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.



Friday, December 7, 2018

The SYMPHONY through Time

Philharmonic Orchestra of Jalisco (Guadalajara...
Philharmonic Orchestra of Jalisco (Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Symphony is probably one of the greatest musical compositions that you can listen to. This is a versatile form of music that is mostly intended to be performed by an orchestra. Some of the classical masters who have composed outstanding symphonies are Ludwig van Beethoven and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. When you try to look at the history of the symphony, you would find out that it has been in existence since the 16th century but has gained real prominence in the 18th century.

In the 18th century, symphonies weren’t considered as standalone performances. Back then, you cannot expect people to go to a certain venue just to see and hear a symphony being played. It was rather used as a prelude, a postlude or an interlude to some other musical event. The popular movement used was the three-movement which is a start from a fast, to a slow, to again another fast movement. Notable pieces of this form would include Mozart’s early symphonies. Soon, this three-movement became a four-movement. Notable composers during this era were Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Joseph Haydn.

Professional orchestras started to gain prominence. In the 19th century, another popular composer was born in the person of Beethoven. His famous works include Symphony No. 3 which has a strong emotional note to it. His Symphony No. 5 was well-loved and the most famous of all. His Symphony No. 9 became a choral symphony. Other notable composers of this era were Brahms, Schubert, and Schumann.

The 20th-century symphony saw some modifications to previous works. Long symphonies were created – large-scale in fact. More composers wrote such pieces and it has never ceased to grow from then on. There are still those who wrote using the traditional 4 movements. The 20th-century pieces, as well as the classical ones, are being played today by Toronto chamber orchestra



A symphony cannot be done justice when an incomplete orchestra performs it; this is why when being performed by Mississauga chamber orchestra, they make sure that they have all the right instruments and the right attitude.

Although there are other orchestral pieces that are being performed by Burlington chamber orchestra, the symphony would always remain as one of the best musical scores to be performed.


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Thursday, December 6, 2018

Best BLUES Instrumental Music of the Past


Hound Dog Taylor and the HouseRockers
Hound Dog Taylor and the HouseRockers
(Photo credit: 
Wikipedia)
Whenever I'm feeling down or just plain bad, I sometimes find it beneficial to listen to some good ole fashion blues. But not just any old blues will do. I need the music without the lyrics. Come with me now as we head out into the vast world of blues in search of the best blues instrumentals to drown your sorrows to. Here we go.

The #1 spot for our best blues instrumental music of the past belongs to "Phillip's Theme" by Hound Dog Taylor and the HouseRockers. Theodore Roosevelt "Hound Dog" Taylor was an American blues guitarist who originally played the piano. He is mostly known for his electric slide guitar and get down and boogie beats. I guess what really makes him stand out besides being an amazing blues guitarist is that he had 6 fingers on his left hand.

Blues guru John Mayall, from a concert at the ...
Blues guru John Mayall
(Photo credit: 
Wikipedia)
Moving on down our chart we come to #2 on my blues instrumental music chart with "The Supernatural" by John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers featuring Peter Green. John Mayall was not only a talented multi-instrumentalist but a songwriter and blues singer. He pioneered English blues and has a history that spans over fifty years. He has influenced tons of other musicians like Eric Clapton, Peter Green, and Mick Fleetwood to name a few.

As all good things must end, here we are at our final spot on my best blues instrumental music list with none other than "Little Wing" by Stevie Ray Vaughan. A Jimi Hendrix cover song spoken through an amazing blues-rock guitarist Stevie Ray. I love this instrumental rendition of Hendrix's song "Little Wings". Stevie Ray Vaughan is known widely for his warm bluesy rock sound and was ranked #7 by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.

As we close my best blues instrumental music of the past, I just want to say you can never have too much instrumental blues. With that said, go out into the free world of blues inspiration and bring back a little for yourself. And remember once your hooked, there ain't no cure for the blues. Until next time...