Thursday, October 18, 2012

FREE Piano For Your Computer!

If you don't have access to a piano, you just lost your excuse to practice matching pitch with your voice.  Check this out and get to fun!!!! (As opposed to "get to work")

Monday, October 15, 2012


I was asked, "Why is it that many of the general populus can't tell the difference between trained musicians and mediocure amateurs?"

 My Answer: I think that it depends on background, experience and exposure to higher level professionals over a long time. Part of it is as simple as "To what or to whom are you listening, as far as musicians or bands or singers. The standards are higher in L.A., New York, Nashville, and Las Vegas, to such an extent that it is typically assumed that anything short of perfection is unacceptable. Most non-musicians or non-singers have a deficit in recognizing excellence and may be somewhere in a range of being between being atonal and unexposed to excellence of musicianship.

I saw a book that may have belonged to Teresa P., which was a "music appreciation" book, named Musica Mente (in Italian). It was used at about the 10th grade level there (in Italy). The music theory portion went beyond the level of college freshman music theory in most American music schools. It is a stark contrast. On the other hand, in Hungary, for example, the level of commonplace musicianship far exceeds that of the U.S. It is interesting to note that Budapest has an enormous amount of music venues, far outnumbering most of other European countries. The short answer: most people are unaware of what they are hearing and cannot identify the various components, let alone have any vocabulary of the nomenclature regarding it. I call that being "musically illiterate". 

So... One of the first steps in being a great singer or musician is to listen to music. How hard is that?! Not too hard at all. However, you want to be familiar not only with music from the beginning of recorded time, but also with music from all styles and all cultures. This literally gives depth and breadth to a musician's "ear". Ideally, listening coupled with analysis and understanding will result in even better musicianship.

 There are classes in "music appreciation" in high school and in college. I took them both and found them fascinating. They do not go into the depth of "music literature" classes, but they are an excellent foundation for listening. Music History is another exciting subject to gain a solid chronological understanding of the development of music all the way up to today. There are courses in some colleges, which are actually on The History of Rock Music. When a person says, "I know what I like", and it is based solely on personal preference, that person may not know the difference between Bach and Haydn or Beethoven and Mozart.

I can recognize the differences between The Beatles and Three Dog Night. I also know that a three dog night is a night so cold that it takes three, not two, dogs to keep you warm and also to where that might refer. Some people might have trouble differentiating between the Beatles and Dave Clark Five or might wonder if Dave Clark was related to Dick Clark. How about Little Richard or Jerry Lee Lewis? What are the similarities and differences between them? What are some similarities between Frank Zappa and Yes? How about Kansas?

 Maroon 5, Adele, and Pink are on the charts this week. It might be a good idea to discover their influences and also to listen to their music, if you are unfamiliar with them. Then, what about jazz? Many styles and many artists are worth exploring. Country? Take a listen to "I Know You Won't" by Carrie Underwood. If you have an aversion to Country Music, set it aside far enough to analyze the chord structure of the song. Analyze the song structure. Does it have a chorus, a verse, and a bridge? When I heard it, I could play the chords on a piano after about two to five minutes of experimenting with it. I could write them out or play them onto a sequencer or into a recording device. Why? YEARS of listening result in understanding and recognizing precisely what I am hearing. It is not magic. Others can do this. Is it common? That is another topic of discussion.

 When I listen to music, I can focus on one instrument or all of them. I can write every note I hear. I can transcribe a solo or a band. The largest was a big band. It was tedious. It wasn't easy. It was time consuming. But doing that makes you listen and you hear more and you hear more accurately. I can analyze a singer and can tell you if there are issues, such as: pitch, tone, timbre, register transitions, breathing, and even emotional things-intentional or otherwise.

 There is a range from absolute ignorance to absolutely perfect duplication and execution of a song, including, but not limited to: style, musicality, dynamics, phrasing, musicianship, and artistic interpretation. Artistic interpretation can be enhanced or diminished by all the other categories of skill and understanding already mentioned. Just as there are levels of literacy in language, there are also levels of literacy in music. Everyone is in a different "place" with that. Barring a lack of intelligence or brain damage (this is NOT a joke!), anyone can improve musical literacy. "Listen To The Music" - The Doobie Brothers

Thursday, October 04, 2012


New Facebook page: New FREE videos: Videos are added every few days. Some for work and some for play.