Wednesday, October 17, 2018

7 Great Reasons to DANCE

Ball gown and tailcoat are always worn when da...
Ball gown and tailcoat are always worn when dancing competitively.
This couple is dancing an international standard tango.
 (Photo credit: 
Wikipedia)
When it comes to dancing there are plenty of wonderful reasons that people elect to dance. The fact remains that far too few of us manage to incorporate dance into our lives nearly as much as we should. There are many wonderful reasons to dance and they do not all require copious amounts of alcohol and someone with a video camera poised for America's Funniest Home Videos greatness.

Below I will suggest 7 great reasons to incorporate dance into your life as often as possible. I hope that you will take some of these to heart and find a few reasons of your own to dance more often.

Love

There are few greater reasons to dance than to show your love for your partner. You do not have to limit your dancing to your wedding night or an evening out with friends. All you need to dance with the one you love is some good music and a little bit of floor space. Dance while you prepare dinner, wash dishes, or just because it's raining outside. But dance with the one you love and do it often to keep those flames burning.

Joy

We always hear people talking about dancing for joy but how often do we really see that happen? What a shame it is that we actually take so few opportunities to dance in our society. Dancing is an outward expression of joy that is almost always infectious. Share your joy with the world and you just might find they will dance along with you. Even if they do not, you should at least be secure in the fact that at this moment in time you are much happier than they are.

Fun

When is the last time you've danced? Was it fun? I have found very few people (well other than young boys) who did not have any fun while dancing. The truth of the matter is that dancing is fun. Whether you are line dancing or trying the Tango it is great fun to dance.

Flirting

What a wonderful way to flirt dancing can be! If you haven't tried it with the one you love, there is no time like the present to do so. Find some great fun and flirty music and dance for the one you love. If you're really lucky, you might even convince them to join in.

To Make Your Children Laugh

Really, there is no better reason on the earth than this to dance. My kids love to see me dance the moves that were popular back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and share their more modern moves with me. It's a great way to enjoy your children before they decide your evil or during those rare moments when you may be on the verge of neutral in their opinions. 

Fitness

While dancing does a lot to lighten the mood and raise your spirits it can also help your heart in other ways as well. Dancing is a great way to get up and moving that doesn't feel as though it is really exercised. This means that you can help your heart by dancing a little while every day. The longer you dance, the better you will feel and the healthier your heart will become.



Meet New People

If you decide to take lessons for dancing, you will find that you have the ability to meet a bunch of great new people. Dancing is a great way that many people are discovering to have fun and stay fit. This means that more and more people are joining local dance classes for these very reasons. You might develop some lifelong friendships through your dance lessons that you would have missed out on otherwise. 

Of course, there are many more reasons that different people take up dance. In fact, you may find an all-together different reason to take up dance for yourself. Whatever your reason you decide to dance, do it often and have fun in the process.


Tuesday, October 16, 2018

JAZZ Music vs. CLASSICAL Music

English: montage of great classical music comp...
Montage of great classical music composers - from left to right: first row - Antonio Vivaldi, Johann Sebastian Bach, Georg Friedrich Händel, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven; second row - Gioachino Rossini, Felix Mendelssohn, Frédéric Chopin, Richard Wagner, Giuseppe Verdi; third row - Johann Strauss II, Johannes Brahms, Georges Bizet, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Antonín Dvořák; fourth row - Edvard Grieg, Edward Elgar, Sergei Rachmaninoff, George Gershwin, Aram Khachaturian
(Photo credit: 
Wikipedia)
I want to first start off with the method by which music performers approach both genres. In classical music, there is a level of precision that the artist wants to achieve, a near duplication as to what the composer intended. When I studied classical music, my piano professors wanted me to understand the sounds and style as to which the composers wanted their music played. There seems to be a consistent thought process of hearing the architecture of the music according to the time period the piece was written.

In Jazz, of course, improvisation is a skill that almost every jazz musician lives by and there is so much experimenting with chord substitutions, scales and tonality that a listener can get a different feeling of the same piece when performed by someone different. So, much is left to the performer about how to perform a piece. Of course, you have to think about your tempo, articulations but there is more flexibility in performance, especially in slower jazz pieces such as ballads. A jazz piano teacher that I once studied under, left the improvisation up to me and my only guide was basically jazz albums and transcriptions if I wanted to spice up my playing with new ideas. However, there are times in which you have to play with a certain touch such as bebop music.

Much of the material in classical music seems to have starting points as seen in runs and the practice of scales. When you practice your scales, you always start at a point, go up and come back down since this is the way that sixteenth and thirty-second notes are played. This creates the mindset that you are aiming at accuracy and uniformity in your playing. In the music, you always know where your runs are starting and when you practice your technique, that is what you know and feel as well.

When you are improvising in jazz, soloing demands that you know your instrument so well that you should be able to start on any note, anywhere on your instrument and still be able to keep with the beat and form a musical idea. In certain jazz books, the method by which you practice your scales is different than in classical music. You are instructed to practice your scales starting on any note within that scale so that when you are soloing you are not restricted by certain stopping points.


In Jazz, there is an emphasis on the individual soloist in which the audience can feel where he/she is going with their music, often unscripted, from the soul and heart. The listener has to identify with the unpredictable and the exotic dance of harmony and melody. Make no mistake that in many jazz pieces, there is not always a wild, unpredictable element. Many jazz pieces can sound like other genres of music. Sometimes, a jazz musician has to make a decision as to how he/she will have to color a chord or measure with a certain flavor of sound. Now in classical music, the audience wants to feel Mozart or Beethoven through the performer in terms of being true and authentic. Any unpredictable elements will be expected as part of the composition.

These elements of classical and jazz music are only my observations and we must keep in mind that you cannot put classical or jazz music into a box. Both will always be different and similar in ways but both will share a willingness to bring out the greatness of the music, fast or slow, happy or sad.



Monday, October 15, 2018

Helpful OBOE Tips and Stories!

An oboe
An oboe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The oboe can be a very difficult instrument to play. This is because it changes on a daily basis. For example, if you are used to playing in warm rooms, and you suddenly must play in a cold one (and visa versa), adjustments must be made. Here are a few (hopefully) helpful tips I have come across in my experience playing. These tips are assuming you have a decent familiarity with the oboe and how it works.

Do Not Over-Soak Your Reed!
When I was about 12 years old I remember a perfect example of what you are not supposed to do. My private instructor was the instructor of about 15 other students on different instruments. Once a season we would have a recital showcasing what we were taught. I had not been playing the oboe for long, and while she told me warned me of this exact tip, I still was unaware of how long I was actually soaking my reed. It was my turn to perform. I believe I was playing an excerpt of Marcello's concerto. The accompanist started, and when I came in it was just awful. I looked over at my instructor but continued to play the entire piece. I could see the look in her eyes -- pity. My reed was so over-soaked it barely made a noise, just enough of a noise to be considered playing. Luckily, the lesson was learned there and not in, say, an orchestra rehearsal. The point is, in many cases, do not soak your reed for more than 5 minutes. Of course, reeds will vary, some soaking faster than others.

Breathe With the Beat
A common hardship of the oboe is making a good entrance. If there is not enough breath support when it is your time to come in, the sound will be delayed and/or sound sloppy. One way to combat this and ensure you are coming in with the right tempo is to simply breathe the last beat of rest before you enter. Also, showing your breath allows others to see, and everyone will be more likely to enter correctly and simultaneously. What I mean by "show your breath" is move when you breathe. Make sure everyone around you sees your breathing but without looking over-the-top.

You Can Never Swab Your Oboe Too Often
Swabbing your oboe when you are not playing is key to not having your keys filled with water (technically it spits, but people just like the nicer version -- "water"). Some novice instrumentalists think that swabbing your instrument out should only be done when you are putting it away for the day. This is simply not true. Swabbing your oboe out wipes away that trickle of water that could lead right to a keyhole. Sometimes, oboist uses a huge feather as a swab. This works well in orchestra conditions because it tends to be a faster method. Silk swabs are preferred otherwise because little pieces of a feather can sometimes get stuck and silk swabs produce little to no lint.

Have More Than One Good Reed
Reeds come and go quickly if you practice and perform a lot. Having more than one backup is best. In fact, some oboist prefers to have 3 to 4 equally good reeds that they rotate evenly. This tends to make them all last longer. On the other hand, some performers tend to have a reed for every occasion. For instance, I know people who have a "2nd chair reed," a "soft reed," a "loud reed," and a "solo reed." Regardless of which choice is best for you, keep many reeds on hand. Who knows what could happen? A careless clarinettist could side-swipe the stand where your reeds are laying and could send them flying towards the principal flautist!

    By Jo Kro
    Jo Kro has been playing the oboe for almost 11 years and has been in a few orchestras including The Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestra. 
    Article Source: EzineArticles


Saturday, October 13, 2018

Success and Grief: What Giuseppe VERDI's Life Reveals

Giacomo Brogi (1822-1881), Portrait of Giusepp...
Giacomo Brogi (1822-1881), Portrait of Giuseppe Verdi
(Photo credit: 
Wikipedia)
Giuseppe Verdi, the great Italian composer, was born in 1813 in a small village near Parma, Italy. When he was 12, he was appointed an organist in the village church. In 1832, when he was 19, a wealthy merchant friend of Verdi's father's was aware of his great talent and offered him a music scholarship in Milan. Accompanied by his father and his teacher, Verdi arrived in Milan in May 1832. A great disappointment, however, awaited him there: he applied to the Milan Conservatory, but after hearing him playing the piano, the school rejected his application.

The same year, he experienced another blow: his beloved sister Josephine died. And in 1837, another misfortune found him. From his marriage to Margherita Barezzi in 1836, he had a daughter, Virginia, whom he adored. But Virginia died when she was only a few months old. In a dispirited condition, Verdi isolated himself in his home, in Milan, and faced tremendous difficulties: he was jobless, had no money, and often could only eat once a day in miserable inns. As if all that were not enough, in 1839 his second child -a young son- also died. Verdi's life became unbearable. In 1840, he received the most tragic blow of all: his beloved wife, Margherita Barezzi, died. Grief-stricken, Verdi fled Milan for his village Busseto, so that he could find solace.

But impresario Merelli visited him there and asked him whether he would like to compose the music for a work titled Nabuchodonosor. Verdi of course, refused. He had lost his desire to compose music. Merelli insisted, however, putting the libretto for that work in Verdi's pocket. With half heart, he tried later to start composing. But the notes weren't appearing -or if they were, they were full of sorrow, like the composer's soul.

However, he finished it in 1841. Rehearsals on the opera Nabuchodonosor -or Nabucco as it turned to be named in the meantime- started early in 1842. But immediately it became clear that Verdi had composed a masterpiece. Nabucco was performed for the first time in La Scala in Milan on March 9, 1842. What followed was an unprecedented triumph. The enraptured audience responded with a standing ovation, demanding -with a frenzy of applause- repeated encores of the moving chorus song "Va, pensiero, sull' ali dorate," which still causes shivers of emotion.

Verdi -now 29- had suddenly become famous. People were singing the chorus song from Nabucco in the streets, while hats and neckties with Verdi's name inscribed on them were sold everywhere. Milan's wealthiest families opened their homes to him. The same year (1842), the composer became acquainted with a famous soprano, Josephina Strepponi, and developed a lasting relationship with her that persisted until her death in 1897.

During the next nine years, between 1843 and 1851, Verdi composed thirteen operas, which were performed in all the big cities of Italy -Milan, Rome, Venice, Naples, Trieste- as well as in London, and all had enormous success. The first of those operas was I Lombardi, which was performed at La Scala in Milan on February 11, 1843. The day of its premiere, enthusiastic crowds mobbed the theater, and the success of that opera was similar to Nabucco.

Opera Ernani followed in 1844, based on Victor Hugo's work of the same name. It premiered in Venice on March 9, 1844, to great acclaim. Exuberant Venetians lifted Verdi to their shoulders and carried him triumphantly around Saint Mark's square. With the money he earned from Ernani, Verdi was able to buy a small farm near his village. Opera Jeanne d' Arc (Giovanna d' Arco) followed in 1845, with equally great success. Verdi had now so much money that he acquired a mansion in his village Busseto.

Other accomplishments included the operas Attila in 1846, and I Masnadieri (The Bandits) in 1847. The Bandits' premiere was held in London with a particular fanfare: Queen Victoria and almost all the members of Parliament were present. The opera was a big hit, and Verdi made staggering amounts of money. He bought a large farm with woods and vineyards near Busseto, and an apartment in Paris, where he retreated from time to time to relax with his companion, Josephina Strepponi.

The tension between Italy and Austria was mounting in this period, and to stir up patriotic sentiments, Verdi composed the opera La Battaglia di Legnano (The Battle of Legnano). That opera was first performed in Rome in 1849. Tickets for the premiere were sold out. It was another smash hit. Ecstatic, the audience demanded as an encore the repetition of the entire fourth act. Verdi had become a national hero. At the end of the same year, a Verdi opera was performed in Naples, too: Luisa Miller, based on Schiller's tragedy of the same name.

During the next eight years (1851-1859), Verdi composed his extraordinary masterpieces, the operas Rigoletto, Il Trovatore, La Traviata, Les Vêpres Siciliennes, Simon Boccanegra, Un Ballo in Maschera, and others -and he arrived at the culmination of his glory. He finished the first of those masterpieces, Rigoletto, early in 1851, and its premiere was staged in Venice on March 11 of the same year. All night, Venice's canals resounded with the voices of gondoliers' singing "Feather in the Wind," a song well known even now. After 21 performances in Venice, Rigoletto began to be performed all over the world.

In 1851, Verdi also began to compose his next masterpiece, the opera Il Trovatore, which he completed the following year. The premiere was held in Rome in January 1853, again to great acclaim. Two months later, his third masterpiece - the opera La Traviata- premiered in Venice. It was again an instant hit and was even performed in America.



In 1855, Verdi finished the opera Les Vêpres Siciliennes. Its premiere was held in L' Opera de Paris; in 1856 it was performed in La Scala in Milan with tremendous success. Its ardent patriotism stirred the souls of Italians. In 1857, the opera Simon Boccanegra was performed in Venice, and the same year, Verdi composed the opera Un Ballo in Maschera. The latter opera was performed in Rome in February 1859 with great success -the ticket prices were seven times normal.

Verdi had arrived at the pinnacle of his career; at the age of 46, he was considered Europe's greatest composer. To make his success complete, he married early 1859 the woman with whom he had lived for the last 17 years, Josephina Strepponi.

In the next years, Verdi composed a lot of other operas. In 1862, he finished his work La Forza del Destino (The Power of Destiny), which the Russian Theater of Petrograd had commissioned. In March 1867, the opera Don Carlos was performed for the first time in Paris. At the end of 1871, his opera Aida was performed in Cairo. The performance lasted more than eight hours -from 7:00 p.m. to 3.00 a.m.

In 1874, he expressed his feelings in his next work, the mournful Messa da Requiem, performed in May 1874 in the church of St. Mark in Milan. Next year, sorrowful da Requiem realized enormous success. After having conquered all of Italy, it did the same in the rest of Europe, while in London an unbelievable chorus of 1,200 voices would participate in the performance, a fact that moved the critics to write rave reviews.

Verdi -now aged 62-began to enjoy the delights of life. He became acquainted with a young intellectual, Arrigo Boito, who shared the pleasures of culture with him, exposing him to the new intellectual currents and fashions. In 1876, Verdi conducted his opera Aida in Paris, and soon the opera was performed triumphantly all over Europe. In 1881 he rewrote his opera Simon Boccanegra, which was performed that same year in its new form with great success.

From 1879, he had started setting the music for Shakespeare's Otello, which he finally finished in 1886. The premiere took place at La Scala in 1887. Celebrities from all over Europe arrived for the performance, and tickets prices reached unprecedented heights. At the end of the performance, the audience's cries of joy could be heard blocks away. When Verdi came out of the theater overcome with emotion, the people unhitched the horses of his carriage and drew it themselves to his hotel. Between 1888 and 1892, Verdi composed another masterpiece, the opera Falstaff, again based on Shakespeare. Falstaff was performed in La Scala in 1894.

In 1897, Verdi's beloved companion, his wife Josephina Strepponi, died. From then on, his health crumbled, and the year 1900 found him confined to a wheelchair. In 1901, the great composer -one of the greatest in the world- departed from this life, at the age of 88.

Conclusion

Verdi's life reveals that sometimes grief can lead to enormous success. As you can recall, when Verdi was 24, in 1837, his beloved daughter Virginia died, and two years later, his second child also died. Next year, in 1840, his beloved wife Margherita Barezzi died, too. Grief-stricken, he fled Milan for his village. But impresario Merelli visited him there and asked him to compose the music for the opera Nabucco. Verdi refused, but later he started composing, though he was full of sorrow. The outcome was a masterpiece. When Nabucco was performed, it was an unprecedented success. Grief had led to triumph. From now on, Verdi became one of the greatest composers in the world.

On the subject of this article I have written a whole book titled The Seasons of Our Lives, in which I explain how our life's seasons alternate from good to bad -and vice versa- based on the way the good and bad seasons have alternated in the lives of lots of famous men and women, whose the biographies I cite in the book (Verdi's included).

The moment you have finished reading this book, you will be able to know whether the years just ahead are good or bad for you, and how long this season will last. You will be able thus to act accordingly: if there is a storm on the horizon, you will take shelter in time. If sunny days loom ahead, you will take advantage before the opportunity passes. The book is published by Heart Space Publications, an Australian publisher, and you can find it at Amazon under the words: The Seasons of Our Lives Kouloukis paperback, or at my website: http://www.gpkouloukis.com.

    By George Kouloukis
    George Kouloukis is a Greek attorney-at-law, a barrister. As a member of the Athens Bar Association, he has offered legal services to Ionian Bank of Greece, the Greek Electric Railways Company, and other corporations.
    Article Source: EzineArticles


Friday, October 12, 2018

JAZZ CLUBS

reformARTorchestra performing 'Subway Art', in...
Porgy& Bess jazz and music club, Vienna, Austria.
(Photo credit: 
Wikipedia)
Jazz music is appreciated worldwide. If you are ever traveling and are new to some countries, here are where some of the best jazz clubs are located so that every place you go will be just like home.

Canadian Jazz Clubs

In Westminster, you can go to the Java Jazz Café & Bistro. Live jazz is played served with Filipino cooking, with dishes like kare-kare, milkfish and bangus. Every night there are different artists playing. Times are from Tuesday-Thursday from 12p.m. to 2:30p.m. and 5:30 to 12:00a.m. Friday it's to 1:00a.m., Saturday 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. and Sunday at 5:30 p.m. to midnight. If you want to attend jam sessions, they are each Saturday 3p.m. to 6p.m.

If you are ever in Victoria, go to the Hermann's Jazz Club on 753 View Street. This club has been around for 25 years. You can enjoy good food and international jazz music from the hottest musicians around.

In Vancouver, you can go to Capones Restaurant & Live Jazz Club. Jazz music is played there every night of the week. The food is excellent food and wine. Some of the dishes are pizzas, pasta, tapas and there are also some signature entrees. The musicians that play here are literally chosen to play there from the area and offer great west coast jazz music and blues. You have to call and book in advance to get a table here.

Cuban Jazz Clubs

If you are heading to Havana, be sure to stop at La Zorra Y La Cueva Jazz Club. Open every day, you can eat, drink, dance and enjoy the best jazz music as only the best of musicians play here. Dress tropical for this club.

Chinese Jazz Clubs

In Bejing, you can go to The Big Easy. Modern jazz music and blues are played there. Ted's Café plays traditional jazz on Saturday nights. In Shanghai, you can go to the CJW. The CJW is the Cigar Jazz Wine House. It is on the highest floor of the fifty-story Bund Centre. The atmosphere is very modern, eccentric with lava lamps, transparent beaded curtains. The food is traditional western and Chinese fusion.

Israeli Jazz Clubs

In Binyamina, you can go to the milestone. The Milestone is set in a beautiful park inside a Roman fortress. The times are from weekends Thursday to Saturday. The jazz music is played by the best Israeli jazz musicians. Gourmet food is served, and there is also an amphitheater. If you are in Haifa, go to the Hottentot. Performances are just about every single day. The atmosphere is laid-back, there are good food, drinks and a gallery.



French Jazz Clubs

I had to save the best clubs for last. French jazz clubs. The French are serious when it comes to jazz music. All kinds of jazz music are played from standard to amateur. There are many, many jazz clubs here. Quite a few American jazz musicians chose to live there permanently or temporarily and have enhanced their lives all around. Here is a couple of the best jazz clubs in France. In Paris 4th, there is Franc Pinot. Those that love swing and bebop music should come here. This club has natural acoustics and is located in the heart of Paris. Times are from 7p.m. to 9p.m., but it depends on who is playing for the night. In the 15th, there is Jazz Club Lionel Hampton where the best bands and artists play contemporary jazz. If you want to enrich your spirit, go travel to other places to appreciate jazz music.