Dec 052017
 

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People of all walks of life have opinions about every topic you can imagine (and maybe about a few items you would never want to believe). Music is no exception. Both the famous and the infamous have opinions about music, ranging from what it is to what it isn’t to what it could or should be.

Here are a few quotations about music:

Kin Hubbard was a well-known cartoonist (he created “Abe Martin of Brown County,” which ran in U.S. newspapers from 1904 until his death in 1930) and a humorist. There are a great many terrific quotations attributed to him, but his comment on music is one of my favorites. He said, “Classical music is the kind we keep thinking will turn into a tune.”

Oscar Wilde was a famous playwright and poet. He was also a scoundrel in many ways, but he did have insight. About music, he said, “Music makes one feel so romantic — at least it always gets on one’s nerves — which is the same thing nowadays.”
J. K. Rowling (the Harry Potter books author and my heroine because she got kids to read) said, “Ah, music. A magic beyond all we do here!”

Nov 082017
 

Classical Gas is one of the most requested and most familiar instrumental pieces of all time. This tune is always asked for whenever a bunch of people and a nylon string acoustic guitar are in the same room. Even though it is not a great technical showcase for fingerstyle guitarists, it is a great vehicle to show off the sound of the classical guitar.

 

Classical Gas, released into the world in 1968, was a song that The Doors prevented from turning into a number one hit; but, it remained in the second place for two weeks. Today, it is still among the most familiar tunes of all time and, along with The Anonymous Romance and Lecuona’s Malaguena, regarded as an essential element of the classical guitar repertoire. Moreover, nobody can say why.

 

The impact of Classical Gas is way more than the sum of its parts. There are very few musical ideas in this composition. It is mainly repetition of a theme made up of a few notes. There are a few parts that are unforgettable “surprises” making use of syncopation, scales, strums, and rough time signature changes. Somehow all the bits link together like pearls on a necklace, and the final note adds a sublime resolution.

 

The composer, Mason Williams, states on his website, “I did not have any big plans for it, other than maybe to have a piece to play at parties when they passed the guitar around. I envisioned it as simply repertoire or “fuel” for the classical guitar, so I called it Classical Gasoline.” Mason Williams’ day job was as a comedy writer and stand-up comedian who had lots of other projects besides writing a classical guitar instrumental.

 

It was Mason Williams’ work on the Smothers Brothers’ “Comedy Hour” which gave him the opportunity to have his pet composition heard by the American public. The original score of the piece shows only chords and a few notes. Mason Williams had a twenty-three-year-old composer named Mike Post finish off the arrangement.

 

At the Grammys, it won Best Instrumental Composition and Best Instrumental Performance for Mason Williams and Best Instrumental Arrangement for Mike Post who has had a career full of triumphs in the field of TV theme music. Among his achievements as a television, theme composer include the theme(s) of Law And Order, The A-Team, and the Rockford Files.

 

Classical Gas has been employed as the theme music for several news programs, the background music for the Apollo 4 movie, and featured in some other films and TV shows. Many people have mistakenly attributed Mason Williams’ solo version of the tune for a cover by Eric Clapton.

 

Classical Gas is an easy piece to play; the challenge is to play it with passion and dynamics because it appears to non-guitarists, more challenging to play than it is. Maybe this is the reason it is among the most requested guitar pieces ever.

 

 

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Classical Gas
By Mason Williams. Piano Solo; Solo. Pop. Performance part. With chord names. 5 pages. Published by Alfred Music (AP.3708CSMT).
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Classical Gas
Guitar TAB. Composed by Mason Williams. This edition: Guitar TAB. Artist/Personality; Guitar Personality; Guitar TAB. Pop, Classical and Play Along. Guitar tablature songbook and accompaniment CD. With guitar tablature, standard notation, vocal melody, lyrics, chord names and guitar chord diagrams. 176 pages. Published by Alfred Music (AP.P0961GTA).
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Classical Gas
Drill Design 68/12. Arrangers’ Publ Drill Books. 24 pages. Arrangers’ Publishing Company #D620. Published by Arrangers’ Publishing Company (HL.40001744).
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Classical Gas
Drill Design 83/12. Arrangers’ Publ Drill Books. 28 pages. Arrangers’ Publishing Company #D621. Published by Arrangers’ Publishing Company (HL.40001745).
Oct 032017
 

Indie music is a type of alternative rock which exists in the independent music world. The word is periodically used to refer to all underground music and is the opposite of indie pop music. Indie rock music emphasizes electric instruments such guitars and drums. Musicians in the genre are also known for using abstract sounds. Because these players work under smaller record labels instead of the major record companies, the term indie rock applies to them.

Though indie rock is not technically a genre, it is considered to represent the underground culture in many aspects. Indie artists are known for demanding a large amount of creative control over their music, and this is something which often alienates them from more major companies. These artists strictly rely on word of mouth, tours, and independent radio stations to promote their music. Many of the famous artists will end up becoming popular with mainstream audiences and may be signed by large record labels.

In the US indie music is considered to be a spin-off from alternative rock. The movement is believed to have started during the 1970s or 1980s. The indie rock music of the 1980s had sounds described as being cumbersome and distorted. Indie music groups in the 1990’s such as Nirvana and Pearl Jam became mainstream and indie music became better known. Once the genre became popular, major record companies begin investing large amounts of money in it.

Once this happened, the term “alternative rock” became more of a misnomer. Traditionally, many musicians who have signed with major record companies were considered to be “sell-outs” by their hardcore fans. My Original Music is an indie music site located at myoriginalmusic.com. Here you can find music by independent artists from all over the world. Today, indie rock is a term which has come to describe a wide variety of music. Psychedelic folk, synth-pop, and post-punk is also considered indie rock in a genre.

Sometimes the term indie rock becomes blurred, and some believe that the word will soon disappear much as alternative rock did. Mainstream artists such as Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys have been known to reach high levels on the indie music charts, especially in the United Kingdom. Some mainstream artists also signed to independent record labels. Many popular indie music artist become mainstream, and once this happens, they are no longer independent.

Despite the fact that many indie artists become mainstream, this is not always the case. In fact, most independent artists are not mainstream and do not wish to be. Money may be a motivating factor, but many artists play their music for the passion and not the money. Many major record labels exert a significant amount of control over their artists, and the music sold is more often the product of the record companies than the artists themselves. Because of this, many artists have fought with the major record labels over creative control of their music.

 

 

Sep 262017
 

baby violin

 

There might be different views as regards music as it has a significant effect on our emotions and scientists have proved that music also affects the development of human brain too. When a baby is born, it has billions of brain cells, over time these cells grow stronger. Children who grow up listening music have strong music connections. It affects the way of your thinking, for example, listening to classical music improves your spatial reasoning, and if you are learning by playing with an instrument, it affects individual thinking skills.

Is it true that music makes one smarter?
Music controls some cells of the brain for a particular way of thinking, and after listening to classical music, one can quickly perform some spatial tasks such as solving a jigsaw puzzle. This improved performance is because the classical music pathways are similar to the channels used in spatial reasoning. When one listens to classical music, these channels are turned on and are ready to be used. These open channels result in solving the puzzle quickly but lasts for a short time after listening to music. Playing an instrument also improves the spatial skills as research has proved that music training creates new pathways in the brain.

Use of classical music
Due to the complex structure of classical music, a child who listens to classical music quickly picks out the structure and recognizes any classical music he has heard before. Therefore, listening to classical music has a different effect as compared to other forms of music.

How to nurture your child with music?
You can easily help your child to build his love for music by playing music for your baby, singing to your baby, start taking early music lessons, sing with your child or help your child to learn music education at the school.

Sep 192017
 

Music and ballet intertwined right from the beginning of time. Without music, ballet is nothing more than the empty motions of a ritual. Without the movement and rhythm of the dance, music loses all vitality. Moreover, so, ballet as a doorway to human expression hinges on both music and dance.

Jean Baptiste Lully (1632-1687), the Italian-born French composer who founded the French national opera was not just a court composer to Louis XIV, but also a choreographer who produced court ballets for Moliere’s plays. Because of his work in music and choreographer, his productions never lacked an accompaniment. However, theater productions of the eighteenth century turned composers away from ballet and toward the music of ballroom dancing.

This phase sustained its self straight through the nineteenth century except for pieces by Russian classical composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) which include the Nutcracker, Swan Lake, and Sleeping Beauty.

In the twentieth century, however, ballet came back to the spotlight. Once again considered a respectable art form, choreographers looked to the works of classical composers such as Mozart, Bach, Vivaldi, Chopin, Brahms, and Handel to perform the art of ballet dancing too.

Many agree that dance owes its very existence to the likes of those who are both composers and choreographers. Because being musicians in nature, they naturally pay close attention to ballet following the rhythmic structure of its accompaniment precisely. One who does not understand music can easily create choreography that looks good that in of itself, yet at the mercy of a great classical piece the novice falls short of expressing the true nature of the piece. Instead, they turn the production into a form of movement that is devoid of both art and beauty. The experts instead know when it is appropriate to go against the grain of the accompaniment to heighten those dramatic periods which capture their audience’s attention and leaves them breathless.

As we dawn a new era of music and dance, it is undeniable that ballet will continue to change. However, just as music and dance have always been the best of friends, the ballet will continue to find its new identity in the evolving music of today.

Do you have a brass band and looking for new music to play at your next performance? Check out and purchase my arrangement of No. 5 Pas de deux From Act I from the Ballet Swan Lake Op. 20 by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky by clicking on the link.

No. 5 Pas de deux From Act I from the Ballet Swan Lake Op. 20

 

Sep 122017
 

Whether you are using a book, video, a real live human, or online lessons, keep these pointers in mind to get the most out our your studies.

1. Complete and master each section before moving on to the next. As you work through your lessons, make sure you have each new technique or idea conquered before moving on to the next. Lessons are planned to build upon each other and trying to rush through without fully understanding one will just lead to frustration and wasted efforts.

2. Study your music lesson as if you were in school. Do some homework, aka practice, every night. If all you have is 15 minutes, then use those 15 minutes. If you do not have time to read/watch and apply, then implement the concepts of your last lesson or drills such as scales and chords. Reading/watching and not having the opportunity to use immediately will usually mean you have to relearn your lesson. Take notes; especially if you are watching a video or working with a human. Also, don’t be afraid to write all over your workbooks and sheet music. Making short notes in your music will help you learn your music and facilitate in a successful music performance, audition, rehearsal or lesson.

3. Apply what you have learned. If it is a solo, play for others such as your church, your family, or if you play piano, that spare piano sitting in your favorite department store (be sure to ask first). If you play in an ensemble, be sure to apply what you have learned in your music lesson to the music you are playing with that group.

These tips work whether you are a child or an adult. Learning to play an instrument is an excellent and fulfilling activity.

Are you looking for an etude book for your music lessons? Check these books by clicking on these links or using the search box.

 

 


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Piano Adventures Level 1 – Lesson Book (2nd Edition)
Faber Piano Adventures®. Methods. Softcover. 64 pages. Faber Piano Adventures #FF1078. Published by Faber Piano Adventures (HL.420171).
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Alfred’s Adult All-in-One Course – Level 1 (Book)
Lesson * Theory * Technic. Method/Instruction; Piano – Alfred’s Basic Adult All-in-One Course; Technique Musicianship; Theory. Alfred’s Basic Adult Piano Course. Instructional. Instructional book. With introductory text, instructional text, illustrations and performance notes. 160 pages. Published by Alfred Music (AP.5753).
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You Can Teach Yourself Piano by Ear
Composed by Robin Jarman. Squareback saddle-stitched. You Can Teach Yourself. Contemporary, Method. Book and online audio/video. 56 pages. Published by Mel Bay Publications, Inc (MB.94270M).
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40 Studies (High School of Cello Playing), Op. 73
Composed by David Popper (1843-1913). Edited by Stutch. Published by International Music Company (IM.811).
Sep 072017
 

People associate songs and music with events in their lives. Many songs hold special memories for them, and they fondly remember the songs that were playing when they went to their first dance. Maybe they remember the songs their school band performed during half time at their high school football games, the songs that they heard on our first date, or the songs they heard on the radio while driving their first car.

If you were a teenager, like my sister and brother or a child like me in the 1970’s, the music of this decade is probably the most impressive and most recognized of any other era. The artists of the 1970’s provided us with numerous songs we loved to dance and sing along. At that time most bands played their instruments and did not need to sequence part of it.

I remember how we used to listen to the music then? At first, we had eight track players in our cars; then we moved upward to cassette players. Vinyl records were the most popular way to listen to our favorite music. Every week you could go to your local variety or record store and pick up the new #1 song on a 45 record for under $1.00. Of course, there was always the radio to listen to – most of the popular channels were on am radio. We had many styles of music. Among these types include the bubble gum music of David Cassidy and the Partridge Family, soft rock of Barry Manilow, the great dance tunes of the Bee Gees and the Commodores, the rock of Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin, the brass band sounds of Chicago, or the disco beat of Chic and Donna Summer.

The nostalgia of the 1970’s music lives on today. Can we listen to it on our local 70’s radio station, on CDs, on mp3, download it on our computer, and burn it onto CDs. For those of us who prefer records, we can still purchase them at record stores, antique or second-hand stores, or yard sales. Of course, many of us have held on to our record collections and record players and can pull them out at any time when we need to relive those nostalgic days of the 1970’s. Some bands are still performing after more than 30-40 years. There’s nothing like seeing your favorite 1970’s performers live in concert!

The music of the 1970’s is still popular with people of all ages, not just those who grew up with it. It never grows old. It only gets better with each passing decade.

Relive the days of the 1970’s by purchasing these music selections. Just click on the albums below.

 

Sep 062017
 
Originally composed by Jerome Kern, with lyrics written by Oscar Hammerstein II for the musical, Very Warm for May in 1939, All The Things You Are is a piece that is a jazz standard performed by many performers including Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Charlie Parker, and Michael Jackson.
This arrangement for Horn Quartet is 3 minutes, 32 seconds long, and is an endurance challenge for the first part. It also should be played lyrically at quarter note equaling 120.
Sep 062017
 
Written by Richard and Robert Sherman and featured in the 1964 motion picture, Mary Poppins, Feed the Birds is a song that tells of an elderly beggar woman who sits on the steps of London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral.  As the birds gather around her, she sells bread crumbs to those who pass by for tuppence a bag.
With the duration of 3 minutes long, this arrangement of Feed the Birds is for six horns and is a great piece as far as phrasing, chamber ensemble playing and dynamic levels.
Sep 062017
 
The Hanging Tree is a composition written by James Newton Howard and featured in the 2014 film The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 from the Hunger Games film series. This arrangement is for a British Style Brass Band by Lisa Lenke Sousa.
The brass band arrangement starts with a cornet solo and later joined by the solo horn. As the piece grows in dynamics, so does the instrumentation until it reaches a full band at a double forte. At the very end of the composition, the solo cornet returns with the melody and slows down at the end. It is a tiered piece with different dynamics that make the arrangement.