Saturday, September 8, 2018

Famous DRUMMERS - Carter Beauford

Português do Brasil: Carter Beauford Dave Matt...
Carter BeaufordRio de Janeiro (30/09/2008). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Carter Beauford is widely known for being the drummer, percussionist, and one of the founding members of the legendary Dave Matthews Band.

Carter Anthony Beauford was born on November 2, 1957, in Charlottesville, Virginia, and was raised in a household where everything from jazz, rock, gospel, to pop, was played.

At an early age of three, he was already exposed to the world of drums and percussion, when his father had no choice but to bring him to a Buddy Rich concert because there was nobody around to take care of his son. From then on, Carter became enthralled and awestruck with Buddy Rich.

Because he showed so much interest in learning the drums, his father bought him a Roy Rogers tin drum set with paper heads, his first ever drum set. During this period, Carter's musical influences included Tony Williams, Papa Jo Jones, and, certainly, Buddy Rich. He started doing professional gigs at nine years old with a jazz-fusion band led by local celebrity Big Nick Nicholas. He graduated with a degree in music at the Shenandoah Conservatory of Music.

Carter has played with many bands with different styles, as he thought it important to stay open to improving oneself through exposure to the music of its various forms. He joined a Richmond-based jazz fusion band, Secrets, which featured saxophonist LeRoi Moore, trumpeter John Dearth, vocalist Dawn Thompson, keyboardist Butch Taylor, and guitarist Tim Reynolds. The band performed frequently at a bar in Charlottesville called Miller's, where he met Dave Matthews, who used to be the bartender.

When the band fell apart, Carter went to California to try out for the Arsenio Hall show but was not accepted, so he moved back to Virginia. Aside from Secrets, Carter also became a part of the jazz/R&B band Blue Indigo, along with LeRoi Moore, Sal Soghoian, and George Melvin, and they played both at Millers and Tokyo Rose. The band was fortunate enough to have been featured at the Delaware Water Gap Jazz Festival. After some time, Carter and Moore were approached by Dave Matthews regarding some material he had been working on that he wanted to record, and Carter agreed after listening to it. It was then that he became a Dave Matthews Band drummer.

Recognized for his assortment of percussion styles and ambidexterity when playing, Carter has done a lot of collaborations in the past, some of which were with artists Vertical Horizon, Carlos Santana, John Popper (Blues Traveler), Victor Wooten (Bela Fleck and the Flecktones), and Robin Andre (AKA Boy Wonder).

Carter got married twice. He has two daughters, Breana and Nadja Angelique, and one son, Marcus Carrington.

Carter currently uses Yamaha Drums, Dunnett Classic Titanium and Stainless Steel snare drums, Zildjian cymbals, Evans drumheads, Yamaha and Drum Workshop hardware, Promark sticks and mallets, and various other percussion equipment.

    Drew Mers is a consultant to Empire Rehearsal Studios. The company rents bands, musicians and drummers music rehearsal studios in Long Island City, Queens, New York.

    Article Directory: EzineArticles 

Friday, September 7, 2018

BALLET DANCING – The Ideal Physique

Ballet Dancer - Edgar Degas
Ballet Dancer - Edgar Degas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Are you a ballet dancer, thinking about taking ballet dancing to the next level?

First, let me say that I truly believe that whatever you put your mind to, and become completely focused on that goal, you can achieve...

This article is just highlighting some of the centuries-old beliefs as to what constitutes an ideal physique for a ballet dancer...

It is well recognized that a ballet dancer MUST possess a physique that can be trained to the finest degree of coordination, combined with complete flexibility, endurance, and great strength from head to toes. In spite of this all-important fact, some students train till well on into their teens before being defeated by some physical characteristic which undoubtedly existed at ten years old but overlooked or ignored by their trainers at that time...

So what is the ideal physique, you ask?

Well, most experts agree that your body’s proportions are critical to having an ideal physique. Apart from aesthetic considerations, a well proportioned body will weather the stresses and strains of the exciting work required of it with greater ease than one in which there is some disparity in the relative length for instance, of limbs to torso, of width to length of the body, or of the relative size of shoulders to hips and so on...

Unlike the musician, the ballet dancer cannot tune their instrument by lengthening or shortening their strings, increasing or decreasing the tension until the exact pitch is achieved. In the world of ballet dancing, your body is your instrument, infinitely complicated and it becomes your servant only after many years of desperately hard training...

At best it becomes an instrument of great beauty, but it will fall short of this if it is endowed with that extra inch here or too short a length there to fall into that perfection of line and form that the art demands. In the well-informed, well-proportioned physique there is less likelihood of muscles thickening in unwanted places, and less proneness to the minor and sometimes major mishaps caused by the effort to overcome obstacles which are inherent in the build of the body...

The neckline is important, rather more on aesthetic grounds than from the anatomical point of view. To conform to the ideal physique the neck should not be too square, and above all not too short; the head should not be disproportionately large nor too small...

The ideal ballet physique embodies a perfect balance between the upper and lower halves of the body. A good guide for the best proportions may be taken from ancient Greece where the length from the crown of the head to the pubic arch or fork is equal to that from the fork to the ground. Following the same pattern, the length from the fork to the lower border of the kneecap should be equal to that from the lower border of the kneecap to the ground...

According to the classical tradition, the shoulders of the man are broader than the hips, in the woman they are somewhat narrower. Here we diverge somewhat, for it has been found by experience that the ideal ballet figure is the better for some slight extra width across the shoulders, whether male or female...

Limbs are next on the list. Pretty arms and hands are naturally an asset; extra arm length or lack of it is not a really a problem, but for the lower limbs the standard of beauty is set high. The ideal leg will, of course, be straight and shapely, showing little or not muscular development when standing, with a smooth line from the back view, and knees which do not protrude too much from the front...

There will be a straight line down the center of the thigh, through the center of the knee, down the front of the leg to about the middle of the foot. The foot will be flexible, showing at least a potential arch. With toes of medium length only and preferably with the first two or three approximating the same length...

Finally, the perfect candidate will have an upright carriage and well-poised head.

Hopefully, this gives you a little insight into some age-old views on the physique of ballet dancers and the art of ballet dancing.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

The SITAR - Its Influence on Popular Music

SITAR RAVI SHANKAR STYLE AT-www.sathyadeepmusi...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Legend says that the sitar was invented by Amir Khusro himself an Indian poet, scholar, and musician.

Mainly used in Hindustani classical music, the sitar has been around for over 700 years. Made with a gourd body (often carved out of a pumpkin), the sitar comprises of the basic elements of a stringed instrument. It has a neck, pegs, strings and a body. A sitar can have 18/19 or 20 strings, it also has 11, 12 or 13 sympathetic strings of which 3 or 4 provide the drone and these are located underneath the frets.

Up until the 1960s, the sitar had never been used in popular music. George Harrison was to change all that.

During a break filming Help, Harrison picked up a sitar (being used as a prop) and attempted to play it. After this encounter, he began getting lessons from the legendary sitar player Ravi Shankar. Soon after in 1965, the Beatles produced the first released Western pop song to include the sitar - Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown), in which George played the Indian instrument.

The Beatles would go on to further display their influence from the sitar, writing songs such as Tomorrow Never Knows, Across The Universe and many more. Following their success with blending the sitar and popular music, other Indian instruments were introduced in their compositions, such as the tabla and tamboura.

Creating a very psychedelic effect on the music, many artists followed The Beatles use of the sitar and Indian instruments. Musicians such as The Rolling Stones (Paint It Black), The Lemon Pipers (Green Tambourine), Donovan (Hurdy Gurdy Man) all found inspiration through the sitar.
Even to this day, popular musicians are using the sitar to enhance their creations. Newton Faulkner is one of the more recent artists to include sitar on his tracks.

Undeniably, the sitar has had a profound effect on popular music as we know it. Fusing the Indian instrument with Western instruments have worked wonders and produced some mind-blowing classic songs.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

CLARINET MOUTHPIECE Guide - A Look at The Clarinet Mouthpiece

English: Selmer C85 120 Mouthpiece, Vandoren V...
Selmer C85 120 Mouthpiece, Vandoren V12 Strength 3 Reed, Vandoren Optimum Ligature.
(Photo credit: 
Every clarinet player understands just how crucial it is to have a proper mouthpiece. The clarinet mouthpiece is that part that creates the overall pitch and timbre of the sound coming from this musical instrument. Here is a clarinet mouthpiece guide to give you an idea about this particular device and how it works.

The right material

Any clarinet mouthpiece guide will tell you that when it comes to mouthpieces, the rule of the thumb states that softer materials can make darker sounds that are also less projecting. Conversely, harder materials for mouthpieces will create brighter sounds.


Most students' mouthpieces - or those that are used by novices are made of plastic because this material is more affordable and relatively more durable. The only setback is that the sound tends to be brighter than normal, making it difficult to focus.


If you want better-focused sound, you want to use a clarinet mouthpiece made of ebonite or hard rubber. This is the preferred material by jazz musicians and those who play classical music. An ebonite clarinet mouthpiece will not require a lot of projection and edge.


Crystal clarinet mouthpieces are mainly used for outdoor playing. They can create sounds that are bright and better projected so they are also popular choices for jazz players.


This material is rarely used for clarinet mouthpieces because it can create the warmest sound and the least projecting at that. This material is also less durable than plastic or rubber.

Buying tips

Another important point that a clarinet mouthpiece guide will tell you is that the sound quality that you want to produce depends on the type of bore that your mouthpiece has. A compact and more focused tone comes from a smaller bore while one that is dark and mellow can be produced by a larger one.

Important buying tips

Monday, September 3, 2018

Theater Arts – ITALIAN OPERA

Interior view of the Royal Italian Opera House...
Italian opera is the earliest known opera form. Although the Greek and Roman Theater had inspired it, it inspired many countries around the world, including most of Europe. Some say that the word opera has been derived from the Italian words “Opera in Musica” which means work in music. The evidence of the very first opera performed in Italy was at the wedding of Marie de Medici and Henry IV of France. The Italian opera had three stages namely the baroque, the romantic and the modern.

Baroque period is the name of that period of Italian opera that originated in Italy at the beginning of the 17th century. The voice used was very high pitched along with the instrumental music. This style was known as monody and was developed by Giulio Caccini and Jacopo Peri. It was reflected in the opera Euridice that was based on the story of Eurydice and Orpheus. When there were no dialogues during the performance, there were songs with music. This type of opera inspired many other writes, one of them was Claudio Monteverdi who wrote La Favola D’Orfeo that had the monody style. It was his first play and it still is famous with the audience today. Monteverdi worked hard on synchronizing instrumental music with the words and showed this effort in Mantua, with large choruses with nearly forty instruments that created a really good effect.  He was named as the Maestro Da Cappella in Venice in the year 1613.

The first opera house for the public was opened in the year 1637. Monteverdi wrote many compositions for this theater and his works L’Incoronazione di Poppae and I Ritomo d’Ullise in Patria were prominent out of the many. He even brought the Bel Canto and Buffa styles into Italian opera. Bel canto had a more even tone and eased the singing stress. Buffa had more comic touch with amusing and mocking elements. All these acted as the stepping-stone for many other later composers. At the end of the century, there were three hundred and fifty opera created for the theaters in Venice alone. Many young artists were inspired to work in these theaters and bring out their talents. People came from outside Italy too.

In the 19th century, romantic opera began to rise and Gioacchino Rossini was responsible for it. The romantic opera involved lots of emotions and imagination along with lots of music and arias. This music was so fine that it overshadowed the blunders in the stories. His composures such as La Cenerentola and Barber of Seville are famous till today. Many others such as Vincenzo Bellini, Giuseppe Verdi, and Gaetano Donizetti followed him.

Giuseppe Verdi changed the way opera was written at that time. Nabucco was his first work and it was a very big success because of the great choruses along with enormous liveliness in the music. He even wrote Va Pensiero, a chorus presentation to inspire the warriors at the time of Italian independence struggle. The works, which followed this had a more patriotic theme and were also based on older romantic works. He began to venture into different musical forms and finally his creation Otello replaced Rossini’s opera. His last work Falstaff finally changed the conventional form of theater and made music and words more free-flowing.

Saturday, September 1, 2018


Johann Sebastian Bach (aged 61) in a portrait ...
Johann Sebastian Bach (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Music in XVIII century (1600-1825)

There were two times in this century. The first era was called the baroque era. This era was around 1600 to 1750. Baroque was the beginning of modern music because it has experienced the revolution from both theory and technique of its cultivating.

The key characteristics of this era included the merger of major and minor scales, many dissonant tones, the development of the orchestra, and the regular structures, but monotony. They also included the use of violin, harpsichord, organ, and flute.

In this era, people also knew the basso continuo technique, namely the bass accompaniment that brought harmony. There was repetition in the structure of music.

Composers who lived in this era were Johann Sebastian Bach, Georg Friedrich Handel, Antonio Vivaldi, Claudio Monteverdi, and Henry Purcell.

The second era was called the classical era. Sonatas and chamber music grew with more dynamic melodies. All of the classical era rules were applied intelligently by the composers.

The key characteristics of this era were the development of musical harmony, a very strong element of the dynamics that colored the composition, and a dynamic atmosphere that was expressed through the tempo, melody, and harmony. In this era, people also knew the pattern of 'question and answer'. Piano, with its ability to create dynamic, became a very important instrument.

The popular composers in this era were Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Joseph Haydn, and John Gay.

Portrait of Beethoven in 1804, by which point ...
Portrait of Beethoven in 1804
(Photo credit: 
Transition period of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

This period represented the transition time from classical music to romantic music that was initiated by Beethoven. He brought a dynamic element by using wider harmonies and more emotional techniques of music cultivating.

This period was called as transitional because there were some principles of classical era that were violated by Beethoven. For example, the use of the intro was considered to be the outside of the classical composition theory. However, it was precisely a characteristic of romantic music. Through his works, Beethoven influenced the transition of classical to romantic music greatly.

Friday, August 31, 2018


English: Diagram of a musical chord progressio...

There are basically two ways to compose music. One way is by starting from the bottom or the harmonic approach.

A composer/arranger takes a few chords, a phrase to hang them on and arranges the harmony in some kind of pattern. An example of this is the "loop" you often hear in contemporary music. A loop is simply a harmonic background over which a melody (or not) is played.

The second way to compose music is by starting with the melody. Composers may or may not have some idea of the finished idea (I prefer not to) but the melodic idea is fitted into some kind of phrase. The most common phrase used is the 8-bar phrase.

I find that starting with the melody to be the easier approach. Why? Because melody is easier to move forward then harmony. Sure, you can block out a few chords and arrange them to create a loop, but this becomes static over time. Melody is much easier to go forward with.

By using the principles of repetition and contrast, we can create a simple ABA form in no time at all. Then we can go back and harmonize each section.

I used to favor the harmonic approach at first. It was very easy to simply jot down chord changes on an 8-bar phrase, create some kind of arrangement, and improvise a melody on top. There is nothing wrong with this approach at all. But I soon found myself learning towards the melody first. Not because I think it's better, but simply because it's the method I like right now.

Either way, it's a good idea to compose music using one approach or the other. If you try to harmonize a melody while you're creating it, it will slow you down and may stop the creative flow.

    Edward Weiss is a pianist/composer and webmaster of Quiescence Music's online piano lessons. He has been helping students learn how to play piano in the New Age style for over 14 years and works with students in private, in groups, and now over the internet. Visit now and get a FREE piano lesson!

    Article Directory: EzineArticles

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Basic Training in the US ARMY BAND

United States Army Band COA.
United States Army Band COA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
You have likely seen the US Army band "Pershing's Own" at various occasions or playing taps, the beautiful and stirring music played as a final tribute to fallen soldiers. Started in 1922, the US Army Band has played a significant role in major US events and happenings.

The band plays at the White House and events such as the visit of a leader of a foreign country. The band also performs on official occasions as the need arises. The main mission of the Army band is to provide "musical support to the US troops both at home and abroad as well as for the citizens of the USA."

There are four special army bands that have the honor of performing at special functions. These are Pershing's Own, Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, US Army Field Band and US Military Academy Band. These special units are comprised of the best musicians in the US Army.
There are several other musical units in the US Army Band. The jazz group called the US Army Blues plays original American jazz music. The US Army Chorus is an all-male group, which as the name suggests, is the vocalist arm of the band. Other support units within the main band are the Brass Quintet, Rock and Pop Band, and Stage Band.

How to Join the Band
Before being accepted into the US Army Band, you have to meet regular army enlistment requirements. As such, if you are considering joining the US Army Band, get in touch with the recruiting office in your area. Once you meet the standard enlistment criteria, you will need to audition. Only proficient musicians are accepted. So what does being proficient mean? You must sight read music and have an understanding of scales, tone, rhythm and other related areas. The audition is generally administered by a band recruiting officer or a band commander.

The US Army website provides valuable information on what's expected in your audition based on your musical instrument of choice. For instance, to pass the audition for the keyboard, the following requirement must be met:

* Prepare selections from each of the following: swing, pop/rock, ballad and Latin and classical (optional). This is valued at 40 percent.
* Sight read representative literature and chord changes, for another 50 percent
* Play major scales with arpeggios, three octaves, memorized, use both hands for 10 percent.
* Should be able to demonstrate knowledge of the following chords: Maj 7, Min 7, Dom 7 and the ii-V7-I chord progression.
In order to be accepted, you have to audition for a specific instrument. You must be able to play one or more of the following:
* Bassoon
* Clarinet
* Electric bass
* Electric guitar
* Euphonium
* Flute
* French horn
* Keyboard
* Percussion
* Saxophone
* Trombone
* Trumpet
* Tuba
According to Jeremiah Keillor, Director of the Fort Knox's 113th Army Band known as the Dragoons, "Band soldiers come in at a higher rank as part of the Army Civilian Acquired Skills Program." The reason for obtaining a higher ranking when you join the U.S. Army Band is to acknowledge your years of training and experience in music.

Once a musician is accepted into the US Army Band, they are required to learn the basics of being a soldier in the US Army. This means that they have to complete a total of nine weeks of Basic Compact Training.

There are 30 U.S army bands spread across the USA and internationally. So, do you have what it takes to play in the US Army Band?

    By Duane Shinn
    A free email newsletter on exciting piano chords and chord progressions from Duane Shinn is available free at "Pianos"
    Article Source: EzineArticles

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The VIOLIN - Music Instruments of the World

The Violin - Music Instruments of the World

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Techniques to Relax Your Fingers So You Don't Let Stiff Fingers Spell an End to Your VIOLIN Dreams

English: Young Violinist
Young Violinist (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Are you just starting out with the violin? Flexibility in your fingers is extremely important and any violinist who wants to be able to play a wide range of songs NEEDS to have flexible fingers. However, finger flexibility is a common area that many people have problems with. This is also the case in adult violinists who are just starting out with the violin for the first time and don't have the nimble and flexible fingers that they might have when they were a child. What usually happens is that if they are unable to improve their flexibility, they give up trying to learn the violin altogether.

The first thing you need to do if you suffer from stiff fingers is to PRACTICE. Practice as much as you possibly can. Stiff fingers need time and experience to unstiffen. In addition to making sure you practice when you can, a little cardio workout will also do wonders. This gets the blood pumping through your system and into all areas of your body, like the tips of your fingers which will help when playing. You don't have to go for a run before you start playing, but go for a brisk walk and maybe walk a few flights of steps before you pick up your violin.

This little warm-up exercise is frequently used in the world of sports. First, sit or lie down on the ground in a comfortable position. Visualize that your fingers are warm, flexible and nimble. Imagine that you are playing a piece of music without any difficulty. See yourself playing this piece in tune and effortlessly. Half of the battle is believing in yourself. It doesn't help if you have friends or a teacher tell you that your fingers aren't flexible enough and you'll never be able to play complex pieces. Practicing this visualization technique each day will help instill confidence in yourself.

Remember that any stiffness you have may also come from other areas in your body and not your fingers. A final trick is to start off playing pieces of music slow. Once you are able to play them slowly without any problems, speed the song up just a notch. Repeat the process of learning the song as the new speed until you have mastered it and then take it a notch higher. This will help to improve the nimbleness of your fingers and remove any stiffness.

Monday, August 27, 2018

The History Of VOCAL JAZZ

The Old Plantation (anonymous folk painting). ...
The Old Plantation (anonymous folk painting).
Depicts African-American slaves dancing to banjo and percussion
(Photo credit: 
Jazz music made its mark in the hearts of Americans ever since the 20th century when people embraced the musicians of the time. However, when the singers came on the scene strong with skills in the art of scatting that is a vocal form of Jazz improvisation, the ability to articulate music expressively, and have that pizzazz to swing to the rhythms effectively makes a Jazz virtuoso. Jazz music bore another gift on the American public to spread to the world during the 1940's when singers came together to form groups.  The sound of acapella harmony of many voices like in a church choir using a juxtaposition of Jazz harmony is ethereal and divine.

In fact,  due to the success of such groups as the Mills Brothers, Boswell Sisters,  Andrews sisters, and Modernaires during the 1930's 1940's made Jazz fans of vocal Jazz music seek more.  As a result, record stores stocked up on the music of vocal Jazz music, and it became a tremendous success that made quartets like Manhattan Transfer a household name today.

In addition, America has the largest selection of vocal Jazz music even though there are vocal Jazz ensembles all over the world. These new vocal Jazz groups do not all sing acapella style music that is common to the barbershop. Vocal Jazz groups commonly use a Jazz band to accompany them as they perform. Jazz music may not be as strict as classical music, but it is in a class all it's own. It takes great skill to sing Vocal Jazz as it does with Classical and many other styles of music. Meaning, everyone cannot be a good jazz soloist, but it doesn't mean that they cannot sing in the vocal jazz ensemble.  Each singer must match in volume, resonance, and key in order to be a worthy member of the vocal Jazz ensemble. Ever singer must be able to sing their parts and be heard as well as blended into the group.  There are times when different people in the vocal Jazz group will be asked to scat to the music and take the challenges that some complex Jazz music holds with great skill.

All the beauty that Vocal Jazz possessed in the past did not always keep it in popularity.  For instance, there was a time in the 60's when Jazz music no longer had mass appeal due to the American interest in Rock music. Imagine the record companies who supply music to the radios and the nightclubs who allowed popular acts to perform live suddenly locking Jazz musicians out.  Yet, Jazz never lost its following despite the ever-changing interests of the public. Vocal Jazz singers attempted to begin again in the 70's, but the public did not show much interest in a style that was considered pass√©.

Fortunately, those who loved the music and dedicated themselves to the music caused people to take notice from the latter part of the 80's to the millennium where Jazz singers came prepared to recreate Jazz again. Vocal Jazz singers went along with the times to keep the traditional Jazz and add new elements that the public would like to hear.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Dreaming Of Playing BLUES GUITAR Chords Like A Pro?

English: Picture taken from taking barre chord...
The picture was taken from taking barre chord on a guitar. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
You know what they say: ”If you’ve got the blues, you’ve got the juice.” Indeed, blues guitar music is the Mecca of all guitar music. After all, you can’t get any better than that head bobbing and feet tapping rhythm that courses through your very soul like a fine wine or a hot cup of coffee.

Blues guitar chords and guitar lessons, anyone?

There are several reliable blues guitar chords and guitar lessons online and offline.  These are all managed by experienced and schooled guitarists. Online sites can have you playing the blues faster than ordinary lessons.  Once you sign up for instructions, you will be regularly provided with progressive guitar coaching. There are also sites that offer 200 lessons for exclusive members.

If you want to learn speed guitar playing with your blues guitar chords, the Internet is a minefield for sites that hasten your accomplishments with the trickier aspects of guitar playing – fingering, phrasing, and picking, useful techniques if you dream of playing like the greats, such as BB King, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and blues rocker Anna Popovic.

The homepages of several sites have a list of lessons for beginners, intermediate, advanced, and legendary. Each category is marked by a number of guitars graphics. Two to three guitars indicate the difficulty level of the lesson, so start with the appropriate tutorial. And no, skipping levels won’t help you. You’re only fooling yourself.

Learning blues guitar chords

Learning blues guitar chords online affords you the flexibility of time. You can schedule the hour for your training according to your free time. Learning or slacking, it’s your call. Take note, however, that you have to be consistent with your lessons. A daily dose of guitar instruction will have you playing like a pro in no time.

Of course, you must have a guitar to practice on. If you don’t have one, well, go get one, otherwise, you’re a sitting duck. Playing blues guitar chords are often demonstrated online to give you an idea of how the chords are played. The instructor gives explanations before, during, and after the demonstration. Your background information, basic guitar skills, and understanding of the triads are essential tools for your advanced training.

If you have just started fundamental lessons or still feeling your way around guitars, learning the blues guitar chords will definitely not be a piece of cake. But fear not because frequent practice makes perfect. Set an hour or two for added lessons in blues guitar chords. Know the basics, practice and prepare, then go learn those blues guitar chords. And yes, definitely in that order.

How do I learn the tricks with blues guitar chords?

First, you need an acoustic or electric guitar. These should have steel strings and have the standard tuning of E-A-D-G-B-E. You must have the aptitude to read tablatures. A good chord book and some blues music CDs, preferably of your blues heroes, will help you along, or at least, inspire you. The last and most significant tool you need is your ability to discern the tonal quality of the guitar.

The step-by-step blues guitar tutorials will take you along the 12 chord progression, via audio examples, blues tablature, MP3 jam tracks, detailed instructions, and video demonstrations.
You will need to master the primary elements – pentatonic scale, chord structure, and the different right-hand rhythm styles. As you go along, make sure you are absorbing the blues guitar chords dictionary, including visualizing chord arrangements on the guitar.

When you are ready, you will be introduced to the more complex diminished and augmented chords.  Some cynics scoff at the idea of guitar scales lessons. But little do they know that the great guitarists have learned to add depth to their blues by applying their extensive knowledge and appreciation of scales. This also boils down to learning the organization of the fretboard.

Playing the solo

Playing the solo starts with learning the rhythm part of the blues guitar chords. It can be compared to the blueprint that is used as a guide for solo blues artists. In solo playing, the notes are played one by one, and this is accompanied by the rhythm guitar. In contrast, the rhythm plays the note of one chord all at once or is plucked in progression.

So, with all that said, do you think you can be the next Jimi Hendrix with your blues guitar chords?

Friday, August 24, 2018

UKULELE - Music-Instruments of the World

Ukulele - Music-Instruments of the World

Thursday, August 23, 2018


English: PAF Humbucker Pickup on a Gibson Les ...
PAF Humbucker Pickup on a Gibson Les Paul (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
For years or decades, I’ve played electric guitar in bands at bars, schools, concerts and recording sessions yet I couldn’t tell you what pick-ups (p/u’s) were about. I mean, I didn’t have a clue as to what a pick-up did what to my sound. I grew up in a Gibson family. I mean that my relatives when they didn’t ridicule me for my participation as a rock and roll guitar player, said if I played the guitar, it had to be a Gibson. So, I only had a clue about humbucker type pick-up’s Gibson used. Oh yeah, it’s little brother the P-90.

My first electric was a Tiesco Del Ray I got for Christmas in 1967. I did get a Mattel Tiger guitar that was made of plastic and used a contact type pick-up. My brother and I each got one that XMAS so often times we’d use one of the pick-ups as a vocal mic.

Those days’ electric strings were extremely limited in types and gauges available to young poor city folk like yours truly. I think I only remember Gibson, Fender and Black Diamond strings. This is before the Maestro Fuzz and the Vox Wha-Wha were available to the buying public like me. Back to pick-ups!

With the limited info as to how the stars were getting “THAT SOUND” we just kept trying to learn guitar without “how to” magazines and poor sounding phonograph players playing 45’s on a tiny speaker. You could say there was no reason to discern between p/u’s.

In the mid 70’s I was already playing full time and knew about vintage Les Pauls and the legendary PAF pick-up’s that were installed in them. Around that time an N.Y. Co. was making a name for themselves as a replacement for your non- Gibson brand type (humbucking) pick-up, DeMarzio. I ended up buying one for my 76 Explorer. Mind you I owned since the mid 60’s, a late 50’s Epiphone symmetric cherry finish Coronet with a, I think someone called it a cobalt pick-up. It is referred to as the “P-90”, or “soap bar” single coil type pick-up. I loved that guitar and its sound. I just thought I should have a “real vintage” sounding guitar with a humbucking p/u installed. I also owned a Les Paul Deluxe with the mini humbuckers. It sounded great, I just thought it should have full sized p/u’s to sound and look right. To quote Ian Hunter in the mid 70,s, “Rock guitarist’s seem to have this Gibson fetish”, and I did! I wanted the “look”.

Gil Pini, the other Guitarist playing with me was using the DeMarzio super Distortion humbucking , and I for some reason didn’t feel good about its sound and feel, although it was touted as “heaven sent “ sort of thing, especially for Marshall amplifiers back then (no master volume on the pre-amp stage). I eventually purchased a Super 2 p/u, because it had more bite. And to me, meant, it would cut through cleaner and not be as transparent in the mix. I even bought the Alembic ‘Hot Rod Kit” for my 56 Les Paul Jr. (stupid) in 1976 or 77. That was supposed to be a good idea because it was hotter (better sounding) with a ceramic magnet to install, and since it was from Alembic (from California) and not some “upstart p/u manufacturer” it was the right thing to do. I didn’t think about the DeMarzio pick-up’s and I didn’t know that those pick-up’s used the ceramic magnets at the time.

As I started to record in major recording studios I’d learn to discern my sound. I didn’t have those how-to magazines to hip me to that elusive vintage “sound”. Yet, I could hear my Gibson Explorer and my Les Paul Jr. distorting at all volume levels as well as attack approach. It just wouldn’t smooth out. I was puzzled. Still trying to connect the look with the sound, I stumbled through the maze for years.

Not having the patience, or the money to buy and compare p/u’s, I just tried to make a sound with what I had. I had all the right Pro equipment. Yet I was looking back, “wagging the dog”.

A good sound starts from the fingers to the guitar to the P/u’s. If you don’t start there, you’re spinning in circles and you’ll end up with a transparent (fuzzy) sound without body and response. “Your fingers are your tone generators”. Not the amps or pedals. Those are tools to augment your expression. And if you learn anything about troubleshooting on the fly, you go down the line to find the problem with your sound or rig. The same goes for finding your sound. When establishing your sound you start with you, through the pick-up on down to the amp. With troubleshooting on stage, you should start with the amp and go down the line back to you. Which makes sense since you’ve established your rig set up, and you’re trying to fix what was working, you backtrack. If not, you’re spinning in circles, again!

So, I had a friend who made the point about how some pick-up’s play you and PAF’s don’t. I soon tried two 57 Classic pick-up’s installed on my 92 Les Paul Classic and what do you know? I had a sound that was tight on the bottom ringing on the top and honking clear/dirty mids when I played hard, and subtle soft tones when I backed off the and played lightly. I was in HEAVEN!! And the great thing that went with it was that this same thing happened regardless of the volume setting on the guitar.

My experience was that the tone I got on full could be bright and tight with a honk, and as soon as I backed off the guitar’s volume, the tone would take on a dark or dull shade. This meant I would spend a lot of time tweaking the blend between my rhythms (clean and crunch) and lead tones. Looking for each was a drag and a waste of time!

I’m no tech. so I can’t and won’t waste your time with my take of their specs. I do know that there’s something about the combination of the enamel coated copper wire and the alnico magnets that give me a sound I can play with and use dynamics. It was soon after I started using the Gibson 57 Classic pick-up, that Gibson came out with their 57 Classic plus. This p/u was designed as a bridge p/u.

In the 50;s the gals at the pick-up dept. would wind these pick-up’s using an egg timer or something like that. Sometimes they’d be distracted and some pick-ups would end up with more winds. Other times they would end up with less.

The p/u’s with more sounded “hotter” and when people started going for the tone, they’d notice the sound of certain pick-ups compared to others. It wasn't rocketed science to come up with the idea to put one of those “hot” pickups in the bridge position you would have a bright, tight, and honk’n lead tone where there wasn’t. And a whole new submarket in ‘vinatge' pick-up’s ‘ came about.

Which brings us full circle, “I use Gibson Pick-ups and I’m sure that the other brands quality alnico pickups are a good sounding product. I do know what sounds good to me and what I know from “my” experience. I’m a guitarist who’s been around the block and my ears have a sense as to what a pickup should sound like, that’s what I go for all the time.

Make your self happy and keep the communication’s open!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

OBOE MUSIC for Beginners (Part Two) - Review of easy pieces with piano parts

Deux musettes du "Cantigas de Santa Maria...
Deux musettes du "Cantigas de Santa Maria" (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In addition to the necessity of a good oboe tutor book, it is important that young oboists get the opportunity to play rewarding yet accessible pieces, preferably with a piano accompaniment. This second article on oboe music for beginners looks at pieces which fall into this category. To be able to stand up in a school assembly or school concert and perform a rewarding piece of music is a highly motivating experience for most young oboe players. Playing the oboe is not an easy skill so anything which inspires young oboists will make them feel that the effort is worthwhile.
There are a number of good publications around containing appropriate music for such occasions; some of the material is original and some of it is specially arranged. It is from this range of material that the exam boards draw their list A & B syllabus too. There are a number of books of oboe music for beginners which I have found particularly useful over the years and which are to be found on both the Associated Board and Trinity Guildhall exam syllabi.

“The First Book of Oboe Solos” In my early days of teaching, this was far and away the best book of early oboe pieces available. The mixture of original and arranged music is very well presented and the majority is interesting to young oboists. A couple of fairly easy pieces opens the book but it soon moves on to more advanced material of Grade 2 to 3 standard.

“The Second Book of Oboe Solos” This is a sequel to the above book and, therefore, not really appropriate for absolute beginner oboists. It takes the approximate standard up to about Grade 5.

The Really Easy Oboe Book” This collection of 20 progressive pieces was written to meet the demand when, about 20 years ago, the introduction of Grades 1 & 2 for woodwind instruments created a need for new appropriate repertoire. The pieces are all original and in a mixture of styles. The piano accompaniments are all easy to play for ‘non-specialist’ pianists. This book is widely used by both the AB and Trinity Guildhall boards.

“Learn as you play oboe” & “Abracadabra Oboe” Both these books are actually tutors but contain accompanied pieces used by the exam boards. In “Learn as you play oboe” there are 3 sets of pieces for which piano parts are available. In “Abracadabra Oboe” there is a book of piano accompaniments available for all the material in the book. For users of these tutors, the accompaniments are a very useful addition.

“Three Elizabethan Pieces” This set of three short pieces is a gem. The pieces are all perfect for young oboists and it is not surprising that they have found themselves on to the syllabi of both exam boards.

“Nine Short Pieces from Three Centuries” & “Oboe Music to Enjoy”These are both very good collections of pieces nicely arranged and both are used by the exam boards.

“All Jazzed Up for Oboe” For those who like a more contemporary slant to their repertoire, this is an excellent book. It adds a valuable source of lighter music to the repertoire of oboe music for beginners. The problem with jazzy pieces is that the rhythm patterns are often a bit tricky but with many young oboists facing jazzy repertoire in woodwind ensembles and wind bands these days, learning the idiom fairly early on in their oboe playing career is very important.

The above repertoire of oboe music for beginners is material which I have found particularly helpful myself. As I said earlier in the article, good, interesting, well-written music is motivating for young oboe players and gives them a great feeling of achievement. To be able to stand up in public or in an exam room and perform enjoyable music with confidence is probably the most inspiring situation for any young oboist; it makes them want to go home and practise for the next opportunity.

    Robert Hinchliffe is a professional oboist, composer, teacher, conductor and music director. This article is based upon over 35 years of both playing and teaching the oboe. If you have found this article interesting and would like to know more about the oboe, please visit

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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

OBOE MUSIC for Beginners (Part One) – A review of Oboe Tutor Books

An oboe
An oboe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When I began to play the oboe back in the late 1950’s, my teacher started me off with Otto Langey’s book, The Oboe. Although not ideal oboe music for beginners it was all that was available. Since that time a number of alternatives have become available, - some are learning methods and some are books of pieces for young players.

As an experienced player and teacher of the oboe, I have used a variety of material in oboe lessons over the years; - some of it is still available and some not. In this article, I will review the books that I have found particularly helpful and which, to the best of my knowledge, are still available today.

“A Tune a Day for Oboe” When I first began to teach in about 1972 this was the book most widely used, indeed it was one of the very few books of oboe music for beginners around at the time. It is still available although not used as often as it used to be. It is a fairly comprehensive book made up of a part tutor, part study book, and part easy pieces. The order in which the notes are introduced is a little questionable in my view but there is a nice balance of exercises and tunes used for each new note or technique introduced. The tunes selected are a mixture of the familiar and the unfamiliar which is good. Some of the tunes in the first half of the book are in duet form, with a second part for the teacher to play. Some of the later music is arranged in duet or trio form for a group of students to play. “A Tune a Day” does have quite a lot to commend it but I always found it a slightly dull book, both for student and teacher.

“Learn as you play oboe” This book dates back to 1980 and quickly took over from “A Tune a Day” as the most used of the oboe tutor books. There were a few others which cropped up at about that time as I remember, but they quickly sank without trace. The approach of this book was fairly similar to “A Tune a Day” but with the addition of three sets of Concert Pieces for which piano accompaniments could be purchased. These pieces quickly found themselves on to the Associated Board syllabus at appropriate grades. This book was followed up by a book of First Repertoire Pieces (with piano accompaniments) which also found their way on to the exam boards. My assessment of this book is very similar to that of A Tune a Day in that it is rather dull and uninspiring. Also, the sequence in which the notes are taught is not entirely to my liking.

“Team Woodwind” I am not, and never have been a fan of any kind of band method. It is a concept which does not sit easily with me. I have included this book in my appraisal of oboe music for beginners as I know that some teachers like this particular approach or are pushed into it by circumstances. I have always believed that we begin by working in like-instrument groups (i.e. - with other oboes) before branching out when we are ready into woodwind ensembles and, later, bands and orchestras. Putting different woodwind instruments together too soon I feel is a mistake! “Team Woodwind” is a well-produced book with a reasonable collection of material but it is not for me.

“Abracadabra Oboe” When it came on the market back in 1990, Abracadabra Oboe was the book I had been waiting for since beginning to teach. The sequence in which the notes are taught is absolutely spot-on and the balance between learning material and tunes is excellent. There is also a very good balance between known tunes and the unfamiliar. The only shame is that this book did not materialize 20 years sooner. Material from this book has, not surprisingly, been adopted by the exam boards for the earlier grade exams too which makes it an ideal choice for beginner oboe players.

The three key issues in any oboe tutor must be:

1) The introduction of notes and techniques must be in a logical and helpful order.

2) The layout must be attractive to the eye of the beginner oboist.

3) Most important of all, the book must inspire and motivate young oboists to practice and, therefore, progress.

So, when assessing oboe music for beginners, in my personal opinion, based on many years of both playing and teaching, Abracadabra does all these three things in a way which no other oboe tutor does and provides an ideal starting point for anyone who wishes to learn to play the oboe.

Robert Hinchliffe is a professional oboist, composer, teacher, conductor, and music director. This article is based upon over 35 years of both playing and teaching the oboe. If you have found this article interesting and would like to know more about the oboe, please visit

Monday, August 20, 2018

GEMEINHARDT FLUTES and the Historical Evolution of the FLUTE

Gemeinhardt is the world's largest exclusive maker of piccolos and flutes, making musical instruments for all level players from beginning students to professionals. Kurt Gemeinhardt was born in Germany and served as an apprentice to his father, also a flute maker. In fact, Kurt Gemeinhardt was a fourth generation flute maker. It is no wonder that Gemeinhardt has had a significant influence on the evolution of the flute in the 20th century.

In 1928 Kurt moved to Elkhart, Indiana, America's mid-20th century capital for musical instrument production. In 1948 he opened his own manufacturing plant called The Gemeinhardt Company. Gemeinhardt specialized in all-silver flutes, and in 1952 the plant had to be expanded to accommodate orders. Later, Gemeinhardt also made entry level flutes and other intermediate models.

In the late 1990s, Gemeinhardt acquired Roy Seaman Piccolo Company, which was famous for its handmade granadilla wood piccolos that are in demand from professionals the world over. Today, Gemeinhardt makes a range of flutes, including piccolos, student, intermediate, and professional flutes, bass flutes, and alto flutes.

The company is now part of a parent organization, Gemstone Musical Instruments, also based in Elkhart Indiana. Gemstone makes and distributes every level flute under a variety of names, including Gemeinhardt, which has a long reputation as a company that makes excellent flutes with beautiful intonation.

You can still occasionally find a hand-crafted Gemeinhardt flute from the 1960s - some of them made by Kurt Gemeinhardt himself. These are amazing instruments, many of which feature an open hole design, which allows for a richer, more lush tone. Anyone lucky enough to find a solid silver open hole flute from the 1960s will pay several thousand dollars for it, but in addition to its inherent quality and craftsmanship, it will have a long history to go with it, and might just have been held in the hands of the great Kurt Gemeinhardt himself.