace. We can spend so much time focused on the future and forget to celebrate each day and to make the most of every moment with our loved ones. Achievements are important, but without the people, we love the most to share them with, they mean little to us. Relaxing piano music is a lovely way to bring a little extra peace into your home during the busy holiday season. Make your first purchase a piano CD of this musical part of our Thanksgiving heritage - Simple Gifts. Who knows, it might turn out to be one of your family's favorite traditions at Thanksgiving.



To learn the best way to share the gift of music with children visit Amazon.com for my Piano Bears Musical Stories for Children The exciting Piano Bears Musical Stories for children ages 5 to 11 feature the loveable characters, Mrs. Treble Beary and her new piano student, Albeart Littlebud. Children love following along with Albeart to Mrs. Treble Beary's piano studio in Musical Acres Forest. Here they learn what piano lessons are all about in a fun way that kids readily understand and appreciate! Piano students laugh and giggle while reading "Little Bear's Musical Garden" and "Little Bear's Piano Goals."



The WEDDING DANCE

Around the globe, couples celebrate their unions with a wedding dance of some sort. Most religions, with the exception of those who still frown upon dancing, have some sort of wedding dance that is a part of this joyous event or the celebration of this event. This is much more than a simple dance. It is the dance that will begin your life as husband and wife. For this reason alone, many couples spend a great deal of time and effort choosing the perfect song to symbolize their love for each. Once decided, this is the song that is to be played for their wedding dance.

American bride wearing a Contemporary Western ...
American bride wearing a Contemporary Western Wedding Dress (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Your wedding dance is one of the few memories of your wedding that you will have forever. Most of your wedding day will go by in such a blur of faces that there will be few moments that stand out above the rest. Your wedding dance, however, is the one time during your wedding reception that you and your spouse are truly alone within the crowd. All eyes may be on you both but this is your moment together and no one else in the room should matter at this moment. This is the reason that most people will remember their wedding dance long after they've forgotten other details about their wedding. 

Some couples actually take wedding dance lessons in order to make sure that nothing goes wrong during their wedding dance. Many instructors often suggest that you use the shoes you will be wearing for your wedding as well as a skirt that is very similar to your wedding dress in order to actually get an honest feel for how you will be dancing on your wedding day. It is amazing how much of a difference the height of your shoes and the length of your skirt or train can make when it comes to dancing. These classes are very important for couples that truly want to have the fairy tale wedding experience though not necessarily practical for couples that are already working at the end of their budget constraints.

Ballroom dance lessons will often suffice for wedding dance lessons and in many cases are much less expensive if you can take them at a local community center rather than taking private lessons. Group lessons are almost always more economical and can be a great way for you and your future spouse to learn to dance together in time for your big night and your wedding dance.

If budgets won't even allow for this indulgence to make your wedding dance a little easier to handle you can always opt to purchase an instructional video or DVD. It would be great fun to practice your wedding dance together before the big night and it is a great way to have fun together as a couple even after the big night. You can find videos and DVDs that teach all manner of dance steps that you may find appealing. 

Otherwise, you can always wing it. Pick a song you love, a dance you like and have fun without worrying about getting it perfect. You are beginning your new life together as a couple and who really needs the pressure of dancing perfect, right? It is also your day and that is one thing that far too few brides really realize when getting caught up in the pressure of creating the perfect wedding within a limited budget. 



The thing to remember when planning your wedding and your wedding dance is that you and your spouse to be are the most important people in the process. Do not allow yourself to feel pressured into something that you don't want in order to appease others. Make your wedding day and your wedding dance completely your own if you are not interested in or comfortable with the idea of taking lessons from someone else. You and your partner will be glad that you did what was right for you when all is said and done.