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    Watch 3-year-old Sing Nicky Minaj on Ellen – So Cute!


    After an adorable YouTube video went viral showing little 3-year-old Dustin was upset that he couldn’t sing a Nicky Minaj song because of the “bad” words, Ellen invites him to sing the “clean” version of his song on her show.  It is impressive that a 3yo has the language skills to keep up with a song with so many words.  He seems to have a sophisticated understanding of our culture and how to express himself – saying in his original video that he would like to sing the clean version of the song but he can’t “because I’m crying.”  It’s so cute that he realizes at his young age that he has been overcome by his emotions – something that we all experience universally no matter what age.

    The Music Junction starts piano students at age 4, and voice students around the same time.  Children should be exposed to music education as early as age 2, but group classes are best for the toddler age category.  Having a 1/2hr private lesson can be straining before age 4.  But you can see at Dustin’s age how close he is to hitting correct pitches and memorizing lyrics.  By age 4 these skills are developed enough to benefit from private lessons.  Sometimes – perhaps in Dustin’s case – at age 3 a student could be ready for private lessons.  If the parent feels that their child could easily stay focused long enough work one-on-one with a teacher for a 1/2hr, then that is the best judge.

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    Music Helps Learn New Languages

    It’s no secret that songs can help students memorize information – starting as early as the A, B, C’s song, set to a Mozart melody that is also used for “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”.  The educational cartoon “Veggie Tales” is entirely dedicated to teaching through music, with songs written for information as complicated as the entire Bill of Rights text.  But many may not be aware that music is a great way to learn new languages.  According to author Susanna Zaraysky, who speaks 7 languages and wrote the book “Language is Music”, listening to music with lyrics written in the language you would like to learn is a powerful tool in becoming multilingual.  The technique mimics the way a baby learns their native language, listening to the people around them speak during their first years of life before starting to use the language themselves.

    “You do have to learn grammar eventually,” says Zaraysky in her Q&A on EveryDayLanguageLearner.com, “But music is absolutely key in learning languages. I speak seven languages and listening to lyrical music in these languages was fundamental to my being able to copy the melody of these languages and remember pronunciation and vocabulary.”

    This is something that can also be incorporated into private voice lessons.  Voice students who would like to work on pronouncing words in another language can get great practice out of singing songs in that language.   There’s a similar benefit for students speaking English as a second language: students from other countries who would like to learn an “American Standard” dialect can use English language voice pieces to practice that accent.  In general, voice lessons teach students to have more control over their voice – which of course means that they can sing more prettily, but also that they can speak more clearly, and manipulate their speaking voice more easily, for language learning.

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    See original article here.


    FAQ about Voice Changes in Boys – What is Happening to My Voice?

    Going through a voice change can feel disconcerting and forlorn for young boys.  Singing Consultant Jenevora Williams published a great FAQ for young male voice students to understand what is happening with their voices and what to expect.

    Q What happens when your voice breaks?
    A Firstly- don’t talk about breaking- there’s no damage occurring. Your larynx is growing bigger. In a boy, it grows by about 60%. A bigger larynx makes a lower sound.
    Q How will I know when it is happening?
    A The process begins at the same time as other changes. If you have had a sudden growth spurt, your larynx will be doing the same.

    Q What age will I be?
    A The average age for the start of voice change is 12.5. It can happen at any time from 10 to 15.
    Q Can it happen overnight?
    A Nothing can grow that quickly! It normally takes about two years but if it is happening gradually, you may not notice it for a while and then it could take you by surprise.
    Q Can I slow it down if I carry on singing treble?
    A No. It can only be slowed down by severe malnutrition, artificial hormones, or irreversible surgery; none of which are recommended! You can learn to use other muscles in the larynx to adapt to the growth and to continue singing high but this can be very damaging in the longer term. Don’t do it – go with the flow!

    Watch Amazing Grace sung in Overtones (the voice sings 2 notes at the same time!)

    This is a neat example of overtone singing – a special vocal placement that allows a singer to create a note that actually has a higher 2nd pitch, which is voiced simultaneously with the lower note.  When you listen to it – make sure to listen carefully for the higher note to hear the melody – the lower note never changes.  In this example, the singer, Yuichi Tuba, creates a lower note that stays constant, and then manipulates his inner mouth shape to change the higher note into a serious of pitches that creates the Amazing Grace melody. If you would like to see Yuichi Tuba‘s tutorial on how to do overtone singing yourself, click here.

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    How Does Music Therapy Help Autism?

    NaturalHealth365 reports:

    Many tasks such as verbal skills or visual skills are clearly ‘left’ brain or ‘right’ brain; however listening to or playing music requires the use of both sides of the brain. The right side of the brain is responsible for musical tone, natural rhythm and musical passion while the left side of the brain handles musical melody, musical rhythm and tempo as well as musical notes. So how does this help with autism?

    Harvard Medical School Professor Dr. Martha R. Herbert, states “Brain cells need to follow a regular rhythm to produce a response in the brain. For people with autism, there is less coordination of this rhythm from one point to another. Music helps by creating an organized and regular stimulus to the brain that helps the brain get organized to keep track of the rhythm.”

    Can music improve communication skills in children?

    According to Empirical Musicology Review which published a German paper that looked at the impact of music on children with autism, two major areas of improvement are noted when music therapy is started on children with autism. First, communication and language skills are improved in as few as ten music therapy sessions. They found a significant positive relationship between musical vocal skills and nonmusical speech production skills and researchers believe this is because music bypasses speech and language barriers in individuals with autism.

    Second, music therapy helps to improve socio-behavior skills – such as reducing off-task behaviors; problematic classroom behavior; emotion recognition; improving eye contact and increasing the initiation of interactions by children with autism. Researchers have found that rhythmic entrainment is the most helpful for improving social behavior because it helps the mind and body to relax and re-entrains the body to its natural rhythmic patterns.

    A study published in the Journal of Applied Behavioral Analysis states that music therapy can help dramatically reduce vocal stereotypy (repetitive singing, snorting, and slurring) in children with autism.



    The Circle of Growth and Dr. Rinehart

    Dr. Carroll Rinehart from Tuscon, Arizona has been working in child music education his entire career, which has extended now into his 80’s.  He created the textbook series “Music! Words! Opera!” designed for music teachers to make opera accessible for kids.  His program even includes having children perform their own operas!   Rinehart believes opera helps students focus on the storytelling aspect of music.   “In acquainting children with opera as an expressive medium, they acquire basic understanding of character, setting, and plot. As the lessons proceed logically and sequentially, language skills are exercised and sharpened. In the process, children come to enjoy opera as a powerful form of storytelling.”

    Through his research on child education, Dr. Rinehart created the Circle of Growth to show us how educators can most effectively facilitate growth for their students.  “Building first on TRUST, the child gains the courage to risk creative thought.  Upon receiving AFFIRMATION, the child experiences growth in self-esteem.  GROWTH then inspires future trust, which continues the process.  The cycle repeats as the child gains self-confidence and eventually the ability to become an adult who thinks for himself”

    “All learning takes place at the edge of risk,” says Dr.  Rinehart.  Another way of saying this might be: “We learn best when we are able to risk showing our lack of knowledge by questioning and pondering.”

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    Watch a Funny Classical Rendition of the Beatles’ “Ticket to Ride” by Igudesman and Joo

    The hilarious classical comedy duo Igudesman and Joo perform a barely distinguishable version of Ticket to Ride in the guise of a silly soprano aria.  Hyung-ki Joo gives a wonderful performance as both the soprano voice and piano accompanist.   Their new show, “A Little Nightmare Music,” is on tour across the world this year, ending in the US this fall and winter.  For more information & videos in our previous blog entry about Igudesman and Joo, click here.

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    Create Your Own Music Awareness Campaign

    Are you a parent or concerned adult who feels passionate about the benefits of music education for our local kids?  If you’ve read through this blog and seen the enormous amount of research and studies showing all the ways music improves lives, I’m sure you are.  But many parents in our communities don’t realize what their children are being deprived of when our school systems slash their music education budgets, and programs disappear right underneath our noses.  DoSomething.Org gives great tips on how to spread awareness in your community:

    There are tons of people out there who don’t know much about music education and its benefits. Make some catchy flyers so people can be in the know and learn how they can make a difference too.

    Double Check

    • Are you allowed to post your signs around school or on telephone poles and community bulletin boards? If so, go for it! If not, see if you can pass out flyers at your town hall, public library, a local business or at school.

    Do Some Research

    Include Local Info

    • Find out about music education in your area. Are music programs offered in your school or community center? Is there a symphony or orchestra that offers classes to young people? Call and ask around. Include this local info on your posters.

    Include Testimonials

    • See if you can get a quote from an expert. Call your local university and track down a professor. Speak to a musician who can attest to how music helped him or her in school. Include it in your campaign. Real stories are powerful!

    Use Images

    • Pictures can add a personal connection between the viewer and the issue. Feature photos of students and local musicians or your musician role models.

    Power in People

    • Now that you’ve got all this info, get some friends together to help you design and complete the posters or flyers. They can help you put them up when you’re done.

    Variety is Key

    Keep in mind, that in order to make this campaign effective, you have to vary your strategy. So think about making a few different kinds of signs:

    • Small flyers to pass out to people
    • Big, colorful posters to post on telephone polls: you want these to stand out because people will be driving and/or walking by them so you want to grab their attention.
    • Informative flyers to post on cork boards or town message boards.

    Find a time when people will be most open to hearing about music education.

    • Consider the beginning of the school year, when everyone is deciding on what subjects they will take.
    • March is Music in our School Month!
    • If you’ve missed the best dates, don’t hesitant to get started right now.

    Be Bold

    • Think of strange places you can put up posters and see if you can get permission to post them there. Marketers have put ads up in odd places because it’s an effective tactic. Like the doors in bathroom stalls of restaurants, cafes, and/or even in restrooms of your local bus or train station. Try it out!

    Post and Repost

    • While going out one day and posting is great, keep in mind that weather may damage posters so you’ll want to go out periodically and repost your signs. You also won’t catch everyone in one day so schedule a few days to go out and distribute fliers.

    The Extra Mile

    You can also recruit speakers to come in and speak about music education at your:

    • school
    • church
    • community center

    Remember that musician you spoke to about how music changed their life? Invite them to speak and/or ask them to suggest someone.

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    Watch the Karaoke App “Sing!” in Action

    Smule advertises their popular app Sing! as a “Global Karaoke Party,” which captures the way this app connects people across the world.  This is a wonderful concept that gives anyone the opportunity to sing with others, anytime, without leaving their house.  Singers can sing solos, duets, or group songs.  We like that this app encourages people to make music, and makes it a social experience as well.

    Often in our culture, we are encouraged not to sing by our family or peers unless we have an amazing voice.  We tend to make fun and tease each other if our voices don’t sound like what we hear on the radio.  This is sad because singing is the most organic way we can musically express ourselves.  We are all able to sing, it is built into our bodies.  The more we sing, and the more we are in a culture of singers, the better singers we are.  So an app like Sing! is a great way for everyone to get in touch with their voices.

    Here’s what Apptoyz.com lists about Sing! –

    Find and follow your friends in Sing!, and meet incredible singers from all over the world. Sing your heart out on Solo songs, or join up with others in Duets or Group songs. Keep up with your friends and favorite singers, and love and comment on performances to show your support.

    Sound amazing every time with Sing!’s voice enhancement technology. Use special voice filters to spice up your performance even more. Sing! is a supportive, joyful community where music-making at all levels is encouraged and appreciated.

    -Connect with your friends by giving & receiving comments and likes
    -Share your performances with the community through the globe
    -Join other songs for free and make it a duet or group song
    -Enhance your voice with special voice effects: Pop, Vintage, or SupaTune
    -Easy sharing to the outside community via Facebook

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    Discover 11 Music Education Facts!

    DoSomething.org posted 11 Facts about Music Education:

    1. 1)Children who study music tend to have larger vocabularies and more advanced reading skills than their peers who do not participate in music lessons.
    2. 2)Studying music primes the brain to comprehend speech in a noisy background.
      • Children with learning disabilities or dyslexia who tend to lose focus with more noise could benefit greatly from music lessons.
    3. 3)Research shows that music is to the brain as physical exercise is to the human body. Music tones the brain for auditory fitness and allows it to decipher between tone and pitch.
    4. 4)Children who study a musical instrument are more likely to excel in all of their studies, work better in teams, have enhanced critical thinking skills, stay in school, and pursue further education.
    5. 5)In the past, secondary students who participated in a music group at school reported the lowest lifetime and current use of all substances (tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs).
    6. 6)Schools with music programs have an estimated 90.2 percent graduation rate and 93.9 percent attendance rate compared to schools without music education who average 72.9 percent graduation and 84.9 percent attendance.
    7. 7)Regardless of socioeconomic status or school district, students who participate in high-quality music programs score 22 percent better on English and 20 percent better on Math standardized exams.
    8. 8)Much like expert technical skills, mastery in arts and humanities is closely correlated to high earnings.
    9. 9)A study from Columbia University revealed that students who study arts are more cooperative with their teachers and peers, have higher levels self-confidence, and are more equipped to express themselves and their ideas.
    10. 10)Elementary age children who are involved  in music lessons show greater brain development and memory improvement within a year than children who receive no musical training.
    11. 11)Learning and mastering a musical instrument improves the way the brain breaks down and understands human language, making music students more apt to pick up a second language.

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