Thursday, December 13, 2018

A Magical Feeling to CHRISTMAS MUSIC


During the Christmas Season, music is a key ingredient in creating holiday magic... for me and many others, I'm sure. Just the other day, I was out walking my little dog, Jolie, and enjoying the holiday decorations in my neighbourhood. The air was crisp and there appeared to be a few snowflakes in the air when suddenly, a nearby church began playing on their chimes, some familiar carols. I was thrilled!

I've always been a huge fan of Christmas music, and as a child, growing up in a minister's family, Christmas music was played and enjoyed throughout December! Singing the Advent hymns and carols up until Christmas Eve was always such a thrill for me and even now, the memories, images and smells rush back to me when I hear these melodies playing. When the bells started pealing as I walked down the sidewalk, it just was a magical feeling that transported me, musically, to another time and place. At that moment, thoughts of problems disappeared, thoughts of conflict and tragedy temporarily vanished, and I was totally in the moment with peace on earth goodwill to people everywhere.

Holiday music, no matter what holiday you celebrate, comes in the sacred and the secular varieties. There are literally thousands of songs, cantatas, musicals, oratorios, and symphonies that we typically hear during this season and, for me, they create a magical environment that is filled with memories of Christmases past and warm family holidays with laughter, smells of cookies, turkey, and pies baking, and visions of shiny bicycles and wind-up toys. Is there a person in the Western World that does not know "White Christmas," "I'll Be Home for Christmas," or "Silver Bells?" In our media-filled society, and with all the technological wonders like iPods and MP3 players, music is sung around the world and heard around the world. If anything, they probably hear them just a little sooner than they'd really like to. (I believe that playing Christmas music any sooner than November 1, is probably suspect, and what I suspect is commercialism gone awry!)



The power of a simple phrase of music to conjure up these kinds of images and feelings is nothing short of miraculous! Humans have known this for thousands of years, and that is why the key events and holidays in our lives have so much special and unique music associated with them! Take some time out of your schedule today and listen to some music that brings back happy memories for you. You'll soothe your anxieties, lower your blood pressure, boost your immune system, and improve your self-esteem.



Wednesday, December 12, 2018

SAXOPHONE Giants: DEXTER GORDON

English: Dexter Gordon in Amsterdam (2). 1980....
Dexter Gordon in Amsterdam  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A Big Man With a Big Sound
There have been many great tenor saxophone players throughout the history of jazz, but one of my favorites is Dexter Gordon.  Perhaps what I like best about Dexter Gordon is his big, beautiful sound.  He stood 6' 6'' tall, and he had a saxophone tone to match his stature with a warmth and body to it that was unmistakably his own.

Under A Doctor's Care
Gordon was born in L.A. In 1923.  His father's name was Frank Gordon, and he had the distinction of being one of the first African American doctors practicing medicine in Los Angeles.  As luck would have it two of his patients were jazz greats Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton.  Dexter began playing clarinet when he turned 13.  He soon switched to saxophone, and by his senior year in high school, this amazing talent was offered a job in the Lionel Hampton big band.  Never hurts to have an in.

Paris Without Regret
After the Hampton band Dexter did stints with Louis Armstrong, Fletcher Henderson and Billy Eckstine.  In 1960 Gordon started to record for the famous jazz label, Blue Note Records.  During this period he recorded many acclaimed jazz albums including one of his favorites, GO.
In 1962 Dexter moved to Europe to work and live and resided mainly in Paris.  Many notable jazz musicians of this era did the same because they were appreciated and respected more by the Europeans and experienced much less discrimination.  He remained in Europe for the next 15 years until returning to the U.S. In 1976.

Round About Midnight
Upon his return to the States Dexter made a much-heralded appearance at the Village Vanguard in New York City and finally achieved the recognition as one of the great jazz tenor players that he had deserved for years.

In 1986 Gordon was nominated for an Academy Award for his starring role in the jazz film, Round Midnight.  The role was tailor-made for Dexter as the movie was about an expatriate jazz musician living in Europe.





Musician of the Year
After coming back to the U.S. Dexter signed a deal with Columbia Records who promoted him heavily along with other jazz artists.  His newfound notoriety and his high level of jazz saxophone playing led to his being named Downbeat Magazine's Musician of the Year in 1978 and  1980.
Dexter Gordon died in 1990 at the age of 67 from kidney failure after a lifetime of producing some of jazz's greatest tenor saxophone music.

    By Joel Krett
    Joel Krett is currently playing tenor saxophone and harmonica with The Subway Show Band out of Morgantown. WV. and is an avid jazz fan.

    Article Source: EzineArticles



Tuesday, December 11, 2018

MUSIC : The Source, The Life Force


Since humans first walked this Earth we have been banging inanimate objects and noticing tonal harmonies in all that we do. Music evokes such a deep-rooted emotion in us, connecting with our inner being on an infinite number of levels.

From the depths of depression to the awesome high of life itself there is a music which can touch us in a profound manner at every single step of the way.

Someone once said to me "I don't like music" ... I simply couldn't fathom this concept of actually not liking music. I could obviously see how one could dislike a certain type of music but do not like any music at all was a totally alien idea to me.

I was lucky I suppose, growing up, I was privy to the tastes of my "60's generation" parents and all that hippy stuff, along with a fine selection of very early blues, reggae, jazz and some really raw grooves which have all but been lost to our super fickle modern generation. In fact, my Father owned one of the first copies of the first 45 from a label named Chess. Worth a fortune now no doubt. Music has always been a big part of my life.

So why does music reach us at this most basic level? What is it about the human being that makes us crave this "soul food"? Well, music is a multifaceted means of communication. It is possible through music to create all the acoustic features that we use in our everyday language. Furthermore, these acoustic features can be generated in a very definite way. This makes it possible for composers to reach us at our most primeval state, simply by structuring the music according to predefined patterns. 

The most basic musical element that we respond to is a rhythmical beat or pulse. If you need proof of this then notice how a newborn baby will begin to rock or move to the beat without prompting. This is the human instinct naturally reacting to a rhythm, the roots of which are deeply embedded in all of us. This is the case whether you like music or not.

The next level of musical recognition is the conscious awareness of the interval between certain vibrations or frequencies. In other words the musical scale. It was not long before humans realized that certain notes work together and certain notes do not - harmonious sequences and discordant sounds.

In fact, not all that long ago a discordant sound was associated with the work of the devil because it made the listener feel quite uncomfortable. These days we have moved on with many modern jazz musicians purposefully using discordant sounds - something which horrifies the purists.

One level up from the musical scale is the combination of many different types of musical instrument. This is what we know today as pop music, orchestral music and many other genres. It pleases us when we hear harmonious combinations of many different types of instrument. These chords and harmonious sequences connect with us at our most basic level. It is these musical progressions which can evoke such strong emotions in all of us.



To this day, there are no generally accepted definitions of this musical complexity at a logical and objective level. Many people report that when they hear a piece of music they really like and which touches them emotionally they will feel the hairs on their arms stand on end. This is hardly a scientific observation but is one of the only indicators we have telling us when somebody is emotionally moved by a piece of music.

To be perfectly honest, maybe the scientists should just leave it alone - I believe some things were not meant to be explained. Music is music and it makes us feel the way we do because of some ancient connection handed down from generation to generation. The best thing to do with music is just to enjoy it! 

Without music, the world would indeed be a very dull place.



Monday, December 10, 2018

Have A Better Understanding Of PIANO MUSIC Theory

A piano
A piano (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Having a solid understanding of piano music theory is something that will put you above the rest as you learn to play the piano. Musicians who can recognize chord patterns, note values, rhythmic structures, and scales are immediately more successful when it comes to learning new music easily and playing along with other musicians. This is because a theory is the backbone of all music, and being able to understand these basic concepts is vital to learning and mastering all styles of playing.

If you are simply interested in gaining a new skill and enriching your artistic capabilities, learning to play the piano can be one of the most calming and satisfying things you do in your life. Music is a great way to escape from stressful things that are on your mind and focus on something that you really want to do. Finding the right musical instrument to play is a great way to try something new and experience music from a different perspective. Try out a few lessons and soon you’ll be hooked on the beautiful sounds you make while sitting in front of the piano.

Learning the piano while also taking piano music theory courses is a great way to incorporate theory while you are learning to play new songs. This way you can focus on the particular chords, notes, and scales that apply to individual songs. Understanding the mechanisms of each piece of music you play will become easier the more you practice and learn over time. Then you will be able to assess each song or piece of music before you try to play it because you will be able to understand the notes and rhythms within the music.

All it takes is a few music theory lessons and you will be well on your way to experiencing a difference in the way you learn and play the piano. You may also find that you are more confident when tackling new styles of playing or more difficult pieces once you have mastered basic theory concepts.



Above all, make sure that when you are learning online you move at your own pace. Once you have mastered one concept in music theory, then move on to the next. Piano music theory is essential to your growth as a musician, and it will help you succeed at playing anything you choose to tackle down the road.

At Hear and Play, we offer a variety of online courses designed to help you improve your piano playing skills including theory courses and programs that will help you learn how to play by ear. Contact us today at http://www.hearandplay.com to learn more.



Saturday, December 8, 2018

Real Men Aren't Afraid Of BALLROOM DANCING

Young couple dancing cha-cha-cha at a junior L...
Young couple dancing the cha-cha-cha at a junior Latin dance competition
(Photo credit: 
Wikipedia)
Anybody who still believes the myth that ballroom dancing is for sissies has either been living under a rock or is simply using that as an excuse for their own fears.

Emmitt Smith of Dallas Cowboys fame and former Superbowl Champion waltzed away Wednesday night with another winning trophy to place on his mantle, this one the championship Mirror Ball Trophy from ABC's "Dancing with the Stars".

I am so proud of this man for shattering all the stereotypes, and offering a resounding response once and for all to the age-old question: what type of man learns ballroom dancing? The answer....a REAL man!

There can surely be no question as to this man's virility, nor his confidence in himself. Not only did he plunge wholeheartedly into unfamiliar waters, but he chose to do it on nationwide television, in front of millions of viewers. How many men (or women, for that matter) have the guts to do that?

I've heard all the whiny excuses for not taking ballroom dancing lessons...I've got two left feet....dancing is for sissies... I don't have time to learn something new....what good does it do to know how to dance, I'll never compete...I'll look stupid....I'm no good at it...I don't like it....it's too expensive...and on and on "ad nauseum". It doesn't matter the words they choose, they're all saying basically the same thing..."I lack confidence in myself and I'm scared". How terribly, pathetically sad.

Knowing what I know about ballroom dancing, there simply is no excuse for not learning. I've seen men without legs on the ballroom dance floor. I've watched macho types, geeky types, and overweight men move with grace as they executed a beautiful promenade. I've known men who took on odd jobs to pay for continued lessons. I've witnessed men literally dragged into the studio against their will and watched with pride as they developed into, not just great dancers, but one even went on to become a phenomenal instructor. How much they all would have missed if they had let their fears keep them from trying.



There are many things in this world to be afraid of. Ballroom dancing isn't one of them. Don't be afraid to open yourself to new possibilities. The numerous benefits you'll receive may shock you.