• Student Login

  • Posts found under: Education

    Watch Jimmy Fallon, Idina Menzel and The Roots Sing “Let It Go” with Classroom Instruments

    FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share

    Idina Menzel stops by the Tonight Show Music Room to perform the Oscar-winning song “Let It Go” from Disney’s “Frozen.”  The unique thing about this performance is that the song has a new accompaniment – composed from music instruments that you would find in a classroom.  Jimmy Fallon and The Roots created an impressive re-imagining of this Oscar-winning song.  My favorite part is the instrumental breakdown leading up to the bridge.  It’s at that moment that you realize how hard those basic childhood educational instruments can be worked!  The instrument choices make the accompaniment sound simple, but don’t let that fool you – it takes very skilled musicians to be able to turn those simple instruments into a full-fledged arrangement.  This is a fun rework of “Let it Go.”

    See Our Rates Contact Us 

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

    Read more...

    Watch the Detroit Symphony Orchestra IKEA Flash Mob!

    About 20 members of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) arranged a flash mob inside Ikea on Jan. 12 to promote its new Neighborhood Concert Series in Canton. Shoppers gathered around, many taking photos and videos with their smartphones, as the DSO brightened up the wintery day with Beethoven’s “Ode to Jöy.”

    Gabrielle Poshadlo, DSO Communications and Public Relations Manager said the idea came while brainstorming ways to promote the new Canton concert series.   “We were thinking ‘what do people do in Canton? What is Canton known for?’ And people travel from all over southeastern Michigan to go to the Ikea in Canton, so it just seamed like a natural fit for us,” Poshadlo said.  “We called the Ikea and asked if they would be interested in collaborating in some sort of performance and they were really responsive.”

    A video of the performance was posted to YouTube on Jan. 23 and already has more than 19,000 views as of Monday.

    Flash mob orchestra performances of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” have taken the nation by storm ever since the recent release of Bill Moyers’ “Following the Ninth,” a documentary about one of the world’s greatest works of art.  But for an orchestra to create a flash mob performance of any song is an excellent community outreach idea.  Often, accessibility is a problem for  symphony orchestras.  Ticket prices can provide a barrier to communities who have less economic stability, and many people lack the exposure to classical music to understand it’s value.  But when an impromptu flash mob provides a taste of what it’s like to witness the power of a large group of musicians playing together to produce the depth and brilliance of songs like Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”, it can go a long way to renew interest and appreciation for the arts.

    Be it a flash mob or another outreach idea, giving the local community a reminder about the beauty of orchestras should be a regular habit everywhere – lest we get too wrapped up in our iPads to loose sight of the importance of attending live music events and supporting the arts.  A live symphony orchestra concert is a great event to take your family to.  So next time you plan a family event, consider a symphony!

    See Our Rates Contact Us 

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

     

    Read more...

    Music Improves Test Scores!

    Improved Test Scores
    According to an article by PBS.org, a study published in 2007 by Christopher Johnson, professor of music education and music therapy at the University of Kansas, revealed that students in elementary schools with superior music education programs scored around 22 percent higher in English and 20 percent higher in math scores on standardized tests, compared to schools with low-quality music programs, regardless of socioeconomic disparities among the schools or school districts.  Johnson compares the concentration that music training requires to the focus needed to perform well on a standardized test.

    Aside from test score results, Johnson’s study highlights the positive effects that a quality music education can have on a young child’s success. Luehrisen explains this psychological phenomenon in two sentences: “Schools that have rigorous programs and high-quality music and arts teachers probably have high-quality teachers in other areas. If you have an environment where there are a lot of people doing creative, smart, great things, joyful things, even people who aren’t doing that have a tendency to go up and do better.”

    And it doesn’t end there: along with better performance results on concentration-based tasks, music training can help with basic memory recall. “Formal training in music is also associated with other cognitive strengths such as verbal recall proficiency,” Pruett says. “People who have had formal musical training tend to be pretty good at remembering verbal information stored in memory.”

    read more

    Music lessons are beneficial in and of themselves, but it’s hard to ignore all of the benefits kids receive beyond being more musical, that can help them be more successful at school.  These are great indicators to the importance of music education.

    See Our Rates Contact Us 

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

    Read more...

    “Let it Go” performer Idina Menzel – Rushing & Voice cracking at the Oscars

    Idina Menzel – or “Adele Dazeem” according to John Travolta’s botched introduction – gave a riveting performance of “Let it Go” at the 2014 Oscars this past Sunday.  But perhaps it was John Travolta’s mispronunciation stealing the media focus away from Idina’s performance, or perhaps the problems that came up were too subtle for an untrained ear to pick up on, but for whatever reason, few seemed to notice some of the tempo and vocal problems in Idina’s performance (which she sold like a pro, to her credit).

    Idina’s fantastic voice was a show stopper in her role as Elphaba in Broadway’s Wicked, which won her a Tony for Best Leading Actress in a Musical.  Then there was her recurring role on Glee as the birth mom of Rachel Berry (Lea Michele) who happened to conveniently have a spectacular voice for endless duets with Lea.  Now she is gaining rising acclaim with her performance of the Oscar winning “Let it Go.”

    So what happened at the “Let it Go” Oscar performance?  Idina took off like a race horse from the start, rushing through the first verse until she was a full beat ahead.  She had to hold off on starting into the next section to get back on track, but then there was still more rushing throughout.  It seemed like Menzel was nervous – which would just go to show that even a Tony award-winning performer, who sang on stage live for 8 performances a week for 2 years with Wicked, can still sometimes get nervous!  But to be fair, this problem can also happen if there is an issue with the monitors.  Since sound waves take time to travel, being too far away from the orchestra (or speakers if they used a per-recorded track) and then not having good ear monitors to rely on instead of the live sound, can throw a performer out of sync very fast.  If this was the situation, there would be nothing Menzel could do – you can’t tell the orchestra “hold it, stop everything, I’m having trouble hearing you right” in the middle of the Oscars.

    Secondly, Idina virtually screamed her last high not (“the storm raged oooon“).  She totally committed to it with plenty of breath support and luckily, the pitch didn’t change, but the tone broke into an airy crackling sound, then turned back into a clear tone for a moment with a little nice vibrato, but then just cracked and broke off completely at the end so that the note came to an involuntary halt.  (You can see this progression at the end of the video above.)  You could tell Idina Menzel felt a little insecure about that when she closed her mouth, but of course the audience was already so impressed by her at that point that she could do no wrong.  She jazzed up the last moment of “the cold never bothered me anyway” with a little riff to pull focus from the rough note, and of course she totally sold the song regardless.  But from a vocalists point of view on this performance, it sounded like Idina’s voice was a little worn out – which could be caused by different stressors like a little cold, too much singing, or not enough sleep.

    Even for someone who has a top notch belt, a singer is at the mercy of their vocal health.  That’s why professional singers have to be extra careful all the time about taking care of themselves, especially if they need to have regular access to the best version of their voice for constant performances.  That means they have to keep their immune system strong and find a way to never be sick!  A professional working vocalist has to do things like go to bed early, eat healthy, avoid foods that can create mucus or acid reflux, avoid caffeine or alcohol that could dry them out – basically live the life of a Saint – if they want to guarantee that they will always have the perfect version of their voice to conjure up at a moment’s notice.

    So it’s understandable why both the rushing and voice cracking can happen even to an expert like Idina Menzel, and luckily she still made the song come to life like the pro she is.  The aesthetics of her gorgeous dress and the twinkling ice mountain-shaped curtain light display set the scene.  The amazing versatility of Idina’s voice created dynamic, emotion, and contrast.  And her acting talent brought life to the lyrics.  When it comes to musical theatre (and Frozen could fairly be called an animated musical), the emotion and acting of a song takes precedence over tone quality and vocal perfection.  Adele Dazeem, er, uh, we mean, Idina Menzel, is still a singing goddess.

    See Our Rates Contact Us 

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

    Read more...

    Voice & Piano Lessons Increase Kids’ IQ!

    As reported by PBS.org

    “A study by E. Glenn Schellenberg at the University of Toronto at Mississauga, as published in a 2004 issue of Psychological Science, found a small increase in the IQs of six-year-olds who were given weekly voice and piano lessons. Schellenberg provided nine months of piano and voice lessons to a dozen six-year-olds, drama lessons (to see if exposure to arts in general versus just music had an effect) to a second group of six-year-olds, and no lessons to a third group. The children’s IQs were tested before entering the first grade, then again before entering the second grade.

    Surprisingly, the children who were given music lessons over the school year tested on average three IQ points higher than the other groups. The drama group didn’t have the same increase in IQ, but did experience increased social behavior benefits not seen in the music-only group.”

    “With music lessons, because there are so many different facets involved–such as memorizing, expressing emotion, learning about musical interval and chords–the multidimensional nature of the experience may be motivating the [IQ] effect,” said study author E. Glenn Schellenberg. – Forbes Magazine

    See Our Rates Contact Us 

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

    Read more...

    Music Enhances Kids’ Language and Social Skills

    There are many ways that music can aid in the development of our youngsters, and one of the major benefits is enhanced language skills, reports PBS.org.  Young musicians’ brains become hard-wired differently, findings show:

    “When you look at children ages two to nine, one of the breakthroughs in that area is music’s benefit for language development, which is so important at that stage,” says Mary Luehrisen, executive director of the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation.  While children come into the world ready to decode sounds and words, music education helps enhance those natural abilities. “Growing up in a musically rich environment is often advantageous for children’s language development,” she says. But Luehrisen adds that those inborn capacities need to be “reinforced, practiced, celebrated,” which can be done at home or in a more formal music education setting.

    According to the Children’s Music Workshop, the effect of music education on language development can be seen in the brain. “Recent studies have clearly indicated that musical training physically develops the part of the left side of the brain known to be involved with processing language, and can actually wire the brain’s circuits in specific ways. Linking familiar songs to new information can also help imprint information on young minds,” the group claims.

    This relationship between music and language development is also socially advantageous to young children. “The development of language over time tends to enhance parts of the brain that help process music,” says Dr. Kyle Pruett, clinical professor of child psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine and a practicing musician. “Language competence is at the root of social competence. Musical experience strengthens the capacity to be verbally competent.”

    A study on music and the brain in regards to language skills was published on December 12, 2012, by authors J. Chobert, C. François, J.L. Velay, and M. Besson.  Showed how “Musical training has been shown to positively influence linguistic abilities.” —

    “…we conducted a longitudinal study over 2 school years with nonmusician children randomly assigned to music or to painting training…While no between-group differences were found before training, enhanced preattentive processing was found after 12 months of training in the music group only. These results demonstrate neuroplasticity in the child brain and suggest that active musical training (rather than innate predispositions for music) yielded the improvements in musically trained children. These results…support the importance of music-based training programs for children’s education and open new remediation strategies for children with language-based learning impairments.”

    So not only is learning music fun, it promotes huge benefits to kids for language improvement, which affects all aspects of their lives!

    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