Category Archives: Music

Rockstars, Singer/Songwriters and Inspirational Music

I remember going to a U2 concert in Southern France many years ago. Somehow I worked my way up towards the front of the muddy mosh pit. I could almost see Bono’s sweat drip off of his amazing face. WOW! The tour was ‘The Joshua Tree’ album. This was the beginning of my love for rockstars. I would then fall for Robert Smith of ‘The Cure’. Songs like ‘Pictures of You’ from ‘Disintegration’ pulled me into a beautiful reverie and I thus became an official poet.

Kate Bush soon crept into my favorite box. Although she is/was not really a rocker, she was this incredible artist who shook me to the core. From ‘The Dreaming’ to ‘The Sensual World’, I was completely hooked. Her song ‘Lily’ intrigued me in terms of the seeming witchcraft she used. ‘You’re the One’ was so beautiful as many of her songs. I think I related to the crazy love she felt for her beloved. After listening to her for a few years, I begin singing. But, I would only sing when I was alone, I never dreamed of singing to anyone else. That would come years later.

Ozzy Osbourne came into my awareness also around the late 80’s. He was such a different style than Kate or Bono (Robert Smith kinda fit in though… ). I could not really put myself into a box in terms of ‘rocker’, ‘goth chick’ or ‘folkster’. I think I fell in love with it all. ‘Diary of a Madman’ was now an anthem to me. Unfortunately, I was a troubled teen and I tried to kill myself while listening to the music. I really don’t think the music had much to do with it. It was just a reflection of a sadness I felt inside. I still love Ozzy, I think he is a genius and his music will live on forever.

Fast forward to Tori Amos… instant love! I think it was the piano and ethereal voice that drew me in as it also reminded me a little bit of Kate. She is so unusual and her lyrical content is so wild. The song ‘Little Earthquakes’ from the album with the same name blew me away. I think it’s her voice too that just communicates passion like no other.

Playing the Guitar – How to Play Fast

Learning to play something new on the guitar, whether it is slow or fast, involves teaching your brain to move your fingers in some new way. The goal is to teach your brain to be able to play this new piece without you having to think about it. This is a very important point. But before we start, if the passage you want to learn is long, you need to break it up into pieces that are relatively short. A passage can almost always be split up into shorter pieces. You learn each piece individually, and string them all together in the end.

So how do you train your brain to play something ‘automatically’? In order to achieve this, you start slow. You slow way down. Be sure to tap your foot or use a metronome to keep the beat. You need to make a point to keep the beat and play the piece in time, because if you don’t, your brain will get accustomed to playing it that way and you have just wasted a lot of effort.

Slow down and play it.

If you make a mistake, stop, and play the piece from the start. Again, we don’t want to teach the brain to play with a mistake in it, because it will be hard to get rid of once you have played it a couple of times.

Keep on playing the piece, at the same slow pace, until you can play it without making a mistake. Done it? Now play it again. And play it again. Play it until you can play it without mistakes at least 5 times in a row. You are teaching your brain to play this new pattern of notes. Try not to think about the individual notes. Focus instead on certain `trigger’ notes, for example, the note that lands on the first beat or third beat. Literally let your fingers play the rest.

Once you can do this it’s time to speed it up. Speed it up slowly. Play the piece at this faster pace. If you have to think about the individual notes, you are playing too fast: slow down again.

Now you repeat this process of playing at a certain pace, guiding yourself on trigger notes, letting your fingers do the work, and increasing the tempo when you can play the piece without mistakes, automatically, until you reach the desired tempo. By that time you will have trained your brain this new pattern of notes and you can play it, without error, at an amazing pace, without having to think about it.

Relaxing Rock Songs

Panic stricken? Dead tired? Extremely anxious? Having difficulty sleeping? Head is swimming? No peace inside? Want an out? Listen to music!

Music is considered to be an essential measure for relaxation. Many therapists use music as treatment. Mostly classical music is the prescribed medicine, but that doesn’t need to be a necessity.

Below are 10 songs by rock bands and artists which have an intensely soothing effect on the nerves and will make you feel at peace.

1. Imagine – John Lennon

Much doesn’t need to be said about what this song does to the listener. Live in Utopia for a while, and you’ll get what is desired by all (and what John philosophized) – peace!

2. Perfect Day – Lou Reed

A lazy, melodious track. It may have been written about heroin, but that doesn’t mean it cannot work wonders for the sane mind. When facing problems or overwhelmed, just slow down. Give it some time and let it go. Escape for a while!

3. Big D’s Touch – Buckethead

One of the most relaxing tunes to come out of Buckethead’s fingers is this instrumental. Let it touch you. It will make you want to lie down, and just stay like that forever.

4. I Talk to the Wind – King Crimson

King Crimson takes you on a trip that makes you see all that is going around in the world. Let them. Feel the dreamy music and take a moment to reflect on yourself.

5. Time in a Bottle – Jim Croce

Incorporating the harpsichord in the song was a masterstroke by Croce. While the wavy music washes over you, you can imagine all the things that you could do if you save just a little bit of time. Savvy, isn’t it?

6. Grantchester Meadows – Pink Floyd

Bird chirps, lazy guitar tunes, soothing voices, and words speaking about nature, this song will transport you into a pastoral enclave surrounded by birds, animals, trees, rivers, where you can laze around in the sun. In one word, bliss!

7. Why Worry – Dire Straits

Mark Knopfler tells in his soothing golden voice not to worry, because there is always good after bad, light after dark and such. Take things lightly, and relax! So indeed, why worry?

8. Black Mountain Side – Led Zeppelin

Inspired by Irish folk song “Down by Blackwaterside”, this Indian classical influenced instrumental shows why Jimmy Page is one of the greatest guitarists of all time. He simulated the sound of the sitar on an acoustic guitar and Viram Jasani played the tabla. The song takes one into a pleasant, delusional, otherworldly dimension.

9. Summer Daze – Slowdive

This song, by one of the better shoe-gazing bands, is an induced dream. The music moves in and out of the mind, leaving the listener in a trance and almost lulls him to sleep.

10. Asleep – The Smiths

The song is interpreted to be about suicide, but on a very simple note, it also means wanting to fall asleep and not waking up for a long time. After being absolutely exhausted, we only want a good, long, sound sleep, and this song is perfect for listening to in bed before falling asleep.

 

Techno Artists & Music

Techno Music was created in Detroit, Michigan in the mid 1980s. It has an emphasis on rhythm while utilizing the best of advancements in music technology and music production. Techno is sometimes an instrumental genre and is usually discovered via DJ mixes, club nights and festivals. Some ingredients used are drum machines such as TR-808, TR-909, synthesizers, field recordings and sampling.

The main styles I would say that are the biggest influence on my music are as follows:

Detroit Techno

Detroit Techno is a subdivision of the techno genre which generally includes some of the earliest techno productions from Detroit. Detroit techno had its largest audience in the Atlantic. Some of the most common techno music artists include Underground Resistance, Mike Banks, Blake Baxter, Kevin Saunderson, Jeff Mills, Derrick May, Eddie Fowlkes and Juan Atkins. Some of these artists used whatever technology they had in their reach and initiated music with epic synth sounds and engaging driving grooves. I could never list a top ten of tracks from this genre as it changes all the time, but a personal favourite label was always the Red Planet series. This label seen some fantastic releases in the mid-90s. I witnessed both Ghostdancer and Stardancer in particular causing some serious mayhem when played out in clubs.

Dub Techno

Another famous sub category of the techno genre, dub techno is quite distinctively un-show-y, doesn’t try to wow or stun and is never overreaching. I could probably put the dub techno sound alone being the reason I wanted to produce techno music. Nothing more do enjoy still to this day is generating those lush minor chords on a synth then washing them with reverb and delay. I could spend hours applying the filters and tweaking the sound to death. The fact that this style of techno is able to stun and wow the listeners, is a testament to the strength of its subtlety. Dub techno is a work of structural, architectural and musical genius in my opinion. It is unquestioning, placid and deeply soothing. My favourite dub techno artists without a doubt goes is Moritz Von Oswald and Mark Ernestus, sometimes known as Basic Channel. My all-time favourite dub techno track has to be Maurizo – Domina which holds special memories from Glasgow’s famous Arches, sadly no more, where I heard it at the regular Friday night event held by Slam.

Scottish Techno

So where did I discover this music? Right on my door step. As previously mentioned through the early to mid-90s I had the pleasure of being a regular attender of Glasgow’s famous night club “The Arches”. Hosted on a Friday night for many moons by legendary Techno duo Slam. They would serve up a mixture of these varieties of techno to welcoming, knowledgeable crowd every week. They too influenced by the sounds of Detroit and dub techno, among others, introduced me to these styles and I was hooked for life. As a lifelong fan of their label, Soma Records, I followed their releases and many of the artists they have. Funk D’Void has also been another firm favourite with his ability to turn has hand to many different styles of techno, more often than not bringing more melodic and emotional elements to a track. Check his aptly named Emotional Content track and you will get the picture.

Acoustic Guitar Buying Tips For First-Timers

If you’re learning how to play an acoustic guitar, experts recommend that you to sign up for some formal lessons to gain mastery of this musical instrument. And to have an easier and faster time of being an expert in guitar playing, it would be advisable to have your own acoustic guitar.

Buying an acoustic guitar for the first time will require some time and effort from your part. After all, if you want to be owner of a good quality guitar that will allow you to practice and hone your skills, you can’t afford to buy just any acoustic guitar that you see in a music or online shop. If you are too hasty with the whole guitar shopping venture, you’ll just waste valuable money and time since you may end up having a poor-sounding and low quality musical instrument that will be broken in just a matter of months.

If it’s your first time to buy an acoustic guitar, below are some handy tips you should keep in mind:

Be on the lookout for any dents, cracks, nicks, and bridge separation.

Whether you are buying a new or used guitar, you have to make sure that there aren’t any parts of the guitar that are cracking or have serious wear on the finish. Keep in mind that even new ones can often be played or handled by customers and as such, they may fall off their stands and get bumped and even some scratches.

Although scratches or scuff marks won’t affect the overall sound of the guitar, unfortunately, cracks are a different matter. Make sure you thoroughly inspect the guitar since some cracks may not be very noticeable. In addition, take the time to ensure that the bridge is sitting fully flush with the top of the guitar and it is not lifting up or cracking.

Make sure the neck and fretboard are in good condition.

Carefully inspect the neck from the bottom of the guitar to make sure that it isn’t bent, crooked, or warped in any way. Make sure the frets on the fretboard do not stick out that they rub your hand in an uncomfortable and sometimes, even painful way.

Choose a guitar with the ideal action.

Action pertains to the space between the strings and the fretboard. Guitar players will sometimes find it hard to press the strings down to the fretboard if the action is too high. On the other hand, if the action is too low, the strings will sometimes catch on the other frets and create a buzzing sound whenever it is in use. The good news is that if you want to buy a guitar with an action that is a bit off, this can easily be fixed by having an expert shave down the nut if the action is too high or have the nut filled with an epoxy if the strings are too low.

Make sure the guitar stays in tune.

Lastly, make sure the guitar you want to buy will stay in tune for a long time by playing it for a while and observe to how well it does or doesn’t stay in tune. If the guitar comes with cheap tuners, you can choose to replace these in the future. In addition, most acoustic guitars in stores usually have old and played out strings on them. As such, guitars with this type of strings will never stay in tune and usually move flat. You can consider buying new strings and have the old ones replaced to have a guitar that will stay in tune.

The Basic Tricks When Learning the Piano

The Basic Tricks When Learning the PianoWhen you are learning the piano for the first time, it may seem a little hard to understand all the terminology. From scales to chords, it may seem almost overwhelming since most people just need to know some basic stuff and they’ll be playing piano in no time.

However, there are some tricks when learning the piano that can help you:

* Learn your music theory:

I’m sure you weren’t expecting this one. Learning theory when you just want to sit on the bench in front of the piano and start playing? Well, only by understanding some of the theory you will be able to evolve and become a better pianist. You don’t have to dig it all in, but knowing some of the theory will help you play any music you want.

* Listen to a lot of piano music:

When you are learning the piano, you have to train different things. You train your eyes to read, you train each one of your hands to play the piano, but you also need to train your ear. You need to be able to identify the notes that are being played.

What you can do, for example, is to get a piano music CD and just listening to it. You can start by trying to identify the notes. As soon as you evolve, you can try to identify chord patterns and intervals.

When you do this the first time, you might be able to identify only a couple of notes. But as time goes by, and you’re developing your hearing, you’ll start identifying more notes, the chords, and the intervals.

* Don’t try to learn the whole song at once:

Just like when you’re listening to the CD, you need to take it easy. You won’t figure it out all at once. Take time to learn the song you want to play and try to play it. You can even break it into small sections so it may become easier for you.

Again, it’s a matter of practicing.

* Learn your scales but don’t get obsessed by them:

Scales and theory go hand-in-hand. Scales will help both your fingers know the piano as well as you’ll have more dexterity. However, don’t make the scales be a huge priority. Yes, you need to practice them every day but they can serve as a warm-up before you start playing the piano. You can be sure that is perfectly normal if you get them wrong a couple of times. As you improve, your scales will improve as well.

Make sure that you start playing your scales slowly at first. With time, you’ll get faster. The important thing is to keep practicing.

There are mainly two kinds of pianists: those who play by ear and those who play by sight. But no matter of which pianist you want to be, all these tricks can and should be used.

How to Make Someone’s Day From Playing Piano

If you’re about to play piano in front of your first audience, you might be a little scared. People almost always tend to think about what could go wrong instead of what they can do to prevent something to go wrong.

Here are some tips that may help you on your big day:

* Prepare your music:

You need to know for how long you’re going to play the piano, if there are going to be any breaks, etc. Only by knowing all the details you can proper schedule the music you’re going to play.

* Engage with your audience:

If you never played live before and you’re not very comfortable in this position, it may be a little hard at first. But all you need to do is to focus on your goal. You learned how to play piano, you play well, and now you can show that to people.

The best way you have to engage with your audience is by playing piano with your heart. Make sure that you show the people you love the music you possess, how a specific music makes you feel when you play it. Even if you’re not comfortable on stage, people will notice your emotion and they will love your music.

* Play for some friends and family first:

If this is the first time you’re going to play piano for an audience, you can “test” yourself by inviting some friends and family over and play for them. Although you might feel nervous, you just need to think that they’re here to help; not to judge you. So, just embrace your music and play with your heart.

* Accept their comments / criticisms:

You invited your family and friends for one reason: so they can give you their honest opinion about you. So, please make sure you don’t get mad if you don’t like something they say. Just take on whichever negative things they point out (if any), and try to turn them into positive ones.

* Time to get to stage:

Now you can say that this isn’t the first time you play piano for an audience and this should make you feel more confident. These people are there to listen to you, to listen to your music. So, just have fun. Enjoy. This is your moment. The moment you’ve been waiting for. Don’t let your nerves get in the way.

* Cater to the audience’s enjoyment:

When you’re on stage, you just can’t ignore your audience. You need to make sure they are liking your performance. So, you can even improvise. Imagine there’s a couple who seem pretty much in love. You can dedicate a song to them. This way the entire public will be more engaged as well. These are the kinds of details that people like to see. So, make sure you’re alert and spot any chance you have to interact directly with your audience.

Hip Hop Samples To Make Awesome Beats

Music is just a wonderful feeling that has the potential to blow our minds and we sometimes wonder what it takes to create this magic. Well surely it is not easy to get all your instruments and tools right and synchronize them perfectly as you wish. The fact is that you have to be a genius or a legend to create an absolutely fresh piece of music without any base. Every time we hear something, the sound gets stored in our mind and when we look to create music then we figure out ways to recreate those sounds through sound instruments. Take help of the hip hop samples to get some idea of how to proceed and hip hop drum samples will guide you with the sounds.

Hip hop sound kits are the marvelous gift for the modern world of music where you can have a simple electronic interface to produce all the sounds without needing to have all those instruments. Just imagine that with a sound kit, you can produce all the desired sounds with just a touch and you can manage all those instruments virtually at one place on your screen. This is the power that a sound kit brings. It is like having all the instruments and moreover able to play them from one place.

Sound kits provide a simplest and easiest way to create your music. However, you would need to enhance your kit by including hip hop loops and sounds. You must always look for sound kits that can provide a variety of sounds with a crisp sharp sound quality. You need to have a sound kit that can produce hundreds of sounds without compromising the quality. It is very important to choose an authentic retailer for buying it. Always look for those retailers that use customized sounds.

You can enjoy a lot of flexibility with hip hop sound kits like you can always modify or edit your performance later without needing to start all over again. This is an excellent option to monitor and enhance your performance with minimum effort and time. Also, you enjoy the availability of multiple instruments virtually at one place. It is a compact and versatile option. Hip hop drum loops and drum samples are available easily from many online stores. Creating music is now easy and a lot of fun if you have a hop hip kit with lots of hip hop samples.

Learn to Play Piano in 10 Minutes

There are many people who always wanted to learn to play piano since they were kids. In fact, 8 out of 10 people wanted to have learned to play the piano when they were young. While some kids even had piano classes, others didn’t. So, if you’re one of this people, what’s holding you back?

It will only take you 10 minutes to learn to play the piano. Here’s all you need to do:

* Step 1: Getting Ready:

– Sit at the piano and rest your fingers on the keyboard. You need to watch out for your elbows. They should be slightly bent, so make sure you adjust your bench properly.

– Sit right in the center of the bench with the keyboard in front of you.

– Move a bit to the front edge of the bench and put your weight forward and your back straight.

– Rest your feet on the floor.

– While maintaining a good posture, make sure you are comfortable.

– Move your hands above the keyboard and allow your finger to touch the center of the white keys. You shouldn’t rest your palms anywhere.

– With the pad of your finger, just below the fingertip, stripe the key. Make sure each finger is curved and when you strike a key, you need to keep your finger joints bent.

* Step 2: Playing by Finger Numbers:

With your right hand you should play the notes with stems going up, and with your left hand you should play the notes with stems going down.

* Step 3: Pick a Music You Like:

By trying to play a music on the piano that you like, you’ll be more willing to learn it. Besides, you know its melody and you’ll immediately notice if you’re missing a note somewhere.

* Step 4: Keep Practicing:

As everything in life, practice brings perfection. You already know the posture you need to maintain when you’re playing the piano, you know how to position your hands and where your fingers should touch the keys. It really is a matter of devoting more time to something you like and always wanted to learn.

Here are some additional tips that may help you:

* Instead of using both hands at once, try to use just one until you feel comfortable enough to use both.

* When you choose the music you want to play, try to play it slowly. It’s the best way to learn.

* If you’re struggling with the music you chose, don’t give up. You can always try to break it into smaller sections. This way you won’t be so overwhelmed.

* When you keep trying to play some specific music, you’ll feel tired of it at some point. When this happens, choose another music you like to play. And later on, pick up the first music again and try to play it.

Importance Of Music Education In School

Music has been an essential part of almost every culture. In fact when we talk of any culture, music is one of the things that distinguishes each community and society from each other. So, undoubtedly, music is what makes every culture even richer. And what would be a better way to teach your children about different cultures? It is not only about learning cultures, it is about developing an attitude, cognition, and maintaining the emotional and psychological balance through music. There are many studies that have proven how beneficial music could be in the overall development of kids. Many parents and schools believe that learning music is fruitless, but some studies have shown the direct connection between learning music and better academic performance. According to experts, students who were exposed to music lessons in childhood are more likely to score higher in math, languages, and science. It is because music contains all of the aforementioned factors. To know how music impacts the emotional and psychological development of your child, read further.

Personal and Emotional Development through music:

You might have spent more than half of your energy teaching discipline, cooperation, values in life, and other social skills to your kids in various ways. But a simple music lesson can teach them all of these valuable lessons. Children are most likely to take time for music classes, especially, when they are learning with other peers. It is highly likely that they would do this for other subjects. Music helps them become self disciplined, organized, coordinated, and cooperative. When they are learning in a group they also learn about team work, reliability, taking responsibility, and being accountable, etc. Apart from this, children get an opportunity to learn about the history of music, artists, different instruments, different types of music and the elements of music. They also discover how to make new instruments, how to repair instruments, and much more. This certainly adds to their knowledge and takes them closer to the lives of artistic people who can provide them with valuable insights on life.

Music in itself is a form of self-expression and creativity which imparts complex thinking abilities in children, which in turn, improves their cognitive abilities. With music it is easier to think about abstract things as it improves the imagination when one tries to invent or create his own tune or learning the old ones. So music is also a great way to express oneself which can help in reducing the emotional and psychological stress. In fact there are so many psychologists who use ‘music therapy’ to treat patients with mental disorders. Hence, music is plausibly the only tool that can provide your brain and mind with exercise as well relaxation. Apart from this, music can serve as one of the ways to boost a child’s self-esteem, especially someone who is poor in academic subjects. Imagine playing violin or singing a solo song at an annual function of the school. This can do wonders for your kid’s self-esteem. Therefore, music is certainly healing and is very important for the personal, emotional, mental, and psychological growth of children.

Academic Development through Music:

A boost in academic improvement can certainly be the incentive for many parents and schools to allow or start music classes for children. Many scientists and child development psychologists have come to the conclusion that music does improve a child’s academic performance and they certainly gain more expertise in core subjects such as science, language, math and history. Learning music involves rhythm which is achieved by time sense and counting. For example, children need to find out how long or short each musical note is, or when to stroke which cord, or what the dot on the note signifies, etc. So one has to have a good sense of timing and ability to multiply and divide time in order to achieve the same. And there are many studies to support this fact that music improves math. In fact there are many musicians who are exceptionally good at math.

You must be aware that musical notes are generally some symbols that one must learn in order to read them. Learning such musical notes also helps in improving the linguistic language to interpret its real meaning and delve deeper into the subject. While learning music they also go through different poems and songs written by previous artists, lyricists, singers, and poets. This helps children learn more about literature and different instruments, notes, and styles. They try to discover what sounds better together or how sound waves work, what mechanical corrections need to be done to get the exact sounds, and connection between distance and sound waves, etc. It indeed helps them find out more about science and through practical experiences it is easy to learn scientific theories.