• Student Login

  • Blog

    Yoga for Musicians

    FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share
    Share it now!

    If your new year’s resolution includes more exercise and better music-making, consider yoga to fulfill both your goals.

    Although the benefits often associated with yoga are physical (i.e. flexibility and weight loss) and mental (i.e. stress relief and mindfulness), yoga also helps people with body alignment, balance and building a strong core, all necessary tools for good singing. The belief that yoga can improve one’s singing is so strong that yoga classes have made their way onto Berklee College of Music’s campus (which offers a “Yoga for Musicians” class) and has spawned its own sub-industry that includes DVDs and books.

    Does yoga make you a better singer? Well, you still need to practice singing and science has yet to make a strong connection. Still, it does not hurt to try! We’ve collected some videos and poses to get you started. Try them and tell us what you think!

    Adie Grey

    While the production quality is lacking, this video does a good job of explaining why certain poses benefit signers. You may not watch this every day as part of your yoga routine, but you will have better knowledge on how your body affects your music performance.

     

    Mia Olson
    She is a Berklee instructor who also teaches yoga. There is no accompanying video but in this Making Music magazine article Olson lists some specific poses that works for all musicians. She focuses more on yoga as a form of injury prevention.

     

    Chaz Rough

    This video is geared toward those who want to do yoga before a recital or performance. It’s quick but might do the trick to make you calm, flexible and confident.

     

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

    See Our Rates Contact Us

    Are you ready to sign up for lessons? See Our Rates. | Questions? Contact us.

    Read more...

    Encouraging Adult Music Students

    Share it now!

    At The Music Junction we enjoy having students of all ages and believe music making is a good hobby for everyone. After all, it is well documented how music lessons benefit older students with their memory.  So, if playing the piano or taking voice lessons was one of your new year’s resolutions but you’re a little uncertain about this new journey, do not fear! We’re here to help!

     

    You Can Do This!

    The old saying is true, we are our own worst critic. Or as a music teacher told the New York Times, older people tend to “beat themselves up more” about their music abilities. Just relax and realize that being a student means you will make mistakes but you will get better. Teacher Brad Hubisz wants adults to remember something that is sometimes overlooked: “Adults are smarter than children!” He adds that older students have an easier time learning more theoretical-based concepts such as scales, chords and circle of fifths. Also, adults have a quicker grasp on learning sight reading tricks.

     

     

    You Should Practice But …

    Perhaps more than children, adult students tend to feel bad when they show up for lessons unprepared. Maybe it was a busy week at work filled with late meetings. Perhaps, you had a few too many dinner parties with friends. Either way, your day quickly filled up and you had little time, or energy, to practice. Out of respect for the teacher’s time you cancel the lessons and hope to catch up in time for the next session.

     

    Not so fast, says Music Junction owner Charissa Vaughan-Wheeler. She is a trained vocalist and pianist who is also learning how to play the guitar. She knows what it’s like to not practice. “Canceling actually has the opposite effect,” she says. “When students do that, they end up not practicing again for another week because they didn’t get the momentum back up again, and that’s when they start thinking about quitting.”

     

    Do you have any other concerns? Call us at The Music Junction so we can help!

    See Our Rates Contact Us

    Are you ready to sign up for lessons? See Our Rates. | Questions? Contact us.

    Read more...

    You’ll Be Impressed With This Teenage Musician

    Share it now!

    If you want to know the benefits of regular practice, just look at 17-year-old Senri Kawaguchi of Japan. Calling her a prodigy might just be an understatement once you see her videos (we’ve included one above).

     

    Several videos of her playing have gone viral and global — you’ll see clips about her in English, Spanish, Portuguese and, naturally, Japanese. She began playing drums at 5 years old and never stopped (she is in high school now). At 8 years old, Kawaguchi received one-on-one lessons with famed percussionist Kozo Suganuma. She has collaborated with many Japanese music artists and, at 12 years old, released her own DVD!

     

    Another thing worth noticing is that Kawaguchi plays a wide variety of music including jazz and pop tunes played on anime shows. It reminds us of advice given on a previous blog post about keeping teens engaged by having them play a variety of music.

     

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

    See Our Rates Contact Us

    Are you ready to sign up for lessons? See Our Rates. | Questions? Contact us.

    Read more...

    Inspiring Your Teen To Continue With Music

    Share it now!

    We’ve discovered that American parents aren’t the only ones who struggle to get their older kids to play music. We came across an article in the Irish Times that offers parents advice on how to motivate older children to continue with their music making.

     

    While parents see the value of music lessons– from enhanced brain development to better emotional control to improved test-taking skills — teens might not see much benefit as they get older. At this point in their lives, students are pulled in different directions — homework and other extracurricular activities, mixed in with a burgeoning social life.

     

    As their commitments increase, their commitment to music can decrease. This trend, however, baffles Nigel Flegg, head of education at the National Concert Hall.

     

    “It’s very ironic that this fall-off in music in the early teenage years coincides with when most teenagers are becoming passionately interested in music,” says Flegg to the Irish Times. “You have this situation where people are giving up the instruments they played for so long, but suddenly they’re passionate about playing music in bands.”

     

    So, what can do parents and educators do to keep the spark alive?

     

    Make the music they play relevant to their lives and current musical interests, the Irish Times says. Although there is a deep value in learning classical music, encourage your child to play a variety of music including jazz and pop. You also might be surprised to discover how many pop bands have sheet music. Check out Arcade Fire and Beck’s song book (it was mentioned in our holiday gift post).

     

    What do you think? How do you keep your teen engaged in music lessons?

     

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

    See Our Rates Contact Us

    Are you ready to sign up for lessons? See Our Rates. | Questions? Contact us.

    Read more...

    Sonic Branding

    Share it now!

     
    If your new year’s resolution is to read more books, consider Joel Beckerman’s book on how businesses and marketers use sound to shape our moods and opinions.
     
    In “The Sonic Boom: How Sound Transforms The Way We Think, Feel, And Buy
    Sonic Boom,” Beckerman, along with Tyler Gray, taps into his knowledge of as a composer for Disney, AT&T and Coca-Cola, and explains how the addition of sound/music can change a person’s experience.
     
    “In my career, I’ve worked with so many smart, creative people not only in television, but in marketing and branding. What I started to think about more and more was how sound affects us every single moment of our lives,” Beckerman told the Wharton School. “Really, the soundtrack of our lives and … all those different moments of sound guide our moods and change our choices. It changes our mood in an instant.”
     
    There is a good reason why Beckerman focuses on sound and it is not just because he is a musician. Of all the senses, we react the fastest to what we hear. To be exact, iit takes approximately .146 seconds for humans to react to a sounds while we process what we smell in .500 seconds. In short, if you want to create an immediate connection and represent yourself in a certain way, focus on sounds.
     
    In the book and in his website, digs a little deepper and uses several examples of how sound alters our judgement and expereience from the sound of an Apple computer to the sizzling of the fajitas as Chili’s.
     
    Although this book is geared more toward marketers and businesspeople, musicians can also benefit from reading this book. The music you make is not only beautiful, but influential and important.

     

    Read more...

    Is The Heart The Key To Beethoven’s Success?

    Share it now!

    Perhaps no other composer’s health has been dissected as much as Ludwig van Beethoven. He continued producing great works of music despite deafness, while also living with other ailments including cirrhosis and syphilis.  Now, a new report suggests that some of his genius can be attributed to an irregular heartbeat.

     

    A broad spectrum of researchers from musicologists, cardiologists and historians focused on three of Beethoven’s compositions and studied their beats and change of rhythms. They noticed that, whether fast or slow, rhythms were irregular in certain sections. This type of music was in sharp contrast from the music his contemporaries created, making Beethoven unique.

     

    Given all of Beethoven’s  ailments, why would heart disease relate directly to his work as a composer?

     

    The Los Angeles Times explains: “He composed the bulk of his music even as the sounds of the world around him dimmed — and that, say the authors of the new study, may have made him exquisitely attuned to his own heartbeat.”

     

    Dr. Joel Howell, one of the authors, offers further explanation to The Science Times:  “The synergy between our minds and our bodies shapes how we experience the world. This is especially apparent in the world of arts and music, which reflects so much of people’s innermost experiences.”

     

    What do you think? Do you think the state or our health can reflect and inspire or professional work?

     

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

    See Our Rates Contact Us

    Are you ready to sign up for lessons? See Our Rates. | Questions? Contact us.

    Read more...

    Location-Aware Music

    Share it now!

    What if the next time you went on a road trip with friends and family, you didn’t fight over the car radio or organize your own digital playlists. What if instead, the journey and path you take creates a symphony for you?

     

    Sounds poetic, doesn’t it? But it is actually true. We watched a TED Talks video featuring Ryan Holladay about location-aware music, which plays beautiful music based on where you are and the direction you travel. Think of it as the choose-your-own-adventure books you read as a child and applied it to music.

     

    Holladay and his brother Hays use GPS (the same technology that gives you driving directions when you’re lost) and created their first composition in 2011 at the National Mall in Washington, D.C.  Walk by one section of the mall and you’ll hear string instruments, walk to another and you’ll hear chimes and harps.

     

    “It’s an array of distinct melodies and rhythms that fit together like pieces of a puzzle and blend seamlessly based on the listener’s chosen trajectory,” Holladay said during his TED Talks.

     

    Once you leave the mall, the music disappears and there is no way to hear the music again, except to return to the mall.

     

    When the app was initially released, The Washington Post wrote: “Sounds geeky, right? It is. But like the most fantastic collisions of music and technology, it feels magical. And in an iPod era, where bite-size MP3s have threatened to vanquish the traditional album format, Bluebrain is helping redefine what an album can actually be. Somewhere, Sgt. Pepper is smiling.”

     

    Since then, they have released three other apps in including those for New York City, Austin and Ballston. They are also working with Stanford’s Experimental Media Arts Lab to create a score for the entire stretch of Pacific Coast Highway. Given the beauty of Hwy 1, from the ocean to the trees, we cannot wait to hear the app! Apparently, the brothers are also astounded by the beauty and feel a little overwhelmed but we hope to hear it soon!

     

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

    See Our Rates Contact Us

    Are you ready to sign up for lessons? See Our Rates. | Questions? Contact us.

    Read more...

    The Universal Appeal of Music

    Share it now!

    Music’s ability to have our favorite tunes feel so personal and unique makes it such a special experience. Yet, recent research proves that certain aspects of music are universal, and it doesn’t matter if you live a city or one of the world’s most remote villages.

     

    A group of researchers played clips of some of Western culture’s most popular music – from Star Wars to Pyscho to Schindler’s List – along with indigenous music from Mbenzélé Pygmies who live in the Congolese rainforest. While wearing medical devices that monitored their heart and breathing rates, participants were asked to describe how the music made them feel ( i.e. calm, happy) by selecting an array of emoticons.

     

    Both groups agreed that slower-paced music felt calming and faster-paced music felt exciting. Yet, the Montreal city dwellers reported a wider range of emotions to the music they heard, including negative emotions. The Pygmies, who have a tradition of using songs to uplift spirits, reported more positive emotions to songs they heard.

     

    “People have been trying to figure out for quite a while whether the way that we react to music is based on the culture that we come from or on some universal features of the music itself,” says Stephen McAdams, from McGill’s Schulich School of Music. “Now we know that it is actually a bit of both.”

     

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

    See Our Rates Contact Us

    Are you ready to sign up for lessons? See Our Rates. | Questions? Contact us.

    Read more...

    Music Therapy Helps Families

    Share it now!

    It is well documented about music’s ability to make the brain a better, high-performing organ but a recent new story about a music therapy program for dysfunctional families made our hearts swell.

     

    Reuters reports on a study published in the Journal of Music Therapy that shows how music therapy can be just as effective as traditional programs for helping to repair and rebuild dysfunctional families. Researchers identified 18 families in which the children were on the verge of being removed from their parents due to emotional neglect. Half of the families were exposed to music therapy programs that involved playing instruments, listening to music and playing musical games with the presence of a therapist. The other half of the participants underwent more traditional treatment.

     

    After six to 10 music therapy sessions, parents said they felt less stressed by their children’s moods and felt more empathetic toward them and, overall, reported having less negative feelings toward them.

     

    Yet, all families can benefit from shared musical experiences, not just those who attend formalized music therapy sessions, says Stine Jacobsen who led the study.

     

    “Singing together or singing for your infant or toddler can be a very intimate bonding activity and comes naturally for some families,” Jacobson says. “The earlier you start interacting nonverbally with your child in a meaningful way the more you might see or feel the benefit.”

     

    So sing out loud with your children. Dance in silly ways and listening to your favorite songs. It just might make your family stronger.

     

    The benefits of music therapy has been well documented in other patients. Read our blog post about music therapy’s effectiveness for Alzheimer’s patients.

     

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

    See Our Rates Contact Us

    Are you ready to sign up for lessons? See Our Rates. | Questions? Contact us.

    Read more...

    A Music Parody Video That Has Us Laughing About Motherhood

    Share it now!

    By now, it is no secret that we love parody videos. Maybe today’s families aren’t gathered around the piano singing songs as much as they were in the early 1900s, but this is certainly a way to be musical and creative with your family. Just ask the Holderness family.

     

    The latest performer we’ve found is Deva Dalporto who describes herself as a bored mom with a video camera (who also is living with a serious autoimmune disorder) who has made viral music videos that have spoofed Taylor Swift, Iggy Azalea and Idina Menzel but our favorite is her take on Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass.”

     

    In “I Just Need Some Space,” the mother of two sings:

     

    I am your mama I told you to come inside

    Don’t make me yell cause I’m feelin’ freakin’ fried

    (Freakin’ fried, freakin’ fried)

    No I can’t read that book for the fifteen millionth time

    (Ooo bop bop, shadoo bop bop)

    So just put down the glitter glue

    And go ahead and move along

     

    It’s funny, yet loving and an honest portrait of parenthood. As she writes in her blog: “And be warned, I like to write and make videos with a sense of humor because I like to laugh at the insanity of life, so please don’t take me too seriously. My kids aren’t always total life suckers. Not when they’re sleeping, anyway.”

     

    We also love that her adorable children are featured and we hope one day they can start singing or playing instruments too!

     

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

    See Our Rates Contact Us

    Are you ready to sign up for lessons? See Our Rates. | Questions? Contact us.

    Read more...
  • Recent Posts

  • Newsletter Sign Up

  • ©2014 The Music Junction. Web by Armeno