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    Happy Valentines Day

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    Here’s a clip of American Idol runner up Melinda Doolittle singing “My Funny Valentine”. She is one of the most exceptional talents the show has ever seen. This year 2016 marks the final year of American Idol after a 15 season run. Cheers to the show that made us all think we could be stars and cheers to all the lovers out there this Valentine’s Day.

     

     

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    Music Makes You Stronger

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    Well…. Your memory at least. Music creates the strongest form of memory.
    Have you ever wondered why when you hear a familiar tune it can bring to mind a certain place or a certain feeling? The little tune your favorite teacher taught you in elementary school or the song that certain boyfriend used to sing in the car all the time. Try humming just the beginning of “Twinkle, Twinkle” and everyone around you will know the tune. Merely say the words “Ice, Ice Baby” and you may set off an impromptu karaoke session. Whether you want to conjure up those memories or not, they seem to be forever engrained in our brains.

    So it’s no coincidence that even in our earliest stages of life we are taught new information through song. We use music to tell stories, for language development, even to teach rules and prayers in a memorable way.
    The power of music memory is perhaps most evident in the cases of elderly patients. Alzheimer’s patients who seem to be completely unresponsive with little to no memory suddenly regain motor functions and can even recall lyrics to songs they once heard in their youth.
    Victims of traumatic brain injuries can relearn valuable information more effectively through song than any other method.
    According to studies the region of the brain most active when listening to music is the pre frontal cortex. Did you know that the pre frontal cortex is also the last region of the brain to atrophy? Perhaps that’s the reason music memory has such longevity.
    So next time you’re struggling to remember some important information maybe you should consider turning it into a song. Phone, gum, keys, check!

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    Lydian, the 9 year old piano virtuoso.

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    imageLydian Nadhaswaram is an incredibly talented young musician. At only 9 years old he plays the piano, drums, and guitar and practices religiously every day. Lydian’s father is a music educator and has trained his children to be dedicated and talented musicians. Here is Lydian performing Fantasie Imprompu by composer Fredrick Chopin.

     

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkf2HTn2v8I

     

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    Keep on singing!

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    Have you ever said these words? “I’m not a good singer”, “I just can’t sing”, or “You don’t wanna hear me sing”. Perhaps you’ve been known to say, “I sound great in the shower.”
    Somewhere along the way in our lifetime we get separated into categories of great, average, and terrible singers. This creates confidence or complexes for us at a very early age.
    There are so many factors that contribute to being a good singer, ranging from bone structure to posture and breath support. Some things are just genetic blessings but MOST of the traits of a good singer can be taught and learned.
    That’s great news!
    Check out this article which reveals some scientific reasons why just maybe you should keep on singing.

    http://www.interlude.hk/front/science-great-news-people-cant-sing/

     

     

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    Super Bowl 2016. What a showdown!

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    The 50th celebration of the NFL Super Bowl boasted one of the most epic half time shows to date. Some fans eagerly awaited the football action on the field while the rest of us were anticipating the half time show featuring Coldplay, Bruno Mars, and Beyoncé.

    There was a little something for everyone in this performance; a little rock and roll, hip hop, r&b, classical music, and lots of dancing. It was completely mesmerizing to watch.

    The show featured some very lucky young musicians. There were young singers, violin players, a drum line, and a marching band. Every one of them solidifying their bragging rights for years to come. Who would imagine that all those hours spent in music lessons and band rehearsal could lead to a performance in front of millions of viewers and on stage alongside three of the biggest performers in the world. Anything is possible!

    Oh! And Congratulations to the Denver Broncos on their big win. Ahh yes, a football game did also take place.

     

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    Classical Music Is Soothing For Cats Going Under The Knife

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    Just when we thought we had the music tastes of our feline friends all figured out, new research comes out that makes us rethink our notions.

     

    According to research conducted by veterinary clinicians at the University of Lisbon in Portugal, cats prefer classical music when they are undergoing surgery. Given that the other choices were pop and hard rock music, the option of classical music sounds logical, doesn’t it? When given a stressful situation, we think classical music — in this case, Barber’s “Adagio for Strings (Opus 11) — can be comforting.

     

    According to Time.com: “The results showed that the cats were in a more relaxed state (as determined by their lower values for respiratory rate and pupil diameter) under the influence of classical music, with the pop music producing intermediate values. And perhaps unsurprisingly, listening to AC/DC while being spayed induced “a more stressful situation.”

     

    What we find a bit confusing is that we recently learned that cats actually do not prefer human music. They prefer their own brand of music that is more aligned with their heartbeats and shrilling vocal range. Oh well, perhaps there is still hope for humans and cats to share their musical tastes with each other!

     

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    Giving Up Music For Lent

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    We have heard about people giving up meat, sugar, even social media for Lent but music?

     

    That is what one person did.

     

    More of a social experiment that act of religious devotion, Trevor Cox, professor of acoustic engineering at the University of Salford chronicled his still unfinished journey of 40 days without music for BBC Radio 4.

     

    Cox’s story — about 28 minutes long — is very interesting and will force you to define music and realize how prevalent it is in our society. For instance, how exactly do you block music from your life when music can be defined as anything from our ring tones to the tweeting of birds? How do you lead a normal life when music is so integrated into our culture including the places we eat, the television shows we watch and the stores we shop in?

     

    So, what has Cox discovered thus far with his music fast? Here are some of his observations:

     

    Not listening to music made Cox more tired. Victoria Williamson, an expert on music and the brain wasn’t surprised abut Cox’s weariness. “Music provides a lot of stimulation throughout the day … if you are completely withdrawn from one of your normal sources stimulation it would have a similar effect as if you withdrew from caffeine.”

     

    His brain went into overdrive and created its own music.  The first few days his brain was overwhelmed with earworms, those pesky tunes that originate from our brain and, try as we might, cannot stop humming or singing them. Williamson advised Cox that this was also a common occurrence.  “When I removed music from my life, my brain compensated for this by creating excessive musical imagery,” Cox wrote.


    It negatively affected Cox’s family life
    : Cox could not listen to his sons playing music and his wife lamented that that they could not watch their favorite television shows together because music was woven into the story lines and into commercials. “None of us can quite bring ourselves to watch our favorite programs with the sound off and subtitles on. I do miss that shared family time,” she said.

     

    As music lovers, we look forward to April 2 when Cox can listen to music again! He’s already anticipating the first song he’ll play!

     

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    Better DNA With Music

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    We read a lot about the scientifically-proven benefits of music education but a recent study even surprised us: music can improve your DNA.

     

    Listening to classical music can cause a surge in the “glucocorticoid receptor, which regulates stress, depression and even addictive behaviors,” notes Music.Mic, which can explain why we are so comforted by music and why music therapy has been successful in hospitals and assisted living facilities across the country.

     

    But that’s not all. Listening to music also acts as a protective shield against the “bad” genes, including those that are associated with degeneration like Parkinson’s Disease.

     

    This is the first type of study that evaluates the effects of music on a molecular level. Most studies gain information by brain scans, but researchers from the University of Helsinki tried a different approach and we’re sure other scientists will follow.

     

    Yet, the benefits of music are not evenly distributed. Only people who have musical experience — those who have spent years listening to or making music — benefit from music’s powerful effects. Those who did not have musical experience showed no difference in their genes.

     

    As if you need another excuse to learn to play the piano or sing! Start making music now and your body will benefit.

     

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    Music Worth Noting Pt. 6

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    This week’s Music Worth Noting runs the gamut in genres but that’s they way we like it. The Christina Aguilera video should not be missed but take time to watch the other videos, as they are very inspiring.

     

    Micaëla’s Aria – Ailyn Perez

    For those of you who are unfamiliar, Ailyn Perez is an emerging star in the opera world. She is also the daughter of Mexican immigrants and the first Latina to win the Richard Tucker Award, according to Women’s Wear Daily. It warms our heart to learn about diversity in the arts so we are especially interested to learn of Perez’s debut at New York’s Metropolitan Opera. She performed a song from “Carmen” for the New York Times.

     

    SOJA – Shadow

    SOJA is a Washington, D.C., band that embraces all types of genres including reggae, Latin, hip-hop and more. They believe, according to a band member, that “Our goal as a band is to stick up for the human race. We see the world and we try to make it better in the limited time we have here.” That’s why their partnership with UNICEF makes so much sense. They created a music video about an Ethiopian girl’s struggle with poverty and her quest to get an education. It’s a beautiful video and a wake-up call to those of us that do not know that 15 million girls around the world are never expected to attend school.

     

    This Little Piggy – Christina Aguilera

    We always knew Christina Aguilera is talented but after watching her on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, we have a new respect for her. Aguilera and Fallon played a game in which they were randomly assigned a song and had to sing it in a different singer’s style. The first time, Aguilera sang in the style of Cher. The second she sang “This Little Piggy” in the style of Britney Spears and it was hilarious! You must watch this video!

     

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    CSUN Orchestra and Fantasia

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    Having a hard time getting your child to listen to Beethoven, Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky? A cameo appearance from Mickey Mouse may be the answer.

     

    Cal State Northridge’s symphony orchestra will be performing some classics with scenes from “Fantasia” and “Fantasia 2000” playing on a big screen. The performance is at the Valley Center for the Performing Arts and is scheduled for the last Sunday in March and tickets are still available, some for as little as $35.

     

    Fantasia is often children’s first exposure to classical music and we certainly remember seeing clips in school. Images of Mickey wearing the sorcerer’s hat and the dancing broom are seared in our memory.

     

    As we all know, there is nothing like hearing orchestral music live. For Music Junction students the performance could also motivate your children to practice a little bit more, too!

     

    Now that the weather is warming — or did we ever have a winter in LA? — get prepared for more live music for you and your children. Personally, this is our favorite time of year and we’re already excited about Bugs Bunny at the Symphony at the Hollywood Bowl!

     

    The Music Junction offers piano and voice lessons at our Burbank and Hollywood locations. Call us today to learn more.

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