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    Music Resources on Pinterest

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    We know Pinterest is a great site for planning a wedding, looking for new recipes and those who crave a do-it-yourself project. But have you ever visited Pinterest to learn more about music?

    Although some ideas require so much work you wonder if it’s worth the effort, it is nice to have a community of “pinners” out there who can help make you or your child a better musician. Here are our recommendations of some worthwhile pins. Enjoy!

     

    Music Theory

    We found Pinterest is especially good at providing education resources for young children, especially in music theory. We love this worksheet on how to count notes and this handout is a fun way to learn about different tempos. This infographic on major and minor scales works for people of all ages.

     

    Piano Music

    You’re never at a loss for beginning music sheets on Pinterest. You can easily find the Happy Birthday song, an alternate, easier version of Let It Go from the movie “Frozen,” even the indie pop hit “Hey there Delilah

     

    Singing Lessons

    The “Singing Lessons” board by Elizabeth Geer is full of text and video resources for warm-up exercises, beginning books and demonstrations on how sound is produced from your body. Also, the “Voice” board by Amanda Jaques has pinned some good videos on exercises and breathing through your diaphragm.

     Do you have a favorite pin or a board? Let us know!

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    Keep A Journal Of Your Music Lessons

    Do you keep a journal of your music lessons?

    Chances are a teacher from The Music Junction has recommended it because chronicling your practice can inspire you about the progress you’ve made. It can also help you figure out how long it takes to master a piece of music, which can be useful when preparing for recitals.

    Any notebook will work or, if you want something more specific, you can download a music log here.

    If you need some additional inspiration for keeping a journal, read this New Yorker story by Jeremy Denk, a professional pianist who has played with Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the symphony orchestras of Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, and London. It is cutely titled “Every Good Boy Does Fine” and discusses how Denk rediscovered his music journal that dates back as far as 1981. Each page is filled with suggestions for improvement by various instructors as well as his insecurities. It also serves as a diary of his life and the important role instructors have played in his life.

    Denk wrote: “There’s a labyrinth of voices inside your head, a counterpoint of self-awareness and the remembered sayings of your guides and mentors, who don’t always agree. Sometimes you wish you could go back and ask your teachers again to guide you; but up there onstage, exactly where they always wanted you to be, you must simply find your way. They have given all the help they can; the only person who can solve the labyrinth of yourself is you.”

    We agree.

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

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    Life Lessons From a Blind Musician

    Chad Erickson lives several thousand miles from California but his spirit of determination can inspire us all.

    Erickson is a talented high school senior who can play eight musical instruments — from the accordion to the alto saxophone — by ear. Last school year, Erickson decided he wanted to perform in Florida’s Fletcher High School marching band including its field shows that require musicians to not only play music but march into different formations. It is an artform where accuracy and precision are tantamount.

    Erickson is also blind.

    Yet, Erickson was determined to succeed. With the support of his mother, band director and classmates he has successfully performed with the marching band, which has won several honors this season. Erickson receives assistance from a guide, another student who holds on to Erickson and physically guides him and offers verbal instructions. Succeeding with or without a guide can be a challenge as students sometimes march 180 beats per minute. Yet, Erickson has found a way to perform just as well as his peers.

    Erickson, who was born at only 23 weeks and weighed just under 2 lbs., told The Florida Times-Union that he enjoys the experience.

    “‘I wasn’t sure I was going to like it at first,’” he said candidly. But the more rewarding part, he said, comes from ‘playing in a musical ensemble, and being part of a group that has an interest in common with mine — and that is music.’”

    Next time you think a challenge is insurmountable, think of Erickson.

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

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    Gender Disparity In High School Music Programs

    When you see your local high school choir or marching band perform look at the makeup of the young performers. Chances are you will find that girls outnumber boys, a gender imbalance that has been persistent for the past 30 years.

    Kenneth Elpus, an assistant professor of music education at the University of Maryland School of Music published a research report that looked at enrollment trends spanning from 1982 to 2009. He found that choirs are composed of 70 percent girls and 30 percent boys. In orchestra,  64 percent of the musicians are female while 36 percent are male. Band has the narrowest margin of gender imbalance with 56 percent females compared to 49 percent males.

    The benefits of music education have been well documented by researchers. Playing music is great exercise for the brain that helps students enhance their grammar skills, become better readers and improve test scores. The fact that boys are underrepresented in high school choir, band and orchestra might mean they are missing these crucial benefits. We hope something is done to fix this gender imbalance.

    Researcher Elpus notes that despite the lack of representation in high school arts, boys seem to have a leg up in the music careers.

    “The makeup of instrumental music students has been more heavily weighted towards females,” Elpus writes, “yet those students who pursue, or find the most success, in classical instrumental music or instrumental music education as a profession tend to be male.”

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

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    Young People Feel Strongest Affinity Toward Music

    Think back to when you were a teenager. Do you remember how excited you were when your favorite singer or band released new music? Did you listen to the music on repeat? Did you memorize the lyrics?

    Now, fast forward to today. Are you still as excited as about the lastest album or download?

    According to researchers, the answer is probably not.

    Psychologists from the University of Cambridge, led by Arielle Bonneville-Roussy interviewed people whose ages ranged from 13 to 65 and who lived in the United States and United Kingdom. Researchers asked them how important music was to their lives and offered a range of responses from the most intense (“Music means a lot to me, and is a passion of mine” to the most disinterested (“Music has no particular interest for me”).

    Teens reported the highest affinity to music with 41 percent stating “music means a lot to me) and a downward trend continues as the ages increase. Only 13 percent of the oldest age group in the study – 65-year-olds – reported that music meant a lot to them.

    Researchers also found that young people were more likely to listen to music in public settings than older respondents and are more likely to spend part of their day listening to music. Not surprisingly, 18-year-olds spend 25 hours a week listening to music whereas 65-year-olds only spend 12 hours a week.

    It is not shocking to us that other things compete for our interest as we get older – family, career, personal health – so it may be difficult for people to refer to music as a passion. We hope, however, that everyone can find a way to bring music into their lives.

    What do you think of the results?

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

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    Study Finds A Connection Between Rhythm And Grammar

    Want to evaluate children’s grammar skills? Start by examining their rhythm.

    A unique study by researchers from the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center in Tennessee found a unique connection between the ability to distinguish rhythm and advanced grammar skills.

    Researcher Reyna Gordon gathered a group of 6-year-olds and had them go through a series of tests that asked them to detect if various sets of melodies and beats were different or the same. Then, the children answered questions about photographs that were shown to them and were evaluated by their ability to use past and present tense.

    The children who performed well on one test did well on the other, regardless of their IQ, socioeconomic factors and music experience.

    From an outsider’s perspective, the tests seem unrelated yet Gordon believes there is a strong connection between music and language. It is another reason why music education should be valued.

    “In grammar, children’s minds must sort the sounds they hear into words, phrases and sentences and the rhythm of speech helps them to do so,” according to a Vanderbilt University press release. “In music, rhythmic sequences give structure to musical phrases and help listeners figure out how to move to the beat. Perhaps children who are better at detecting variations in music timing are also better at detecting variations in speech and therefore have an advantage in learning language, she suggested.”

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

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    Survey Reveals Parents Thoughts on Music and Singing

    A new survey shows that parents overwhelmingly value music education yet we were disappointed how few families incorporate music making into their lives.

    The survey — commissioned by Music Together over the summer — revealed that 31 percent of parents have never sung to their children and only 17 percent sing daily.

    Why don’t parents sing? The survey could not provide insight but based on responses to other survey questions we think it is due to self-consciousness. For instance, 72 percent of parents think people are either born with or without the ability to sing. Given that 31 percent of parents singing every day in the shower and in the car some insecurity may prevent them from singing to their children.

    At The Music Junction, we believe very passionately that singing well is within everyone’s reach and it’s not an innate ability. It just takes professional instruction, practice and some confidence. If you do not have the time or the resources right now for music lessons just keep singing. Sing loud and be happy and don’t worry if you’re out of tune!

    We’re glad that Music Together agrees with us.

    “Some adults feel self-conscious about their own singing and dancing and some may think they need to be a great singer or musician in order to be a good musical role model,” says Kenneth Guilmartin, founder of Music Together. “But, research suggests that even parents who cannot sing in tune can still provide their child with a positive disposition for music-making. In addition, singing and dancing together can be an important way to bond with your child.”

    However, we weren’t completely disappointed with the survey results. Approximately 98 percent of parents believe children need music education and 52 percent believe that it should begin between the ages of 1 to 5 years old.

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

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    5 Must-See Websites for Music Performances

    We know that live music is a great complement to music lessons but sometimes finding the right event can be challenging as not all events are kid-friendly. Why not host a concert in your house? We found some websites that offer live music and it doesn’t matter if your children aren’t sitting still or how you’re dressed. Just watch and enjoy!

     

     

    National Public Radio: Tiny Desk Concerts

    NPR’s revamped music website features live performances that are literally performed near the desk of “All Songs Considered” host Bob Boilen. The performances tend to lean toward independent artists but several genres are represented including world music.

     

    New York Times: In Performance

    This is our personal favorite for online viewing of the arts. The performances are brief enough to capture the attention of our youngest musicians and features some of the most prominent artists in classical music and on Broadway. We especially love the close-up shots of the pianists so we can admire their quick finger work.

     

    PBS: Great Performances http://video.pbs.org/program/great-performances/

    This famous and long-running television show has an online component. This website offers a diverse offering of the arts from opera to ballet to classical music to Lady Gaga.

     

    Medici

    Kissin, Demidenko, Wit: Chopin, Piano Concertos on medici.tv.

    This site is perfect for the devout classical music fans who wish they could attend every concert. Full-length performances from Carnegie Hall, Walt Disney Concert Hall,

    Berliner Philharmonie, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, and more are available for viewing.

    Registration is required and free but a monthly subscription fee is needed to access the site’s library and to have an ad-free experience,

     

     

    Music Together: Concert Videos 

    Music Together is a national organization that offers music enrichment classes for infants to 5-year-olds.  Your youngest musicians or soon-to-be-musicians might enjoy the up-tempo beats in this video playlist. Music Together has a knack for selecting songs that young children love and do not drive parents, well, crazy with repetitive beats and lyrics offered in the genre of children’s music.

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

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    Trombone and Oven Door Make a Great Viral Video

    The latest video to go viral has us smiling and wishing we could hang out with this musical family.

    The video features a father playing a trombone and a young son accompanying him by providing backup thanks to an oven door and the cutest head bob we’ve seen in years. They’re playing the dance song “Freaks” by Timmy Trumpet and Savage.  Never heard of the song or the musicians? Neither did we until we did some Internet research and discovered that Timmy Trumpet is an Australian musician specializing in dance music and Savage is an MC from New Zealand. The song is good too and we think the father does a very good rendition of this song. You can listen to a sample here via SoundCloud.

    The father and son titled their video “When Mama Isn’t Home” and we just love how the family bonds through music. No television. No video games. It is just about having fun and being with our loved ones. We also noticed that the daughter is a talented singer. We love it!

    And the whole oven banging thing, we’re sure mom will understand!

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

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    Sharing a Love of Music, Thanks to John Lennon

    If there was anything that would make the most recalcitrant music student excited about practicing, we think the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus would be it.

    Children who visit the bus have an opportunity to write, compose, record and sound engineer original songs as well as shoot and edit an accompanying music video and documentary — all in one day! The bus houses more than $3 million in state-of-the art equipment and is staffed with engineers who are more than happy to educate students. Every song is posted on the tour bus’ website and we were particularly impressed with a group of kids from Milwaukee who seamlessly intertwined English and Spanish lyrics while others played the trumpet, violin, drums and more. It’s definitely worth watching!

    As adults, we wish we could have access to the instruments, technology and knowledge that the tour bus provides. It makes us wish we were in grade school again!

    The bus visits approximately 250,000 children a year and worked with Pomona elementary school children a few months ago. It doesn’t look like there will be another California stop for the remainder for 2014, but the tour bus accepts visit requests on its website.

    The tours bus has been in existence since 1998 with the blessing of Yoko Ono, the widow of music legend and Beatle John Lennon.  CBS News recently interviewed Ono about the tour bus and we were struck by one part of the conversation:

    “CBS asked Ono: ‘You probably get asked all the time to lend your support and your name and John’s name to all kinds of projects. Why did you decide to support this one?’

    ‘I think this is one of the most important ones, because the educational situation is not so good and all that,” said Ono. “So, we have to add something that’s really positive.’”

    We agree.

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

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