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    Children Play Rock Classics

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    Cute kids and great music—there is so much to like about this viral music video!

     

    A group of musicians——who range in age from 7 to 12—from Louisville, Kentucky played Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir,” “The Ocean,” and “Immigrant Song” with nothing but xylophones, drums, cymbals, and keyboards. Their music even impressed Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page who posted the video on his Facebook page and wrote “too good not to share.”

     

    We love that these children are being noticed around the world for their talents and hard work. We also think the video represents advice given in a previous blog post on how to keep children engaged in music as they get older. Occasionally diverting from classical, and orchestral music and can make great strides in keeping kids focused and committed to making music.

     

    Based on the group’s YouTube page, the students belong to the Louisville Leopard Percussionists, a group that offers extracurricular music opportunities to local children at little or no cost. The group continues to seek donations and you can help.

     

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    Honoring A Pioneer of Music Psychology

    Chances are if you were on the Internet this week — either on social media or reading the news — you probably heard about a New York Times article by beloved neurologist and writer Oliver Sacks.

     

    If you read his op-ed piece you were probably crushed like us. In an understated way, Sacks wrote that he is one of the “unlucky ones” and has terminal cancer with just a few months to live. He writes that he will make every moment matter and reflects on his contemporaries.

     

    “My generation is on the way out, and each death I have felt as an abruption, a tearing away of part of myself. There will be no one like us when we are gone, but then there is no one like anyone else, ever. When people die, they cannot be replaced. They leave holes that cannot be filled, for it is the fate — the genetic and neural fate — of every human being to be a unique individual, to find his own path, to live his own life, to die his own death.”

     

    Yet, what you may not know is that Sacks is one of the leading scientists who espoused the benefits of music on the brain. Before there was “Alive Inside,” Sacks was writing on how music enlivened Alzheimer’s patients. Before there was this video, Sacks was mapping areas of the brain that lit up when people played music. As Music.Mic eloquently explains: “For anyone who has ever wondered how the climax of Beethoven symphonies can move us to tears, or why the pounding rhythms of a festival can cause us to lose all inhibitions, his 2007 book Musicophilia is a revelation”

     

    The music website lists its 11 favorite music quotes from Sacks but this is our favorite.

    Oliver Sacks music quote.

    Oliver Sacks music quote.

     

    We want to use this modest space to thank a man who has done so much to shine the light on music.

     

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    New YouTube Apps For Kids

    Today, YouTube launches a special app just kids and we couldn’t be happier!

    Parents with tech-savvy kids know that YouTube can be a landmine even with parental controls. The comments, commercials and the videos that are supposed to be “related” to the content we’re watching are often inappropriate. Unless the parents are sitting close by to monitor, YouTube is probably not an option for many families.

    The new YouTube Kids app promises to offer only age-appropriate content and include a parental time. The app features four channels: shows, music, learning and explore and it’s safe to say that we’re excited about the music section. We are also curious what type of music will be accessible to children and hope they’re not limiting tunes to those that are like Barney. YouTube and Google, if you’re listening, here are our requests.

     

    Keep The Viral Videos

    We believe there children are inspired when they see other people their age make music. It gives them confidence that they can also tackle this skill as well. Plus, who doesn’t want to see cute and talented kids like the Castillo children? Although it must be difficult to weed out viral videos that are only for adults, we hope children-approved viral videos will be available.

     

    Include Different Genres

    As we previously mentioned, children’s music shouldn’t be confined to the likings of “Barney” or “The Wiggles.” Not that those songs are necessarily bad, we just believe children should be exposed to a wider selection of music. We’ve included a favorite musician of ours, Elizabeth Mitchell, who performs folk-inspired children’s music. Give it a listen!

     

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    Live Music Performances Scheduled For Oscar Ceremony

    The Academy Awards is tonight (5:30p.m. PST on ABC) and while this is usually an show that celebrates cinema and fashion, this year’s ceremony will be great for music lovers too.

     

    We know, this news might be surprising. The Oscars have not always been friendly to music and musicians but here are a few reasons why this year will be different.

     

    1. Host: Neil Patrick Harris is set to host. With his various stints in musical theater and a host to the Tony Awards, Harris is one of the more musically-inclined hosts, right up there with Billy Crystal. Show producers also have hired Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, the duo behind “Frozen” have penned a song for Harris.

     

    1. Performances: Those set to take the stage and perform include John Legend and Common (whose performance we have previously gushed about here), Tegan and Sara, Adam Levine, and Rita Ora. They will be singing songs that are nominated for best original song. Sadly, country music legend and this year’s Oscar nominee, Glen Campbell was set to sing but had to pull out as his advancing Alzheimer’s Disease makes him unable to perform. It was widely speculated that tonight would have been his last live performance so we are saddened by this news. Tim McGraw will take his place and sing “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” and we’re sure his tribute will bring tears.

     

    1. Special Appearances: As if the performers mentioned above were not enough, this year’s show includes performances by Jennifer Hudson, Anna Kendrick and Lady Gaga.

     

    So, sit back and watch this year’s show. Given how much the show format changes, you may not get such a music-focused show like this again.

     

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    Annie’s Dream – Kickstarter Fund Ends March 5

    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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    If You Don’t Use Your Singing Voice You Lose It

    We know that a lack of exercise can weaken leg, arm and back muscles and affect an athlete’s performance. Now science has shown any significant break in singing can affect the quality of a singer’s voice.

     

    Calling it a “use it or lose it” phenomena, researchers from Northwestern University and University at Buffalo gathered three groups of singers—kindergarteners, sixth-graders, and college students—and asked them sing back a musical sequence they has just heard. Researchers noticed overall improvement from kindergarten to eighth-grade in singing accuracy or, in other words, the ability to sing on pitch. The adults, however, did not fare well. On some of the tests, they scored just as high as the kindergarten groups, thereby showing a regression in ability.

     

    Why did the adults get worse over time?

     

    Steven Demorest, professor of music education at the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University, and his colleagues believe that we become less musical over time. Singing is encouraged early in our lives, from educational songs that we sing in  elementary school to the middle school choir that’s open to any and all students. Yet, researchers fear that over time, our voice becomes judged and we’re told quite bluntly that we’re tone deaf or we don’t have it, as if singing were some innate talent. So, we stop singing and, with lack of practice, our realize our own low expectations.

     

    It doesn’t have to be this way.

     

    Singing is “a skill that can be taught and developed, and much of it has to do with using the voice regularly,” Demorest says.“Our study suggests that adults who may have performed better as children lost the ability when they stopped singing.”

     

    So, go ahead and sing. Keep singing because, with time and guidance, you will get better.

     

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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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