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    Annie’s Dream – Kickstarter Fund Ends March 5

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    Thanks to everyone who has supported singer-songwriter Savannah Wheeler and her goal of recording Annie’s Dream, an EP of original music. Every $10, $35 and $100 investment brings Savannah one step closer to walking into the recording studio and we are grateful.

     

    But we’re not done yet. Every gift matters, including yours!

     

    There are just 12 days left to fund Savannah’s project and we hope you consider giving today. You know—we all know—that the music industry has changed. If you want music that isn’t formulaic, that defies genres and that just sounds good, WE must be the record company.

     

    Donating to Savannah’s Kickstarter project also has some neat perks. They include:

     

    • Original Song: Have you ever want to be someone’s muse? This is your chance! If you give $1,500, Savannah will write an original song just for you.

     

    • Private Concert: Want to give a gift to your partner? What could be more romantic that having a private concert in your backyard. So get out your fire pit, grab a cozy blanket and donate $500.

     

    • Voicemail Bundle: Add some originality to your voicemail message! For $300, Savannah will sing your favorite song, do an original rap on why you’re not picking up the phone or anything you can imagine.

     

    Thanks for your support and let’s make a dream come true!

     

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    Music Worth Noting Pt. 4

    This week’s Music Worth Noting features some great music that blurs genres and gives us music that is fresh, new and, in one case, educational. Enjoy!

     

     

    Mark Ronson

    “Uptown Funk” will make you want to dance and smile, which is why you have probably heard it on the radio and in the mall at least a dozen times. We’ll take it for granted that you have already heard this song several times and play you the unique version of the video without background music.

     

    Crossroads Project

    What happens when you’re a physicist and you see no one listening to important talks about climate change? Well, you set the lecture to music performed by a string quartet. That’s the successful formula Robert Davies found when he connected with the Fry Street Quartet. Pairing the music with images around the world has performed at several places around the world.

     

    Yavuz Akyazici

    We love music that mixes sounds and cultures to create a one-of-a-kind sound that is just what Akyazici was accomplished. He was born in Turkey but received his jazz education in the United States at New York’s New School and jazz guitar legend Jim Hall. He has since returned to his homeland and takes Turkish pop hits and gives them a jazz edge. Check it out!

     

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    Love Songs To Get You Excited About Valentine’s Day

    Happy Valentine’s Day! While you may receive a card, get a box of chocolate or eat at a fancy restaurant, nothing says love to us like some good music. After all, most music is about love with its swooning and excitement.

    Whether single or coupled, we’ve collected some classic love songs that will make your heart full. Enjoy!

     

    “At Last” by Etta James

    There is a reason why newly married couples choose this tune for their first dance. It is beautiful and romantic. This song will never get old.

     

    “My One And Only Love” by Johnny Hartman and John Coltrane

    The title says it all, doesn’t it? This slow tune featuring jazz legend John Coltrane along with the deep voice of Johnny Hartman singing – You fill my eager heart with / Such desire / Every kiss you give / Sets my soul on fire / I give myself in sweet surrender – will put you in the right mood for the holiday.

     

    “Ho Hey” by The Lumineers

    OK, we know this song got a bit overplayed by the time 2013 rolled around. Over time, we think this song will be a classic. It’s upbeat and joyous and who doesn’t want to hear endlessly that “you belong to me”?

     

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    Music Worth Noting Pt. 3

    We’re dedicating this week’s Music Worth Noting to unsung artists. The may not be regularly recognized for their great work–they may even be insulted by another artist–but they brought a sense of awe to our day. You remember how important feeling awesome is, don’t you?

     

    Father Raps to Son

    This video had us in tears and based on the numbers of views, we’re guessing that others had an emotional connection to this song. Jayce Correia raps to his son Jared who lives with cerebral palsy that has left him unable to stand, walk, talk and see. The video opens with a lethargic Jared but as soon as Jayce begins rapping you can see the young boy responding to the music with his head bopping. Heartfelt lyrics include: “Next to you I feel like a coward” and “I couldn’t be prouder / what you must go through every hour.”

     

    Dancers Interpret “Stay With Me”

    This is a beautiful interpretation of Sam Smith’s Grammy-winning song “Stay With Me.” The dancers stay true to the theme of love and love lost and makes us wish we had taken dance lessons!

     

    Beck – Devil’s Haircut

    One thing we learned watching the Grammy’s last week is that people have no idea who Beck is. While that thought makes us feel old, young people are missing out on a great, audacious and weird musician. Music.Mic has several examples of why Beck is a radical genius but we’ll just give you one example.

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    As We Get Older, It’s Harder For Us To Multi-task

    If you’re having a difficult time remembering people’s names you can blame the cause on something other than your memory. You can blame it on music.

     

    Although we’ve read numerous times that music can enhance the learning experience (especially Baroque music), researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology are finding these benefits depend on the age of the person listening.

     

    In their experiment, scientists assembled a group of young and old adults and asked them to remember names. In one instance music was playing in the background and in another there was nothing but silence. Volunteers were exposed to music that did not contain lyrics and varied from popular tunes to lesser known songs.

     

    Ultimately, all participants reported that music served as a distraction to the learning process yet the college-aged adults could remember names no matter what environment they were placed in. However, adults remembered 10 percent fewer names when music was playing in the background.

     

    Why?

     

    Well, as we get older it may be harder for us to focus and  weed out distracting noises.

     

    The study, however, is more about names and music. It provides insight into how we retain knowledge as we get older, namely we need silence and as little distraction as possible.

     

    Sarah Reaves, the Georgia Tech psychology graduate student who led the study offers some advice to older adults in news site ScienceBlog.com.

    “They should be mindful of their surroundings. Maybe employees should turn off music during learning activities or hold them in a quiet room,” she said. “Similarly, older adults who struggle to concentrate while meeting with co-workers at a coffee shop, for example, should schedule meetings in quieter locations. When people get lost while driving, it’s probably best to turn off the radio.”

     

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    Good News For Travelling Musicians

    In a time when seats are getting smaller, we’re getting charged more for checking in our baggage and meals are no longer offered, it seems like travellers can never gain a victory with the airline industry.

     

    Now, we—especially musicians—finally have a reason to celebrate! The U.S. Department of Transportation recently ruled that musical instruments are considered carry-on luggage, which means that they can be stored in the overhead bin. Those who play a large instrument, such as a cello, now have the option of storing it in the seat next to them if they are willing to pay for the second seat.

     

    The policy change—which takes effect on March 6—means a lot to musicians who previously had to check-in their instruments. Given the throwing and banging that happens to all luggage, using the check-in option seemed like a risky proposition. Just ask musician Dave Carroll whose guitar was broken after a United Airlines flight in 2009. He spent a year without success trying to get reimbursed for his damaged instrument.  Carroll was finally compensated after his viral music video called “United breaks guitars” became popular and embarrassed United Airlines.

     

    More information can be found on here. Happy travels!

     

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    Everything Is Awesome

    It turns out that singing your favorite song and going to a concert and may help you live a longer, healthier and happier life.

     

    A research team from UC Berkeley found that people who reported a sense of awe had lower levels of cytokines, or less inflammation in their body. High doses of cytokines can cause several health problems such as heart disease, depression and autoimmune diseases.

     

    While music is one of the major contributing factors to creating a sense of awe, other experiences can also help stir that emotion such as listening to religious sermons, walking in nature and looking at a beautiful work of art.

     

    The study confirms something we know intuitively; positive emotions are good for our health. Add in a nutritious diet and lots of sleep and you’ll feel like a superhero!

     

    Jennifer Stellar, on of the study’s co-authors says that finding time to participate in awesome experiences is important.

     

    “Rather than seeing a walk through the park or a trip to the museum as an indulgence, we hope people will view these kind of experiences as important ways to promote a healthy body in addition to a healthy mind,” Stellar said. “Folding these kinds of positive experiences into your daily routine may be more important for health than we previously realized.”

     

    We couldn’t agree more!

     

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    Grammy Facts and Figures

    The Grammy Awards are Sunday (8 p.m. on CBS) and you can look forward to performances by Chris Martin, AC/DC, and Pharrell Williams as well as see if Kanye West and U2 take home an award. Yet, most of the reports leading up to this big music event seems to be data-driven—we blame you Nate Silver for starting this trend—filling our brains with facts and figures. We thought we should share some of the most interesting stories with you.

     

    Numbers

    If you have ever wanted to know the length of the red carpet, the total number of nominees up for an award, and if the Latin Grammy’s Twitter account attracts more fans than the English language version, this story is for you.  While we won’t give away the answers we will say that we were sad to learn that both Snoop Dogg and Brian McKnight have been nominated for a Grammy 16 times and have never won!

     

    More Numbers

    If you are a fan of alternative/indie music we have some bad news for you. Its hey-day has long past—in fact it began its descent in 2002 thanks to Nickelback. Right now, country music is outshining every music genre, a resurgence that began in the mid-1990s and, despite a few hiccups, has only increased in popularity. Pop and R&B are also currently popular. How do we know this? Voactiv tracked Billboard Hot 100 songs dating back to 1965 in an attempt to “measure the public appetite for various genres through the years.”

     

    Still More Numbers

    When The Recording Academy revealed its nominees on Twitter, it provided a unique opportunity to see the type of music that is popular around the world. According to Time magazine: “In addition to identifying the most-tweeted about nominees in some of the major categories, Twitter has also looked at which music genres were the most-talked about, and where they’re talked about.” Using that information, an interactive map was produced that dissects music preferences around the world, even down to your neighborhood.  It’s interesting, if a little unsettling (we’ll have to remember to remove the geotagging feature from our cell phones) but definitely worth a look.

     

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    Creating Music From The Sounds of Our Galaxy

    Regular readers of our blog will know that we love science almost as much as we like music. Whether we’re seeing singing and dancing NASA interns or learning about earthquake music, we love it!

     

    In late 2014, NASA released its vast sound library on SoundCloud that includes various noises from outer space to the ear-shattering sounds of liftoff to the historic communications that occurred from mission control—yes, “Houston, we have a problem” is included in the archive. Musicians are already having a field day with the free music samples including Davide Cairo and Giacomo Muzzacato.

     

    They challenged themselves and their musician friends to create original music from these sounds. What resulted was a four-song EP that is now free to download. According to Rolling Stone: “The musicians were required to only use the NASA samples but could twist and contort them anyway they pleased. For instance, the noise of the Kepler space observatory spacecraft in orbit was turned into a powerful bass noise.”

     

    We listened to the songs and were really impressed with the music. It’s definitely worth checking out.

     

    Cairo and Muzzacato’s challenge also seems to have left an imprint with the friends.

     

    “To me, the most fascinating thing about this project is working with something so unknown and far away, wrote one of the contributors who simply goes by JWCM. “The mystery of these sound’s origins really fascinate me; the time and distance they have traveled, the hidden messages that they might carry with them. All this make these sounds really magical to me. Making music from the sounds of NASA was like creating color from black and white; taking these ‘noises’ and turning them into a language that speaks to us as emotional beings.”

     

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    Idina Menzel’s Super Bowl Performance

    We started this blog nearly two years ago to show the value of music:  how it can bring joy to our lives, make our brains better “machines” and serve as a form of therapy for people with debilitating diseases.

     

    And yet, one of the most viewed pages on The Music Junction website is our post about Idina Menzel’s Oscar performance! Although we stated our admiration for the singer, the post mentioned the problems with tempo and pitch and anytime someone did an Internet search of the Broadway actress’ singing problems our website appeared.

     

    Eventually, passing judgment on Menzel became a thing.

     

    The harsh criticism Menzel faced was never warranted. Being a musical theater performer is vastly different than being a pop icon. In theater, acting is first and the voice serves the character. People are comparing her to those in the recording studio trying to be perfect.

     

    As gracious artist, Menzel responded to her critics quite tactfully: “There are about 3 million notes in a two-and-a-half-hour musical. … Performing isn’t only about the acrobatics and the high notes: It’s staying in the moment, connecting with the audience in an authentic way and making yourself real to them through the music. I am more than the notes I hit.”

     

    That’s why we were really looking forward to the Super Bowl. We so wanted to see Menzel ace her performance.

     

    So, did she hit the high note (an F for those who are curious)? No, she didn’t. She started off lower than expected. Did her notes go sharp at times? Well, yes. But she also sang beautifully and with such energy that we are glad she silenced many critics that night.

     

    Congratulations Idina, and thanks for the Web traffic!

     

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

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